Considered the capital and the only city in Palawan, Philippines, Puerto Princesa has the power to take your breath away and make your heart race in seconds with its captivating and natural beauty. Aside from its scenic beauty, Puerto Princesa is considered a first-class city and is also admired as one of the cleanest and greenest cities in the country. Referred to by many as a city paradise, the place has become popular as one of the top vacation destinations for good reasons. Puerto Princesa is a perfect travel destination not only for travelers who want a tropical island experience but also for those who are looking for some nature-related adventures. All these reasons and more make the city a must-visit destination.
Are you planning a trip to Puerto Princesa soon? Whether you’re planning the trip on your own or need some help from your virtual personal assistant, traveling to the place is an experience you shouldn’t miss. Here is a helpful Puerto Princesa travel guide, including important tips and information that may come in very handy.
What’s the best time to visit Puerto Princesa?
Since heavy rains are expected from around August to October, a better option may be to visit the place during the summer season, which is from April to June. However, this period is also peak season because this is summertime in the Philippines.
If you don’t want to get caught up in the middle of a huge crowd but still want to enjoy the place in dry months, then the ideal time to visit is in January and February. Aside from that, this period is the off-peak season, so you can get huge discounts on flights and hotel accommodations.
A Few Facts about Puerto Princesa
Puerto Princesa is one of the top vacation destinations in the Philippines. As a consequence, it has grown a steady, organized, and synchronized tourism due to the collaborative efforts of different groups working with each other.
Although it is considered to be a highly urbanized city, Puerto Princesa has managed to preserve its breathtaking beauty despite the upsurge of traveling crowds over the years. It has successfully kept its good reputation and has continued to become a magnet for travelers primarily because of its white sand and tropical beaches. Aside from that, the place is also home to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, which is hailed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. As this is the second-largest city in the Philippines by land area, there are countless activities to do and enjoy in Puerto Princesa.
When traveling to the place, visitors often look forward to different events and festivals held there. Pangalipay sa Baybay is a good example – visitors can enjoy walking along the tropical beaches while observing different performances from both locals and indigenous people. Another example is the Seafood Festival, where tourists and locals alike can taste for themselves various seafood dishes which are prepared specifically for the celebration.
One Day in Puerto Princesa Itinerary
When traveling to Puerto Princesa, most tourists opt for one of the tour packages, since they are more convenient and hassle-free. However, with the stable tourism of the city, planning your one-day trip will not be much of a trouble.
Whether you choose to take packaged tours or plan to pull off a do-it-yourself option, here are some of the most exciting things and activities you can include in your Puerto Princesa itinerary.
Puerto Princesa Underground River Tour
A trip to Puerto Princesa is not complete without seeing the Underground River, which is the most famous tourist destination in Palawan.
The tour includes a two-hour trip to Sabang where all tourists take a short 15-minute boat ride to the take-off point. The boat ride itself is nothing ordinary because visitors will get a glimpse of million-year-old rocks situated in UNESCO-protected areas.
The journey to the underground river also includes wandering through what seems like a walk-in zoo with some of the most famous local animals.
Guests and tourists may have to register in advance, as the number of visitors allowed per day is limited. You can book the tour here!
Note: Since it may be pesky to go through all the paperwork hassle for this tour, you may want to consider booking a package because it is a more convenient set-up.
Honda Bay Island Hopping
Aside from the Underground River Tour, another popular activity you may want to consider during your one day in Puerto Princesa is going on an island hopping experience around Honda Bay.
By renting a boat at the port, you will be able to access 3 or 4 popular island destinations where you can relax and enjoy the tropical vibe. Aside from that, you can enjoy swimming, snorkeling, and other water activities.
You may spend half of your day or the whole day on this, which makes it one of the best things to do if you have limited time in Palawan. Be sure to book a tour in advance!
Note: Some of the more popular beaches around Honda Bay include beaches like Cowrie, Starfish and Pandan.
Puerto Princesa City Tour
Compared to the Underground River Tour and Honda Bay Island Hopping, the Puerto Princesa City Tour is where you can get creative in planning your itinerary. Doing this as an activity is perfect if you have an early morning or a late evening flight to catch.
Some of the places to check out while on the city tour are the following:
It is considered by many to be one of the most popular places to visit while on the city tour. Here visitors can have a taste of delicious and freshly-baked bread while enjoying the relaxing ambiance of the restaurant.
Situated on an elevated position, Mitra’s Ranch provides a scenic view of the city for visitors to enjoy. A governor used to own the place, but recently it opened to the public.
Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center
Previously known as the Crocodile Farm, the center does not only house several crocodiles but also other species including the Palawan bearcat, porcupines and the bearded pig.
Once a Japanese garrison where most American prisoners of war were kept, the place has now been converted into a memorial park for war victims.
Immaculate Conception Cathedral
A glimpse of this beautiful architecture and work of art is a worthwhile activity to include in your tour.
Puerto Princesa Baywalk
Just a few blocks away from Plaza Cuartel and the Cathedral is the baywalk where some of the most affordable street food dishes are sold. Strolling through the place for an hour while waiting for the sunset is a very romantic way to end the day.
Note: For this day tour, you have the option of renting motorcycles, tricycles, multicabs, or vans, depending on how many people are with you. If you choose to commute using public transport, you may want to ask the locals for directions.
Best Places to Eat in Puerto Princesa
Traveling around Puerto Princesa is better if you get to have a delicious fill of the various dishes that the place has to offer. If you are looking for top places to eat a great lunch or dinner, then these are some of the dining places that you should consider:
Ka Lui remains one of the more popular restaurant choices in Puerto Princesa for a good reason. The place is an excellent choice if you are craving for some of the most mouth-watering seafood dishes imaginable. Aside from that, the restaurant offers a complimentary fruit salad as a treat. But because of its popularity, you may have to book in advance to secure a seat in the restaurant.
The restaurant’s specialty, its classic chicken, is a secret family recipe. The dish is so juicy and flavorful that locals and tourists alike keep coming back for more. If you are looking for authentic and tasty Filipino dishes, then this is the best place to go.
Kinabuch’s Grill and Bar
Tamilok, a wood-dwelling mollusk, is a dish that you shouldn’t miss when visiting Palawan. Kinabuch’s Grill and Bar serves not only a tasty tamilok dish but also the crocodile sisig. So, if you are feeling adventurous when it comes to your dinner choices, then you should definitely check out this place.
La Terrasse is the best restaurant choice for travelers looking for French-Asian fusion dishes. The place takes pride in using quality ingredients and has mastered several creative ways of taking traditional dishes to a whole new level. On top of that, the place also provides a very calming and airy ambiance perfect for a relaxing dinner.
K’na Boyet Seafood Grill
For a more laid back dining experience, K’na Boyet Seafood Grill will be a great choice. The place offers a fresh seafood dinner, and customers can choose for themselves. Here, guests are given the option to choose from the wide array of seafood and meat choices that will be cooked immediately and served to them. And the best part of the experience is that is they will get to enjoy their dinner outdoors by the sea!
Where to Stay in Puerto Princesa, Palawan
There are several options that you can consider when choosing your accommodation in Puerto Princesa. You may want to include:
Atremaru Jungle Retreat
Aside from a garden, a bar, a shared lounge, and a private beach area, the place also features a restaurant which makes it a perfect accommodation when in Puerto Princesa.
Paboreal Boutique Hotel
If you’re looking for an accommodation with an outdoor pool and a terrace, then this place is for you.
ZEN Rooms Sunlight Palawan
For business and leisure travelers, booking a room here is a great choice.
Situated just 8 kilometers from Honda Bay, the place is an excellent and affordable choice for travelers.
One of the top-rated hostels in Palawan, the place also offers a shared lounge and barbecue facilities.
Additional Places to Visit for Day Trips from Puerto Princesa
Aside from the things already mentioned, here are some of the places that you can choose to visit as a part of your day trip:
If you plan to go to the Underground River tour, then you might drop by this place in the morning before proceeding with the tour.
Sta. Lourdes Hot Spring
Looking forward to a relaxing hot spring experience while in Puerto Princesa? You may want to visit this place and relax a bit.
Iwahig River Firefly Watching
To finish your one day in Puerto Princesa, the Iwahig River Firefly Watching is an excellent choice. The activity is not for the faint of hearts, however, as it involves being on a boat for a good 30 minutes in total darkness. But seeing the fireflies appearing like shimmering Christmas lights will make the experience worth it.
Note: If you want to have a hassle-free firefly watching experience, then booking a package tour will prove to be a great choice for this trip.
Extra Tips for Visiting Puerto Princesa
Here are some additional tips that you may have to remember while in Puerto Princesa:
Opt to walk when you can
Walking around Puerto Princesa is a great choice not only because you can save some money but also because the place offers many scenic views.
Usually, airport tricycles cost more than the usual tricycles that operate around and within the city.
Be friendly to the locals
When you are friendly to the locals, they will warm up to you more. And who knows? Maybe they will lead you to better deals and help you get discounts.
Are you excited to make your Puerto Princesa trip? It certainly is a place that will never disappoint. And don’t forget: whatever happens, smile and have fun.