Tips in Booking Your Underground River Tour in Palawan

Palawan is one of the most beautiful islands in the Philippine Archipelago. Its capital city, Puerto Princesa is globally known for its various types of virgin forests, Full Mountain to sea ecosystem which is home to exotic and rare wildlife species of the island. Its main attraction is Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park which houses the Puerto Princesa Underground River. The Underground River has been voted as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature in 2012 while the National Park (where the underground river is situated) has been earlier declared by UNESCO as a protected World Heritage Park in 1999. The main attraction of Palawan in general is its beautiful and mystique underground river. The uniqueness, beauty and grandeur of the river have made it to be a new wonder of nature making it to be one of the world’s most desirable tourist destinations. The Puerto Princesa Underground River is known to be the longest and most navigable underground river in Asia and the second longest in the world. This five mile underground river boast of unique cave formations with unusually large chambers with domes at least 900 feet from the water level. Just recently, the cave has been discovered to hold a second floor a sign that waterfalls may be present in the area. This is one of the reasons why continuous exploration on the cave and river is ongoing to discover other features that the underground river may still have to offer. Although the tourist site has always been known to be an underwater river, its location on the St Paul Mountain range is actually 100 feet above sea level. One feature of the river is that it’s considered to be brackish which means that it has some mixture of salt water. The reason for this is the tidal influence of the South China Sea to which the underground river directly flows out to. The waterway entire length is about 8 kilometers or approximately 5 miles but only half of its length is navigable. However, the river tour covers only about half (about 2 kilometers) of the navigable length and this is due to the increased risk factor as you cruise over the 2 kilometer limit . The river cave allows the tourist to see various and extraordinary karst landscape making the cavern a unique kind of natural phenomena. Aside from the sites unique geological features, the park showcases a complete mountain-to-sea ecosystem which caters to all forms of wildlife. It is also home to 8 types of rainforest which is quite exceptional considering that there are only 13 that is known worldwide. These forests are home to various tree floras with different levels of endemic plants and animal life. As a matter of fact, the park itself is considered to be the Asia’s most valuable lime forest.

The above details of the park is the reason why Puerto Princessa is the most sought after tourist destination this part of Asia and because of this, visiting the park have become difficult especially for solo travelers most of whom have a hard time getting permits to visit the underground river. With the growing popularity of the tourist site, the local government of Palawan has imposed strict rules and regulations when visiting the famed underground river. Before actually booking your trip to the Puerto Princessa, it is best that you are aware of some of the things that are important to consider prior to visiting the famed underground river of Puerto Princessa.

First, the city government of Puerto Princesa has set a limit to the number of visitors that is allowed to go on an underground river tour. Currently, only 900 visitors a day are allowed to take the tour. Without a permit, you will not even be allowed to go to the site. In short, there is a “no permit, no tour of the underground river policy” that is being enforced now in Puerto Princesa. It is therefore to your advantage to book your tour at least a week or a month before your intended date visit. Second, Underground River tours can be cancelled at any time. Cancellations are usually due to bad weather condition so it would be best for you to schedule your trip during the summer season.Разведение животных

Statistics shows that since 2012 there were about 4 million tourists that have visited the Philippines and a big percentage of that have gone to visit the Underground River of Puerto Princessa. In order to maintain the natural status of the river, the local government has imposed a limit of 900 visitors that can visit the underground river per day. So before actually booking a trip to the site, make sure that you have with you a visitor’s permit to go to the site. Solo travelers are discouraged from visiting the underground river and It is preferred that they join or avail of a tour package in order to ensure that they will be accommodated to see the site.  Tourists can apply for a permit with the PPUR or Puerto Princesa Underground River Office located along Rizal Avenue in Puerto Princesa. They are open on weekdays from 8AM to 4PM and 8AM to 12Noon on weekends. During the tour, make sure you have a Valid ID preferably your passport or any other legal ID Issued by the government. If you are lucky enough to land an underground river visitor’s permit make sure that you consider the following tips to make your tour more comfortable and fun.

First wear only light clothing and bring a change of clothes as there is a good chance that you will get wet while cruising along the underground river. Also have with you sunscreen, sunglasses and hat to protect you from the heat of the sun. Second, try and bring a waterproof bag for your jewelries and other important items and/or documents to protect them from getting wet. Third remember never to feed the animals or any other form of wildlife you encounter along the way and finally, make sure that you do your share in preserving the beauty and natural status of the park.

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