Nothing defines Palawan more than the water surrounding this island paradise. With seascapes equal to any in Southeast Asia, along with terrestrial and aquatic wildlife, the Philippines’ most sparsely populated region is also the most beguiling.
Despite becoming something of a darling in travel media the last several years, hordes of tourists like those seen in Thailand have yet to reach its shores.
This has left the island’s interior – similar to that of the Amazon – practically intact. Still, El Nido and Coron, elected base camps for those exploring the Bacuit Archipelago and Calamian Islands, respectively, attract huge crowds during the peak season.
However, travelers who dare to venture outside these two hubs have many other places to choose from in their hunt for their own ideal paradise.
Considered by most as the cleanest lake in the Philippines, and by some as even the cleanest in Asia, Kayangan Lake is one of the most popular tourist destinations found in Coron. It’s a bit of a trek (a hundred steps to be exact) to get to the lake itself from the docking point, but the beautiful views more than make up for the effort.
The lake is warm and inviting; however, it can get especially crowded during the peak season. Try to drop by during the least popular hours of the day to avoid too much people. Sights below the lake’s surface are just as beautiful as those above, with striking jagged rock formations that just call to be explored.
El Nido, Palawan houses the famous Small Lagoon. This not-so-small lagoon is a wonder to explore on kayak. Be prepared to squeeze through its narrow opening between two limestone rock formations but be even more prepared for the jaw-dropping sights that await inside.
Entering the Small Lagoon will feel like entering an entirely new, almost fantasy-like world. The towering rock formations that surround the area contrast with the lagoon’s sparkling azure waters. Once inside, the real fun starts with exploring its many nooks and crannies. You can paddle away or let the water guide you. This is truly one attraction that’s magical.
This fishing village in the San Vicente municipality sits almost halfway between Puerto Princesa and El Nido. For some reason, its beautiful beaches and islets aren’t nearly as popular as both mentioned destinations. So, this is one spot in Palawan that remains quite low-key.
This is also perhaps its strongest allure – that its sand and shores are still peaceful and can still be savored without one boat docking after another and depositing a crowd of tourists onto the sand.
Aside from the pristine island-hopping stops like German Island and Exotic Island, Port Barton also has thriving reefs that are perfect for snorkeling, as well as wrecks for professional divers to explore.
Honda Bay Islands
For Palawan visitors who don’t have time to venture to the tourist hotspots, the islands of Honda Bay, near the heart of the province’s capital, are a good alternative. It’s about half-hour drive away from the city proper to the Honda Bay port, where travelers can arrange their day-long island-hopping tour.
You can stop at Starfish Island for endless encounters with – this seems rather obvious – starfish. Check out the picturesque sand bar that is Luli Island, which recedes and emerges with the tide (the name is literally derived from Filipino phrases which translates to “sinking” and “rising”).
You can also admire the flourishing reefs of Pandan Island and their schools of colorful fish swimming about, extremely close to shore.
So, there you have it. These are just some of the beach areas you can visit in Palawan. Feel free to go on and explore Palawan, as it’s indeed one amazing experience if planned correctly.