For those travelling to Palawan, the Underground River should almost be a mandatory stop on the itinerary. Flights going to the island will take you to Puerto Princesa; this city does have a lot to offer, though you will not see the real beauty until you travel further up the island to El Nido.
This is where the Underground River comes into the picture. The Underground River is roughly half way between Puerto Princesa and El Nido. A lot of the tour companies will pick you up in the morning, then take you to the river. Once the tour is over a van is able to take you the rest of the way to El Nido.
A lot of the tour companies do this on a daily basis so making arrangements with them is a very simple process. Puerto Princesa is full of tour companies, so it’s as simple as finding one who wants to negotiate a good price.
The van will generally pick you up from your hotel early on the morning of your tour. From there your permits to enter the underground river will be processed before commencing on the journey to Sabang. From there you have a roughly two-hour ride to Sabang.
Then you will be taken on a small boat ride to arrive at the final destination. From there you will be taken in small groups to the entrance of the underground river where the tour begins.
What will I experience on the tour?
The tour itself is an amazing experience. You are taken by a guide in a small boat towards the entrance of the cave. Once inside, it is not long until you are in complete darkness; the only source of light comes from the tour guides headlamp.
You will be taken up to 4kms into the cave; there you will see plenty of amazing rock formations as well as experience the thriving community of bats within the cave. You are handed an audio device with headphones on the tour, this will help guide you on where to look to see the more interesting rock formations within the cave.
Is the Underground River really worth a visit?
Before visiting the Underground river I had seen a few negative reviews saying it was not worth visiting. From my experience, this is far from the truth. A lot of the negative reviews were due to the amount of tourists visiting the area. A lot of people seemed to be frustrated by the crowds of tourists found around the destination.
I visited during the off season, in addition, I also made my visit on a weekday. So while I was there I was only dealing with very moderate amounts of tourists. There was also very little waiting for things like a boat to get to the Underground River entrance and the boat which took us on the tour itself.
So to avoid any frustration I suggest trying to time your visit for the off season. As like most other tourist destination in The Philippines; this place can get busy.