Welcome to Palawan

Despite becoming something of a travel-media darling in recent years, Thailand–style tourists hordes have yet to arrive and the main island's Amazonian interior remains relatively pristine. That said, the northern towns of El Nido and Coron – base camps for adventures in the Bacuit Archipelago and Calamian Islands, respectively – are starting to attract big crowds in the high season.

Not to fear: plucky travellers who venture outside those two hubs have countless places to choose from in their quest for that perfect paradise.

Top experiences in Palawan

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Palawan activities

$48 Outdoor Activities

Underground River Tour from Puerto Princesa

The tour starts with an early pick up from your preferred hotel in Puerto Princesa City. Enjoy a 2.5 hour drive to Sabang with a picturesque view of other natural attractions. From Sabang you will take a motorized Bangka (which is a small motorize local boat) going to the Entrance Beach, a wonderful forest area home to a number of indigenous species, containing a set of naughty Macaque's. See and experience a close encounter with monkeys and monitor lizards in a rain forest setting.From there, enter the exotic and breathtaking world of the underground river by paddle boat for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Explore the pitch-dark inner recesses of the cavern. The Underground River is one of the longest navigable underground rivers in the world, with a total length of 5 miles (8km).Witness the stalagmite-pillared interiors and different rock formations and doomed amphitheaters which took thousands of years to form, and the Swift and Bat populations that inhabit the cave.Upon your return to the Sabang port your guide will bring you to a local restaurant where you will be provided a buffet lunch.

$49.99 Day Trips & Excursions

Underground River Day Trip from Puerto Princesa City

Be picked up from your downtown accommodations in the early morning at 7 a.m. From there, travel by land to the famous underground river. Your tour guide will provide information about the area and Puerto Princesa City in general. A stop will be made at Buenavista, a small viewpoint, to get a glimpse of Ulugan Bay.Arrive at Sabang Wharf at approximately 8 a.m., and board a pump boat to the mouth of the cave. The place is home to monitor lizards, monkeys, snakes, and other form of wildlife, some can only be found in Palawan. After a short walk you'll ride a paddle boat to the underground river.Once back at the wharf, lunch will be served at one of the restaurants in Sabang. Get to enjoy local cuisine and sample the taste Filipinos love.An optional side trip to Ugong Rock Adventure Zipline and Spelunking is available after the Underground River Tour so that you can make the most of your day. The activity may be selected among the tour options available.Once back in the city, you'll be dropped off your hotel.

$46 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

Underground River Tour, Including Lunch from Puerto Princesa

The incredible Puerto Princesa Underground River is one of the seven wonders of nature and a must to any visitor to the Philippines. The cave formations are spectacular and are considered to be one of the most complex cave systems in the world. The river runs through it for 8.2 kilometers. You’ll have an incredible experience exploring the caves of Underground River and our boatman/tour guide will help make this a very fun and interesting day. A great buffet lunch is included. Typical Itinerary;7am: – Underground River Tour pick-up8.30am: Stopover at the Halfway point10am: Arrival at Ugong Rock (optional tour)12pm: Arrival at Sabang Wharf, Lunch and Leisure time2pm: Underground River tour4pm: Departure in Sabang Wharf from the Underground River Park5.30pm: Arrival in Puerto Princesa

$55 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

Puerto Princesa to Honda Bay Full-Day Island-Hopping Tour

About 45-minutes north of the city, hop onto a boat and go Island hopping at Honda Bay located on the mid-eastern coast of the city. Enjoy visits to stunning islands, with white sand beaches. Each island at Honda Bay offers different adventures but Luli Island, Starfish Island and Cowrie Island are all great for swimming and snorkeling. There are dive sites nearby, as the entire area is covered with coral. Underwater reefs may be found close to the surface down to 24m. Starfish Island has the greatest population of Star Fish (Sea Stars) in all of Palawan, as evident in its name. Luli Island is actually a short term for "Lulubog - Lilitaw", which means Sink and Rise, which is what the Island does; at high tide, the island vanishes and at low tide, it resurfaces. Cowrie Island is named after the small-to-large sea snail, marine gastropod mollusc called "Cowrie". The island has numerous cabanas, a pavilion, and thatched-roof spa huts, all overlooking the sea and creating a beautiful, picturesque scene.

$14.99 Tours & Sightseeing

Puerto Princesa City Tour

This tour has two different start times, the morning tour starts at 7 a.m. and the afternoon at 1 p.m. Tours last for four hours; however this can differ depending on traffic and weather conditions. Free hotel pick up is included so be at your hotel lobby about 15 minutes before your scheduled leave time. Once on board the van, your tour guide will provide information about the city, so you can familiarize your self with it. Visit eight destinations, which are all popular with the locals, including Plaza Cuartel, Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Baylwalk, Crocodile Farm, Rancho Sta. Monica, Baker's Hill, Pasalubong Center and Binuatan Creations Weaving Center.Your tour ends five hours later with a hotel drop-off.

$36 Tours & Sightseeing

El Nido Island Hopping Snorkel Cruise Full-Day Tour with Lunch

Your day will start with a hotel pickup at 9am by a shared vehicle. Your professional guide will bring you to some hidden beaches and shrine situated in Bacuit Bay. You will be provided snorkel gear if you want to enjoy the underwater world at the island. Buffet lunch will be served around noon and you can always check with your guide for more information about the beaches and shrine during the tour. Our driver will transfer you back to your hotel after a wonderful experience at El Nido Island.Itinerary for the day:Dilumacad and Helicopter Island - This island has a beautiful white sand beach stretching to some 300 meters that is ideal for picnic lunches during island-hopping trips. There is an underwater tunnel at its northern side and a fringing reef on its southern end. The island is also called Helicopter Island because its limestone cliffs resemble that of a helicopter when it is viewed from a considerable distance.Tapiutan Island - Further out of the bay facing the South China Sea, Tapiutan's rich marine life provides opportunities for scuba diving and snorkelling. One of the most striking islands in El Nido because of its shape and sheer limestone walls. It is possible to have picnic lunch at the beach area on the southeastern side of the islandMatinloc Island - Matinloc Island, the longest slim island in El Nido, has asecret beach, which is a pocket of white sand beach at the corner of a sinkhole,that is inaccessible by boat and surrounded by steep rock walls. To reach it, divers must swim underwater through a narrow crevice in a rock wall. At noon, the sun streams in through the opening, allowing a play of light and shadow against its limestone walls. The beach floor drops abruptly. According to local legend, this beach inspired Alex Garland's novel The Beach, which was written while the author was in El Nido.Aside from the Hidden Beach, the island is also famous for the Kulasa Beach, a 100-meter beach strip of fine white sand located at one of its coves. The sea floor surrounding the beach slopes gradually and the water deepens only after about 10 meters. This location is one of the best snorkeling spots in Bacuit Bay due to the abundance of marine life in this area.Star Beach - Another fantastic snorkeling spot. Here your guides will prepare a sumptuous lunch by the beach while you discover the wonders and beauty of the coral reefs near this island.Matinloc Shrine - Hidden among the lush forested island is the Matinloc Shrine (also known as Shrine of Our Lady of Matinloc and Shrine of the Blessed Virgin) a sacred monument built in 1982 to honor the blessed Virgin Mary. Matinloc, local term for "beautiful," boasts of two spectacular snorkeling areas: Kalmung Point and Kulasa Beach.