Most people who visit the Philippines eventually end up on Palawan Island and once there the common route is to visit El Nido and then proceed to Coron, but if you are looking for a more relaxed paradise we really recommend you to take your time to visit Port Barton. We have been to many islands in the Philippines but Palawan Island was one of our favorites and Port Barton was definitely one of the best spots we’ve visited.
When we arrived to Puerto Princesa we planned to go North, visit El Nido since is an almost mandatory stop for anyone visiting Palawan and then proceed to Busuanga Island and stay there for a longer period.
We arrived late at night and the next morning we picked a tricycle to the bus station so that we could go directly to El Nido. On the way there we had a nice conversation with the driver and he told us not to miss the chance to go to Port Barton and we had never heard of such a place when we planned our route so we were curious. Explorers like we are we didn’t think twice. One hour later we were on our way to Port Barton!
How To Get There
First and best option:
Pick a van in the bus station (300PHP, around 2h30 journey) directly to Port Barton.
Second Option and the one we chose (because we thought it would be cheaper):
Pick a bus in the bus station to the Roxas village early in the morning (180PHP, around 2h journey).
Then you have another two options:
Get out on the village and try to rent a motorbike there (although we do not know if there are any motorbike rentals) or find a public transport to Port Barton.
Or you can ask the bus driver to leave you before the village, in the intersection that goes to Port Barton. Here you can pick a bus (100PHP), a jeepney (100 to 150PHP) or a trycicle (which we do not recommend since it will take you forever to get there and it is the most expensive option – 300 to 400PHP)
Once in the intersection we didn’t pick any of the options above because we thought there would be a cheaper option. We were starting to get worried but we were lucky enough to have a pick up pass us by with a Spanish group inside and they gave us a free ride to the village!
Although it was a great experience we recommend you to choose the first option and go with the van. You will have to wait that the van gets full to leave but it is the fastest, easiest and cheapest way to get to Port Barton (although maybe it isn’t the most comfortable).
There is very little public transport shuttling to and from the village so if you chose the second option don’t forget to ask the bus driver in Puerto Princesa at which time the Jeepney and the bus passes in the intersection to Port Barton. Schedules may change and you don’t want to miss it.
Port Barton is an unexploited paradise village hidden in the jungle. The road to Port Barton is bumpy, lots of curves and long. Not so long ago it was just a dirt road but now a new road is in construction so it is faster to get there. It crosses the deep jungle of Palawan and you will soon realize that is a really isolated place.
Although you find tourists you can quickly realize that they are different tourists. More relaxed. Many have been traveling through Southeast Asia for many months now. They too seek to escape from mass tourism.
Port Barton was until recently a fishing village. Only recently it began to open the doors to tourism.
Although much of the local people are now dedicated to this activity, most people are genuinely nice and helpful.
Port Barton is a laid-back version of El Nido who has been attracting budget backpackers, other adventurous travelers and outsiders who are setting up small businesses related to tourism.
What To Do
If you are looking for nightlife you will not find it in Port Barton. Sporadically there can be a party on the beach but it’s not common. You have a few bars along the beach where you can relax and some restaurants but they all close early (around 11 pm).
But there are many other things you can do instead. If you want to make the best of your stay you should definitely rent a motorbike (500PHP/day). Many accommodations rent motorbikes. You will not find a rental shop like you would in the cities but you won’t have any problems finding one motorbike for yourself.
What To Do Without a Motorbike
- Enjoy the Port Barton front beach
- Eat nice food on the restaurants and spend time in some laid-back bars
- Do an island hopping tour
- Rent a kayak and do island hopping on your own
Island Hopping Tour: Port Barton is a place to enjoy the beach and the islands that surround it. You can do island hopping for around 800 PHP with lunch included which is cheaper than in El Nido and you will spend all day enjoying the islands and doing snorkeling with a group of other travelers.
Island Hopping On Your Own: We chose to do the island hopping by ourselves so we rented a kayak for two and went on our way to explore the surroundings. It costs 700 PHP/day with snorkeling equipment and a map of the islands and reefs included. This option may not be for everyone since you have to paddle yourself which can be tiring, and it is! Some islands are far away and you will definitely get tired! But we preferred to do it this way to have the freedom to go and stay wherever we please. We took food with us and spent all day hopping the islands, picking up and eating coconuts and exploring some reefs on our own. It was a really nice experience. This was our route:
We visited the sandbar and then proceeded to Capsalay Island. You can cross to Double Island on foot which we did and on the north part of the island it is possible to see a small specie of monkeys playing in the trees. Then we went on our way to Maroday Island. Once again the north part of the island is the best part because it has a good beach to relax. Inadauan is a private island. We didn’t know that at the time and we stopped there and knew a man that was responsible for the security of the island. Although we were trespassing we had a nice talk with him and he even opened a coconut for us! Paradise Island is the most popular island and was crowded with people from the tours so we chose to start our long journey back to Port Barton.
What To Do If You Rent a Motorbike
Beyond what we have already recommended you, if you rent a motorbike you can also explore a little bit of the surroundings. This is why we chose to rent a motorbike. It allowed us to go to some nice beaches that we probably wouldn’t see if we didn’t have our own transport.
After you rent the motorbike you can visit:
Nice beaches along the way to San Vicente
The White Beach and it’s surroundings
If you want to make the best of your off road motorbike experience you can try this two ways to get to San Vicente. You can choose small trails used by the locals to get to the beaches that exist along the coast (which we did) or you can choose the principal route – a large dirt road.
We opted to go to San Vicente using these small trails and get back to Port Barton using the dirt road. This is what we recommend you to do because along the coast you will have the opportunity to see some beautiful, almost deserted, beaches like Kemdeng Beach. After San Vicente you also can visit nice beaches like Long Beach and New Capari Beach. You will also cross some small villages where you can establish contact with locals that are not used to tourism.
San Vicente is bigger than Port Barton but we would recommend you to go there, not by the village itself, but because the way there is really beautiful and you will spend the day adventuring and riding your motorbike.
If you decide to go to the left part of Port Barton you will get to a resort with a wonderful beach called White Beach. This beach is supposedly private but you can stay there if you pay a really small fee to the resort. You will also see some great landscapes on the way!
This was how we’ve spent 5 days in Port Barton but if you have time you can always explore more and more. And the moment to do it is now, before the road is completed and Port Barton becomes another crowded El Nido!
Where To Sleep
There are lots of options when it comes to accommodation. You won’t have problems finding a place to sleep.
We’ve stayed in a pension called LCD Home for just 700 PHP/night for two people in a double room with bathroom, wi-fi and a fan. The house has only two rooms with one more double bed in a common area. It’s good for a group of 6. We were 4 so we rented two rooms. Hot coffee is included all day long if you want it. The room had a nice common balcony where you could relax and the lady of the house was just wonderful and she provided us with everything we needed. We definitely recommend it but you should also check the ones on the beach front if you would like to wake with a sea view. They are not expensive either. We aren’t picky so we were more than happy with our choice.
Important Things To Know
There are no ATM’s or banks in Port Barton, so be sure to take enough money with you!
If you need medical assistance there are no hospitals, only a small health center
You will not find five star hotels to stay
During the day and during some part of the night there is no electricity (unless the place has a generator)
Don’t expect to have hot water (this is common in the Philippines)
So if you want to spend some time in a laid-back, more relaxed, less touristic beach paradise, Port Barton is definitely what you are looking for! We totally recommend you to go!
Latest posts by Joana Rita (see all)
- Algarve: 13 Less Touristic Places You Should Visit - September 7, 2017
- Rome: A Cultural Guide for “On A Budget” Travelers - July 2, 2017
- Ube Ice Cream: The Best That Filipino Street Sweet Food Has To Offer - June 14, 2017