Puerto Princesa Subterranean River – Puerto Princesa, Philippines - Atlas Obscura

Puerto Princesa Subterranean River

Five miles of underground river link lake to ocean. 


In 1898, the American Zoologist Dean C. Worcester described mysteries and wonders of the Philippine Islands from his travels, including the tantalizing reference, “If accounts are to be believed, of a lake opening to the sea by a subterranean river.”

This extraordinary river does indeed exist, snaking over five miles underground through limestone caves, linking lake to ocean in the Palawan province of the Philippines. 

One of the world’s longest underground waterways, the Cabayugan River passes though 15 miles of caves, studded with stalactites and stalagmites, the water rising and falling with the tides of the South China Sea at its end. The caves have been a National Park since 1971, made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999, and was named one of the “New Seven Wonders of Nature” in 2012.


Know Before You Go

The easiest for groups of people (e.g., families, friends) is to book the visit to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River through a travel agency, whether in town or in Manila. However, it is also possible to do it yourself. There are public transport going to Sabang and back (though often it's full when going back to Puerto Princesa. Just make sure to pay your entry fee to the Subterranean River in Puerto Princesa. Go early as they have a daily limit.

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