Palawan is the largest province in the Philippines and for a long time it was a well-kept secret, hidden behind more popular holiday destinations like Boracay. But as travelers look for new and more interesting places to go, Palawan has burst onto the scene.
Palawan offers amazing beach and nature experiences, a friendly atmosphere, great food, and the relaxing feel you can only get on a beach holiday. It’s also a large area, so there are lots of Palawan accommodation options at every price point. When you’re looking for the best places in Palawan to stay, you’ll find a lot of choices spread out over a wide area.
But all those choices can be confusing too. There isn’t a lot of information on Palawan’s best neighborhoods, so we created this guide to help out. You can use it to find somewhere to stay that suits your travel style and budget and then get on with your trip knowing that your accommodation is covered.
Quick Tips – Where to Stay in Palawan
- Where to stay in Palawan first time – Puerto Princesa
- Where to stay in Palawan on a budget – Port Barton
- Best neighborhood in Palawan for families – Sabang
- Best area to stay in Palawan for nightlife – Coron
- The coolest place to stay in Palawan – El Nido
Where to Stay in Palawan
Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Palawan.
Best Hostel in Palawan: Al Hamra Jungle Resort
If you want to stay out in nature, there’s no better place to stay. The resort is located 22m from Honda Bay and has a swimming pool, bar and restaurant on site. The rooms are fitted with a fan, queen sized bed, and a seating area and some have a balcony. You can also rent a tent and bed down in the lush tropical surrounds of the resort.View on HostelWorld
Best Airbnb in Palawan: Villa San Manuel
Suitable for 4 guests, this 2 bedroom house offers complete privacy for your stay in Puerto Princesa. It’s fully furnished with all the essentials and has lots of common areas. The house is located in a quiet neighborhood and is a great choice when you’re deciding where to stay in Palawan for families.View on Airbnb
Best Hotel in Palawan: Sheridan Beach Resort and Spa
This hotel in Palawan is ideal for single travelers, families, and for groups of friends. It’s close to the center of the city and offers a private beach, tennis courts, pool, wellness spa, restaurant, and bar. The rooms come in a variety of sizes to suit all travel groups and include a mini bar and private bathroom.View on Booking.com
Palawan Neighborhood Guide
Palawan has it all, from amazing wildlife sanctuaries to incredible beaches and a vibrant, friendly culture. If you want to relax, enjoy the beach, and recover from your busy life, then is the ideal location for a vacation. Palawan is the largest island in the Philippines archipelago and contains lots of small towns that you can explore during your trip. And if you want to explore, consider using this Palawan neighborhood guide to decide where you want to go!
When you arrive in Palawan, you will probably be in Puerto Princesa. This is the capital of the island and one of the best places in Palawan to stay if you want to have a comfortable base while you explore the rest of the island.
The second area to consider is Port Barton, a popular backpackers spot because of the budget Palawan accommodation options it offers. This is a more local area, so make sure that you check for all the amenities you want at the hotel or hostel you book.
If you’re trying to decide where to stay in Palawan for families, then consider Sabang. It’s a little off the beaten path and offers a quieter atmosphere but is still close to the capital city and other attractions to keep you entertained.
And if you want to head out at night and explore some bars, then Coron is the best area in Palawan to stay in. In this city, you won’t find the raucous nightlife scene of other areas in Asia, but there are some good bars and restaurants where you can have a drink and make a few new friends.
And the final area to consider is El Nido. What makes this one of the coolest places to stay in Palawan is that it’s off the beaten path. It’s hard to get to, even from the capital cities, but offers stunning beaches and a more authentic, local feel. If you like to travel like a local, this is where you should spend some time.
Palawan’s 5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in
The best places to stay in Palawan aren’t always easy to find or to find information on. That’s why you’ll need this Palawan neighborhood guide.
Puerto Princesa is the capital of Palawan and is a great choice when you’re deciding where to stay in Palawan for your first time. The city is centrally located, so it makes for easy day trips or longer trips to other areas, and although it’s not the best beach city on the island it does have its own attractions and appeal. Just remember that Puerto Princesa is a busy modern city, so don’t expect the laidback beach feel of other areas.
When you land on the island, it will probably be in Puerto Princesa. If you’re staying for a week or longer, you probably won’t want to be in this city for the whole time. But make sure that you explore the restaurants, shopping, and top attractions of the city before you move on to other areas.
Things to See and Do in Puerto Princesa
– Take day trips to other areas like Sabang, Cowrie Island, and Nagtabon Beach.
– Make sure that you take a firefly watching tour along the Iwahig River.
– Experience the underground river tour at the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park.
– Sample the local flavors at restaurants like KaLui, La Terrasse, and Ka Joel’s Inato Restaurant.
– Go on a city tour to see and experience hidden gems.
– Go island hopping around Honda Bay.
– Head to Baker’s Hill for freshly baked delicacies, souvenirs, and Instagram worthy photos of the surrounding gardens.
– Take a tour out to see the Palawan Tribal Village and Butterfly Farm.
– Watch the sunset over the Puerto Princesa Baywalk and head to the nearby food park for tasty eats.
– Experience a grisly slice of the city’s history at Plaza Cuartel, a ruined garrison that harks back to WWII.
Best Hostel in Puerto Princesa: Green Turtle Backpackers Guesthouse
The Green Turtle is a good choice when you’re deciding where to stay in Palawan for nightlife. It’s close to the San Jose New Market as well as the transport terminal, so you can travel around at a whim. There are lots of eateries, bakeries, and grocery shops within a few minutes’ walk and the dorms are clean and suitable for a short or long stay.View on HostelWorld
Best Airbnb in Puerto Princesa: Felice Café
This cozy cottage is one of the best places in Palawan to stay if you want serene natural surroundings. It’s an oasis in the middle of the city, surrounded by lush gardens, and includes a private room and shared use of the kitchen and other common areas. There’s a pool on site as well as a farm so you can enjoy fresh produce during your stay.View on Airbnb
Best Hotel in Puerto Princesa: Microtel by Wyndham Puerto Princesa
This 3-star hotel has a private beach, swimming pool, café, beauty center, and kids’ pool, making it a great choice when you’re deciding where to stay in Palawan with kids. There are 50 refurbished rooms with air conditioning, a kitchenette, and a private bathroom. For convenience sake, there’s also a restaurant and lounge bar on site so you can enjoy a meal and drink in peace.View on Booking.com
If you want a more authentic, local experience, then Port Barton is one of the best areas to stay in Palawan. Most tourists pass by this area, so you’ll have the pristine beaches completely to yourself and be able to explore at your leisure. There are a few resorts outside of Port Barton but mostly the accommodation options are for budget travelers.
Port Barton definitely isn’t for tourists who want a comfortable, problem-free holiday. It’s more for adventurous tourists, who want to experience how the locals live and don’t mind roughing it a little. You shouldn’t expect lots of nightlife in Port Barton. In fact, you shouldn’t even expect 24-hour electricity in every accommodation option. But if you want to get off the beaten path and experience things that few tourists ever see, this is where to do it.
Things to See and Do in Port Barton
– Visit the Turtle Sanctuary at the Secret Paradise Resort and marvel over these adorable creatures!
– Book an island-hopping tour and check out some of the local, isolated spots.
– If you like hiking, then take the 4km trek from the center of Port Barton to Pamuayan Falls.
– Explore the orchid lined limestone walls of Small Lagoon reef in a kayak.
– Enjoy the local cuisine at restaurants like Ayette’s Bamboo House Restaurant or Kusinero Del Barrio Restobar.
Best Hostel in Port Barton: Backpackers Hill Resort
If you want to stay in bamboo huts close to all the action, then this is where you should be staying. This hostel in Palawan is 15 minutes away from the main town area, so it offers unparalleled peace and quiet, as well as cabins with private bathrooms and some that include terraces too!View on HostelWorld
Best Airbnb in Port Barton: Lunazul Filipinas “Luna Nueva”
If you’re trying to decide where to stay in Palawan for one night or for longer and you’re on a budget, this is a good choice. It offers clean, comfortable, plain surroundings close to everything. It’s an Eco Resort close to the beach and to local bars and restaurants, each room has a balcony, and there’s a bar on site where you can grab a tasty and healthy meal.View on Airbnb
Best Hotel in Port Barton: Mermaid Paradises JR Resort
If you’re on a tight budget, then this is one of the best places in Palawan to stay. It offers a tour desk, on site bar, and free Wi-Fi as well as laundry facilities. The rooms are clean and comfortable and offer a shower and all the essentials you’ll need during your stay.View on Booking.com
If you don’t want to stay in the busy capital city but want to be close enough to enjoy its amenities, then Sabang is the best neighborhood to stay in Palawan. It’s less than 40km from the capital city, so it’s easy to get to, and there’s even a shuttle that will take you to Sabang from the airport in Puerto Princesa. And yet despite the proximity, Sabang is also pleasingly quiet and off the beaten path. If you’re looking for a relaxing beach holiday, this is where you’ll find it.
Sabang is also a good choice when you’re trying to decide where to stay in Palawan on a budget. It offers a huge range of accommodation options from luxury beach resorts to small cottages. And there are lots of day trips you can take from this area if lying around on stunning beaches isn’t enough for you!
Things to See and Do in Sabang
– Go trekking on the Jungle Trail.
– Take a Mangrove Paddleboat Tour and explore this dense and sometimes smelly natural landscape.
– Take a twenty-minute walk from the Sabang Port to see the Sabang Waterfalls.
– If you’re a thrill seeker, then go ziplining or rock caving with Ugong Rock Adventure.
– Just sit and relax on Sabang Beach.
– Grab some delicious eats at The Smoky Place, the Seaside Resto Bar, or Pawikan Restaurant.
Best Hostel in Sabang: Arkadia Beach Hostel Underground River
This hostel is in the best neighborhood in Palawan to stay if you want to be close to the beach. The buildings are traditional and offer shared accommodation and facilities including a kitchen where you can cook or order meals and lots of outdoor spaces so you can enjoy the tropical landscape. The entire area is isolated and pristine and if you’re a nature lover, you’ll fall in love.View on HostelWorld
Best Airbnb in Sabang: Belles Native Treehouse
This treehouse is in one of the best areas to stay in Palawan if you want greenery and the beach. The treehouse offers a quiet, peaceful place to stay on the beachfront with a bathroom and shower in the trees. It’s suitable for up to 2 guests and the host offers meals at a fair price if you want to make your stay even easier.View on Airbnb
Best Hotel in Sabang: Bambua Nature Cottages
For a slightly quirky place to stay in Sabang, try these cottages. There are 10 rooms that include a range of amenities available with comfortable, traditional furnishings. The cottages also offer easy access to local attractions like the underground river, so you’ll find it easy to get out and explore.View on Booking.com
Coron is a good choice if you’re trying to decide where to stay in Palawan for nightlife. It offers a selection of bars and restaurants where you can have a fun night out and meet some new friends. Just don’t expect the noisy, frantic nightlife experience that you would get in other parts of Asia, as this is a quieter experience.
But that isn’t the only thing that draws travelers to Coron. In fact, most travelers head there because of the water. Coron has some of the best beaches in Palawan as well as scuba diving that’s second to none. There are more than 40 islands offshore that you can explore as well as sunken Japanese warships in the area. So, if you want to explore under the waves, then this is one of the coolest places to stay in Palawan.
Things to See and Do in Coron
– Try local dishes at restaurants like Singuba Sa Balay, Lobster King, and Kawanayan Grill.
– Go diving or snorkeling in Coron Bay.
– Check out the mangroves and bird at Kingfisher Park.
– Go diving to see the underwater mountains in Barracuda Lake.
– Check out some of the nearby islands like romantic and isolated Banana Island or Bulog Island with its perfect beaches.
– Go diving to check out the sunken Japanese warships at Busuanga Island.
– Check out the local nightlife at hotspots like the Sunburn Rooftop Lounge, Helldivers Bar, or Tribu Kuridas Bar and Tattoo.
Best Hostel in Coron: Hop Hostel Coron
This hostel is in one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Palawan. It offers all the clean and modern facilities of a hotel with the warmth and friendliness of a hostel. It’s also close to the beach and offers lots of activities so you can get to know your fellow travelers.View on HostelWorld
Best Airbnb in Coron: Bahay Kubo
This bungalow is located in the best neighborhood in Palawan to stay in if you want a relaxed, quiet holiday. It’s a traditional Filipino house made from traditional materials and located in an area that’s quiet, local, and stunningly natural. You can rent a room or the entire house and just enjoy the privacy.View on Airbnb
Best Hotel in Coron: Coron Westown Resort
This hotel in Palawan offers 3-star accommodation and comfortable, fully equipped rooms with fridges and cable channels. There’s a pool on site as well as a fitness center and a café where you can grab a cold drink after a long day. The hotel is close to the airport and has a tour desk where you can book trips to local attractions.View on Booking.com
If you’re looking for the ideal beach vacation, then El Nido is the best area in Palawan to stay in. It offers some of the best beaches in the world, with white sand and hardly anyone around. It’s also a great choice if you want to go island hopping to other areas, like the absolutely stunning Bacuit Archipeligo.
El Nido is a quieter area that’s fairly hard to reach. You will have to take a 7-hour bus ride from Puerto Princesa or a plane from Manila, but it’s really worth the effort to get the perfect, serene, isolated beach experience. El Nido is fairly small, it’s more a local area than one designed for tourists, but you’ll still find a good range of places to stay at every budget point. If you go for the cheapest accommodation, you might have to go without electricity at certain hours of the day or night, but it’s worth it!
Things to See and Do in El Nido
– Check out the stunning local beaches like Caalan Beach or Corong-Corong Beach.
– Head out to see the jaw dropping Bacuit Archipelago.
– Try the local cuisine at places like Osaka Castle El Nido, Bella vita El Nido, or Tambok’s El Nido.
– Go kayaking through areas like Big Lagoon or Small Lagoon for astounding views.
– If you like beaches, then make sure you check out Nacpan Beach and Calitang Beach, otherwise known as the Twin Beaches.
– Go for a gentle hike to see Nagkalit-kalit Falls.
– If you’re in the area at the right time, make sure you experience the El Nido Full Moon Party, held every month.
– Take a tour to see the astonishing Cathedral Caves.
Best Hostel in El Nido: Frendz Hostel El Nido
This hostel in Palawan is ideal if you’re looking for a budget place to stay that’s close to everything. It’s a new hostel with a bar and restaurant on site as well as private and shared rooms to suit every travel style. There are also lots of common areas where you can get to know some new friends and travel buddies.View on HostelWorld
Best Airbnb in El Nido: The One and Only at Nacpan Beach
If you’re trying to decide where to stay in Palawan for one night or for a longer visit, this is a good choice. It’s suitable for up to 4 guests and offers ocean views of one of the best beaches in the Philippines. The spaces are sleek and clean and there’s a restaurant nearby so you won’t go hungry during your stay.View on Airbnb
Best Hotel in El Nido: El Nido Resorts
This hotel is in the best neighborhood in Palawan to stay if you want relaxed, beach accommodation. It’s a more rustic choice with a pool, private beach, diving center, kids’ club and a shopping mall on site. The hotel also has a restaurant and lounge bar on site and charming, traditional buildings with modern amenities.View on Booking.com
Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Palawan
Not many people have been to Palawan. That’s part of the appeal of this idyllic beach location. You get to visit and enjoy a place that most of your friends have probably never heard of and return with memories and pictures of the perfect beach vacation. While you’re there, whether you’re trying to decide where to stay in Palawan with kids, with friends, or just on your own, you’ll need to choose the right place to stay. And with this guide, you can be sure that your vacation base will be everything you want it to be.
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