Before you visit Palawan in the Philippines, there are a few things you need to know to make your trip to Palawan the best it can be. It’s really helpful to know these Palawan tips to make your trip stress free!
1. IT’S THE WORLD’S BEST ISLAND
Palawan has won the world’s best island award, repeatedly!
2. PALAWAN IS ACTUALLY PRETTY BIG
The island measures 450km in length and 50km wide (at it’s widest point)
3. MAJOR CITY IS PUERTO PRINCESA
Whilst there are a few airports in Palawan, you’ll be able to fly in and out of Puerto Princesa airport with ease. Other airports are specifically for charter aircraft only.
4. ELECTRICITY ISN’T EVERYWHERE
Palawan is still a developing island and in some towns, power is only available at night, or via generator. Leave your western expectations in Manila.
5. HOME TO 239 AMAZING ISLANDS
The biggest pull to Palawan are the islands, and the islands and some towns have the same thing in common – no ATM machines. Take all your cash (Peso’s) with you. For one week, allocate roughly 10,000 Pesos + extra for activities.
Palawan is considered a malaria zone, and therefore malaria tablets are recommended. As always in any malaria zone area, take lots of mosquito repellent with you.
Home to a Japenese shipwreck (Coron), amazing coral reefs, turtles and clear clear clear blue water, Palawan has EPIC diving. It’s cheap too!!!
TIPS FOR TRAVELING SABANG
Electricity is only available at nighttime between the hours of 6pm and 5am.
No power means no hot water.
Most shops will close at 6pm, with a small handful staying open til 9pm.
Blackouts are frequent.
There are no ATM’s, no currency exchange, and the WiFi didn’t really work.
Restaurant kitchens close by 8pm; don’t delay dinner or you will go to bed hungry.
The best smoothies i’ve had in the Philippines were at EJ & Jeo!
TIPS FOR EL NIDO
El Nido town beach isn’t that great. Plenty of rocks in the water! Head to Las Cabanos instead.
You will find WiFi relatively easily.
Blackouts are frequent.
Probably the best spot for diving in Palawan.
SNORKELLING TOUR TIPS
Most of the outrigger boats aren’t kept in great condition here. On my snorkeling tour, our second boat had engine problems half way. We then had to tug the boat to the last stop at Seven Commandos and then back to El Nido. Instead of a half hour journey, it took 1.5hours.
They cook lunch for you, freshly grilled fish, squid, chicken, pork, rice etc 🙂 .
They do provide water, however this is probably the most awful tasting water….ever. BYO!
Make sure to bring reef shoes and flippers! At Big Lagoon, you have to swim to the mainland and then walk down a rocky dried coral corridor to get to the lagoon. Whilst it is possible to walk down without them, it would be far more comfortable with them!
If you can, bring your own snorkelling mask. The ones they provide aren’t very well looked after and had several problems; leaking, not all had the right connectors. Check your mask before you leave El Nido.
There is a kayak for rent at Big Lagoon. Whilst the main appeal here is the corals and snorkelling, kayaking around this lagoon would be wonderful. Bring 200 Pesos if this interests you.
Take cash for Seven Commandos beach. There is a cute beach hut that serves drinks and snacks, including traditional Halo Halo. Coconut and rhum for 100 Pesos!