Wandering on the beautiful Palawan island
The Philippines are one of the largest archipelagos in the world, with over 6000 islands, and it’s challenging to capture their incredible beauty in only a single trip. We decided to focus our holiday on Palawan island, a top destination in the country and a real paradise for beach and sea lovers. The 3 most popular tourist areas of Palawan are Puerto Princesa, Coron and the well known El Nido, where you’ll be amazed by giant limestone formations surrounded by turquoise and emerald water, perfect to be explored on a boat and snorkel gear. Not to be missed is also the province of San Vicente with Port Barton, a rural charming area with wild long pristine beaches lined by palm trees and bathed by a crystal clear sea.
1° Day: Manila – Puerto Princesa (city tour);
2° Day: Puerto Princesa – Sabang (underground river) – P.P.;
3° Day: Puerto Princesa – Honda Bay (boat tour) – P.P.;
4° Day: Puerto Princesa – Port Barton (by bus);
5° Day: Port Barton (boat tour);
6° Day: Port Barton – San Vicente Poblacion (by boat) – Alimanguan barangay (San Vicente beaches tour);
7° Day: Alimanguan – El Nido town (by minivan)- Las Cabanas beach;
8° Day: El Nido – tour A;
9° Day: El Nido – tour B;
10° Day: El Nido – tour C;
11° Day: El Nido – tour D;
13° Day: El Nido – Coron town (by boat) – city tour;
14° Day: Coron – Super ultimate tour;
15° Day: Coron – Escapade beach tour;
16° Day: Coron (Calauit park + Black beach tour);
17° Day: Coron – Manila (by flight);
Need to Know about the Philippines (Palawan)
Visa requirements: before booking the flight, remember to check if your passport will require a visa for entry to the Philippines. For example, European citizens don’t require a visa and US citizens either for a stay not exceeding sixty or thirty days (it depends on the country).
When to go: December to April are the driest and sunniest months. From December to March, a strong wind blows basically every day and, in some cases, could spoil your boat ride. March and April are quite hot and very crowded since they are considered the Philippines’ summer months. In February, we visited Palawan, finding partly cloudy weather (only a few days completely sunny) and often strong wind. It didn’t mess up our boat tours and activities, but it wasn’t enjoyable.
How to get there: Puerto Princesa is the central hub of Palawan Island, and its international airport is well connected to many airports throughout the Philippines.
Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport: it is one of the two international airports serving the Metro Manila Area (the other is Clark International airport) and the main international gateway to the Philippines. It has 4 terminals: T1 serves international flights; T2 serves international and domestic flights (mostly Philippines airline and PAL Express); T3 serves the international flights and some domestic flights (including Emirates, Qatar Airways, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Air Asia, Cebu Pacific); T4 hosts domestic flights only (including Air Asia, Cebgo, Skyjet). The fastest way to reach your accommodation is by taxi. If you only have a short layover in Manila, you’ll find several Hotels a few minutes away from the airport. We slept at Savoy Hotel, very close to all the terminals.
Traveller’s health and safety: Palawan is a safe destination; keep your common sense and don’t leave your valuable objects unattended when you are around. If you need medical attention, you’ll find some clinics and pharmacies in El Nido, a hospital in Coron and Roxas, a small clinic in Port Barton, but for specialized treatments and emergency, you must go to Puerto Princesa. The medical expenses could be very high abroad, and it’s always better to have travel insurance. We took it out with Worldnomads.com.
Means of transport: we caught the local transports like bus, minivan and ferry to move through the island. You can buy the ticket at the bus station, through the local tour operators, asking for your accommodation or, like we mainly did, using the transport search engine powered by 12go.asia.com.
Accommodations: Palawan Island offers a wide range of accommodation at any budget. As it’s a very touristy place, we suggest booking in advance to find good deals and save money, especially in El Nido and Coron.
Where to eat: the major touristy areas (Puerto Princesa, El Nido and Coron) of the island offer a great choice, from local eateries to expensive restaurants.
Mobile phone and wifi: even though you’ll find wifi in the hotels, getting a Philippino SIM card will make your stay a lot easier. At the arrival hall in Manila International Airport or Puerto Princesa Airport, you’ll find some booths of the main providers that offer pre-paid Sim cards for tourists with calls and data.
Electricity: the electricity is provided all day (in Port Barton too). The plug is Type A;
Currency exchange: The Philippines Peso’s local currency (1 USD is about 50 PHP – March 2020). You can exchange your currency in the Pawnshops in the main touristy towns or withdraw from the several ATMs. The method of payment is mostly cash, but many accommodations accept credit cards too.