Puerto Princesa Underground River

Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Puerto Princesa Underground River
4.5 Stars

46 Reviewers

  • 5 stars 29
  • 4 stars 14
  • 3 stars 3
  • 2 stars 0
  • 1 star 0
  • 50 Reviews
  • 154 Recommend
  • 46 Reviewers
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Mary Love S.
4.0 Stars

This year has been a crazy year packed with travels to different provinces. And I started the year visiting one of the places I've been dying to visit... Puerto Princesa's Underground River. Hailed as a World Heritage sites on December 4, 1999, this gem has been one of the must visit destinations when in Palawan.

Hello, Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park.

R and I booked a tour to this beautiful site and paid PHP1,800 per head which covers round trip van transfer to and from the underground river, buffet lunch, motorized boat transfer, fees and permits, tour guide and audio device you'll use while on the underground river tour.

We were picked up at our hotel around 8 in the morning. Before heading to the popular site, we had to stop by the Puerto Princesa Underground River Office to get our permits. Thankfully, our guide took care of everything and we just have to wait for a bit inside the rather cramped van.

While securing permits, our guide got word that we had to wait for a couple of hours due to the influx of tourists heading to the underground river. I wasn't really surprised or disappointed as I've read several reviews saying the same thing. Others even had to wait for more than 3 hours at the Sabang Port where there is barely anything to do.

Instead of waiting at the port, our tour guide suggested that we take a side trip to Ugong Rock Adventure. And it sounded a lot better than just sitting at the port. It was on the way too so we were not really wasting any time. But let me save my caving experience for another blog entry.

After spending roughly an hour and half at Ugong Rock Adventure, we headed straight to Sabang Port where we had buffet lunch. Don't expect too much from it though as it is just like your typical turo-turo dishes and a small bottle of soda.

Everyone from our group finished in record time. I guess all that climbing made everyone hungry. We had to wait about another half an hour before we got to ride the boat to the underground river.

When we got to the island, we had to take a short walk to the actual site and it was a bit scary for me as I spotted several monkeys that didn't seem too friendly with the idea of humans entering its turf.

But I totally got over my fear when I saw the majestic underground river. The cool water sure made me want to swim.

We had to wait for the other group to finish their turn before we got on the boat. While waiting, we were given audio devices and earphones.

Soon, we got on the boat and off to a beautiful adventure.

The underground river was totally dark so our guide had to use his flashlight to direct us to what the audio was describing.

There are several limestone formations that look like vegetables, iconic characters and so on.

It's hard to not be awed by the massive limestone so the audio also warned us to keep our mouths shut for there are several bats living in the cave and no one would want to swallow bat droppings.

The tour probably took about half an hour. We were only able to cover less than half of the river as the other parts are impassable by boat. But it was long enough for me to be proud to live in a country that houses this amazing natural wonder.

It is indeed worthy to be included in the New 7 Wonders of Nature. The striking limestone formation landscape is simply breathtaking.

Others say that it's cheaper to organize your own trip to the underground river but I highly recommend that you go for the tour services. You may shell out a few more hundreds but it saves you from hassle and possible misfortunes (e.g. not getting a boat).


-Remember that do not take anything from the place but memories and do not leave anything but foot prints. Cliche as it may sound but that is how it should always be.

-Allot 8 hours for this as the underground river is far from the city. Also, the wait at the port could take about 2 to 3 hours.

-Try to enjoy the tour and not worry about taking photos. It's hard to take photos in the dark while moving anyway.

  • No. of Comments: 4
Joshay S.
5.0 Stars

Just finished our Underground River Tour today! 128525
It was indeed awesome! Got the chance to visit one of the seven wonders of the World!

It's good that you book a package for your tour to avoid hassle - just like we did! At 7:15 am today, our service picked us up in our hotel. We're a group of three - my aunt, uncle and me. We 're the first group the van fetched, then we fetched other on their respetive hotels. All in all we're 13 pax in the van excluding the driver and the guide.

Had almost an hour and half ride going to Sabang Port. Thanks to our guide ate May for not keeping us bored!

They settled permits,etc and arranged the boats while we're busy with our photo ops128526128514

Finally, time to ride the boat. We divided in two groups as the boat cannot accomodate us all. In our boat, we were 6 person excluding the two boatman.

It was a roller coaster ride in the boat. The waves were quite big since typhoon Lawin is entering the Northern Luzon. Eventhough Palawan is not affected but still the water level was quite scary!128575

Finally, we arrived safely in the Park. Our guide kuya Jonathan was so lively and entertain us with all those abstract formations found in the rocks! The cave was indeed amazing128521 I was so happy that I got a chance to visit this place made by God.

After that we ride back to the Port with a lunch buffet128515128068

  • No. of Comments: 0
Jayson J.
4.0 Stars

Ah the underground river... Basically a river inside a cave which was formed several "centuries" and was discovered by an american folk (uhuh) and was recorded in the early 18th century. Getting ready we wore our life vest and our safety hat.

During our visit, it was told that we would be using an audio recording for the whole tour--tourist guides or boatmen are not allowed to discuss anymore since it would be noisy inside the cave. But then it was a booboo to listen to the audio because the recording is not synced with what we were seeing inside. At the end, we listened to our boatman since one of the passenger's audio device ran out battery. It was way too better to listen to the boatman.

The entrance to the cave is magnificent! Very clear water, you can see schools of fishes swimming. It is not allowed to swim of course, and they would care more about the cave being polluted rather than you getting some infection or what. Lol. You could now smell the bat's feces as you enter. It's very pungent yet tolerable. You'll get used to its smell.

We were told not to open your mouth while looking up. If a droplet of liquid feels cold, then it's from the mountain river coming from the ceiling; if it feels a little warm it maybe a secretion of a bat--so just be careful!

The stretch of 20+ kilometers of the river, we were only allowed to travel 1.5 kilometers from the mouth of the cave, then up to 4 kilometers are for researchers (requires special permit from the government). Beyond that is off limits. It's pitch black inside but thankfully, the boatmen got flashlights to light the magnificent stalagmites and stalactites. It is said that these grow less than a millimeter every year! Imagine there's not much change after 20 years!!

Among the formations, i like the cathedral part where you could see the nativity scene. I marvel at it as i realize it's not manmade! There's also the "market place" where you see fruit-shaped formation. Well, you really have to use your imagination.

The tourist (back in the van on the way back to our hotel) told us that they were given a special pass up to the 4 kilometers. It was just pitch black and full of stones and bats. "Nakakabato" as he says-- so i guess the 1+ kilometers was just okay. Actually, i was put in a daze after a while looking at the formations.

Grab the opportunity to visit this place at palawan for your a good spelunking experience.

  • No. of Comments: 0
Dijo S.
4.0 Stars

No matter what people say or how crowded it gets, the scenic Underground River will always be a majestic piece of nature. Truly deserving of being a Wonder of the World. They now give out headphones with a pre-recorded voice tour in different locations. Personally, I still prefer the witty/corny jokes of the locals haha (hence the 4-star rating).

Pro tip: Try to go on a weekday to avoid long lines. Also, try to ask to be seated at the front of the bangka to have an unrestricted view of the whole river tour!

  • No. of Comments: 0
Shiela L.
5.0 Stars

One of the best attractions in the Philippines. #ItsMoreFunInThePhilippines

  • No. of Comments: 1
Shiela L.
5.0 Stars

Palawan Underground River is one of 7 wonders of the world.
Must visit for everyone! 9992

  • No. of Comments: 0
Marjorie L.
5.0 Stars

Looking for another last minute destination just before your sunmer ends? Well then I could assure you that this place would be worth it to visit to fill up all your adventure seeking needs. Found in Palawan the city of Puerto Princesa. Puerto Princesa Subterranean River (or Underground River), a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature is very interesting place to visit here in the Philippines. It is an 8.2 kilometer long river said to be the longest underground river in the world to be able to be navigated. Based on what I remembered from what our tour guide said the entire area where the Underground River is located is actually a national park and a model of biodiversity. A home to different kinds of plant and animal species. It’s also been named the Philippines' cleanest and greenest city, and has been internationally recognized for environmental excellence. Inside the cave there were lots of rock formations that were really old. Also there were quite a number of bats inside the cave the made high pitched noise as you go deeper inside. The tour guide we got to guide us through the underground river was really funny and entertaining which made the whole trip more fun!

After our visit to the underground river out tour guide took us to a nearby islanh for a lunch picnic. There were a lot of foreign tourists there eating also. Food was great served in a buffet like manner where you can eat all you want. You can also do some swimming and snorkeling on nearby islands if you feel like it but we chose not to because we were leaving to be back in Manila on that same day. I brought home with me some souvenirs but my favorites were the two bracelets which had Palawan written on them. Definitely coming back to Palawan given another chance! 10084


  • No. of Comments: 0
Jasmine R.
5.0 Stars

Different rock formations can be seen inside. Educational for all! It's way bigger inside! And has lots of bats 128541

When in Puerto Prinsesa, try visiting El Nido too. Island hopping at its finest! 128525

  • No. of Comments: 3
Aileen L.
5.0 Stars

The Puerto Princesa Subterranean Natiional Park where the Underground river is found, has been a UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE since 1999. It has also been chosen as one of the modern "Seven Wonders of the World".

So on our 2nd day in Puerto Princesa we woke up so early and had our early breakfast because our tour guide from Kara Travel will pick us up at the hotel at 6am. Will be leaving early as it was Dec 31 that day and it was a peak period. Many tourist go there everyday just to see this majestic river. So our tour guide for that day is Dennis. His one of the best tour guide in Puerto Princesa and still we had Kara Travel and Tours for our PP Underground River tour. We're the first one to fetch at our hotel then another 3 more tourist joined us on our tour.

The PP Underground River tour is a whole day tour. The tour takes 2 hours to Sabang, a short boat ride from the Wharf to Sabang beach, the entrance of the underground river and the actual boat ride going inside the cave.

Each has an assigned boatman with paddle boat equipped with a search light. The boatman gives a running commentary while viewing the formations inside the pitch dark recesses. The most impressive area inside would be the cathedral, we were so lucky that out boatman was so funny and he had a lot of stories and jokes as we were inside the dark cave. You'll see also a thousand of bats inside the cave, be sure to close your mouth coz you might swallow the **** of bats.

128204underground river tour price from Kara Travel is 1,500 pesos.

128205early booking is highly recommended. I booked here in Manila 3 months before our travel to Palawan. Limited number of permits everyday so make sure you book in advance and were lucky that our tour guide has some connection so getting there was faster and we are ahead of our target time.

128205 the van is a seat in coach (shared tour)

128205there is an environmental fee that was collected , 60 pesos on the day itself and our tour guide manages everything so it's a hassle free trip if your joining a tour.

128204underground river tour inclusions;
128205tour permit
128205pick up and drop off at the hotel with an air conditioned van
128205entrance fees
128205boat fees
128205 buffet lunch after the PP underground river tour , we had our lunch at Del Kusina
128205licensed tour guide

Make sure you have a sealed plastic cellphone holder so it won't get wet. Avoid the monkeys. Don't look at them and don't bring plastic bags as they might get it from you, they'll think that it was food so take note of it. Wear comfy shoes or sandals. Wear comfy clothes and don't forget your sunglasses.

There was an official photo souvenir shop where you can check your photos there just like this one in the photo.

Your tour in Puerto Princesa won't be complete if you will not be able to experience this underground river tour. I did it. I was a bit scared before our way there but the moment you'll get inside , fears will be gone as the only running on your mind is the wonderful God's creation and that is the amazing Underground River. We are so lucky that our country has something to be proud of just like this one.

Bucket list 2015✅

  • No. of Comments: 8
Melissa Joyce B.
4.0 Stars

Happy to see God's creation up close. I prefer DIY than package tour specially when it's not pick season (if you want to save)

  • No. of Comments: 0
Marjorie G.
4.0 Stars

After our lunch, our driver drove us to the pier where we spotted many tourists waiting for their turn to ride the boat to go to the Underground River. If my estimate is right, we waited for almost an hour for our turn. I almost cried when I noticed that my water-damaged phone died on me again. So I set aside my reservation and requested Maria to take some pictures of me in the Underground River so I can have a souvenir. Thank heavens she was gracious enough to say yes.

The Underground River is the most popular tourist attraction in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Given this, I was no longer surprised when I saw how many people had to wait just to see this new 7th Wonder of the World. It took us about 20 minutes to get to the island itself. The first thing that I noticed was the foul smell that hung about the air, which I could surmise came from the thousands of bats living inside the cave. Again, we had to wait for our turn to enter the cave because the island is filled with tourists. When finally our turn came, I volunteered to sit in front of the boat so I can have the best view. Because I was on the tip of the boat, I instantly became the flashlight holder. You see, the boatman cannot do it himself because he was busy stirring our boat.

The cave is big and dark, the temperature is chilly and it reeked of bats. There were many boats sweeping their way inside carrying the tourists. I couldn’t help but be impressed by the boatman, imagine the effort they have to exert because the boat can only be stirred manually. Our boatman told us some things about the cave and helped us discern the shapes of the rock that I swear to you resembled some things, such as vegetables, people, or animals. The bats were everywhere, flying about, in some instances, closer to our heads that we had to duck several times.

Our boat ride was slow and long that I almost feared it would never end. Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate the majestic view and the dark beauty of the underground river, but these are also the very reasons I had an unsettling feeling.

  • No. of Comments: 0
Cion T.
5.0 Stars

Mother's nature sculpture. Magwowonder ka tlga paano nagawa ng nature ang mga rock formation sa loob ng cave.

FYi: pagpasok mo sa loob ng cave super baho, because of bat droppings and urine, but your nose can get used to it in time. Don't look up with mouth open if you dont want to eat guano hehehe.. We were seated infront and holding the light, and we can't hear the bankero at the bank maybe because of the rain outside.

Tips: its a must to have a dry bag especially if you are visiting during rainy season, may mga butas ang mountain kng san papasok ang tubig ulan to the cave, to protect your valuables dry is needed.. :)

  • No. of Comments: 1
Reich T.
5.0 Stars

Second day of our Palawan Roadtrip.  We decided to go underground.  No, we didnt join a cult...we visited UNESCO's heritage sight and one of the new seven wonders of nature.

Puerto Princesa Subterranean River.  The 8.2 kilometer river said to be the longest navigable river in the world,  winds it's way underneath a mountain range,  through the St Paul Underground River cave and goes out into the South China Sea.

(Source:  It's More Fun In The Philippines website)

We rented a van and drove for 6 hours,  endured muddy roads,  got soaked with a torrential downpour,  took a boat to go underground. 

Upon reaching the island,  the boatman reminded all passengers not to bring any plastic bags as the monkeys might snatch it.  I kept that in mind as i navigated the trail.  There are monkeys and monitor lizards, alright.  The island surrounding the river is home to more than 800 plant species,  195 bird species,  30 from the mammalian kingdom,  19 reptiles and 8 bat species (source: Wikipedia)

When we reached the dock,  i took out the plastic bag that houses my wallet,  ipod,  and two mobile phones. Didn't take long for the blasted monkey to take notice...the pesky creature came from nowhere and snatched the bag.  Good thing,  one of the boatmen followed the rodent (monkeys are not rodents,  metaphor for annoying) and found the bag.  I can't recall how many times i thanked Kuya,  hell,  i even said i loved him and I'm forever grateful. 

The boatman assigned to our group is the best,  he kept us entertained during the ride.  I forgot about the plastic-bag-snatching-rodent.  The cave is beautiful.  You'll be in awe of stalactites and stallagmites and admire nature's handiwork.   Some of the formations have colloquial names, one was named "MRT"  "Sharon Stone"  etc.  The cave is also home to bats.   So don't look up with your mouth agape,  not unless you like bat piss  128522

I liked the adventure even the blasted monkey,  i sirta miss the little bugger - it made the trip memorable.  If you dig biodiversity,  pack your bags and  go underground.

  • No. of Comments: 7
Abby C.
5.0 Stars

We arrived at the Sabang Port and waited for about an hour so we can ride a boat that will bring us to the river. The island that we were brought to was full of monkeys. The tour guide said that the monkeys there are quite smart that they will try to snatch any kind of plastic bec. they think it has food inside. Unfortunately, my bag is transparent. The tour guide said that I have to cover it with cloth so that the monkeys will not attack me. 128557128557128557. Just when we started to cover my bag with the big cloth I brought (thankfully I brought one), monkeys started to pop up beside us, waiting for a perfect timing to snatch my bag huhuhu...thankfully, the tour guide brought me to a safer spot where I can continue covering my bag. I was more scared of the monkeys than of the snatchers in Manila hahaha. After a 2-minute trek, we had to wait for another 30 mins to ride a paddle boat that wil bring us inside the underground river.

I thought I will not be able to enjoy the tour but I was wrong. It really deserves to be part of the New 7 Wonders of the World. The rock formations with matching smell of bat urine and feces are cool. The experience was indeed remarkable.

  • No. of Comments: 2
Rian K.
5.0 Stars

Puerto Princesa Subterrenean River/Underground river is located at Sabang beach, palawan. 128079 i just can't wait to go back. Much better if you booked a trip on travel package to avoid hussle. 128514 We should all be proud of our country because of this beautiful place. 1277549728

  • No. of Comments: 1
Pauie P.
5.0 Stars

So majestic and wonderful. I wasn't able to take pictures because it was so dark and i was trying to focus on what the boatmen were trying to say. I was wondering how nature cultivate this place. 978697869786

  • No. of Comments: 0
Cheska G.
4.0 Stars

It was raining during the morning so the water was brown-ish. 128532 boatmen said it is because of the soil from the mountains. Too bad we weren't able to see the clear blue water that time.

The stalagmites and stalactites formation were amazing. The boatman or your tourist guide will explain it to you as you go along the tour.

Kudos to the local tourist guides and boatmen. They can really explain the attractions very well. I think they were very well trained. They were also very polite 9786

  • No. of Comments: 1
Marites G.
4.0 Stars

The place is so majestic. Beware of some crocs tho.

  • No. of Comments: 0
Eater F.
5.0 Stars

Palawan has always been my favorite summer getaway! Yes!!

And one of the best beach that I've ever seen is here in the underground river, take note, they don't allow you to swim on the beach. It's really well preserved! I didn't mind waiting for about 1 hr for the underground tour because I've been bumming on the beach and just relax my body!

Ahh verrryyy serene!! So much fun!

The underground river is of course fascinating but I didn't enjoy it as much hahaha! What I enjoyed is how the tour guide put humor on their tour so yeah! But still 5 stars!! Hooorraayy!!!

  • No. of Comments: 1
Shayne B.
5.0 Stars

Puerto Princesa Underground River: CHECK ☑️

My friends and I went here on the 3rd day of our Palawan escapade. Before planning to do this tour, make sure to reserve your slots and secure your permits! 128522 There are two ways you can get to the river from Sabang, one is thru boat, the other is thru a 1 1/2-2 hours of trekking via Jungle Trail (review will be posted soon). 128513 We chose to trek going there for a much wilder adventure. Hahahaha!

It's a 45-minute tour. Before, they told us that it was about 2 hours of boat ride in the river, but it was now cut down to 45 minutes as they closed the further areas of the river already. Dang. But it's okay, it was really creepy (but beautiful) inside... So I can't stand to do it for two hours! 45 minutes is already much for me.

You will see rock formations inside. The water is about 20-30ft deep, crystal clear, and you'll see lots of fishes swimming and some rock formations under the water. This is the home of balinsasayaw (birds who produce "bird's nest") and other 15 species of bats. Always wear your helmet with you and make sure you wear long sleeves so the bat poop won't drop onto your skin. 128540128169128584 DIPPING OF HAND, FINGERS, AND OTHER PARTS OF YOUR BODY IN THE WATER WHILE ON TOUR IS NOT ALLOWED, because there are water snakes swimming sometimes. I was told about it after our tour as I told my friends that I dipped my fingers in the water and it was freaking cold. The tour guide suddenly told me to listen to instructions and never do it again for my safety. Hahaha halatang di na ko nakikinig. Sorry po~ 128532

Avoid opening your mouth when you look up because a bat poop might drop into your mouth. 128169

The one who discovered this place must be really brave. It's really dark and creepy inside... But beautiful. They said if you have the permit to go further (the special two hour tour), you will see some fossils of dolphins and dugong.

Unforgettable experience. The place is really beautiful. 128522

  • No. of Comments: 6