A Complete Palawan Island Travel Guide

Palawan is the largest province in the Philippines, the country of islands.

Daring to spend your holiday trip in Palawan may seem extreme, but it is actually more adventurous and fun than you think.

Palawan has a lot to offer to the millions of visitors that drop off each year.

You are going to learn everything you need to, right here, right now.

So, let’s get you ready for your amazing trip.

How to get there

By Plane

From Manila and Cebu

There are flights from Manila to Puerto Princesa every day and they are mostly served by Air Philippines and Philippines Airlines. The flight is around one hour and a half, and it costs usually $70.

Around the world

Many companies fly to the Philippines daily. However, to get to Palawan, most flights stop at Manila Airport and then continue to Puerto Princesa International Airport.

AirAsia may be the cheapest airline company to take you there. Therefore, check their prices for your dates here, or check to find cheaper flights on Skyscanner.

Airport Information

There are three airports that serve Palawan. El Nido Airport is on the northern side of the island.

Busuanga Airport is on Busuanga island and it serves mostly in and around Coron.

Puerto Princesa International Airport is the island’s major gateway in and out of Palawan Island.

By Boat

There are two reputable companies that go by sea from Manila to Puerto Princesa.

The first choice is Negros Navigation, which takes the voyage every Thursday and reaches Palawan on Friday. It gets back to Manila from Palawan Saturday morning.

The second choice is Superferry, which leaves Manila Friday morning and arrives at Puerto Princesa Saturday afternoon. It makes the return trip to Manila every Sunday. It should be noted that Superferry makes a stop at Coron on both trips.

Getting Around Palawan

One of the most difficult aspects of a trip to Palawan is transportation around the province. Walking is your best option for close attractions spots. However, if you are leaving your area to another one, options are different.

You can hire a Jeep whose costs depend on your destination and the time period. Jeeps are mostly advised as the roads in Palawan are not in the best conditions.

You can jump into a bus or a minivan leaving from the north of Puerto to many destinations in the province. However, if you are in a group, you can hire a private minivan to take you wherever you desire.

More on local transportation can be found here.

List of Tours to Do

Puerto Princesa:

Underground River Tour

The Underground River is in Sabang and has been named the 7th New wonder of the world. A group of environmentalists has discovered that the river has a second floor, which means that there are waterfalls inside of the cave.

Photo credit: ricky_artigas via Visualhunt / CC BY

As part of your full-day tour, you will spend approximately 1 hour inside the cave, which will cover 1.5 first kilometers of the whole 8 kilometers. While waiting to get your time slot, you can shop at the many souvenir stalls in Sabang.

Photo credit: jamkablam via Visual Hunt / CC BY

Read more about the cave here. Read about and book your tour here.

Dolphin watching:

Who doesn't love dolphins? Come on, you know you want to take this tour.

A minivan will pick you up at around 6am from your hotel and take you to the location. You will have from 7am to 11am, all 4 hours to enjoy the acrobatics of groups of dolphins in their natural habitat. Bring your kids, bring your camera, because the memories you will have, you definitely will want to revisit.

More about the tour and booking here.

El Nido

Island Hopping

Yes, island hopping. This 6 hours tour in El Nido will take you to see the islands, caves, and coves that are close by.

You will stop by Pangalusian Island, which has an ideal beach for diving and snorkeling.

Then, a visit to Pinagbuyutan Island, whose white sand is one the best of all world. You’ll also be amazed at the beauty of the green color of the water and seascape of the island.

Next stop is at Snake Island. That name is given to the island due to the s-shaped sandspit that ‘snakes’ it off shore. You can climb the nearby hill for a bird’s eye view of the wonderful island, as the boat crew prepares a meal for you.

Caves are next. Cadugnon Point and Cave is an anthropological site where a lot of jewelry was yielded. There is a rock formation inside the cave allowing people to climb a small limestone hill.

Pinasil Island and Cathedral Cave is the last stop. The island has cathedral-shaped cavern accessible by kayak and is lit sometimes during the day. So you can see its interior in a literally new light.

More about the tour and booking here.

Coron

Sea Kayak and Dugong Spotting Tour

If you love the seaworld, this overnight full day tour is for you. “Early bird gets the Dugong” is the reason why you will camp overnight at Camp Calauit. At 6am, you wake up to a cup of coffee or tea, and then, you head on a sea kayak to remote islands to find dugongs. You return to camp at 9:30 for breakfast and one last time at 4pm to pack and leave.

More about the tour and booking here.

List of Spots & Landmarks to Visit

Immaculate Conception Cathedral

Photo credit: shankar s. via VisualHunt / CC BY

It is a hundred years old church that is still standing like new. This is a landmark that is loved and admired both by locals and tourists for its spiritual meaning and its architectural designs. Any visitor to Puerto Princesa MUST stop at this church to pay their respects.

Honda Bay

The bay is a set of islets bordering amazing beaches which are the most popular amongst tourists looking for water-related activities, such as scuba-diving and snorkeling. There are as many as eight islets, which include Bat Island, Starfish Island, and Lu-li Island. Honda bay is located on the east side of Puerto Princesa, and you could hire boats to take you to the island of your choosing from there.

Tabon Caves

Anthropologists said that they had found the remains of a crude man and his tools, dating as far back as 22,000 years. It is now a set of chambers and caves that visitors can enter. It should be noted that only 7 of the 29 caves are open to the public.

Palawan wildlife Rescue & Conservation Center

Photo credit: Benson Kua via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-SA

Formerly known as Palawan Crocodile Farm, this center is now for research on endangered species of crocodiles. One of the structure is a hospital for sick or injured crocs, and there is also a mini-zoo. It is open the afternoons from Monday to Saturday from 1pm to 5pm, with a morning opening only on Saturday from 9am to 12nn.

Best Hotel Choices

Luxury Hotels

Dos Palmas Island Resort and Spa

(Located in Puerto Princesa - Average price is $145 for a standard room)

This is a 4-star hotel perfect for an escape outside of the rush of the city. It is an actual island of 20 hectares of land, set and designed to be a high level of luxury. It is fully equipped with everything to make you feel the most comfortable in the island. More about the hotel here, and book here for cheap deals.

El Rio y Mar

(Located in Coron - Average price is $190)

At this resort, you’ll be surrounded by 500 meters of pure white sand beach. The neighboring islands will add to your amazing 4-stars stay. This resort is for those looking for calm and relaxation. However, if you are looking for activities to do, the resort has a list that includes snorkeling, scuba-diving, and hiking. Book here, or read here for more about the resort.

2-3 Star Hotels

Four Seasons Beach Resort

(Located in El Nido - Average price is $70)

It is on the beach, 3 kilometers away from city center. It has a spectacular view over Minolic and Helicopter Islands. There is a private beach, a garden, and a restaurant. However, due to the lack of power for the whole mainland, electricity is only available from 2pm until 6am daily. More about the hotel, or for booking.

Panja Resort

(Located in Puerto Princesa - Average price is $65)

The resort is located amongst the hill, allowing it a wonderful view over Honda Bay. As part of its facilities, the resort has a restaurant and a swimming pool. There are 35 rooms divided into two types: Deluxe Queen Rooms and Deluxe Twin Rooms. For booking click here, and to read more about the hotel, click here.

Backpack Travelers

Casa Mila Inn

(Located in Puerto Princesa - Average price is $30)

Situated a five-minutes walk away from the airport, and 1 kilometer away from the nearest beach, Casa Mila Inn is the perfect hotel for those looking to spend the least money on accommodation whilst getting the best comfort. It has a restaurant and a swimming pool, and 15 rooms equipped to be family friendly. More on the hotel, here. Or to book the hotel, here.

Busuanga SeaDive Resort

(Located in Coron - Average price is $15)

One of the most popular in the area is the family owned and run Busuanga Seadive Resort. It offers 35 rooms next to the emerald blue waters. The resort is situated next to a lot of attractions sites of Coron. It actually has its own diving school, shop and Coron’s only scuba diving decompression chamber. Read more about the hotel here, and book your room here.

Weather Report

Rainy Season

It starts in June and lasts longer than none of us wants it to. The rainy season is longer than the dry season and it is not at all a good time to visit the area. It should be noted that eastern side of Palawan knows longer period than the rest of the province. In the first three to four months, heavy rain can cause a lot of damage. Starting November, the rain dies down slowly until it stops in the beginning of March.

Dry Season

Starting from January, the dry season starts raising the temperatures of the province. The heat can reach up to 29°C in April and May. It is considered the summer season for the Philippines, so it is as hot as it can get there. However, some rain may drop unwelcomed, so warm clothes are always a must-have.

Best Time to Visit

March is the best period to plan your trip to Palawan. The rain is scarce, the heat is not yet intolerable, so the weather is nice in general. It is also possible to visit during the month of December as to participate in the annual festivities of the province, especially in Puerto Princesa.

There are great beaches in the Philippines that are worth checking out. Here is a short list from TravelMagazine.co to start with.

Bad News: Trip’s Over.

Now that you have spent as much time in Palawan as you have, it is always not enough to explore everything that the province has to offer.

You will definitely want to come back next holiday to visit.

If so, visit our travel guide once again for updates. Or you can read about other destinations in the Philippines, such as Boracay travel guide and Cebu.

You can also check this list of the best islands in Southeast Asia. One of Philippines' islands in on there.

Do you have any questions to ask? Let’s us know in the comments.

Have a GREAT trip.


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