PalawanThe Philippines last ecological frontier with plant and wildlife biodiversity this stunning archipelago-province regularly tops the travel lists for worlds best beaches and islands. Top 10 Activities
All you need to know about Palawan
Palawan’s best-known spots are El Nido and Coron with their spectacular dive sites, but there are also more off-the-beaten-track locations such as Port Barton, Taytay, Roxas, Brooke’s Point and San Vicente to discover, with their promise of authentic food and local experiences including wildlife sanctuary visits.
Meanwhile, the capital Puerto Princesa City is a great place to soak up some history at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral and WWI site Plaza Cuartel, as well as to shop and eat.
Why it’s more fun in Palawan
Culture & Food
With a history beginning with prehistoric settlement (seen in the ancient tribal artworks of the Tabon Caves) and proceeding through Malaysian migration, Spanish colonisation, American rule and Japanese invasion, Palawan is much more than its blissful white-sand beaches and incredible natural resources. This is also a province where around 70 cultures live together in harmony, with different languages and dialects (more than 50), beliefs, festivals, art forms and tribes. The best places to get a handle on this heterogeneity are the National Museum and Palawan Museum in Puerto Princesa.
Palawan also has a rich food culture into which all these influences have fed. Among local treats to seek out and sample are superfresh seafood including tamilok (a shell-less saltwater clam, served ceviche-style or fried), crocodile sisig (a sizzling minced-meat dish), lato seaweed salad, hopia bread (a sweet flaky pastry best eaten at Baker’s Hill in Puerto Princesa), danggit lamayo (dried rabbitfish) and chao long (Vietnamese-inspired noodles). Foodies should also make a beeline for San Jose Market in Puerto Princesa.
Top Events & Festivals
- Arawedan Festival, Port Barton – January
a showcase for the area’s beaches, marine reserves, parks and culture.
- Kulambo Festival, El Nido – March
Street dancing in kulambo (mosquito net) costumes.
- Puerto Princesa City Foundation Day – 4th March
Culture, sports, markets, singing, dancing and food.
- Pasinggatan Festival, Taytay – April and May
Regional street dances and a food festival.
- Baragatan Festival, Puerto Princesa – June
Song, dance, parades and markets.
Tropical to subtropical, with two main seasons – rainy from June to October and dry season from November to May. The average annual temperature is 29°C.
Check out the weather today in Palawan
Top 10 things to do in palawan
1. Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park
Dive in the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, named one of the world’s best dive sites by CNN Travel, and explore the dive sites of El Nido, including Dilumacad’s underwater cavern and Bacuit Bay.
2. Iwahig Ecotourism and Wildlife Park
Kayak under the stars in Iwahig Ecotourism and Wildlife Park, and visit Iwahig’s rehabilitation ‘prison without walls.’
3. Puerto Princesa Subterranean River
Cruise down the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River.
Puerto Princesa Underground River
4. Island hopping
Go island-hopping and snorkelling in Honda Bay, discovering Starfish Island and others.
Go wreck-diving off Coron or neighbouring Busuanga Island.
6. Tabon Caves
Venture into the Tabon Caves, where some of the oldest known human inhabitants were found.
7. Relax on the beach
Relax on El Nido’s beaches: Secret Beach, Nacpan, Pangalusian and Las Cabanas among them.
El Nido Beach
8. Climbing, zip-lining and spelunking
Go climbing, zip-lining, spelunking and jungle trekking at Ugong Rock located in Baranggay Tagabinet near Puerto Princesa.
9. Longest white beach
Visit San Vicente and explore the country’s longest white beach
10. MIMAROPA Region
Explore more of the MIMAROPA region with its scenic spots including White Island (Mindoro), Bathala Cave, Balanacan Bay and Tres Reyes Islands (Marinduque province) and Fort San Andres, Mount Guiting-Guiting and Bonbon Beach (Romblon).
Where to stay in Palawan
Palawan: Free of mass tourism and large-scale development, Palawan itself offers mainly highly affordable, locally run lodgings with gorgeous ocean views, although there are also luxury resorts on the smaller, more secluded islands.
Puerto Princesa: For those arriving into Puerto Princesa, the city has an array of simple, clean hotels and hostels.
El Nido: has mainly five-star hotels with secluded beaches and private jetties, although there are also luxury resorts on the smaller, more secluded islands.
Coron: mixes it up, with luxury international hotels, contemporary mid-range options and hip hostels.
El Nido Resorts James Relfdyer
Getting there & away
More travel info
Maps, travel tips, information on visas, working holidays and health and safety.
Wake up in Palawan
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Download our Palawan brochure here
Book a holiday
Dreaming of heading to the Philippines? Plan your next adventure and book your ultimate Philippines holiday today. Check out some of the great packages that are currently on offer from tour operators below.
Philippines Palawan Adventure
If you’ve only got time for just one of the Philippines’ tropical destinations, Palawan is it. This eight-day tour brings you to the best of the province from El Nido’s stunning karst stone formations to its turquoise waters and colourful marine life.
9 days from £934pp
Glimpses of the Philippines Tour
Thousands of islands scattered around azure blue waters, eternally warmed by the tropical sun. Add to this happy-go-lucky people, incredible natural wonders and a lifestyle of festivals and music and you have an intriguing recipe for enjoyment and relaxation.
13 days from £2,399pp
Nature and Beach - Bohol & El Nido
Can’t decide between nature and beach – this itinerary is perfect for you. Combine the limestone karst scenery of Palawan, staying at El Nido, with the jungle island of Bohol, Chocolate Mountains, local villages and the unique Tarsiers.
14 days from £2,995pp
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