If the photo above doesn’t already have you looking at flights, then read on a bit; we’re pretty confident that you’ll be adding Palawan to your bucket list in no time at all.

Palawan is an island in the Philippines that stretches from Mindoro to Borneo. It’s the Philippines’ most sparsely populated region and is considered the country’s last ecological frontier. The island is made up of over 1,700 islands and islets and is characterized by jaw-droppingly beautiful water—from dazzling aquamarine lagoons to clear lakes to a subterranean river; it really is a water-lover’s paradise. Palawan’s water is not its only draw, though: it’s also home to lush virgin jungle, towering limestone cliffs, and spectacular caves.

Not surprisingly, the world is taking notice: Palawan was recently named Best Island in the World by Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards.

More and more tourists are visiting Palawan every year; try to head to the island while it’s still relatively unspoiled!

Here are five reasons to visit Palawan.

  1. It’s secluded yet accessible
  2. palawan beachImage Courtesy of wikimedia.org
    Sabang Beach, Puerto Princesa

    If you can get to Manila or Cebu in the Philippines, then Palawan is just a little more than an hour away. Yes, it takes a bit of effort to get to, but trust us: the payoff is more than worth it.

    Visitors can reach Palawan by air or by sea; however, the journey by air is much more convenient. Palawan is connected by air to Manila, Cebu, and Caticlan (Boracay). The island has four airports but Puerto Princesa International Airport is the island’s main gateway. From Manila and Cebu the flight to Palawan is an hour and 15 minutes.

    For those who’d rather travel by sea, there is a ferry from Manila which takes between 18 and 22 hours.

  3. Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park
  4. Puerto PrincesaPhoto Credit: wikipedia.org
    Underground River, Palawan

    Puerto Princesa Subterranean River Naional Park, a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site, features incredible limestone karsts and the longest underground river in the world. In 2012, the underground river was named one of New 7 Wonders of Nature. There are guided canoe tours which take visitors though a portion of the river. Don’t miss out on the tour: the sights are incredible.

  5. Lagoons galore
  6. Lagoons galoreSmall Lagoon

    Palawan offers a number of stunning blue-green lagoons where you can take a boat tour, rent a kayak, and swim. There are several standard tours travelers can take: the most famous is Tour A, which takes you through the Big Lagoon and Small Lagoon of Miniloc Island, along with Secret Lagoon, Shimizu Island, and Seven Commandos Beach. This tour is an absolute must-do.

  7. Breathtaking beaches
  8. Breathtaking beachesPhoto Credit: wikimedia.org
    Nacpan Beach, Palawan

    Palawan’s beaches are known for their crystal clear water and gorgeous surroundings. In fact, Alex Garland, author of the novel and film The Beach, actually lived and wrote his novel in El Nido, Palawan, inspired by the area’s untouched beauty.

    Some of the island’s best beaches include Secret Lagoon Beach (I mean, with a name like that…), Sabang Beach, Marimegmeg Beach, Las Cabanas Beach, and Nacpan Beach, as seen above.

  9. Unparalleled diving
  10. Unparalleled divingPhoto Credit: wikipedia.org
    Coron, Palawan

    Palawan is known for being one of the world’s best dive spots. Its coral reefs stretch for miles; it has incredibly diverse marine life; and it’s known for some of the best wreck diving in the world.

    Divers in Palawan have several fantastic options. El Nido Marine Reserve is the country’s largest wildlife preservation area and in addition to manta rays, hawksbill turtles, and countless species of fish, divers can occasionally spot dugongs, one of the world’s rarest marine mammals. The Tubbataha Reef National Park is known for its stunning coral reefs which are home to a wide array of marine life. Tubbataha is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Coron is famous for its Japanese shipwrecks from World War II and its soft coral gardens.

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