Palawan Island, Philippines is the largest island of the Philippines. The island is half desert, so still undeveloped. You can enjoy the jungle, mountains, and white beaches. Palawan is an archipelago with 1,780 islands on the western part. Due to amazing landscapes and high bio-diversity, Palawan island is known as “The Last Ecological Frontier of the Philippines”. The northern part is characterized by incredible clear waters, white beaches, and many species of flora and fauna. The north side is characterized by limestone cliffs and many species of tropical fish and coral. You’ll find amazing snorkeling and scuba diving here. There are also five species of endangered sea turtles. In the jungle you’ll find about 100 different species of birds. Palawan is an amazing tropical destination to relax and enjoy yourself.
Main destinations are the capital Puerto Princesa, El Nido on the north of island and also Coron Island where you can relax and do good snorkeling and diving. Also San Vicente is an other top destination on Palawan island.Travel Palawan Philippines will provide you with an unforgettable vacation. Use our guide to start planning your Palawan Philippines vacation today.
Weather (When to Go)
The Philippines have a tropical marine climate with a winter monsoon and a summer monsoon. Palawan does not experience typhoons, but is marked by two very distinct seasons: the dry season from December to May, and the rainy season from June to November. With a minimum temperature of 71°F on average, a maximum temperature of 91°F on average, and mostly sunny weather, Palawan enjoys a very pleasant climate throughout the year. The lowest temperatures fall in January, while the hottest months are April and May.
Getting to Palawan Philippines
Many airlines offer flights from Europe (or from somewhere else) to the Philippines, but there is no direct flight to date. The lowest price starts around 400 € roundtrip with airlines such as Saudia, Emirates, China Eastern Airlines, or Turkish Airlines, but you could find another. To find the cheapest flight, I recommend that using the flight search engine Skyscanner; this is by far the most efficient at the moment. It is definitely the best tool to compare and book flights, whether you are looking for the cheapest or the fastest one, or any flight with other criteria.
Best Palawan Beaches
For an easy day trip out of El Nido, head north by tricycle or motorbike to this incredible, golden-hued, 3 km beach. Development is limited to a few snack shacks and some basic lodging. Enjoy the mellow atmosphere of this great beach. There’s a shuttle van from El Nido with eight trips daily. For more travel planning information on Nacpan Beach of El Nido, << Click Here >>
San Vicente’s signature attraction is a real beauty. It actually consists of three beaches – Long Beach 1, 2 and 3 – which combined yield about 14 km of almost empty golden-hued, sunset-facing beach. Long Beach 2 is the most glorious; it’s 50 meters wide, faces the sunset and stretches uninterrupted for 7 km, navigable by foot or motorbike. Long Beach 1 is closer to town, while Long Beach 3 is well north of town in Barangay Alimanguan.
This incredibly beautiful, jungle-backed, stretch of golden sand toward the north tip of mainland Palawan is the center of El Nido’s surfing community. The season is November to March and board rental is available through a couple of places, including at Duli Beach Resort. To get here turn off the off the National Hwy around the Km 294 marker and continue 3.5 km on a very rough road that ends in a slippery single track to the beach proper.
The adventurous will surely want to check out tiny Secret Beach, which can only be entered by swimming through a keyhole slot in the western wall of Matinloc Island (generally can’t be accessed in August and September). But be warned: the entrance is lined with extremely jagged rocks and coral – do not even think of swimming through if there are any waves around as an accident could well be fatal.
Tiny Sabang has a beautiful, wind-lashed beach, huge tracts of pristine jungle and a famous underground river that draws van loads of day-tripping tourists from Puerto Princesa. While the underground river is certainly worth doing, Sabang’s main appeal lies in its wild setting. The surrounding rain forest is part of the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, and offers world-class hiking and bird watching.
Divers discovered Tubbataha Reef in the late 1970s, and has become recognized as one of the most remarkable coral reefs on our planet. It is ranked among the top eight dive sites in the world. Because of its isolated location, Tubbataha can only be visited on a live aboard boat. Divers can experience the reefs’ dramatic underwater terrain, awe-inspiring biodiversity and encounter large marine animals such as sharks, turtles and manta rays.
The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, also known as the Puerto Princesa Underground River, is recognized as one of the 7 Wonders of Nature. This is a good reason to stay a while in the province’s capital. Here, you can enter a cave aboard paddle boats directed by their personal guide. Once inside, you are treated to an astonishing display of stalactites and stalagmites suspended above the calm river.
Here you will find the breathtaking beaches and waters of El Nido and Coron. The islands of Bacuit Bay are largely responsible for the province’s boom in tourism. The white-sand beaches are immaculate and their surrounding waters are a vibrant shade of deep blue. The best part is that there are so many of them to choose from. Popular choices are El Nido’s basic tours, to include the islands of Entalula, Helicopter, and Shimizu. But if you prefer peacefully enjoying the sand and sea without a ton of tourists, you can always request your boatmen to dock on less popular islands for tranquility.
Coron is considered a wreck diver’s utopia due to the sheer number of shipwrecks right beneath the busy surface of Coron Bay. The United States’ WWII bombardment of Japanese ships in September 1944 has left nearly a dozen wrecks in the area, now bustling with marine life and still well-preserved. Because many of these vessels belonged to a supply fleet, they were carrying a good number of equipment and vehicles when they went down. These still-intact machinery make for interesting sights for wreck divers today.
Considered by many as the cleanest lake in the Philippines, and by some as even the cleanest in Asia, Kayangan Lake is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Coron. It’s a bit of a trek (a few hundred steps) to get to the lake itself from the docking point, but the gorgeous views more than make up for the effort. The lake is warm and inviting but can get especially crowded during peak season. Try to drop by during the least popular hours of the day to avoid too much company. Sights below the lake’s surface are just as spectacular as those above, with its striking jagged rock formations that just call to be explored.
Things to Do in Palawan
Simply Good Vibes! That’s Tabanka Divers, since 2012 in El Nido. Their dive base is 5 minutes from downtown. Sunsets here are priceless. They offer PADI Diving Courses, Daily Fun Diving Trips and Beachfront Rooms with swimming pool. Join them and dive the best dive spots of El Nido. They speak English, Filipino, German, French, Spanish and sometimes Chinese. For more information call +63 905 225 3464, or visit them on the web at Tabanka Divers.
Dive courses, lessons and fun dives are efficiently handled by dive pros with PADI credentials. Whether you are just a first-time diver or are already certified, they are dedicated to let you go scuba diving in Puerto Princesa as safely, and as enjoyably as you can get. Scuba diving for almost 17 years has enriched their passion for this sport. For more information call +63 920 928 0436, or visit them on the web at Divepuertoprincesa Dive Center.
They are a transport company that brings guests to select places in Palawan, Philippines. They can do regular trips (everyone shares a vehicle) or chartered trips (privately-hired). Advanced booking is highly encouraged to avoid the uncertainty. For more information call +63 917 848 8755, or visit them on the web at Daytripper Private Chartered Trips.
Experience the beauty of Northern Palawan: El Nido – Linapacan – Coron at your own pace and allow them to share with you its many secrets. Cruise in inviting waters on-board their smooth riding craft that allows you to quickly and comfortably get to the different islands of this magnificent tropical paradise. For more information call +63 917 876 2381, or visit them on the web at Skipper Charters.
For a unique excursion or boat activity in El Nido and Coron, use Buhay Isla’s daily ecotour boat trips and expeditions to discover remote beaches and caves — They invite you to be part of their tribe, to catch fresh fish, to snorkel/hike to nearby villages and experience the islander life. For more information call +63 917 158 4122, or visit them on the web at Buhay Isla.
Best Palawan Philippines Restaurants
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$$ – $$$ Gypsy’s Lair Art Cafe
The Gypsy’s Lair is a hipster cafe and restaurant that serves authentic Thai cuisine, specializing in dishes like green curry, pad thai, and more. This place has nice interiors and contemporary paintings too by several local artists. For more information call + 63 918 909-5571, or visit them on the web at Gypsy’s Lair Art Cafe.
$$ – $$$ Kalui Restaurant
One of the most popular restaurants in Puerto Prinsesa, Kalui is a native Filipino restaurant that serves traditional dishes with a unique twist. Some of their must-tries include the seaweed salad, sisig, lobster, and more. For more information call +63 926 670-4410, or visit them on the web at Kalui Restaurant.
$$ – $$$ Kinabuchs Grill & Bar
Kinabuchs Grill & Bar is a Filipino bar and restaurant that is known to serve native and exotic dishes like tamilok, crocodile sisig, crabs, and more. Best to visit this restaurant at night to enjoy good food while chugging down some ice-cold beers. For more information call +63 48 434-5194, or visit them on the web at Kinabuchs Grill & Bar.
$$ – $$$ Badjao Seafront Restaurant
Badjao Seafront is a floating restaurant decorated with many Filipino handicrafts. It specializes in seafood fare like crabs, shrimps, squid, and so on. Because of its homey and cool ambiance, this is the perfect restaurant to go to with your family or special someone For more information call +63 48 433 9912, or visit them on the web at Badjao Seafront Restaurant.
$$ – $$$ Captain Ribs
Captain Ribs is a grill restaurant and music bar that welcomes diners in 2 cozy terraces and a comfortable lounge garden. Offering grilled meats and fishes, French and Italian dishes, and Asian fusion creations, it promises you that your first time won’t be your last. For more information call +63 926 712 1244, or visit them on the web at Captain Ribs.
Best Palawan Bars
Sava Beach Bar
A contemporary cocktail bar/club worthy of El Nido’s status as a rising international starlet. Cocktails are expertly made with top-notch booze, and the bar menu features some of the best food in town. Try the chimichanga or baked mussels. Top DJs set the beachfront dance floor alight as the evening wears on. For more information call +63 928 694 6743, or visit them on the web at Sava Beach Bar.
Calling itself the only reggae bar in town (despite how often reggae is played on the beaches themselves), the Rasta Bar has lots of psychedelic colors and good beer. The establishment has a number of bands rotating through, so while the live music is a great attraction, on occasion you might find them playing something other than reggae. Since it’s located right on the beachfront, it’s hard to miss. For more information visit them on the web at Rasta Bar.
Another reggae bar that’s famous on the island, Pukka Bar, features a live band each evening at 8 p.m. While the island is small, the bar is pretty well-known, meaning that you may need to show up early in order to get seats, since once the band goes on the elbow room gets tight. For more information call +63 955 956-8178, or visit them on TripAdvisor at Pukka Bar.
Located further north along the island, this hidden gem might be overlooked by most tourists but has a lot to offer. Happy Hour runs from 5 to 7 p.m., and while there have been complaints when the bar runs out of beer, the cocktails cost about ninety pesos (just under two dollars) and margaritas and daiquiris are served large and cold. For more information visit them on the web at Bacuit Grill.
The Beach Shack
The ubercool beach bar that makes Maremegmeg Beach (aka Las Cabanas Beach) tick. In the high season it assumes a Miami Beach vibe around sunset as it turns up the tunes and the pretty people flock to it. For more information call +63 917 577 7513, or visit them on the web at The Beach Shack.
Best Palawan Philippines Hotels
Two Seasons Coron offers an array of six bungalow-style Palawan accommodations spread among the island’s lush tropical gardens, with easy access to the beach. Blending natural materials and high ceilings, with the warmth of modern Filipino tropical style and design, each room provides a comfortable sanctuary throughout your stay. For more information, pricing or to reserve your room visit Two Seasons Coron Island Resort & Spa.
All the 23 rooms are intricately designed and defined with elegance that gives you a warm welcome. Comfy and style are combined to have a relaxing feel during your stay. Enjoy the breathtaking views of the beach, garden and lake from the comfort of your rooms. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit Cauayan Island Resort & Spa.
Surrender to relaxation and bliss in their 13 leaf-inspired, wood cabin-type villas where you can experience comfort and luxury in one of their 40 private rooms and suites. Their annex building also houses 34 spacious rooms with views of the resort’s mango orchard. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit Astoria Palawan.
At the Hue Hotels and Resorts Puerto Princesa, expect a hip, delightful, and tranquil island get-away. Immerse in chic and cozy accommodations that perfectly bring together comfort and privacy. Whether you pick the Deluxe, Suite or the Family Room, you get to enjoy unlimited Wi-Fi access plus bottled water, coffee and tea. Each room is also equipped with a cable TV, a safety deposit box, and a hairdryer. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit Hue Hotels and Resorts Puerto Princesa.
Palawan’s best kept secret, Arena Island is a four-hectare island tucked away from your usual island getaway. Striking the perfect balance of rustic charms and the comforts of modern living, your private sanctuary awaits. Let Arena Island welcome you in a hideaway that redefines the idea of absolute paradise. A dazzling shoreline, sprawling tropical landscapes, and mesmerizing havens await you in this Palawan resort that promises to refresh your tired spirits. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit Arena Island Resort.
Southern Palawan Safety Warning
There have been in recent years a few instances of local thugs who capture a tourist or businessman and sell them for money to armed groups, who then try to extort larger sums of money from their families or governments. These are isolated incidents, and happen mostly in the extreme south of the island, which is why it is best avoided. If you look at a map of Palawan and draw a line just south of Brookes Point to just south of Rizal, consider carefully not traveling south of that line. Most people in Palawan are, of course well-meaning and friendly but be aware of kidnapping thugs in the island’s extreme south.