A busy, beachy capital with a surprising natural wonder

While many people visit this port city as a stop on the way to the bigger beach destinations of the western Philippines, this sprawling metropolis has a lot of natural appeal – especially if you’re into island hopping, beach bathing, rock climbing, snorkelling, diving or – yes, traversing an underground river. Then, if you need a break from life on the water, you can take a sunset stroll and dine al fresco along the Baywalk or explore the restaurants and bars along Rizal Avenue.

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Things to do

  • Explore the rivers below

    North of Puerto Princesa, you’ll find the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, a spectacular, lush expanse that features an underground river that stretches 8kms in length. Book a paddle boat and row right into deep caves alive with local wildlife and misty with small waterfalls. Book in advance as it’s very popular.

  • Hit the tropics

    If you just want to chill out for the day, soak up the tropical vibes at Nagtabon Beach, which has miles of tranquil white sand and shimmering clear waters. It’s popular with surfers – but its beach resorts appeal to those who just want to laze the day away in luxury.

  • Dive into the glamorous life

    The glamour of a day spent island-hopping is pretty irresistible, so why not rent a boat and hopscotch around Honda Bay? There’s a whole clutch of small islands to check out, and there’s some excellent snorkelling to be had in the area, or you can take the glamour to the next level by booking a beachfront villa at a resort on Arreceffi Island.

  • Let there be rock!

    For any adrenaline junkies, Ugong Rock (which you’ll find within Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park) is where it’s at – think zip-biking, rock climbing, base jumping, you name it, all revolving around a 50-metre-high limestone karst. Climb the summit for incredible views of the surrounding landscape and mountains.

  • Go slow by the bay

    Biking afternoon and sunset strolling at Puerto Princesa City Baywalk Park

    Unwind next to sparkling waters dotted with sailboats at Puerto Princesa City Baywalk Park. The popular promenade stretches for 2 km (1.2 mi), from the U.S. Embassy, past the yacht club and to the cultural center. Sit back and enjoy the sea breeze in a mellow environment, or sample local dishes at one of many surrounding open-air cafes. Local artists perform acts on the promenade, from live music to acrobatics. By the entrance you can also rent a tricycle to explore the grounds.

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Airport information

Puerto Princesa International Airport (PPS) opens in new window

Distance to city centre 3km

Taxi: A taxi to central Puerto Princesa City takes less than 5 minutes and USD $4-$5.

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When to go

Puerto Princesa has a tropical climate with distinct wet (May to December) and dry (January to April) seasons. It’s pretty warm and sticky all year round, with temperatures averaging in the high twenties.

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Getting around

You can get around downtown Puerto Princesa using either tricycles, jeepneys, taxis or hire vans.

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