Palawan in the Philippines is straight out of a dream! The turquoise water is bound to be the clearest you’ve ever seen, and the abundance of lagoons and coral gardens will make your jaw hit the floor. On top of that, the prices are incredibly cheap, the locals are welcoming, and the nature looks almost completely untouched by humans. I had the pleasure of exploring Palawan for a week, but I fell head over heels just one day in!!
Here’s a short video of my visit to give you an idea of what to expect 😍
Keep scrolling for a basic guide to Palawan & answers to some common questions about the area…
Where In Palawan To Visit
Hands down- Coron and El Nido! These two places have the incredible lagoons and beaches that Palawan are known for. They should definitely take priority when planning your visit to Palawan.
Coron Vs. El Nido
El Nido and Coron may look the same from the pictures, but they have some differing characteristics. El Nido is the more popular sibling compared to Coron. It’s definitely larger with more tours and activities, as well as more bars and restaurants, but it’s much more touristy than Coron. Coron has half the tourists compared to El Nido, and this shows in its pristine water and landscapes and quiet, laid-back vibe. With half the tourists as El Nido, the town is also much less developed. Both El Nido and Coron are equally as stunning though, and I really recommend visiting both!
How To Get Around
To get to Palawan, you’ll most likely need to fly into Manila first. From there you can either fly directly to Coron or to Puerto Princessa, where you’ll then drive to El Nido. Coron is the easier route of the two since it’s direct, but it’s pricier. If you only have the budget to fly into Puerto Princessa, just know you’ll have to take an additional car transfer to get to El Nido, which will take anywhere from 5-8 hours (depending on road conditions and traffic). One easier way to fly directly to El Nido is to book an AirSwift flight, which operates between Manila and El Nido. This will most likely be the most expensive option though, with plane tickets usually starting at 150 USD for one way.
There are only taxi tricycles in Palawan, which are basically small carriages attached to a motorcycle! Short rides usually cost a dollar or two, or even less when splitting the cost with others. Expect to pay an overall price of 15-30 USD to hire a driver for a full day.
Motorbikes are also available for rent, but there can be traffic and crazy drivers, so take caution!
Boat tours can either be private or organized by a company. To save money, but still have a high quality tour, I recommend recruiting a big group to split a private tour!
Like many other places in Southeast Asia, Palawan is VERY cheap! Street food is usually always under a dollar, beers are usually 1-2 USD, and transportation is usually 50 cents- 4 dollars total, depending on the distance.
Hostels start as low as $4/night, while 3-star hotels can be as low as $20/night.
Island hopping and snorkel tours range from about $10-$40 depending on whether you do a private or organized tour and how many people are on the tour.
I’d recommend starting your Palawan trip in Coron, since you can fly there directly from Manila. If weather permits, definitely do the lagoon tours one day and then the island hopping tours another day! Some other activities on the island include hiking, hot springs, and waterfalls. Three nights should be enough time to conquer all the activities Coron has to offer.
After Coron, you can take a 3.5 hour speed ferry through Montenegro Lines to El Nido. You can purchase these tickets from several different tour companies in Coron Town, or at their office near the port.
I suggest spending four nights in El Nido since there’s more tours and beaches to explore. Definitely try to fit in both tours A and C, as well as a day trip to Nacpan Beach.
To end the trip, I highly recommend flying out of the local airport with AirSwift to save time and avoid the long drive to Puerto Princessa Airport. If your budget doesn’t allow this though, it won’t be a problem! Just set aside a day of travel time to fly out of Puerto Princessa.
Pin this basic guide to Palawan for your next visit!
Have any more tips or suggestions to add to this basic guide to Palawan? I’d love to hear your comments below! 💙