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Travel Guide Budget and Itinerary for Puerto Princesa

Puerto Princesa is your gateway to the UNESCO-listed Underground River and other destinations. The city is the biggest in the province and can serve as a hub for trips to El Nido, San Vicente, Port Barton and other places on the island.



Guide

Puerto Princesa is developing fast because of the tourism boom. Despite this it manages to maintain a chill and rural vibe that many visitors will enjoy. It has malls, restaurants and day trip destinations for travelers who want to relax before or after exploring the province.

Things to Do

Underground River




The UNESCO-listed Underground River used to be Palawan's main attraction until other destinations took the forefront. The cave has beautiful stalactites and stalagmites that take on the shape of animals, people and others. Use your imagination when looking at them. The drive and boat ride to the spot takes a couple of hours and another couple of hours going back to the city. Some say it isn't worth it to visit, especially the time it takes to get there and the time spent inside the cave. The trip was OK for me, nothing spectacular.

A tour package includes, round trip transfers to and from your accommodation, entrance and guide fees, and lunch. You can get this tour here: Puerto Princesa Underground River.

Read my post here: Underground River experience

Honda Bay Island Hopping


Don't leave Puerto Princesa without going island hopping. It is one of the most popular activities to do not just in Palawan, but in the country. Honda Bay tours usually include three stops, Luli Island, Cowrie Island and Pambato Reef and other stops depending on the package you get.




Luli Island got its name because the island comes and goes depending on the tide. It was a nice spot but was just ordinary, especially after visiting the islands in Coron and El Nido. It's a typical beach destination.



I liked Cowrie Island more; it has clear, emerald-tinged waters and powdery sand. The beach is bigger and already has tourism facilities for a comfortable and fun stay. Good place for families with kids.

Pambato Reef Photo Credit to Fidel Pacia
This reef has some colorful corals and fish swimming about, but again nothing special. It was overcast and raining when I went, kind of ruined the experience.

A tour package includes round trip transfers, lunch, entrance and guide fees, and boat rides. You can get this tour here: Honda Bay Tour.

Read my post: Honda Bay Island Hopping

Other places you might be interested in visiting or doing:

  • Baywalk
  • Firefly Watching
  • Baker's Hill
  • Mitra's Ranch
  • Puerto Princesa Cathedral
  • Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center




Getting Around

It's easy to get around, many tourists just rent a motorcycle for the day. For those who can't ride or don't want to be bothered, there are tricycles that go around the city. Standard fare is approximately P10+++ depending on the distance. Tricycle drivers will charge around P50 to take you to the city center from the airport. Renting a tricycle for the day for sightseeing costs roughly P600-P700 (whole vehicle).

How to Go

The easiest way to go is via direct flight from Manila or other cities. Cebu Pacific, AirAsia and Philippine Airlines have regular flights to and from Puerto Princesa. Book flights weeks or even months ahead to get the lowest possible price for round trip tickets. 2Go also has ferry routes from Manila to Puerto Princesa; these depart every Tuesday and Friday. Check here for schedules: https://travel.2go.com.ph/.

Where to Stay

Puerto Princesa has several types of accommodation from hostel dorm types to high-end hotels. I've stayed at Acacia Tree Garden Hotel during one of my trips.

You can find a place to stay regardless of your budget.



Expenses 

*This is a rough estimate of how much one person will spend a day.

1500 - 3 nights in a hostel dorm bed
1200 - Food and drinks
600 - City Tour
1300 - Firefly Watching Tour
2300 - Underground River Tour
1650 - Honda Bay Island Hopping
150 - Transportation
150 - Terminal fee at Puerto Princesa Airport      

8850 - Total for 3 full days trip excluding flights

*You can reduce (or even increase) your expenses depending on how you spend on visiting attractions, eating and accommodation.

Itinerary

This is a sample itinerary for 3 full days, fill in the in-betweens, this is a skeleton suggestion.

Day 1
City Tour
Baywalk
Baker's Hill
Mitra's Ranch
Puerto Princesa Cathedral
Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center

Day 2
Underground River
Firefly Watching

Day 3
Honda Bay Island Hopping



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