Car Hire in Puerto Princesa
This information is correct as of June 2015.
Puerto Princesa is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Philippines but public transportation is not very well developed. If you don't want to deal with complicated transfers between jeeps, buses, and tricycles, especially if you have a lot of luggage with you, then it would be wise to rent a car instead. A car rental will also come in handy when around the island, as it gives you utmost convenience, safety, and comfort.
Where to hire a car in Puerto Princesa
Puerto Princesa is not served by international car rental chains, but there are several independent businesses providing their car rental service. Try Palawan Van for Rent on 46 Quezon Street, Palawan Self Drive Car Rental in Fernandez Street, Palawan Car Rental, and Jeco Car Rental. You can choose to self-drive around Puerto Princesa, but usually you can also hire a professional driver to assist you in your journey.
What to expect when hiring a car from Puerto Princesa
Majority of the transportation in Puerto Princesa is by road. Locals either have a private vehicle or ride jeepneys and buses. Tricycles are also used often, but are limited to certain areas and will rarely agree to traveling long distances.
The roads in Puerto Princesa have improved and are generally in good condition, although some parts are still prone to damage from heavy rains. In general, the road conditions in northern Palawan are better than in southern Palawan. If you're travelling to El Nido, the trip from Puerto Princesa to Taytay takes approximately four hours on cemented road. From Taytay onwards though, the roads are quite rough and bumpy. If you are unsure as to whether you are capable of navigating such roads, it is advisable to hire a driver as well. A professional driver will be more skilled and knowledgeable in driving in these conditions.
Getting to your destination
El Nido is a coastal settlement and popular tourist destination for locals and foreigners alike. The area offers beaches with clear waters (if you stay away from the main town), limestone cliffs, and beautiful seascapes. Various outdoor activities are available, from watersports to mountain biking and rock climbing. The journey from Puerto Princesa to El Nido takes about six hours and passes through the towns of Roxas, San Vicente, and Taytay.
Taytay, the former capital of Palawan, is an old Spanish town founded in 1623. Activities you can do in or from Taytay include swimming in a hidden lagoon, kayaking on Lak Manguao, dolphin watching, swimming in Canique Waterfall, and island-hopping. You'll pass Taytay on the way to El Nido from Puerto Princesa.
The small village of Sabang is used as an entry point to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River. Unlike El Nido, Sabang is not a very touristy place. It has a more laid-back atmosphere and a nice beach. You can hire a boat to cross the Subterranean River, one of the Seven New Wonders of the Natural World. You can also walk along the jungle trail if you feel like exploring on foot. Sabang is 73 km away and can be access via Tapul-Bahile Road. The drive is quite scenic.