The second largest city in the Philippines has a lot more to offer than the beaches and resorts it’s most famous for. While remaining on one of the beaches your whole trip is always an option — it’s also a good idea to explore more of what the pride of the Philippines has to offer. So, if you’re planning a trip, here are 10 of the popular tourist spots in Puerto Princesa and beyond the city that you shouldn’t miss out on.
The Iwahig River is one of the best places to see Fireflies sparkling at night. The tour begins in complete darkness up until you reach the riverbanks. There you’ll see mangrove trees light up like one of the most beautiful Christmas trees you’ve ever seen. If you’re lucky and the sky is clear, it’s also a great spot to go stargazing.
For a different kind of Palawan experience, you can visit the home of the largest living saltwater crocodile, which can grow up to 20 feet long. The conservation center conducts 30 minute tours of the area where you can see the animals, and even take photos with baby crocodiles.
Ursula is a tiny paradise much different from other white sand resort islands. Instead of lounging tourists and upscale resorts, the beautiful island is home to some of the country’s rare birds. Guests may visit after securing a permit from the Provincial Environment & Natural Resources Office (PENRO) of Palawan.
If you’re into scuba-diving or snorkeling, then you’ve come to the right place. The small protected marine sanctuary is dubbed by the locals as a mini Tubbataha reef. Once you get there, the LGU built a “viewing deck” where guests are briefed before jumping into the cool water. Pambato is about 15-20 feet below the surface so even non-swimmers equipped with life vests can appreciate its unspoiled beauty.
The area of Sabang is one of the richest and most diverse mangrove forests in the country. Here, visitors can join a paddle board tour around the river where they can see the towering mangroves and even walk on top the outer roots. While on tour, it is not uncommon to spot mudskippers, and monitor lizards on top of branches.
The island has its name for a reason. The island is filled with starfishes – probably the most you’ll ever see in just one area. Because of the clear waters around the bay, you will see hundreds of starfish stuck to the ocean floor even before your boat docks on the island.
If you want to catch an amazing view of Puerto Princesa, then Mitra Ranch should be on your itinerary. The family owned ranch has a viewing deck atop a hill that offers breathtaking views of the treetops and surrounding waters. Aside from the view, the ranch also has horses and other “ranch” animals especially popular for families with young children.
Though it’s quite far from the city, the two-hour drive to Estrella falls is worth the trip. The path alone, with its lush greens and sound of pounding water, is enough to shake off any doubts. Estrella is known for its cascading gush of cool water that flows from the peek, and splits into two streams in the plunge pool below. From there, visitors can enjoy a swim in the crystal clear pools and enjoy a picnic in one of the huts nearby.
The Palawan Heritage Center is a 480 square meter interactive museum where you can learn all about the rich history of the island and its people. It features a various learning stations composed of old photos, dioramas, ancient artifacts, and even a hologram that tells the story of the Palaweños.
Nagtabon’s stretch of white sand and clear water is a lesser known alternative to the famous Underground River and Honda Bay. The cove was relatively unknown until recently, when the locals decided to share their secret.
Only about a few hours from the city, the slice of paradise is a must-visit for a quiet getaway. You can either rent one of the little beachside huts, or simply lay in the soft sand while listening to the sounds of the waves until the sun sets.
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