72 hours is not a lot of time to spend in a place as expansive and beautiful as Palawan. But, with hectic work and social schedules, sometimes that’s all we get. Even so, there’s tons of ways to enjoy a long weekend in one of the world’s most popular destinations. You may not be able to venture too far from the hub of Puerto Princesa, but, within a small radius, you can still experience the wide variety of activities the island has to offer—including natural wonders, fun adventures, cultural experiences, and even world-class resorts. And while it can be a bit daunting to fit everything into a three-day itinerary—don’t worry, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you. Here are our recommendations for the best ways to make the most of a short trip to Palawan.
Morning: Sabang Beach and Zipline
At Sabang, just north of Puerto Princesa, you’ll get to enjoy the powdery shores that the island is known for. Plus, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can take in the view from a thrilling zipline. This is the kind of scenic, active excursion you’ll want to set the tone for the rest of your stay!
Afternoon: Butterfly Eco Garden
Wind down from an exhilarating morning when you visit the serene Butterfly Eco Garden, which is just outside the city. Here, you’ll get to commune with a different side of nature as you mingle with a variety of butterfly species. For maximum impact on your photos, wear florals!
Night: Iwahig Firefly Watching
Witness millions of fireflies light up your sunset-to-evening river boat ride for a magical end to your first day. Pictures won’t do this place justice, so you might as well keep your phone in your bag and take in this natural wonder without the intrusion of a glowing screen. If you’re traveling with a special someone, you’ll want to add this romantic fairytale experience to your itinerary.
Morning: Honda Bay Island Hopping
Palawan and island hopping go together like sand and sea. So, if you’re pressed for time, skip El Nido and enjoy the turquoise waters of Honda Bay instead. You’ll get to snorkel, swim, and lounge just as you would in Palawan’s go-to destination—but this one is just an hour’s drive from Puerto Princesa!
Afternoon: Dos Palmas Island Resort and Spa
Before heading back to the mainland after a day of island hopping, catch a breather and some cocktails at Dos Palmas. With a day pass, you’ll get access to the resort’s pool, cabanas, and beach activities like paddleboarding and biking. This resort is also one of the best places to catch that legendary Palawan sunset.
Night: Puerto Princesa City Baywalk Park
For a lowkey night out, enjoy a stroll through the sea breeze at the Puerto Princesa City Baywalk Park. With lots of affordable food options along the walk, this is a nice way to get out of your hotel for a few hours, without venturing too far away. It’s also one of the best places to get fresh, local food!
Morning: Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park
The Underground River, as it’s commonly known, is Puerto Princesa’s most popular tourist destination. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it has been named one of the New7Wonders of Nature. Be sure to wake up early to make the 5-hour roundtrip to the national park fit into your last day. Once there, discover the limestone karsts from inside and outside the underground river cave, take in the gorgeous flora and fauna, and enjoy a boating adventure while you’re at it!
Afternoon: Plaza Cuartel
Step back in time when you visit Plaza Cuartel. Located in the city proper, this makes for a stress-free sightseeing stop on your last day. After a visit here, you’ll get a deeper appreciation for Palawan as a historical site instead of just a beach destination. And to help you get further immersed, there are cute kalesas and a quaint park that you can enjoy nearby.
Night: La Terrasse
Before heading to the airport, have one last meal at La Terrasse, a cute restaurant next to the runway. Open late, the restaurant is cozy, romantically-lit, and serves totally organic Filipino and Asian cuisine. So, whatever time your flight leaves, you’ll be able to enjoy the highest-rated and most in-demand eateries in the city right before heading home.
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