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Where to stay in Palawan

Exploring Palawan

Often referred to as the Philippines’s last frontier as it is closer to Malaysia than it is to the country’s capital Manila, the province of Palawan may very well be the country’s most beautiful travel destination. Palawan is a long island located in the western portion of the Philippine archipelago.

Puerto Princesa is the capital and the transport hub of the province. From here, visitors can access the beaches of the mainland, the famous Underground River and the karst limestone coves of El Nido. Another gateway is Busuanga in the north. It serves as the primary entry point to Coron and the surrounding islands, also spectacularly beautiful places in themselves.

Sights nearby

Sights and activities in Palawan involve the many riches of an unspoiled tropical beauty. Countless coves, sandy beaches, karst limestone towers and cavernous caves await visitors to this province.

Puerto Princesa Underground River
Those landing in the provincial capital of Puerto Princesa will know instantly that the main attraction here is the Puerto Princesa Underground River, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Packaged tours are easy to sign up for from any hotel desk and cover overland transfer as well as the boat rides entering the cathedral-like caves of the area. The Palawan Village Hotel is an ideal base for visits to the capital.

Honda Bay
Honda Bay is another good area to explore near the capital. This body of water features small tropical islands each with its unique character. Some are good for swimming, some for snorkelling and some for picnics by the beach. Check-in to a city center hotel such as the Ipil Travelogdge Puerto Princesa for visits here.

Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Centre
Visiting the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Centre is also a good way to spend the day. Formerly the Crocodile Farm, this institute is dedicated to the care of crocodiles and other creatures endemic to Palawan. This place is a sure hit with children as they can interact with the small tamed crocodiles of the facility.

El Nido
To the north is El Nido, the definition of tropical paradise to many who have been here. Lagoons, coves and cliffs dot the scenery full of crystal-clear waters. A number of luxury resorts are located here, too, perfect for honeymooners and couples on holiday.

A rival destination to El Nido lies a few clicks northeast in Coron, famed for its hidden lakes, limestone cliffs and the clearest waters in the world. Diving is one of the most rewarding activities in Palawan, if not the most rewarding. Aside from rich coral reefs, visitors can also see a number of WWII shipwrecks in the waters surrounding Coron. Those without diving licenses can certainly enjoy some top-notch snorkelling around these parts. Siete Pecados and Sangat Island are the best places to see colourful marine life and coral reefs.

Eating and drinking and shopping nearby

Not to be missed is the province’s seafood. Puerto Princesa alone is home to many excellent restaurants. Grilled tuna belly and tuna jaw are the specialties here. Seafood is especially good in Ka Lui Restaurant, while traditional Filipino dishes are highly recommended at Kinabuch, which is a popular bar in Puerto Princesa. Coron holds its own for its restaurants and nightlife. Bistro Coron serves excellent Italian pizzas and pasta dishes. Seadive Resort, meanwhile, has a restaurant and bar overlooking the bay. Shopping is low key, with the widest array of souvenirs available, but souvenirs and travel sundries can be found at most resorts.

Public transport

The two gateways to the island are Puerto Princesa International Airport and Francisco B. Reyes Airport in Coron. They mainly serve domestic flights from Manila and Cebu. To travel the length of the island, the main bus terminal in Puerto Princesa has regular buses which service various destinations within the island. Within Puerto Princesa are local jeepneys, which serve as minibuses, and tricycles, similar to rickshaws and which can be motorised.