12 Most Beautiful Places in Palawan to Visit

by Emil Backup
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Are you thinking about visiting Palawan this year? Here are some of the most beautiful places to visit in Palawan. Your mind will be blown by these captivating sights and destinations.

Palawan is the last frontier of the Philippines, a paradise that’s often whispered about among travel enthusiasts. Imagine a place where limestone cliffs meet emerald waters, where jungles are as lush as they are mysterious, and where the sunsets can make even the most seasoned traveler pause in awe. If you’re yearning for a destination that offers both tranquil hideaways and adrenaline-pumping adventures, look no further.

Palawan is not just a destination; it’s an experience that captures the essence of tropical bliss. From the world-renowned Underground River in Puerto Princesa to the ethereal lakes of Coron, this island province is a tapestry of natural wonders waiting to be explored. Whether you’re a solo backpacker or traveling with a tribe, Palawan has something for everyone.

So, buckle up as we embark on a virtual journey to the most beautiful places in Palawan. We’ve curated a list that will make you want to pack your bags, book that flight, and experience the magic yourself. Trust us, by the end of this article, you’ll be itching to make Palawan your next great escape.

The top things to do in Palawan right now.

The Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Palawan

Eager to explore the most stunning spots in Palawan? Situated in the western Philippines, this island paradise offers a diverse range of experiences for every traveler. 

Whether you’re drawn to vibrant cities and cultural landmarks or you’re yearning for a tranquil retreat amid nature, Palawan has got you covered. Here are the must-visit locations in Palawan you won’t want to miss:

1. Barracuda Lake

Dive into a world unlike any other at Barracuda Lake. Known for its unique thermoclines, this freshwater lake offers an underwater adventure that’s both eerie and enchanting. Imagine swimming through layers of varying temperatures, feeling the sudden shifts as you descend deeper. It’s a surreal experience that makes Barracuda Lake one of the most beautiful places in Palawan.

The lake is surrounded by towering limestone cliffs that add a dramatic backdrop to your aquatic journey. The water is so clear that you can see all the way to the bottom, making it a diver’s paradise. Snorkelers will also find plenty to marvel at, from the intricate rock formations to the occasional barracuda that gives the lake its name.

For the less aquatically inclined, kayaking is a fantastic way to explore the lake’s surface. Glide over the water, taking in the Palawan scenery that surrounds you. It’s a tranquil experience that allows you to appreciate the lake from a different perspective.

Whether you’re an experienced diver or simply someone looking to experience one of the most scenic places in Palawan, Barracuda Lake should be high on your list. It’s a destination that offers a unique blend of adventure and serenity, making it a must-visit spot for anyone visiting Palawan.

Barracuda Lake's crystal-clear waters in Palawan reveal a hidden world of underwater wonders and tranquility.
Barracuda Lake’s crystal-clear waters in Palawan reveal a hidden world of underwater wonders and tranquility.

2. Big Lagoon

Picture this: you’re kayaking through turquoise waters, surrounded by limestone cliffs that seem to touch the sky. Welcome to Big Lagoon, a natural wonder that easily ranks among the most beautiful places to visit in Palawan. The lagoon is a maze of crystal-clear waters and hidden coves, waiting to be explored.

As you paddle through the lagoon, you’ll be struck by the serenity that envelops you. It’s as if you’ve entered a different world, one where time slows down. The water is so transparent that you can see the coral gardens and schools of fish beneath your kayak. It’s a snorkeler’s dream and a kayaker’s paradise, making it one of Palawan’s must-see attractions.

Adventure seekers can also try stand-up paddleboarding, offering a unique vantage point to appreciate the Palawan beauty that surrounds you. Don’t forget to bring your camera; the photo opportunities here are endless.

Big Lagoon is more than just a scenic spot; it’s an experience that encapsulates the very essence of what makes Palawan special. If you’re compiling a list of places to see in Palawan, make sure Big Lagoon is on it.

Big Lagoon mesmerizes with its turquoise beauty, inviting exploration into a serene aquatic wonderland.
Big Lagoon in Palawan mesmerizes with its turquoise beauty, inviting exploration into a serene aquatic wonderland.

3. Honda Bay

Ever dreamt of island-hopping in a setting so idyllic it feels like a screensaver come to life? Honda Bay is where this dream turns into reality. This bay area is a collection of islets with powdery white beaches and crystal-clear waters, making it one of the prettiest places in Palawan.

Hop on a boat and let the adventure begin. Each island in Honda Bay offers a unique experience. Some are perfect for snorkeling, teeming with vibrant marine life and coral reefs. Others are ideal for simply lounging on the beach, cocktail in hand, as you soak up the sun. It’s the kind of place that offers both relaxation and excitement in equal measure.

Don’t miss the chance to try some water activities like jet skiing or banana boat riding. Feel the wind in your hair and the salt on your skin as you zoom across the water. It’s a thrilling way to appreciate the best places to visit in Palawan.

Honda Bay is not just another beach destination; it’s a smorgasbord of experiences that cater to every type of traveler. When you’re making plans for visiting Palawan, ensure Honda Bay is on your itinerary.

Honda Bay's pristine shores in Palawan offer a blissful escape, where turquoise waters embrace serenity and adventure.
Honda Bay’s pristine shores in Palawan offer a blissful escape, where turquoise waters embrace serenity and adventure.

4. Kayangan Lake

Crystal-clear waters framed by ancient limestone cliffs—welcome to Kayangan Lake, often hailed as the cleanest lake in Asia. This freshwater haven is a jewel among the most beautiful places of Palawan. Accessible only by a moderate hike, the journey to the lake itself is a visual feast, with panoramic views that will leave you speechless.

Once you reach the lake, you’ll find that the water is so clear it’s like swimming in a giant, natural swimming pool. The underwater rock formations add an otherworldly charm, making it a hotspot for snorkeling and freediving. It’s a surreal experience that you won’t find anywhere else, solidifying its spot on any list of Palawan destinations.

The lake is also steeped in local folklore, adding a layer of mystique to its natural beauty. According to legend, the lake is guarded by spirits, which perhaps explains the sense of peace that envelops you as you float on its tranquil waters.

Kayangan Lake is more than a destination; it’s a spiritual experience that connects you with nature in its purest form. When considering where to go in Palawan, this ethereal lake should be at the top of your list.

Kayangan Lake in Palawan captivates with its emerald embrace, inviting discovery in a pristine natural sanctuary.
Kayangan Lake in Palawan captivates with its emerald embrace, inviting discovery in a pristine natural sanctuary.

5. Mt. Tapyas

Elevate your Palawan experience—literally. Mt. Tapyas offers a panoramic view that’s nothing short of breathtaking. As you ascend its 700-plus steps, you’ll be rewarded with vistas that make it one of the most scenic places in Palawan. The climb might be a bit challenging, but the view from the top is worth every drop of sweat.

The summit offers a 360-degree view of Coron Town, the outlying islands, and the Sulu Sea. It’s the perfect spot to catch a mesmerizing sunset, as the sky transforms into a canvas of oranges, pinks, and purples. Don’t forget to snap a selfie with the giant cross that marks the peak; it’s a Coron landmark.

For photography enthusiasts, this is your playground. The vantage point offers endless opportunities to capture the Palawan beauty that stretches as far as the eye can see. Whether you’re into landscapes or candid shots, Mt. Tapyas provides the perfect backdrop.

This mountain isn’t just a hike; it’s a rite of passage for anyone visiting Palawan. The climb, the view, and the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel at the top make Mt. Tapyas an unforgettable part of your Palawan journey.

Mt. Tapyas in Palawan stands tall, offering panoramic views that blend nature's grandeur with tranquil serenity.
Mt. Tapyas in Palawan stands tall, offering panoramic views that blend nature’s grandeur with tranquil serenity.

6. Nacpan Beach

Golden sands stretching as far as the eye can see, framed by swaying palm trees and the gentle hum of the ocean—welcome to Nacpan Beach. This four-kilometer stretch of paradise is a haven for beach lovers and easily one of the most beautiful places in Palawan.

Here, the vibe is laid-back and the agenda is simple: relax, unwind, and soak up the sun. The beach is perfect for long walks, building sandcastles, or simply lounging with a good book. The waves are just right for a refreshing swim or a bit of body surfing, offering a blend of relaxation and adventure.

As the day winds down, the beach transforms into one of the best places to visit in Palawan for sunset aficionados. The sky bursts into shades of orange and pink, reflecting off the calm waters and creating a magical atmosphere. It’s a moment that captures the essence of what makes Nacpan Beach special.

When it comes to Palawan’s beautiful spot, Nacpan Beach is a standout. It offers a perfect mix of natural beauty and tranquility, making it a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the best of Palawan.

Nacpan Beach in Palawan stretches endlessly, a pristine paradise where golden sands meet turquoise waters in harmony.
Nacpan Beach in Palawan stretches endlessly, a pristine paradise where golden sands meet turquoise waters in harmony.

7. Port Barton

Escape the crowds and find your slice of paradise in Port Barton. This quaint fishing village offers a more laid-back atmosphere compared to other touristy spots in Palawan. It’s a hidden gem among the most beautiful places to visit in Palawan, perfect for travelers seeking peace and quiet.

The beaches here are pristine, with soft white sand and clear, shallow waters. It’s an ideal setting for a day of snorkeling, swimming, or simply basking in the sun. The coral reefs are vibrant and full of life, offering an underwater spectacle that’s both colorful and captivating.

For a different kind of adventure, take a boat tour to explore the nearby islands and hidden waterfalls. Each spot offers its own unique charm, from secluded lagoons to dramatic cliffs. It’s an experience that showcases the diverse Palawan scenery.

Port Barton is not just a destination; it’s a vibe. It’s the kind of place that invites you to slow down, to appreciate the simpler things in life. If you’re compiling a list of places to visit in Palawan, make sure Port Barton is on it.

Port Barton's coastal charm in Palawan captures the essence of simplicity, where relaxation meets untouched beauty.
Port Barton’s coastal charm in Palawan captures the essence of simplicity, where relaxation meets untouched beauty.

8. Seven Commandos Beach

Imagine stepping onto a beach straight out of a postcard. That’s Seven Commandos Beach for you. With its powdery white sand and crystal-clear waters, it’s no wonder this spot is often included among the pretty places in Palawan.

The beach is named after the seven commandos who were said to have lived on the island, their names etched on rocks that can still be found today. While the history adds a layer of intrigue, it’s the natural beauty that steals the show. Palm trees line the beach, offering ample shade for those looking to escape the sun for a bit.

Water activities abound, from snorkeling and paddleboarding to beach volleyball. The coral reefs are teeming with marine life, offering a colorful underwater world that’s begging to be explored. It’s a playground for both the adventurous and those looking to unwind.

Seven Commandos Beach is a must on any Palawan itinerary. It offers the perfect blend of relaxation and activity, making it a must-see in Palawan. Whether you’re looking to chill or thrill, this beach has got you covered.

Seven Commandos Beach in Palawan radiates tropical bliss, a secluded haven where palm-fringed shores embrace tranquility.
Seven Commandos Beach in Palawan radiates tropical bliss, a secluded haven where palm-fringed shores embrace tranquility.

9. Small Lagoon

Step into a world of enchantment at Small Lagoon, a secluded oasis surrounded by towering limestone cliffs. This hidden gem is a sanctuary of calm, making it one of the most beautiful places in Palawan for those seeking solitude and serenity.

Accessible only by kayak or a small boat, the journey to the lagoon is an adventure in itself. As you navigate through a narrow opening, you’ll find yourself in a tranquil pool of turquoise water. The atmosphere is almost mystical, as if you’ve stumbled upon a secret world.

The lagoon is shallow enough for swimming but deep enough for snorkeling. Dive in and discover a vibrant underwater ecosystem, where colorful fish dart between the rocks and coral. It’s a slice of paradise that captures the essence of Palawan’s beautiful places.

Small Lagoon offers a unique experience that’s both intimate and awe-inspiring. It’s a place where you can disconnect from the world and reconnect with nature. When planning where to go in Palawan, make sure this magical lagoon is on your list.

Small Lagoon in Palawan enchants with its intimate turquoise allure, a hidden gem inviting serene exploration.
Small Lagoon in Palawan enchants with its intimate turquoise allure, a hidden gem inviting serene exploration.

10. Tubbataha Reef

Dive into an underwater paradise at Tubbataha Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s a dream come true for scuba enthusiasts. This marine sanctuary is a showcase of biodiversity, making it one of the best parts of Palawan for underwater exploration.

The reef is home to more than 600 species of fish, 360 species of coral, and various types of sharks, dolphins, and turtles. Each dive is a new adventure, offering a kaleidoscope of colors and shapes that will leave you in awe. It’s not just a dive; it’s an immersion into a vibrant underwater world that’s both exhilarating and educational.

Accessible only by liveaboard from March to June, the exclusivity adds to its allure. The reef is not just a dive site; it’s a living, breathing ecosystem that offers a glimpse into the richness of our planet’s oceans.

When you’re listing places to see in Palawan, Tubbataha Reef is non-negotiable. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will redefine your understanding of beauty and biodiversity.

Snorkeling at Tubbataha Reef immerses you in a vibrant underwater world teeming with biodiversity.
Snorkeling at Tubbataha Reef in Palawan immerses you in a vibrant underwater world teeming with biodiversity.

11. Twin Lagoon

Unlock the secret of Twin Lagoon, a destination that’s as mysterious as it is mesmerizing. Separated by a narrow limestone wall, these two bodies of water offer contrasting experiences, making it a must-see among Palawan’s destinations.

The first lagoon welcomes you with open arms, its calm waters perfect for a leisurely swim. But the real magic happens when you swim through a small underwater cave to reach the second lagoon. Emerging on the other side feels like entering a hidden world, one that’s quieter and more secluded. The mix of saltwater and freshwater creates a unique thermocline effect, where warm and cold layers of water meet.

This lagoon isn’t just a swim; it’s an adventure that engages all your senses. The towering cliffs echo with the sounds of nature, while the clear waters offer a window into a vibrant underwater world. It’s a must-see in Palawan, a place that combines the thrill of discovery with the peace of solitude.

Twin Lagoon is a destination that defies expectations, offering two distinct experiences in one incredible location. When you’re compiling your list of most beautiful places to visit in Palawan, this lagoon is non-negotiable.

Twin Lagoon in Palawan unveils dual beauty, inviting exploration into nature's serene embrace of turquoise waters.
Twin Lagoon in Palawan unveils dual beauty, inviting exploration into nature’s serene embrace of turquoise waters.

12. Underground River

Step into a world of awe-inspiring natural architecture at the Underground River, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s also one of the New7Wonders of Nature. This subterranean marvel is a highlight among the most beautiful places in Palawan and offers an experience like no other.

Board a paddleboat and let your guide navigate through the dark, echoing chambers of this limestone karst landscape. As you journey deeper, the only light comes from the headlamp on your helmet, casting eerie shadows on the ancient stalactites and stalagmites. It’s a surreal experience, like floating through a cathedral sculpted by Mother Nature herself.

The river stretches for over 8 kilometers, although the tour covers just a fraction of that. Yet, every moment is packed with wonder. From the bats that call this place home to the unique rock formations that have taken millennia to form, the Underground River is a living museum of geological history.

When you’re planning your Palawan itinerary, this river isn’t just a stop; it’s a journey into the Earth’s belly, a testament to the power and beauty of nature. It’s undeniably one of the most scenic places in Palawan, a bucket-list experience that leaves you humbled and amazed.   

Underground River through ancient caverns, revealing a subterranean masterpiece of nature's marvels.
Underground River in Palawan winds through ancient caverns, revealing a subterranean masterpiece of nature’s marvels.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Visiting the Beautiful Places in Palawan

Eager to know more about the stunning spots Palawan has to offer? Here are some common queries I get concerning the region’s top attractions.

What is the most beautiful place in Palawan?

Determining the “most beautiful” place in Palawan can be subjective as it largely depends on what you’re looking to experience. However, one destination that frequently tops the list is El Nido. Known for its dramatic karst limestone formations, turquoise waters, and diverse marine life, El Nido offers a postcard-perfect setting for various activities such as island hopping, snorkeling, and diving. The Big and Small Lagoons in El Nido are particularly famous for their emerald waters and breathtaking landscapes.

Another strong contender for the best stunning locations in Palawan is the Underground River in Puerto Princesa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New7Wonders of Nature. The river offers a unique experience of exploring a subterranean environment filled with remarkable stalactites and stalagmites.

Which part of Palawan is the best?

The “best” part of Palawan depends on what you’re looking for:

For Adventure Seekers: Coron is your go-to destination. Known for its world-class wreck diving spots, Coron also offers opportunities for kayaking, hiking, and hot spring bathing.

For Beach Lovers: El Nido and Nacpan Beach are must-visits. With their white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters, they are perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and water sports.

For Nature Enthusiasts: Puerto Princesa is home to the famous Underground River and also offers beautiful landscapes and wildlife watching opportunities.

For Off-the-Beaten-Path: Port Barton is less crowded compared to other tourist spots and offers a more laid-back atmosphere. It’s ideal for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle.

What is the best experience in Palawan?

The “best” experience in Palawan can vary from person to person, depending on individual interests and adventure levels. However, some experiences are universally acclaimed:

Island Hopping in El Nido: Exploring the hidden beaches, secret lagoons, and snorkeling in the clear waters is a must-do. The limestone cliffs provide a dramatic backdrop that adds to the experience.

Diving in Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park: This UNESCO World Heritage site offers some of the best diving experiences in the world, with its vibrant coral reefs and diverse marine life including sharks, turtles, and various species of fish.

Exploring the Underground River: A boat tour of this UNESCO World Heritage site is surreal and awe-inspiring, as you navigate through its dark, echoing chambers filled with stalactites and stalagmites.

Sunset at Nacpan Beach: The twin beaches of Nacpan offer one of the most stunning sunsets in Palawan. The golden hour here is a magical experience.

Which is better, El Nido or Puerto Princesa?

Both El Nido and Puerto Princesa offer unique experiences and cater to different types of travelers, making it hard to say definitively which is “better.” Here’s a breakdown to help you decide:

El Nido: Known for its dramatic landscapes, including towering limestone cliffs and crystal-clear waters, El Nido is a paradise for beach lovers and adventure seekers. It’s the place to go for island hopping, snorkeling, and diving. However, it’s often more crowded and can be more expensive.

Puerto Princesa: Home to the famous Underground River, Puerto Princesa offers a more diverse range of experiences including city tours, spelunking, and wildlife watching. It’s also more accessible, with a major airport and various amenities.

Why is Palawan a Famous Tourist Destination?

Palawan has garnered global attention for several compelling reasons that make it a top tourist destination:

Natural Beauty: The island is renowned for its stunning landscapes, featuring limestone cliffs, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and lush jungles. It’s a paradise for nature lovers and photographers alike.

Diverse Ecosystem: Palawan is a biodiversity hotspot. From the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, the island is home to unique flora and fauna, some of which are found nowhere else on Earth.

Adventure Opportunities: Whether it’s diving, snorkeling, kayaking, or hiking, Palawan offers a plethora of activities for adventure enthusiasts. The island’s diverse geography makes it ideal for both water-based and land-based adventures.

Cultural Richness: The island has a rich cultural heritage, influenced by various indigenous tribes as well as Spanish colonization. This adds a unique cultural layer to the natural beauty, making it even more intriguing for tourists.

Accessibility: Despite its remote feel, Palawan is relatively easy to get to, with international airports and a range of accommodation options from budget to luxury.

Sustainability: Palawan takes its environmental responsibilities seriously. There are numerous eco-resorts and sustainable tourism initiatives in place, making it a destination you can visit without feeling guilty.

Affordability: Compared to other world-class beach destinations, Palawan offers excellent value for money, making it accessible for all types of travelers.

Visiting Palawan, where nature's wonders unfold in pristine landscapes, promising adventure, serenity, and timeless memories.
Visiting Palawan, where nature’s wonders unfold in pristine landscapes, promising adventure, serenity, and timeless memories.

What is the Most Beautiful Place in Palawan?

Determining the “most beautiful” place in Palawan can be subjective as the island is a treasure trove of stunning locations, each with its own unique charm. However, one spot that frequently tops the list is El Nido.

Why El Nido?

Scenic Beauty: El Nido is often considered the epitome of tropical paradise, with its dramatic limestone cliffs, crystal-clear lagoons, and vibrant coral reefs. The backdrop of towering karst formations against azure waters is simply breathtaking.

Diversity of Experiences: From kayaking in the Big and Small Lagoons to snorkeling in the hidden beaches, El Nido offers a variety of water activities. For those who prefer land, there are hiking trails that offer panoramic views of the archipelago.

Exclusive Feel: Despite its popularity, El Nido has managed to maintain an exclusive, off-the-beaten-path feel, thanks in part to the limited number of tourists allowed in certain areas at a time.

Photogenic: It’s a haven for photographers. Whether you’re an amateur with a smartphone or a professional with a DSLR, it’s hard to take a bad photo here.

Wildlife: The area is rich in marine life, including various species of fish, corals, and even the occasional sea turtle. It’s a snorkeler’s and diver’s paradise.    

Final Thoughts on Visiting Beautiful Places in Palawan    

Palawan is more than just a destination; it’s a vivid tapestry of experiences waiting to be unraveled. From the awe-inspiring karst formations of El Nido to the mysterious depths of Puerto Princesa’s Underground River, this island province offers a slice of paradise for every type of traveler. Whether you’re an adventure junkie, a nature lover, or someone simply looking to unwind, Palawan has something special for you.

What sets Palawan apart is not just its natural beauty but also its commitment to sustainable tourism. The local communities and authorities go to great lengths to preserve the pristine condition of their natural treasures. This ensures that the island remains a paradise for future generations to explore and fall in love with.

So, if you’re still wondering where to go for your next vacation, let Palawan be your answer. It’s not just one of the most beautiful places in Palawan; it’s a haven that offers a perfect blend of adventure, relaxation, and awe-inspiring beauty. Trust us, one visit is never enough; Palawan will make you want to return, time and time again.

Thank you for joining us on this virtual tour of Palawan’s wonders. We hope this guide has inspired you to pack your bags and experience the island’s magic for yourself. Safe travels!

Best things to do in Palawan for all types of travelers.
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