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10 Best things to do in Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Palawan Island is one of the most popular among travelers who come to the Philippines in search of paradise. In it, you will find the Nest, one of the most beautiful places in the world. Puerto Princesa, its main city, has many interesting places to visit. And if you are thinking of traveling to Palawan, I recommend that you include 2 nights in Puerto Princesa before going to spend a few days in El Nido.

Puerto Princesa is considered one of the few green cities in the Philippines. The city has around 250,000 inhabitants and is surrounded by rural areas and beautiful beaches.

In this post I talk about the 10 best things to do in Puerto Princesa and I also add some travel tips so you can organize your hopping islands in the Philippines.

que hacer en Puerto Princesa, Palawan


1. Visit the center of Puerto Princesa, an essential thing to do in Palawan

Puerto Princesa is a fairly quiet city, although very populated. I recommend that you start your visit from Plaza Cuartel, which hides a cruel history behind it. This place was the scene of one of the hardest events that occurred during World War II and is a clear example of the atrocities that human beings can commit.

The Plaza Cuartel was a stronghold for American and Filipino soldiers in the year 1940. When the place was taken over by the Japanese, it was turned into a prison. The darkest event in its history dates back to 1944, when 154 American soldiers who were imprisoned in this place were burned alive. Only 11 managed to escape the flames.

In the square you will find several posters explaining what happened. This open-air museum is one of the essential places to see in Puerto Princesa, not only because of the beauty of the place, but also because of its significance.

The next stop is at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. A beautiful neoclassical church that was built on the remains of a previous temple built by the Spanish at the end of the 19th century.

Walking through the center you will find shops, cafes and restaurants. Also, today, there are still some beautiful colonial houses that you can visit from the outside.

If you want to learn a little more about the history of Palawan, you can visit the Palawan Special Battalion WW-II Memorial Museum. In this place you will find a sample of vehicles, weapons of all kinds, bombs and other war artifacts that show the fundamental role of the Philippines and the Palawean guerrillas in World War II. The entrance costs 50 PHP (0.89 EUR approx).

2. Take an excursion through the Underground River

Visiting the Puerto Princesa Underground River is an essential thing to do on any trip to the Philippines. The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River is considered one of the 7 natural wonders of the world and a World Heritage Site.

It is located in Sabang, about 80 km from the capital and within the national park with the same name. The river runs 25 km, of which the last 8 are completely underground. For this reason, it bears the distinction of being the longest underground river in the world.

The water course goes under a mountain range, through the cave of the underground river of San Pablo, to finally flow into the China Sea.

It is home to 800 species of plants, of which 300 are types of trees. In addition, there are about 195 species of birds, 30 mammals, 8 species of bats and 19 reptiles.

To visit the Río Subterraneo I recommend you book an excursion that includes transportation, entrance fees, a boat ride on the river, and a guide.

que hacer en Puerto Princesa, Palawan

3. Walk the Jungle Trail of Puerto Princesa

A complementary activity to the walk through the Underground River is the Jungle Trail, a path that goes from Sabang beach to the entrance to the river. The trail is 3.5 km long and must be traveled in the company of a tour guide, so it is necessary to add 200 PHP (approx. 3.55 EUR) to the visit to the Underground River. It is not possible to do it for free. During the tour you will enter a dense tropical forest, with more than 800 types of plants and a great diversity of animals. In addition, different karstic rock formations are appreciated and some caves that you can enter.

4. Enjoy Sabang beach

The long and paradisiacal beach of Sabang is perfect for disconnecting under the sun, the sea breeze and swimming in calm turquoise waters. It is a good area for snorkeling, you will be able to see a large amount of coral, colorful fish and even turtles. Near the beach there is a promenade with several bars and restaurants that offer fresh fish cooked to order and lobster at a very good price.

que hacer en Puerto Princesa, Palawan

5. Visit Honda Bay, one of the best things to do from Puerto Princesa

Honda Bay is one of the most beautiful places to see in Puerto Princesa. It is known for its white sand beaches, its coral reefs and its turquoise blue water. There you will find a series of islands, islets and sandbars that you can visit on a day trip. If your idea is to do a little diving and snorkeling, you will be lucky to discover the beauty of the marine ecosystem of Puerto Princesa.

The most popular islands to visit from Bahía Honda are Tabuan Island, Star Island and Luli Island.

One way to visit Bahía Honda is to book a full-day excursion by boat:

que hacer en Puerto Princesa, Palawan

6. Visit the Puerto Princesa Butterfly Farm

A different activity to do in Puerto Princesa is to visit the Palawan Butterfly Ecological Garden and Tribal Village, a butterfly farm that is located about 15 minutes from the city center.

On the farm there are several rural cabins, with hunting demonstrations by the indigenous inhabitants, musical instruments, work tools... it is a kind of "museum town" that shows their traditional way of life.

In the center there are different varieties of butterflies that live in a piece of the forest. They have grown in this environment, so they are not usually scared by the presence of tourists. In addition, not only butterflies can be seen, being in a natural environment, you can also see different insects, some snakes and animals native to the Philippines.

7. Diving with the whale shark, one of the most incredible things to do in the Philippines

Swimming with the biggest animal in the ocean was my dream for many years. I am a fan of diving and snorkeling and I dreamed of the moment when I could swim with the whale shark. My first experience was in Oslob (Cebu) and I repeated again in Puerto Princesa (Palawan) and in subsequent trips I have included Holbox, Baja California, Australia, Maldives... it has become a hobby for me to always add a swim with this wonder of animal if the country I am traveling to allows it.

Puerto Princesa is one of the few places in the world where you can swim with the whale shark with an 80% chance of seeing it.

There are several options to be able to swim with the whale shark. The excursions on official websites comply with the necessary regulations to be able to enjoy this wonder of an animal with the greatest respect. Not all agencies are like this, what's more, you can reserve boats at the foot of the coast that offer the same service, but they are illegal and do not respect the fauna of the area, polluting, getting too close to or even mistreating the sharks or dolphins in the area. zone. For what I recommend, book with one of these excursions that comply with the seal and current regulations:

The whale shark can measure more than 12 meters and weigh 20 tons. As soon as you get into the water, the dimensions double and the sensation is amazing. Although its dimensions are very impressive, the whale shark is completely harmless. It is a giant toothless fish that feeds mostly on plankton. Sightings are made from April to October and are limited to a certain number of people.

"In my Tik Tok account you have many videos from the Philippines
and swimming with the whale shark" @mia_caudet

que hacer en Puerto Princesa, Palawan

8. Visit the Puerto Princesa Crocodile Recovery Farm

The crocodile farm is about a 10 minute drive from the butterfly farm. This place is responsible for sheltering injured crocodiles and others considered dangerous for attacking humans. The center carries out research tasks for the conservation of these animals and other endangered species; at the same time that they are dedicated to the reproduction and subsequent release of the species in their natural habitat.

The entrance fee is 40 PHP, less than 1 EUR.

9. Enjoy Nagtabon Beach

Nagtabon beach is one of the most beautiful and unspoiled beaches on the island of Palawan. It is characterized by having a long and wide strip of white sand, with transparent turquoise waters teeming with colorful fish and sea turtles. In addition, its surroundings are full of vegetation, creating a very tropical atmosphere.

que hacer en Puerto Princesa, Palawan

10. Enjoy the gastronomy of Puerto Princesa

In the coastal cities of the Philippines, fresh fish and shellfish are eaten at a very good price. And + Puerto Princesa is no exception. One of the best things to do in the city and enjoy Filipino cuisine. I recommend that you go to the Night Market or Baywalk Night Market, where you can eat fresh cuisine at a very good price.

Another traditional Puerto Princesa dish is chao long. The history of this dish dates back to the time of the Vietnam War, when many Vietnamese came to Palawan after their ships sank. It was they who brought this typical Vietnamese food. Chao Long is a Vietnamese noodle soup that has been adapted to local Filipino products.


Getting to Puerto Princesa is easy. Being the capital of the island of Palawan, it has an international airport. And it has connections from different international cities and from a large part of the large islands of the Philippines.

The city also has a port where ferries arrive or a bus terminal that runs around the island (in case you arrive first at Nido or Port Barton).


If you plan to visit Palawan on your itinerary in the Philippines, I recommend spending 2 nights in Puerto Princesa. You have several options, from pensions or bed & breakfasts to 5-star hotels. You can stay for about 10 euros per person in pensions, and from 24 euros in 4-star hotels per person.

Some great accommodation options in Puerto Princesa:

que hacer en Puerto Princesa, Palawan



I hope you enjoy your trip to the Philippines very much and that this article has been useful to you. You can continue reading many more related articles on the blog.

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A hug and see you soon!


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