The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is a stunning natural place about 50 km north of Puerto Princesa City, in the St. Paul Mountain Range. It features the world’s longest navigable underground river and one of the most impressive cave systems in the world.
The national park is located on Palawan’s northern coast, with St. Paul Bay and the Babuyan River nearby. It was named as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999 and is one of the 7 Wonders of the Modern World. It protects an extraordinary cave system, spectacular rock formations, a beautiful tropical rainforest and amazing native wildlife.
Highlights of Subterranean River National Park
Visitors to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park can take a boat tour into the underground river and discover the unique underground waterfalls and crystal-lined cave walls. It’s possible to explore up to 8.2 km into the cave, but some of that will require swimming as it’s too narrow for boats. The interiors of the caves feature stalactites and stalagmites, as well as a number of large open cave rooms. These include Italian’s Chamber – a 360-metre-long open chamber and one of the largest cave chambers in the world.
Outside of the cave experience, you can also enjoy the 20-minute boat ride to the cave, passing the beautifully dramatic limestone karst landscapes. Once you arrive, you can also go swimming and snorkelling off the pristine white-sand beaches.
Be sure to take a pleasant walk through the park itself, among the wildlife and some of Asia’s most important and valuable forests. Covering about two thirds of park’s area, they contain an estimated 800 different plant species, as well as about 165 species of birds, 30 species of mammals and 19 species of reptiles. Keep your eyes open for some of the world’s rarest and most endemic wildlife, like the Palawan porcupine, Palawan tree shrew, and Palawan stink badger.
In order to the visit the cave, you need to obtain the correct permits or book your visit with a professional tour company. The perfect time to visit this place is from January to June, when the weather is clear and sunny, and the sea is calm. You’ll have a better chance to explore and experience every nook and cranny of one of nature’s most unique and mystifying creations.
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Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park
- Location: Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines