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10 Popular Puerto Princesa Tourist Spots

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.

1. Iwahig River Fireflies

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.

  • Type: River/Mangrove Forest
  • Location: Iwahig RiverPuerto Princesa, Palawan 
    • Note: There’s no public transport that will take you directly to the river. Either hire a private van or tricycle, or join one of the tour which can be arranged by your hotel.
  • Budget: Boat rental (good for 3): P1200
  • Activities: Firefly watching, stargazing

Book Iwahig Firefly Watching tour here


2. Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center

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.

  • Type: Animal Sanctuary, nature park
  • Location: Puerto Princesa South Road, Puerto Princesa, Palawan
  • Budget: P40 entrance, P35 (photo with baby crocodile),
  • Time: 830am-11.30am & 130pm-4.30pm Mon-Sat
  • Activities: Tour


3. Ursula Island

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.

  • Type: Bird Sanctuary, Island
  • How to get there: After securing a permit, take a bus going to the town of Bataraza (“Rio Tuba”). Upon arrival at town proper, take a tricycle to the Coral Bay port. From there, hire a boat that will take you to Ursula Island.
  • Activities: Birdwatching, beach volleyball, swimming


4. Pambato Reef

Scuba Diving in 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.

  • Type: Reef, marine sanctuary
  • Location: Honda Bay, Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Drive up north of the city center to the Sta. Lourdes wharf. From there you can take a 15-minute boat ride to the marine sanctuary.
  • Budget: P50/head (snorkeling)
  • Activities: Snorkeling, scuba-diving


5. Sabang Mangrove Forest

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.

  • Type: Mangrove Forest
  • Location: Cabayugan, Puerto Princesa, Palawan. From San Jose Terminal take a bus or jeep to Sabang Port.
  • Budget: around 350/head for the tour
  • Time: 8am-430pm
  • Activities: Paddle board tour


6. Starfish Island

Starfish Island Puerto Princesa

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.

  • Type: Island
  • Location: Honda Bay, Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Drive up north of the city center to the Sta. Lourdes wharf. From there you can take a 15-minute boat ride to the marine sanctuary.
  • Budget: *to be arranged with tour guide
  • Activities: Snorkeling, island hopping


7. Mitra Ranch

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.

  • Type: Ranch/farm, viewdeck
  • Location: Sta Monica Heights, Puerto Princesa, Palawan
  • Budget: FREE
  • Time: 6am-6pm
  • Activities: Horseback riding, picnic, zipline


8. Estrella Falls

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.

  • Type: Waterfalls
  • Location: Narra, Palawan, Philippines. From the San Jose Terminal in Puerto Princesa, take a bus to Narra. From Narra, hire a tricycle to take you to Estrella Falls.
  • Budget: P30 – Adult, P20 – Children, P25 – Senior Citizens, P50 – Foreigners.
  • Time: 8am-5pm
  • Activities: Swimming, Trekking, Picnic


9. Palawan Heritage Center

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.

  • Type: Museum
  • Location: Legislative building, Capitol Complex, Fernandez St., Puerto Princesa, Palawan
  • Budget: P50-P100
  • Time: Mondays-Fridays, 9am-430pm
  • Activities: Learn about Palawan history


10. Nagtabon Cove


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.  

  • Type: Beach
  • Location: Nagtabon Beach, Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Rent a van or a multicab to get to Nagtabon. Drive through the highway of Puerto Princesa North from the city centre and turn left when you get to Bacungan Elementary School. When you reach the forked road, take the left road going down until you see a small sign that says “Nagtabon Beach”.
  • Budget: P200 for a picnic cottage, P800 for a room/hut for max. of 3 persons
  • Activities: Snorkeling, surfing, skim-boarding


Enjoy a fun experience and check out other restaurants, things to do and more in Puerto Princesa. Discover cheap hotel deals and cheap flights from carriers like Philippine Airlines, AirAsia, and more with Traveloka!

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