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“Disappointing”

Puerto Princesa Underground River
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$44.99*
and up
Underground River Day Trip from Puerto Princesa City
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$46.00*
and up
Underground River Tour including Lunch from Puerto Princesa
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$70.00*
and up
Amazing Underground River Cruise and Ugong Rock Adventure from Puerto Princesa
Certificate of Excellence
Level 6 Contributor
121 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
“Disappointing”
Reviewed May 15, 2013

We went to this underground river after a boat journey from the mainland. We reached the island to view where the underground river was. First we were checked by someone sitting on the desk who was not very friendly. It appears to be some government official or something who wasn't interested in any tittle tattle, (he appeard unfriendly so we didn't even tried to speak to him) not realising that the tourist helps with the tourist industry there. There were several cute monkeys so tiny they look liked kittens. They were extremely friendly that people get very close to them which isn't a problem. However, one of the monkeys snatched one of the small bags dangling from a female tourist's neck and ran up to the trees. We found that her passport was in the bag so who knows what happened next. Therefore, be careful getting overfriendly with the monkeys.
The most disappointing thing about the river caves is the atmosphere within the caves. There were so many boats about that the magic of the caves was gone.
There's also no mocking about in the island once the boat trip is finished as we were not allowed to stay in the island too long.

Visited November 2012
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1 Thank Marcelodelpilar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
New York City, New York
Level 4 Contributor
37 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Long day for a short visit, somewhat underwhelmed”
Reviewed May 14, 2013

First of all, you must sort your tour/permit well in advance. They sell out due to capacity controls by the local government. Book online or sort it through your hotel.

We started off about 9am on our tour. About 2/3rds of the way there we had a diversion for a "bonus" addon of a zipline and spelunking (cave exploration). When we finally got to the beach at Sabang, we ate lunch then waited a very long time (nearly 2 hours) for a boat to the underground river beach. Another 90 minute wait easily until we finally did our tour. The tour itself is pretty quick, and fast. The person at the front of the boat (a member of the public) holds the flashlight, so if they're not good at following instructions you don't see much. After the tour finishes you have to wait for the same boat that brought you from Sabang to take you back there, before getting your tour bus back to Princessa - a very long day.

I travel a lot, especially to places of natural beauty, so in fairness I am quite difficult to please. However, I did think this was rather overrated. Some of the caves were good, but I've seen much better when exploring other caves on foot. The experience has been manufactured into a tourist trap, so any sense of exploration is totally lost. If you do not like guided tours, I do not think you will enjoy this experience!

Agree with other posters that the underground river and promotion as a new wonder seems to be part of the local major's attempt to run for senate: his face and name adorn practically every step of the journey.

Visited April 2013
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2 Thank vonhumperdink
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manila, Philippines
Level 3 Contributor
21 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Funny Trip with the images”
Reviewed May 13, 2013

We availed the underground river tour with free lunch. Tour was very FUNtastic since our boat guide really shares his view on the stalagmites & stalactites images. im not into a cave explorer but i really enjoy it :)

Visited May 2013
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Thank Lekado D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Great to visit one of the 7 natural wonders of the world!”
Reviewed May 13, 2013

2+ hours to get there and we had Peter an excellent guide/driver to pick us up from The Legend Hotel (excellent value) and drop us back at the end of the day. Definitely an all day trip and stopped at some great gift shops along the way, then we arrived at the shore to wait for our boat across to the Underground River. Taken as a whole it was excellent. The only bit that disappointed was the constant jokes/silly references within the underground cavern to various formations... I guess it made it more interesting for the majority - I wouldve loved more silence to appreciate and drink in the hugeness of the cathedral like size rooms/caverns within. Great seeing the bats on the ceiling etc.
Was good to then see the monkeys outside and the monitor lizards :-) Must see attraction!

Visited April 2013
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Thank Simon C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manila, Philippines
Level 5 Contributor
41 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
“Have Travel Agency Arrange the Tour & Keep An Open Mind”
Reviewed May 10, 2013

Securing a permit for the PPUR tour is a NIGHTMARE. Their website is constantly down and when you do access the reservation, their PayPal address is invalid. You have no choice but to arrange for the tour when you get to Puerto Princesa. BUT... The "Coliseum" where you get the permits is PACKED and the tours are fully booked in advance. I'm guessing this is the reason why the tour has been cut to 1.5 km. They can only accommodate 800 guests.

MY ADVICE IS: to have your hotel or a travel agency arrange the tour for you in advance. There's still a mandatory personal appearance, though, and you need to present an ID for each guest. The travel agencies charge Php 1,500 per head for the PPUR tour. Pretty exorbitant compared to the Php 500 you would pay if you arrange it yourself. BUT it's worth it unless you want your precious vacation time ruined arranging your own permit.

The tour guides' first language is NOT English so keep that in mind before you complain about how they speak. Although, the writer should really improve on the script that the tour guides have memorized. They could make it more interesting and fun. Our tour guide was really funny and entertaining when he gave up on his monologue once my kids started badgering him with questions (this tour is more fun with kids). We learned that the river actually has big fish and pythons (that's why you shouldn't put your hand in the water) and that the ground inside the caves are crawling with tarantulas. It was also amusing looking at nature-made figures like angels, winged horses and dinosaurs. My kids especially liked that it felt like going to Batman's cave.

If you're visiting Puerto Princesa, the Underground River tour is a must-see just for the fact that it's: A RIVER. INSIDE A GINORMOUS CAVE. MADE BY MOTHER NATURE.

So yes, the permits are a nightmare, the tour dialogue is monotonous, the restrooms are objectionable -- but you're there to see Mother Nature's creation. Might as well enjoy it.

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank Arriadne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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