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Palawan, the Philippines: The Most Beautiful Island in the World

“It’s no wonder Palawan ranked as the most beautiful island in the world this year, as the clear aquamarine water, limestone cliffs, and lagoons of the island province of the Philippines are only the most basic highlights,” says contributing editor Cynthia Drescher. “Palawan is home to nature reserves on both land and sea, with dolphins just offshore, marine gardens of giant clam, sea turtles nesting on white sand beaches, 600 species of butterflies, and lush palm forest like a Gilligan’s Island fever dream.”

The entrance to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

Fish swimming at the Underground River in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

An ice cream vendor outside the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

Bananas for sale at the Old Market in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

An idyllic sandy sliver of beach on Coron Island, Palawan.