Puerto Princesa has a significant ecosystem in Asia. It holds the flowing rivers, and rich flora and fauna. A holder of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Puerto Princesa is also a first class city. Puerto Princesa, as a city, has the largest land area in the Philippines. It also has a rich biodiversity. The city promotes eco-tourism to preserve the country’s riches and wonders. No wonder that the city is a popular tourist destination. The people and the island are worth visiting. Warm hospitality and magical destinations will leave you in awe. Here is a Puerto Princesa travel guide to get you started:
Puerto Princesa is a cultural marker in the Philippines. It holds a special and dear place in the hearts of Filipinos. The Spaniards first settled in the area, naming it after Princess Asuncion in 1864. Queen Isabella II changed the name into Puerto de la Princesa following Princess Asuncion’s death. Eventually, the name developed into Puerto Princesa. The Spanish Naval Operations settled in the area in 1872. Today, Puerto Princesa is a widely known tourist destination. Its popularity spiked after the Puerto Princesa Underground River was named as the New Seven Wonders of Nature.
Essential Info for Travelers + Projected Expenses
This Puerto Princesa travel guide provides projected expenses. In case you may want to venture into this sunny and breezy city, you should also know how, where, and what to spend on. First thing’s first. Here are some essential information for travelers:
Language: Puerto Princesa is home to indigenous communities. It has, therefore, a mixture of Filipino languages. Visayan languages are prominent as well. The communities, in addition, speak Tagalog and English.
Land Area: 2,381.02 km2
Currency: The currency, as used in the Philippines in general, is Philippine peso.
Money Exchange: There are banks, such as Banco de Oro, and local shops for money exchange. You can easily find this in Rizal Avenue.
Best time to travel: Summer is the best time to travel in the city. This is between January to April. Take note, however, that the population spikes during this period due to tourism.
Transportation: The city has tricycles, jeepneys, and boats to get you to the destination. In the inner parts, tricycles are able to venture.
Banks and ATM: There are banks such as Banco de Oro scattered in the city. Rizal Avenue holds most of the banks and ATM. Some ATMs also do money exchanges. Finding your budget around will be easy.
Transactions: Cash is the primary mode of exchange. Some establishments accept debit or credit cards, however, they are not too dominant. A vast majority in the transportation and tourism sector still use cash.
Getting to Puerto Princesa
You can go to Puerto Princesa via air travel or ferry. The Puerto Princesa Airport is accessed through airports in Manila, Davao, Iloilo, Clark, or Cebu. Fare ranges between 2,000 to 4,000 USD. Meanwhile, you can also choose to travel via ferry. There are trips from Manila to Puerto Princesa. One that offers such travels is 2Go Ferry. Meanwhile, fare via 2Go Ferry is approximately 2,000 to 3,000 USD. One you get to the station or the airport, tricycles may be sprawling. Take note, however, if the tricycle drivers don’t know your destination, they may refuse. Airport tricycle standard rate starts at Php 50. Meanwhile, tricycles in the city proper may charge Php 20. The fare depends on the location and the distance.
Projected Expenses: The hotel and the transportation will take much of the expenses. Depending on the hotel or accommodation you have, the expenses may either be cheap or high. Traveling within the city and getting to the destinations, meanwhile, would not cost as much. The safest overall budget is Php 10,000 to Php 15,000 for all the essentials: transportation, accommodation, and food. Some travelers on a budget could go as low as Php 6,000 to Php 10,000.
Things to do
Where do we start? There are tons of activities you can do in Puerto Princesa. This is why you need a Pueto Princesa travel guide. Once you set your foot on the magical ground, you could be overwhelmed. We have organized the best ways to spend time in Puerto Princesa. You can choose to do some eco-tourism independently. Or you can seek for an entire package (be sure to plan this ahead). A tour package would let you explore the tourist destinations in a systematic way. As an overview, here are popular tourist attractions:
Snorkel & scuba diving
When in Puerto Princesa, expect the wet and the sunny. It is all about swimming, snorkeling, and diving into the blue. Snorkeling and scuba diving are known activities in the city. The waters in Puerto Princesa offer rich biodiversity. Discover the Philippines’ wonders from the colorful reefs and corals.
Island hopping is done via Honda Bay. Along Honda Bay, there are plenty of boat rides waiting for tourists. They can take you from one island to another. Pambato Reef, Cowrie Island, and Luli Island are the usual stations. Each station has an affordable entrance fee below Php 100. Cowrie Island even has a restaurant with meals costing around Php 200 to 300.
Sight-Seeing & Firefly Watching
Puerto Princesa builds environmental awareness. The rich biodiversity speaks in volumes. Eco-tourism is essential to preserve nature and tourism at the same time. This is the purpose of sight-seeing. There are various attractions to pull the heartstrings. Here’s a summary:
City Tour: This takes you to notable spots in the city. It includes the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center, Iwahig Prison, and Palawan Museum. These attractions are accessible all day. At night, marvel in fine dining. The city has local restaurants to fall in love with. Drink, laugh, and converse with the locals.
Sunset at Puerto Princesa: At the dawn of sundown, expect the fireflies to frolick. Enjoy some firefly gazing at Puerto Princesa Bay. The fireflies come out to play during night time. They cake around the greens in the city. Nowadays, such sights are becoming more and more rare.
Mount Magarwak offers quite a view on the summit. You can oversee Puerto Princesa and Honda Bay. Mt. Magarwak is only north of Puerto Princesa. If you have that radiating energy, then why not spend it hiking. Hiking in Puerto Princesa will prove to be magical and satisfying.
Underground River Adventure
We have saved the best for last. Puerto Princesa Underground River is a cultural marker. Visitors have flocked to Palawan just to witness a gift of nature. There are tourist packages you can avail for the river adventure. If you can, please do not leave Puerto Princesa without paying a pilgrimage to its main star. Tourists have witnessed the artwork of the Higher Power, a Creator through the stalagmites and stalactites. The underground is a space to believe in nature’s powers that human hands could never copy.
The purpose of this section is to narrow down your options even more. You now know what to do in Puerto Princesa. The impending question – what makes these activities unique in Puerto Princesa?
Information on Tubbataha Reef is found only in a Puerto Princesa travel guide. Tubbataha Reef is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Puerto Princesa. It has been included as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are over 1000 species in the reef. Most of these species are already considered as endangered. It takes responsibility to visit the place. The visit would truly be worth it. It would be educational as well as enjoyable.
You may have already seen Honda bay in many Puerto Princesa travel guide pamphlets. It may have already been posted here many times. But what is Honda Bay? Simply put, Honda Bay is an array of beautiful islands. It is perfect for snorkeling. A worthy mention: an esteemed high-class resort is located in one of the islands. Be sure to check out Dos Palmas Resort in Arrecife Island.
This is actually only located near the Puerto Princesa Underground River. It is worth mentioning because it stands 75 feet. Not many limestones can stand that high. Aside from this, there are plenty of activities going about within the area. This includes zip lining.
Kamia Bay Inflatable Island
This is the biggest inflatable island to date in Asia. It is located at Binusalian Bay. This inflatable island is one of the newest attractions in Puerto Princesa. In addition, it also provides an eco-tour. Enjoying the inflatable island has a time limit, however. For instance, Php 300 amounts to 1 hour of enjoying the waterpark. The management offers different rates on packages. Eco-tourism, waterpark access, and with buffet for instance, amounts to Php 788.
Getting to Tibag Falls takes 2 hours. Tibag Falls is located in Bacungan. It takes a bus ride, north-bound to get there. What makes this destination worthy? It is a beautiful and eye-catching waterfall. The cold water and the fragrance of unpolluted air are enticing enough.
Staying in Puerto Princesa is convenient. The city offers a variety of options from affordable to executive. Puerto Princesa is an esteemed tourist spot. You can be assured that it has competitive accommodations. While there is a whole range to choose from, this Puerto Princesa travel guide has picked four of the best.
Sheridan Beach Resort and Spa
One of the best resorts to date in the entirety of Palawan. This is located near Puerto Princesa. It has a selection of rooms with competitive services to fit executive needs. It is dominantly Asian-inspired. Take note that this is also a four-star hotel. Services are high-class and 100% satisfying. The resort offers a variety of amenities, including a spa service.
Location: Sabang Beach, Sabang, Puerto Princesa, Palawan Island
Canvas Boutique Hotel
If you want convenience, then this hotel makes the right call. It is located near the airport. It features a unique contemporary style. There is even a swimming pool in the common space outside. This hotel is meant to combine affordability and style. The interior is modern and calming. Furniture and rooms are consistent in the theme. Amenities are meant to make visitors comfortable as well.
Location: San Juan Road Brgy San Miguel, Puerto Princesa
Princesa Garden Island Resort & Spa
This location is perfect for anyone hoping for some peace and quiet. It is near the airport. Easily accessible, it is away from the city noises. It is perfect for honeymoons and executive meetings. The resort also includes a chapel.
Location: Canuigaran St., Puerto Princesa
This establishment offers affordable stays. It enables you to focus on what truly matters. Spend more on the adventures. Let the accommodation be more lowkey. Hotel Suites offer great affordable princes. It is best for group vacations and travels. The rooms are neat and clean. They are provided with essential amenities.
Location: Barangay San Manuel, Puerto Princesa
Puerto Princesa combines western and local cuisine. The population has diversified to engage different palates. There are plenty of restaurants offering local and western dishes.
This restaurant features local dishes, focusing on seafood. Seafood is served fresh and well-cooked with natural flavors on a platter. They are not only fresh and authentic. The meals are also healthy. This restaurant is situated in a mangrove forest, giving you that feeling. It is located at Abueg Road.
Scenery – check! Beer – check! Location – check! Authentic flavors – check! This restaurant is worth trying. It hits the right spot when you want a hearty meal and some good old-fashioned beer. One of the specialities includes the freshly-eaten wood-dwelling mollusk. This is very accessible, located at Rizal Avenue.
One cannot simply walk into Ka Lui. You need a reservation, more often than not. That is – if you want to secure your spot. This is the most popular restaurant in Puerto Princesa. It serves authentic, high-quality seafood dishes. The ingredients and flavors are not usually found anywhere else. This restaurant has a unique style in cooking seafood dishes, turning each one into their specialities. It is located in Rizal Avenue.
This Puerto Princesa travel guide has advanced some earlier speculations about the city. It provides a summary on the best hotel accommodations and notable restaurants. The activities to do are aligned with the tourist destinations. There are so many things you can do in Puerto Princesa. Planning ahead is important. You can use this Puerto Princesa travel guide as a reference. From the activities to the attractions, it is important to lead your feet. In Puerto Princesa, anything can happen. It is a wonderful and magical city, worthy to be in the list of the most traveled destinations. Interested in more travel destinations? Check out our other picks in Which Island to Visit in the Philippines? Here are 10 Stunning Choices!