Puerto Princesa is the capital of Palawan. If you are into traveling, you must have heard of Palawan as it was voted “World’s best island” in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Palawan is best known for places like El Nido and Coron. However, the easiest and cheapest way to reach Palawan from Manila is flying to Puerto Princesa.
Often called the “City in the Forest”, the city is working towards protecting its environment, notably by enforcing nonsmoking rules in touristic spots.
While many people landing in Puerto Princesa usually travel to places like Port Barton and El Nido, the city has many things to offer like exploring the Underground River, a UNESCO heritage site.
In this article, we cover 5 things that you can do in Puerto Princesa.
Puerto Princesa Underground river
Located 80km north of Puerto Princesa, the Underground River is considered one of the 7 wonders of Nature and is a UNESCO heritage site. It is only accessible by boat with a guide and you will be immersed into a pitch-black environment.
Because it is the main attraction of Puerto Princesa, expect many people to visit the site, resulting in long waiting time. Exploring the river will probably take you the whole day. The earlier you arrive, the earlier you will be able to visit. Get all the tips about the Underground River tour here.
Honda Bay Island Hopping
If you prefer white sand beaches and tanning sessions to boating in the dark, then the Honda Bay Island Hopping is for you.
During the tour, you will have to choose 3 islands to visit out of the 5 available. The boat will stop at the 5 islands and it is up to you to leave the boat or not. There is an entrance fee for each island so make sure to choose the right ones.
You can read all about the tour here.
There are many ziplines available in Puerto Princesa, either above water or in the middle of the Jungle.
The zipline above the water is close to the departure point to visit the Underground River and can be done as a side activity while waiting for your turn to check the river.
Whatever zipline you wish to try, you can ask your driver (or any tricycle driver) to take you to either one. We recommend however the zipline above water to the one in the jungle. Not only can it be combined with the Underground River activity, but it is located nearby a beautiful non-crowded beach with crystal clear water.
Another exciting thing to do is the Firefly watching tour.
You will be leaving at dusk from the Bay Walk Pier on a boat going to the Sicsican and Iwahig Rivers. From there, you will transfer to a paddle boat and head in the mangroves to witness the fireflies. The tour lasts between 30 and 45mins.
Note that you cannot use the flash when taking photos, as it will scare the fireflies away.
If you’re staying overnight in Puerto Princesa, there are some places we’d like to recommend.
The first one is the Bay Walk Pier. The nice boulevard with a series of street lights is perfect to enjoy a walk and catch the sunset over the sea. It is also lined with many restaurants that offer great seafood. Besides, they even have concerts and events at certain times of the year. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy a nice dinner!
You can also try the street casino nearby and gamble some money with the locals. We actually won a couple of hundred pesos while playing there.
If you are in the mood to go out and meet other travelers, we advise Tiki Restobar. You can meet many locals and foreigners there while enjoying beer pong and pool tables.
There are many things to try in Puerto Princesa, even though we narrowed it down to 5 activities. If you only have one day to spend in the city, you should choose the Underground River as we really enjoyed the tour and learning about the history of the river.
Have you been to Puerto Princesa? What are your recommendations? Do not hesitate to share your experiences and feedback with us! We’d love to hear from you! 😉