Last updated on June 5, 2024 by Stefano Ferro, founder of MEL365, following extensive travelling in Philippines

Where to stay in Puerto Princesa

Puerto (as it’s locally known) may be not one of the most dreamed-off destinations in the Philippines but it’s still the main entry point to Palawan.

It’s a place to spend 1 or 2 days but the question is: where to stay in Puerto Princesa?

I personally ended up spending more days than originally planned, due to a typhoon that was over El Nido and Coron (my final destinations).

I checked the city all around, looking for the best places to stay in Puerto Princesa near the airport (I had an early 6:30 am flight on the way out) and near the beach. 

This guide provides all you need to know before you book your hotel.

I have also organised a handy table that compares all the areas for a quick and easy understanding of Puerto

Check out also the video where I go through the areas with handy maps and local clips. 

But now, without further ado let’s get into it

Where to stay in Puerto Princesa – In a nutshell

The city of Puerto Princesa is located on a small peninsula right in the centre of Palawan.

The sea is all around the city, except in the north. In saying that, do not expect any good beach, at least none that is a swimmable one.

The airport is right in the centre of the peninsula and around 4 km from the city centre.

The roads to and from the airport (Malvar Street and Rizal Avenue/National Highway) can be quite busy, expect traffic for most of the day.

Here below the table for a quick comparison of the 4 major areas. The rating is in the range 1-5 with 1 being the lowest value

Area
NBHD
Best forAvg. CostSuggested
Hotel
Bars &
Restaurants
Distance to
the airport
CharacterNightlife
City
Centre
Sightseeing
First time
$-$$$Master’s Pension34Km33
City Baywalk
Near the
beach
Quiet, Beach
Seclusion
$$$-$$$$Costa Palawan
Resort
25Km22
Near the
airport
Practical$$-$$$Canvas Boutique11Km21
South of
the airport
Budget$-$$$Nellie’s Place34Km21
Comparative table of the best areas to stay in Puerto Princesa

Here is a quick map with the best areas to stay in Puerto Princesa

Best areas to stay in Puerto Princesa
Best areas to stay in Puerto Princesa (© OpenStreetMap contributors)

Here below are a few quick points about Puerto. Scroll down for a more detailed description, a full video and a few tips on the accommodations

Before getting deeper into the best areas to stay in Puerto Princesa I suggest checking out this video I made during my last trip.

I explain how you can organise your trip with reference to a map as well. This will help immensely to orientate yourself.

Where to stay in Puerto Princesa city centre

The city centre has most of the attractions of Puerto, however, do not expect much.

The Immaculate Conception Cathedral is quite a spectacular church and a must-visit once in the city.

Walk opposite the street and step into the Plaza Cuartel, a small park, the site of a penal colony with a very sad story, 150 US soldiers were burned during WW2 by the Japanese Empire.

For coffee go to Itoys Coffee Haus and for a few beers head to the Palaweno Brewery

Purto Princesa is not the place to go if you are after some nightlife. There is not much going on.

In saying that there are a few restaurants, bars and cafes in the City Centre.

The main destination for the evening is City Baywalk Park, which is where most of the locals go after dark, probably the cooler part of town, with a nice sea breeze after sunset.

The OYO 554 Dads Bayview Pension is a very well-priced hotel with clean big rooms (see photos here) and just a few hundred metres from the Baywalk and close to the local market. A great place on a low-budget

Where to stay in Puerto Princesa near the beach

The beach I liked the most is Kanigaran Beach, on the east coast and north of the airport.

However, do not expect a swimmable beach or any kind of tropical paradise

It is a very shallow one and during low tide, you will have to walk 100-200 meters before you can have a quick dive.

It’s popular also with locals. There are a couple of bars right on the beach, quiet ones.

Bring some mosquito repellent if you plan to have a drink in the evening.

Here you will find also a great hotel, the Costa Palawan Resort (see photos here). It’s a lovely resort with an awesome vibe and a pool straight on the beach. The local restaurant is well priced with good food too. The perfect spot for a relaxing stay.

Check availability at Costa

Are you still unsure if either Thailand or The Philippines is a better destination? Read my full comparison.

Best place to stay in Puerto Princesa near the Airport

This is the most practical part of Puerto Princesa to stay if you have an early departure or late arrival. 

There are hotels you could literally walk to, straight from the terminal (access to the airport is in the north, a few hundred meters from the National Highway).

In saying that, most of the hotels in this area do offer free pick-up and drop-off.

A few do that only during business hours (8am to 8pm).

I personally paid 500PHP (US$10) for a 5 am drop-off (it took less than 5 minutes but I was told that at that time of the day, it was the only option).

A tricycle will take you to the city centre for around 50-80PHP (US$1-1.5). 

The SM Shopping Mall is a good place to go in case you need some stylish clothes or you are looking for Western-style food options.

Kim Car and Motorbikes provides well-maintained scooters for 500PHD/day (US$10). He does deliver to the hotel for an additional 100PHP.

The Canvas Boutique Hotel is a great hotel with very large rooms (ideal for families), all airconditioned and facing the big swimming pool in the centre of the resort (see photos here). The restaurant/bar is also facing the pool, which is perfect if you want to have a drink by the pool (supervising the kids at the same time, if needed). Breakfast is also included. The service is awesome.

Check availability at Canvas

South of the Airport

This is a great area to stay if you are on a budget.

It’s not just that accommodations are better value than anywhere else in Puerto, it’s also that restaurants, cafes and bars around are cheaper too.

You will end up saving quite a bit by staying in this neighbourhood and exploring the rest of the city during the day.

You will be meters from the airport, however, the terminal is on the opposite side, in the north side, around 4-5km from most of the accommodations in the area.

There are a few restaurant options so you will not have to go to the centre if you are in Puerto for a quick touch and go. Try out Captain Ribs if you are a meat lover.

Nellie’s Place offers probably the best value for money in Puerto Princesa, especially considering they provide free airport transfer

Rooms are basic and clean, really all you need for one or more nights in Puerto

More information about Puerto

Here below you can watch a video I made on the van trip between El Nido and Puerto Princesa.

It will give a good idea of what to expect.

If you are travelling from Australia to Puerto with Cebu Pacific then you should watch my full review of the flight and how to change the terminal in Manila for either Puerto Princesa or Coron.

Stefano Ferro - MEL365.com Founder and Editor

About the Author

Stefano is a seasoned travel expert and the visionary founder of MEL365.com, a leading travel website with traffic across 6 continents. With a rich background in the travel industry, Stefano spent four pivotal years at Amadeus Travel Distribution System, gaining invaluable insights into travel technologies and distribution.

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