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Best Palawan Tourist Spots: Philippines on a Budget

palawan tourist spots

I studied abroad in the Philippines and was pleasantly surprised that it was the most beautiful country I’d ever seen. Fancy that!

Not only is it beautiful, but it’s hugely underrated as a fantastic place to visit. While it’s growing in popularity, you’re likely going to be among only a few other tourists who have also discovered that the Philippines is the world’s best travel secret. That said, Palawan is one of the most popular places to visit the in Philippines, so don’t expect to be there by yourself.

The great thing about a travel secret is that it can easily stay under the radar as a money pit. Unless you go to the resorts, you’ll find that the Philippines isn’t expensive to visit.

Another financial factor to consider is that a lot of the people of the Philippines live in poverty. This isn’t a well off country. While this fact makes it easy to visit if you’re on a budget, you need to be emotionally and mentally prepared for the poverty you’ll see.

Don’t let the poverty dissuade you though. I had an amazing time int he Philippines. Not only is it a beautiful country, the people are incredibly warm, friendly, and hospitable.

So, while we’re here to talk about budget traveling, once you can cough up enough money to buy a plane ticket to the Philippines, it won’t be hard to keep your expenses to a minimum, no matter what you do there.

Key note: avoid the resorts. I mean, if that’s what you’re looking for, that’s fine. But, the Philippines has SO MUCH to offer that it would be a shame to travel so far just to spend all of your time at a resort that may as well be in Florida. Resorts also aren’t very budget friendly, so yeah, let’s just move on.

Palawan is a province located in the region of Mimaropa. Palawan is actually a collection of islands, named after its biggest island, Palawan Island.

To say that Palawan is beautiful is an understatement. Conde Naste claimed it to be the most beautiful island in the world with the best beaches in Asia.

You see it? Palawan is that section outlined in red to the left of Manila.

Palawan: When to Visit

The timing of your trip to Palawan matters a lot if you care about being drenched every day or not.

To avoid the rain, plan your trip to Palawan between October through May. The wind system during this time is called Amihan (Northeast Monsoon). Amihan consists of wind from the East, little to no rain, and moderate temperatures.

On the other hand, the Habagat wind system (Southwest Monsoon) shows up from July to September. During these months, you’ll see winds coming from the West, humid weather, and rainfall.

Despite the amount of rainfall in the wet and dry seasons, the temperature satays fairly consistent. No matter when you visit Palawan, you’ll find temperatures in the 70s and 80s.

best palawan tourist spots
Credit: Travel Palawan

Palawan: Where to Visit

As you can see from the map above, you’ll get a great view of the ocean from almost anywhere you go in Palawan. Anything related to the beach and ocean is a must.

Palawan is also unique in that its flora and fauna are more so related to those of Borneo than the other species found throughout the Philippines. This means that you’ll see some amazing and unique nature.

Palawan: The Best Things to Do

As we already chatted about, Palawan has a lot of amazing beaches and unique plants and animals. You could be super budget-friendly and spend no money at all by walking around and enjoying everything has to offer. But, if you want specific experiences to add to your list, here are some great choices.

Tubbatha Reef--Attention All Divers!

Tubbatha Reef is located in Puerto Princesa City on Palawan and is an underwater wonderland.

The nature you’ll see in this area is unreal. As other reefs begin dying, Tubbatha is still thriving with over 600 fish species and 360 coral species. 

The reason why this reef is so amazing is because a lot of people work to keep it that way. Tubbatha Reef is the only underwater ASEAN Heritage Park and is very carefully protected.

If you hope to visit, hook up with a legit diving company that follows all of the proper rules and procedures.

best palawan tourist spots
best palawan tourist spots

Small Lagoon and Big Lagoon

You can’t go to Palawan without hanging out in a Lagoon. Palawan is full of beautiful cliffs, caves, rocks coming out of the water, and secret passage ways.

You can hang out on the lagoon’s beaches, kayak under the cliffs and through the rocks, or swim in the crystal clear water. Whatever you do, you’ll have a great time.

These lagoons are popular, so don’t expect to have it all to yourself.

small lagoon palawan tourist spots
Small Lagoon
big lagoon palawan tourist spots
Big Lagoon

Any of the Beaches!

For obvious reasons, Palawan has a lot of beaches. And, they’re all stunning. Really, I tried to choose just one, but I couldn’t, so I compiled a list of them. Choose whichever one fits in best with your plans and you’re unlikely to be disappointed.

  • Nacpan Beach
  • Hidden Beach
  • Marimegmeg Beach
  • Nagtabon Beach
  • Duli Beach
  • Las Cabanas Beach
  • Sabang Beach
  • Seven Commando Beach
  • Secret Lagoon Beach
  • Long Beach
  • Star Beach
  • Payong-Payong Beach
  • Ipil Beach
  • Corong Corong Beach
  • El Nido Airport Beach
  • Tapiutan Beach
  • White Beach
  • Talaudyong Beach
  • Napsan Beach
  • Talisay Beach
  • Kalachuchi Beach
  • Maraneg Beach
  • Monkey Beach
  • Yaposan Beach
  • Pristine Beach
  • Basiao Beach
  • Boding Beach
  • Bitaog Beach
  • Tinintinan Beach
nacpan beach palawan tourist spots
Nacpan Beach
Hidden Beach Palawan Tourist Spots
Hidden Beach
Marimegmeg Beach Palawan Tourist Spots
Marimegmeg Beach

Any of the Islands!

Yes, the region of Palawan Island has other islands. Confusing, but beautiful.

Same story as the beaches, I just couldn’t pick! And, of course, all the islands have beaches, so there’s a bit of an overlap here.

  • Entalula Island
  • Snake Island
  • Matinloc Island
  • Simizu Island
  • German Island
  • Pinabuyutan island
  • Cowrie island
  • Dilumacad Island
  • Lu-Li Island
  • Exotic Island
  • Paradise Island
  • Tapiutan Island
  • Cacnipa Island
  • Onuk Island
  • Ditaytayan Island
  • Boayan Island
  • Pinasil Island
  • Ariara Island
  • Lowly Island
  • Sila Island
  • Ginto Island
  • Brother Island
  • Cabuli Island
  • Renambacan Island
  • Ausan Island
  • Rasa Island
  • Bubog Island
  • Dibuluan Island
  • Maruyog-ruyog Island
  • Mabaay Island
  • Putic Island
entaula island palawan tourist spots
Entalula Island
snake island palawan tourist spots
Snake Island

Firefly Watching

If you live in a place where fireflies are common, you can probably skip this. But, if you’re like me and the word “firefly” brings up images of Ray from Disney’s Princess and the Frog, you might think this is really cool.

There are a number of inexpensive boat tours that will take you out at night from Puerto Princesa to see these beautiful bugs.

firefly waytching palawan tourist spots

Palawan Butterfly Ecological Garden and Tribal Village

Of course, this is great if you’re interested in butterflies. But, not only do you get to see butterflies, many visitors say that the tribal village really pushes this experience over the top.

This is a real working village. When you visit, you get a glimpse into what life is like there.

ecological village palawan tourist spots
butterflies palawan tourist spots

Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm

Yes, a prison! But, not any ordinary prison. First off, it’s beautiful. When you aren’t learning about prison life, take a look at the amazing views.

Unlike prisons we’re used to, at Iwahig, prisoners are free to roam. In your visit there, you’ll get to chat with prisoners and see the projects they’re working on. Visitors say that it can be a bit uncomfortable, but what else would you expect when you visit a prison? Overall, it’s a neat experience.

Puerto Princesa City Baywalk Park

Take an afternoon to walk around Puerto Princesa. The City Baywalk Park is a great way to see some local culture, grab some great food, and just take some time to relax in Palawan.

Puerto Princesa City Baywalk Park
Puerto Princesa City Baywalk Park
Puerto Princesa City Baywalk Park
Puerto Princesa City Baywalk Park

Ugong Rock

Ready for an outdoor adventure? After a trip to Ugong Rock, you’ll have scurried through a cave and busted your calves climbing up to the main rock. Then, you can zip line back to where you started. If you love hiking, climbing, and doing something new outdoors, this is your place.

Ugong Rock Palawan Tourist Spots

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