Things to Do in Puerto Princesa: A Comprehensive Guide for Travelers

Puerto Princesa is a city located in the western part of the island of Palawan in the Philippines. Known as the “City in a Forest,” it is home to several natural wonders and exciting tourist attractions. Visitors can explore the city’s rich history, enjoy the beautiful beaches, and experience the local culture.

Tourism is a significant industry in Puerto Princesa, and the city offers a wide range of activities for visitors of all ages and interests. Some top things to do in Puerto Princesa include visiting the world-famous Underground River, exploring the stunning Honda Bay, and discovering the local flora and fauna at the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center. Other popular activities include island hopping, snorkeling, and diving. With so much to see and do, Puerto Princesa is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to the Philippines.

Historical Sites

Puerto Princesa is not only known for its natural wonders but also for its rich history. Several historical sites in the city are worth visiting. Here are some of the must-see historical sites in Puerto Princesa:

Immaculate Conception Cathedral

The Immaculate Conception Cathedral is a beautiful church in Puerto Princesa’s heart. It was built in 1872 and is one of the oldest churches in Palawan. The cathedral has a stunning facade and a spacious interior accommodating up to 1,000 people. It is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, especially during religious holidays.

Plaza Cuartel

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Plaza Cuartel is a historical site located near the seafront in Puerto Princesa. It was originally built as a military fort during the Spanish colonial period. It was used as a prison camp for American soldiers during World War II. Today, it is a peaceful park where visitors can relax and learn about the area’s history. A small museum on the site displays artifacts from the war.

Tabon Cave

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Tabon Cave is located about 154 kilometers from Puerto Princesa. It is one of the most important archaeological sites in the Philippines and is known as the “Cradle of Philippine Civilization”. The cave has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to some of the oldest human remains in the country. Visitors can explore the cave and learn about the ancient history of the Philippines.

Puerto Princesa has a rich history that is waiting to be explored. The Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Plaza Cuartel, and Tabon Cave are just a few historical sites visitors can explore. Whether you are a history buff or just looking for something different to do, these sites are worth a visit.

Natural Attractions

Puerto Princesa is home to some of the most stunning natural attractions in the Philippines. From underground rivers to pristine beaches, there is no shortage of breathtaking scenery to explore. Here are some of the must-visit natural attractions in Puerto Princesa:

Puerto Princesa Underground River

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The Puerto Princesa Underground River is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Puerto Princesa. Visitors can take a boat tour through the river and marvel at the stunning limestone cliffs, turquoise waters, and majestic cave formations. The tour takes approximately 45 minutes and is a truly unforgettable experience.

Honda Bay

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Honda Bay is a group of islands located just a short boat ride away from Puerto Princesa. The crystal-clear waters and abundant marine life make it a popular spot for snorkeling and diving. One of the most famous islands in Honda Bay is Starfish Island, where visitors can see hundreds of starfish in the shallow waters.

Nagtabon Beach

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Nagtabon Beach is a secluded beach located on the west coast of Puerto Princesa. The clear waters and white sand make it the perfect spot for swimming and sunbathing. It is also a popular surfing spot, with waves perfect for beginners.

Talaudyong Beach

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Talaudyong Beach is another secluded beach located on the east coast of Puerto Princesa. It is known for its crystal-clear waters and stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Visitors can enjoy swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing on the beach.

Adventure Activities

For those seeking an adrenaline rush, Puerto Princesa offers various adventure activities that will satisfy any thrill-seeker. Here are some of the top adventure activities to try in Puerto Princesa:

Ugong Rock Adventures

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Ugong Rock Adventures is a unique experience that allows visitors to explore the Ugong Rock Cave system. Visitors can climb to the top of the limestone rock formation and then zip-line down to the bottom. The cave system is also home to several underground pools visitors can swim in.

Sabang X Zipline

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The Sabang X Zipline is a thrilling activity that takes visitors on a 750-meter zip-line ride over the Sabang River. The ride offers stunning views of the surrounding jungle and river. Visitors can also opt for a longer zip-line ride that takes them over the nearby mangrove forest.

Rock Climbing at Hundred Caves

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Hundred Caves is a popular destination for rock climbers. The limestone cliffs offer a variety of climbing routes for both beginners and experienced climbers. Visitors can hire a guide to lead them on a climbing adventure through the caves.

Culinary Experiences

When it comes to food, Puerto Princesa has a lot to offer. From fresh seafood to baked goods, visitors will not be disappointed. Here are two places that are worth checking out:

Seafood at Kalui

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Kalui Restaurant is a popular spot among tourists and locals alike. The restaurant is known for its fresh and affordable seafood. The menu changes depending on the day’s fresh catch, but some dishes to look out for include sashimi, tempura, shellfish soup, sinigang, and baked mussels. The restaurant has a native-style ambiance, with bamboo and nipa hut interiors. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy a meal after a long day of sightseeing.

Baker’s Hill

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Baker’s Hill is a bakery and theme park rolled into one. The park has a fairytale-like atmosphere, colorful characters, and whimsical sculptures scattered throughout. Visitors can enjoy a variety of baked goods, including hopia, ube, and cookies. The bakery is also known for its freshly baked bread and pastries. It’s a great place to grab a quick snack or to stock up on treats for the road.

Wildlife and Conservation

Puerto Princesa is home to various wildlife and conservation centers that offer unique experiences for visitors. Here are some of the top places to visit:

Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center

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The Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center is a breeding place for Philippine Crocodiles and home to some endangered animals in the Philippines. Tourists can pet and cuddle baby crocodiles there. The center’s goal is to conserve and protect Palawan’s wildlife and educate the public on the importance of conservation efforts. Visitors can take a tour of the center and learn about the different species of animals found in Palawan.

Iwahig River Firefly Watching

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Iwahig River Firefly Watching is a popular activity in Puerto Princesa. Visitors can take a boat ride along the Iwahig River and watch the fireflies light up the night sky. The fireflies are attracted to the mangroves along the river and create a beautiful display of lights. The tour is led by a local guide who provides information about the fireflies and the river’s ecosystem.

Palawan Butterfly Ecological Garden and Tribal Village

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The Palawan Butterfly Ecological Garden and Tribal Village is a unique attraction in Puerto Princesa. Visitors can walk through the butterfly garden and see a variety of butterfly species. The garden also features a tribal village where visitors can learn about the culture and traditions of the indigenous people of Palawan. The village showcases traditional houses and artifacts, and visitors can participate in cultural activities such as weaving and pottery making.

Tour Packages

When exploring the beauty of Puerto Princesa, there are plenty of tour packages to choose from. Here are some of the most popular ones:

City Tour Package

The City Tour Package is perfect for those who want to explore the city and learn about its history and culture. This tour usually includes a visit to the Palawan Heritage Center, where visitors can learn about the history of Palawan and its people. Other stops may include the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Plaza Cuartel, and the Crocodile Farm.

Honda Bay Tour

The Honda Bay Tour is perfect for those who want to explore the beautiful islands around Puerto Princesa. This tour usually includes visiting Cowrie Island, Luli Island, and Starfish Island. Visitors can swim, snorkel, and relax on the beaches of these islands. Some tour packages may also include a visit to the nearby Pandan Island.

El Nido and Coron Tours

Landscape of the beautiful mountain cliff in the sea, El Nido province in Palawan island in Philippines

For those who want to explore beyond Puerto Princesa, El Nido, and Coron Tours are great options. These tours usually include visiting the stunning beaches and lagoons of El Nido and Coron. Visitors can go island hopping, snorkeling, and swimming in the crystal-clear waters of these destinations.

Tour packages can be booked through various travel agencies such as Klook or can be done DIY-style. Some tour packages may offer discounts for groups or luxury options for those who want to splurge.

Local Crafts and Souvenirs

When visiting Puerto Princesa, tourists can bring home unique and memorable keepsakes as souvenirs. The city offers a variety of handicrafts and souvenirs that showcase the local culture and traditions. Here are some of the best places to buy local crafts and souvenirs in Puerto Princesa.

Binuatan Creations

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Binuatan Creations is a weaving center located in Barangay Bacungan, Puerto Princesa. The center produces handwoven products such as bags, placemats, and table runners made from pandan leaves and other natural fibers. Tourists can visit the center to see the weaving process and purchase products directly from the weavers.

Souvenirs at Baker’s Hill

Baker’s Hill is a popular tourist spot in Puerto Princesa known for its bakery, garden, and playground. The place also offers a wide range of souvenirs such as keychains, shirts, and bags with designs inspired by Palawan’s flora and fauna. Tourists can also buy pasalubong items such as hopia, otap, and other baked goods at the bakery.

Other souvenir shops can be found in major tourist spots such as Kamia Bay Resort and Honda Bay. Tourists can also check out the Palawan Heritage Center for a selection of traditional handicrafts such as baskets, mats, and musical instruments made by local artisans.


When it comes to accommodations, Puerto Princesa offers a wide range of options to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious or budget-friendly stay, there’s something for everyone.

Dos Palmas Resort

One of the most popular resorts in Puerto Princesa is the Dos Palmas Island Resort. This secluded resort is located on a private island and offers a variety of activities such as island hopping, snorkeling, and diving. Guests can enjoy the resort’s private beach, spa, and pool. The resort offers different types of accommodations, including beach villas and garden cottages, all equipped with modern amenities.

Luxury Stays in Puerto Princesa

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If you’re looking for a luxurious stay, there are several options to choose from in Puerto Princesa. One of the most popular is the Sheridan Beach Resort and Spa, located on Sabang Beach. This resort features a stunning infinity pool, a spa, and several dining options. Another option is the Princesa Garden Island Resort and Spa, located in Puerto Princesa’s heart. This resort features several swimming pools, a spa, and several dining options.

Travel Tips

When visiting Puerto Princesa, there are a few travel tips that can help make your trip smoother and more enjoyable. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Pack accordingly: Puerto Princesa is a tropical destination, so pack light and breathable clothing. Don’t forget to bring sunscreen, insect repellent, and a hat to protect yourself from the sun.
  • Plan ahead: To make the most of your time in Puerto Princesa, plan your itinerary in advance. Check out the popular tourist spots and activities to understand what you want to do and see.
  • Stay hydrated: With the hot and humid weather, staying hydrated is important. Bring a reusable water bottle and refill it as needed.
  • Be respectful: As with any destination, it’s important to be respectful of the local culture and customs. Dress appropriately when visiting religious sites, and be mindful of your behavior in public areas.
  • Get a local guide: Hiring a local guide can be a great way to learn more about the history and culture of Puerto Princesa. They can also help you navigate the city and find hidden gems you might not discover alone.
  • Be mindful of the environment: Puerto Princesa is known for its beautiful natural surroundings, so it’s important to be mindful of the environment. Don’t litter, and be respectful of wildlife and marine life when snorkeling or diving.

Following these travel tips, tourists can enjoy exploring Puerto Princesa. For more information, consult a travel guide or a local expert.