St. Paul Subterranean Underground River
Puerto Princesa Underground River - One of the 7 Natural Wonders of Nature
Below the St. Paul Mountains lie an 8.2 km long underground river that flows directly to the sea. The lower half of the river is brackish and subject to the oceans tide. You have to travel 2 hours by land from Puerto Princesa Airport to Sabang Beach, then hop on a 15-minute motorized banca (outrigger boat) to the entrance of the underground river. From there, you have to wait for your turn to enter the river. Advanced booking is required. It's hard to fully envision the experience unless you go and visit it. The actual river tour starts as you board a small paddle boat. The boatman manually paddles the boat and as you get in further, the river becomes pitch-black dark and you have hardly see the person beside you. Everyone is quiet. The boatman will start flashing his tiny light on the formations found inside the cave and give you some instructions to let your imagination run as you try to guess what each formation looks like. The tour is about 45 minutes and it only covers less than 2km of the river. If you are a scientist or part of the media wanting to explore more of the river, you have to get a special permit to enter the inner portion of the river, which is now closed to the public.
By Tina Lim, AFAR Local Expert
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