It’s not surprising at all when Palawan has been recognized as the best island in the world by international travel magazines. With its pristine beaches and breathtaking lagoons, you will never be disappointed at what’s waiting for you. One charming treasure of Palawan that truly stands out is the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park.
It is one of the longest underground rivers in the world that outflows directly to the sea, traveling five miles through a subterranean cave system. Inside the Puerto Princesa Underground River, you will see karsts—natural rock formations created by dissolving limestone—loom in every direction.
If you’re planning to visit the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, read on to know the things you should expect and some tips for a hassle-free and oh-so-fun adventure!
Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park being a UNESCO World Heritage Site
In 1999, Puerto Princesa Underground River was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. According to UNESCO, it encompasses one of the world’s most impressive cave systems, featuring spectacular limestone karst landscapes, pristine natural beauty, and intact old-growth forests and distinctive wildlife. UNESCO also took into consideration that the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River contains globally significant habitat for biodiversity conservation to include it in the World Heritage Sites list.
Aside from being a World Heritage Site, it is also recognized as Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park 7 Wonders of Nature.
Because of its beauty and being a protected area, Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park activities require careful planning and management to ensure the natural values are not impacted.
Best time to visit Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park
The best time to visit Puerto Princesa is during the dry season: November to May. The warmest months are from March to May, while the wet season is from June to October. Be sure to check weather updates from time to time to avoid unwanted circumstances on your trip.
Puerto Princesa Underground River Travel Tips
Take note of these essential travel tips to make the most out of your trip and have an amazing adventure in Puerto Princesa Underground River:
1. Wear comfortable clothes that will let you move around hassle-free. You should also bring extra clothes just in case you get wet during the tour.
2. Avoid wearing slippery footwear or heeled shoes. If possible, wear aqua shoes, trekking sandals, or rubber slippers.
3. Bring a dry bag to secure your valuables.
4. Before the tour, apply sunblock and insect repellant.
5. Always wear the provided life vests and hard hats for your safety.
6. Avoid bringing disposable water bottles or plastic bags. Use refillable bottles instead.
7. When inside the cave, keep your mouth closed especially when looking up. We’re sure you don’t want to get any surprise “gifts” from above, where the bats are.
8. Follow the rules of Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park activities. Don’t talk loudly inside the cave to avoid disturbing the bats.
Places you can visit near Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park
1. Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center
If you’re an animal lover, you will surely have a blast at Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center, one of the best places to visit in Puerto Princesa. It is where Palawan Crocodile Farm is located, which not only serves as the home of various crocodile species but is also a research center that educates visitors about these creatures. Aside from the crocodile farm, there are also aviaries where you’ll see various species of birds.
2. Baker’s Hill
Baker’s Hill is a well-known pasalubong (gift store) in Puerto Princesa. They sell various pastries and cakes that will surely fill your tummy. Most tourists in Puerto Princesa never miss Baker’s Hill and always have one or two boxes of their homemade pastries in their carry-ons for their loved ones back home. But other than being a pasalubong store, Baker’s Hill has also become one of the most famous Puerto Princesa tourist spots because of its Instagram-worthy areas such as the mini zoo and a collection of life-sized cartoon statues.
3. Honda Bay
If you think you can’t enjoy an island like in Puerto Princesa, think again ‘cause it’s more than just city sights. There you’ll find Honda Bay where various white beaches are located. Through an island-hopping tour, tourists can visit its numerous islands, which are all unique from each other. The beast Puerto Princesa beaches are in Luli Island, Starfish Island, and Cowrie Island.
How to get to Puerto Princesa Underground River
From Manila, you have to travel to Puerto Princesa City first via land, sea, or air. Upon arrival in Puerto Princesa, you have to travel to Sabang. There is a lot of public transportation available to go to Sabang town: jeepneys, bus, and vans. It will take about 2 to 3 hours of travel time from Puerto Princesa Airport to Sabang.
From Sabang Port, you’ll board a small boat bound for Sabang Beach, which is the entry point to the cave.
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