Located smack-dab in the middle of the Philippines' best-known island paradise, Puerto Princesa is the gateway to Palawan’s beaches and natural attractions. If you’ve only got one day in the state capital, it’s best to spend it exploring the city and its surrounding beaches. Here’s how.
Morning: City Sightseeing
Dedicate the morning to Puerto Princesa’s historic city center, which is rife with colonial churches and Spanish-style plazas. The area is best-explored as part of a tour, which saves you the hassle of car rental and typically includes hassle-free hotel pickup and drop-off. Staple sights include the Immaculate Conception Cathedral and the hilltop Mitra’s Ranch, but if you’re a nature lover, opt for a tour that also visits the Palawan Butterfly Ecological Garden and the Palawan Wildlife Rescue Center.
Afternoon: Beach Basking
Following a busy morning of sightseeing, reward yourself with an afternoon of relaxation on Puerto Princesa’s renowned beaches. Top picks include the relatively secluded Hartman Beach; Nagtabon Beach, ideal for swimming and surfing; and Honda Beach, from which a variety of island-hopping tours depart. Boat trips typically visit several uninhabited islands and give you ample time to sunbathe, swim, and snorkel. A hearty Filipino barbecue lunch—served on the beach and featuring fresh seafood and lechon (grilled suckling pig)—is a staple of most trips.
Evening: Firefly Following
The mangroves of Puerto Princesa are replete with fireflies, which emerge after sunset for their nightly light show. Increase your chances of observing this natural phenomenon by opting for a firefly-viewing cruise, during which a guide determines which part of the river yields the boldest and brightest display. The majority of packages include dinner and round-trip hotel transfers and return you to your accommodation before it gets too late, making them ideal for families traveling with children.