Philippines // Palawan //

Around Puerto Princesa

There are several attractions around Puerto Princesa that you can easily visit in a day or less, including Honda Bay and the Underground River. All the hotels in the area sell essentially the same tours taking in the nearest sights for around P600 per person in a minivan, or P500–700 per tricycle (Honda Bay and the Underground River are more expensive). Most tours take in Butterfly Garden, a small but blossom-filled tropical garden laced with hundreds of brightly hued butterflies, and Baker’s Hill, a manicured park and snack stop with a couple of aviaries thrown in. The Crocodile Farm & Nature Park  breeds endangered crocodiles, while the Iwahig Prison & Penal Farm is an odd though intriguing “Prison Without Bars” established in 1904. Tourists are welcome to wander around the village and take snaps of the surrounding paddies and flocks of egrets, though the main focus is the shop selling handicrafts made by the inmates.

Picturesque Honda Bay, 10km north of Puerto Princesa, is a shallow, lagoon-like expanse of water, backed by the spectacular range of mountains on the main island. The bay contains seven low-lying islands, most little more than sand bars fringed by mangrove swamp and small beds of coral, but is perfect for a day of island-hopping, lounging, snorkelling or a longer stay at Dos Palmas resort – if you have the money.