Puerto Princesa is the capital of Palawan and its premier gateway. Its name means “Port of the Princess” and the city lives up to its majestic name. Before you head out to El Nido, Coron and wilder areas of Palawan, it’s a very enjoyable spot to spend a day or two. Here are some of the best things to do in Puerto Princesa.
1. Puerto Princesa Underground River
The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is the most popular tourist attraction in Puerto Princesa. This Unesco World Heritage Site and New 7 Wonders of Nature can be toured aboard a small paddle boat. There are numerous stalactite and stalagmite formations inside the river-cave complex and you can really feel the uniqueness of the place once you’re in it.
What many people don’t know is that you can avail a long tour inside the Underground River, going as deep as 4.5 km, while most people only go for the 45 minutes one. Just look for that option when you book your tour in Puerto Princesa on Tikigo.
2. Ugong Rock Adventures
A trip to Ugong Rock is often bundled with the Underground River Tour. This is one of the top things to do in Puerto Princesa if you’re an adrenaline junkie. You can go on spelunking and explore the cave system of Ugong Rock. If that is still not enough, you can try their zip line and do the famous Superman pose while riding one of the fastest zip line in the country.
3. Island Hopping in Honda Bay
Honda Bay is located just east of Puerto Princesa and attracts many visitors because of the pristine white sand of its islands. Island hopping tours will take you to Cowrie Island, named after the small sea-snails that are in abundance in the island; Starfish Island, known for its large population of starfish; and Luli Island, sorry there are no creatures named Luli here (Luli came from a local word meaning sinking). You can lounge on the beach or go snorkeling while on this tour. Most of the tours also include lunch where you can feast on grilled seafood while enjoying your seemingly private island.
4. Dos Palmas
A visit to Dos Palmas is another must-do in Puerto Princesa. This island resort is not just about its clear waters and fine white sand. It is also a marine sanctuary with a wide variety of fish, mollusks and crustaceans. If you love bird-watching, you shouldn’t pass on a chance to visit Dos Palmas because of the number of migratory and non-migratory birds in this island. Dos Palmas is also a nesting site and feeding ground for 3 species of sea turtles.
5. Firefly Watching
If you live in the city, fireflies are something that you only see in the movies or nature channels. In Puerto Princesa, fireflies are in abundance and you can watch them light up the night along the Sicsican River. A firefly watching tour is often bundled with a dinner at a floating restaurant. Watching numerous fireflies light up the trees in the riverbank is something that everyone should try at least once in their life.
6. Dolphin Watching
We all love dolphins if you don’t then there’s something weird about you… Not many people know this but one of the top things to do in Puerto Princesa is going on a dolphin watching tour. Guides will take you to the Puerto Princesa Baywalk where you will ride a boat that will take you to the dolphin watching site. I guarantee that you will have a wonderful time watching these playful creatures as they swim, jump and put on a show for you and other visitors. Take note that this is a seasonal tour and is available only from April to October. No, these Spinner Dolphins (Stenella longirostris) don’t disappear during the rest of the year. Tours like these are only allowed during summer because the rough sea condition during the monsoon season makes sea travel perilous. The specialist and only operator of these dolphin watching tours in Puerto Princesa is Dolphin and Whales Travel and Tours. They also offer Swim With Whale Sharks activity. Get in touch with them on Tikigo!
7. Olangoan Waterfalls
Olangoan Waterfalls can be found in Barangay Binduyan, which is 3 hours away from the city proper. This future natural park and protected sanctuary is a perfect spot if you want to enjoy a dip and a relaxing picnic. Aside from the waterfalls itself, the area where Olangaon Falls is located in a watershed that is rich with flora and fauna. You can use the visit here to commune with nature and explore some of the plants and animals that made this watershed their home.
8. Palaweño Brewery
Palaweño Brewery is the first and only craft beer brewery in Palawan and is the home of the first craft brewers in the Philippines. They offer tours of their microbrewery where you can watch the beer-making process up close. Part of the tour is tasting their different brews and sampling their food specialties. They also have cultural presentations featuring the local songs and dances of Palawan.
9. Nagtabon Beach and View Deck
When people talk about beaches in Palawan, Coron and El Nido will always be brought up. But there is another beach worth visiting and it is just a stone’s throw away from Puerto Princesa. Nagtabon Beach may not have as fine and white sand as others but this beach is worth a visit.
For one, it is not too crowded. Visitors are not keen to go to Nagtabon when El Nido and Coron are within reach. This is why Nagtabon is an ideal place if you’re not too keen on crowded beaches. Nagtabon is a great place to play beach games like frisbee or beach volleyball because there are few people around. This is also an excellent spot to try some light surfing because of the constant surf on this beach. The waves are not as high as those in Siargao so this is recommended for beginners or even intermediate surfers who just want a relaxed surfing activity.
The view deck is a little way from the beach but is a great place to take in the beautiful scenery below. The vantage point offered by the View Deck is a favorite place for watching the sunset and taking Instagrammable pictures.
10. Palawan Rescue and Wildlife Center
If you want to get close to wildlife and support conservation efforts at the same time then a visit to the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center is a must-do when in Puerto Princesa. The most famous part of this animal haven is their crocodile farm where you can learn about these fearsome reptiles. They also have a hatchery where you can watch baby crocodiles as they emerge from their eggs. Aside from the crocodile farm, you can also visit their mini zoo where you can see snakes, birds and other animals that are endemic to Palawan.
11. Plaza Cuartel
Plaza Cuartel is a small heritage park in Puerto Princesa. It’s a tiny park but once you get to know its history, you will never look at Plaza Cuartel the same way again. It was built in the 1940s and was used as a garrison during World War II. In 1944, around 150 American POWs were burned here by the Japanese occupiers. The remains of these American Soldiers are now interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in Missouri. As for many of the spots listed here, you can visit Plaza Cuartel while going on a Puerto Princesa City Tour.
12. Immaculate Conception Cathedral
Right across Plaza Cuartel is another famous Puerto Princesa landmark, the Immaculate Conception Cathedral. This cathedral was built in 1961 and aside from its blue exterior, the first thing that will catch your attention is its design that harkens to medieval cathedrals.
13. Palawan Butterfly Eco Garden and Tribal Village
This is another place that you can find in any list of the must visit in Puerto Princesa. Butterfly Eco-Garden and Tribal Village is an ecological garden that helps raise environmental awareness through butterflies and other insects. Aside from these tiny critters, there are also numerous plant species in this garden. On the other hand, the Tribal Village is an excellent way to catch a glimpse of the culture of Palawan’s tribes. This is an interactive, cultural and educational tour where you can get a first-hand experience on how Palawan’s indigenous people live. You will also get a demonstration of how they use tools and weapons for their livelihood.
14. Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm
This is probably the most surreal must do when in Puerto Princesa. The Iwahig Prison is not your ordinary prison because the inmates are left to their own devices. Inmates can roam around this vast penal colony. This is a unique opportunity to observe life in this prison. You can even interact and talk to minimum security inmates if you’re brave enough to do so. Iwahig is also famous for its pristine river where you can swim in the cold river water.
Organise Your Trip In Puerto Princesa Today!
You can discover the best activities and book all these tours directly from professional organisers on Tikigo. Go on and explore Puerto Princesa today!