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A roundtrip ticket to Puerto Princesa for P2,000 would probably be the best bargain you could ever avail. Yes, roundtrip tickets to this town in Palawan can go as low as 1,000 pesos one-way during seat sales. This could be the reason why it’s a favorite destination of many. Most foreign travelers either have been to Puerto Princesa or are already planning to visit. It seems like the Philippines is now synonymous to Palawan when it comes to foreigners traveling to our country.

Puerto Princesa is Palawan’s capital city. It is also the gateway to other destinations in Palawan like El Nido, San Vicente, and Balabac. It is the only city in Palawan, and it has become a highly urbanized one because of its huge population of almost 250,000 (as per the 2015 census data).

Although the city has definitely progressed and developed, it managed to retain its charm and beauty. Puerto Princesa has been hailed as the Eco Tourism Hub of the Philippines. There are several eco-tourist spots like the famous Crocodile Farm and the Butterfly Eco Garden. Truly, one day isn’t enough to explore the bounties of Puerto Princesa. Make it a week! But, if you truly are pressed for time, here’s a list of some of the things you can do in two or three days.

Puerto Princesa Underground River Tour

This is the tour that you shouldn’t miss when you’re in Puerto Princesa. The Underground River, also known as the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Park. It is also one of the protected areas in the Philippines. To get to the underground river, it will take a two-hour drive from the city center to Sabang beach – the jump-off point going to the protected area. From here, you need to ride a boat to go through the underground river. We suggest you book a guided tour for convenience. Guided tours are organized in a way that guests are provided earpieces where an audio explanation of the history of the place as well as the mineral and rock formations is played.


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Honda Bay Island-hopping

If you came to Palawan for the sand and waves, island-hopping on three of Honda Bay’s most visited islands would probably be the best part of your trip. These islands are Luli Island, Cowrie Island, and Starfish Island. Luli Island is usually the first island you’ll explore. “Luli” (“lulubog, lilitaw”) got its name because it comes and goes with the tides. Here, you can put on your snorkeling gear and get a glimpse of the glistening corals and fish underneath.

Next stop would be Cowrie Island where you’ll most likely have lunch. You’ll also get to have some downtime to enjoy the clear waters and fine, white sands. This island has the most establishments and services offered among the three. There are cabanas, pavilions, and huts where you can either have your lunch or get a massage. You may even get a henna tattoo. Other activities that you can do on this island are parasailing, kayaking, and riding a banana boat with your family or friends.

The last stop would be Star Fish Island. From the name itself, you won’t have to guess what the island is famous for. Yes, starfishes – those star-shaped creatures which will remind you of “Patrick” from “Spongebob”. Just a word of advice, be sure not to take those starfish out of the water because, just like normal fish, they need to be in the water to survive. Taking photos or admiring them in your palm would disrupt their system. The island also has a few huts, stores, and souvenir shops. Starfish Island has the best snorkeling spots too. You just need to swim a few distances from the shore and you’ll be greeted by colorful fish and corals.


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Iwahig Firefly Watching

Cap off your day with this wonderful activity where you’ll be mesmerized by hundreds if not thousands of fireflies twinkling in the dark. The Iwahig Firefly Watching Site is around 30-45 minutes away from the city proper. We recommend booking a tour because it is a bit difficult to commute to and from your hotel at night. The tour is comprised of a boat ride across the Iwahig River where the fireflies are. It is a 45-minute tour and the guides are well-trained. Most have this entertaining way of presenting facts about the site and even throw in a bit of astronomy lessons. You’ll also get to see bioluminescent phytoplanktons (sea algae that glow in the dark). This is definitely one activity that you shouldn’t miss during your visit.


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Where to Stay in Puerto Princesa

Puerto Princesa probably has the cheapest accommodations in all of Palawan. Here’s a list of the top hostels and hotels we’ve found on Agoda, as rated by travelers.

For more options, search here: Palawan Hotels


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