As well as enjoying local attractions such as Honda Bay and colonial architecture, three days in Puerto Princesa gives you time to explore farther afield. Whether you want to discover uninhabited islands, cruise the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, or go island-hopping among the limestone towers of El Nido, this 3-day itinerary has it all.
Day 1: Essential Puerto Princesa
Spend your first day enjoying the sights of Puerto Princesa proper. Get your bearings on a city tour—which transports you between colonial landmarks and nature parks in air-conditioned comfort—or, if you’ve got kids in tow, spend the morning beating the heat at Palawan Waterpark, for which booking admission tickets in advance is recommended. This afternoon, take a hiking tour to remote tribal villages or the summit of Mt. Magarwak, or opt to soak up some sun on the palm-lined shores of Nagtabon or Hartman beach.
Day 2: Underground Wonderlands
Devote day two to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, one of the most spectacular natural attractions in the Philippines archipelago. Options for visiting the underground river, about a 3-hour drive from Puerto Princesa, are plentiful, but nearly all tours include round-trip hotel transfers and a boat ride through the underground caverns. Opt for a private tour if you want to customize your itinerary to include a stop in the fishing town of Sabang, or choose an option that includes a zipline adventure from the top of Ugong Rock. Underground-river tours tend to return you to PP in the late afternoon, giving you ample time to enjoy a firefly-watching tour in the evening. Tours take you to the best spots for viewing the natural light show and generally include dinner.
Day 3: Island-Hopping
Located at the tip of Palawan, El Nido boasts some of the best beaches in Asia, if not the world. Framed by dramatic limestone rock formations, the bays and lagoons of the area are a must-see, regardless of the lengthy journey from Palawan. Day trips typically last upwards of 15 hours and include an island-hopping tour of El Nido’s most impressive natural formations; if you plan on staying in El Nido, choose a tour that includes one-way transfers to maximize your time in Palawan. If you want to spend less time in transit, opt instead for an island-hopping tour of nearby Honda Bay, where uninhabited islands and secluded coves are ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling.