While many tourists go gaga over Boracay and its wild night life, there are others who are more interested to go to Palawan and get up close with nature. There’s no better way to do that than join a Palawan Underground River tour.
The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park or simply the Puerto Princesa Undergound River (PPUR) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is undoubtedly one of the highlights of Palawan.
There are two ways to plan your Puerto Princesa itinerary:
Compare Puerto Princesa tour packages and book with a travel agency.
Take on the DIY approach.
If you’re opting for the second option, this article offers you a quick DIY guide to exploring the famous Philippines underground river.
SEE ALSO: THINGS TO DO IN CORON PALAWAN
1. Obtain a permit at the Puerto Princesa Underground River office.
First things first. You need a permit.
The Puerto Princesa Underground River office is located at the City Coliseum. You can ride a tricycle directly from the airport or the town proper to the PPUR office. Fare: 10 to 12 PHP per person. Travel time: 5-10 minutes.
PPUR Office Operating Hours:
Mondays to Fridays: 8AM to 4PM with no lunch breaks
Saturdays & Sundays: 8AM to 12PM, 1PM to 5PM
How to obtain permits to the underground river:
1. Get your transaction number and wait for your turn
2. Submit your tour and personal details for processing
3. Proceed to Table 1 and 2 for walk-ins, Table 3 and 4 for travel agencies
4. Payment of assessed cost of VEP to City Collector
5. Signature of PAMB representative to finalize VEP
You can also obtain your permit at the Puerto Princesa Underground River office in Sabang, but we highly recommend to get one beforehand to tick this off your things to do.
2. Take a bus to Sabang
Go to the San Jose bus terminal. Just hail a tricycle (50 PHP) or ride a jeepney (10 PHP) to go to the terminal. From there, ask around where Lexuss Terminal is where you can ride a bus or van (if available) going to Sabang.
Buses leave every 2 hours starting at 7 AM until 5 PM. Travel time is about 3 hours.
Pro Tip: Bus schedules are rarely followed so make sure to go to the terminal early. Just so you can pick a comfortable seat. It’s going to be a long ride after all.
3. Head over to the Puerto Princesa Underground River tourist office
Go to the tourist office on the day of your Puerto Princesa Underground River tour. As early as you can if possible to avoid the crowds and hordes of excited tourists.
The Sabang tourist office opens at 8 AM.
Here are the fees you’ll have to pay:
> Entrance Fee – 500 PHP
> Environmental Fee – 150 PHP
> Audio guide – 85 PHP
You can choose to share a boat or book a personal boat for you and your group. A boat can be shared by 6 people at a little less than 200 PHP each.
If you choose to share a boat, you will have to wait for all the seats to be filled up. Good thing, because of the high number of tourists, the waiting time is typically not that long.
4. Ride a boat to kick off your Palawan Underground River Tour
A motorised boat will take you to a beach. Then you will be transferred to a bangka which will kick off your much-anticipated Palawan Underground River tour.
The bangkero (person who rows your boat) will also serve as your tour guide.
The whole tour takes 45 minutes to be completed and covers 4 kilometers of the cave.
It’s ideal to keep your mouth shut throughout the tour to avoid disturbing the natural environment. If you can’t make it without talking for 45 minutes, just keeping the babbling hush hush, okay?
So, to cap off...
In just 4 easy but not necessarily quick steps, you’ll be able to enjoy the cheapest Palawan underground river tour available. Sure, booking with a travel agency is much more convenient, but if you’re all about saving money, DIY is definitely the way to go.
Where to Stay in Puerto Princesa?
Looking for the best budget hotels in Puerto Princesa? Look no further.
Here are 6 of the cheapest and top-rated Puerto Princesa accommodations you should check out.