SO MANY TRAVEL AGENCIES
The other day i walked from the airport to the Capitol Building, a distance of 1.5 kms perhaps and i counted 38 travel agencies, most of them i have never heard of before. They will all offer the same thing, trips to Underground River, trips to Honda Bay, City Tours , Dolphin Watching and arrange tickets for local flights and the multicabs traveling to points all over the island. A tourist in town will be offered almost exactly the same price at each one but there are agencies that have been around for 15 years or more which would be more professional. Most of the new ones opened up since the underground river became popular which brought more tourists to the island.
If you are looking for an international air ticket i suggest you book it yourself on the internet.
Air Asia merged with Zest Air so they could have access to the airport in Manila instead of flying from Clark. Unfortunately they arrive and leave from the old domestic airport so be aware of this should you fly with them. Sometimes you will be accommodated on an Air Asia plane and sometimes the less popular Zest Air plane
UPDATE Air Asia is operating daily flights between Manila and Puerto Princesa and you can often find flights at promo prices if you book in advance.
Be aware that when you start booking the price increases as you pay for luggage and seat selection, then taxes and fuel surcharge on top of this. So you may see 500 pesos advertised but could end up paying 2000 pesos.
RENTING A MOTORBIKE
In the kilometer or so between the airport and the Capitol Building there are many places where you cab rent a motorbike. Small Hondas or Yamahas go for around 450 pesos a day and bigger off road bikes such as the Honda XR200 go for around 800 pesos a day, but during the off season you can possibly bargain the price down a little. There should also be a good discount if you like to rent the motorbike for a week.
Shuttle vans operate in two different ways. You can go to the main bus station at San Jose and ride a shuttle south or north to various destinations throughout the island, but be careful as normally the driver goes at breakneck speed to reach his destination before other competitors.
Shuttle vans are also used mainly by tourists taking day trips to the underground river in Sabang, City Tours and several hotels use them for picking up guests at the airport. 15 tears ago there were no shuttles in Puerto Princesa but with the growth in tourism it seems that every second vehicle is a shuttle van, Should you want to go anywhere just ask at your hotel and one will appear quite quickly to whisk you away.
Jeepneys are extended jeeps with two rows of passengers along each side, possibly seating as many as 24 people. Jeepneys tend to run on longer routes of 20 to 150 kms, but occasionally they are found on the shorter roues that multicabs take. The fare is fixed and the fares should be posted inside the jeepney. Baggage, motorbikes and even live animals are piled high on the roof of the jeepney, as well as extra passengers when the vehicle is full. Be careful if you are sitting on top of the jeepney as more than one person has been seriously injured by a branch of a tree!!!
Most of the jeepneys run from the main bus station which is out of town at San Jose.
Tricycles in Puerto Princesa take passengers from A to B either along set routes or you can choose your destination. Each Barangay (area of town) will normally have a tricycle waiting area where they will take you into the town center, usually to the market area, and from the market they will leave at certain places to take you back. Sometimes they are a little different to locate as each trike has a different route and a different waiting area. If you ask a local chances are they will only know where the trike departs from to take them to their own Barangay.
Tricycle fares along the designated routes are a fixed fare, but if you flag one down on the street they should charge you 8 pesos for the first two kilometers, but often this is not the case involving tourists. As tourists have no idea what the correct fare should be they often end up paying inflated prices. And now there is a different problem--- when you are in the trike you must tell the driver that you don't want a special ride, which means he will be allowed to pick up extra passengers along the route. If you want a special ride you must negotiate the fare and you will have the trike all to yourself.
Normally a trike will take two passengers in the seat facing forwards, two more in the uncomfortable metal seat facing backwards and another sitting on the motorbike behind the driver. So now you know all about tricycles!!!
AND LATE AT NIGHT ALL RULES ARE IGNORED---you must negotiate the fare with the trike driver, possibly 50 pesos for 2 kms and maybe 100 pesos for 4kms would be about right!
TRICYCLES FROM THE AIRPORT
If you arrive at Puerto Princesa Airport and decide to squeeze into a tricycle with all your baggage and partner there is a tricycle waiting area just by the arrivals hall, just cross the road and walk down a few steps and they will be waiting in a little neat line for you. By the waiting area you will see a sign on a lamp-post indicating the fares, which is for the whole tricycle, not each passenger. The only problem with this is that you must know which district you are going to and very few tourists will know that Centro Hotel is in San Pedro, or Grace Park is in Bancao-Bancao. Even so, the fares may be a little higher than flagging one down on the street but when i inspected the fares , they were not too bad.
Multicabs are small vehicles which can accommodate up to 12 passengers and run on set routes. Each multicab will have the destination on the side of the vehicle as well as on a board that you will see by the driver's window. The multicabs only drive shorter routes, probably not much more than 15 kilometers, and inside the vehicle there will be a fare list which you should find behind the driver's seat. The fares are regulated, and you can hop on/hop off wherever you like.
Flights have started between Puerto Princesa and Boracay Mondays and Fridays. price is just under 6000 pesos but check the website, maybe you can get a promo. www.skypasada.com
UPDATE- I am not sure if this flight is still running but you can check different options to get from Palawan to Boracay at this link---
NEW BUS SERVICE TO EL NIDO
ROROBUS have started trips from Puerto Princesa to El Nido, and there are many trips each day, leaving early morning until late evening. The buses are green and by far the best buses on the island and the cost of the journey is 450 pesos.
Recently when my car broke down and i had a guest to show round the island i rented this car at 2000 a day, very reliable and lovely to drive. I have not seen another like it on the island. Should you wish to tour the island iin this car you can contact Mika , a friendly German guy.(firstname.lastname@example.org)
WALK OUTSIDE THE AIRPORT
When you arrive at Puerto Princesa Airport and you don't have too much luggage avoid the trike drivers that are waiting for new arrivals as they intend to be a little expensive. Just walk 100 m to Rizal avenue and flag down a trike, it should be cheaper. The airport is very near the centre of town so you may be able to walk to your pension house.
Just to inform everyone tricycle fares were increased this week from 8 pesos to 9 pesos per person. They can carry as many as 5 passengers and you can stop them anywhere, but if you want a special ride you must negotiate the price.
Honest tricycle driver
Getting around the city is easy with lots of tricycles around. Puerto Princesa has basically good, cemented road so taking tricycles in doing tours is pretty practical and comfortable.It is challenging though to find an honest driver. We were lucky to find one: Kuya Walter. He is one honest driver and I highly recommend him. You can contact him at this number (09269503674). He brought us to Iwahig Penal colony, city tour, and honda bay...
Topstar Travel and Tours
Topstar is one of the companies that provide professionally guided tours around the city, including Honda Bay island hopping and trips to the Underground River. They are reasonably priced, provide pick-up service from your hotel and tour packages include entrance fees, boat rides and lunch (for Honda Bay and Underground River trips).
If you lack time and are unable to stay even a night in Puerto Princesa, it is possible albeit tiring to fly and tour the river and be back within a day. Just book the first flight from Manila, the last flight back to Manila, then arrange with Topstar to pick up your party of at least 8 persons from the airport, head straight to the river, then return you to the airport later in the day. This is something to consider if you've been or will also head to Boracay so you can skip Honda Bay.
- National/State Park
- Family Travel