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If you’re like me, you flew onto the island of Palawan with an entire day to kill before your tour to the Subterranean River National Park. Or, by its more popular name, Palawan’s Underground River.
While most visitors come to Puerto Princesa for attractions outside the city, some unique attractions in the town of Puerto Princesa itself are definitely worth a visit.
Puerto Princesa is a coastal city on Palawan Island in the Philippines. Located on the western corner of Palawan, this city is the main hub for flights visiting the island and boats.
Puerto Princesa is most famously known for its boat trips through the massive limestone caves and underground river in Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park.
Today, Puerto Princesa is a tourist city with many beach resorts and seafood restaurants. Also interesting to know, the city has been acclaimed as the cleanest and greenest city in the Philippines.
Very few international flights fly directly into the Puerto Princesa airport. You will most likely need to take a domestic flight coming from either Cebu or Manila international airports.
There are also ferries that operate from Manila to Puerto Princesa via the Superferry. Generally, these boats take well over a day (22-24 hours in duration) to reach Puerto Princesa. Also, depending on the time of year and weather, it may not be the safest method to travel.
Unless you have an entire day to kill on your vacation, my advice is to take a short domestic flight to Puerto Princesa Airport.
If you’re someone who enjoys learning about the history of the places you visit, you won’t want to miss exploring Plaza Cuartel in Puerto Princesa.
This park is dedicated to a dark, war-stricken time in the Philippines. The plaza itself was once a base for American and Filipino soldiers before the Japanese invasion in World War II. During the war, this park was once a prison where American and Filipino soldiers were detained and evidently killed.
Not only will you see prison remains and stone murals, but you’ll also see beautiful gardens and water fountains lining the grounds. In fact, this park has been landscaped so beautifully that it is now a popular location for the Filipino locals to bring a date!
The Plaza Cuartel is located just across from the Immaculate Conception Cathedral and Rizal Park. There is a small entrance fee of 50 PHP (just under 1 USD).
The Immaculate Conception Cathedral is one of the first places we visited when touching down in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. This century-old building is a marvelous church that is definitely worth viewing if you have a day in Puerto Princesa.
Though small in stature, it’s brought to life with pure-white colored walls, red velvet carpets, and beautifully crafted decorations on the walls. It’s free to visit, but the church does accept donations.
The Immaculate Conception Cathedral is located just right across the street from the Plaza Cuartel. We just showed up to the church and were able to take a self-guided tour, but it is recommended to book a tour in advance as the church holds mass service several times a day.
If you’re looking for something to do in the evening, take a stroll down Baywalk Park by the United States Embassy. The walking path is just over a mile long and stretches along a beautiful waterfront. It’s located next to the Puerto Princesa Cultural Center.
In the area, you will find plenty of quirky cafes and street food vendors to enjoy as well!
Pretty much anywhere you go in the Philippines, you’re bound to find some delicious food, and Puerto Princesa is no exception! This city has quite the selection of local eateries to choose from, so you’ll never run out of options.
A couple of local eateries with delicious food are:
These restaurants can also serve up a pretty cocktail too!
Palawan has a plethora of dogs and puppies, and this is true for all of the Philippines as well. Many hotels and guest houses will house and take care of these cute animals.
Our hotel had four dogs who were all super playful and sweet! The hotel let us take them on walks around the neighborhood and feed and play with them!
It was a breath of fresh air to see these animals actually taken care of and not rummaging through the streets looking for scraps.
Uncover Puerto Princesa, Palawan’s wildlife from an up-close and personal perspective.
At The Palawan Rescue and Wildlife Conservation Centre, also known as the Crocodile Farm, explore eight acres filled with hundreds of crocodiles. You’ll encounter two species, saltwater & freshwater, both of which conservation efforts are underway.
You’ll also visit a mini zoo plus a dedicated hatchling house where you can actually pet baby crocs! Learn more about these majestic creatures while visiting the skeletal exhibit or feeding adult ones in their swamp enclosure!
Hostel Privado: as low as $9 per night
GUNI GUNI Hostel: as low as $9 per night
Blue Lagoon Inn & Suites: as low as $19 per night
Deep Forest Garden Hotel: as low as $20 per night
Costa Palawan Resort: as low as $55 per night
Hibiscus Garden Inn: as low as $72 per night
Sheridan Beach Resort and Spa: as low as $78 per night
Daluyon Beach and Mountain Resort: as low as $104 per night
Princesa Garden Island Resort and Spa: as low as $139 per night
Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is a must-see for any traveler to the city.
This extensive cave system has earned its place among UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites and New7Wonders of Nature, offering stunning limestone karst formations, lush forests, impressive stalactites, and stalagmites—plus an 8.2-kilometer underground river!
The best way to explore this natural wonder is by joining a boat tour. Enjoy a safe journey as you strap into your lifejacket and pop in headphones to listen to informative audio guides. Keep your eyes peeled for fascinating creatures such as bats, birds, and reptiles that may inhabit this glorious wonder of nature!
With El Nido and Coron often taking center stage, Puerto Princesa has remained somewhat of a hidden gem.
Many people are unaware that this city has one of the top tourist attractions in The Philippines! Honda Bay offers spectacular white sand beaches alongside an abundance of marine life; making it among the must-see destinations if you’re visiting Puerto Princesa.
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