Puerto Princesa Palawan: A Brief Guide

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Hello hello!

Recently we were on a one-week adventure at Palawan, a gorgeous tropical island in the Philippines. Most tourists skip Puerto Princesa in favour of its more famous cousins, such as El Nido and Coron. However, J and I decided to go against the majority and spend our entire week at Puerto Princesa instead. The main reason was that we were both quite tired from our two-month trip in Japan and Taiwan right before that, and we wanted to relax and enjoy island life without the crowds of tourists.

In this guide, I will provide a brief guide and/or overview of the essential information about traveling in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. This will involve accommodation suggestions, best ways to get around Puerto Princesa, where to eat, what to do, and some helpful advice on ways to stay safe.

Note: This post does NOT contain ANY affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

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How to Get There from Manila?

The quickest and easiest way to get to Puerto Princesa is by flight. We booked ours through Skyscanner, and from there we selected to fly with Airasia. The entire flight lasted 1 hour 25 minutes and it cost us 118€ for two people, including 2 X 25kg checked luggages ($132.30 / RM548).

However, if you like boat trips, you also have the option to take a ferry, in lieu of a flight. This website has detailed information on ferry schedules and fares from Manila to Puerto Princesa.

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Where to Stay in Puerto Princesa?

I’ve categorised the accommodations according to three price ranges: low, mid-range, and high. Additionally, the prices shown are per night as of the published date and inclusive of taxes and charges unless stated otherwise.

Low range ($): Hostels / Backpackers’ inns
Colors Boutique Hostel — Bed in 8-bed mixed dorm (5€+0.65€ taxes and charges)
Your Hostel — Bed in 4-bed mixed dorm (4€+0.72€ taxes and charges)
Tropic Dahlia Hostel — Bed in 8-bed mixed dorm (12€+1.40€ taxes and charges)

Mid-range ($$): Airbnbs / Budget hotels
Our pick! Morningside + Cinnamon Apartments — 2-bedroom house, 10 minutes tricycle ride to centre (21€)
✷ Kyrane’s Accommodation — 1 bedroom apartment (22€ for two)
Villa Skanderburg Guest House — Deluxe double room (€19 for two)

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High range ($$$): Luxury hotels and resorts
Ai World Park and Resorts — Deluxe Twin Room with Mountain View with complimentary breakfast (178€+39.19€ taxes and charges)
Atremaru Jungle Retreats — Suit with Terrace with complimentary breakfast (69€ for two)
Villa Kalachuchi — Deluxe double room with balcony (€66 for two)

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Best way to get around?

Tricycles. Motorised tricycles are EVERYWHERE in Puerto Princesa (or Palawan, for that matter) and they’re the easiest and most affordable way to get around the city. You can hail them at any spot on the side of the road, but beware of the pricing. Always ask for the price BEFORE you accept the ride, and in some cases you will need to negotiate for the price. If you’re staying at an airbnb or hotel, you can ask the host or receptionist the general cost of a tricycle ride from A to B. We learnt this the hard way during our first night at Puerto Princesa where we paid 4 times more than the normal cost.

Rent a motorcycle. We didn’t do this because we wanted to travel quite a distance away from Puerto Princesa, towards the north of Palawan, so we rented a small car instead. However, we saw a lot of travellers who rented motorcycles to get around the city and there are a lot of motorcycle rental places at Puerto Princesa that offers a fair price for daily or even long-term rentals at just a few hundred pesos per day.

Car rental. This option is great for people traveling in groups, with their families or if you’re looking to do road trips around Palawan island. We rented our small car for a day because we wanted to go on a small road trip to Sabang, where the Underground River is located. After comparing prices and reviews online, we went with Rey Car Rental and it cost us Php 1,500 for the entire day, excluding gas refill (return the next day at the same time). I would really recommend this place if you’re looking to rent because everything was taken care of efficiently, the process was quick and smooth, the prices are extremely fair and communication in English wasn’t a problem.

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Payment method

Cash. There are places that accept bank cards but carrying a reasonable amount of filipino pesos with you is what I would advise. Most places only accept cash and of course you’ll be paying your tricycle rides with cash.

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Restaurants and cafés I love

Eightynine Café

Puerto Princesa

We came here every day for the entire week in Puerto Princesa. They offer a good range of coffee and food was always great. They have a nice mix of local and western menu, and although they have really good breakfast items, I prefer their normal menu (served after 10AM).

💡Mimi’s tips: Digital nomads! They have decent wifi here at the café, just remember to charge your electronic devices to full before coming here because there aren’t any power sockets. And order their Rockefeller Truffle Pasta!

Artisans

Puerto Princesa

Another place with a good mix of western and local food. Artisans is a great spot if you’re looking to chill with some drinks and friends. I would suggest calling them earlier to reserve a table, especially if you’re looking to dine here. The place is quite small and cosy, so it fills up fast.

💡Mimi’s tips: They have hugeeee portions! So be sure to order with that in mind or even get some sharing platters. They have a wide variety of tapas style dishes.

Badjao Seafood Restaurant

Puerto Princesa

We came here on our first night at Puerto Princesa, since it was a short walking distance away and it came highly recommended by our airbnb host. The entryway consisted of a small walk above the dark mangrove forest that led to the sea, with fairy lights lighting up the way. The magic continued where we dined—surrounded by the sea, huge trees decorated with delicate lanterns that seemingly floated on the sea.

The food itself was nothing short of delicious. Seafood was fresh, cocktails were up to par, portions were generous and the price was reasonable. The only caution I would give you though, is be wary of the service time. It took us awhile to get our drinks and a little while after for our food. So don’t come on a very empty stomach and be sure to reserve a table as well!

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Where to do your laundry?

I included this on my list because I don’t know about you, but I always need to do my laundry during my travels and it’s actually much harder than it seems to find a good laundry place. If your hotel doesn’t provide laundry service or if your airbnb doesn’t provide a washer, then I would recommend this place: Reign Wash and Dry

They’re located on Rizal Avenue, a short walk away from Eightynine Café (see how often I came here). We dropped off our laundry then head over to the café and by the time we finished our breakfast (usually 2 hours), laundry was washed, pressed and folded. Prices are by kilo and extremely reasonable.

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Top recommended things to do

Go island hopping at Honda Bay

Puerto Princesa

For convenience’s sake, we booked our island-hopping tour with Klook. You can check it out here.

Take pictures and enjoy freshly baked goods at Baker’s Hill

Puerto Princesa

Experience and purchase local artisanal goods at Binuatan Creations

Puerto Princesa

One of the highlights of my Puerto Princesa trip!

Explore a UNESCO heritage site at Puerto Princesa Underground River

Puerto Princesa

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For first-timers, I would recommend staying for 3 days at Puerto Princesa instead of one whole week. There is little to do within the capital itself, but it’s a great base if you’re planning to do road trips to various places in the island since car rental is convenient and Puerto Princesa is located in the middle point of Palawan.

If you’re interested in adding this stop to your itinerary, I’ve written an in-depth post about everything you need to know about visiting the Puerto Princesa Underground River. This post includes how to plan your trip, car rental information, detailed cost information and even my own itinerary and how I D.I.Yed my entire trip. Read here.

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Comments

    1. Post
      Author
      Miriam

      Awh, thank you so much!
      About the hostels, I would say do A LOT of research if you decide to stay in one. Check the reviews and always from a verified site.

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