Often referred to as the “Last Frontier,” Palawan is the Philippines’ most exotic, off the beaten path travel destination. It offers everything you could wish for in a tropical island adventure – deserted islands, stunning limestone cliffs, colorful coral reefs, misty mountains, plentiful wildlife, and is even home to one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.
While we would recommend hitting up every nook and cranny of this gorgeous island, we know time and budgets often don’t allow. Here is a list of Palawan’s best destinations – try to visit as many as you can!
Located in the northernmost part of the Palawan peninsula, Coron is only about an hour’s flight from Manila – but what a world of difference! This gorgeous place is blessed with limestone cliffs and misty mountains towering against the backdrop of pristine white beaches lining brilliant turquoise waters.
On top of all this, there is also unspoilt countryside, volcanic lakes, over 500 caves, and natural hot springs for you to explore. But what really gives Coron its travel cred is what it offers under its waters. Coron Town is a diver’s dream come true – it’s famous for its World War II wreck diving and the site has been named as one of the top dive spots in the world. Even if you’re not an advanced diver, Coron offers opportunities for you to explore its great marine diversity – its waters are teeming with marine life and all you have to do is put on a set of snorkels to explore!
The best-value in Coron is to hire yourself a pumpboat, which will cost around 1000PHP ($25USD) per day and holds up to eight people, and explore the nearby islands and dive spots.
Check out the top things to do while in Coron!
El Nido, Palawan
Although El Nido boasts beaches straight out of a Corona commercial, it’s much more than a simple tropical paradise. Located 238 kilometeres northwest of Palawan’s capital, El Nido is comprised of a total of 45 islands and islets, each with its own unique beauties.
The town of El Nido is the perfect jump-off point to the entire Bacuit Archipelago, with all its islands of unspoilt beauty.
Check out the must-see islands of El Nido!
Some of the islands are located fairly close to shore, within the confines of the gorgeous Bacuit Bay, which borders El Nido on one side. The other side of El Nido is composed of striking limestone cliffs. Swiftlets, small birds of the swift family, live in the crevices of these limestone cliffs and it is for their edible nests (“nido” in Spanish) that the town is named.
Despite being a tropical paradise, El Nido still has most of the creature comforts you’ve grown accustomed to back home. There’s cable TV (well, depending on your accommodation), Internet cafes, an array of international cuisine, and mobile phone service.
However, there is only 18 hours of electricity per day, no banks or ATM machines, and only a few places accept credit cards. Read our tips for traveling to El Nido so you’ll come prepared and ready to enjoy your time in paradise.
Because when it comes to natural beauty and range of opportunities to explore, El Nido really is heaven on earth. Check out the top things to do while in El Nido!
Port Barton, Palawan
When it comes to secluded beach getaways, you can’t go wrong with Port Barton, Palawan. Port Barton is a small coastal village in Palawan – it is low key, laid back and a true diamond in the rough. Not many travellers come around this way but the ones who do easily rank it as one of their top five favourite destinations in the Philippines.
Port Barton is a beach paradise – without the luxury multi-star hotels or any of the see-and-be-seen vibe. It offers a genuinely relaxed, friendly atmosphere and natural, unspoilt beauty that is becoming harder and harder to find in travel destinations these days. Click here for Port Barton travel tips!
Port Barton has its location to thank for its low-key status. Because the road leading to Port Barton has remained unpaved for years, this beautiful beachside village doesn’t suffer from hordes of tourists. Mostly, you’ll find backpackers and off-the-beaten-path travellers who seek the quiet beachside town for its relaxing rural vibe. But don’t take this to mean that Port Barton doesn’t have much to offer – there’s a lot of things to do in Port Barton apart from lazing on the beach!
Puerto Princesa, Palawan
Most travellers to Palawan stop by at Puerto Princesa for the simple reason that it houses the biggest airport in Palawan. If you’re looking for a beach getaway, you’ll probably want to quickly move on out to the other, beach-ier part of Palawan – but if you’re interested in exploring Palawan’s rich culture and history, Puerto Princesa is a great place to explore.
Puerto Princesa is one of the Philippines’ most beautiful and clean cities. It’s rich with Palawan culture and history and is a convenient jump-off point to exploring several popular tourist attractions such as the world-famous Underground River, Mitra’s Ranch, the Crocodile Farm, several hot springs, and more!
Sabang’s claim to fame is the world famous Underground River Palawan located in the Puerto Princesa subterranean river national park, now one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. Although the river is referred to as Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, Sabang is the entry point to the river.
Most travellers to Sabang are there to see the river and the river only, but Sabang also offers a few other worthy things to do!