12 Amazing Things to Do in Palawan, the Philippines: Must-See Attractions

by Jen
Amazing Things to Do in Palawan, Philippines
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Are you looking to visit Palawan, Philippines soon? Here are some of the most fun and unique things to do in Palawan. These enchanting sights, activities, and attractions are sure to make for a memorable vacation experience.

Welcome to Paradise – Palawan! Just the name alone conjures up images of pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a sense of adventure that’s hard to match. If you’re reading this, chances are you’re aching to escape the mundane and dive into a world where every moment is a postcard. The top things to do in Palawan are as diverse as the landscape itself.

Situated in the southwestern part of Luzon in the Philippines, Palawan is a slice of heaven that defies even the most poetic descriptions. Imagine a place where limestone cliffs rise dramatically out of emerald waters, where hidden lagoons hold secrets waiting to be discovered, and where the sunsets are so breathtaking, they almost seem unreal. This is Palawan, one of the most beautiful places in the Philippines, and it’s calling your name.

Beyond the Instagrammable vistas, Palawan offers a smorgasbord of activities that cater to every type of traveler. Whether you’re an adrenaline enthusiast looking to conquer the world beneath the waves, or a solitude seeker wanting to lose yourself in the vastness of nature, Palawan has got you covered.

So grab your shades and let’s get ready to explore the best things to do in Palawan, Philippines. Trust me, this is one journey you’ll be telling your grandkids about. Here’s everything you need to know about these fun things to do in Palawan.

The amazing places to visit in Palawan, Philippines right now
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Best Places to Visit in Palawan

Ready to jump into all the coolest things to do in Palawan? As noted above, there’s something for everyone at this idyllic vacation spot. So keep reading to discover all these unique Palawan places to visit.

Are you looking to go snorkeling in crystal-clear waters teeming with marine life? Or would you prefer exploring lush jungles and experiencing vibrant local cultures? Whatever you’re planning, these must-sees in Palawan can accommodate your needs. Here’s all the best attractions in Palawan that you should know about.

1. Underground River

Imagine gliding through a subterranean river, surrounded by ancient limestone formations that tell tales of Earth’s history. Welcome to the Underground River, one of the New7Wonders of Nature and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is not just a must-see in Palawan; it’s a must-experience!

The boat tour takes you into the heart of the cave, where you’ll encounter stunning stalactites and stalagmites, as well as a few bats here and there. The serenity is palpable, only broken by the soft echoes of water droplets falling from the cave’s ceiling. It’s a surreal experience that makes you feel like you’ve entered another world.

Wondering about what to do in Palawan, you ask? Well, this is a start. The Underground River offers more than just a boat ride; it’s a journey into the Earth’s depths that leaves you in awe of nature’s grandeur. And for the more adventurous souls, there’s even a ‘jungle trail’ trek that you can opt for, which takes you through lush forests before reaching the cave entrance.

Whether you’re a nature lover, an adventure junkie, or someone simply looking to escape the ordinary, the Underground River should be at the top of your Palawan things to do list. It’s not just a destination; it’s an experience that stays with you long after you’ve left.

Underground River is one of the amazing things to do in Palawan, Philippines.
Explore the Underground River in Palawan, Philippines, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and New7Wonders of Nature.

2. El Nido

Ah, El Nido, the crown jewel of Palawan and a paradise that’s straight out of a postcard. With its towering limestone cliffs, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and thrilling adventures like exploring secret lagoons in El Nido, this is where you’ll discover some of the most exciting adventures in Palawan.

Ever dreamed of island-hopping in a place that feels like heaven on Earth? El Nido makes those dreams come true. From snorkeling in hidden coves to kayaking through tranquil lagoons, the adventures are endless. And let’s not forget the jaw-dropping sunsets that turn the sky into a canvas of oranges, pinks, and purples.

Spend your mornings exploring the Big and Small Lagoons, and your afternoons sipping coconut water on a hammock. It’s the perfect blend of action and leisure.

For the foodies, the local seafood here is a must-try. Imagine dining on the freshest catch of the day, with your toes in the sand and the sound of waves in the background. It doesn’t get better than this.

El Nido is a vibe, a feeling, and one of the best places to go in Palawan. So, pack your bags and let this tropical paradise take your breath away.

El Nido offers island-hopping paradise with endless adventures.
El Nido offers island-hopping paradise with endless adventures.

3. Coron

Coron is the go-to spot for anyone who’s into diving or snorkeling. This underwater wonderland is home to some of the world’s most famous shipwrecks, making it among the best things to do in Palawan for history enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.

Picture this: you’re descending into the deep blue, surrounded by schools of colorful fish, intricate coral formations, and the eerie beauty of sunken warships. It’s an experience that’s both haunting and awe-inspiring, a journey into the past and a celebration of the ocean’s wonders.

But it’s not just about what’s beneath the surface. Coron also offers stunning viewpoints like Mt. Tapyas, where you can catch a panoramic view of the entire island. And let’s not forget the therapeutic Maquinit Hot Springs, perfect for a soothing dip after a day of exploration.

For those who love to capture the perfect shot, Kayangan Lake offers crystal-clear waters framed by towering limestone cliffs. It’s one of those Palawan attractions that you’ll want to revisit, both in your memories and in your Instagram feed.

Coron is more than just a diving hotspot; it’s a multifaceted gem that offers a range of experiences, from the adrenaline-pumping to the utterly relaxing. So, if you’re figuring out where to visit in Palawan, make sure Coron is on your list.

Kayangan Lake is a photographer's paradise in Palawan, with crystal-clear waters framed by towering cliffs.
Kayangan Lake is a photographer’s paradise in Palawan, Philippines, with crystal-clear waters framed by towering cliffs.

4. Port Barton

If you’re curious about where to go in Palawan when you’re yearning for a quieter, more peaceful experience, Port Barton is your sanctuary. Unlike its bustling counterparts, Port Barton offers a tranquil escape that’s perfect for soul-searching or simply disconnecting from the chaos of everyday life.

Imagine walking along pristine beaches with not a soul in sight, the only sounds being the gentle waves and your own thoughts. It’s a place where time seems to slow down, allowing you to savor every moment. And for the water babies among us, snorkeling here is like entering an underwater Eden, teeming with vibrant marine life.

But don’t let its calm demeanor fool you. Port Barton is also a hub for some of the coolest activities in Palawan. From island hopping to trekking through lush jungles, there’s no shortage of adventures to be had. Curious about one of the highlights? The Bigaho Waterfalls—a hidden gem that’s as refreshing as it is beautiful.

As the sun sets, the beachfront comes alive with cozy bars and eateries, offering the perfect setting to unwind and reflect on your day. It’s one of those unique places in Palawan where you can truly have the best of both worlds—adventure and serenity.

Port Barton: Hub for island hopping, trekking, and discovering the refreshing beauty of Bigaho Waterfalls.
Port Barton: Hub for island hopping, trekking, and discovering the refreshing beauty of Bigaho Waterfalls.

5. Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park

Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is a diver’s dream come true. Located in the middle of the Sulu Sea, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is accessible only by liveaboard boats, making it an exclusive experience for those who venture here.

The underwater world is nothing short of breathtaking. Imagine swimming alongside hammerhead sharks, manta rays, and schools of vibrant fish. The coral gardens are a spectacle in themselves, boasting some of the most diverse marine life in the world. It’s no wonder a visit to this underwater park is considered one of the coolest things to do in Palawan for diving enthusiasts.

But it’s not just the underwater scenery that makes Tubbataha so special. The park is also a vital nesting site for birds, making it a haven for both marine and avian life. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a hawksbill turtle laying its eggs on the sandy shores.

As you float on the surface, watching the sun dip below the horizon, you’ll realize that Tubbataha is more than just a diving spot; it’s a testament to the beauty and diversity of nature.

Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park: A diver's dream in the Sulu Sea, an exclusive UNESCO World Heritage Site accessible only by liveaboard boats.
Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park: A diver’s dream in the Sulu Sea, an exclusive UNESCO World Heritage Site accessible only by liveaboard boats.

6. Honda Bay

Situated near Puerto Princesa, Honda Bay is your gateway to some of the most idyllic islands and islets in the region. It encompasses the finest aspects of sunshine, ocean, and beaches.

Island-hopping here is not just a pastime; it’s a way of life. Each island has its own distinctive charm. Luli Island, for instance, is famous for its sandbar that appears and disappears with the tide. Starfish Island, true to its name, is a haven for these fascinating sea creatures.

Honda Bay itself is a snorkeler’s paradise. The crystal-clear waters are teeming with vibrant coral reefs and a myriad of tropical fish.

As the day winds down, find a cozy spot on one of the islands and watch the sky transform into shades of pink and orange. It’s moments like these that make Honda Bay one of the best places to go in Palawan, offering a slice of paradise that’s hard to beat.

Honda Bay near Puerto Princesa is your gateway to idyllic islands and beaches.
Honda Bay near Puerto Princesa is your gateway to idyllic islands and beaches in Palawan, Philippines.

7. Balabac

If you’re yearning for a less-trodden path in Palawan, then Balabac should be on your radar. This group of islands at the southernmost tip of Palawan is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. It’s one of those must-see in Palawan that still feels like a well-kept secret.

The islands are a dream for anyone who loves pristine beaches and untouched nature. Onslow Island, for example, boasts powdery white sand that feels like walking on clouds. Meanwhile, the waters surrounding these islands are so clear, you’ll think you’re swimming in a giant pool.

For the adventurous, there’s no shortage of unique things to do in Palawan to engage in. From snorkeling to kayaking, each island offers a distinctive set of adventures. And let’s not forget the local wildlife. The area is known for its diverse marine life, including the elusive dugong.

As the sun sets, the sky over Balabac turns into a canvas of colors, offering the perfect backdrop for some soul-searching or romance. It’s the kind of place that makes you forget the outside world, encapsulating the very essence of what makes Palawan a must-see destination.

Balabac Island is Palawan's hidden gem at the southernmost tip.
Balabac Island is Palawan’s hidden gem at the southernmost tip.

8. Nacpan Beach

Are you in search of a slice of heaven away from the tourist crowds? Don’t miss Nacpan Beach. This 4-kilometer stretch of golden sand is the epitome of tranquility, making it one of the best places in Palawan for those who seek peace and natural beauty.

Nacpan Beach is among the cool destinations in Palawan, especially for beach lovers. The waves are gentle, the sand is soft, and the backdrop of swaying coconut trees adds an extra layer of serenity. It’s the perfect spot for a lazy day under the sun, whether you’re into sunbathing, beachcombing, or simply taking in the views.

There are plenty of engaging activities to enjoy here. From paddleboarding to beach volleyball, the options are endless. And if you’re up for a little adventure, a 20-minute hike will take you to a hilltop viewpoint that offers panoramic views of the twin beaches of Nacpan and Calitang.

As the sun dips below the horizon, the beach transforms into a romantic setting. The sky is painted with hues of orange and pink, and the sea reflects the colors like a giant mirror. It’s a moment you’ll want to capture, not just with your camera but also in your heart. Is this among the top things to do in Palawan? 100%

Nacpan Beach is Palawan's tranquil 4-kilometer stretch of golden sand, perfect for those seeking peace and natural beauty.
Nacpan Beach is Palawan’s tranquil 4-kilometer stretch of golden sand, perfect for those seeking peace and natural beauty.

9. Long Beach in San Vicente

Long Beach in San Vicente is a marvel that often flies under the radar. Imagine a 14-kilometer stretch of pristine sand, so expansive that you’ll feel like you’ve stumbled upon your own private paradise.

The beach is your playground. Kite surfing, beach volleyball, or simply laying down a mat to sunbathe—the choice is yours. The waters are crystal-clear and shallow, perfect for a leisurely swim or even just wading while you enjoy the view.

For the more adventurous souls, Long Beach offers some of the coolest activities in Palawan. You can rent a kayak and explore the nearby mangroves or take a local fishing boat out to catch your dinner. It’s all about embracing the laid-back lifestyle here.

You’ll want to grab a front-row seat to one of the most breathtaking sunsets you’ll ever witness as the day winds down. The sky turns into a canvas of warm hues, reflecting off the tranquil waters and creating a spectacle that’s nothing short of magical.

So, if you’re thinking about where to go in Palawan for an experience that combines both relaxation and adventure, Long Beach should be high on your list.

Long Beach in San Vicente: A 14-kilometer stretch of pristine sand, your private paradise.
Long Beach in San Vicente: A 14-kilometer stretch of pristine sand, your private paradise in Palawan, Philippines.

10. Sabang Beach

Sabang Beach isn’t just a pretty face; it’s a hub for some of the best things to do in Palawan. This beach serves as the gateway to the Underground River, but let’s not overlook its own charm. With its powdery sand and turquoise waters, it’s a paradise in its own right.

For starters, you can hop on a zipline that takes you over the water, offering a bird’s-eye view of this tropical haven. If you’re more of a water baby, kayaking and paddleboarding are fantastic ways to explore the coastline.

But wait, there’s more! Sabang is also home to the Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour, an eco-friendly way to discover the area’s rare mangrove forests. Your guide will paddle you through the serene waters, where you’ll learn about the ecosystem and maybe even spot some local wildlife.

At night, the beachfront bars come alive. It’s the perfect time to unwind with a cocktail in hand, as you reflect on your day of adventure and beauty.

Sabang Beach is not just a brief stop; it’s a destination that embodies the essence of Palawan’s finest offerings.

Sabang Beach is one of the amazing things to do in Palawan, Philippines.
Sabang Beach is a paradise in its own right, with powdery sand and turquoise waters, serving as the gateway to the Underground River.

11. Tabon Caves

If you’re looking for unique places in Palawan that offer a blend of history, adventure, and natural beauty, Tabon Caves is your go-to spot. Nestled in the Lipuun Point Reservation, these caves are often referred to as the “Cradle of Philippine Civilization.” Why, you ask? Because they house some of the oldest human remains and artifacts in the country, dating back over 22,000 years!

It’s not just a history lesson. The caves are set amidst lush forests and dramatic limestone cliffs, offering a scenic backdrop for your explorations. What to do in this ancient wonder? Well, spelunking is the star attraction here. With a local guide, you can venture into various chambers, each with its own distinct features and stories.

For those who love bird-watching, the surrounding forest is a haven for endemic species. Bring your binoculars and keep an eye out for Palawan hornbills and other exotic birds. It’s one of those Palawan attractions that offer a perfect blend of education and adventure.

As you exit the caves, don’t forget to take a moment to soak in the panoramic views of the Andaman Sea. It’s a fitting end to a journey that takes you back in time and deep into the heart of Palawan’s natural beauty.

Tabon Caves in Lipuun Point Reservation: The 'Cradle of Philippine Civilization' with over 22,000-year-old human remains and artifacts.
Tabon Caves in Lipuun Point Reservation: The ‘Cradle of Philippine Civilization’ with over 22,000-year-old human remains and artifacts.

12. Maquinit Hot Springs

If you’re considering Palawan things to do to relax and unwind, then you can’t miss a visit to Maquinit Hot Springs. Situated just a short drive from Coron Town, this natural wonder offers a one-of-a-kind spa experience that’s unlike any other. Imagine soaking in thermal pools surrounded by mangroves and overlooking the sea—sounds like paradise, doesn’t it?

The springs are naturally heated by volcanic activity, providing therapeutic benefits that locals and tourists alike swear by. It’s the perfect place to unwind after a day of island-hopping or hiking. The warm water relaxes your muscles, and the tranquil setting soothes your soul.

But Maquinit is more than just a place to relax. It’s a community gathering spot where you can meet locals, share stories, and even enjoy a barbecue. Yes, they have grill stations where you can cook your own food! It’s one of those Palawan places to visit that offers a holistic experience, blending relaxation, culture, and a touch of adventure.

Whether you’re a solo traveler or with a group, Maquinit Hot Springs offers a slice of Palawan that you won’t find anywhere else.

Maquinit Hot Springs near Coron Town: A one-of-a-kind spa experience in a natural paradise.
Maquinit Hot Springs near Coron Town: A one-of-a-kind spa experience in a natural paradise.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Amazing Things to Do in Palawan

Looking for more content on the top things to do in Palawan, Philippines? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to Palawan:

Is Palawan safe for tourists?

Absolutely! Palawan is generally a safe destination for travelers. However, like any tourist spot, it’s always best to take standard precautions. Keep an eye on your belongings and be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas.

What’s the best time to visit Palawan?

The best time to visit Palawan, Philippines, is during the dry season, from November to April. These months offer sunny weather, making it ideal for beach activities, island hopping, and exploring the stunning natural landscapes. Avoid the rainy season (June to October) to ensure a pleasant and enjoyable trip.

What we can do at Palawan?

Palawan, often referred to as the “Last Frontier” of the Philippines, is a paradise for nature lovers, adventure seekers, and beach enthusiasts. Here’s a list of things you can do in Palawan:

  1. Island Hopping in El Nido: Discover hidden lagoons, secret beaches, and mesmerizing snorkeling spots among the limestone karsts.
  2. Underground River Tour in Puerto Princesa: Explore the UNESCO World Heritage site, a subterranean river that flows directly into the sea.
  3. Dive in Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park: This UNESCO World Heritage site is a diver’s paradise with its vibrant coral reefs and diverse marine life.
  4. Visit Coron: Famous for its stunning lakes, hot springs, and world-class wreck diving spots.
  5. Relax on Nacpan Beach: A 4km stretch of golden sand, often cited as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
  6. Go on a Safari in Calauit Island: Home to various African animals like giraffes and zebras, as well as endemic Palawan species.
  7. Explore the Caves of Tabon: Known as the “Cradle of Philippine Civilization,” these caves have revealed artifacts dating back thousands of years.
  8. Kayak in the Big and Small Lagoons: Paddle through crystal-clear waters surrounded by towering limestone cliffs in El Nido.
  9. Visit the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center: Get up close with crocodiles and learn about the center’s conservation efforts.
  10. Trek to the Waterfalls: Like the Nagkalit-kalit Waterfalls in El Nido or the Salakot Waterfalls in Narra.

How do I get around Palawan?

Getting around Palawan is a breeze. You have a variety of options, from tricycles and jeepneys for short distances to vans and boats for longer journeys. Some places even offer bike rentals for the more adventurous souls!

Stunning waterfall in Palawan's lush natural beauty.
Stunning waterfall in Palawan’s lush natural beauty.

Why do people go to Palawan?

Palawan, the Philippines, beckons travelers for a multitude of reasons:

  1. Stunning Beaches: Palawan boasts pristine, powdery white-sand beaches that are often framed by dramatic limestone cliffs. These beaches are perfect for sunbathing, picnics, and relaxation.
  2. Crystal Clear Waters: The waters surrounding Palawan are a vibrant shade of turquoise, offering excellent visibility for snorkeling and diving.
  3. Diverse Marine Life: Palawan’s coral reefs are teeming with marine life, making it a diver’s paradise. The Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a sought-after diving spot.
  4. Unique Landscapes: The iconic limestone karsts, especially around El Nido and Coron, create a surreal and picturesque landscape both above and below the water.
  5. Underground River: The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, another UNESCO World Heritage site, features a navigable underground river, one of the longest of its kind in the world.
  6. Island Hopping: With numerous hidden lagoons, secret beaches, and secluded coves, island hopping is a favorite activity in Palawan.
  7. Rich Biodiversity: Palawan is home to diverse flora and fauna, some of which are endemic to the region.
  8. Cultural Experiences: Visitors can immerse themselves in the local culture, interact with indigenous communities, and savor local delicacies.
  9. Adventure Activities: Beyond the beaches, Palawan offers jungle treks, spelunking, zip-lining, and more for the adventure enthusiasts.
  10. Tranquility: Unlike some other tourist hotspots, many parts of Palawan still offer a serene and peaceful environment, allowing visitors to truly disconnect and rejuvenate.

Do I need a visa to visit Palawan?

For most countries, a visa is not required for stays up to 30 days. However, visa requirements can change, so it’s crucial to check the latest visa information and entry requirements before planning your trip.

What is Palawan best known for?

Palawan is best known for its stunning natural landscapes, featuring pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and diverse marine life. Often dubbed the “Last Frontier of the Philippines,” it’s a paradise for adventurers and nature lovers, offering activities like diving, island-hopping, and exploring hidden caves and lagoons.

How many days in Palawan is enough?

The ideal duration for a trip to Palawan depends on the activities and places you want to cover. However, for a well-rounded experience that includes the major attractions without feeling too rushed, here’s a general guideline:

  1. Puerto Princesa: 2 days
    • Day 1: Visit the Underground River and explore the city.
    • Day 2: Island hopping in Honda Bay or visit the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center.
  2. El Nido: 3-4 days
    • Day 1: Island hopping Tour A (Big Lagoon, Shimizu Island, Secret Lagoon, and more).
    • Day 2: Island hopping Tour C (Hidden Beach, Matinloc Shrine, Secret Beach, and more).
    • Day 3: Nacpan Beach and/or inland tour to waterfalls and hot springs.
    • Day 4 (optional): Additional island hopping or relaxation on the beach.
  3. Coron: 3-4 days
    • Day 1: Coron town tour and Maquinit Hot Springs.
    • Day 2: Island hopping to lakes and lagoons (Kayangan Lake, Twin Lagoon, and more).
    • Day 3: Dive or snorkel the famous WWII wrecks.
    • Day 4 (optional): Visit Calauit Safari Park or relax on Malcapuya Island.

Is it worth going to Palawan?

Absolutely, Palawan is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking natural beauty and adventure. From the jaw-dropping cliffs of El Nido to the mesmerizing underwater caves in Coron, it offers a unique blend of experiences that you won’t find elsewhere. It’s a tropical paradise that truly lives up to the hype.

Concluding Thoughts on Exploring Palawan

So there you have it, folks! A comprehensive guide to the best places to go in Palawan, Philippines. From the hidden beaches to the bustling markets, this island offers a slice of paradise for every type of traveler. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie, a nature lover, or someone who just wants to chill by the beach, Palawan has something for you.

Don’t just take my word for it; pack your bags, book that ticket, and experience the unique things to do in Palawan for yourself. Trust me, once you set foot on this island, you’ll understand why it’s often dubbed as the “Last Frontier of the Philippines.”

So, what are you waiting for? Palawan is calling, and you must go!

The amazing things to do in Palawan, Philippines for all types of travelers
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