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Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

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expert
Silvia
Local tour guide
"Make sure to check the weather forecast before planning your visit to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park in Palawan, as rain can significantly impact the accessibility and your experience of the cave tour. A local pro-tip is to visit early in the morning when it's less crowded, giving you a more serene encounter with nature, and don't forget to bring a waterproof camera to capture the stunning rock formations inside the cave."

What is Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park?

The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is a resplendent example of nature's majesty, a place where the earth has conspired to create a geographical masterpiece. Tucked away on the island of Palawan in the Philippines, this park is home to the renowned underground river, known as the Puerto Princesa Underground River. This navigable subterranean river winds its way through a complex cave system before flowing directly into the South China Sea. Surrounded by lush primary forests, which offer a haven to biodiversity conservation, the park and its river encapsulate the beauty and wonder of the natural world.

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The river itself is noted for being one of the longest navigable underground rivers in the world, stretching for a total of 8.2 kilometers. Visitors are spellbound by its remarkably preserved limestone karst landscapes, the intricate cave systems, and the fascinating rock formations that lie within. It's an enchanting realm where history, mythology, and geology intertwine to tell the tale of Palawan's ecological wealth.

History of Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park

The history of Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is as rich and varied as its ecosystem. For centuries, the indigenous people of Palawan have known about the river, and it holds a significant place in their cultural narratives and practices. It was only in the late 19th century that the Western world became aware of its existence, thanks to a group of missionaries who brought it to broader attention.

Over the years, explorations have delved into the depths of the cave system, revealing its extensive waterways and hidden chambers. This continued interest led to its establishment as a national park in 1971, in recognition of its exceptional natural qualities. It was later inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage site in 1999, solidifying its status as an ecological treasure and a symbol of Philippine heritage.

In 2012, it was officially confirmed as one of the New7Wonders of Nature, an accolade that has since catapulted Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park into a position of global prominence. This acknowledgment has been pivotal in ensuring the preservation of the park while also contributing to responsible tourism practices that safeguard its unique environment.

Why is Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park Important?

The importance of the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park lies in its incredible biodiversity and its geological uniqueness. Can you imagine an ecosystem where over 800 plant species, including nearly 300 trees, coexist with an array of wildlife, such as the Palawan peacock-pheasant, the monitor lizard, and countless other species, some of which are endemic to the island?

This subterranean river system also serves as a significant natural phenomenon that has evolved over millions of years. The river's channel has carved out the cave's rock formations, stalactites, and stalagmites in an impressive display of natural artistry. Moreover, its status as a UNESCO World Heritage site prioritizes the preservation of these natural wonders for future generations to learn from and enjoy.

Additionally, the park serves as a living laboratory for geologists, biologists, and conservationists. Here, invaluable research is performed that contributes not only to local conservation efforts but also to a greater understanding of tropical karst regions around the world. Its protected status ensures that it remains a sanctuary where the harmony between nature and human involvement can be maintained.

Things to Do & See at Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park

Visiting Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is a must-do adventure filled with several attractions and activities. Let me take you through what you can expect when you're here, beyond just the world-famous underground river.

First off, the underground river tour itself is the main draw. Visitors can take a guided boat tour along the river, where the echoes of water and the sight of magnificent rock formations create a surreal experience.

For those interested in more than just sightseeing, the park also offers a variety of eco-tourism activities such as spelunking, zip-lining, and even mangrove paddle boat tours. Each of these activities provides a different vantage point of the park's diverse ecosystem.

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Apart from the underground river excursions, there are several trails leading through the forest for trekking enthusiasts to explore the park's terrestrial treasure. Bird watchers will be in their element here, as the park is home to numerous bird species, many of which are not found anywhere else in the world.

And don't forget to keep an eye on the ground and in the trees; you might spot monitor lizards and even the elusive Palawan bearcat.

Delving deeper into the park, you might come across the "Daylight Hole," where the cave roof has collapsed, creating a natural skylight and giving rise to a unique ecosystem within the cave. Experiencing the vastness of the caverns while noting the small details, like the delicate formations and subtle ecosystems, is a poignant reminder of the complexity and fragility of our natural world.

Frequently asked questions

What is the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park?

The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site in Palawan, Philippines. It features a spectacular limestone karst landscape with an underground river that flows directly into the sea.

How can I visit the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park?

Visitors can tour the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park by obtaining a permit and joining a guided boat tour. It's important to arrange your visit in advance due to the limited number of permits issued per day.

What are the opening hours of the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park?

The park is usually open from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, but visiting hours may vary, so check with the local tourism office for the most current information.

What kind of wildlife can be seen in the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park?

The park is home to diverse species, including monkeys, monitor lizards, and various bird species. Inside the cave, you might see bats and swallows.

Are there any safety guidelines to follow while visiting the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park?

Safety guidelines include wearing a life vest and helmet during boat tours, not touching the formations inside the cave, and following the instructions of your guide to protect the natural environment and ensure your safety.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps