The best areas to stay in Palawan
Are you about to experience the beauty of the Philippines and especially the Palawan archipelago? Discover where to stay on Palawan!
An archipelago of 7,641 islands in the western Pacific Ocean, the Philippines have become a leading tourist destination despite their reputation as a poor, ill-famed, and even violent country. With a humid tropical climate, the Palawan archipelago/province alone has 1,700 islands and is one of the most beautiful areas in the country. The archipelago is home to 430,000 inhabitants spread over 12,189 km². The largest island in the province, Palawan island stretches along a 450 kilometer-long strip of land with an average width of 50 km. Let’s begin with some good news: accommodation rates in Palawan are low. Enjoy a wide accommodation offer, and a low cost of living compared to Europe. A protected Biosphere Reserve, Palawan is home to a myriad of native and unique species – amphibians and snakes, geckos and spiders.
Palawan’s most touristy area is located in the north of the island, in El Nido, where you’ll find the country’s most picturesque scenery. Elsewhere, from Puerto Princesa to Sabang or Port Barton, discover the best destinations to stay in Palawan.
In 2007, National Geographic ranked El Nido as one of the world’s best travel destinations. The area is malaria-free and although there is a risk of dengue fever, taking the necessary precautions will drastically reduce the risk of getting sick. During our trip to the Philippines, we were struck by the hospitality and kindness of the Filipinos. Palawan has incredible biodiversity, but its unique wildlife and natural environment are now threatened by overfishing and pollution. El Nido is a protected area and is a world-renowned scuba diving spot. The downside: staying in El Nido is a gateway to Palawan, but it is also tourist magnet: travelers from all over the world come to admire the typical limestone karst landscapes in the dry season (in winter).
Restaurants, bars, and travel agencies punctuate the life of the district. El Nido is packed with resorts and hotels between the mountains and the village’s heavenly beaches. To swim and snorkel, go to the shores of Las Cabanas and Nacpan Beach – the most beautiful – where the gleaming white sand is fringed by rustling coconut palms and translucent turquoise waters. Rent a scooter or motorcycle to travel freely in the area and contemplate the lush Philippine countryside, replete with rice fields, palm trees, as well as buffaloes and herons.
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A small village north of Puerto Princesa, Sabang is known worldwide for its underground river: the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park. The Park is a protected area of the Philippines, it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999. To explore the river, it will be necessary to go on a short hike in the village, which forms part of the commune of Cabayugan. The river is a top-rated tourist attraction, and for a good reason. The underground river cave is more than 24 km long and contains an 8.2 km long underground section of the Cabayugan River, making it the longest underground river in the world. The river winds through the cave before flowing directly into the West Philippine Sea. The cave includes major formations of stalactites and stalagmites, and several large chambers, including the 360-meter-long Italian’s Chamber, one of the world’s largest cave rooms. To easily access the river, Sabang is an excellent place to stay in Palawan when you arrive in Puerto Princesa on the first day.
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Port Barton and Cagnipa Island
Port Barton is a small fishing village located north of Palawan. The village is difficult to access: there is only a small road leading to it. It is an excellent place to stay in Palawan if you want to idle and relax on the beach. Situated off the coast of Port Barton, the island of Cagnipa is a paradisiacal destination, an ideal area to stay in Palawan. Indulge in this picturesque scenery, blessed with idyllic beaches dotted with coconut trees, and offering excellent snorkeling opportunities.
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Puerto Princesa is the main entry point to the Palawan Archipelago in the Philippines. It is the largest airport in the region, although it is actually tiny. If you arrive in Palawan late at night or have to leave early in the morning, it’s a good idea to spend a night in Puerto Princesa. The city does not offer any particular attraction, although you can relax in Honda Bay, 30 minutes drive from Puerto Princesa. From there, you can take a day trip by boat around the surrounding islands of Starfish Island, Luli Island, and Cowrie Island.
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