Calauit Island National Park: A Taste of the Wild West


Palawan is one of the most popular islands in the Philippines for tourists. Palawan has been a popular tourist destination due to its beautiful beaches, pristine waterways, and abundance of marine life. El Nido and Coron may be well-known, but beyond them lie undiscovered treasures. The island of Calauit is a prime example.

A wildlife sanctuary, Calauit Island is located in the Calamian Islands group in Northern Palawan and is home to around 300 African animals like as giraffes, zebras, impalas, and waterbucks. The Philippine government established the Calauit Safari Park in 1976 as an effort to preserve wildlife. Currently, it draws many visitors looking for a one-of-a-kind safari experience in the Philippines.

Zebras running at Calauit Island
Zebras running at Calauit Island


Getting to Calauit Island

The journey to the island is not as easy as hopping on a bus or a plane. However, the scenic views along the way make the long journey worth it. Here are the ways to get to here:

By Air: The nearest airport to Calauit Island is Busuanga Airport, which is around 100 kilometers away. From Busuanga, you can rent a van or take a public transport vehicle to reach the Calauit Wildlife Sanctuary.

By Sea: You can also reach Calauit Island by sea through the Port of Coron. From the port, you can take a boat or a ferry to Calauit Island. However, the sea journey is not for the faint-hearted, as the waters can be rough, and the journey can take up to five hours.

How to Get Around?

The best way to explore Calauit Island is by taking a safari tour. The Calauit Safari Lodge offers guided tours that take visitors around the sanctuary to see the animals and learn about their habitat. The tour will take you around the wildlife sanctuary, where you can see the exotic animals up close and personal. You can ride a jeepney or a horse-drawn carriage during the tour, and the guides will give you information about the animals and their habitat.

There are a number of hiking trails on the island that provide visitors with breathtaking panoramas of the water and terrain. Bicycles and motorcycles can be rented so that visitors can navigate around the island.

The old but reliable safari jeepney
The old but reliable safari jeepney

Where to Stay on Calauit Island?

In Coron, there are various hotels and resorts to choose from, ranging from budget-friendly to luxurious. Some popular options include Coron Soleil Garden Resort, Two Seasons Coron Island Resort and Spa, and Club Paradise Palawan.

Busuanga also has several accommodations to choose from, such as Huma Island Resort and Spa, Busuanga Bay Lodge, and La Estancia Busuanga Resort. Check out our blog about Busuanga Island, Palawan’s Last Frontier to discover more about this beautiful destination and find other recommended accommodations.

Visitors can take a day trip to Calauit Island and explore the wildlife sanctuary before returning to their accommodations in Coron or Busuanga.

Things to Do on Calauit Island

Calauit Island offers a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy. Here are some of the must-see attractions on the island:

Wildlife Safari

The wildlife safari is a popular activity for visitors to Calauit Island. African creatures including giraffes, zebras, and impalas have found refuge on the island since it was designated as a game reserve and wildlife sanctuary in 1976. Tourists can experience these creatures up close and personal on a safari excursion.


Island Hopping

Island Hopping to Black Island, Coron, Palawan
Island Hopping to Black Island, Coron, Palawan

The calm, clear waters at Calauit Island are ideal for exploring the surrounding islands. Renting a boat is a great way for tourists to get out and see the surrounding islands, such as Black Island, North Cay Island, and South Cay Island. These islands are well-known for their stunning coral reefs, white sand beaches, and towering limestone cliffs. Island hopping is a fun and exciting way to see more of the stunning scenery that surrounds the island.


Snorkeling and Diving

The waters of Calauit Island are excellent for snorkeling and scuba diving due to the abundance of marine life there. Many fish species, turtles, and even dugongs can be found among the reefs’ thriving corals. Rentals of snorkeling and scuba gear are available on the island.


Beach Bumming

There are several beautiful white sand beaches on Calauit Island where visitors may unwind and soak up some rays. Anyone looking to get away from the noise and crowds of the city will appreciate the island’s quiet, deserted beaches.


Cultural Experience

The Tagbanua prepare for a courtship dance.
Courtship dance practice among the Tagbanua.

Calauit Island is also a great spot to learn about the traditions of the Tagbanua people that live there. Travelers can meet the people, gain insight into their culture, and even try their hand at weaving or fishing, among other traditional pursuits.


Where to Eat?

Even though there aren’t many places to dine on Calauit Island, travelers can still locate small cafes serving tasty Filipino fare. Some of the greatest restaurants on the island are as follows:


Buluang Fishpond Restaurant

In Busuanga Island, Palawan, the Buluang Fishpond Restaurant is an absolute must. This restaurant, perched on a picturesque fishpond, provides a genuine dining experience for seafood connoisseurs. They provide some Filipino fare in addition to their fresh seafood selection, which includes grilled fish, squid, and prawns. The restaurant’s rustic decor and casual vibe make it ideal for people who want to take in the sights while they dine. Indulge your taste buds and experience something truly special at Buluang Fishpond Restaurant during your island vacation.

Buluang Fishpond Restaurant shows a bamboo-gated entrance
Buluang Fishpond Restaurant shows a bamboo-gated entrance

Small Eateries

Smaller eateries and sari-sari shops can be found all across Calauit Island in addition to the larger establishments already listed. These corner shops sell a wide variety of food, drinks, and needs. They are perfect for visitors who are exploring the island and want to stop for a quick meal or drink. In these quaint eating establishments, tourists may mingle with locals and get a feel for island life.



Picnicking is a popular activity on Calauit Island, as it offers a scenic and peaceful atmosphere perfect for relaxing and enjoying nature. Visitors can bring their own food and drinks and set up a picnic at one of the island’s many beaches or scenic spots. There are also several picnic areas in the wildlife sanctuary where visitors can observe the animals while having a picnic. The natural beauty of the island may be appreciated while spending time with loved ones.


  1. Is it safe to visit Calauit Island? Yes, it is generally safe to visit Calauit Island. However, visitors should still exercise caution and follow the rules and regulations of the wildlife sanctuary.
  2. What is the best time to visit? The best time to visit Calauit Island is during the dry season from November to May when the weather is generally sunny and dry.
  3. Do I need a permit to visit? Yes, visitors need to secure a permit from the Calauit Wildlife Sanctuary office before visiting the island.
  4. What should I bring when visiting here? Visitors should bring enough cash as there are no ATMs on the island. They should also wear comfortable and appropriate clothing, bring a raincoat or umbrella, and follow the rules and regulations of the wildlife sanctuary.


  • Respect the wildlife and their natural habitat. Do not feed, touch, or disturb the animals in any way.
  • Follow the rules and regulations of the wildlife sanctuary. Do not litter, smoke, or bring any illegal substances on the island.

Other things to know:

  • The wildlife sanctuary is open from 7 am to 4 pm daily.
  • Visitors can take a safari tour around the wildlife sanctuary, which costs around Php 200 per person.
  • There are no accommodations on Calauit Island, but visitors can stay in nearby towns such as Coron or Busuanga.

If you decide to check out Palawan, our small family operation organizes private custom boat tours through the Palawan area, voted the best island in the world, with its 52 pristine white sand beaches and some of the clearest waters in the world 

Palawan Boat Tours - Cebu - Things You Need to Know

Experience the thrill of island hopping in the Philippines.

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Lou PrataliLou Pratali
11:04 25 Jul 23
This is a must to do!!Super ultimate tour is the best with Kayangan and barracuda lake, twin lagoons (my favorite), coral garden (blue fabulous coral) were the best. It’s really worth it to pay for private tour (3500 to 4000 PHP). You will also have to pay for entrance fees (150 to 200PHP by location) and eventually shopping at the market - must do (count 300 for 2 for fish, pork, fruits and vegetables, water).
16:11 07 Feb 23
I was looking for a personalized excursion to the beautiful Gulf of Bacuit.Seeing the comments, I contacted Mel.Very responsive, very efficient and perfect organization.The flight attendants were very friendly and very helpful.And I'm not even talking about the meal on board...a marvel.In all fairness, this excursion will remain an excellent memory and I cannot recommend Mel and his team highly enough.A big thank-you.
Alyse TarbottonAlyse Tarbotton
23:48 30 Aug 22
This tour went well above all our expectations! I couldn't recommend this enough! The boat crew, captain and tour guide were nothing but amazing, everyone was so kind, helpful and friendly. The crew knew the best spots to visit that weren't overcrowded with tourists, 3 times we were lucky enough to have whole islands to ourselves! It was my partner's birthday while away and everything went above and beyond, bonfire, cake, birthday card, singing and celebrating with us.If you love camping this is definitely a tout you should do, it has been the highlight of our trip!!
Danish KayaniDanish Kayani
10:24 31 Oct 19
Coron is the best place i have ever seen.. picturesque. Beautiful. Peaceful
We booked a 4 days/3 nights private boat trip from Coron to Sibaltan. The organization went very well from the beginning, the owner answered to all my questions, and we were able to choose which islands to visit and where to sleep. The first night we slept in a bungalow in Banana Island, the second we camped in Araw beach and the last we slept in a seafront bungalow builded on a tree in Pical on Iloc Island.The islands in that area are the most beautiful islands I have ever seen, with clear water, lots of coral reef and fishes to see, white sand and almost deserted. The crew was very friendly and polite and they organize every single meal and for camping they give you a tent which was just perfect! This was our highlight in our 2 weeks in the Philippines and I wish I had booked a longer trip. A private trip gives you the freedom to decide where and when to go.

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