Puerto Princesa Underground River Tour – this just magnified my aversion to group tours, never again

Puerto Princesa Underground River Tour – this just magnified my aversion to group tours, never again


The Puerto Princesa Underground river is one of the must dos for any Puerto Princesa trip. It’s a long stretch of river underneath caves and along the way you’ll see different rock formations underneath. The boatman also serves as the tour guide. This should have been the highlight of our trip but I’m sad to say that the experience was not. That’s not the underground river’s fault but that of the tour operator or tour operators in general and their really inefficient system. We paid about 1,200 per person. I wish we had done the tour ourselves and didn’t go with a tour operator because apparently, you can get a permit even the day before according to our local driver who did our city tour. Our fear was that we wouldn’t get permits since you have to book early or something. It wasn’t busy season anyway so we probably could have done it ourselves and that would have been better.


The start of our Puerto Princesa Underground river tour, we were fetched at the hotel. Then we picked up other people from their various hotels. Along the way, our ride had to change its tires. I was wondering why this couldn’t have been done the night before. We spent about 30 to 45 minutes waiting for this. This is still okay though, so a small setback.

Then we were taken to Ugong Rock Adventures. And this, we didn’t sign up for but apparently we have no choice but to stay here and do nothing for the next 2 hours. This upsets me.




They had activities like going up the cave and zip lining which takes approximately about 2 to 3 hours to complete.





There was another family that were on another van that was complaining about it. They also didn’t want to do this and she was like why don’t you just take us – those who didn’t want to do this in one van and we’ll proceed to the underground river while the others that want to can do the zip line and all that. Apparently, that’s not an option. You actually have no option but to wait for the rest of your group to finish their thing. It feels like you’re being held hostage. We were given the lame excuse that it’s too crowded there at the boat dock and we can’t go but that is just plain bullshit. Don’t believe them. I think they just want to make money off of this. So, we wasted half our day for this. When everyone’s finally done. We were the only one in our group who didn’t do this. We finally went to lunch.




It was one of the many huts along the beach after the dock. The food was alright to fill your stomach. It was lackluster.




After lunch, we finally get on a boat for the underground river. You can DIY it, here are the rates for boats for future reference.




It was a short 20 minute boat ride but the scenery was really pretty.





There are plenty of monkeys around the dock and in the forest so be wary of your valuables.




You walk through the monkey forest inland until you see the lagoon. From here, a lot of waiting again for your turn. I think we were like the second to the last group.





When it was finally our turn, you get a helmet from the box and a life vest. I think the boat can fit about 10-12 people.





It was really dark inside the caves. The boat man would give random info about whatever we see and inject some humor in it.




This was the cathedral and it was enormous and grand.




The tour ended in maybe an hour and we were welcomed back to the beautiful lagoon.




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