DIVING PUERTO PRINCESA
Puerto Princesa is a coastal city located in the western island of Palawan in the Philippines. It is a famous tourist destination for its pristine beaches and gorgeous diving spots. The UNESCO underground river system is also part of the reason why tourists flock to this city. In addition, the rich biodiversity of the island is sought after by tourists who are into natural wonders and wildlife.
PUERTO PRINCESA DIVING
The gateway to Palawan, Puerto Princesa offers a host of diving sites within the city itself, or its surrounding areas like El Nido, Coron, and the famous Tubbataha Reef. The year-round diving conditions in Palawan make it suitable for diving. But the quality of water visibility could differ depending on which time of the year you choose to dive.
Many areas in Puerto Princesa, such as the Tubbataha Reef, can only be dived through a liveboard diving vessel. But you can also find many land-based diving locations in Puerto Princesa. As with many other diving destinations in the Philippines, you need to ride a small boat to reach your diving sites.
If you are interested in exploring the beauty of the underwater life in Puerto Princesa, you must add the following dive sites for your trip.
BEST DIVE SITES
The Tubbataha Reef is undoubtedly the most popular diving site near Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Several experts claim that it is where you will experience the highlight of diving in all of Philippines; therefore, you simply cannot afford to miss it.
When diving the Tubbataha Reef, expect dramatic underwater terrain and rich marine biodiversity. There are a total of 600 fish species, 11 shark species, and 360 coral species in the area. Some of the highlights of your dive include spotting turtles, manta rays, and resident reef sharks.
In terms of diving depth, this is a relatively shallow site with the deepest part at 20 meters. This is a favorite among divers as it is home to a variety of species like barracudas, sea turtles, angelfishes, and of course, cuttlefish.
Aside from the marine species that you will encounter, the passing reef sharks and dugongs can occasionally be spotted here.
This dive site is located at the mouth of Puerto Princesa Bay. It is a sloping reef site that goes to as deep as 34 meters. It is a favorite diving site for underwater photography enthusiasts.
You will be in awe by the level of biodiversity in this diving site that includes the following critters that you have the highest chance of encountering: crustaceans, octopus, nudibranch, barracuda, jack fish, turtles, and tuna.
This dive site is located a bit farther away from Puerto Princesa and closer to El Nido – another popular tourist destination in Palawan. It is a 35-meter long tunnel that was stumbled upon in 1990s.
The shallowest portion of this tunnel is at 12 meters, which is a memorial plate at the entrance. There are several ceiling holes and a sandy bottom in this tunnel. As you reach the exit, the tunnel gradually narrows. This is a great dive site best reserved for experienced divers.
Surrounding famous dive locations:
Since Puerto Princesa is the gateway to the ultra beautiful and popular Palawan, you are most likely to be stopping here at some point, and should spend some time exploring while there.
But from there, you can access by car or bus the likes of El Nido and Port Barton, as well as Coron and Tubbataha by boat. All of those areas have their own great diving.
BEST TIME TO DIVE
The best time to dive in Puerto Princesa is from November to May. The rainy season in Palawan is from June to December, so it is best to avoid diving during this time.
While Palawan offers year-round diving conditions, the water visibility can be compromised during the wet season.
Diving during the optimal season in Puerto Princesa ensures that you can have water temperature of 26 to 30 degrees Celsius.
HOW TO GET TO PUERTO PRINCESA
You must book a flight via Puerto Princesa International Airport. There are daily connecting flights from other major cities in the Philippines such as Cebu, Manila, or Iloilo.
To travel to Puerto Princesa by land, you can take a taxi from the airport as there are many available. You can also rent a car so you can explore the island on your own. Better yet, there are airport transfer services that you can hire from the airport to anywhere in Puerto Princesa.
HIGHLIGHTS OF PUERTO PRINCESA
Puerto Princesa is one of the most visited cities in Palawan because it has plenty of things to see and do, as well as it having the biggest airport and being the gateway to the rest of Palawan.
It is a highly urbanized city with less than 250,000 in population. In terms of land area, it is one of the least densely populated cities in the Philippines.
Puerto Princesa is known for its diving opportunities but it has more to offer tourists who come and visit the city. There are many beach resorts, seafood restaurants, nightlife destinations, and more. Known as the cleanest and greenest city in the country, you are sure to enjoy your stay.
A tour of the underground river (which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site) is a must when visiting Puerto Princesa. Aside from being a UNESCO site, it is known as one of the 7 Wonders of Nature.
The Underground River is located about 2 hours away from Puerto Princesa. You will get to enjoy a 15-minute boat ride inside this mystical cave with interesting rock formations.
If you want to experience the beautiful beaches of Puerto Princesa, you need to book the Honda Bay Island Hopping tour. You will be renting a boat that will take you to several notable beaches in Puerto Princesa, including Cowrie Island, Pandan Island, Luli island, and Dos Palmas Island.
Firefly watching and a day trip at the Kamia Bay Inflatable Park are other notable activities that you can add to your itinerary in Puerto Princesa.
WHERE TO STAY
Puerto Princesa is located within the midsection of Palawan. The city is bound by the Sulu Sea to the East and West Philippine Sea to the west. The city of Palawan is the second largest in the Philippines (in terms of geographical size with Davao City being the largest). It has a total land area of 2,381 square kilometers.
This city serves as base for boat trips that will take you through many tourist spots within Palawan. This area is dotted with numerous dive sites that diving enthusiasts come to in order to encounter various species like rays, turtles, and long-nosed dolphins, among others.