For many years, Palawan Island was a hidden secret vs. Boracay’s well-trodden tourist path. Boracay is so popular that the government actually closed the area to tourism for six months in 2018.
Which left a void in Philippines destinations that Palawan happily filled. With Boracay back open, Palawan is returning to “normal” levels of tourism and has many great destinations for beach-going travelers.
The largest province of the Philippines, there are tons of gorgeous Palawan Island resorts to choose from.
|❤️ Best Area first timers||Puerto Princesa|
|💸 Best Luxury Hotel||El Nido Resorts Lagen Island|
|👪 Best Hotel for For Families||MO2 Westown Lagoon Coron|
|🏨 Best Mid-Range Hotel||Golden Pension House,Palawan|
|🛏️ Best Budget Hotel||Ausan Beach Front Cottages|
|✨ Best Hostel||Happy Camper Hostel|
With so many places to stay in Palawan, making the decision can be overwhelming, so we’ve created this guide to help you decided where to stay in Palawan.
We will cover off all types of Palawan accommodation options from Hostels to luxury Palawan hotels as well as how to decide where to stay in Palawan Philippines 2024.
This guide shows the best Palawan hotels, best places in Palawan to visit, the best places to stay in Palawan, hotels near Palawan attractions, Palawan neighborhood guide and many more.
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Puerto Princesa – Where to stay in Palawan for first timers
Palawan’s capital city is pretty centrally located and is a common entry point for travelers to Palawan.
Puerto Princesa has two very popular attractions, so even though it is not the best beach destination in Palawan, it is worth adding a day or two for these experiences.
One of the most popular things to do in Palawan is to take a firefly watching tour along the Iwahig River.
The other main attraction is the underground river tour of the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park. If you plan to do either of these activities, then Puerto Princesa is the best place to stay in Palawan.
Why Stay in Puerto Princesa
If you are looking for a place to stay in Palawan, especially if you are a first time traveller, then there’s nothing better than Puerto Princesa. Puerto Princesa is the capital of Palawan and serves as the province’s largest and most convenient gateway.
The city is relatively modest compared to big cities in Palawan. Expect to see little to no shopping malls and wooden houses rather than big hotels and buildings.
In addition, although a few cars and vans go around the town, most of the time, your main transportation here will be the tricycle.
Still, all those mentioned are part of why you should stay in Puerto Princesa – you get to immerse and experience the local’s culture and tradition yourself.
Although we already know how hospitable Filipinos are, the locals here at Puerto Princesa will even make you feel more welcome than ever.
Additionally, Puerto Princesa is regarded as being one of the cleanest and greenest cities in the Philippines.
So, if you’re looking for an area where you can easily access tourist destinations (since it’s your first time) while immersing yourself in local life and spending only a few bucks, then Puerto Princesa is your best bet.
Things to do in Puerto Princesa
- Visit the Puerto Princesa Underground River
The Puerto Princesa Underground River is a natural wonder recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999 and part of the New 7 Wonders of Nature in 2012 – enough reason not to miss this experience in Puerto Princesa.
When visiting the Puerto Princesa Underground River, you must arrange transportation from your accommodation to Sabang Wharf, which is the tour’s starting point.
So, booking with tour operators is best to avoid dealing with this process. In addition, packaged tours usually include land and boat transfers, guides, and lunch buffets, which makes them convenient for travelers.
- Join a Puerto Princesa City Tour
There’s so much to see in Puerto Princesa that two days might not be enough to see everything. The reason is, aside from its natural beauty, you can also explore the city’s beauty and learn more about its history.
Fortunately, there are available tour packages that will take you around famous destinations in the city. Among the places worth visiting when booking a Puerto Princesa City Tour include the Palawan Wildlife Rescue & Conservation Center, Baker’s Hill, Plaza Cuartel and Palawan Butterfly Garden, and Tribal Village.
These are just some places that will give you a gist of what it’s like daily for the locals of Puerto Princesa. Visiting the mentioned places will immerse you in the city’s rich cultural and historical heritage.
- Cruise the Puerto Princesa Bay to see the Dolphins
Only a few tourists know about this activity – but, dolphin watching is possible if you are in Puerto Princesa.
You’ll catch a cruise at Puerto Princesa Bay, which will take you to nearby islands that the Badjao Tribe also inhabits.
As you sail around the sea while learning from a guide, you will also stop by some islands to have a chance to meet a community of sea gypsies (badjao community).
Although dolphins can only be spotted from April to October, you should schedule your trip during these months.
- See the Sunrise at Mt. Magarwak
Another thing you can do (a must) is to see the sunrise from Mt. Magarwark. With a height of 350 meters, it’s the place to see a great view of Puerto Princesa’s sunrise from above.
You’ll be trekking to the top of this mountain as early as 5:00 AM to ensure you do not miss the sunrise. It may look challenging, the path here is easy to take, and even beginners can reach the top after an hour or two.
Once you get to the top, you’ll have enough time to relax and chill while waiting for a great sunrise view over the waters of Puerto Princesa and Honda Bay.
Where to stay in Palawan Puerto Princesa
Family Friendly Hotels in Palawan Puerto Princesa
Daluyon Beach and Mountain Resort
Canvas Boutique Hotel
Aziza Paradise Hotel
Hue Hotels and Resorts Puerto Princesa Managed by HII
Sabang – Where to stay in Palawan for day trips
Another off the beaten path destination in Palawan is Sabang, which is actually the jumping-off point for the underground river trips.
Located less than 40 kilometers from Puerto Princesa, most tourists visit Sabang on a day trip from the capital city, but it’s also a great place to stay in Palawan.
There are plentiful shuttles from Puerto Princesa airport, and you don’t have to endure a lengthy bus ride as is required for El Nido. Accommodation options range from luxury beach resorts to budget-friendly beach cottages
Why Stay in Sabang
If you’ve been to Palawan already, you might have yet to notice that you came across Sabang. Well, it’s because the area is mainly known as the gateway to the Puerto Princesa Underground River.
But, in reality, Sabang is a good location for accommodation. This is especially true if you are planning to go on several day tours, including the Underground River.
While the river is accessible from Puerto Princesa, it does not compare to the distance of Sabang to the Puerto Princesa Underground river.
By staying overnight here, you can join the first boat ride without the hassle of waking up so early. Plus, you can enjoy your tour day tour with a lesser crowd and have a good night’s sleep in a quiet seaside community.
Things to do in Sabang
- Swim at the Sabang Waterfalls
The Sabang Waterfalls is a stunning little spot near the beach, over 50 feet (15.2 meters) high, with a rocky pool at the bottom. It is known for its crystal-clear waters and picturesque surroundings, and you can reach it for a 20-minute walk from the Port.
If you are a nature lover and adventurer alike, this place is a great spot to check out as it offers a range of activities, including swimming, hiking, and rock climbing.
Moreover, what’s unique about this place is that the waterfalls face the sea, so you can enjoy the view while relaxing at the naturally-formed pool.
- Visit the Mangrove Forest
The mangrove forest in Sabang is located just at the end of the beach. In the area, there is an organization that handles all Mangrove Tours that you can join whenever you are looking for things to do while staying in Sabang.
The organization is experts and professionals trained to show you around the mangrove forest. They will share exciting and educational facts about mangroves and their importance in the local ecosystem.
There’s a chance that you will see many wildlife species while roaming the area, especially when you decide to plant some mangrove saplings that the organization usually encourages.
- Trek at the Jungle Trail
The Jungle Trail in Sabang is the longer route to visit the Puerto Princesa Underground River. But, it is scenic and something that not all tourists experience.
The trail is about 6 kilometers long, from Sabang until the underground river. Depending on the group’s trekking pace, you’ll need at least 6 to 8 hours to enjoy the trail you’ll go through.
You will be taken through a forest where you’ll encounter ancient trees, vines, limestone cliffs, and lots of uphill trekking. You might even see giant lizards along the way if you’re lucky!
If you decide to try this activity, it’s best to make sure your mind and body are ready for this excursion’s long duration.
- Experience the Sabang X Zipline
Sabang Beach is known by many as the jump-off point to the Puerto Princesa Underground River. But, it is also an attraction as you can find one of the country’s longest ziplines here.
Measuring around 800 meters, the Sabang Zipline lets you experience what it’s like to fly above the waters of Palawan.
To reach the starting point of the zipline ride, you’ll need to go on a 15-minute hike, where you’ll see a stunning view of Sabang Beach from above. You can easily book this excursion with tour operators like Klook in advance.
Best places to stay in Sabang
Family Friendly Hotels in Sabang
Arkadia Beach Resort Underground River
Affordable Luxury Hotels in Sabang
Sheridan Beach Resort and Spa
El Nido – Where to stay in Palawan for tourists
El Nido is often cited as one of the best beaches in the world and is the best area for tourists interested in island hopping to jaw-dropping spots like the Bacuit Archipelago.
However, it is not the easiest Palawan destination to reach; the most common is to take a seven-hour bus ride from Puerto Princesa or a plane from Manila, but once you’ve arrived, you’ll be in paradise.
The best sites and beaches around El Nido are most often explored on tours to the 40-plus islands around El Nido, but Caalan Beach and Corong-Corong beach are each a short distance from downtown El Nido.
Despite being a small area, there are loads of hotels and resorts to choose from, although some of the more budget-friendly El Nido accommodations may have limited hours with electricity; that’s all part of the adventure of traveling off the beaten path!
Why Stay in El Nido
Despite El Nido being the most challenging area to reach in Palawan, it is still the most-visited beach in the province. This is because El Nido is considered one of the best beaches in the world, making it an excellent place for tourists.
There are numerous reasons why you should consider staying in El Nido. One is because its natural beauty is unparalleled, where you can enjoy stunning views of towering limestone cliffs, turquoise waters, and lush green forests.
El Nido also has many activities in store, such as snorkeling, diving, and kayaking. All these can be done in the area without traveling from one place to another. You can also spend your day just lounging on the beach, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Overall, El Nido is a perfect place for adventure-seekers and, at the same time, a place for a peaceful retreat.
Things to do in El Nido
- Rent a kayak and Explore nearby beaches
Beautiful beaches, coves, and lagoons surround El Nido. Most of the time, tourists only know about island hopping when in the area.
However, renting a kayak is also an excellent way to explore these hidden gems and discover the natural wonders of El Nido at your own pace.
You can paddle to nearby beaches like Corong Corong Beach and Duli Beach or explore beautiful lagoons like Small and Big Lagoon. In addition, you can even opt to rent a clear glass kayak boat for a unique experience.
- Hike the Taraw Cliff
Another exciting thing to do in El Nido is to climb up to its highest point. The Taraw Cliff is one of the most iconic landmarks, offering a stunning panoramic view of the town and the surrounding islands.
The hike to the top of the cliff is challenging, which takes about 2 hours of your time, but it’s worth the effort. It’s also recommended that you hire a guide to go with you and wear proper shoes, as the climb can be steep and strenuous.
After reaching the peak, you’ll realize why climbing Taraw Cliff is worthwhile.
- Join a Island Hopping Tour
El Nido’s island hopping tours are the most popular and exciting way to explore the nearby islands and beaches. Since it has over 45 paradise lands, you’ll need to choose between different tour packages to see places in El Nido.
When joining an island hopping tour, you’ll have the chance to see lagoons, islands, and wildlife all at once. There are also available water activities you can enjoy at every stop.
Some popular sports during the tour include the Secret Lagoon, Helicopter Island, and Hidden Beach. You can choose your tour package from tour operators in El Nido.
- Catch the Sunset at Las Cabanas Beach
Las Cabanas Beach is one of the most popular and beautiful beaches in El Nido. It’s the perfect place to go swimming, sunbathing, and watch the sunset after a day of adventure.
The beach has a laid-back atmosphere, and there are plenty of restaurants and bars where you can enjoy a drink or a meal while enjoying the stunning view. You can reach the beach by getting on a tricycle or renting a motorbike from El Nido.
Where to stay in Palawan El Nido
Coron – Where to stay in Palawan for nightlife
If you would like to spend time scuba diving in Palawan, then Coron is the best destination for you. With over 40 islands offshore and many sunken Japanese warships in the area, diving is a popular activity.
The beautiful beaches and laid-back atmosphere make this a perfect family-friendly destination in Palawan.
With a large selection of hotels and resorts in Coron, there are accommodation options for every budget.
While you’ll spend most of your time in Coron beach-hopping or island hopping, Coron Town has a decent selection of restaurants and nightlife if that’s what you’re looking for.
Why Stay in Coron
Coron is most-famous among travellers who like to enjoy the nightlife scene when in Palawan. It has several restaurants, bars, and beach clubs that you can visit during your stay.
If you want to enjoy both the beach life and experience what it’s like to party on an island, then it’s probably best you look for a place in Coron.
Not only do the locals enjoy the vibrant night scene here, but you’ll also find yourself socializing with fellow travellers from all over the world.
Since Coron has many hotels and accommodations, it makes it easier to look for a place that suits your budget and preference.
Additionally, while many tourists usually think of lagoons, lakes, beaches, and islands in Coron, there’s much more to see and do. That includes exploring off-beat paths, enjoy party hubs and food spots
Things to do in Coron
- Hike Up Mt. Tapyas
Mt. Tapyas is a mountain in Coron that offers a stunning panoramic view of the town and the surrounding islands.
One of the best things to do upon arriving in Coron is to get a great idea of the city’s layout, which is why it is a must to hike up Mt. Tapyas. Don’t be intimidated because you’ll climb 742 steps in a staircase rather than going on a trek.
Although challenging, it only takes 10 to 15 minutes and is worth the sweat. Atop Mt. Tapyas is the Hollywood-style sign of CORON, where a giant cross is also located.
- Tour ALL Islands in Coron
Coron is home to various beautiful islands and lagoons that are worth exploring. However, do not get overwhelmed because you can still see most of them during a short trip in Coron.
By joining an island-hopping tour, you’ll have the chance to visit about 4 to 5 destinations in a day. You have to choose a tour package to bring you to spots you want to see.
The tour will take you to some of the most beautiful spots in the region, including Kayangan Lake, Twin Lagoon, and the Skeleton Wreck. You can also visit Malcapuya Island, Bulog Dos Island, and Barracuda Lake.
- Get Diving Lessons
If you’re interested in diving, Coron is one of the best places in the Philippines to learn. Aside from having the best spots underwater, the island is also home to several dive shops that offer courses for beginners and advanced divers.
This is helpful for those who want to return to Palawan and explore more of the underwater world.
And while the surroundings of Coron from above are as beautiful as they can get, it’s hard to miss out on what makes Coron one of the top diving destinations in the world – it’s rich marine life.
- Go Snorkeling to see Shipwrecks
Coron is also known for its shipwrecks, which have become popular diving and snorkeling sites. This is why; if you are in Coron, you should not miss out on seeing these sites.
One famous shipwreck area is where the Skeleton WWII Ship is. The ship is mostly still intact, and if you free-dive, you can see them up close and discover the marine life that has made the wrecks their home.
To get down deep, you’ll need to dive about 15 feet with a guide who will join you underwater. But if you haven’t gotten the chance to learn free-diving yet, then it’s still possible to see the ship up above the surface.
Where to stay in Coron Palawan
Port Barton – Where to stay in Palawan on a budget
Think of Port Barton as El Nido without the “crowds.” It’s still possible to find pristine, untouched beaches around Port Barton. With a few larger resorts scattered outside of Port Barton, the main accommodation option is small hotels and guest houses.
Backpackers looking for budget-friendly Palawan accommodation will find many choices in Port Barton, although don’t expect a big nightlife scene and not all accommodation has 24-hour electricity.
Port Barton is the best area for adventurous tourists who want to get off the beaten path and enjoy a quiet, serene vacation.
Why Stay in Puerto Barton
Puerto Barton is a recent place in Palawan that got the attention of tourists. Aside from the crowded cities and towns like El Nido, Puerto Princesa, and Coron, Puerto Barton became a popular choice for travellers who want the same experience as they do in the other cities, but cheaper and more peaceful.
The village of Puerto Barton is quiet, simple, and peaceful. There are also lots of beaches in the area, and it also serves as a jump-off point for some island tours in Palawan.
In recent years, many budget accommodations and hotels have opened in the area, so nothing stops you from staying in Puerto Barton.
Additionally, Puerto Barton is an excellent place to stay if you are staying for a week or more in Palawan.
Aside from the laid-back atmosphere and budget accommodations, the locals of the village are accommodating and welcoming to tourists.
Things to do in Puerto Barton
- Whole-day Island Hopping
There are various tour packages you can book in Puerto Barton. Most of the time, these tours already include lunch and even equipment for you to use for swimming and snorkeling.
But, if you are short on time, opting for a tour package that will bring you to 3 or 4 islands in a day is highly recommended. This way, you can maximize your time and see as many destinations as possible.
Among the places you can visit if you join an island hopping tour in Puerto Barton are Paradise Island, Exotic Island, Sanctuary Reef, Albaguin Village, Turtle Spot, Inaladelan Island, and many more!
- Go on a nature trip at Pamuayan and Bigaho Falls
There are two famous waterfalls in Puerto Barton; Pamuayan Falls and Bigaho Falls. So, if you are looking to explore more places besides the islands, then it’s a must to go on a nature trip in these areas.
These waterfalls are located in the nearby town of San Vicente and offer a peaceful and scenic retreat. Tour packages already include these places to visit, so you can also check those out.
- Camp at Inaladelan Island
Inaladelan Island, or “German Island,” is a popular destination for camping and beach bumming. It is an island with creamy white sand and pristine water and was named a German island because a German previously owned it.
Although you can visit the island on a day tour, I highly recommend you stay for the night and experience what it’s like to camp on an island.
You can rent a tent and spend the night on the island, surrounded by stunning views of the sea and the nearby islands.
- Explore the Secret Paradise Resort & Turtle Sanctuary
When will you ever get a chance to see turtles living in their natural habitat?
Well, the Secret Paradise Resort & Turtle Sanctuary is a unique destination that offers a chance to swim with turtles in the waters of Palawan. Although there are certain months the possibility is higher, you can always ask your local guide before booking the excursion.
You can even explore the resort’s beautiful gardens, dip in the infinity pool, or relax on the white sand beach at Secret Paradise.