Puerto Princesa City is the provincial capital of Palawan, an astonishing island in the southwest of Philippines. This city is usually the starting point to explore the north of the island. Puerto Princesa is known for some environmental concerns, trying to reduce the impact of development in the island.
Near the city there are two places you can't miss -- the underground river and Honda Bay. The underground river, officially named Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. This is one of the longest underground rivers in the world -– more than eight kilometers –- with caverns full of stalactites, stalagmites, and natural pools. It is really impressive and definitely an excellent experience. You can simply book a tour for a standard price in the city or make your way to Sabang after getting the permit in Puerto Princesa.
Honda Bay is just ten kilometers north of Puerto Princesa; it's easy to arrange day trips. Honda Bay has amazing islands, nice for relaxing and with good snorkeling -– although if you take a tour, you can expect the islands where you stop to be packed with tourists. If you like, you can go independently, but it's better to ask some advice in Puerto Princesa's hostels, making clear that you don't want to go on a tour. To make your way you will need to catch a jeepney and negotiate a bangka to get to one or more islands.
The easiest way to arrive in Puerto Princesa is by airplane (the airport's just a few minutes from the city center). You also have a pier but it takes a long time to reach the Visayas or Manila – more than twenty hours. There are also a lot of buses connecting directly to all major towns, but the terminal is a little bit far from the city center. There are a few hostels in Puerto Princesa, usually with better conditions than the average on the island -- electricity here is available twenty-four hours a day and many have hot water for showers.
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