Must See Destinations in Palawan Mainland

Published at January 30, 2020

Located in the Sulu Sea of the Philippines, Palawan is a must-see for visitors wanting to experience the best of the tropical regions. Palawan is a province with a unique ecological frontier. This tropical paradise has plenty of diving, fishing opportunities, and natural features, such as the Tubbataha Reef Marine Park.

Best Destination In Palawan

Puerto Princesa

1. Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park

Puerto Princesa Subterranean Park is a protected area of the Philippines located north of the heart of the beautiful city of Puerto Princesa, Palawan. This dazzling river is one of the best tourist spots in the Philippines, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

Enjoy underground river adventures such as jaw-dropping caves, limestone cliffs, calm turquoise waters, hundred-year-old trees, and distinctive wildlife. Exploring the secret underground river is the best time when the season is dry and warm (November to May).

As much as possible, avoid typhoons or wet seasons if you want your Underground River dreams to come true.

To go to Puerto Princesa's Underground River from Sabang (a small village located on the western coast of Palawan), you will have to travel to Puerto Princesa through the land. Once you reach the port, you will board a small boat to get you to Sabang Beach (the entry point to the underground cave). Here are some ways to travel by land:

  • By Public Bus or Jeepneys

At the San Jose Terminal, you will see non-air-conditioned buses and jeepneys heading toward the Sabang Port. Please check departure times with the terminal.

Note: Jeepneys will not leave until all seats are filled. Travel time is about three hours, including stopovers. 

  • Hiring Private Companies

Private air-conditioned vans are also available. Transportation time from Puerto Princessa to Sabang is less than two hours.

Nearby Attractions 

  • Sabang

After your glorious tour into the unknown, you should discover the beauty of Palawan even further. With tons of fun activities, make your Palawan vacation even more exciting. Explore Puerto Princesa Beaches, Monkey Trails, Sabang X-Zipline, and take a local food tour. Immerse yourself with the Filipino culture and dive deep into the Filipino fun. These activities are perfect for families and couple bonding!

2. Honda Bay Tour

Honda Bay is a bay on the eastern shore of the island of Palawan. It is best to take a city tour into Honda Bay and see the many small islands are scattered in the bay. These islands have various diving and snorkeling sites where you can take an underwater adventure and see the beauty of the marine ecosystem yourself. Pick which islands you want to visit. Here are a few islands offered to tour:

  • Starfish Island- known for its rock starfish and a cool sandbar.
  • Cowrie Island- known for cowrie shells, its luxurious cabanas, and spa huts.
  • Luli Island- known for its beautiful sandbar that almost forms a perfect circle during the low tide. 
  • Pandan- take a tour on this private island with white sand and good snorkeling. 

There are also many places to dine and buy local souvenirs ethnically made by the local Filipino people. With skilled services such as relaxing massages by the beach, this is a perfect trip for some couples and family fun. And it is safe to say that you are in paradise!

3. Nagtabon Beach

Nagtabon Beach is one of the unspoiled beaches in Palawan, with fine white sand, turquoise water, and tall palm trees that shade the area- a relaxing beach day is what you need! Nagtabon Beach is 30 kilometers away from Puerto Princesa City.

The best way to get here is to ride a motorbike or tricycle (45 minutes-1 hour). Once you arrive, take a stroll through the beach and bask in the glory of the sun. It is peaceful and is perfect for some alone time, some family time, work relaxations, and couple bonding!

North Palawan

1. El Nido

Get your sun-kissed adventure in the islands of El Nido. This paradise is blessed with white sand, bright blue waters, vibrant coral reefs, and unique limestone formations. Yes, the glorious El Nido is the gateway of the Bacuit Archipelago and houses about 45 islets. 

The best month to visit El Nido- is when it is dry and full of fun (January - April). There are lots of fun things to do in El Nido. Go island-hopping, trek up cliffs, scuba dive, zip line, go shopping, and join in the lively party scene every night. Either way, it is never boring.

Because it is always fun in the Philippines! There are so many beaches in the town of El Nido. Here are some beaches that top the list:

  • Nacpan Beach

Nacpan Beach is a 4-km coast of cream-colored sand, coconut trees, a tiny fishing village, and clear aqua blue water with cute but surf-able waves. It is a 17 km ride north from El Nido town and is one of the most beautiful beaches in El Nido.

On Nacpan Beach, you will find resto-bars, souvenir shops, or go boat sailing and see Calitang Beach (Nacpan Beach’s twin beach)

  • Lio Beach

Lio Beach is a strip of neat coastline, bright blue waters, a whole load of palm trees, and delicious coconuts. Lively with music playing in the background from all the restaurants and bars and a glorious blanket of clear blue skies, Lio beach is worth visiting.

Lio Beach is accessible and is 15 minutes away from El Nido town (by tricycle). There are many luxurious hotels too so do not worry about convenience! 

  • Sibaltan & San Fernando

Sibaltan & San Fernando are located on the eastern side of Palawan. It is also a peaceful and sleepy small town with cute roads, some grocery store, a local church, a basketball court, and a fantastic museum in this remote area.

These two places are mostly just for a few hour visitations from El Nido center and to enjoy kitesurfing, scuba diving, island hopping, kayaking and are not a crowded area.

  • Port Barton

Port Barton is a quieter and less crowded version of El Nido. But still offer beautiful beaches and islands that will fulfill your tropical holiday dream. Port Barton’s main beach is Itay Itay and is filled with rustic accommodation such as beach cottages, restaurants, and bars. Although the waters around Port Barton’s Itay Itay are not ideal for swimming.

There are other nicer beaches to explore nearby such as Pamuayan Beach, White Beach, Paradise Island, Exotic Island, and German Island.

  • San Vicente Beach

The beauty of San Vicente is stunning and is home to the longest beach in the Philippines. This beach is surrounded by lush forests, many islets, majestic waterfalls, enchanting mangroves, and a diverse landscape of flora and fauna. You can do many activities here such as trekking to nearby Waterfalls (like Bigaho or Pamuayan falls), go turtle watching, scuba diving, surfing, and sky diving.

  • Taytay 

Taytay is located on the north-eastern coast of Palawan and is a perfect, secluded, and private escape. Known as “Estrella Del Norte” (Star of the North), Taytay is one of Palawan’s oldest municipalities and was also the first capital city of the province.

Taytay is a place of rich history and culture. Blessed with white sand beaches, hidden lagoons, secret caves, and cliffs- it is a beautiful place to rediscover. 

During your stay, you should discover what the area has to offer. Go on an exploration across the city. And do not forget to visit Fort Santa Isabel (a 17th-century Spanish fortress) and Manguao Lake (the only freshwater lake in Palawan & perfect for birdwatching) on your way!

South Palawan

1. Balabac 

Balabac is a 2nd class municipality in Palawan, Philippines. And has many untouched Virgin Islands, blessed with beautiful beaches and mesmerizing sea views. You should take time to visit the Camiaran “Pink” Island for some unique coral pink sand, take a swim at Onuk island, snorkel under the sapphire waters of Sicsican Island and Nasubata Reef or climb to the top of Cape Melville Lighthouse and see the world before your eyes!

2. Narra

Narra is a 1st class municipality in Palawan, Philippines. It is most loved for its untouched nature, incredible biodiversity, glorious natural landscapes, stunning mountains, and exotic species of flora and fauna.

Narra is blessed with incredible venues so don’t forget to stop by Mount Victoria (one of the most scenic mountains in Palawan), swim in the rejuvenating waters of Estrella Falls, birdwatch in Rasa Island (find the endangered Philippine Red–Vented Cockatoo) and dive deep in Arena Island to discover the nesting site of green and Hawksbill turtles.

3. Quezon, Palawan

Quezon is a 1st class municipality of Palawan and is regarded as the cradle of Philippine civilization. Quezon, Palawan is home to the famous Tabon Caves, where the remains of the fossilized Tabon Man (caveman), jewelry, and earthenware dating back almost 50,000 years were discovered!

Hire an expert tour guide and immerse yourself in the rich culture and archaeological history of the Philippines.

When you enter one of the many cave chambers, travel back in time and rediscover the earliest humans to set foot in Palawan. With ancient artifacts, burial jars, old wooden tools, and limestone inscriptions on cave walls. The Tabon Caves is an experience like no other.

Also, catch a glimpse of wild bats, birds, and other animals that shelter in the caves and take a dip out the pristine waters outside the cave!

Note: If you want to travel from Puerto Princesa City to see Tabon Caves, it will take 4 hours by land, followed by a boat ride of 45 minutes to reach.

Now that you have a complete guide for your Palawan trip. Make sure to take some cool photos because it is downright gorgeous!

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