The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is a stunning natural place about 50 km north of Puerto Princesa City, in the St. Paul Mountain Range. It features the world’s longest navigable underground river and one of the most impressive cave systems in the world.

    The national park is located on Palawan’s northern coast, with St. Paul Bay and the Babuyan River nearby. It was named as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999 and is one of the 7 Wonders of the Modern World. It protects an extraordinary cave system, spectacular rock formations, a beautiful tropical rainforest and amazing native wildlife.

    Puerto Princesa Subterranean River - one of the highlights of 5 Best Things to Do in Puerto Princesa and 14 Best Things to Do in Palawan (Read all about Palawan here)

    photo by Eric00000007 (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    Highlights of Subterranean River National Park

    Visitors to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park can take a boat tour into the underground river and discover the unique underground waterfalls and crystal-lined cave walls. It’s possible to explore up to 8.2 km into the cave, but some of that will require swimming as it’s too narrow for boats. 

    The interiors of the caves feature stalactites and stalagmites, as well as several large open cave rooms. These include Italian’s Chamber – a 360-metre-long open chamber and one of the largest cave chambers in the world.

    Besides the cave experience, you can also enjoy a 20-minute boat ride that passes the beautifully dramatic limestone karst landscapes. Once you arrive, you can go swimming and snorkelling off the pristine white-sand beaches.

    photo by Eric00000007 (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    Be sure to take a walk through the park itself, among the wildlife and some of Asia’s most important and valuable forests. Covering about 2/3 of park’s area, they contain an estimated 800 different plant species, as well as about 165 species of birds, 30 species of mammals and 19 species of reptiles. Keep your eyes open for some of the world’s rarest and most endemic wildlife, like the Palawan porcupine, Palawan tree shrew, and Palawan stink badger.

    To visit the cave, you need to obtain the correct permits or book your visit with a professional tour company. The perfect time to visit this place is from January to June, when the weather is clear and sunny, and the sea is calm. You’ll have a better chance to explore and experience every nook and cranny of one of nature’s most unique and mystifying creations.

    photo by Eric00000007 (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    Puerto Princesa Subterranean River

    Location: Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines

    Stephan Audiger | Compulsive Traveller

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