Starfish Island Palawan, yet another white-sand beach island surrounded by clear aqua-blue water. This picturesque island just off Puerto Princesa In the Honda Bay area is one of those “must-see” destinations when visiting the area.
This small tropical island is easily accessible from Puerto Princesa City Proper. Just jump on one of the many island-hopping tours that include Starfish Island. Expected price approx. 1400PHP ($40 USD) and this includes lunch.
Or, if you are feeling flush with cash, you could always hire a private boat and dictate where you go and for how long. I am unsure as to the cost of private boat hire but, as with most things in the Philippines, it can’t be overly expensive.
We booked ourselves onto one of the island hopping tours which included a few islands in Honda Bay. Maybe that’s why the tour was called “Honda Bay Island Hopping” lol.
Once we reached Starfish Island Palawan, It didn’t take long to figure out how this little island got its name. We were greeted by soft white sand, shady palm trees, the smell of the ocean, the sound of the waves breaking on the beach, and… Starfish.
If you are into starfish, this is the place to be. There are Starfish scattered throughout the shallow waters just a few steps off the beach.
Starfish Island, of course, was named because of the numerous starfish to be found in the clear blue water. This Island has one of the whitest beaches in the area and, to be honest, we didn’t appreciate how white the sand is until we looked back at our photos from the island.
Starfish Island Palawan Review
Starfish Island Palawan
It was close to 12 noon when we arrived so the first thing was to grab ourselves a picnic table in a nice shaded area before other tour groups snapped all the best ones up. Our tour guides then started cooking lunch as we headed out to explore the island.
Starfish Island Palawan isn’t a large island to anyone’s imagination so “exploring the island” didn’t take long at all. (We would have explored the island in half the time if Cheche didn’t stop every few steps to pick up another starfish… lol). Looking back on the island now we are home, I must admit, I found it rating high on my Instagram-worthy list.
After or brief walk around the island we took to the water for a brief snorkeling session (brief because lunch was almost ready and if you know anything about Filipinos, you never leave them alone with food). After being on the boat for almost an hour we were both eager to cool off in the water.
If you can, it always pays to try to be one of the first tour boats to a location. In the case of Starfish Island Palawan, the more people snorkelling or walking in the water, the cloudier the water can become. Now, this doesn’t ruin the experience but if you are wanting to take a few underwater GoPro shots then the clearer the water the better.
Unfortunately, my GoPro had previously suffered an unfortunate accident the previous day. Yes, GoPro may be tough but having a car reverse over it seems to void all warranty… Go figure…
Starfish Island Palawan
If you have been to El Nido and liked snorkeling there then you will find this island is much the same. There seemed to be more fish and marine life in the waters of Starfish Island compared to the last time we were in El Nido but that may also have a lot to do with the time of year you visit. Rainbow Parrotfish seemed to be everywhere we looked in the snorkelling area just off Starfish Island beach.
Important news update – Starfish Island Palawan is also known by locals as Tabuan as well as Luli island I have just found out. The island has a few cottages that are available for picnicking island-hoppers so get there fast to have the pick of the best locations. A few palm trees grow on the island mainly around the cottage areas (ohh, I just had a brainstorm, maybe the cottages were built around the palm trees…) with mangroves on the eastern side of the island.
Be warned, this is not a large island so don’t come expecting shops and food vendors eagerly waiting to charge you 3 times the retail price for a bottle of water or some Buko juice. In other words, come prepared or be disappointed.
After an excellent lunch cooked by our tour guides, we decided to relax on the beach and let the gentle waves wash over us. Ten minutes later we were ready to hit the water again for more snorkeling before our time was up on the island. Yes, I know you should wait at least 3o minutes after a meal before going for a swim but it just looked so inviting we couldn’t wait any longer.
One of our guides came down and gave us some bread. I declined, saying I had already eaten enough. Embarrassing, the bread was to feed the fish (LOL). The clownfish seemed to love the bread and would always be coming closer for more. It’s always a good idea to get yourself a pair of water shoes. I had never heard of these until this trip (Yes, I know… Where have I been).
They were reasonably inexpensive but so hand and comfortable in the water. It is also a good idea to have them or any kind of footwear for that matter because there can be sharp rocks or coral formations in the water just waiting to cause you pain when you step on them. And, believe me, as luck may have you, you probably will step on it and totally ruin your afternoon. In many areas, you can see where the coral has already been destroyed by tourists continually walking on it. many of these areas are sectioned off for regrowth and rehabitation.
How To Get to Starfish Island Palawan
directions – Honda Bay is very quick and easy to get to from Puerto Princesa city and going on a tour is the way to go!
A shuttle van which the tour guide is Kuya Bonbon picked us up from our hotel around 7 am, continued to pick the rest of the group up, then we’re off to Sta Lourdes Wharf where boats going to the islands were docked. It only takes 30 minutes to get to Honda Bay from Puerto Princesa City then you’ll get your own group boat and the island hopping begins!!!
Starfish Island Palawan, is it worth seeing? Yes, it is small. Yes, there isn’t that much to do on the island itself. But, it is unique and a great spot to stop for a break. There is snorkeling and swimming and I challenge anyone to get lost on the island. So, in our opinion Starfish Island Palawan is worth adding to your island hopping itinerary.
For more great places to see, check this out – Things to do in Coron