Despite enjoying the reputation of being 'the last frontier', Palawan is very accessible from Manila and some other areas of the Philippines. Palawan is connected by air from the international as well as domestic airports at Cebu, Manila and Caticlan (Boracay) through four gateways: El Nido Airport in El Nido, Puerto Princesa City Airport, and Cesar Lim Rodriguez Airport in Taytay and Francisco Reyes Airport in Busuanga. In addition, there are ships that operate between Manila and the ports in Coron and Puerto Princesa.
What it is important for travellers to know is that currently you can not fly internally from Puerto Princesa to El Nido, so when planning your visit to this beautiful island you need to allow for one days shuttle van transfer (2 days return) if you wish to visit both areas in Palawan.
The unique sights and sounds of this island province are within easy reach of the nature lover.
This Palawan Transportation Guide gives information about both getting to and from Palawan, as well as getting around once you are there. You should also take a look at our Palawan tours, which offer a number of great ways to explore the region. To book accommodation, go to our Palawan hotels page. We also have general Philippines travel information if you want to know more about travelling to and within the wonderful Philippines.
Palawan Transportation Guide
Getting to Palawan
Air Philippines, Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines fly to Puerto Princesa City every day. The flying time is about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Cebu Pacific operates three flights a week to Puerto Princesa City. The flying time is about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
From/To Busuanga and El Nido
Southeast Asian Airlines operates flights to /from Puerto Princesa twice or thrice a week. The flight takes about 1 hour from/ to Busuanga and approximately 30 minutes from/ to El Nido.
From Caticlan (Boracay)
Southeast Asian Airlines operates a flight from Caticlan on Tuesdays and back on Fridays.
For transport from the airport to the city (or from the city to the airport), we recommend Green Path Transfers, who offer eco-friendly airport transfers in hundreds of destinations around the world.
Visit our partner Air Valid for Airline Reviews and Information about Philippines.
Flights to Philippines
Every Thursday, Negros Navigation departs from Manila for Puerto Princesa. It heads back to Manila every Saturday. On the other hand, Super ferry departs from Manila for Puerto Princesa every Friday and heads back to Manila every Sunday. The journey takes between 18 and 22 hours from Manila and includes a stopover at Coron.
Negros Navigation leaves Coron for Puerto Princesa every Friday and heads back to Coron every Saturday. Super ferry, meanwhile, leaves from Coron every Saturday and returns on Sunday.
Getting Around Palawan
Getting around the island province is as easy as getting there, though road journeys tend to be bumpy, time consuming and frustrating at the moment a new road is currently being built between Puerto Princesa and El Nido. You can also use boats instead to travel: two ferries go up and down the islands, and a Bangka (boat) can also be hired if you want to go from a point on the coast to an offshore island.
On the mainland of El Nido, one has to travel either by jeep or tricycle as the roads are too narrow for any larger forms of transport. Both jeeps and trikes are easily available. The rates for normal routes are fixed and applicable on a per passenger basis. However, motorbikes and bicycles can be hired for special trips.
What's more, outrigger boats are also available for hire on a per day basis.
If you want to save some money and also avoid the discomforts that come with travelling by road, then you should take a boat. Three ferries operate along the island province: Super ferry connects Coron and Puerto Princesa, Atienza Shipping Lines runs between Coron, Liminancong and El Nido, and San Nicolas Line connects Manila to El Nido and Coron.
The regular boat services along the west coast of northern Palawan, which connected Sabang, Port Barton and El Nido, have ceased operations, but it is still possible to charter a boat between these places and the other ports.
One could also hire a boat on an hourly or daily basis for journeys between offshore islands and the main island or for island hopping. Boat services are easily accessible; signs are advertised while walking the main beach of the El Nido town.
By Car & Motorcycle
Road trips across Palawan are very popular among tourists. These trips are made either by jeepneys or bus hybrids, which are larger jeepneys that have seats facing forward. You could also hire a jeepney or private van to cover long distances. This way, you will be able to enjoy the scenery along the way. We also offer transfer/shuttle services from Puerto Princesa to El Nido (6 hours) and Puerto Princesa to Taytay (4 hours). Please see our Airport Transfers Page
Remember, however, that the roads become less accessible during the wet season, from June to September.
The only airline with Internal Flights within Palawan is SEAIR. On Tuesdays and Saturdays, it flies from Manila to Busuanga, El Nido and Puerto Princesa and back. The airline also allows you to take flights between the different points, although it is unlikely that you will find a flight between Puerto Princesa and El Nido. You could, thus, take a flight at Busuanga and head to El Nido. SEAIR is constantly adding new routes. In fact, they fly to some additional places during peak season. During the low season, however, they tend to merge two flights if they don't have sufficient passengers. Flights can be expensive!
One advantage of flying is the opportunity for aerial sightseeing: if, for instance, you are flying from the south to El Nido, you could get a spectacular aerial view of the Bacuit Archipelago.