7 Must Visit Places While in Palawan

Whether you’re a tourist lucky enough to be on vacation in the Philippines or you’re a local looking to break away from the concrete jungle for some fun, then you definitely have to make it a point to visit Palawan before anything else. Palawan is home to some of the most beautiful tourist spots in the world that even the most jaded globetrotter or well-traveled nature enthusiast would be bowled over just by seeing them.

So do yourself a favor and add these must-see tourist destinations to your itinerary as soon as you’ve finished booking a hotel in Palawan.

Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park

If you’re into deep sea diving and want to see the best sights that the ocean can offer, then there’s no other place for you to go but to Tubattaha Reefs Natural Park, Palawan’s very own UNESCO World Heritage site. Lying in the heart of the Coral Triangle, Tubattaha is home to approximately half of the world’s coral species, along with more than 600 species of marine life—namely all manner of fishes, sharks, whales, and dolphins. This makes the reef one of the most biodiverse diving sites in the world, and a dream destination for all divers.

There is a caveat, however. Because of its remote location and how the Philippine government is actively taking a part in its monitored preservation, divers interested in viewing this natural wonder up close can only do so through the live-aboard boats that are available during diving season, which takes place during the months between March and June. It is inaccessible to the public otherwise.

Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park

If you’ve made Puerto Princesa City your home away from home in Palawan, then you’re in luck, as this unique and delightfully eerie destination is only less than an hour’s drive away. The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, also known as the Puerto Princesa Underground River, gives tourists and locals the chance to take a boat ride that brings them right into the heart of an underground cave.

Be sure to bring your cameras as you’ll be transported into an almost alien-like panorama of silent stalactites, stalagmites and other natural growths that have taken millennia to form. You’ll want to take your selfies here for sure!

Small Lagoon

Another waterborne wonder that will leave you mystified is Palawan’s own Small Lagoon, a natural lagoon that’s hidden and tucked away in the heart of El Nido. Squeeze through the narrow opening between two towering limestone formations and you’ll be able to behold this secret piece of paradise that looks more like a place in a fantasy movie or video game.

Admire the craggy rock formations that form a barrier against the outside world, protecting the lagoon’s sparkling azure waters from prying hands and eyes. Paddle away on your kayak to explore every inch the Small Lagoon has to offer, or let its slow and meandering currents gently carry you to wherever it wants to—it’s up to you on how you want to enjoy this wonderful gift of nature.

Kayangan Lake

For a unique lake dipping experience, you won’t soon forget, drop by Kayangan Lake. Sporting the cleanest water not just in Philippines but in the entire Asian region, Kayangan’s sparkling blue water is as clear as glass, allowing tourists and swimmers to see right down to its picturesque, rocky bottom without the aid of goggles or action cameras.

While there’s a bit of a trek in getting to the lake proper—at least a few hundred steps from the nearest docking area—the gorgeous view and the wonderfully-warm waters more than makeup for your efforts. Just remember to try and time your visit during the off-peak hours, as you may end up sharing the lake with a lot of your fellow tourists.

Coron Bay Shipwrecks

If you’ve already been to the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park and believe that it’s all that Palawan has to offer, think again. There’s a lot more for divers to explore in Palawan, specifically the dozen WWII shipwrecks dotting the floor of Coron Bay. Get up close and personal with naval history by exploring the epic and well-preserved wrecks left by the September 1944 US bombardment of the Japanese ships stationed in the country.

As many of these vessels were part of a supply fleet, they still carry within them a great amount of equipment and vehicles—weapons from the past that you’ll be able to see rusting amongst the sea life that’s made the wrecks their new home. Make your next dive a supremely unforgettable one by exploring this naval graveyard of the depths.

Iwahig Firefly Watching Mangrove Ecotourism and Wildlife Park

For the lovebirds looking for a magical and romantic experience, Palawan has got you covered. This tourist attraction involves you and a loved one taking a serene paddle boat ride down the Iwahig River at night, allowing you to behold the enchanting dance of glowing fireflies flitting in and out of the mangrove trees lining the riverbank.

The 30-minute tour will treat you to this amazingly intimate scene while your tour guide provides a soft-spoken yet informative lecture about the fireflies, the natural environment of Iwahig, and the marine life sparkling in the briny depths underneath you. Make it a night to remember by bringing your partner or loved one on this amazing experience that’s straight out of a fairy tale.

El Nido Beaches

No list of must-visit places in Palawan can be complete without a mention of the world-famous El Nido beaches, with each one sporting crystal-clear waters, paradisiacal landscapes, and sand so fine they flow through your fingers like silk. Some are within easy reach of El Nido proper, only needing a tricycle ride, while others will require the assistance of a boat to get you there. Avoid the more popular ones such as Nacpan, Las Cabanas, and Corong-Corong in peak season, as they’ll no doubt be filled with tourists. Ask the locals for help in getting you to one that’s a bit more out of the way so you can enjoy the beauty of one of the world’s prettiest beaches on your own.


When it comes to must-see places in the Philippines, nothing beats Palawan, especially when it comes to sights that can take the breath away from even the most well-traveled nature lover. Add these unforgettable natural wonders to your sightseeing plans today and truly enjoy what the Pearl of the Orient has to offer!

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