Cacnipa Island - Insiders' Tip Philippines

When you plan a trip to the Philippines, you have a lot of options to pick from. The Philippines have so many islands and places to go to, but our favorite by far is Cacnipa Island, which is an insider's tip!


Cacnipa Island - A magical paradise

The beautiful small Island called Cacnipa is located on the east coast of Palawan in the Philippines. You can reach the Island in about 30-45 minutes by boat from Port Barton. And there is only one single Resort on the Island, the Coconut Garden Resort, which is really amazing. We actually planed to stay there only for 3 days before heading north to El Nido, but we ended up staying a whole week, because we didn’t want to leave this magical island.


Coconut Garden Resort on Cacnipa Island

The Coconut Garden Resort is a great hotel to relax and get new energy. We went there with friends from Austria and had an amazing time together. The Hotel is owned by a guy from Switzerland and offers a lot to do on and around the Island! You can play volleyball, basketball, badminton or other games at the beach and in the Coconut Garden Resort. But the Resort provides electricity only for a couple of hours every day, which is an awesome experience too! Nobody needs to be on the phone often, while being on vacation.


The restaurant of Coconut Garden Island Resort is great, they serve delicious international food. You can pick between delicious local dishes and Swiss dishes. I loved everything they cooked for us, but the Goulasch with noodles was my favorite.
The price for a room for one night is 700 Pesos (14 Euro), for one bungalow is 1.400 Pesos (28 Euro). Every room is with ocean view and a little terrace as well as a mosquito net over your bed.

We loved the lonely beach with the crystal clear water. It is one of the most relaxing places I have ever been to. Almost every morning Jeremy and I went snorkeling around the reef of the beach and it was truly the best: there are so many different species of fishes and we found 3 turtles around Cacnipa Island. The underwater world is so incredible there.


Almost every day we played volleyball on the beach with our friends or poker at night after the good dinners in the restaurant!


Jeremy and his new friend went spear fishing and caught one!

I will never forget how relaxed I was when I was chilling in the hammock in this beautiful scenery on Cacnipa Island, also called Coconut Island!


Find our more about Palawan on our Blog Post: Things to Do in Palawan


Sabang is a little village, which is known for the famous Underground River. This is one of the 5 new world wonders.
Food in the restaurants in Sabang is a little pricey and not that good, but the fruit shakes, which can be bought at the beach stands are very delicious and fresh.

Things to do in Sabang

  • Take a boat to the Underground River
    The Underground River is amazing and definitely worth to see.
    Boats are leaving every couple of minutes on the Port of Sabang. It is necessary to buy a permission for it, but this can be bought in a little house there. The cheapest way to do the Underground River is to share a boat with other people. 7 people fit in a boat and the price for the whole boat is 700 Pesos (14 Euro). The boat ride to the entrance of the Underground river is about 20-30 minutes and ends on a nice beach, where monkeys are welcoming you :-)
    A 5 minute walk through the jungle leds to the river, where boats and guides are waiting for their passengers. 6 or 7 people fit in the boat, which enters the underground river. Sitting in the front is cool, because this is the seat where somebody gets to hold the light for the dark cave, which is pretty much fun.
    The guide tells funny storys about the cave, the bats, the rocks, etc. Fortunately everybody is wearing a helmet, because there is so much bat shit everywhere :)
  • Relaxing at the beach:
    The beach in Sabang is very beautiful, the water is crystal-clear.

Accommodations in Sabang

My recommendation is to visit Sabang only for one day and not to stay there.
But if you are not a low budget traveler, the Sheridon Resort looks very nice, it is on the beach and has a huge pool to enjoy your stay.


Puerto Princesa


Puerto Princesa is a nice little town and a good starting point to travel to other destinations on Palawan, like Port Barton, Sabang (Underground River), El Nido or different islands.

Things to do in Puerto Princesa

  • Go shopping:
    The Robinson’s Mall is a great place to go shopping, you can find almost everything there and have a good lunch in on of the fast food restaurants.
  • Get a haircut:
    A haircut for men is only 40 Pesos, which is about 0,80 Euro. This is the cheapest haircut I have ever seen and the barber takes his time to make it look very nice.
    It is really funny, they have photos of celebritys on the wall modelling the different hair cuts.
  • Get cash:
    Don’t forget that Puerto Princesa is the only place with an ATM in whole Palawan, so it is important to get cash there.
  • Take a MiniVan to one of the destinations around: Port Barton, Sabang, El Nido or the Islands

Accommodation in Puerto Princesa

  • Bamboo Nest:
    The bamboo nest is an adventurous place to stay. The owner Jonathan has a few bamboo tree huts and also a shared room, which he rents out. The Bamboo Nest has everything a traveler needs: a nice kitchen, where the guests can cook their own meals, hammocks in the garden, a little market to buy food and drinks around the corner and a option to book tours or go diving/snorkelling with Jonathan.
    It is only a short Tricycle ride from the airport, which is about 20 Pesos (0,40 Euro) per person. To go to the center is also cheap and easy by tricycle.
  • Palawan Village Hotel:
    This Hotel is a 2 minute walk from the Airport and close to good restaurants and shopping options.

Delicious Food in Puert Princesa

  • Ka Inato Restaurant
    This is our favourite Restaurant in Puerto. The food is great, the Babyrips was the best! Before your dish, you get a little cup of soup and after your meal a little desert for free. Sometimes it is hard to get a table without reservation. There are a few Ka Inatos in this City. We went to the one, which is about a one minute walk from the airport.
  • Greenwich
    I loved the Lasagne and the Pizza there. It is a cheap and easy place to go for a quick lunch, lurching a shopping day in Robinsons.

Transportation in Puerto Princesa:

Puerto Princesa is the starting point to get everywhere on Palawan. There are Minivans to Sabang where the Underground River is, El Nido, Port Barton, etc.
Minivan is the best way to get to the next destination on Palawan. The roads are not the best, but the rides are ok. Try to negotiate the prices a little bit. Don’t pay the first price locals tell, there is always a little range for negotiations.
The Prices we paid:
To Sabang: 200 Pesos
To Port Barton: 300 Pesos
To El Nido: 400 Pesos


El Nido


El Nido is a small village in the North of Palawan with a lot of islands around. There are two main streets with Hotels and Beach View Bungalows, restaurants and bars and little shops. The scenery with the beautiful green rocks in the crystalclear ocean reminds me a lot of the Andaman Sea in Thailand.
Important Information: there are no ATMs in El Nido, so make sure to get enough cash in Puerto Princesa.

Things to do in El Nido

  • Islandhopping tours:
    • Tour A: 7th Commando, Secret Lagoon, Shimizu Island, Big Lagoon, Small Langoon
      The highlights on this Tour were the beautiful Beach & snorkeling at 7th Commando and renting a kayak in the Small Lagoon! (regular Price: 1.200 Pesos)
    • Tour B: Snake Island, Cathedral Cave, Cudugnon Cave, Pinagbuyutan Island, Entalula Island (regular Price: 1.300 Pesos)
    • Tour C:
      Matinloc Shrine, Secret Beach, Helicopter Island, Hidden Beach, Talisay Beach
      (regular Price: 1.400 Pesos)
    • Tour D:
      Pasandigan Beach, Cadlao Lagoon, Paradise Island, Ipil Beach, Bukal Beach
      (regular Price: 1.200 Pesos)
    • The regular prices for the tours include 200 pesos environmental fee, which you have to pay once and than you can use this for 10 days.
      The day we did Tour A, something didn’t work out with our environment permission, so we didn’t pay for it. Our price for tour A was 700 pesos.
  • Explore the beaches around:
    • las Cabanas is about 8 minutes by tricycle away and the sunsets are amazing. It is also a good spot to go snorkelling!
    • Nacpan Beach:
      This is a little further away, about 45 minutes by Tricycle. This is one of my favourite beaches I have ever been to!
  • Rent a Kayak:
  • Go scuba diving:
    Palawan is a great place to go scuba diving and exploring the underwater would. It is a little more expensive than in Thailand or a few other places in Asia, but it is just great there.
    Prices are about:
    2 dives 2.500-3.000 pesos
    3 dives 3.000 – 3.500 pesos

Accommodation in El Nido

Hotels and Cottages/Bungalows in El Nido are not that cheap.
  • Tandikan beach cottages:
    For sure not the best, but one of the cheapest accommodations in El Nido with beach view. 900 pesos per night and coffee in the morning is included.
  • Rover’s Pension:
    This Pension has very nice rooms with Air Con and a nice bathroom.
  • Entalula beach: A really nice room with a perfect beach view.

Restaurants in El Nido

  • Trattoria altrov’é
    Very good Italian restaurant, which serves huge pizzas and the best mango shake in town!
    We love the Pepperoni Pizza, which we shared a few times.
  • The Art Cafe
    One of the most popular cafes/bars in El Nido, with a nice beach view.
  • Squidos
    This is a little place which serves good food. I Love the Spaghetti with seafood, but we also went there a few times for breakfast. Try the Mango Shake too.


Cacnipa Island


The island Cacnipa is a about 45 minute boat ride of the coast of Port Barton. It is an amazing green island with a beautiful beach with crystal-clear water. To relax for a few days or a week this is the best place, it is like paradise.

Things to do in Cacnipa Island

  • Go snorkelling in the reef at the beach:
    There is a reef very close to the beautiful beach with a lot of different species of fishes and also turtles. The best time to go snorkelling is in the early morning, when the ocean is calm.
  • Relax in a hammock:
    The resort has a few hammocks direct at the beach between the palm trees. This is the perfect atmosphere to relax, read a book, sleep and escape the daily stress.
  • Play beach volleyball, table tennis, badminton, basketball:
    There are a few options to do sports in the resort. Everybody can borrow the equipment for free and it is so much fun to play a volleyball game with nice new travel friends in the sand in one at the best beaches in the world.
  • Go hiking in the jungle:
    Behind the resort is a little pathway which goes through the jungle and leads to the viewpoints of Island Cacnipa.
  • Do a island hopping tour:
    For about 300-500 Pesos per person you can book a island hopping tour in the resort. The boat brings you to 3 places to go snorkelling and to 2 nice beaches, where you can enjoy your lunch.
  • Rent a Kayak:
    For 150 Pesos (3 Euro) the resort will rent out double kanus. Explore the beaches around the island by yourself!

Hotel Cacnipa Island

Cacnipa Island has only one resort, the Coconut Garden Island Resort. The price for a room for one night is 700 Pesos (14 Euro), for one bungalow is 1.400 Pesos (28 Euro). Every room is with ocean view and a little terrace and a mosquito net over your bed.
The restaurant of Coconut Garden Island Resort is great, they serve delicious food. I loved everything they cooked, but the Goulasch was my favourite.


Why You Should Never Book A Guided Tour

After 5 weeks of traveling South East Asia we wanted to do our first guided tour to The Underground River in Palawan. This is a one day tour and includes lunch. The price is 1.541 pesos, which is about 30€ each. We were four people, so 120€ all together, which we thought it was a little expensive, but we decided to go anyway.

We were picked up at our accommodation (bamboo nest) at 8.00 am and picked a few others up at their hotels.

Then we drove one hour in direction to The Underground River and stoped at one of their shops. I am sure that this was a stop to make us buy food and drinks, and they tried to sell stuff for the the trip. There was a sign posted, telling you that you need drinks, a hat, a flashlight, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, and a few more things, which you can (what a surprise!) buy in their little shop!

We picked up our tour guide there, who started to sell shit, as soon as he took place in the minivan. He told us about caveing, ziplining and other options.

After 30 more minutes we stoped at the Urging Rock Adventures, where we finally realized that this is a complete tourist trap!


They showed us a little movie of people doing the cave tour and the ziplining and having sooo much fun.

But of course you have to pay extra for all of that. And no you can not do only the ziplining, you have to go through the cave first.

All the others who don't what to pay more money to the tour company, which was trying to up sell us, should wait there for one hour. At the urging rock adventures are a massage salon and a little food stand, where they tried to squeeze more money out of tourists.


One girl who came with us wanted to use her GoPro for the ziplining, but she was not allowed to us it on the zip line because they have a professional photographer who takes photos for an additional fee. Or she could have paid another 100 pesos to use her own one!

For the 120€ we could have booked a taxi driver for the whole day, who is honest and not tricky and would have taken us to the underground river and an amazing beach in the afternoon!




The Price is about 750 pesos each if you do it on your own and you save a lot of Money, nerves and time :)

The Underground River is amazing and definately worth a visit!

Please do yourself the favour and don't be a tourist, be a traveler!

Do individual explorings instead of making the rich people even richer.