Your Ultimate Guide to Honda Bay: Top Attractions Revealed
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Experience the tropical paradise of Puerto Princesa through a visit to the stunning Honda Bay. With its white sand beaches, mesmerizing landscapes, and coral reefs teeming with marine life, it’s no wonder why it’s a popular tourist attraction.
Explore the beautiful islands, islets, and sandbars on a day trip, and dive or snorkel at various sites to witness the vibrant marine ecosystem.
Starfish Island, also known as Tabuan Island, is a small but breathtaking sandbar located in the crystal-clear waters of Honda Bay, Puerto Princesa. The island is named after the abundance of starfish found in the area, which come in varying colors and sizes.
The island features a pristine white sand beach that is surrounded by turquoise waters and few palm trees. Visitors can explore the island’s natural beauty, take a dip in the sea, and enjoy a picnic in one of the cottages available. Additionally, a mangrove forest lines the eastern side of the island, adding to its ecological value.
Lu-li Island, derived from the Filipino term “lulubog lilitaw” which translates to sinking and surfacing, is aptly named due to its unique characteristic. The island is actually a sandbar located in Honda Bay, Puerto Princesa that appears only during ebb tide (low tide) and disappears underwater during high tide.
This tiny islet offers visitors a one-of-a-kind experience of walking on the sandbar, surrounded by the clear turquoise waters of the bay. It’s a popular spot for taking photos, swimming, and enjoying the natural beauty of the area.
Pandan Island, located in Honda Bay, Puerto Princesa, is a beautiful oval-shaped island managed by a local hotel. It is a popular destination for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts due to its small drop-offs and excellent reefs.
Pandan Island’s soft, white sand beach offers a perfect spot for relaxation and sunbathing. The island also features rental cottages for picnics and other activities.
Arreceffi Island, exclusively owned by the famous Dos Palmas Island Resorts, is a hidden gem located in Honda Bay, Puerto Princesa. This island offers a variety of exciting activities for tourists, such as ocean kayaking, mangrove kayaking, fishing, boat rides, snorkeling, and scuba diving.
Day trips to Dos Palmas Island are arranged exclusively by the resort.
Bat Island lives up to its name as it is a sanctuary for thousands of bats. It is an awe-inspiring sight to watch the bats emerge during the late afternoon.
The island’s unique ecosystem is a must-see attraction for nature lovers. In addition to its bat population, the island also features stunning rock formations and crystal-clear waters, which are perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
Cowrie Island, the closest island to Honda Bay, is aptly named due to its cowrie shell shape. It is an ideal destination for picnics, team building activities, and relaxation. This picturesque island attracts many visitors who enjoy basking under the sun and lounging on the sandy shores.
The island’s swimming areas are surrounded by a safety net to protect tourists from jellyfish, especially during the summer months.
Pambato Reef is a must-visit marine sanctuary in Honda Bay. It is located in the middle of the bay and can be reached by a 15-minute boat ride from the wharf. The shallow sections of the reef are about 10 feet from the coral reefs, but life jackets are provided for safety.
Visitors have the opportunity to see various coral species and take pictures with schools of fish. The living coral reefs surrounding the area are composed of different types of corals such as brain corals and staghorn corals. Don’t miss the floating rafts above the reef, which mark the location where tourists can freely snorkel or dive.
Snake Island, located near Starfish Island, derives its name from its elongated shape resembling a snake. The southern end of the island is lined with mangroves, while the northern section is a 2-kilometer-long white sandbar. During high tides, the sandbar sinks underwater.
Helen’s Garden, located in Arreceffi Island, is a breathtaking sea garden that boasts a rich and diverse marine life. It is an ideal destination for snorkeling enthusiasts who wish to experience the crystal-clear blue waters and immerse themselves in the vibrant underwater world.
The sea garden is abundant with colorful fishes of various sizes and species that are sure to delight any snorkeler or diver. The area offers a great opportunity for underwater photography, and a knowledgeable guide is available to assist visitors. The site is perfect for both novice and experienced divers, with the latter finding it an excellent introduction to the Honda Bay diving experience.
In addition to the vast array of marine life, Helen’s Garden is home to blacktip sharks, juveniles, sergeant-majors, snapper, wrasse, trevally, and a wide variety of soft and hard corals. It is an excellent training site for divers and a must-visit spot for anyone who wants to explore the beauty of Puerto Princesa’s underwater world.
Henry’s Reef is a hidden gem in Honda Bay known for its unique underwater features. The reef features a small wall that drops off from 5 to 10 meters, boasting an array of caves and crevices that make it an ideal spot for underwater photography enthusiasts.
Snorkelers will also delight in cruising over the extensive reef system in the area, where they can marvel at the diversity of marine life such as lionfish, cardinals, snappers, sweetlips, and nudibranchs. Lucky visitors may even catch a glimpse of majestic manta rays gliding through the crystal-clear waters.
Discovering Puerto Princesa and Honda Bay in 4 days
Day 1: Arrival in Puerto Princesa – Explore the City
Upon arriving in Puerto Princesa, take some time to explore the city and immerse yourself in the local culture. Visit historical landmarks such as the Plaza Cuartel or the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, or stroll around the Puerto Princesa Baywalk to enjoy the scenic view of the sea.
Day 2: Discover the Underground River
Embark on an exciting adventure to the Puerto Princesa Underground River, one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature. Marvel at the stunning limestone formations, and witness the diverse ecosystem that thrives within the cave’s chambers.
Day 3: Island Hopping at Honda Bay
Indulge in a fun-filled day of island hopping at Honda Bay, located just a short distance away from the city center. Visit picturesque islands like Starfish Island and Cowrie Island, where you can swim, snorkel, or simply relax on the pristine white sand beaches.
Day 4: Departure from Puerto Princesa
After a memorable stay in Puerto Princesa, it’s time to say goodbye and head back home. Take with you unforgettable memories of the city’s rich history, natural wonders, and warm hospitality.