10 Things to Do in Palawan Island That You Shouldn't Miss

April 7, 2018 Jeremy Dunfee

Palawan is a slice of heaven, a sliver of an island that teems with exotic wildlife, quaint fishing villages, and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Wave hello to endangered animals at the Calauit Game Preserve and Wildlife Sanctuary or explore the Japanese shipwrecks of Coron Island, regarded as one of the best dive sites in the world. A guided boat tour of the Puerto Princesa Underground River will take your breath away.
Restaurants in Palawan Island

1. Tubbataha Reef

92 nautical miles southeast of Puerto Princesa City, Puerto Princesa, Palawan Island, Philippines +63 905 493 5435
Excellent
85%
Good
14%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 141 reviews

Tubbataha Reef

Reviewed By omrini - Tel Mond

Tubbataha Reef is magnificent. The corals are large and healthy, the fish variety and size of schools is large, the visibility is 20m+ (usually even 40m is no problem), and it offers the chance to see the "big boys" too if you're lucky. You are so spoilt for fish species that you generally don't write them all up in your log book - jacks, travelli, groupers, sweet lips, triggers (all kinds), barracuda etc. - the list is way too long to mention exhaustively here. Of course, you're likely to see reef sharks, white tips and black tips on probably every dive so, again, you get to take these majestic creatures for granted after a while.
In itself, Tubbataha Reef is magnificent and if you're lucky enough to see the big boys (as we were on our last trip) - whale sharks, mantas, tiger sharks, hammerheads - it makes the trip even more memorable.
Kudos are due to the rangers who, in spite of meager conditions in the ranger stations for months on end, look after the reef and control its tourism to ensure that it remains healthy year after year for future visitors.
The only "downside" to visiting Tubbataha is that, after you've seen it, everything else pales in comparison. After our first trip to Tubbataha, we went to the Similans in Thailand. On each dive, the other divers all surfaced saying "wow! greatest place I've ever seen" and my wife and I would look at each other and say "yeah, it was ok" - not because the Similans aren't great (they are), but because Tubbataha is just so much better! A friend of ours went to Coron after our recent trip to Tubbataha in spite of us advising him to do Coron first. Needless to say, he emailed to say we were right - he was very disappointed with Coron after Tubbataha.
I'm sure there are other world class sites too, but I have yet to see one that beats Tubbataha! Even people who have dived the Great Barrier Reef and were with us on our Tubbataha trip said that Tubbataha was better. If it isn't THE best site in the world, it's definitely among the very best.
Treat yourself to the privilege of one of, if not THE, best dive sites you'll ever visit and go see Tubbataha. I guarantee that, once you've seen it, you'll want to go back!
There are a limited number of boats that are allowed in the World Heritage marine reserve - the degree of luxury you want will determine which boat you go on. We've only ever been on M.Y Sakura (both trips) - they're way cheaper than everyone else and everyone on board has a FANTASTIC time! Since you're there for the diving and they provide a great experience and nice food too, I don't really understand people who take the fancier boats but, whichever you decide on, Tubbataha itself is guaranteed to please, whether you're looking for the macro or micro - from nudibranchs to whale sharks - you'll find enough to please you, even if not everything you came looking for.
If the underwater display were not enough on its own, God gets out his palette each afternoon and paints tremendous sunsets that change colors every few seconds. And if that too isn't enough, God ensures 24/7 amazement with a night sky that is truly incredible! You're far from city lights so the galaxies are out in all their splendor (as long as it isn't a cloudy night). For a 24/7 nature spectacular, Tubbataha is THE place!

2. Entalula Island

Bacuit Bay, El Nido, Palawan Island, Philippines +63 999 964 4369
Excellent
75%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 178 reviews

Entalula Island

Reviewed By NinaRF - Maldives

When you book with El Nido Miniloc Resort, the trips to Entalula Island in included. You get to have a BBQ Picnic too with lots of free non-motorized to play with

3. Small Lagoon

El Nido, Palawan Island, Philippines +63 917 423 8764
Excellent
71%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Small Lagoon

Reviewed By Bacong F - Los Angeles, California

This was our last stop of 5 on Tour A. It was overcrowded with tourists and it was a bumper kayak ride. Kayak rental options were small (3 people) for 400 pesos and large (5 people) for 600 pesos. The time there is about 45 min to 1 hr. There are lots of fish to see by the boat parking area by the rocks but heavy kayak traffic area too. There is a small entrance that opens up into the small lagoon. There are also little hidden entrances that you can explore and view the sky. These are tight spots so watch your head! We also had time to kayak to the beach after exploring the lagoon.

4. Big Lagoon

El Nido, Palawan Island, Philippines +63 919 333 2416
Excellent
66%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Big Lagoon

Reviewed By BLshanghai - Singapore, Singapore

Very impressive & beautiful colours, but here again too many tourists at the same time, so nearly impossible to get the place for yourself and have clear pictures Definitely worth the visit still

5. Marimegmeg Beach

El Nido, Palawan Island, Philippines +91 44 6531 5613
Excellent
72%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 170 reviews

Marimegmeg Beach

Reviewed By Flitz8 - Johannesburg, South Africa

The zip line reaches this beach.It is a really beautiful beach which is nice to swim in as water nice.Few rocks on one side but thats okay

6. Nacpan Beach

El Nido, Palawan Island 1131, Philippines
Excellent
68%
Good
24%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Nacpan Beach

Reviewed By Mary Armi M

I failed to have my usual tour in El Nido which is the tour A. However, this beach has not failed me as it was truly beautiful and serene! The white beach is maintained. I was surprised that during my visit, no boats are by the beach. I think they don't allow those. Establishments are very few which is good for maintaining its cleanliness. I think there is only a time limit when you visit the place. You won't be able to stay for the night there.

7. Nacpan Beach

Sitio Calitang, Barangay Bucana, El Nido, Palawan Island, Philippines +91 44 6531 5613
Excellent
65%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 147 reviews

Nacpan Beach

Reviewed By Flitz8 - Johannesburg, South Africa

Beach has white soft sand and waves.Compared to twin beach which has rocks but is really tranquil and quiet

8. Snake Island (Vigan Island)

Bacuit Bay, El Nido, Palawan Island, Philippines
Excellent
59%
Good
29%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 463 reviews

Snake Island (Vigan Island)

Reviewed By kayc1995 - Changwon, South Korea

The water was pretty high when we went to snake island so we couldn't see how it was a snake, but the views while swimming around snake island are something out of this world. the water is amazingingly clear and blue and you're out in the middle of the ocean between Islands and its just breathtaking. There is a tiny bar on snake island that offers drinks, but other than that there isn't anything here, but the views. One of the most beautiful places i've ever seen!! You can climb to the top of one of the Islands that is connected to snake island to see the shape of snake island and the beautiful views around it. The climb takes about 5 minutes and is very easy but does require some flip flops sinces its rocky.

9. Matinloc Island

El Nido, El Nido, Palawan Island, Philippines +91 44 6531 5613
Excellent
62%
Good
30%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 219 reviews

Matinloc Island

Reviewed By Mari B - Durbanville, South Africa

We had a quick stop at Matinloc Shrine. It's beautiful and spiritual... do be careful when you climb the rocky outcrop to the viewpoint, it's worth it, but narrow and can get crowded. Good stop during our island hopping trip.

10. Puerto Princesa Underground River

Sabang, Puerto Princesa, Palawan Island 5300, Philippines +63 48 723 0904
Excellent
56%
Good
30%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 4 reviews

Puerto Princesa Underground River

Reviewed By Tristan R - Moses Lake, Washington

If coming from PP on a day tour it is roughly a 2 hr drive to get from PP to Sabang (the boat terminal where they shuttle you to the river entrance). Some tours will also stop at Ugong Rock on the way back making the return trip longer even if you do not wish to participate in any of the Ugong rock activities (other people in the group will want to do and you will have to sit and wait for them to complete the activities). Make sure if you don’t want to be bothered with this to get a tour that does not include this.
Most of the tours will get you there early in the morning, ours left PP at 7am to arrive in Sabang a little after 9am. From there are required to purchase a permit to enter the Underground River area. You are taken on what is roughly a 10 min boat ride from Sabang boat terminal to a beach landing and a short walk through a forest area to the opening of the river.
Everyone is given an audio headset that is turned on right before you enter into a boat. Workers will have people load onto boats with roughly 6-8 people depending on the size of the individuals on the boat. The boat guide, which also rows and maneuvers the boat, will guide you through the river.
The tour ventures into the cave roughly a kilometer and then you exit the same path passing by other boats on their venture further into the cave. There are many bats inside the cave, and more so in small alcoves adjacent to the main river alcove that you do not venture into. For this reason, they tell you to not look up towards the ceiling for very long, because some tourists have had droppings fall into their mouth and eyes. You are also forced to wear a life jacket and hard had while in the cave for falling debris.
The ride lasted a little over an hour for us. Other than the dim lighting coming from cell phones, cameras, and a spotlight from the boat it is nearly pitch black inside. With the boats ahead and behind you along with the ones passing by to exit the river there is barely enough light to make out most formations. The larger areas they will turn the spotlight on to show the huge caverns. It was a unique experience that even with my complaints I will still hold as one of my favorite expeditions. You really feel like an explorer. They even left the markings done from the initial expedition of the river in the 1800s.

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