We will write how to get from Puerto Princesa to Balabac Island located at South of Palawan with 40 000 population. Balabac is a paradise to discover in Palawan. There are 31 islands where you will enjoy amazing island hopping. In this blog post will tell you how to get to Balabac from Puerto Princesa. There are different ways and we will explain all of them with full details schedule and prices.
If you are heading to Balabac from Puerto Princesa the whole trip will take you around 5 days with the possibility of enjoying 3 days island hopping in Palawan. Prices for this trip you can find around 6000-8000 PHP per person joining a tour in Balabac (expect little bit more for a private tour) plus transportation to get there.
Read here things to know before visiting Balabac!
Read here how to get from El Nido to Puerto Princesa.
Best time to visit Balabac
Most of the tourists are visiting during the dry season from November to April. The best time to visit Balabac is from April to May when it’s not rainy and there is no wind. We visited on June and the weather was windy and it rained one day out of three that we spent in Balabac. The best thing of going on June that we were alone visiting the islands and sandbars and it only rained a couple of hours per day. We saw maximum two boats in the same island at this time that allowed us to enjoy the island for ourselves.
How to get to Balabac
First of all to get to Balabac you have to manage to get to Puerto Princesa! Keep reading below all the options:
How to get to Puerto Princesa by Plane
First of everything if you are visiting the Philippines you have to reach the largest city in Palawan: Puerto Princesa. There are cheap flights coming from Manila, Clark and Cebu. You have to check companies like Air Asia, Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines to check your best price and schedule. Flighst are affordable from 1000-2000 PHP if you book in advance.
If you want to know more information how to get to Puerto Princesa, click here.
How to get to Puerto Princesa bus station from the airport
If you want to get to Puerto Princesa bus station from the airport the fastest way is by tricycle. Prices are around 200 PHP. It will take 15-20 minutes to reach the bus station where the vans are leaving to Rio Tuba or Buliluyan port.
If you don’t have so much luggage and you want to go on a budget. You can go walking from the airport to the main street where you can ride a jeepney to the bus terminal. It will take you 25-20 minutes and you can get a jeepney for 15 PHP to Puerto Princesa bus station where you will find van going to Rio Tuba.
How to get from Puerto Princesa to Balabac
If you are going from Puerto Princesa to Balabac. There are two popular ways to do it. Both of them start at Puerto Princesa van terminal. And we will explain both with details and which one we did for our trip to Balabac. The most popular is going to Rio Tuba or Buliluyan Port from Puerto Princesa by van.
How to get to Rio Tuba from Puerto Princesa
If you are going to Rio Tuba from Puerto Princesa by van expect 4-5 hours depending on the traffic. The price is 450-500 PHP depending on the driver. The vans are leaving Puerto Princesa to Rio Tuba from 6 am to 7 pm.
Once in Rio Tuba you have to get the passenger boat going to Balabac. It will take 4 hours and it costs 350-400 PHP to get Balabac. It leaves around 11 am but you will have to book your seat early morning to make sure you have space on it. You have to buy your tickets from boat crew in Marabahay Pier.
So you have to stay overnight in Rio Tuba. There are a few lodges close to the van terminal in Rio Tuba. There is also a 24 hours restaurant where you can have wifi if you need to wait for a few hours in the van terminal.
From Puerto Princesa to Rio Tuba by van you can do easy on your own. And once in Balabac you will decide if you going on a private tour or you join to a tour to go down the expenses. When you are back to Rio Tuba you have to do the same way from Balabac town to Rio Tuba and get a van to Puerto Princesa.
Based in our experience last van is leaving around 7 pm from Rio Tuba to Puerto Princesa. We got to Rio Tuba around 8 pm and there were no regular vans leaving at that time. They offered to us 4000 PHP for going direct to Puerto Princesa instead 450 PHP each that we paid.
On the way back from Rio Tuba to Puerto Princesa you have two options. First one you can stay overnight in Rio Tuba and vans start leaving as early at 3 am from Rio Tuba to Puerto Princesa. It takes 4 hours the trip at this time. You can also stay in the restaurant is 24 hours and there is wifi and data connection is working.
We decided to stay in the restaurant since we wanted to catch up with work after not having connection in our Balabac trip. Dinner a few hours working and we caught the van at 3 am from Rio Tuba to Puerto Princesa.
How to get to Balabac in Buliluyan Port from Puerto Princesa to Balabac Island
If you want to get to Buliluyan port from Puerto Princesa you have to organize with a tour operator as we did. They will organize the transfer of the vans going from Puerto Princesa and coming back. We organized with Ate Lorna (we saw good recommendations in other blogs but it wasn’t our case). And everything was bad organized so I can’t recommend this option. Next time we will do from Rio Tuba, get the boat to Balabac and we will hire a boatman.
But you can do it from Puerto Princesa to Rio Tuba as we mentioned above. And after this join to a van going to Buliluyan port. It will be hard to get a public one but there are a few leaving from Rio Tuba. Based in our experience last van going to Buliluyan port is going around 5 pm. Otherwise you will have to hire a private one from Rio Tuba to Buliluyan port which is one hour ride.
The problem going to Buliluyan port for us it took so long the waiting time. And lack of transportation even it’s supposed that it was organized. From Buliluyan port you start your island hopping. And after one hour sailing you start visiting amazing islands in Balabac. It was cheap price but we didn’t visit as much islands as the initial plan that they told us.
We paid 6000 PHP per adult for 3 days Island hopping, food and accommodation included. Han our little one paid 2000 PHP all included too. Prices were affordable and it was the cheapest that we found but we got also 7000 PHP with other operator called Reinaldo. Just compare prices and make sure that they do what they promise with the itinerary.
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