Northern Palawan is where most visitors focus their time, a wild mountainous land that crumbles into the mesmerizing islands of the Calamian chain. A short boat ride north of Princesa, the Underground River is the sight most visitors want to see. It meanders past a bewildering array of stalactites, stalagmites, caverns, chambers and pools, the formations made eerier on your ride through by the shadows cast by the boatman’s torch. From here, Port Barton makes for a soothing stopover on the journey north to El Nido, with plenty of cheap accommodation and enticing snorkelling spots in the bay. El Nido itself is a wonderfully scenic resort town that remains relatively low-key, a gateway to the clear waters and jungle-smothered limestone islands of the Bacuit archipelago. If you have time, extend your trip to the islands around Coron Town, laced with crystal-clear lagoons, isolated beaches and dive sites enhanced with World War II shipwrecks.

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