Kayangan Lake in Coron and Underground River in Puerto Princesa. Photo (right) by Department of Tourism
Palawan is one of the best places to visit in the Philippines, thanks to its many natural attractions that include beautiful beaches, stunning islands, breathtaking lagoons, incredible diving spots, and even an underground river included in the list of UNESCO Heritage Sites in the Philippines.
A lot of these tourist attractions can be found in Coron, El Nido, and Puerto Princesa, and one of these places is almost always included in any Palawan itinerary. To make the most of your visit to Palawan, you can visit all three destinations in one trip, so you don’t have to choose between Puerto Princesa or Coron or El Nido.
This guide will help you plan your Palawan trip to Puerto Princesa, El Nido, and Coron from Manila and includes information on the best things to do and the must-visit attractions in these three Palawan destinations. This guide is based on a 9-day, 8-night itinerary, but you can modify it to make the best Palawan itinerary to fit your needs.
To begin your Coron El Nido Puerto Princesa itinerary, fly to Coron’s Busuanga Airport from the Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Make your way to one of the best resorts in Coron, and check in.
After settling in, you can enjoy the resort’s facilities, especially if you have checked in at one of the luxury hotels in the Philippines. You also have the opportunity to feast on fresh seafood and sample local cuisine at some of the best Coron restaurants. Rest up for a full Coron Palawan itinerary the next day.
To get to the top, you need to go on a short trek up 700 plus steps. Your efforts will be rewarded as the view deck will allow you to see panoramic views of Coron town. If you can, schedule your visit here right before sunset for an extra special golden hour view.
Maquinit Hot Spring
Photo by Department of Tourism
The Maquinit Hot Spring is perfect for a warm dip that is sure to soothe your muscles. To ensure that the water is not too hot on your visit, go here in the early evening, from 6 PM to 8 PM.
Cashew Nut Factory
Palawan is known as a major producer of cashew in the Philippines, and you can buy cashew treats and delicacies at the Cashew Nut Factory. You can purchase fresh, roasted, salted, and even caramelized cashews here!
This recreational area is home to the iconic I am Coron sign and is also a harbor for boats and ships traveling to and from Coron. It is also where you can find Coron’s only zipline.
San Agustin Parish Church
While the majority of citizens in the Philippines are Catholic, this is the only Catholic Church you’ll find in Coron. It was completed in 1901, but it still regularly holds mas every Sunday until today.
Coron is a group of islands from the Palawan mainland that is known for ship wreck diving, limestone cliffs, beautiful beaches, and colorful coral reefs, so if you’re looking for some of the best Palawan island hopping tours, you’ll find them here. If you want to explore the islands in Coron, you can book any of the Coron island hopping tours for a hassle-free experience.
Coron Ultimate Island Hopping Tour
Photo by Department of Tourism
One of Coron’s most popular natural attractions is Kayangan Lake, one of the cleanest freshwater lake in the Philippines and Asia. If you’ve always wanted to go on a Kayangan Lake Coron tour, you can book a Coron Ultimate Island Hopping Tour that includes a stop at the lake.
You’ll also stop at the Twin Lagoon, where freshwater and seawater meet. You can access it by going through a small hole between towering limestone cliffs.
Coron Super Ultimate Island Hopping Tour
The Coron Super Ultimate Island Hopping Tour will also bring you to Kayangan Lake, but it has the bonus of a stop at Barracuda Lake. The lake is known for its rich marine life and picturesque views.
Lunch will be served at Atwayan Beach, and then you can continue your tour with stops at the Skeleton Wreck Diving Site, CYC Beach, and Coral Garden.
Coron Best Beaches Island Hopping Tour
As its name suggests, a Coron Best Beaches Island Hopping Tour will take you to some of the best beaches in the Philippines, like Malcapuya Island and Ditaytayan Island. These white beaches in the Philippines are surrounded by pristine blue waters that offer stunning views and a chance to take a refreshing dip.
You’ll also stop at Bulalakaw Island, which is home to Coco Beach, an unspoiled area that is perfect for travel photos.
Coron Shipwreck Snorkeling Tour
Coron diving and snorkeling spots are famous the world over, and a convenient and easy way to explore them is through a Coron shipwreck snorkeling tour. On this tour, you’ll visit Pass Island, which is home to colorful corals, and Lusong Coral Garden, known for its many clownfish.
Coron is known for its wreck dive and snorkeling sites, and on this tour, you’ll get to explore one, the Lusong Gunboat Shipwreck. On this dive site, you’ll get close to a wreck that has evolved into an artificial reef.
Coron Calauit Safari & Black Island Tour
Experience a one-of-a-kind adventure with the Coron Calauit Safari & Black Island tour that will take you to a safari that is home to giraffes, deers, zebras, and other animals.
You’ll also visit Malbato Church before heading to North Cay. If you’re lucky, you’ll witness sea turtles laying or hatching from their eggs.
You’ll also visit Black Island, which, despite its name, boasts of a picturesque white-sand beach.
After arriving in El Nido, you can explore the El Nido Palawan tourist spots on the mainland. If you are staying in one of the best resorts in El Nido, you can take advantage of their facilities and lounge at their beach.
If you have time, try some of the local dishes at the best El Nido restaurants before resting for a day of island hopping ahead.
Premium El Nido Island Hopping Tours
Small Lagoon Premium: Small Lagoon, Payong-Payong Beach, Secret Lagoon
This El Nido Small Lagoon island hopping tour will allow you to visit one of the top tourist spots in El Nido, the Small Lagoon. Here you can snorkel and enjoy the views of limestone cliffs and pristine waters. This tour will also bring you to Payong-Payong Beach on Miniloc Island and Secret Lagoon.
Big Lagoon Premium: Big Lagoon, Shimizu Island, West Entalula Beach
This is one of the El Nido tours that you should not miss. Going on a Big Lagoon Tour in El Nido will allow you to visit and enjoy Big Lagoon, as well as two of the popular El Nido diving spots, Shimizu Island and West Entalula.
Matinloc Island Premium: Matinloc Shrine Area, Secret Beach, Hidden Beach
If you’re looking for the best island tour in El Nido, this is arguably one of many. This tour features Matinloc Shrine, which is home to an abandoned convent and school, Secret Beach, which requires you to go through a small hole through limestone rocks, and Hidden Beach, which, as its name suggests, is hidden by large rock formations.
Regular El Nido Island Hopping Tours
Cave Exploration Tour: Cudugnon Cave, Snake Island, Cathedral Cave
This tour showcases both the natural and historical activities in El Nido Palawan. Cudugnon Cave is a beautiful sight to see, but it is also an archeological burial site.
You’ll experience a Snake Island El Nido tour, where you’ll see an S-shaped sandbar that lends it its name. You’ll also explore the Cathedral Cave, which looks like a natural cathedral with stalagmites.
Tapiutan Strait Tour: Talisay Small, Talisay Beach, Star Beach
Star Beach on Tapiutan Island is home to a variety of starfish, while Talisay Small and Talisay Beach are two picturesque white-sand beaches that beach lovers will enjoy.
Cadlao Channel Tour; Helicopter Island, Cadlao Lagoon, Pasandingan Beach
If you want to visit Cadlao Island, Helicopter Island, and Pasandingan Beach, book an El Nido Cadlao Channel island hopping tour. On these tourist sites, you’ll enjoy beautiful beaches, stunning cliffs, and verdant rainforests.
History Islands Tour: Pinagbuyutan Island, Sandbar, Seven Commandos Beach
Some of the islands on this tour have interesting stories behind them. Seven Commandos Beach is said to be named after the seven soldiers who got stranded on the beach during World War II. You’ll also visit Pinagbuyutan Island and a beautiful sandbar.
After a day of island hopping, head back to your resort or hotel and El Nido. You’ll need to rest up as you’ll travel to Puerto Princesa the next day.
Have breakfast at your resort or hotel in El Nido and buy some souvenirs and snacks before traveling via land to begin your Puerto Princesa itinerary. Upon arrival there, check in to your Puerto Princesa hotel so you can rest and recharge for your Puerto Princesa Underground River tour tomorrow.
One of the can’t miss Puerto Princesa tours is the UNESCO World Heritage Site Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park. Also called the Puerto Princesa Underground River, this tourist attraction is over 8.2 kilometers long and features beautiful stalactites and stalagmites that form unique shapes.
You’ll board a boat at Sabang Port that will take you to the entrance of the Underground River. You’ll then transfer to a smaller boat that will take you inside. During your tour, you will be able to explore over up to 4.3 kilometers of the river. Let your guide show you the rock formations and tell you about the animals that inhabit the river.
Another must-visit Puerto Princesa tourist spot is Honda Bay. You can explore its natural beauty by going on one of the Honda Bay island-hopping tours, which will allow you to go to islands where you can swim, snorkel, or just lounge at the beach.
Included in this tour is Cowrie Island, home to restaurants, cottages you can rent, and of course, pristine waters and soft powdery sands. You’ll also visit Starfish Island, named so because of the many starfish you can see in its waters. If you snorkel here, you’ll also be able to see colorful corals and rich marine life.
Luli Island is also on this tour, and it’s best to visit it during low tide, as it features beautiful sandbars that disappear when the tide is high. You can continue snorkeling in the waters of Pandan Island or just wade through its cool waters.
Before heading to Puerto Princesa International Airport for your flight out of Palawan, enjoy your last breakfast in the province. If you have the time, explore the local shops near your hotel or resort in Puerto Princesa and buy some souvenirs.
From Puerto Princesa to El Nido to Coron, you’ll find activities suited for all kinds of travelers. If you’re wondering how many days you need in Palawan, this guide is for a 9D8N stay in the province, but you can use it as the basis for building a Palawan itinerary for 5 days and 4 nights.