puerto princesa ultimate guide

Discover the natural wonders in Palawan's capital, Puerto Princesa, aside from the famed Underground River. What are the top attractions and things to do for adventure lovers, sightseers, beach lovers, and food-lovers? How do you go to and get around the city center? What are the best accommodations and restaurants in this area in Palawan? Read on to find out and start planning your trip to Puerto Princesa.

Known as the gateway to paradise-like destinations in Palawan like El Nido and Coron, Puerto Princesa is most famous for the UNESCO World Heritage site Underground River. But there's more to Puerto Princesa than being just a jump-off site and location to the famous natural wonder.

Puerto Princesa has several attractions that are worth exploring when you're in this city nicknamed The City in a Forest. It also has several island and beach destinations where you can eat the freshest seafood during your island-hopping adventures. It’s one of the must-visit places not only in Palawan but in the whole Philippines in general.

The city is in itself an attraction, rife with various tourist spots and natural sights. Brgy. Binduyan, for example, houses the beautiful Olangoan Falls, which is just half an hour's hike from the main highway. It's a hidden gem, and only a very few foreigners have discovered it. There's also a crocodile conservation center and a great zip line area for adventurers. All this will be discussed later on in this complete travel guide to Puerto Princesa.

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Going to Puerto Princesa

Due to its ever-increasing popularity, what was once a remote region of the Philippines can now be reached by land, sea, and air. You have to consider different factors before buying your ticket. These critical factors include distance, route, and budget. Make sure that the course you’ll be taking is the most convenient for you. Consider booking months in advance, especially if you plan to go during the peak season. Here are some of the ways you can visit Puerto Princesa:

By Flights

You can go to Puerto Princesa by catching a flight from either Manila or Cebu airport. These flights from budget carriers ply the route almost daily, and you can get to Puerto Princesa from Manila in just over an hour. There are also flights from Clark, Iloilo, Cebu, and Davao. Here’s detailed information about these flights:

From Manila

Major airlines such as Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and AirAsia has nonstop flights going to and from Puerto Princesa from NAIA International Airport Terminal 2 and 3. The usual travel time is an hour and a half. It's best to book flight months in advance as seats might be limited, especially when traveling during peak season.

From Cebu

There are direct and connecting flights going to and from Mactan-Cebu International Airport to Puerto Princesa. Major airlines that fly to the city include Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and AirAsia. Nonstop flights have an average travel time of an hour while connecting flights depends on the total time of the layover. Manila is also a significant layover for those connecting flights.

From Clark

If you’re coming from the Clark International Airport, the best way to go to Puerto Princesa is by booking either a nonstop or connecting flight. Major airlines such as Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and AirAsia offer these flights. If you’re taking a connecting flight, the usual stop is at Cebu.

From Iloilo

You can also book a flight going to Puerto Princesa from Iloilo. Both Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific offer these flights. The usual travel time for nonstop flights is an hour while connecting flights depends on your total time of the layover. Manila is often the layover for the connecting flights.

From Davao

There are also flights going to and from Davao International Airport Domestic Terminal to Puerto Princesa. Major airlines such as Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and AirAsia offer connecting flights. The main layover for these flights is Manila. The average travel time ranges from 4 to 8 hours.

By Ferry

If you prefer the sea route, you can take the ferries and super ferries from the surrounding islands. Coron, another Palawan destination, is a total of 10 hours off by sea. Take this route only if you have time on your hands. Here’s a list of the typical ferry rides going to and from Puerto Princesa:

From Manila

2Go Travel offers a route from Manila to Puerto Princesa. The ferry usually departs during Tuesday and Friday and will arrive at the Puerto Princesa Pier. Travel time is almost a day. There are different types of seats, and it might get booked quickly, so make sure to reserve at least a day before your estimated date of departure. 

From Coron

If you're coming from Coron, the best way to go to Puerto Princesa is by riding a ferry. The usual departure dates are on every Wednesday and Saturday. It departs from Coron Pier and arrives at Puerto Princesa Pier at night. It has an estimated travel time of 15 hours. Since tourists in Palawan often go and visit both cities, seats may come and go quickly. It's better to make a reservation for at least a day to ensure your position on the ferry ride.

From Iloilo

If you’re coming from Iloilo, you can go to Puerto Princesa by riding a ferry. It takes at least a day to be able to get to Puerto Princesa, with a stopover at Cuyo Island. Milagrosa Shipping Lines and Montenegro Shipping Lines will take care of your travel. The usual travel time is Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. 

By Bus

You can also hit the road courtesy of the various Roll on Roll Off buses and shuttles that go to and from Puerto Princesa. There’s not much choice on where to go — these shuttles mainly exist to connect El Nido to Puerto Princesa. So unless you’re planning to visit both areas, you can take the other means of transport. The usual travel time is around 6 to 7 hours.

Best Time to Go to Puerto Princesa

Before you book a ticket going to Puerto Princesa, you have to check the island’s weather conditions. You’ll be able to do every activity listed in your itinerary if you know the best time to go. You have to check other factors in traveling such as climate and temperature as well. Here’s a rundown of the recommended months to visit, detailed information on the peak season, and what to wear during your trip to Puerto Princesa.

Dry and Summer Season | November to May

The best time to go to the island is during the dry and summer season. There's less chance of rainfall from April to June, which means you get to enjoy the majority of inland and water activities on the island. If you're in a group, getting a chartered boat is best during this time as well as you'll get a lot of options.

Peak Season 

During the summer season, many travelers visit the island to experience its beauty. It means that you have to book your tours in advance if you want to do a particular activity on a peak date. The good thing about this is that most establishments are open during the peak season. There's also a higher chance of meeting new friends when there's a bigger crowd.

Climate and Weather

Puerto Princesa’s climate is very tropical. There’s heavy rainfall during September, with an average of 210 mm. The warmest months are from March to May, with an average temperature of 29°C. Meanwhile, the month with the chilliest weather is from November to February, with an average temperature of 23°C. Here’s an average overview of the monthly temperature in Puerto Princesa:

Best Puerto Princesa Travel Guide for the Ultimate Getaway

Source: NOAA

What to Wear

If you’re going to Puerto Princesa to experience the Underground River or other activities, wear light and breathable outfits. It will let you move around freely and comfortably. Wear waterproof shoes as well. Should you decide to land sightseeing, it’s still recommended to wear light outfits such as but make sure to bring an umbrella with you in case it rains.

Getting Around Puerto Princesa

Colorist motor tricycles are a common means of public transportation in the country. Here a pink-painted one waiting for passengers stopped beside the City Baywalk. Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

It’s relatively easy to get around Puerto Princesa. All you need to know is the route you’ll be taking and the right means of transport for your particular destination. You also need to consider the distance between the places you’ll be visiting and decide if it’s better to have private transport instead. Here are the most common areas in getting around Puerto Princesa:

By Tricycle 

Once you’re on the island, tricycles are the most visible mode of transport. These colorful tricycles follow routes, so you may or may not be allowed to ride if there are already passengers. Note as well that tricycles coming from the airport are more expensive than regular trikes going to the city center. You can even hire these to take you on a day tour around the city sights, though this is limited to 2 people. The price is generally charged per person (for regular tricycle fares).

By Jeepney

You can also ride a jeepney going to and from the city center. They have standard routes and is less cheap than riding a tricycle. It’s best to let the driver know where you plan to get dropped off as it might get confusing for non-locals. You might also wait for a while, especially during off-peak hours as the driver usually remains for at least 16 people to fill in the empty seats. 

By Private Car/Van

If you want some privacy, you can rent a car and drive around the area. You may also rent a private van with a driver, or hire one with a tourist guide so you’ll be able to have a hassle-free adventure. You may also join a group tour! There are shared and private tours that will get you to the different tourist spots within the area with free pick-up and drop off.

Where to Stay in Puerto Princesa

Baywalk Park, Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

Finding a place to stay is an essential factor in traveling. In a famous island such as Puerto Princesa, you have to book at least a month in advance so you can get the right accommodation for you and your group. One of the most important things when it comes to choosing your accommodation is knowing if it’s the most feasible for you. Another thing is the budget, as well as its proximity to the city center and the tourist spots you’ll be visiting.

Types of Accommodations

There are various luxury resorts, mid-range hotels, and budget accommodations in Puerto Princesa. However, it’s essential to re-assess different factors when choosing your accommodation. For example, if you’re in a big group, it’s best to stay at a privately rented house. If you’re a couple, you may opt to stay at a hotel or a private rented condo. If you’re a solo traveler, you may stay at a budget hostel and meet solo backpackers. Here are some of the highly recommended accommodations for you in Puerto Princesa:

Beach Resorts

Staying at a beach resort or a hotel is recommended for couples, groups, or solo travelers looking for privacy. In Puerto Princesa, you have a lot of options from luxury to budget ones. The technique of finding the right beach resort or hotel for you is that if it has the amenities that you need for your trip. These amenities and facilities include an indoor and outdoor pool, spa, and restaurant.

Hostels

You may opt to stay at a hostel if you’re a solo backpacker or a budget traveler whose main priority is a place to sleep. They usually have shared bathrooms and facilities such as the pantry and laundry area. Hostels are a nice place to meet new people, but it depends on whether or not they have an open area or roof deck where most parties are hosted.

Vacation Rentals

If you’re a big group wanting some privacy, you can rent a house in Puerto Princesa. It’s an excellent way to get extra amenities, such as a kitchen and laundry area. Think of it as having your own home on the island! Make sure to discuss everything (rules and regulations, check-in and check-out times) with the owner of the house to avoid any problems.

Neighborhoods and Areas

There are 66 barangays in Puerto Princesa, with 35 urban and 31 of them rural. However, you don’t need to memorize all of them. You need to know the most popular areas and the city center so you’ll be able to commute around without needing a guide. Here are some of the neighborhoods and areas you might encounter during your trip to Puerto Princesa:

Honda Bay

One of the highly-recommended things to do in Puerto Princesa is to visit Honda Bay for an island-hopping tour. It’s one of the main reasons why many types of accommodations are available here. To get here, you have to ride an outrigger boat (banca) from Sta. Lourdes Wharf. It will take about 30 minutes to an hour to get to Honda Bay.

City Center

Most hotels and restaurants are within the city center. It’s near Rizal Avenue and is the home to shopping malls such as SM City Puerto Princesa and Robinsons Place Mall Palawan. Nightlife is also booming in the city, with bars and clubs located within the city center. It’s where most popular tourist spots are located such as Baker’s Hill, Mitra’s Ranch, Butterfly Garden, Baywalk, Plaza Cuartel, and Puerto Princesa International Airport.

Northwest of City Center

It’s where most natural wonders of Puerto Princesa are located. You can find the underground river here. It’s also where Sabang Falls, Sabang Beach, Sabang X Zipline, Sabang Jungle Trail, Hundred Caves, Buenavista Viewdeck, Isla Felomina, and Ulugan Bay are located. There are also accommodations within the area.

Southwest of City Center

Within the southwest of the city, properly lies Iwahig River, which is where boats cruise most nights for firefly watching. It's also the location of the Crocodile Farm, a wildlife rescue center. Salakot Falls, Balon Pari, and Acacia Tree Tunnel are also located here. There are also hotels ranging from budget to luxury within the area.

Northeast of City Center

There are also tourist spots within the northeast of the city proper. It’s the location of the majestic Olangoan Falls and Arutayan Falls. You can also find Mt. Cleopatra’s Needle and Batak Cultural Village here. You can also find accommodations within the area if you opt to stay here.

East of City Center

Within the east of Puerto Princesa lies many tourist spots as well. It includes Nagtabon Beach and Talaudyong Beach. Babuyan Twin Sandbar is also within the area. There are accommodations here as well and is near the San Carlos Floating Restaurant and Maayon River Cruise.

Accommodation Highlights in Puerto Princesa

The key to having a great place to stay during your trip is considering the number of people, budget, and length of stay. You have a lot of options in Puerto Princesa. You can stay at a budget, mid-range, or luxury accommodation. Depending on your preference, here are some of the options you might consider for your upcoming stay

Budget Accommodations

If you’re on a budget and you’re looking for a comfortable place to sleep, staying at a backpacker’s inn, a hostel or budget hotel is better. You’ll get access to basic amenities such as bathroom and pantry. Most budget accommodations even have an indoor pool or garden! Here are some of the hotels highly-recommended by travelers because of its accessibility to the city center and high price for its inclusions:

Deep Forest Garden Hotel

If you plan to stay near the airport with a tight budget, then this warm garden hotel is ideal for you. An airport van or tricycle ride can take you here in around 10 minutes so you can rest early before starting your itinerary. You'll be welcomed by their friendly staff, willing to assist you at any time, and their cozy rooms complete with basic amenities. You can also order food and dine in your office or relax by the outdoor pool while drinking local beers available at the hotel store.

Blue Lagoon Inn and Suites 

For a more accessible hotel that won't hurt your wallet, you can check this tropical-inspired inn that is 5 minutes away from the airport! From here, you can quickly go to nearby attractions such as the old city of Montessori, Rizal Avenue, and downtown city area. Rooms are in villa-types featuring basic comforts you need for your whole stay. Other amenities you can enjoy are massage treatments, jacuzzi bathtub, centerpiece outdoor pool, and wifi access.

Palawan Village Hotel

Another convenient and budget-friendly hotel to stay in is Palawan Village Hotel, directly situated along Rizal Avenue where local restaurants and bar sprawl. Aside from the cheap rates and 200-meter proximity to the airport, you can also go around nearby local commercial spots such as Ditchay's Bistro and NCCC mall. They offer classic rooms equipped with basic amenities and other amenities such as airport transfers, room service, and wifi access. Late check-ins will not be a problem because of their 24-hour front desk service.

Subli Guest Cabins

Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature by staying in Subli Guest Cabins. While still only 15 minutes away from the airport and Rizal Avenue, you'll experience tranquility inside this unique bed and breakfast in a camp-like setting. They offer bamboo cabins that feature basic room amenities and other services, including airport transfers, dining services, and wifi access. You can also relax in their beautiful garden, reading hut and hammocks! Enjoy free coffee and tea at any time during your stay. Completing the laid-back, family-style atmosphere the accommodating hosts promised. 

Mid-range Accommodations

If you're looking for a place to stay with added amenities such as a spa and an in-house restaurant, you can go ahead and book a mid-range accommodation. You get extra comfort and get your sense of privacy with friends and family. Luckily, there are a lot of mid-range hotels in Puerto Princesa. Here are some of those hotels that are near the city proper and offers the same basic amenities:

Palawan Uno Hotel

Ideal for both business and leisure travels, Palawan Uno Hotel offers convenience and value for money facilities. Situated along the Puerto Princesa National Highway and in front of the City Coliseum, the hotel is 15 minutes away from the airport and one jeepney ride away from Robinsons Mall Palawan. They offer a wide selection of rooms that fit every traveler's needs, including flatscreen TV, clothes rack, wifi access, and postal service. You can also relax in the garden and take a dip in the outdoor swimming pool.                                      

Holiday Suites Palawan

Located right across Robinsons Mall, Holiday Suites Palawan is suitable for group or family travelers who wish for a hassle-free stay in Puerto Princesa. Commuting to various restaurants and top city attractions will not be a problem since public vehicles are available just in front of the hotel. They also offer free shuttle service to the airport, which is only 15 minutes away. Rooms are spacious, cozy, and complete with quality amenities that vary per room selection. Swimming in the outdoor pool or relaxing at the massage area are your choices for other recreational activities within the hotel.

Acacia Tree Garden Hotel

Living by its name, the hotel preserves old Acacia Trees, incorporating it into the overall landscape of their lush gardens. It's located at the heart of the city, 5-minutes away from the airport and nearby must-try local restaurants. Meditteranean-inspired villas' interiors are designed with Philippine native crafts and with complete room amenities. You can dine at their restaurant or chill by the swimming pool and greeneries.

Blue Palawan Beach Club

Away from the city center and closer to the coast, Blue Palawan Beach Club offers a place where you can unwind and savor in the sea breeze the entire day. They provide shuttle services and hosts a restaurant and bar so you won't have to worry about going around the city and searching for good local food. They have modern-finished rooms with different bed arrangements, suited for either couple or group travelers. You can start your day trying canoeing, windsurfing, and other water activities, and capping off the night in the bar with a DJ and other performances.

Luxury Accommodations 

If you want to feel like a VIP during your stay in Puerto Princesa, there are luxury hotels available for all types of travelers. You can have access to various facilities such as indoor and outdoor pools, spa, restaurant, gym, and rooftop bars/clubs. Here are some of the highly-recommended hotels near the city center and offers shuttle services going to and from the airport:        

Hue Hotel Palawan

High quality and convenience rolled into one, this new hip and modern hotel is along the Puerto Princesa National Highway. It's right beside the Robinsons Mall Palawan and only 15 minutes away from the airport. From here, you can enjoy both a quiet and cozy time for yourself or quickly go out to explore the busy city. They offer superior quality rooms, tastefully designed to appeal to all types of travelers. The hotel also features a fitness center, spa and massage area, rooftop swimming pool, and a resto-bar that completes the overall chic ambiance.

Astoria Puerto Princesa

With tropical hues and vibrant colors surrounding the rooms, staying at Astoria is like staying in a paradise. They offer spacious superior rooms, with complete amenities such as en-suite bathrooms, kitchenette, wifi, room service, and complimentary breakfast, among others. They have their fitness gym and spa, restaurant, infinity pool, an outdoor pavilion, and two function rooms. Even though the hotel is an hour away from the airport, they offer free shuttle services for selected times.

Sheridan Puerto Princesa

A home away from home, Sheridan in Puerto Princesa is the place to be if you’re looking for some luxurious time. You’ll enjoy the comfort and luxury of their superior, deluxe, and suite rooms with beach views. You’ll also get access to the hotel’s facilities such as swimming pool, spa, restaurant, and gym amenities. It’s not too far from the airport! It's a highly-recommended place to stay if you’re planning to visit the Underground River as it’s close to the tourist spot.

Princess Garden Island Resort

Located 10 minutes away from the airport, this hotel offers top-notch service suitable for anyone wanting to experience a memorable time in Puerto Princesa. You can choose to stay in a superior room, suite, or a beachfront villa. Aside from top-notch amenities such as en-suite bathrooms and kitchenette, most of their rooms have a jacuzzi and a balcony! They also have their restaurant, bar, outdoor swimming pool, fitness center, entertainment center, and watersports facilities.

What to See and Do in Puerto Princesa

Underground River in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

This city is full of surprises. Aside from visiting one of the world heritage sites in the world, you’ll be able to do various activities. After all, it’s one of the most popular cities in Palawan. Here are some of the highly recommended things to do and places to see when you’re in the beautiful island of Puerto Princesa:

See Puerto Princesa’s Natural Wonders   

Puerto Princesa is rich with natural wonders. Aside from being the home to a well-renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s also rich with beautiful waterfalls, surreal rivers, and wildlife-rich in biodiversity. If you’re interested in these natural wonders, here are some of the things you must see for yourself:

  • The Underground River - This UNESCO World Heritage site needs no introduction. Puerto Princesa's Underground River is the number one site that propelled the city to the world’s radar for starters. There is a limited number of visitors that are allowed to enter the site per day, so you can’t just walk in. Tour operators have VIP access, so even those who love DIYs are better off joining tours. It includes everything from an audio guide to a buffet meal, plus land and boat transfers. You’ll forget all that when you enter this world wonder. It’s a sight to behold from all angles. From the moment your boat comes to the dark maw of the cave to the moment you see the golden sunlight reflecting in the turquoise waters again.

  • Iwahig River - Iwahig River (temporarily closed) is known for its penal colony. It houses an entirely different experience. Go here just before dark, and you’ll see the dazzling light of hundreds of fireflies, floating all around you in a mesmerizing sight. It’s romantic, awe-inspiring, and surreal at the same time. It’s just like in the movies, with the calm river idling around you. Just make sure to turn off your flash when taking photos, or you’ll scare the lightning bugs away.

  • Olangoan Falls - This tourist attraction is just half an hour’s hike from the main highway. It’s a hidden gem, and only a very few foreigners have discovered it. It’s located in Barangay Binduyan and is one of the beautiful falls in the city. It’s a quick trek going there. Once you see it, you’ll be able to dip into its stunning turquoise waters.

Visit the Popular Tourist Spots in the City       

Puerto Princesa city is in itself an attraction, rife with various tourist spots and natural sights. One of the best things to do here is to go on a sightseeing tour. You’ll not only get an in-depth look at the history and development of the city, but there’s a chance that you’ll be able to get these insights from the locals.

  • Palaweño Brewery - If you want something more urban, there’s the Palaweño Brewery which lets you go sampling some of its marvelous cold brews. This microbrewery is the only female-run brewery in the country! It offers unique drinks suitable for every taste.

  • Nagtabon View Deck - It offers one of the best sunset-watching places on this side of the country. It's just about 30 minutes away from the city's center and gives you an unparalleled view of the cove of Nagtabon. From here, you might even want to go to Nagtabon Beach directly.

  • Plaza Cuartel - For something straight out of history, check out this popular tourist spot. It's where the American prisoners of war were killed by the Japanese invaders during World War 2, thus sparking the efforts that led to the Great Raid at Cabanatuan.

  • Crocodile Farm - If it’s a wildlife encounter you wish, Barangay Irawan hosts a crocodile farm in cooperation with the Palawan Wildlife and Rescue Center. That means aside from crocodiles, there are some other animals to see here, too. It's another must-see tourist spot in Puerto Princesa as you’ll be able to see the wildlife conservation.

Go Island-Hopping in Honda Bay      

Many beachgoers skip Puerto Princesa in favor of neighboring Coron or El Nido, but the city has an ace up its sleeve. Honda Bay is a must-see for any beach lover, especially since it’s easily reachable from Lourdes Wharf. It offers all sorts of activities, but the top ones here are swimming and snorkeling. You can try diving too, with the nearby Pambato Reef offering a kaleidoscope of undersea colors. There’s also a set of boat tours that will take you to nearby islands:

  • Cowrie Island - With its clear waters and powdery sands, it’s no wonder many locals and tourists love it! You can find small establishments here, such as a restaurant that serves a generous serving of food. They also have cottages here for rent!

  • Starfish Island - This island is famous for the large numbers of starfishes within the area. You can swim and snorkel here as there’s an abundant number of corals and marine life.

  • Luli Island - Famous for its sandbars that sinks and rises depending on the tide, it’s a recommended island in this island-hopping tour. You can rent cottages throughout the bay, and there are also snorkel gear rentals. It’s one of the best tourist spots in Puerto Princesa.

  • Pandan Island - Aside from swimming and snorkeling, the best thing to do here is to have a quiet time enjoying the island. You can lounge and wade through its aquamarine waters while enjoying your drink. It’s a must-visit in an island-hopping tour!



Try Extreme Outdoor Adventures

If you’re an adrenaline-rush chaser, try out extreme adventures in Puerto Princesa! There are many activities you can do here either alone or by a group. You can do ziplining, rock climbing, ATV ride, or enjoy a day at an adventure park! Here’s a list of the highly recommended activities in Puerto Princesa that will get your adrenaline kicking:

  • Ugong Rock Adventure - This is a natural complex that offers a lot of activities, including the usual ziplining and trekking, with a good dose of spelunking for those who aren’t claustrophobic. It is north of Puerto Princesa. It’s pretty standard fare for adventure lovers, but hey — it’s Puerto Princesa and its fantastic nature!

  • Max Palawan - This is an ATV adventure that you can reach in just under an hour from the central part of the city. If you’re not afraid to get mud all over, and if you want something more extreme than merely waiting for whatever you’re riding to stop, then try maneuvering these machine beasts through the rough Palawan trail. If you think that Puerto Princesa is nothing but a simple and laid-back destination, this is going to change everything.

  • Sabang X-Zipline - There are lots of ziplines in the whole of Palawan. You’ve already experienced one at Ugong Rock, now check out the famous Sabang X-Zipline, located near the beautiful underground river. If you got a tour package, this zipline is usually already bundled. It’s a long plummet through the air that showcases Palawan’s beauty. Even going there is a bit of an adventure since it’s a half-hour walk (and hike) to the top where the zipline starts. If any zipline in this side of the country simulates the grandeur of flight, Sabang X does it.

  • Kamia Bay Adventure Park - This is located in Kamia Bay resort and is the biggest Aquapark in the whole of Asia. Take a moment to absorb that. The whole place is a giant inflatable offering all kinds of activities, from Wipeout-style obstacle courses to simple water slides. It’s a different kind of adventure, and your trip to Puerto Princesa isn’t complete without it.

  • Inaladelan Island Camp - Inaladelan is a resort island that is perfect for some Survivor-style adventure. Whether you're alone or with friends, the spartan layout and the nature-dominant ambiance of the place is worth a look-see for everyone. There's also some charm as there's no electricity during the daytime — it gives you lots of time to explore the nooks and crannies of this pretty island.

What to Eat and Drink in Puerto Princesa

Steamed garlic shrimp at Badjao Seafront in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

There are a lot of local dishes you should try when in Puerto Princesa. A food trip is one of the most exciting things you can do in the city and within the tourist spots! You’ll be able to learn about their culture and get insights while enjoying a gastronomical experience. Read more to know about their local cuisine and some of the highly-recommended restaurants and food establishments near the area.

Local Cuisine

Palawan, in general, has a unique local cuisine. Luckily, you can try these dishes at various Puerto Princesa food establishments. Crocodile sisig, which is made with crocodile meat, onion, and pepper, is a must-try. You must also taste tamilok, it's a dish wherein harvested woodworms are treated as raw seafood and cooked on vinegar. And of course, don’t forget the cute little carinderias, those saviors for any traveler on a budget! Ask the locals for their pick, and you’re sure to find one that serves fresh seafood catch (among others) in well-loved Filipino cuisines.

Recommended Best Restaurants and Bars

There are a lot of restaurants and bars in Puerto Princesa. Now that you know about their local cuisine, it’s time to order amongst other dishes in these highly recommended food establishments. Make sure to check them out if you have some time to do a gastronomic food adventure with your friends and family!

Kinabuch’s

Kinabuch is very popular among locals and tourists as they offer various local dishes and drinks that highlight their culture. They also offer exotic foods as well! It's where you can sample the tamilok, a wood-burrowing critter that is eaten raw. Whether you'll enjoy this or not depends on your taste, but the ambiance in the place itself is excellent.

Badjao Seafood Restaurant

If you're looking for one of the best seafood places outside, this is it. It's got everything you need for a good meal — a polished interior, alfresco ambiance, and delicious meals. Check out their excellent take on lobster and crab, along with local favorites such as Lapu-Lapu. It's located amidst mangroves, serving great scenic views as well.

Kalui Restaurant

This restaurant is popular because of the unique dining experience. You have to remove your shoes, and you have the option to eat bare-handed. Its rustic ambiance and beautiful interiors will surely make your visit extra special! They have a Kalui Special of the Day set that is good for two people which includes fish steak, prawns, fish roll in Coco Cream, and veggies of the day. Enjoy the complimentary salad they serve, on a coconut bowl!

La Terrasse

It's one of the highly-recommended restaurants in Puerto Princesa that offers a mix of local and international dishes. You can try some of their specialties such as crackling pork belly, Szechuan chili squid, and poached fish fillet. It has a romantic ambiance and is quite near the city center. They offer generous servings to big groups as well! It’s a must-visit in the city proper.

Captain Ribs

This lovely restaurant with high-beamed ceilings and gorgeous interior locals and internationals love. You can try some of their best-sellers such as cordon bleu, chicken quesadilla, chicken wings, and their ribs. They also offer seafood choices such as fresh tuna, spicy gambas, and fish fillet, to name a few. It's a highly recommended restaurant!

Practical Information and Tips

Aside from the essential information you've collected from your past trips, it's necessary to take note of these following tips for an exciting trip to Puerto Princesa. You have to consider a lot of factors in traveling, such as language, currency, and what to pack. Here’s detailed information on some of them: 

Currency

The main currency used in Puerto Princesa is the Philippine Peso (PHP). Most Puerto Princesa major shops and establishments accept credit cards. If you need cash, there are a lot of money changers in the city center available with a reasonable exchange rate. ATMs and banks are also available in the city center, as well as other establishments. Bring cash with you in small amounts in case you’re going to visit an island or a rural tourist spot.

Language

Cuyunon is the primary dialect of Palawan locals, but the majority of them speak Filipino and English. It makes it easier for international tourists to communicate with them. Don't be shy; ask questions! Try saying it in a neutral accent though so you can convey your questions clearly to them.

What to Pack

Puerto Princesa has a tropical climate. It means that aside from bringing beachwear necessities such as swimsuit and slippers. You have to bring sunblock to protect you from the blazing heat of the sun. You also need to bring a light jacket with you as it gets chilly at night. Bringing an umbrella would also be beneficial in case of light or heavy rainfall.

Sample Itinerary in Puerto Princesa

Puerto Princesa sunset in Palawan.

Depending on the type of excursion and the number of people traveling to Puerto Princesa, it's highly recommended to tour around the area for four days and three nights. There are a lot of tourist spots within and outside the city center that you'll surely enjoy. This travel itinerary will help you maximize your trip as you join an eco-tour, go caving, shopping, island-hopping, firefly watching, and more activities in this fantastic part of Palawan.

Day 1: Arrival + Sightseeing + Firefly Watching

  • 09:00 AM - Arrival, Check-in at Hotel
  • 10:00 AM - Late breakfast
  • 11:00 AM - Start of city sightseeing tour. Visit popular tourist spots such as Crocodile Farm, Baker’s Hill, Plaza Cuartel, Mitra’s Ranch, and more
  • 12:00 NN - Lunch
  • 01:00 PM - Continue sightseeing tour
  • 04:00 PM - Back to the hotel. Rest a bit and change clothes for the next activity
  • 06:00 PM - Iwahig Fireflies Watching Tour with Dinner
  • 08:00 PM -  Go back to the hotel. Freshen up
  • 09:00 PM - Visit the city center and have drinks
  • 10:00 PM - Back at the hotel

Day 2: Island-Hopping + ATV

Day 3: Boat Tour + Outdoor Adventure

  • 06:00 AM - Wake up, freshen up and prepare for a long day
  • 06:30 AM - Breakfast
  • 07:00 AM - Pick-up at the hotel
  • 09:00 AM - Start of Underground River tour
  • 10:00 AM - Early lunch
  • 11:00 AM - Swim and wade around the waters. Enjoy the rest of the time in the river
  • 03:00 PM - Start of Ugong Rock Adventure. Go spelunking and ziplining
  • 07:00 PM - Back at the hotel. Freshen up
  • 08:00 PM - Dinner at Kinabuch’s or other restaurants within the city
  • 09:30 PM - Back at the hotel

Day 4: Shopping + Departure

  • 06:00 AM - Wake up, freshen up and pack your bags
  • 07:00 AM - Breakfast
  • 08:00 AM - Go on a shopping tour and visit public markets
  • 10:30 AM - Early lunch
  • 11:30 AM - Check out
  • 12:00 NN - ETD to the airport
  • 01:30 PM - Departure

Explore the Natural Wonders of Puerto Princesa!

Puerto Princesa is one of the best places to visit when you’re in Palawan. Aside from the famed underground river, there are many activities you can do, ranging from outdoor to water, and from sightseeing to swimming. Bookmark this article so you’ll be able to have a handy guide with you during your trip to this beautiful city in Palawan!

Start planning your trip so you can finally relax and unwind in the beautiful city of Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Check out Puerto Princesa tours and activities that you can add to your itinerary.