Being the main gateway to the beautiful island of Palawan, Philippines, most visitors skip Puerto Princesa, in a hurry to get to the the more popular town of El Nido. Some spend one or two nights in town to see the famous Subterranean River but if you have more time to explore, here are other things to do in Puerto Princesa to add to your itinerary.
Things to Do in Puerto Princesa
The best things to do in Puerto Princesa involve nature and the environment. It’s difficult to find fireflies nowadays and you would have to go to remote places to see them. Luckily, the ones in Puerto Princesa are quite accessible.
There are two places in town where you can watch fireflies. The one in Iwahig is usualy part of a packaged city tour and the other one is along the banks of Sicsican river. Once you get to the river, you will be transferred to paddle boats and taken along a stretch of mangroves where you will get a glimpse of the fireflies.
After of the Fall of South Vietnam, which ended the Vietnam War in 1975, Vietnamese refugees began arriving in Palawan where they were given aid and shelter. When the refugee program ended, the camp was eventually closed and some refugees returned to their home country. Others have decided to live outside of the camp and set up businesses around Palawan.
Viet Ville is what’s left of the old community and it is now a tourist attraction. You will find street names in Vietnamese and a noodle house that serves authentic pho.
Island-hopping, naturally, is a very popular activity in Palawan as it is surrounded by several tiny beautiful islands that are definitely worth exploring. Honda Bay is about 45 minutes from the city. It’s composed mainly of small islands with stunning white sand beaches. It’s a great tour for swimming and snorkelling.
Tabon Cave Complex
Tabon Cave is not exactly in Puerto Princesa but can be accessed from the city via car rental or public transportation. It’s in a town called Quezon, about 3 hours south of Puerto Princesa by public transport. You would need a boat to get to the caves.
It’s a must-visit for archaeology and anthropology enthusiasts as the park has been dubbed as the country’s cradle of civilisation. One of the oldest skeletal remains in the Philippines was discovered in one of the caves.
You can find more information about the Tabon Cave Complex on the National Musuem’s website.
About 2 hours from the city centre, the underground river or the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park has attracted the attention of tourists from all over the world. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is said to be the longest navigable river in the world at 8.2 kilometres. It’s part of a long underground river cave that passes through a mountain range and exits into the South China Sea.
This is the most popular one among our list of things to do in Puerto Princesa. It gets booked out really fast during peak season; especially during weekends. It is best to secure your slots at least a week before your preferred tour date.
Other things to do in Puerto Princesa include visiting the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center (Crocodile Farm) and the Baywalk where you can have a seafood feast!