If you’re in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, then I recommended adding Honda Bay Island Hopping to your bucket list. I had an amazing time whilst I was on Palawan island in the Philippines. El Nido and Coron are everyone’s immediate favourites, and I loved being there, but many people arrive and leave Palawan via Puerto Princesa. Why not enjoy what there is to offer here too? It is worth it and with island hopping being so crowded up in El Nido, it’s nice to have a quieter experience down here.
*Post updated 29th August 2017*
Going Palawan island hopping is one of the number one things to do in Puerto Princesa city. When I arrived on the island, I spent 3 days in Puerto Princesa. This city has some of the best food on the whole of the island, its own woman-run brewery, an amazing UNESCO Underground River nearby and the locals are just lovely.
Make sure to check out my ultimate 3 Day Puerto Princesa Itinerary to see what you can get up to whilst you’re here!
On Day 3 in my Puerto Princesa itinerary, I recommend coming to Honda Bay Palawan for the following reasons!
If you’re feeling tired from your Sabang Adventure activities, then this is the perfect day to sunbathe on pristine white beaches, eat fresh food and drink from lush coconuts like a queen.
If you are a little nervous about boats, please don’t be. The boatmen are very kind, caring and diligent. There are plenty of life jackets on board and they will help you snorkel with the fishes if it’s your first time.
The waters are crystal clear and this was my first time snorkelling. I felt so happy and thrilled to put my head under the water and just see another world here. There’s plenty of fishes to say hello to and lots of newfound friends to enjoy the experience with.
You will not get bored! The pace is just right. When you feel it’s time to head to another island, you will be right on your way.
This is a great solo female traveler activity. I met some really cool people on the island hopping tour. The group is small enough to be able to strike up a conversation easily and share the happy moments all together!
Honda Bay is very quick and easy to get to from Puerto Princesa city centre and going on a tour is the way to go! A bus will pick you up from your accommodation around 7am, continue to pick the rest of the group up, then you’re off! It only takes 30 minutes to get to Honda Bay from Puerto Princesa city centre then you’ll get your own group boat and the island hopping begins!
I highly recommend this Honda Bay Island Hopping Tour.
I went to three islands on the Honda Bay Tour:
Starfish Island, Luli Island and Cowrie Island.
These destination islands will change depending on how the weather is / whether Mars is in line with Venus or something. You don’t have much control over it, it’s simply pot luck, but the Honda Bay area is stunning. You will have a great time regardless.
Starfish Island in Honda Bay is self-explanatory! There are plenty of starfish in the crystal clear waters to gawp at as you gently snorkel along the surface. I have found the Filipinos to be very eco-conscious thankfully, so do follow their wishes to preserve this area and treat everything with respect. The sand is top-notch, the sun is definitely shining and there is plenty of fun exploration to be had! Enjoy.
Luli Island Palwan is one of the top Philippine tourist spots in Honda Bay as it’s the only island here that sinks and rises with the tide. Leave it to your tour to decide when your boat sails in, so that you can enjoy this island at just the right time! If you arrive too late, all you’ll see are the humble buildings here appearing to float on water.
Cowrie Island Palawan has the most facilities out of all the islands. Here there’s a bar, volleyball court, jet-skis to hire and you can grab that all important massage if you want too! If you’re on the tour here, this is where you’ll grab your buffet lunch (which has plenty of fresh delicious choices!). Nom nom nom.
I’m obsessed with Philippines coconuts. Cheap, fresh and one of the best ways to re-hydrate and feed yourself, me and my new travel friends agreed that if we were ever to get stranded here, we would eat coconuts for days and days and days…and then maybe, just maybe, we would start calling for help.
This is a whole day adventure! You’ll spend 2-3 hours on each island and leave the last one around 3pm. Expect to be back to your Puerto Princesa accommodation around 5pm latest.
If you have your own water shoes, mask and snorkel, do bring them! If you go on the Island Hopping Tour, all of this will be provided for you.
If you don’t have your own water shoes, mask and snorkel, and want to do this island hopping solo without a tour, you can rent the gear. You will need them so please get them. You’ll find a rental shop on the side of the road on your way there.
If you don’t want to snorkel, make sure you still get the water shoes. You will be getting in and out of the boat and into the sea a lot. The sea bottom is sharp. Don’t risk cutting your lovely little feet!
If you want a coconut, buy it on Starfish Island. They sell them for the lowest price at 30 pesos here and these coconuts are huuuuuuuuuge. Ask the coconut man to cut it in half for you once you’re finished, so you can eat the yummy insides.
If you go with the tour it will cost you… This includes pick up and return from your accommodation, all island hopping gear, your own guide, a fabulous boat, a chance to make friends and an awesome lunchtime buffet.
If you want to do this by yourself without a tour, it certainly is possible. To get to Honda Bay from Puerto Princesa, hire a trike for 600 pesos round-trip or rent a scooter for around 400 to 800 pesos for the day.
Once you arrive, you can rent a boat and its captain for around 1800 pesos ($35). For entrance into Starfish, Luli and Cowrie Island together it will cost 190 pesos ($4). Lunch on Cowrie island will cost 200 pesos ($4). If you don’t have your own Island Hopping gear, expect to pay around 150 pesos for everything.
Total cost for DIY Honda Bay Island Hopping: 3140 pesos = $61
I’ve recently been hearing about Siquijor island. It’s not in Palawan and getting to it is an absolute mission in itself, but it is an adventure of a lifetime. For something completely different, check it out!