The Puerto Princesa Underground river national park houses the world’s longest subterranean river along with great wildlife and natural beauty. This place is considered a natural wonder of the world and is also a UNESCO World heritage site. However, one cannot simply walk in and enter this national park as only a maximum of 900 people are allowed to enter the national park every day. The requirements are that one needs to get a permit done in advance to visit the national park. Either you can go through a travel agent or if you arrive via Puerto Princesa and have enough time in hand, you can walk in to the Puerto Princesa Underground river office and get it done.
The Puerto Princesa underground river office is located in the San Miguel area of Puerto Princesa and is located on the ground floor of the city colosseum building. One can either hire a tricycle or walk 25 minutes from the down town area to reach the office. The office personnel are very professional in providing you all the details regarding costs, list of activities, directions, logistics, stay and more.
As soon as you walk in, you go to the walk in counter where you can get your permit and book your date and time slot. In line with the permit, you get one hour of run time in the underground river. All you need to show is your passport or valid identity card for them to give you the permit. The cost of this permit is 250 PHP, which you are supposed to pay at the cashier counter and then the final sign is provided for at the next counter.
The walk-in counter is also the place where you can find jeepney and van running schedule and costs, maps of the underground river and the Palawan island (Puerto Princesa, El Nido and Coron) and logistic options and schedule from Sabang (where the entry to the underground river is) to El Nido.
The entire process is a breeze and I ended up booking my permit in less than 20 minutes, which was because of all my questions. The office is open from 9 AM to 3 PM from Monday through Friday. In case the trip gets cancelled due to heavy current in the river, you can either change your permit’s schedule or get your money refunded at either Sabang or Puerto Princesa.
Note: One needs to be at the boat counter one hour before the actual time with the permit in original and your passport/valid identity.There are additional costs involved: 40 PHP/person towards an environmental fee and 700 PHP for a boat that can be shared by 6 people.
It was very easy to get my permits done. Now, I am very eagerly looking forward to seeing this natural wonder up live.