There are many reasons why Palawan has been voted the best island in the whole dang WORLD for two straight years: the beaches are incredible, the marine life is insane, the people are tremendously friendly, the food is delicious, the flora and fauna are jaw-dropping, and the resorts are beyond luxurious. And beyond expensive. Fortunately, you don’t have to sell a kidney to enjoy the wonders of this island, and there are many accommodation options for all travelers, including kuripot ones like you. Here are some budget-friendly picks that might not feel like Aman Pulo, but come pretty close.
Rizal Ave. Extension, Bancao-Bancao, Puerto Princesa City
Ezy Stay Pension immediately gets extra points for its location: it’s just a short distance away from the airport (you can walk going there if you want!), making it perfect for travelers who’ve got places to see and things to do. Amenities are basic, the staff is friendly, the wi-fi is good, and most of Puerto Princesa’s attractions are a short tricycle ride away.
Rates start at P350 per night for a bed in their dorm room. Private rooms start at P700.
118 Libis Road, Brgy. San Pedro, Puerto Princesa City
Sheebang is the place to be if you want to meet new people and have fun. They have a bar and restaurant with affordable food and drinks, as well as several hangout areas and a ping-pong table. And when you’re all partied out, you can crash in a cozy bed in their air-conditioned dorm. Great people, great vibes—what’s not to love?
A bed in a dorm room costs P350 per night.
Augusta Lofts, Socrates Road, San Pedro, Puerto Princesa City
If “a vacation from your vacation” is what you’re after, the eco-friendly Bamboo Hostel would be a great escape. It’s a bit hard to find since it’s away from the main road, but it’s worth the trouble since once you find it, you’d probably make a beeline for their duyan and not want to leave. They have private rooms available, but sleeping in their open-air Gazebo dorm is a unique experience—just like camping, but way more comfortable!
A bed at their Gazebo Dorm costs P295 per night.
Sitio Lugadia National Highway, El Nido
People flock to Palawan for its beaches, and at Outpost, you’ll have the sea right at your doorstep. This new hostel has clean, classy air-conditioned rooms, a bar and restaurant (food can get a bit pricey though), and amazing views. When you’re done with island-hopping for a day, we highly recommend settling down in their rooftop bar with a drink to watch the sunset—you’ll never want to leave.
Dorm bed rates start at P850 per night.
Real Street, Brgy. Masagana, El Nido
Our Melting Pot is designed as “a place for backpackers to meet fellow backpackers,” and it doesn’t disappoint. It’s a very social place with lots of activities, located in the middle of town close to all the great spots, so you’ll have no problem making new friends. The staff are also very friendly and accommodating, and you can book your tours through them.
Dorm bed rates start at P520 per night.
Balinsasayaw Road cor. Calle Real, Brgy. Maligaya, El Nido
Spin is expensive for a hostel—at P1,000 a night, you can easily find a private room somewhere else. But it’s always fully booked despite the price, and it’s easy to see why: the interiors are great, the food is delicious, and the bedrooms are clean and spacious.
Dorm bed rates start at P1,000 per night.
Sitio Calitang, Brgy. Bucana, El Nido
Where 2 Next offers a no-frills experience for outdoorsy beach bums. Facilities are basic, but the wi-fi and water pressure aren’t exactly reliable. It’s also pretty far from the town and its nightlife, but it’s a short walk to the pristine twin beaches north of El Nido: Nacpan Beach and Calitang Beach. If you want to be totally unplugged, this is your spot.
Dorm bed rates start at P500 per night.
Coron-Busuanga Road, Coron
Coron Backpacker is a no-frills, bahay kubo-style place with cheap private fan rooms. You can cook in their kitchen, use their wi-fi, and their coffee and water is free. It’s a basic place so don’t expect too much, but why would you stay indoors all day when you’re in beautiful Coron?
Private room rates start at P550 per night.
National Road, Brgy. Poblacion 3, Coron
If you’re a budget traveler unwilling to give up the comforts of air conditioning and hot showers, you’ll love your stay at Seahorse Guesthouse. Each dorm room only accommodates up to four people at a time, so it’s not too loud. The beds are sturdy and cozy, and each room has an en suite bathroom. They also serve a great breakfast on their roofdeck, which has a great view of the sea. The location is also perfect, with almost everything just a stone’s throw away.
A bed in their dorm room costs P750 per night.
Brgy. Poblacion 1, Coron
Kalachuchi is a great accommodation option if you’re going to Coron to dive—and you really should if you have the budget and the skills! It’s a small place run by Abraham, a dive instructor, and his partner, Irene, and they’d be happy to accommodate all your questions and diving needs. The place is pretty basic, but it feels just like home, with comfy beds, a nice hangout area, and did we mention that they have cute puppies? That should pretty much seal the deal.
Private room rates start at P550 per night.
Main image by Ben Beringuela