Snorkel Ulugan Bay, enter the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, explore the islands of El Nido on kayak, and discover why Palawan is in a league of its own when it comes to tropical destinations.
Highlights and activities: - Take a boat deep into the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River. - Snorkel the rich coral reefs of Ulugan Bay - See breathtaking limestone karst landscapes and forest ecosystems. - Kayak and skin dive amidst El Nido's limestone formations. - Explore El Nido's many islands, each with its own distinct features.
Overview: When Filipinos, people who live in a country of 7,107 islands and countless beaches, consider a place to be the epitome of tropical paradise, you know it must be something special. Palawan is exotic, even for Filipinos. Its geography and richness of flora and fauna are exceptional in a country that already has its fair share of amazing natural beauty. Nowhere else in the country can you float down a river flowing through an eight kilometer tunnel of karst or kayak amidst towering islands of sheer limestone walls that rise directly out of the sea. And yes, Palawan's beaches will make you wonder why you ever bothered with anything less perfect.
Itinerary: DAY 1: Ulugan Bay The group assembles at the Puerto Princesa airport and drives an hour and a half to Ulugan Bay. A 30-minute boat ride then takes us to an island with white sandy beaches and surrounded by vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life. We spend the day snorkeling and enjoying the beach (the island's resident eagle might even join us!). At night we stay in rainforest cottages that are surrounded by trees and have sweeping views of Ulugan Bay.
DAY 2: Sabang and the Puerto Princesa Underground River We drive to Sabang then take an outrigger boat to the entrance of the Underground River. There we take a paddle boat deep into the river's tunnel, marveling at the unique environment and its many interesting formations. Then we hike through a jungle trail and try to spot monitor lizards. In the afternoon we take a paddle boat through a mangrove to learn about this rich ecosystem. After having our fill of seeing monkeys, tree snakes and various birds we drive back to our rainforest cottages overlooking Ulugan Bay.
DAY 3: El Nido We spend the morning traveling to El Nido. This gives us plenty of time to appreciate the scenery of inland Palawan. At El Nido we take a hike up one of its rock mountains and get a spectacular view of Bacuit Bay and its islands.
DAY 4: Kayaking El Nido * After taking some time in the morning to learn how to handle a sea kayak, we spend the whole day paddling amidst rock cliffs and sandy beaches. Every now and then we go ashore to better appreciate island features and to do some skin diving.
DAY 5: The best of the El Nido Islands * We load our skin diving gear onto an outrigger boat and set off to experience the wonders of the various Bacuit Bay islands. After a day of spectacular beaches, rock formations and lagoons, we reluctantly go back to El Nido town for our last night in paradise.
DAY 6: Last Day in Paradise
We bid farewell to El Nido and drive back to Puerto Princesa where we visit the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center (also known as the Crocodile Farm). Our trip ends at the Puerto Princesa airport in the afternoon. You also have the option of flying out of El Nido aiport instead of driving back to Puerto Princesa.
*Day 4 or 5 backup: The Secrets of Mainland Palawan – In case the weather does not cooperate and we are unable to go out to sea on Day 4 or Day 5, we have an excellent backup plan: we hike to discover the little-known gems of the mainland such as rainforests, waterfalls and hot springs.