Even though Puerto Princesa is the capital of the Palawan province, it tends to get overshadowed by its other popular areas, namely El Nido and Coron. Most visitors to the island only spend a night or two at the city, visit the Underground River before moving on to other places nearby.
El Nido is known for its luxury private island resorts, while Coron is the perfect mixture of adventure and nature. Puerto Princesa, however, has the best nightlife and offers the perfect opportunity to soak in some of the local culture. Add in the fact it’s the easiest destination to reach on Palawan, and the amount of unique attraction it offers, and you’ll see why the city is well worth spending a few days at.
Just because the Subterranean River National Park is the main tourist spot it doesn’t mean you should avoid it. The only problem is you might have to book this tour in advance, especially during high season when it can be booked a whole month ahead. It is still, one of the must see attractions in the entire country. Since the river connects to the sea, the whole area is filled with marine life, creating a unique and extremely diverse ecosystem. Combined with the beautiful rock formations inside the cave, it’s truly an unforgettable experience.
Island hopping around Honda Bay is another popular activity. The bay is full of picturesque islands, with crystal clear waters and white sand beaches. The exact islands you’d visit will vary, based on your preferences and weather conditions, but generally speaking Cowrie island and Pandan are considered the best ones. This tour is also a great opportunity to swim, snorkel and kayak around these small islands, and get up close and personal with the stunning underwater world of Palawan.
One more exciting thing to do is to take a tour of Puerto Princesa city and it’s surrondings. The Crocodile farm, butterfly garden and former senator Ramon Mitra’s ranch are just a few of the places you could visit. Hiring a local guide is possible, although it’s probably better to just rent a motorbike and do everything by yourself. The city also has a nice promenade, where you can stroll by the ocean overlooking the bay, and sit down at a nice restaurant or a lively bar for a drink.
Lastly, there’s one great thing to do in Puerto Princesa, which most visitors overlook. The area has some of the best hiking spots you’ll find anywhere in the Philippines. Climbing to Mt. Bloomfield’s summit will only take you 5 hours, and the view from the top will surely take your breath away. More experienced climbers might opt to take on Cleopatra’s Needle instead – one of the most challenging treks in the country. The journey to the top takes between 2 and 3 days, and you’ll have to camp outdoors, but you’ll be rewarded with a tremendous sense of accomplishment as you finally reach the summit and gaze at the stunning view of the entire Palawan island.
As far as accommodation goes, there are a few prominent locations to consider. First, there’s the city itself – where you can find decently priced hotels of all types. This option is best for those
who enjoy the crowds and want to be close to the action – you’ll have all the restaurants, bars and nightclubs only a few minutes walk away. If you prefer a more quiet environment, albeit a more expensive one, take one of the resorts overlooking Honda Bay. These are located roughly 45 minutes drive from the city, and typically consist of 4-5 star luxury resorts.
We suggest you choose one of these two, and combine it with at least a night or 2 at Sabang beach. Sabang is closer to the underground river and Mt. Bloomfield, and can be a better starting point for these tours. It’s also a beautiful beach area on its own merit, and offers some really excellent places to sleep in. Also quite popular among tourists, you can generally expect a more quiet atmosphere over there, compared to the city at least.
Do you know of any more exciting things to do around Puerto Princesa? Do you need more information about the activities presented above? Just leave a comment and let us know!