Travel Guide Palawan (The Philippines)

Last Updated on by Charlotte van de Sande

The Philippines have long been high on our wish list, especially the island of Palawan. This large island would be just like a paradise full of untouched nature and beautiful beaches. And indeed, Palawan is a wonderful island! With many diversity: looking for a place to party and meet new people, visit El Nido. Do you prefer a quiet town, then visit the sleepy Port Barton. Palawan is not yet completely discovered by the mainstream tourists so it took us a while to find nice places to sleep and eat and activities. Hereby my findings.

Where to sleep on Palawan: the best hotels!

Where to stay in Puerto Princesa:

Bamboo Hostel €
Do you travel with a small budget and do you want something different than a standard hostel? Camp a night at this hotel. Sleep in a tent from 5 euros (1pers).

Blue Lagoon Inn & Suites €€
Near the airport with a nice airport shuttle. It is a simple hotel, but there is a lovely swimming pool. Fine for a night when you’re on your way to Port Barton or El Nido. From 23 euros per night (2 people).

Canvas Boutique hotel  €€€
If you go for luxury, you must sleep here. Design rooms, great breakfast and an amazing pool. From 45 euros per night (2 people).

The best accommodation in Port Barton:

Deep Moon Resorts
The ultimate island feeling: a hut on the beach and at night you can hear the waves crashing on the sand. Twice a day there is a yoga class and afterwards, you eat the best smoothie bowls or pancakes in the restaurant on the beach. From 11 euros per night (2pers). Note: book the huts located in Port Barton, the others seem to be very remote.

Ausan Beach Front Cottages  €€
Fine houses that are just a little less primitive. They even include air conditioning (provided there is the electricity of course). From 25 euros per night (2pers).

Rubin Resort €€€
The only hotel (currently) in Port Barton with a swimming pool. So if you are fed up with the salty sea, jump into the wonderful pool water! From 47 euros per night (2pers).

The best hotels of El Nido:

Spin Designer hostel €€
Super nice hostel with a great breakfast. Large rooms, huge beds and very clean! In addition, at a good distance from the centre. For a hostel, this is a bit expensive, but it is more than worth the money! From 42 euros per night (2pers).

Hotel Covo  €€€
This fine hotel is located outside the centre and on a beautiful quiet beach. A must if you are looking for peace and quietness. From 99 euros per night (2 people).

El Nido Resorts Lagen Island €€€€€€€€
Yes, even extreme luxury is possible in the Philippines! Overwater bungalows for only 700 euros per night. Unaffordable, but what a luxury! Technically, this is not in El Nido but on a private island a bit under El Nido.

My favourite accommodations in Coron:

Acacia Garden Inn €
Modern rooms with air conditioning and breakfast. The hotel is right in the centre of Coron Town. From 26 euros per night (2 people).

Sunz & Coron resort €€
Swimming pool, air-conditioned rooms and breakfast. And all that for only 35 euros per night (2 people)! Oh, and there is also a shuttle service that takes you to the city centre for free.

The Funny Lion €€€
Friends of ours stayed here, and were very pleased with the great pool and the good drinks! From 120 euros per night (2 people).

The best restaurants: where to eat and drink on Palawan?

The coolest hotspots for food in Port Barton

Where to eat (without getting food poisoning) in El Nido?

In El Nido pay extra attention to the hygienic condition of the places where you are going to eat. The town is known and notorious for its nasty food poisoning. The following restaurants were completely safe for us:

  • Not only in Port Barton you can enjoy good Italian food, here in El Nido as well. Be sure to visit Altrove. At this place, they even serve tasty wines (unique for the Philippines!).
  • Swinging with your bare feet in the sand while sipping on a cocktail? Then go for Falafel at the Happiness Beach Bar.
  • Another place with a clean kitchen is the Art Cafe. They have two branches, one on the street and one on the beach. Go to this last one, we found the branch on the street a bit disappointing.

The best restaurants in Coron Town

  • Yes, it’s getting a bit boring, but in Coron, there is also an Altrove (pizza and pasta).
  • Fish so fresh that you see it being taken out of the sea in front of you? Go eat at La Sirenetta. Plus; you will have an amazing sunset sitting on the pier at the ocean.
  • Fancy extremely good burgers or delicious Filipino food? Then go eat at Santino’s Grill. Really a huge recommendation, extremely cheap and they serve delicious smoothies!

Fun activities to do when you are on Palawan!

What to do in Port Barton?

  • Relax! Chill in your hammock, lie hours on the beautiful beach and occasionally jump into the sea. The cocktails taste good here, the people are nice. Clearly, you are in paradise!
  • Get your diving certificate! On Palawan, it is possible to get both your Padi and your SSI (which is exactly the same) and make some beautiful dives! There are a lot of diving schools in El Nido, but we can recommend Aquaholics diving school in Port Barton. To obtain your diving license you need an average of three days. Also, keep in mind the ban on flying 24 hours after your last dive.
  • A morning and nothing to do in Port Barton? Then make a hike to the Pamuayan Falls, a little four kilometres from the bay. Great to do yourself, but also with a guide (4 euros per hour) it is possible.
  • On the roof of the hotel, Deep Moon Resorts yoga classes are held twice a week. A more idyllic setting than this isn’t possible. A small breeze and the calming sound of the waves within 20 meters away from you.
  • Do an island hopping tour. For 10 euros per person, you can do a day tour to go island hopping and snorkelling with a group of people. You see beautiful fish, with a bit of luck a big turtle and lots of coral. For lunch, a fine fish bbq is served with enough fresh fruit. You can just book on the beach at one of the many vendors. You can choose from tour A to E, but believe us, they are all beautiful. For 50 euros you can also do a private tour and a mix of the five different tours can be made. Recommended!

What to do in El Nido

  • Rent a scooter and visit Napcan and Marimegmeg Beach. At the latter, the sunset is amazing. Order a beer and see how that beautiful fireball sinks into the ocean.
  • El Nido is known for its island-hop tours. Especially tour A and D are the best with the highlight being the Small and the Big Lagoon. A tour can be booked anywhere on the spot and costs about 11 euros per person.
  • Fancy a longer boat trip? Then go for a multi-day tour from El Nido to Coron with for example Tao or Buhay Isla. We have been with Buhay Isla, a great experience. Here you can read our blog about this trip (in Dutch only)!

What to do in Coron?

  • Coron is known for the many shipwrecks that lie on the sea just right off the coast. A true paradise for divers. Are you going to do a Tao or Buhay Isla tour? Then snorkelling above a shipwreck is already included.
  • Hollywood eat your heart out, Coron has his own Coron-Sign on top of Mount Tapyas. This is a nice place to hike toward, and to enjoy the great view. One tip: do this just before sunset, otherwise it is way too hot. Furthermore, 600 steps seem to be a lot more than they actually are, so do go!
  • Big NO GO: do not pay a visit to the Cashewnoten farm or the hot springs. The Cashewnut farm is just a cashew nut shop and is a big disappointment, and believe me, with 30 degrees outside hot springs are way too hot!
  • Also here we can recommend doing an island hop tour. Especially to visit the crystal clear Kayangan Lake and the beautiful Twin Lagoon. We booked a tour at Calamianes Expeditions, for about 15 euros per person. In this blog, you can read our experiences (only in Dutch).

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