Have you been planning on visiting the Philippines for a while now and have finally come around to researching your trip? Then you will know the internet is saturated with information on this topic.
That’s why my husband Phil and I have created this up to date 2019 Blog Post Extravaganza to help make planning your trip to the Philippines super easy. This comprehensive guide will breakdown the Must See’s in Port Barton but also link to our other Must See’s in the Philippines. These include Siquijor, Moalboal, Bohol, Nacpan and Coron. Notice El Nido is not on that list – click here to find out why. The posts are packed to the brim with everything we learnt on our month long trip and include some super helpful time and money saving tips.
Port Barton is located in Palawan and was our first stop in the Philippines. It is a location that many people we met seemed to not have heard of. As a result, upon landing in Puerto Princesa most travellers rush to get to the far north, to the tourist town of El Nido and bypass Port Barton.
We were attracted to Port Barton once we heard of its local, undeveloped and laid back beach vibes. We hope it stays this way as it was an excellent way to get started in the Philippines. It’s beautiful, quiet, palm lined beach awaited us and we were not disappointed.
The number one thing to do in Port Barton is an island hopping boat trip. Through some research we decided to contact Bianca of the highly rated Coconutz tours for our island hopping and snorkelling adventure. There are plenty of tour companies on the beach offering similar tours but we believe this company is an absolute must!
Coco and Bianca took us on a reverse tour of the islands and snorkelling spots (not following the main ‘clockwise’ route with other boats). This meant we had most spots and beaches to ourselves the whole time, a fantastic fresh seafood and chicken bbq lunch was provided. Our highlight was snorkelling with Turtles away from the crowds. Coco and Bianca pride themselves on offering the best tour in Port Barton by offering something that is tailor made. You travel where ever the other boats are not so you get a very special and unique experience.
Another Filipino favourite…Rum was provided which made you feel just like Jack Sparrow sailing the tropical seas. A nice touch which added to the great day out. FYI a bottle of rum in the Philippines is insanely cheap – think a couple of dollars for a litre!
TOP TIP: Before arriving we read about boat tour prices and how much to expect to pay. As the Philippines tourism industry is just getting to grips with the increased numbers of travellers sometimes information on these is out of date until very recently. The tour prices in Port Barton as of March 2019 are now set at 1200php between all companies. This is to help locals and boat tour operators get a fair price and keep competition stable.
Port Barton Beach
One of the reasons that we prefer Port Barton to El Nido is that the beach in the town is beautiful. There are chilled sandy lanes that all lead to the beach where you can relax next to beach puppies, grab a chilled beer from one of the beach shacks and shade yourself underneath the palm trees. It is pure paradise and a fantastic place to just unwind. What a welcome to the Philippines!
Where to stay in Port Barton
Hashtag Tourist Inn – this small family run guesthouse had clean private double rooms set up each with their own patio and garden view. It was just a short walk to the beach and this was a perfect stop for our visit. The friendly owners were more than happy to organise scooters or tours if needed.
We pre-booked our accommodation at Hashtag Tourist Inn to make it easier when we arrived. Port Barton is a small town so we would recommend this to avoid any disappointment when you arrive if it is busy.
Where to eat in Port Barton
I want to point out how important it is to do your research on where to eat in the Philippines as many people suffer from food poisoning. Check for good reviews before visiting places just in case. This is especially important when visiting El Nido as they have severe drinking water problems.
Mabuti– For a great dinner out try here. We ate here a couple of times during our stay in Port Barton and loved the fresh food and chilled vibes. Try the Shakshuka – it’s delicious and big enough to share. They offer lots of vegetarian and vegan dishes here.
Milano Cafe – If you want fantastic coffee – head here. This place is owned by a super friendly Italian couple who import all of their ingredients. The fresh sandwiches are also delicious.
Gacayan Restaurant – If you are looking for a super cheap place to eat that is no frills and a backpacker hang out then look no further than this joint. The main reason we are mentioning this is because Port Barton is not cheap for food and drink. Coming straight here from Cambodia and Thailand it’s definitely a pricier destination.
Getting to Port Barton
We got here via SBE Minibus from Puerto Princesa Airport (2.5-3 hour journey) which drops you at the towns main transport shack. This is also where the local Jeepney’s leave from when you depart. From here you can purchase an eco-pass from the small desk which allows you to partake in boat trips. You have to have one of these passes to go on the island hopping tours so make sure you stop to purchase one before rushing off to find your accommodation.
Our SBE experience – we pre booked the SBE bus online for our arrival at Puerto Princesa Airport. To get picked up from the airport it costs a little extra and means that you don’t have to haggle for a tricycle ride to the Bus Depot when you land. All of the minibuses leave from the main Bus Depot so our pick up from the airport was in a car. We are not sure it was supposed to be as we had to email SBE (no one answered the phone) when we arrived as no one was there to collect us. At this point every other company will try and persuade you to travel with them.
Our minibus from Puerto Princesa was not leaving for a couple of hours so SBE offered to drop us off at the local Mall to get some food and relax. After a couple of hours they collected us from outside the mall (for no extra fee). The only downside to this is that you get the last seats on the bus which can be cramped. The main alternative minivan provider is Recaro- we simply did not travel with them based off of their extremely poor reviews.
How long to spend in Port Barton
We stayed for 3 nights in Port Barton but we easily could have stayed longer to unwind in this beautiful place. It was an absolute highlight of our trip to the whole of the Philippines.
Looking to visit more places in the Philippines? Check out our other favourite destination blog posts here: