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Explore the Wonders of Puerto Princesa: Travel Guide



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Puerto Princesa, the capital city of Palawan province, is a tropical paradise nestled in the heart of the Island, in the Southern Tagalog Region of Luzon. Verdant mountains, tourist attractions, and white sand beaches with crystal-clear blue waters surround the bustling industrial center of the capital city of Palawan.

If you are planning a trip to Palawan, you should not forget about Puerto Princesa. Apart from being the gateway to the Underground River, there are many things to do in Puerto Princesa. Here’s a comprehensive travel guide to help you plan your amazing trip to the tropical paradise of Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

A Brief History of Puerto Princesa :

Puerto Princesa was named after Princess Asuncion, the daughter of Queen Isabella II and Francisco de Cadiz of Spain. After a tragic, untimely death, the Queen then named her Puerto de la Princesa. In the end, it got reduced to Puerto Princesa which we know of today.

The Port of Puerto Princesa was made the center of Spanish Naval Operations in May 1872. Puerto Princesa is a young settlement, only converted from a municipality to a city in 1970. Since then it has become Palawan’s primary hub for activities, and administration, with a rapidly increasing population and a bustling economy.

Measuring approx 2,380 square kilometers, it is the second-largest city geographically in the Philippines. Puerto Princesa has a population of more than 290,000. The original inhabitants of Puerto Princesa are called Cuyunons. Palawanos, Tagbanwas, Molbog, and Bataks are the other indigenous people of Palawan that live all over the Province.

NOTE : Cuyuno and Tagalog are the most widely spoken languages. English, Hiligaynon, and other Visayas languages are also commonly used.

When is the Best Time to Visit Puerto Princesa?

The best time to travel to Puerto Princesa would be during the dry season December to May. During this time, the humidity is high, the temperature is perfect, and the waves are calm. Puerto Princesa’s wet season is from the end of June to November.

Due to being the center and capital, Puerto Princesa is also the gateway to the adventures and natural treasures of Northern Palawan and the unexplored and equally stunning Southern Palawan. For more information on unforgettable Palawan adventures whether in Southern Palawan or Northern Palawan, get in touch with our team.

Palawan is known as the Philippines’ last frontier because of its location and the seemingly untouched forests in the province.

What are the Top Things To Do in Puerto Princesa?

There are many interesting places to see and activities to do within the city and its outskirts. Puerto Princesa is the gateway to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has been included in the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

The Tubbataha Reef National Park is another UNESCO World Heritage Site and the No.1 dive spot in the Philippines. Some other famous things to do in Puerto Princesa are:

  • Island hopping, scuba diving, and snorkeling in Honda Bay.

  • Surfing and kitesurfing have also gained popularity, and tourists will surely love Puerto Princesa’s November to April winds for wind and wave sports. For more info and awesome recommendations on surfing and kitesurfing in Palawan, send us an email today!

  • Hiking and trekking should also be included in your itinerary. Some places and mountains to explore are Cleopatra’s Needle, Mount Bahile, Mount Beaufort, Mount Bloomfield, Mount Mantalingahan, Mount Victoria, Mount Bahile, the Jungle Trail, Monkey Trail, and Ugong Rock. Send us an email today!

How to Get to Puerto Princesa by Plane?

Travelling by plane is the quickest and most comfortable way to get to Puerto Princesa if you’re flying in from Manila, Clark, or Cebu. If you’re coming from Asian countries like Hong Kong, Seoul or Taipei, you’d be happy to know that there are also direct international flights to Puerto Princesa.

The following airlines operate flights at the Puerto Princesa International Airport (PPS):

AirAsia – flights to and from Manila, Cebu, Clark,
Air Juan – flights to and from Busuanga, Cuyo, San Vicente, Sipalay, Taytay (Note: all these destinations are in Palawan and they use small propeller planes)
AirSWIFT – flights to and from Busuanga, El Nido (Note: both destinations are in Palawan and they use turboprop planes)

Cebu Pacific – flights to and from Manila, Cebu, Clark, Iloilo, Hong Kong
Eastar Jet – flights to and from Seoul-Incheon (South Korea)
Philippine Airlines – flights to and from Manila, Cebu, Clark
Royal Air Philippines – flights to and from Cebu, Clark
Tigerair – Taipei-Taoyuan (Taiwan)

Roundtrip flight tickets can range from PHP 2,500 to PHP 11,000, or around USD 50 to USD 220, depending on travel time and how far in advance you book your flights. A non-stop flight from Manila, Clark, or Cebu takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

• Cebu Pacific – flights to and from Manila, Cebu, Clark, Iloilo, Hong Kong
• Eastar Jet – flights to and from Seoul-Incheon (South Korea)
• Philippine Airlines – flights to and from Manila, Cebu, Clark
• Royal Air Philippines – flights to and from Cebu, Clark
• Tigerair – Taipei-Taoyuan (Taiwan)

Roundtrip flight tickets can range from PHP 2,500 to PHP 11,000, or around USD 50 to USD 220, depending on travel time and how far in advance you book your flights. A non-stop flight from Manila, Clark, or Cebu takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

How to Get from Manila or Coron to Puerto Princesa by Ferry?

If you’re coming from Manila or Coron, the cheapest way to get to Puerto Princesa is by ferry. Choose this option if you have the time and not traveling during the monsoon season from June to November.

How to Get from Manila to Puerto Princesa by Ferry?

From Manila Pier 4, you can reach Puerto Princesa via car ferry. 2Go Travel offers weekly trips every Friday at 7 pm only and takes about 24 hours. Prices range from PHP 1700 to PHP 3000 (USD 35 to USD 70), depending on the class you book.

How to Get from Coron to Puerto Princesa by Ferry?

From Coron, you can reach Puerto Princesa via a high-speed ferry. 2Go Travel offers weekly trips every Sunday at 5 am and takes about 11 hours. The Prices range from PHP 1400 to PHP 4500 (USD 30 to USD 100).

How to Get from the Northern Palawan to Puerto Princesa by Van?

If you are coming from the northern part of Palawan (El Nido, Port Barton, or San Vicente), you can rent a van to Puerto Princesa. From the Corong-Corong Terminal in El Nido, you can ride a shared air-conditioned van with the price range of PHP 500-600 or around USD 12, depending on the season.

The trip takes 5 to 6 hours. From Port Barton and San Vicente, the price starts at PHP 500 (USD 10), and the trip will take 3 to 5 hours.

You can also rent a private van for your group. The price starts at PHP 4,500 to PHP 6,500 (USD 90 to USD 130). So, you can feel more comfortable and be able to customize your trip and follow your own time.

How to Get from El Nido to Puerto Princesa by Bus?

By Bus – Two bus companies offer trips from El Nido to Puerto Princesa and vice versa: Cherry Bus and Roro Bus. A regular Roro Bus price ranges from PHP 560 or about USD 12 and an air-conditioned Cherry Bus for PHP 770 or around USD 15. The trip takes 7 to 8 hours.

Riding a bus or jeepney from Port Barton is also possible. The trip takes 4 to 5 hours, and the price range is PHP 250 or USD 5. Meanwhile, from San Vicente, the bus costs around PHP 200 or USD 4, and the journey takes 5 to 6 hours.

NOTE : Note that the first trip for the van is usually at 4 am; for the bus, it’s 6 am. The last trip to Puerto Princesa is often at 8 pm. Confirm these times at least a day before your departure to make sure you got the time and pick-up location correctly. Consider reserving your seat in advance when you choose to ride the rental van.

How to Get Around Puerto Princesa?

Traveling around Puerto Princesa by yourself or in a group is quite easy and straightforward. There are many modes of transport options available to suit your needs on getting from one place to the other. Here are the most common transport options in Puerto Princesa to choose from:

How to Get Around Puerto Princesa by Renting a Motorbike?

Renting a motorbike is a great and cheap way to go around Puerto Princesa and through off-the-beaten tracks around the City. You will surely enjoy the thrill and experience while touring the beautiful white sand beaches, visiting remote areas, and exploring the green, mostly untouched forests by motorbike.

The motorbike rental price ranges usually from PHP 500 to PHP 1000 (USD 10 to USD 20) per day, depending on the type of bike you choose. Click here for recommendations on motorbike rental in Puerto Princesa.

How to Get Around Puerto Princesa by Arranged Tours?

Island hopping in Honda Bay and a day trip to the Underground River National Park can be conveniently done through shared travel tours. The arranged tours often include boat transfers, a buffet lunch, entrance fees, and a seat in a shared van.

The arranged tour price ranges from PHP 2000 to PHP 3000 or USD 40 to USD 60, per roundtrip from the pick-up point.

How to Get Around Puerto Princesa by Private Car Rentals?

Private car rentals are especially recommended for groups and for those wanting to explore the City and beyond without too much hassle. Note, however, that Puerto Princesa traffic can get congested especially during weekday rush hour (early morning or late afternoon). But if you want to explore the city or surroundings with better flexibility, renting a private car is a good option.

The price to rent a car in Puerto Princesa ranges from PHP 1,500 to PHP 2,500 (USD 30 to USD 50). The price depends on the car model, so bigger cars are usually much more expensive.

How to Get Around Puerto Princesa by Tricycle Rental?

Tricycle rental is recommended for one-stop roundtrip transfer within the main City, such as when visiting restaurants in Puerto Princesa or tourist spots around or in the city. Just make sure to communicate with the tricycle driver where you will be picked up and where you want to go.

The usual tricycle rental price ranges from PHP 800 to PHP 1,400 or USD 16 to USD 28, per day. Also, make sure that the fare is clear before you jump in.

What are the Best Accommodations in Puerto Princesa?

Many hostels, resorts, and hotels are considered to be the best accommodations in Puerto Princesa. The majority of the hotels are within the islands, on the outskirts of the city. Those near the sea or have a beachfront are more expensive. They also offer more activities and better amenities.

What are the Best Guesthouses and Hostels in Puerto Princesa?

For backpackers, there are guesthouses and hostels in Puerto Princesa that are worth checking out. Some of these places offer cool interiors, friendly staff, easy access to must-see tourist destinations, and a great social vibe. Check out our recommendations here:

Alesseo Backpackers Hostel
Bamboo Bed & Breakfast
Butterfly Totem Guesthouse
By the Bay Jacana Bed and Breakfast
Uyang Bed & Breakfast

What are the Best Budget Hotels in Puerto Princesa?

For budget-friendly hotels in Puerto Princesa, we can recommend a number of good places with accessible locations. The following hotels offer a good range of basic amenities that will make your stay in Puerto Princesa comfortable.

Citystate Asturias Hotel
Grande Vista Hotel
Deep Forest Garden Hotel
Palawan Village Hotel
Villa Manuel Tourist Inn

What are the Best Luxurious Hotels in Puerto Princesa?

It’s no surprise that there are many best luxurious hotels in Puerto Princesa as the city is the gateway to the world-famous Underground River, many beautiful white beaches, and diving sites. If you are looking for exclusive 5-star and 4-star accommodations in Puerto Princesa, here are some places to check out.

Daluyon Beach and Mountain Resort
Dos Palmas Island Spa and Resort
Munting Paraiso
Astoria Palawan
Princesa Garden Island Resort & Spa

What are the Best Airbnb Puerto Princesa Accommodations?

If you would like to rent an entire apartment for your group, you should check out Airbnb Puerto Princesa. There are a number of fantastic options with features ranging from native huts with air-conditioned rooms to private villas with gardens. Visit the most charming Airbnb Puerto Princesa has to offer.

What are the Best Restaurants in Puerto Princesa?

Puerto Princesa is home to culinary delicacies unique to the province of Palawan. Restaurants in the city have thrived from the support of both local and foreign tourists. Here are some of the best restaurant in Puerto Princesa you must visit to have that ultimate Palawan dining experience:

Artisans is a must-try restaurant that offers a mix of European and International dishes with vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. Their menu has a lot of variety and includes steaks, salads, some Tex-Mex dishes, burgers, and many more.
(Address: Rizal Ave., Barangay San Miguel, Puerto Princesa, 5300 Palawan)

Badjao Seafront Restaurant is nestled around mangroves and offers a stunning sight of the sunset. It is recommended to visit the restaurant early for they tend to get full quickly. (Address: Abueg St, Puerto Princesa, Palawan)

Bruno’s Swiss Food is a delicatessen store and restaurant that offers typical Swiss meals and some European comfort food. They have imported Swiss cheese, chocolates, cold cuts, and wine. It’s a favourite spot among expats in Puerto Princesa!
(Address: CIRCON Building, Valencia St, Puerto Princesa, 5300 Palawan)

• Chez Rose Bar & Restaurant is a bar and restaurant located on the white beach. It is the place to be in town for all-night partying. If you head up to their second floor, you will enter Before&After, a dance club in the area that’s open usually from 11 at night until 4 in the morning.
(Address: 43 B.M. Rd, Barangay San Pedro, Puerto Princesa, 5300 Palawan)

• Fujisan Japanese Restaurant has an all you can eat and drink buffet for only USD 12. Everything is fresh, especially the seafood. You won’t regret eating all the sushi, sashimi, and gyoza over here.
(Address: Dacuan Rd, Brgy, Manalo St, Puerto Princesa, 5300 Palawan)

• Inato is a native restaurant offering its specialty, the chicken inato (grilled marinated chicken). The place gives an artistic vibe, showcasing their wooden sculptures and colourful paintings. One cool thing about Ka Inato is that they provide a livelihood to people with disabilities. Some restaurant staff is deaf and mute, and customers are encouraged to use sign language when communicating with them.
(Address: Km 4 North National Highway, Puerto Princesa, Palawan)

• Ka Joels or brother Joel (“Ka” means kapatid or brother) gives you the perfect provincial Palawan ambience, with its spectacular bamboo construction. As with Kalui, you have to take off your footwear before you enter. Offering authentic Filipino dishes, they let you choose fresh fish in their aquarium for your meal while you dine in open-air style.
(Address: 414 Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa, 5300 Palawan)

• Kalui Restaurant is a seafood restaurant in the city centre. It is in an old wooden house offering an open-air Filipino dining experience. They have numerous art displays, and guests are required to remove their shoes before entering. Kalui specializes in fresh seafood cuisine, including Palawan’s seafood specialities such as tuna, crab, blue marlin, shrimps, lobsters, and sashimi. They also sell fresh fruit shakes. It’s best to call and reserve a table in advance. (Address: 369 Rizal Avenue, Barangay San Miguel, Puerto Princesa, 5300 Palawan)

• Kinabuch Grill and Bar has been around for a long time. This sports bar is pretty laid back and ideal for drinking, playing pool, or listening to live music. Their speciality includes crispy pata (pork knuckles), salpicao, crocodile sisig, and the native delicacy of Palawan, the tamilok or woodworm.
(Address: 369, Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa, Palawan)

• La Terrasse Café offers Filipino and other Asian dishes. Their dishes are made from high-quality organic ingredients, and their set-up is perfect for romantic dinners and special occasions.
(Address: Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa, 5300 Palawan)

• Neva’s Place is home to traditional wood-fired oven pizza. They have an Italian food menu with vegetarian options, but the pizzas are raved about. Try their Neva’s Pizza Special. (Address: 48A Taft Street, Puerto Princesa, Palawan Island, Philippines)

• Pawikan Restaurant is located at Daluyon Resort on the beach of Sabang. A bit on the expensive side, the Filipino-International restaurant serves hearty meals with a twist. The service is outstanding, and the view is excellent.
(Address: Sabang Beach, Brgy, Cabayugan, Puerto Princesa, Palawan)

• Viet Ville is a restaurant with arguably the most authentic Vietnamese cuisine. Their local version of Vietnamese beef stew noodles/pho called Chao long is a must-try!

Other recommended delicacies are their spring rolls and pork barbecue. Viet Ville is a community built by the local government to aid the Vietnamese refugees who fled their country after the fall of Saigon. These refugees made their way to Puerto Princesa on a boat. (Address: Km 13, Bgy. Sta. Lourdes, Puerto Princesa)

What are the Best Places to Visit in Puerto Princesa?

You never run out of exciting things to do and places to visit in Puerto Princesa. Apart from its famous natural attractions, the capital city of Palawan offers central access to the untouched and barely discovered beauty of Southern Palawan.

Here’s a list of the best places to visit in Puerto Princesa that you might want to include in your itinerary.

Astoria Palawan Waterpark – It is the first and only family water park in Palawan.
(Address: Kilometer 62, North National Hwy, Brgy. San Rafael, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan 5300)

• Bacungan Tinagong Falls – The cascading waterfalls are one hour away from downtown Puerto Princesa and require an easy trek in lowland forest. Swimming is highly recommended but make sure your trusted guide keeps an eye on you and your belongings!

Baker’s Hill – This place is a must-visit for bread lovers and those looking to take home a piece of Puerto Princesa. It is located atop a hill and houses a botanical garden and leisure farm. Freshly baked bread and unique souvenirs can be shopped here.
(Address: Mitra Road, Brgy. Sta. Monica, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan 5300)

• Binuatan Creation– The handicraft shop manufactures and sells handloom woven products using Palawan’s native fibers.
(Address: Puerto Princesa South Road, Puerto Princesa, 5300 Palawan)

• Go Kart Racing – Palawan International Circuit
(Address: Puerto Princesa South Road, Puerto Princesa, 5300 Palawan)

• Honda Bay – Located on the eastern shore of Palawan, the bay is home to several islands. It’s famous for island hopping activities. Cowrie Island, Pandan Island, Pambato Reef, Starfish Island, and Luli Island are all in Honda Bay.

• Immaculate Conception Cathedral – The historical landmark where the first mass in Puerto Princesa was held.
(Address: 58 Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa, 5300 Palawan)

• Iwahig Firefly Watching and Mangrove Forest – A highly recommended activity to do at night, you can watch the fireflies light up the mangroves like Christmas trees.

• Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm – It was built during the American Occupation and used as a correctional facility offering vocational and recreational activities. Inmates here can roam around the facility and mingle with tourists.
(Address: Rizal Avenue, Barangay San Miguel, Puerto Princesa, Palawan)

• Mitra’s Ranch – Also called Rancho Santa Monica, this ranch owned by former senator, the late Ramon Mitra, offers breathtaking views of Puerto Princesa City. The entrance fee is only PHP 20 or USD 0.50.
(Address: Mitra Road, Brgy. Sta. Monica, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan 5300)

• Nagtabon Beach – About 45 minutes away from Puerto Princesa, this white beach is worth visiting if you’re looking for a place to enjoy quietly, away from the mob of tourists. You can rent a motorbike or hire a tricycle if you plan to visit Nagtabon Beach.

• Palawan Heritage Center – located in the Provincial Legislative Building, this interactive museum showcases the rich heritage, culture, and biodiversity of Palawan.
(Address: Provincial Legislative Building, Fernandez Street Puerto Princesa City, Puerto Princesa)

• Palawan Museum – Learn everything about Palawan inside this National Museum-governed center. Relics and artifacts are displayed here. (Address: Old City Hall Building, Mendoza Park, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan)

• Palawan Special Battalion World War II Museum– It is a museum that houses World War II memorabilia owned by declared World War II Hero of Palawan, Dr, Higinio A. Mendoza, Sr.
(Address: Rizal Avenue, Barangay San Miguel, Puerto Princesa, Palawan)

• Plaza Cuartel – The outdoor park is a formal penal colony site, where about 150 American soldiers were burned by the Japanese during the Japanese Occupation.
(Address: Taft St, Puerto Princesa, Palawan)

• Puerto Princesa Bay Cruise and Dolphin Watching – April to October is the ideal time to head to Puerto Princesa Bay, try your luck and see wild dolphins. Swimming with dolphins is not allowed!

• Puerto Princesa Baywalk – It’s a good place to visit, stroll, and watch the sunset.
(Address: Barangay Iwahig, Puerto Princesa City, 5300 Palawan)

• Puerto Princesa Underground River – It features a majestic limestone landscape and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the new 7 Wonders of the World for being the longest navigable subterranean river that merges into the sea.

To visit the Underground River, you must first secure a permit from the Underground River Booking Officer at Puerto Princesa City Coliseum. Once you reach Sabang, (the drop-off point to the Subterranean River National Park) you will need to show your permit and then pay the environmental and boat fees at the Sabang port.

It’s best to join a complete tour organized by an official tour operator. This way, your tour guide will be the one to arrange everything – from securing the permits to ensuring your shared boat ride into the river.

• Sabang Beach – Although Sabang is best known for its terrains and forests, it has a white sandy beach that’s worth stopping exploring. Other activities here include zipline and ATV.

• Ugong Rock Adventure – A hillside tourist attraction that offers a handful of outdoor activities like zipline, spelunking, and rock climbing.
(Address: Purok Pagkakaisa, Brgy, Tagabinet, Puerto Princesa, 5300 Palawan)

Puerto Princesa is the perfect starting point when visiting Palawan and upcoming destinations like Port Barton and San Vicente. You shouldn’t miss the top things to do in Puerto Princesa as it offers an excellent combination of laid-back beach adventures.

SUMMARY: Explore the Wonders of Puerto Princesa

Many tourists make it a point to spend time in Palawan’s capital city, and for good reasons. Puerto Princesa’s surrounding natural beauty is truly indescribable, and a gift that must be preserved and explored.

We hope you find this travel guide Puerto Princesa helpful as you plan your trip to Palawan. With all the sights and places to explore, you’ll love our simple but detailed list of suggested Puerto Princesa accommodation, restaurants, and places to visit.

If you have any questions, especially about going on a motorbike tour, kitesurfing, or trekking adventures, don’t hesitate to contact us! Our team can definitely help you and guide you on your entire Palawan adventure.

Have you been to Puerto Princesa? Make sure to share your tips for other tourists to see!

Check out our El Nido and Coron travel guide for more amazing ways to explore Palawan – the Philippines’ last frontier.


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