Port Barton, a tiny town on the north-west coast of Palawan, one of the barangays in the municipality of San Vicente, Palawan. 3 hours ride via land vehicle from Puerto Princesa City.
Port Barton is unspoiled and untouched; it will give you all the province-feels. A place that will give you the best escape from all the toxicity of life. A place that doesn’t have banks, hospital, and doesn’t have electricity from 6pm to midnight. It doesn’t have any big shopping stores, bars or luxury hotels and restaurants. No night life. Everything is basic which makes it exactly my favorite island.
This is the smaller and quieter version of El Nido. The activities that you can enjoy here are very similar to those in El Nido and Coron but is almost half the price! 🙂 Port Barton is a good choice for budget backpackers (like us) who prefer the province-feels-peaceful-beach-life.
The town is like a small village that you can just walk around; I don’t see any tricycle here so yes, just enjoy the stroll and don’t forget to buy sweet and juicy pineapple. 😀
How to get there:
- Via Puerto Princesa (123.4 km by land travel)
- take a cab (P12) to San Jose terminal; take a van (P250) from Recaro or SBE. Please take note of the van schedule. Schedule may change without prior notice so it is better to contact the van companies prior.
RECARO: 0946-0444250 / 0919-5310967
- Via El Nido (180 km distance by land travel)
- take a bus to Roxas (Php 100); then take a jeepney (P150) – this is the cheapest way but take note of the schedule which is 12noon
- Hire a motorcycle!
- Direct van – price ranges from Php 600-800 per person. I haven’t tried this route
What to do/Activities:
- Island Hopping – you can visit pristine beaches, falls, and snorkeling reefs with rich marine life
- Snorkeling – the island’s snorkeling reefs are comparable to what you can see in Coron. Which means it is so much better than that of El Nido
- Laid-back beach life to the nth power! – the vibe would encourage you to just sit, relax, read a book, eat or just walk around
- Swimming – clear waters!
- Chase waterfalls
- Mangrove river tour
- Swim with turtles
Okay. Initially I just came to Port Barton so I could just lie in the beach, relax, read the book and enjoy the beach. Nah. I’m kidding. I always try to explore the island by doing what I love doing – Island Hopping! I didn’t expect much about Port Barton but surprisingly, the snorkeling sites are far way better than El Nido and almost comparable to Coron 🙂
Puerto Princesa City
0700H – Wake up / Breakfast / Pack up
0800H – Cab to San Jose Terminal
0830H – Van to Port Barton (Reserve in advance!)
1100H – Arrival in Port Barton; Tell the driver to drop you off at the tourism office (office hours: 8am-5pm, Monday to Sunday) and pay for the eco-tourism development and management fee.
RATES AS FOLLOWS
Php 50 / person : visit duration 1 – 10 days
Php 100 / person : visit duration 11 days – 6 months
Php 200 / person: visit duration 6 months – 1 year
I am a local of Puerto Princesa so they just checked my ID, have me registered on the logbook and it’s free including my companion (which instantly proclaimed as a local of Palawan, haha!)
We walked along the beach looking for accommodation and we decided to stay in Summerhomes.
1130H – Check in; Pitch tents – even though it was raining that time 😀
1145H – Walk around. Buy pineapple. Looking for a place to eat lunch
1200H – Lunch at Elsa’s – beach front
I highly recommend this restaurant. Foods are yummy at good price. Plus the ambiance is just perfect for a lazy afternoon.
1300H – Walk back to Summerhomes; Siesta
1800H – Night swim
1900H – Shower / Tidy up
1930H – Dinner at Summerhomes
2100H – Smores / almost ‘partied’ hahaha
2200H – Glamping; Sleep mode
Port Barton – Island Hopping
0600H – Wake up / Pack up
We’re almost losing hope because of the heavy rains since last night but hey! We’ve got sunshine! 🙂 Thank YOOOOOUUUU
0630H – Breakfast at Summerhomes
0800H – Island Hopping (Private)
We negotiated a private boat tour from 8am – 3pm for the 2 of us. Rate is Php 2,500.00 but we haggled it to Php 2,000.00 (Php 1,000 each with sumptuous lunch and snorkeling gears) and we get to see 10 destinations! You can even go for more but we chose only the highlights of the tour a – d 🙂
Contact Person: Kuya Nimrod ‘Ontong’ de Veluz – 0939-6172914
AQUARIUM REEF (snorkeling site)
Swim with rich marine life! It almost resembles that of Coron’s Coral Garden. The water is shallow of about 2 meters deep. Vest is not required here so I swim to my heart’s content. No visible sea urchin as well unlike in Coron.
The boatmen said that when it’s low tide, the corals are above the sea level and you can only swim here when it’s high tide. Aquarium reef is really shallow by nature.
INADELAN RESORT (formerly GERMAN ISLAND)
This island is now a private resort so you will have to pay an entrance fee of Php 100.00 per person; if you are like us, just swim from a far, no need to go down and explore the land area of the island 🙂
Most of the arranged tours are staying here for lunch or for a stopover rest. There are beach huts with table to sit on.
It was called German island before because of a German who lived here for about 20 years 😀
Technically, it is part of Inadelan Resort, a few meters away from the resort where you can swim with at least 5 pawikans (turtle).
You just have to be extra patient to go on a turtle hunting. Hahaha!
We stayed here for lunch. Supposedly, we are to stay in Paradise Island but it was already crowded there. In Maxima Island, we have the island all for ourselves. There is an entrance fee of Php 50/person here but since no one is around, it is FREE, right?
There’s a cottage here where you can eat your lunch.
Maxima Island is connected to Exotic Island by a sand bar.
You can just swim going to the nearby island.
- EXOTIC ISLAND
This island is temporary closed as per our boatmen. Adjacent to Maxima Island.
With entrance fee of Php 50/person. We just passed by this island since it was really crowded. I hate crowded places hahaha
FANTASTIC REEF (snorkeling area)
It was almost raining that time but the marine life underwater is really promising. I get to see NEMO here and a whole lot of different colorful fishes.
TWIN REEF (snorkeling area)
We snorkeled here for only a short time.
There we’re 3 foreigners who came near our boat and asked if they could stitch their kayaks so they can snorkel for a while.
This is such a tiny sand bar. More like a sand circle. Not much bar to walk into.
This is on the other side of the sand bar. You can just walk as it is shallow near the sandbar.
When it was almost 3pm, we went back to Summerhomes to shower and pack up since we are scheduled to go back to the city at 5pm – last trip.
Where to Eat:
We only get to eat in Summerhomes and Elsa’s Resort. I was not able to capture all our meals.
But you have like a dozen to choose from; price ranges from Php 150-Php 300.
Where to Stay:
We stayed within the vicinity of Summerhomes – fronting the beach; we pitched our tent beside the beach couch and paid P300 per tent (Php 150 each since I traveled with my co-blogger). Php 300 comes with free use of comfort rooms, unlimited charging of gadgets (Btw, they are using green energy so we get to enjoy 24/7 electricity); they even provided us foams and pillows plus 24/7 roving security guard 🙂
If you don’t have your tents with you, you can rent from the resort and pay Php 500 per tent.
Note: To those beach campers like us, don’t just pitch tents elsewhere as there are cases of robbers in Port Barton because they don’t have roving Policemen here. So I recommend that you stay in Summerhomes for your safety 😉
The staff is so welcoming and caring; they always checked if we are okay or if we need anything.
Anyway, resorts/inns in Port Barton are all lined-up in the beach front; you have like 25 to choose from, prices range from P1000 below, Php 350 being the lowest. If you are on a tight budget, you can instead look for homestay at the back of the beach and you can get as low as P200 per head. This is negotiable for sure especially if it’s lean months.
or BOOK HERE:
- No banks or ATMs; though some restaurants/inn are accepting card payments
- You can wire money thru Palawan Express
- No landline phones
- Globe signal is poor. You can only get 3G; Smart signal could get you speedy connection
- Bring snorkeling gear! Though our private tour comes with free snorkeling gear J Apply toothpaste on your goggles lenses! Tip from the boatman J
- Electriciy runs from 5pm-12mn. Some accommodations have generators; In Summerhomes, they are using green energy. 24/7 power is available J
- No hospitals or drugstores. Bring your medicines.
- Bring bottled water
Cab to San Jose Terminal – Php 12.00
Van to Port Barton – Php 250.00
Summerhomes Tent fee – Php 150.00 (Php 300/tent)
Pineapple – Php 45.00 (Php 90.00)
Lunch in Elsa’s – Php 170.00
Dinner in Summerhomes – Php 212.00
Breakfast in Summerhomes – Php 180.00
Island Hopping Fee – Php 1,000.00 (Php 2,000 per boat)
PM Snacks – Php 87.50 (Php 175 for 2)
Van to PPS – Php 250.00
TOTAL – Php 2,356.50 per person
I enjoyed the island hopping and snorkeling activities in Port Barton more than my El Nido trip. A trip here should definitely be in the list of backpackers and people who want a vacation away from the crowd. Its laidback life and tranquility keeps on luring me back. I wanna go back and catch up on my reading on a swaying hammock while enjoying my pineapple 🙂 Such a total relaxation where you can completely be lazy for the whole day.
The sad thing is, along with its less touristy crowd, is a dying business destination. Most of the restaurants were closed because of the low number of visitors. Yes, that kinda make me sad.
But overall, I will definitely go back here and I wanted to stay longer the next time.
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