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Ways to Experience Puerto Princesa Underground River
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65
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All reviews underground river rock formations natural wonder audio guide boat ride seven wonders stalactites and stalagmites monitor lizards national park worth the wait long wait mother nature hour drive per day small boat worth the trip one of a kind
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Reviewed November 9, 2013

The underground river is the must see of Palawan but it's also hard to justify the cost and time. The river tour, the only real way to visit, takes the better part of a day and costs about $40 each. For that you get to spend just over half an hour in the river cave, a fraction of the van ride time from Puerto Prnicesa.

The underground river is a VERY production line operation, but was fun. The cave is BIG and the rock formations are fun, Much depends on your boatman. Ours was pretty basic. I'd love to go back if there was a way to spend an hour or two in the cave, going in several miles. Now that would be a real adventure! The provided free lunch is worth just a bit more than you paid for it.

Date of experience: October 2013
1  Thank Ed G G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 7, 2013

Honestly, the hype about the new seven natural wonders of the world is definitely part of a plan to drum up tourism. Well, it is working because there is a constant stream of visitors to the PPUR cave. The tour cost itself is very cheap, about $5 to $6 for the permit to visit the cave, but getting there from Puerto Princesa City by private or public van, then a boat to the cave site itself, can run another $20 to $28 depending if you arrange the transportation yourself or go through a tour company. Still, as the most expensive option is only $35 all inclusive, including a lunch at the end, it is a cheap tourist attraction and probably worth going if only to do it once - provided you have seven hours needed for the trip.

The boat trip on the underground river to one point of the cave and back took about 40 minutes and was a bit boring and more than a bit smelly. There are live (but relatively small) bats in the cave that are not beyond dropping a few bat bombs on folks. The guide talked about the stalactite and stalagmite formations and tried to persuade us to imagine them taking various forms (sharon stone?), but it was pretty dark in there with only a flashlight beam shining on the figures. It became repetitious after 10 minutes or so, and definitely so on the return trip. Anyway, the PPUR tour is still a worthwhile expense of $35 for the sheer joy of crossing the open bay with its beautiful blue waters in the outrigger vessels, enjoying the scenery at Sabang Beach and the open waters, and then coming across the local monkeys and lizards on the island on the way to the cave.

Date of experience: October 2013
1  Thank notperfectalas2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 7, 2013

With all the hype about this new wonder of nature, I was expecting that the tourism authority in Palawan would really exert effort in highlighting the wonders of the rock formations. I did not mind the wait for our group's turn, but I was dismayed with our tour guide/boatman. He was rowing the boat and giving info at the same time, the light-holder is anyone who sits in front and was also a tourist who had a hard time focusing on the rock formations that the boatman was referring to. It was a hurried tour. The boatman/guide did not speak clearly. As there were foreigners in our boat, he cannot be understood even if he was speaking in English. I was really hoping I can learn a lot but focusing on understanding the garbled story-telling and looking in the dark for the rock formations were disappointing.

Date of experience: October 2013
2  Thank MsJiggsaw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 7, 2013

I've been in underground river (UR) several times before I started writing reviews on the places I've visited. My experience was much more memorable before it was declared part of the wonders of nature. The first time I visited UR was early 1998 - ideal for adventure-seekers, rough it out and appreciate the amazing greatness of nature at its rawness. We spent the night near the UR, boated in the cave, swam in the beach, hiked the monkey trail, slept without the luxury of electricity, heard the sounds of different rain forest animals and insects. It was really exciting. We had the place all to ourselves. (There were forest rangers during that time already so you're safe.)

But it's different now... Many tourist are flocking the heritage. It's just go, see the cave then go back. I has become something to see rather than something to experience. I think that's the reason why some tourist missed out appreciating the site. I also think the boatmen before were funnier than the present. I takes some imagination to see the formations made by the limestone and other mineral deposits.

The good side of this though is that it provided a good source of living for the locals. The visit was also more structured thus very informative, more comfortable than before (although there are still some rough roads) and more filling (they also provided buffet lunch at the pier of Sabang).

Despite the changes in experience, I would still recommend UR as a must-visit in Palawan since because it's an adulterated beauty shaped by nature and many locals' livelihoods are centered on it.

Date of experience: November 2013
1  Thank ByGodsGrace
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 5, 2013 via mobile

Going there took 2 hours then couple of minutes because of the long queue of tourist visiting.

From the dock to the underground river will take 30 mins but the landscape and the ride from the boat amazes all. A very green mountain and white sand beaches. Clear water and abundant with fish.

The underground river is well preserved. Toilet and bath rooms are available, need voluntary donations for it.

Tour guides can speak English well and safety of the passenger is the main priority.

1  Thank franciscyril
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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