Port Barton Beach: A Philippines Hidden Paradise On Palawan

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Port Barton, Philippines was a total mystery to me.  I didn’t even know it existed until two weeks before I went there.  And even then I heard it’s not worth going. 

But, like everywhere else, I heard it was awesome and totally necessary to visit.  This seemed to be how most things went in the Philippines.  Since I knew nothing about it, I was fine either way.

My friend really wanted to go so I figured why not?  After getting a little bummed about how much it cost to get us there, I quickly forgot about it when my focus shifted to not getting carsick on the ridiculously bumpy, probably always being worked on, road.

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When we got to Port Barton, we were greeted by an adorable little lady that wanted us to stay at her guesthouse.  It was pretty cheap so we followed her back. 

The place we would be staying was just as adorable as she was.  We put our stuff down, prepared for the beach, and set off right away.

It takes about 15 minutes to walk through the whole of Port Barton, and that’s at a not-so leisurely pace because it’s so hot. 

There are a few restaurants and hotels along the beach, then a few more restaurants on the main street in town.

Little shops for snacks and basic groceries dot the corners that make up the few blocks of town away from the beach. 

There aren’t a lot of things to do in Port Barton, but it’s a lovely place to relax and read, away from the crowds of El Nido

If you’re feeling adventurous, there is a waterfall within walking distance, island hopping tours available, and snorkeling options nearby.  I would just ask at your hotel for more information about those.

Oh, did I mention there is only power between 5PM and 12AM in Port Barton? 

That makes for really hot days and hoping that you don’t wake up in the middle of the night because you probably won’t be able to fall back asleep because it’s too darn hot. 

That’s what I thought at least.  I made sure I fell asleep before the fan turned off. If you haven’t caught on by now, the Philippines has phenomenal beaches.  Port Barton was no different. 

This beach was just a little smaller than most, but still had plenty of room for the few occupants to not be anywhere near crowded.

As usual, the sun was shining, the water was glorious, and the mango juice was flowing.  I spent two days lounging around on the beach, making some pretty good progress on Shantaram

After all, I wasn’t going to be carrying it all the way home.  It was time to move on to a different beach and try new mango juices.  I was really branching out on what I do in the Philippines.  Can you tell?


Things to do in Port Barton, Philippines

Port Barton is a sleepy little beach town (in the best way possible) not brimming with things to do. That said, it’s still 100% worth a visit. Enjoy the beach, swim a little, and maybe see a waterfall!

Island hopping

Like El Nido, and most beaches tourists end up at in the Philippines, island hopping tours are available in dreamy little Port Barton. 

It may not be as well known as the island hopping in El Nido, but there is no doubt that it would be just as amazing, maybe even more so since the number of people in Port Barton is drastically lower than El Nido. 

This is also a great way to get some snorkeling in while you’re in Port Barton.  If I ever end up back here, you bet I’ll be spending more time here and doing some island hopping, too.

There is some overlap among destinations in the Port Barton island hopping tours but they all look really beautiful.

There are some two day island hopping tours that let you camp on the beach of nearby islands. I think this would be a really awesome experience.

  • Port Barton Tour A – This island hopping tour from Port Barton takes you to Tween Reef, Fantastic Island, Maxima Island, Starfish Island, and Turtle Island.
  • Port Barton Tour B – Tour B takes you to Aquarium Reef 1, Aquarium Reef 2, Paradise Island, Inaladeland Island, and Lagoon Reef.
  • Port Barton Tour C – Tour C in Port Barton goes to Inadeladeland Island, Maxima Island, Paradise Island, Kalipayan Island, and Starfish Island.
  • Port Barton Tour D – This Port Barton tour goes to Fantastic Reef, Tween Reef, Paradise Island, Maxima Island, and Bigaho Falls.

Hike to waterfalls

While there aren’t tons of waterfalls in the area, there are at least three that you can either hike to, take a boat to, or a combination of both. 

One that you can hike to, Pamuayan Falls, is about an hour and a half from the north end of the beach.  There is a small trail leading into the jungle, follow that.  You’ll have to cross a river a few times. 

Just keep following the signs that say Do Not Litter or Keep Going.  You can swim under this one.  The other two falls are Intake Falls and Bigaho Falls. 

To get to Bigaho, you need to take a 20-minute boat ride, then hike about 20 minutes after that.

Relax on Port Barton Beach

This was what I did the whole time I was in Port Barton.  I would read for a bit then grab a mango juice.  Then I would read some more and take a dip in the water. 

Then I would read again and just wander up and down the beach a bit.  The main beach in Port Barton was one of my favorite beaches in the Philippines. 

It was pristine and I didn’t have to set up shop right between strangers.  There was plenty of beach for everyone and there were beach chairs to use.  I would definitely recommend spending some time doing this.


Where is Port Barton, Philippines?

Port Barton Beach is a tiny little beach town on the northwest side of Palawan Island, one of the most popular islands in the Philippines. It’s pretty much right in the middle of Puerto Princesa and El Nido.

How to get to Port Barton

Most ooptions foor getting to Port Barton are mini van shuttle or taxi. Taxis are more expensive but faster. Mini van shuttles are easy to find and arrange in all towns.

El Nido to Port Barton

Port Barton to El Nido is 3-5 hours, depending on the method you choose to get there. A mini van shuttle will be the best option in either direction. It’s cheaper than a taxi but takes a little longer.

You could also take a bus/jeepney combo with a stop in Roxas to make the change between the two.

Puerto Princesa to Port Barton

Port Barton to Puerto Princesa is 2.5 to 3.5 hours. Like El Nido, a mini van shuttle will be cheaper but take a bit longer. They can be found around town and at most accommodation.

You could also take a bus if you want something a little more adventurous. It will take longer and probably be hot (no AC) and crowded.

Sabang to Port Barton

Port Barton to Sabang, home of the underground river and mangrove forest, is 2.5 to 4.5 hours, again with a shuttle van being cheaper but longer.

San Vicente to Port Barton

You can catch a taxi between Port Barton and San Vicente. It should take about 1.5 hours to get there.


Where to stay on Port Barton Beach

Secret Paradise Resort and Turtle Sanctuary – This is a fancy looking resort set in two private coves with four of their own beaches and their own waterfalls. It’s out of the way of Port Barton Town but looks beautiful.

CocoRico – This is one of the only hostels in Port Barton. This definitely looks like a party hostel, so if you want something chill and relaxing I’d look elsewhere.

Summer Homes Beach Resort – Right on Itaytay Beach, the main beach in Port Barton, this is a great choice with a restaurant and terraces on the rooms.

Parrots Boutique Resort – This looks like a nice but not too fancy with a pool not too far from the beach. They also have a bar and restaurant.

Is Port Barton Beach worth visiting?

Yes! I absolutely loved it and would definitely go back. I think it’s a little less sleepy (again, in the best way) now than it was in 2016 when I went but I’m so glad I got to see it when I did.

Like, now it has a whole party hostel. I don’t think that was there when I went. I feel like we really didn’t even see that many people there. Anyway, yes! 100% go to Port Barton!


Tips for visiting Port Barton Beach

Don’t expect good WiFi – Most places have WiFi now but I wouldn’t expect anything lightning speed. This is a great place too disconnect (at least a bit) and just relax.

Or AC – This will definitely depend on where you’re staying. Our little guest house didn’t have AC, or power most of the time, but the resorts likely will.

Bring cash – There are two ATMs in Port Barton now but I would still come prepared with any cash you would need. Most places don’t take cards here and you don’t want too be stuck without cash and not be able too use the AMTs for whatever reason. (Trust me, it happened on Bantayan but I was luckily with someone I could borrow from until we found one that worked).

It’s pretty safe – Port Barton is pretty safe for tourists, but like anywhere else here stay alert and don’t leave possessions or valuables laying around. Theft , from what I’ve read, is the biggest safety concern in the area though it isn’t rampant. Use common sense. You know.

Electricity should be available all the time – Electricity was pretty limited when I went but it should be available all the time now. If you’re in a small random guest house this may be different.

What to bring to Port Barton Beach

Long sleeve shirt – A long sleeve shirt will help protect you from mosquitos and the sun.

Dry bag – This is a must if you’re planning to be on the water.  Here is a set with three different sizes.

Bug spray – You’ll want to bring this no matter when you visit, but especially if you want to go in the summer.  I like the Ben’s bug spray as well as the Off! Deep Woods.

Water bottle – It’ll be hot and you’ll need to stay hydrated.  Even if it’s not hot you need to stay hydrated.  A Hydro Flask will keep your water ice cold all day long.

Sunscreen – If you plan on being outside, you’ll want sunscreen.  I like the Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch a lot AND it’s reef safe! If you’re sensitive to fragrance though, it’s not a good choice. I also like the same one but specifically for your face.

Hat – You’ll want some kind of hat to keep the sun out of your eyes, or a visor.  A baseball hat should be fine but I like my giant sun hat, too.

Sunglasses – This is a must no matter where you are.

Headlamp – This is perfect for navigating around town or the beach in the dark. 

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Have you been to Port Barton, Philippines?  Have you been recently? How was it? Do you want to go?

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