Top 10 Things to do in Puerto Princesa, Philippines

July 19, 2017 Natalie Tallman

Puerto Princesa, officially the City of Puerto Princesa, (Cuyonon: Siyudad i'ang Puerto Princesa; Hiligaynon: Dakbanwa sang Puerto Princesa; Filipino: Lungsod ng Puerto Princesa; Spanish: Ciudad de Puerto Princesa), and often referred to as Puerto Princesa City, is a 1st class Highly Urbanized City in the Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 255,116 people.
Restaurants in Puerto Princesa

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. 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.

3. Sabang Beach

Sabang, Puerto Princesa, Palawan Island, Philippines +63 910 631 0436
Excellent
47%
Good
39%
Satisfactory
12%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 251 reviews

Sabang Beach

Reviewed By TavellerCan - Antalya, Turkey

We had a short break in Sabang beach when we qere going to Puerto Princesa , I spent almost 45 minutes and enjoyed roaming along the beach and drinking mango juice :) I would say Sabang Beach is second most beautiful beach in Palawan. (AFTER NACPAN)Coconut trees will be towering u all the beach along.But not suitable for swimming.Currents are very strong and better not swim far from the shore.Enjoy

4. Nagtabon Beach

Puerto Princesa, Palawan Island, Philippines
Excellent
58%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 122 reviews

Nagtabon Beach

Reviewed By villanagtabon - Puerto Princesa, Philippines

If you want to avoid the city heat and traffic hassle of puertop, Nagtabon beach waits for you.
From the airport, its between 30/40 mn.
Trycle should cost around 500/600 php. Its advisable to rent a bike to fly around the coasts. You can make a three day trip visiting honda bay, nagtabon beach until taladudyong. Nagtabon is in the middle.
Its also located on the main road to reach sabang underground river and el nido. Visitors can make a stop a Nagtabon and commute on the main road with public transpo or their vans.
If you are motorbike rider our dream is to ride from puerto to sabang. The road in the middle of the forest is unforgetable. To be done in the morning. It will take 2 hours.
As the road is now cemented its very easy to reach the beach. Food stalls are available and you might order some fresh fish to be grilled.
November/ march. Nice waves possible there. Locals make competitions . There are some currents but you can swim specially during the great sunset. You forget everything.
Mabuhay !

5. Ugong Rock

Tagabinet, Puerto Princesa, Palawan Island, Philippines
Excellent
49%
Good
37%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 613 reviews

Ugong Rock

Reviewed By Григорий К

An interesting rock, amazing rifts, strange "singing stones" .. And an endless stream of tourists ушер indifferent guides. You feel constantly in the crowd. The place is amazing, but no magic is felt. Remains the feeling is not a mysterious and amazing place, but the average quality of the attraction.

6. Palawan Special Battalion WW2 Memorial Museum

Rizal Avenue Extension | Barangay Banaco-Bancao, Puerto Princesa, Palawan Island 5300, Philippines +63 917 849 5343
Excellent
43%
Good
39%
Satisfactory
17%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 163 reviews

Palawan Special Battalion WW2 Memorial Museum

Reviewed By Clarice A

This was part of a museum-hopping adventure my friends and I did in Puerto. The place is not easy to spot and tourists may find it best to ask the locals for directions. They have parking and can accommodate up to five vehicles. The museum is either not that well-known or they just never get too crowded because we had the whole place to ourselves. The staff were very friendly and were very eager to answer or questions. They were very knowledgeable about the town's history and even volunteered to take our pictures. It's a good place to go to learn more about the local culture.

7. Firefly Watching

Iwahig River, Puerto Princesa, Palawan Island, Philippines
Excellent
51%
Good
29%
Satisfactory
15%
Poor
3%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 746 reviews

Firefly Watching

A romantic dinner at the floating restaurant and a magical tour with Firefly.

Reviewed By Faith C - Baguio, Philippines

Plus points :boat tour guide named "Jeck" was so kind enough to explain everything he knows about fireflies, how it started as a tourist destination in Palawan, including constellations and was a good conversationalist. The boat ride took around 30min in the calming river (of course during the night).
Negative point : was expecting millions of fireflies, but not that much.
Anyway it was a relaxing boat ride.

8. Palawan Butterfly Ecological Garden and Tribal Village

Bunk House Road | Santa Monica, Puerto Princesa, Palawan Island, Philippines +63 917 597 5544
Excellent
30%
Good
42%
Satisfactory
22%
Poor
5%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 365 reviews

Palawan Butterfly Ecological Garden and Tribal Village

The Palawan Butterfly Ecological Garden and Tribal Village is a place that reflects the mesmerising beauty of a province that is known as the "Last Frontier of the Philippines". It showcases a sheer variety or tropical butterflies from the Southern region of the country. These free flying butterflies are surrounded with live exhibits of scorpions, green-crested lizards, phasmid and mantises which are considered their natural predators. It is a window to the natural ecology of these colourful insects. Another added attraction are the rescued endemic wildlife of Palawan. These animals are given the chance of a second life by being rescued from poachers and wouldn't have survived in the wild because of the probability of suffering the same fate all over again. Like the Palawan Peacock Peasant and the Palawan Bearcat, these animals are now ambassadors of their own species in the wild. By educating the public about these wild yet gentle creatures the facility promotes public awareness about how our actions as human beings can affect greatly everything in our environment.

Reviewed By Stan W

Very nice good guide VERY good layout Good guides take your time enjoy Briefly land on U OTHER ANIMALS THEIR TOO TRIBE FROM Mountains THEIR TOO RELAX enjoy them/

9. Lu-Li Island

Honda Bay, Puerto Princesa, Palawan Island, Philippines
Excellent
35%
Good
41%
Satisfactory
19%
Poor
4%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 340 reviews

Lu-Li Island

Reviewed By Ailene E

this island can only be seen depending on the tide. so better reach it while the tide is low otherwise you'll only know the fun fact without really experiencing it.

10. Honda Bay

Puerto Princesa, Palawan Island, Philippines
Excellent
44%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
18%
Poor
4%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 1 reviews

Honda Bay

Framing the coastline of the capital of Palawan, Puerto Princesa City is Honda Bay. Popular location for snorkeling and island hopping.

Reviewed By Kaitou K

So I would like to thank Mr. Michael Yao of Tripidito Travel and Tours for offering a hassle-free island hopping in Honda Bay (just PM me how much he offered, but basically for first time travelers his offers are cheaper).
Nothing still beats Gigantes but I can really see how clean and protected the Honda Bay is, with the marine life still at its best seeing how many people visit it. It might be the next Boracay.
I would like to recommend to bring your own snorkelling gears and a hungry tummy because the buffet (although not that many cuisines) would not disappoint. Just check blogs if you want to do a DIY because I think DIY is better when you are many but going solo or 2-3, Mr. Yao’s offer are one of the best.

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