Getting around Palawan Province is fairly easy as a good range of transportation choices are at hand to get you from one place to the other. Whether you want to base yourself in one resort town or sample a variety of locations around Palawan, there is a mode of transport available to suit your needs.
Our Palawan travel destination guide presents all the means of transportation available in the province, ordered according to the distances they can cover. If you stay in the centre of town, whether in Puerto Princesa City, downtownEl Nido, Coron or any other village, the prime method to get from one place to the other, is obviously on foot. Wherever you stay, walking around short distances, even at night, is usually safe in Palawan. But when shoe leather doesn’t meet your needs, check out your other options below:
Extremely popular all around the Philippines and a very cheap way to cover short distances, tricycles are also available throughout Palawan Province. These motorized tricycles were originally the custom-made combination of a motorbike with a sidecar, now they are industrially manufactured due to their success (custom-made tricycles are still to be widely seen however).
Tricycles offer the cheapest way to travel around your destination and one of the best ways to get to the remotest areas, especially in Palawan’s countryside. They are usually able to transport up to four passengers comfortably. Note that even though fares are regulated by the authorities, it’s always best to negotiate the price with the driver before you get on. On average, you can expect to pay PHP 10 per person for a 4-kilometre ride.
The Jeepney is the iconic mode of public transportation in the Philippines. These customized military jeeps can’t be missed due to the vivid colours they are painted in and their reasonable fares have made them one of the most popular methods to get around the main cities, towns and villages in Palawan. As for prices, they are similar to tricycles, so you can expect to pay PHP 10 per person for the first 4 kilometres, then PHP 0,50 per kilometre.
Jeepneys follow planned routes within municipalities, be aware that they are not air conditioned and they can be crowded at times. These two unpleasant facts can easily be eased though, as you can sit on the roof if it feels too hot and stuffy inside!
Bus and minivan
Buses and minivans also offer pretty efficient modes of transportation over longer distances. Buses and minivans are readily available to take you all around the island, from Bataraza in the south to Quezon to Port Barton to El Nido in the north. As for price, a standard trip from Puerto Princesa City to El Nido costs about PHP 400 by public bus, with the trip taking between 6 and 9 hours.
Private minivans are also available to cover the 230 kilometres that separate Puerto Princesa from El Nido. The price of a one-way ticket is around PHP 600.
Car and motorbike rental
Car and motorbike rental are available in Palawan, but it’s recommended to use a mode of transport that includes a driver. Apart from around Puerto Princesa and along the coast, Palawan roads are not always in good state and they can feature hazards such as potholes and farm animals on the roads - which might be fine when the animal in question is a chicken, but a different story entirely when it’s a buffalo! There is also little street lighting after dark and following traffic rules is considered to be optional by some drivers. However, if you really want to rent a car, prices start around PHP 2,500 per day for a small car such as a Suzuki Swift or a Hyundai Eon.
As for motorbikes, you’ll easily find them for rent in Puerto Princesa and El Nido, the two main tourist areas on Palawan Island. Options are more limited in other destinations. They are fine for short distances, but similarly subject to the risks already mentioned. Basic scooter rental is around PHP 700 per day.
Ferries and boats
Comprising over 1,700 islands, the province of Palawan has the necessary complex network of ferries and boats required to connect destinations inside and outside the province. Puerto Princesa hosts the main ferry pier on Palawan Island, a ferry terminal from which you can get to destinations as far away as Cebu and Manila.
You also can travel from the capital city of the province to El Nido and Coron, the two major holiday resort towns situated toward the northern tip of Palawan. These two destinations are themselves linked to each other by a daily ferry. The most economical way to get to Coron is to travel by bus from Puerto Princesa to El Nido, then to take the ferry from El Nido to Coron. The whole trip will cost you less than PHP 2,000 all-included.
El Nido and Coron, the two most important holiday destinations in Palawan, have airports directly linked to Puerto Princesa International Airport. El Nido Airport (ENI) is also known as Lio Airport. It is located some four kilometres out of town. Coron Airport’s official name is Francisco B. Reyes Airport (USU), it was formerly known as Busuanga Airport until 2008. Both El Nido and Coron airports are Class 2 airports used only for domestic flights.