Ultimate travel guide to Palawan

Ultimate travel guide to Palawan

Palawan is the Philippines’ last frontier, a largely unexplored and unexploited province of wonderful scenery and idyllic tropical beauty. This is the last post of my Palawan travel, if you have not read my detailed posts about Puerto Princesa, El Nido or Port Barton, make sure to dive into the details of each of its beautiful places around Palawan.

Palawan in the western Philippines is an archipelago of its own with some 1,780 islands and islets. It’s a long but narrow strip of some of the best beaches and marine life you will see in Southeast Asia.

The capital of Palawan, Puerto Princesa, is the main entry point and is close to the group of Honda Bay islands and the immense flooded cave systems that make up the mind-boggling Underground River. Further to the north you’ll find the pretty beach resort town of Port Barton, the incredibly beautiful islands and lagoons of El Nido, the Bacuit archipelago and the stunning island of Coron.

Ultimate travel guide to Palawan

How to get to Palawan

Before you will get here, make sure to bring enough cash. Besides Puerto Princesa , El Nido and some more high-end resort, you won't be able to find ATM's as much.

You have a few ways to get to Palawan island. From Manila you can fly to Puerto Princesa, to El Nido or to Coron directly by low-cost airlines, like Air Asia, Cebu Pacific or Zest. It is also easy to travel to other Philippines islands from Palawan if you want to.

The easiest way to get around Palawan is either by getting a private van, a shared van or bus.

There is no ferries to take to get to Palawan, only by air. However, you can get a ferry from El Nido to Coron island. A note on Palawan’s tourism – while you can always explore independently, it is very organized and many places can be seen on organized day tours.

Ultimate travel guide to Palawan

Places to visit in Palawan

Many travelers consider the highlight of Palawan to be El Nido, and it is becoming a significant touristic place in recent years. It is definitely a place to visit in your itinerary, and depending on how much time you have, add a few more spots to visit in Palawan.

Puerto Princesa

Despite being known as a stopover, Puerto Princesa is worth spending at least a night or two. You’ll find various full-day tours on offer for island hopping and snorkeling around the nearby Honda Bay. At night, consider heading out from Puerto Princesa on a firefly watching tour to Iwahig River.

Ultimate travel guide to Palawan

Ultimate travel guide to Palawan

Underground river

Join an organized tour to visit UNESCO's underground river. The easiest way to get here is either from Puerto Princesa or from Sabang, the nearest town to the underground river. Millions of years ago, the Puerto Princesa Underground River snaked its way underneath the St. Paul Mountain Range and became one of the very few of its kind that flows directly to the sea. It boasts eight kilometers of underground channels, four of which can be explored.

Port Barton

Definitely, it is a worth to visit the quiet Port Barton, a perfect place to get lost in the raw beauty of nature and spend days thinking of nothing. Port Barton is a less-known spot in San Vicente region. It is virtually unknown to local tourists but has been rising in popularity with foreigners in recent years. However, it still remains its beauty and definitely less touristy than the famous El Nido.  With electricity limited only from 5:30 PM to 12 midnight, Port Barton is a perfect place to get away from your gadgets and get closer to nature. You can visit a number of small islands nearby or waterfalls approachable by foot or motorbike from Port Barton.

Ultimate travel guide to Palawan

Ultimate travel guide to Palawan

Ultimate travel guide to Palawan

El Nido

Karst landscapes and enchanting lagoons, this is what defines the beauty of El Nido. Grab a tricycle ride on the mainland to quiet nearby beaches or join tours to explore the beautiful lagoons, beaches and islands. In El Nido, you can choose from 5 types of tours to join, and each one of them will take you to different places. El Nido is situated at the Baquit Archipelago, which means there are dozens of islands, islets, and lagoons for you to explore.

Ultimate travel guide to Palawan

Ultimate travel guide to Palawan

Busuanga and Coron Island

The island is approachable from a ferry from El Nido, and it is another amazing place to explore the pure nature. Busuanga Island is divided into two sections – Busuanga and Coron – the latter being the major tourist stop. Busuanga and nearby islands are home to lush rainforests, natural springs, and a whole new world underwater. You won’t find a lot of beaches here, but you can spend days on end exploring the many lagoons, dive spots, and swimming with rich marine life. Coron is famous for wreck diving, thanks to the number of Japanese ships that sunk in these waters during World War 2.

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