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Must-See Places In Palawan, Philippines


by Aviva Bassett



Welcome to Palawan, the tropical paradise of the Philippines! With its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and stunning natural landscapes, Palawan is a must-visit destination for travelers seeking an unforgettable getaway. Located in the westernmost part of the country, Palawan is an archipelago made up of more than 1,700 islands, each offering its own unique charm and beauty.


Palawan has gained international recognition for its incredible beauty and has been consistently ranked as one of the best islands in the world. Its alluring attractions have captured the hearts of both locals and tourists alike, making it a sought-after destination for nature lovers, beach enthusiasts, and adventure seekers.


From the breathtaking limestone cliffs of El Nido to the mesmerizing underground river in Puerto Princesa, Palawan offers a plethora of unforgettable experiences. Whether you’re exploring the diverse marine life in Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park or soaking up the sun on the stunning beaches of Balabac Island, Palawan truly has something for everyone.


Palawan’s capital, Puerto Princesa, serves as the gateway to many of the island’s top attractions. The famous Puerto Princesa Underground River, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a must-see for those fascinated by nature’s wonders. This underground river, known for its limestone karst formations, is considered one of the longest navigable underground rivers in the world.


El Nido, located in the northern part of Palawan, is another highlight of the island. Known for its picturesque landscapes, El Nido boasts powdery white beaches, crystal-clear lagoons, and towering limestone cliffs. Explore the vibrant marine life while snorkeling in the Bacuit Bay or take a boat tour to the enchanting Small and Big Lagoons.


Coron, an island municipality in the northern part of Palawan, is a diver’s paradise. Its turquoise waters house an underwater world teeming with coral reefs and shipwrecks. Dive into the depths and discover the Japanese shipwrecks of World War II or soak in the therapeutic waters of Maquinit Hot Springs.


As you venture further off the beaten path, you’ll discover hidden gems like Port Barton, a tranquil beach town surrounded by lush forests and unspoiled beaches. Experience the laid-back vibe, swim in the calm waters, and savor the fresh seafood that Port Barton has to offer.


For the adventurous souls, Balabac Island beckons with its untouched beauty. Known for its secluded beaches and rich biodiversity, Balabac is a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts. Get up close and personal with exotic animals at the Calauit Safari Park, a game reserve home to various African and endemic Palawan species.


Whether you’re seeking adventure or simply looking to unwind on stunning beaches, Palawan promises an unforgettable experience. From exploring the diverse marine life to immersing in the rich culture of its local communities, Palawan offers a glimpse into the natural wonders and warm hospitality that the Philippines is known for. Prepare to be captivated by the beauty of Palawan as you embark on an extraordinary journey through its idyllic islands and enchanting landscapes.


El Nido

Situated in the northern part of Palawan, El Nido is a tropical paradise that will leave you in awe of its breathtaking beauty. Known for its dramatic limestone cliffs, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and pristine white sandy beaches, El Nido is a must-visit destination for beach lovers and nature enthusiasts.


El Nido is famous for its stunning island-hopping tours, which allow visitors to explore the remarkable beauty of Bacuit Bay. Hop on a boat and embark on a journey to discover hidden lagoons, secret beaches, and towering limestone formations. Explore the enchanting Small and Big Lagoons, where you can kayak through crystal-clear waters surrounded by towering limestone walls. Snorkeling in the vibrant coral reefs of Bacuit Bay is a must-do activity for marine life enthusiasts. Get up close and personal with colorful schools of fish, sea turtles, and other exotic marine creatures.


For adventure seekers, El Nido offers activities such as cliff diving and rock climbing. Test your bravery as you leap off towering cliffs into the pristine waters below or conquer the challenging rock formations that offer breathtaking views of the surrounding islands.


If you’re looking for a more relaxed experience, El Nido is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the Philippines. Spend a day on the picture-perfect Nacpan Beach, where you can soak up the sun, swim in the clear waters, and enjoy a delicious beachside barbecue. Alternatively, visit Las Cabanas Beach, a tranquil stretch of sand offering panoramic views of the ocean and nearby islands. Don’t miss the chance to catch a mesmerizing sunset at Corong-Corong Beach, where the sky lights up with vibrant hues of orange and pink.


For those seeking a cultural experience, take a trip to El Nido Town and immerse yourself in the local Filipino way of life. Explore the bustling market filled with fresh produce and local handicrafts, or try some traditional Filipino cuisine at one of the local restaurants.


With its stunning natural beauty, vibrant marine life, and array of activities, El Nido offers a truly unforgettable experience for travelers. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or simply a chance to connect with nature, El Nido is a destination that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.


Puerto Princesa Underground River

Located in the capital city of Palawan, the Puerto Princesa Underground River is a natural wonder that should not be missed. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is renowned for its unique limestone karst landscapes and the fascinating underground river that flows through it.


The Puerto Princesa Underground River, also known as the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, boasts a 8.2-kilometer-long underground river system that is one of the longest navigable underground rivers in the world. It is a marvel of nature, with its grandiose rock formations, stalagmites, and stalactites that have been formed over millions of years.


To explore this magnificent underground river, visitors can take a guided tour through the river’s caves on a paddleboat. As you glide through the emerald waters, you will be awestruck by the natural formations, including the Cathedral Cave and its impressive stalagmites resembling religious icons. Keep an eye out for various species of bats, macaques, and other wildlife that call the underground river their home.


The Puerto Princesa Underground River is not only a natural wonder, but it is also rich in biodiversity. The surrounding national park is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including rare species of birds, reptiles, and plants. The conservation efforts to protect this unique ecosystem have contributed to the recognition of the area as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Aside from the underground river, the national park offers a multitude of activities for nature lovers. Hike through the lush rainforests and discover cascading waterfalls, limestone cliffs, and panoramic viewpoints. Take a dip in the refreshing waters of Sabang Beach or explore the mangrove forests on a paddleboard.


For a unique and unforgettable experience, you can also opt for a night tour of the Puerto Princesa Underground River. Witness the cave come alive with millions of twinkling fireflies, creating a magical ambiance. This is a truly enchanting experience that will leave you in awe of nature’s beauty.


Visiting the Puerto Princesa Underground River is a journey into a hidden world of natural wonders. From its majestic rock formations to its rich biodiversity, this underground river is a testament to the awe-inspiring beauty that lies within Palawan. Don’t miss the chance to explore this captivating site and experience the wonder of the Puerto Princesa Underground River.



Nestled in the northern part of Palawan, Coron is a tropical paradise that offers a unique blend of natural beauty and captivating history. Known for its stunning landscapes, crystal-clear waters, and abundant marine life, Coron is a haven for divers and outdoor enthusiasts.


Coron is home to some of the most breathtaking diving spots in the Philippines. Dive into the depths of Coron Bay and explore the mesmerizing underwater world filled with vibrant coral reefs, colorful fish, and fascinating shipwrecks. The remnants of World War II Japanese shipwrecks, such as the famous Irako and Okikawa Maru, provide a captivating experience for divers and history enthusiasts alike.


For those seeking a more relaxed experience, the clear waters surrounding Coron are perfect for snorkeling and swimming. Immerse yourself in the vibrant coral gardens of Siete Pecados or take a dip in the crystal-clear waters of Kayangan Lake, often referred to as the cleanest lake in the Philippines. Don’t forget to hike up to the viewpoint for a stunning panoramic view of the surrounding islands and turquoise waters.


Coron is not just about underwater adventures; it also offers captivating on-land attractions. Take a trek to the picturesque Twin Lagoon, where two turquoise lagoons are nestled between towering limestone cliffs. Swim through a small opening in the rocks to discover the hidden lagoon within. Explore the magical Malcapuya Island, famous for its long stretch of powdery white sand and pristine waters that rival the beauty of more famous beaches in the country.


For a taste of local culture and history, visit Coron Town and its charming market. Try some delicious local delicacies, browse through handmade souvenirs, or discover the fascinating history of Coron at the Coron Museum.


As the sun sets in Coron, treat yourself to a relaxing dip in the Maquinit Hot Springs. Nestled amidst lush greenery, these natural hot springs are the perfect place to unwind and rejuvenate after a day of exploration. Let the warm waters soothe your muscles and enjoy the peaceful ambiance of the surroundings.


Coron’s natural beauty, rich history, and abundance of outdoor activities make it a must-visit destination for travelers to Palawan. Whether you’re diving amidst shipwrecks, exploring hidden lagoons, or simply basking in the beauty of its beaches, Coron promises an unforgettable adventure that will leave you with memories to cherish for a lifetime.


Port Barton

Tucked away on the northwest coast of Palawan, Port Barton is a hidden gem that offers a serene and idyllic beach getaway. With its untouched beauty, crystal-clear waters, and lush forests, Port Barton is the perfect destination for those seeking tranquility and natural beauty.


Port Barton boasts pristine white sandy beaches and a laid-back ambiance, making it an ideal place to relax and unwind. The main beach in Port Barton offers a picturesque setting with clear turquoise waters, swaying palm trees, and hammocks for ultimate relaxation. Spend your days lounging under the sun, swimming in the crystal-clear waters, or simply taking in the breathtaking views of the ocean.


Explore the vibrant coral reefs and diverse marine life through snorkeling or diving. Join a boat tour and visit nearby islands for snorkeling excursions in untouched reefs teeming with colorful fish and coral formations. Discover the vibrant underwater world of German Island, Inaladelan Island, and Exotic Island, where you can swim alongside turtles and encounter schools of tropical fish.


For those seeking adventure, Port Barton offers opportunities for kayaking, paddleboarding, and island-hopping. Take a kayak and paddle through peaceful mangrove forests, or hop on a boat and explore the nearby islands such as Paradise Island and Pamuayan Waterfalls. Experience the thrill of cliff jumping at White Beach or hike through lush green jungles to reach the stunning Pamuayan Waterfalls.


Experience the local culture and immerse yourself in the warm hospitality of the locals in Port Barton. Visit the local fishing village and see firsthand the traditional way of life. Sample delicious seafood caught fresh from the ocean and feast on local delicacies such as grilled fish and kinilaw (a Filipino ceviche).


Port Barton is also a gateway to the nearby wildlife sanctuaries and natural wonders. Embark on an adventure to discover the wonders of the Underground River in nearby Sabang or witness the fascinating wildlife at the Calauit Safari Park, where you can come face-to-face with giraffes, zebras, and other exotic animals.


Escape the crowds and discover the serene beauty of Port Barton. With its unspoiled beaches, abundant marine life, and laid-back charm, Port Barton is a slice of paradise that will truly capture your heart and leave you with unforgettable memories.


Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park

Situated in the Sulu Sea, Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is a marine sanctuary and UNESCO World Heritage Site that is regarded as one of the best diving destinations in the world. It is a haven for marine biodiversity, boasting stunning coral reefs, pristine waters, and a wide variety of marine life.


Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is home to two atolls, namely North Atoll and South Atoll, which are surrounded by extensive coral reefs. These reefs are renowned for their vibrant colors and diverse marine ecosystems. With more than 360 species of coral and 600 species of fish, including sharks, turtles, and manta rays, Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park offers unparalleled opportunities for diving enthusiasts and underwater photographers.


Exploring the underwater world of Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is like entering a different realm. As you descend into the clear blue waters, you’ll be greeted by walls of coral, canyons, and caves teeming with marine life. Get up close and personal with schools of colorful fish, spot majestic sea turtles gracefully swimming, and admire the intricate beauty of the coral formations.


Due to its remote location and strict regulations, Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park remains relatively untouched and pristine. Accessible only by liveaboard diving trips during the diving season from March to June, the park offers a sense of exclusivity and tranquility.


Aside from diving, Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is also a sanctuary for many bird species. It serves as a nesting site for some rare bird species such as the Red-footed Booby and the Masked Booby. Bird enthusiasts can witness these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat during their breeding season.


As a protected marine area, Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park plays a crucial role in conservation efforts and maintaining the health of marine ecosystems. The park’s initiatives in sustainability and preservation contribute to the long-term viability of the region’s marine life and ensure future generations can enjoy its wonders.


If you’re a diving enthusiast or simply appreciate the beauty of marine life, Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is a must-visit destination. Embark on a diving expedition to explore this underwater paradise and witness the breathtaking beauty of the coral reefs and marine biodiversity. It is truly an experience that will leave you in awe and inspire a profound appreciation for the wonders of the ocean.


Honda Bay

Located just a short distance from Puerto Princesa, Honda Bay is a picturesque bay dotted with stunning islands and crystal-clear waters. This tropical paradise is a popular destination for island-hopping tours, offering visitors a chance to explore its pristine beaches, vibrant marine life, and captivating landscapes.


Embark on an island-hopping adventure and discover the beauty of Honda Bay’s islands. One of the most popular stops is Pandan Island, known for its powdery white sand beach and vibrant coral reefs. Snorkel in its clear waters and marvel at the colorful marine life. Another must-visit island is Starfish Island, named for its abundant population of starfish. Enjoy the thrill of swimming alongside these fascinating creatures and bask in the beauty of the island’s sandy shores.


For those seeking tranquility, Luli Island is the perfect destination. It is named after its unique feature – “lulubog lilitaw,” meaning “sink and appear.” Luli Island disappears during high tide, only to reemerge during low tide. Relax on its secluded beach, swim in its calm waters, and simply enjoy the serenity of the surroundings.


Not to be missed is Cowrie Island, an idyllic getaway with its powdery white sand beach and turquoise waters. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the shoreline, indulge in water activities such as kayaking or simply lounge in the sun with a refreshing drink in hand.


Honda Bay is not only about beaches and island-hopping; it is also home to a diverse marine ecosystem. Explore the underwater world through snorkeling or diving, and be mesmerized by the vibrant coral gardens and the myriad of colorful fish swimming beneath the waves. Discover the fascinating marine biodiversity that calls this bay home, including clownfish, sea turtles, and rays.


After a day of exploration, indulge in a sumptuous seafood feast at one of the floating restaurants in Honda Bay. Feast on freshly caught grilled fish, shrimps, crabs, and other delights while enjoying the breathtaking views of the bay.


With its stunning islands, incredible marine life, and tranquil atmosphere, Honda Bay is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and beach enthusiasts. Whether you’re snorkeling in its clear waters, basking in the sun on its pristine beaches, or simply taking in the beauty of the surrounding landscapes, Honda Bay offers a tropical escape that will leave you with unforgettable memories.


Sabang Beach

Situated on the western coast of Palawan, Sabang Beach is a hidden gem known for its tranquil atmosphere, stunning natural beauty, and proximity to the renowned Puerto Princesa Underground River. With its pristine sandy shores, crystal-clear waters, and lush green surroundings, Sabang Beach is the perfect escape for those seeking relaxation and natural wonders.


A visit to Sabang Beach is not complete without exploring the world-famous Puerto Princesa Underground River, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Embark on a boat tour and venture into the underground river’s mystical caves, marveling at the impressive rock formations and ancient stalactites and stalagmites. As you navigate through the pitch-black darkness, accompanied by the eerie sounds of water droplets, you’ll understand why this natural wonder is hailed as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature.


Aside from the underground river, Sabang Beach offers opportunities for outdoor activities and recreational pursuits. Rent a kayak or paddleboard and navigate the calm waters, discovering hidden coves and secret beaches along the coastline. Take a leisurely stroll along the shore, feeling the soft sand between your toes as you enjoy the serenity and breathtaking views.


For nature lovers, the surrounding area of Sabang Beach is a haven for wildlife and lush flora. Embark on a mangrove paddleboat tour through the lush mangrove forest teeming with life. Spot various bird species, including kingfishers and herons, and get a glimpse of the diverse ecosystem that thrive in this habitat.


If you’re feeling adventurous, explore the nearby Sabang Zipline, which offers an exhilarating ride over the treetops and stunning views of the jungle and coastline. Feel the adrenaline rush as you soar through the air, taking in the beauty of the landscapes below.


After a day of exploring, treat yourself to a seafood feast at one of the beachfront restaurants in Sabang. Indulge in freshly caught fish, succulent prawns, and other regional delicacies while enjoying the scenic ocean views and gentle sea breeze.


Whether you’re immersing yourself in the natural wonders of the Puerto Princesa Underground River or simply unwinding on the peaceful shores of Sabang Beach, this hidden paradise offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. With its natural beauty and serene atmosphere, Sabang Beach is a destination that will leave you feeling refreshed and awestruck by the wonders of Palawan.


Balabac Island

Tucked away in the southernmost part of Palawan, Balabac Island is a remote and pristine paradise that offers untouched beauty and exceptional biodiversity. Known for its secluded beaches, vibrant coral reefs, and lush rainforests, Balabac Island is a true hidden gem for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers.


Balabac Island is famous for its breathtaking beaches, each more stunning than the last. White sand beaches, such as Onuk Island and Punta Sebaring, offer postcard-perfect settings with crystal-clear turquoise waters and powdery white sand. Immerse yourself in the serenity of these secluded beaches, bask in the sun, and swim in the warm waters surrounded by stunning natural beauty.


The island also boasts a rich marine ecosystem, making it a haven for diving and snorkeling. Dip beneath the waves and discover vibrant coral gardens teeming with a kaleidoscope of tropical fish, turtles, and other marine creatures. One of the highlights for divers is the nearby Bugsuk Island, where you can experience the thrill of swimming with whale sharks, the gentle giants of the sea.


If you’re a wildlife enthusiast, Balabac Island offers the opportunity to encounter an array of unique and endemic species. The island is home to the Philippine cockatoo, a critically endangered bird known for its striking appearance and melodious calls. Explore the lush rainforests and catch glimpses of other wildlife, such as the Palawan peacock-pheasant and the Balabac mouse-deer, found only in this region.


For the adventurous at heart, Balabac Island offers opportunities for island-hopping, cave exploration, and trekking. Discover the underground wonders of Balabac with a visit to Candaraman Island, home to a network of caves and underground rivers. Explore magnificent chambers adorned with stalactites and stalagmites, and marvel at the beauty of these natural formations.


While Balabac Island may be remote, the warmth and hospitality of the local communities are an added charm. Immerse yourself in the local culture, interact with the friendly locals, and learn about their way of life, traditions, and cuisines.


A visit to Balabac Island is a journey into a paradise that remains untouched by mass tourism. With its pristine beaches, diverse marine life, and rich biodiversity, Balabac Island offers an extraordinary experience for those seeking to connect with nature and escape into a world of untouched beauty.


Calauit Safari Park

Located in Busuanga Island, Calauit Safari Park is a unique and extraordinary wildlife sanctuary in Palawan. Spanning over 3,700 hectares, this park is home to a wide variety of African and local endemic species, making it a must-visit destination for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers.


Calauit Safari Park was established in 1976 as a conservation area to protect and preserve endangered African wildlife. Today, it serves as a sanctuary for animals such as giraffes, zebras, impalas, and waterbucks, which roam freely in a natural and expansive landscape reminiscent of their African habitat.


Embark on an exhilarating safari experience as you venture through the park’s vast savannas and forests. Witness these majestic animals up close as they graze, socialize, and interact within their natural environment. Observe the graceful movements of giraffes as they roam the open plains and spot herds of zebras traveling together.


For an immersive experience, consider joining a guided tour that will provide informative insights into the park’s conservation efforts, the behavior of the animals, and the importance of preserving wildlife. Learn about the success stories of animal rehabilitation and breeding programs that have been carried out in the park.


Aside from the African wildlife, Calauit Safari Park is also home to a diverse range of endemic species that are native to Palawan. Keep an eye out for Calamian deer and Palawan peacock-pheasants, among other fascinating creatures. This unique blend of African and Palawan wildlife creates a truly remarkable experience that is unlike any other.


Make the most of your visit by venturing beyond the safari section of the park. Explore the nearby Calauit Island, blessed with pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters. Take a refreshing dip, dive into the vibrant coral reefs, or simply unwind on the white sandy shores. The island’s natural beauty and tranquility make it an ideal place to relax and appreciate the wonders of nature.


Calauit Safari Park not only provides a glimpse into the beauty of African wildlife but also showcases the unique biodiversity that Palawan has to offer. By visiting this sanctuary, you contribute to the conservation efforts aimed at protecting these remarkable animals and their natural habitats.


A visit to Calauit Safari Park is a truly unforgettable experience, where you can witness the harmonious coexistence of African and Palawan wildlife. Immerse yourself in the natural wonders of this sanctuary, learn about conservation efforts, and create lasting memories amidst the captivating beauty of nature.


Barracuda Lake

Nestled in Coron, Palawan, Barracuda Lake is a hidden gem that offers a unique and unforgettable diving experience. Known for its unusual thermocline phenomenon and dramatic limestone cliffs, this hidden lake is a must-visit for diving enthusiasts and adventure seekers.


Barracuda Lake is renowned for its exceptional visibility and pristine turquoise waters. As you descend into the lake, you’ll notice a distinct transition in water temperature due to the thermocline effect. The water at the surface is warm, but as you dive deeper, the temperature quickly drops. This creates an otherworldly sensation as you swim through different layers of warm and cold water.


Aside from the thermocline, the underwater rock formations in Barracuda Lake are a sight to behold. The lake is surrounded by towering limestone cliffs, adding to the dramatic and surreal atmosphere. Dive into the depths and explore the underwater walls, swim-throughs, and jagged rock formations, which are home to a variety of fish species, including barracudas and jacks.


The lake features different zones that cater to divers of varying experience levels. The shallower areas offer opportunities for snorkeling, while more experienced divers can venture deeper into the lake to explore its fascinating underwater landscape. Prepare to be mesmerized by the layers of rock formations that add an eerie yet intriguing vibe to your diving experience.


Barracuda Lake is not limited to diving; it also offers opportunities for rock climbing and cliff jumping. Ascend the limestone cliffs and challenge yourself with thrilling rock climbing routes or take a leap of faith into the clear waters below. The unique combination of diving, rock climbing, and cliff jumping makes Barracuda Lake a true adventure paradise.


Surrounded by lush greenery and stunning natural beauty, Barracuda Lake is a place where you can truly immerse yourself in nature. After your dive, take a moment to appreciate the peaceful surroundings and marvel at the grandeur of the limestone cliffs that enclose the lake.


Exploring Barracuda Lake is a one-of-a-kind experience that will leave you in awe of the wonders of nature. Whether you’re a seasoned diver, an adrenaline junkie, or simply someone seeking a memorable adventure, Barracuda Lake offers a truly unique and unforgettable diving experience that can only be found in the beautiful island of Palawan.