Puerto Princesa, Philippines

The Underground River of Puerto Princesa, Palawan  

It’s the gateway to the Sabang underground river, and the Philippines favourite Palawan.  Puerto Princesa has a local charm with a combination of quality reggae bars and great cheap eats to make sure you enjoy your evenings.

In short, it’s a cool city by Philippines standards and worth spending a couple of days on your way to Sabang, El Nido or wherever the road may take you.

Where to stay in Puerto Princesa

By far one of the coolest backpacker vibes we’ve come across in the Philippines can be found at the Banwa Art House.  The dormitory rooms will suit backpacker budgets and the menu is top notch.

Be careful though – you may just want to hang out on the open deck area all day, looking at the funky tribal art, completely forgetting that you should be sight-seeing.

Other good options include

Lemon Transient House, a very affordable holiday hoom that houses six people-

Villa Skanderbeg Guest House, which is good value for money and has very nice owners.

For more accommodation options in Puerto Princesa, click here!

Things to do:

  • Honda Bay is the main attraction near to Puerto.  It’s a bit of a let down if you’ve just come from El Nido, but if you’ve come from Cebu or Manila and are craving the beach then these islands and the snorkeling are beautiful.
  • Paint the town red with some reggae, san miguel and sizzling seafood.  There is a really cool atmosphere around Puerto town in the evenings.
  • Hire a motorbike – there are heaps of places to hire bikes along the main tourist drag.  You can even grab a dirt bike and head all the way to El Nido if you dare.  The road is rough in parts but if you break the trip over a few days it can be a great way to experience Palawan.
  • Take a day trip or overnight trip out to Sabang beach and the famous underground river.  While the underground river is supposed to be the main attraction, the sunsets at Sabang beach and the laid back vibe are pretty appealing so we recommend staying overnight.  If you are traveling independently try to grab a ticket from the underground river tourism office the day before you travel.
  • Take a look at the amazing woodwork and crafts from the villages in southern Palawan. This could be one of the best places in the Philippines to get some memorabilia.

Getting there

Trusty Cebu pacific has flights from Manila-Puerto, as well as Cebu-Puerto making it pretty accessible for travelers.  If you prefer the slower transport options there is a boat running from Iloilo (Panay) to Puerto Princessa stopping off at the stunning Cuyo island group.

From El Nido you can catch an easy van ride to Puerto taking around 6 hours.

Where to go next?

  • Port Barton – an idyllic spot located a half hour from the highway along an incredible jungle road.  The extra travel time is worth it – this is an extremely laid back, relaxed and beautiful spot.
  • El Nido –  probably one of the best spots in the Philippines where postcard perfect beaches and lagoons await.  Whatever you do, don’t miss El Nido.

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