Palawan's Underground River and Ocean Zip Line in the Philippines
Foreign tourists to the Philippines tend to go to fav places. This is a fav destination because the island of Palawan offers some of the best scenic tropical vistas the country has to offer. There are three things when you arrive on the island. You arrive via airplanes from Manila, Davao, Cebu City, mainly. You land at the small, regional airport in Puerto Princesa, the largest city on the island that is in the South China Sea. You unload on the runway, which is a real fun throwback to early days of air travel!
Once situated in your hotel, you should book all day tours of the Underground River and Honda Bay island hopping. Each will consume one day and are well worth the adventure! The third is going to El Nido, which is 5-6 hrs. to the north end of the island for some of the best tropical areas in the world. If you have 7-14 days, you can easily do the first two upon arrival and then travel by van or bus to EL Nido to you final days.
This is an actual river that flows under a mountain. Your tour costs 1500 peso\pp or $27. It includes an all you can eat buffet lunch and a 2 hr. ride in a van to Sabang, across the island. The road is fine and curvy but upon arrival you basically wait for 30 minutes with many other tourists at the boat dock for your trip across the ocean to where the river is. Once there, there is a beautiful and scenic beach and rock formations and you wait again (lots of tourists here also). Eventually, you get your small boat and enter the cave and river. It is very cool and dark. You will see many rock formations and sleeping bats. You will sail for about 45min. It is a fun experience. On the way back across the ocean, you should tell your guide that you want to do the zipline. The boat will drop you off in a remote area and you will hike through the jungle a bit to the zipline. The cost is 550 peso each. The scenery is lush and majestic with shades of blue for the ocean, the mountain in the background and the zipline over the ocean! This zipline is slow and much shorter than Lake Sebu’s Seven Waterfalls on Mindanao, but, it is stunning as you fly across the ocean. Once landed, you walk across a deserted beach with coconut palms to catch your ride back to Sabang, just two miles away. Then, you will eat and by 4 pm, you are back at your hotel.
This is another all day event starting at 8 am until 4 pm. The cost is about the same as the river and you are picked up at your hotel and driven to a wharf. Again, lots of tourists doing the same thing. Once in the boat that holds not more than 6-8, you start island hopping 3-5 islands. These islands are stunning and pearl-like. The water is 80F, clear. The rest of the day you are going to one island, spending up to 1.5 hours either snorkeling or swimming, leaving and crossing the ocean to another. Very relaxing. Very exotic. Your free lunch is rice, fish, chicken, pork, salad. All of the islands are equally nice. You simply dream of just staying on one forever! Snorkeling was great, you feel like you are in a giant aquarium.
You basically do the Honda Bay thing there or other water adventures but the landscapes are simply spectacular! You never want to leave.