This brief guide to Port Barton, San Vicente will help you plan your trip. It contains information on what to do, eat, and drink as well as the must-see spots and the best hotels.
ABOUT SEE & DO EAT & DRINK STAY BUDGET ADVICE
Palawan is, undoubtedly, one of the most blessed provinces in the Philippines in terms of natural resources. It is home to a variety of endemic and endangered flora and fauna. Puerto Princesa City along with the towns of El Nido and Coron are known for its underground river, stunning beaches, lakes, and rich marine life. But the wonders of Palawan doesn’t end there. There are other lesser-known yet equally charming destinations found in the province. One of those is the town of San Vicente, particularly Port Barton.
Port Barton has a super relaxed ambiance since it is still unknown to many tourists. Like El Nido, Port Barton has beaches and offers activities such as island-hopping and snorkeling but it is more laidback, smaller, and not as developed.
Best Time to Visit
It’s best to visit the Philippines during the dry season. Dry season in the Philippines spans from November through April. These are the summer months in this country.
Be aware that temperatures and humidity levels are particularly high in April and May.
The best time to be a beach bum and explore the islands is from March to May.
TIP: This guide recommends that booking for Port Barton summer trips should be done as early as possible, at least a month before your travel dates, since resorts get fully booked early.
The period from June to October is the rainy (wet) season and is best avoided due to the high possibility of typhoons. The typhoons can not only be destructive, but most tours and activities are cancelled under such circumstances. Transportation via plane and boat is also seriously impacted as well. This happens frequently so beware!
This guide recommends traveling to Port Barton in April-May or in November-December, just before and just after the rainy season. This will likely bring fewer crowds, yet pleasant weather, and is also a great time to score a travel deal.
Plug commonly used is Type A but Types B and C are used as well. Bring A to B adapter(s).
There are many ways to get here depending on your starting point. This guide recommends using the following online tools to identify all the available options and cost for each while in Port Barton: Rome2Rio and PHBUS. The following are the major ports of entry for this destination.
San Vicente Terminal
The following are the modes of transportation available in Port Barton …
Car for Hire
SEE & DO
The following is your guide to places to see and activities to enjoy while in Port Barton.
1 | See all the beaches
While the beaches in El Nido and Coron are popular among tourists, beaches in Port Barton are unspoilt and less crowded. It’s a great destination to enjoy the beach without other tourists to deprive you of your peace or vendors selling their tours and souvenirs. Itaytay Beach, Port Barton’s main beach, although not ideal for swimming, is a good spot to beach-bum and get a tan. It has restaurants, bars, and accommodations for anyone who wants to stay overnight. Beaches to explore nearby include Port Barton Beach, White Beach, and Pamuayan Beach.
2 | Explore the waterfalls
If you want to do something other than swimming and beach-bumming, try exploring the waterfalls. Two waterfalls found in Port Barton are Pamuayan Falls and Bigaho Falls. Pamuayan Falls is closer to the beach area and is easily accessible on foot. While it’s only 8 meters high, it is nestled in a forest which makes it a good place for a morning walk. Bigaho Falls is a bit farther but it drops to a natural pool perfect for a refreshing dip.
3 | Go on island-hopping
Like most coastal areas, island-hopping is a popular activity for tourists in Port Barton. You can join a group tour for a lesser cost or charter a private boat and explore your preferred destination at your own pace. Some of the most beautiful islands to see are Exotic Island, Inaladelan Island (German Island), Starfish Island, and Twin Reef.
4 | Try water sports and adventures
While there aren’t several choices, you can always try kayaking to nearby islands or skydiving. Some resorts offer kayaks for rent while Skydive Greater Palawan provides skydiving experience throughout Palawan.
5 | Swim with underwater creatures
Aside from stunning beaches, Palawan is also blessed with rich marine life that is why snorkelling and diving are popular activities in the province including San Vicente. Head over to Twin Reef to see a variety of fishes and colorful colors. For an opportunity to see the sea turtles, visit Secret Paradise Resort & Turtle Sanctuary, a 77-hectare nature reserve that is home to green sea turtles, hawksbill turtles, and Olive Ridley turtles.
6 | Walk along the Long Beach
While it’s not exactly located in Port Barton, it is still part of San Vicente. This 14.7-kilometer beach spans the coastline of four barangays and is recognized as the longest white sand beach in the Philippines and the second longest in South Asia. It is devoid of large crowds and businesses but it will not remain that way in the years to come as several investors and developers have already purchased properties along the beach.
7 | Side trip destinations
Puerto Princesa is roughly 3 to 4 hours away from San Vicente but considering that it is the capital city of Palawan, you may want to see what it has to offer. It has a variety of restaurants, hotels, a few malls, and several attractions including the famous Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park.
NOTE: The Malagnang Mud Festival occurs annually every June 19-21…
EAT & DRINK
The following is your guide to the flavorful food to enjoy and restaurants to try while in Port Barton.
1 | Ayette’s Bamboo House
Located along the main road near the beach, Ayette’s is a family-run restaurant offering a variety of local dishes such as sinigang, chicken bbq, curry, stuffed squid, and other seafood dishes. It has bamboo and nipa huts with tables and chairs set up for diners. The price ranges from P70 to P100 ($1.4 to $2 USD) making it one of the most affordable restaurants in the area.
2 | Gacayan Restaurant
Gacayan is a favorite among backpackers and budget travellers as it is the most affordable dining spot in Port Barton. It is a carinderia-style restaurant where the cost of dishes starts at P50 ($1 USD) per serving. Considering its affordability, it is often crowded especially during meal times so make sure to plan your visit accordingly.
3 | Jambalaya Cajun Cafe
This beachfront restaurant is well-loved for its authentic Cajun style food including the seafood and chicken jambalaya. The prices range from P300 to P400 ($6 to $8 USD) per dish, a bit high for local standards but it is definitely worth it. The restaurant also serves authentic gumbo, curries, and great coffee.
4 | Kusinero Del Barrio Restobar
Kusinero Del Barrio is a cozy little place near the beach. Customers rave about their chicken adobo in pineapple and homemade pasta. It is also a great place to enjoy cheap beer while listening to great music being played at the restaurant in the evenings.
5 | Mabuti. Eat and Chill
With cozy ambience and great food, Mabuti is surely one of the restaurants you shouldn’t miss. It offers International and European cuisine with vegetarian and vegan options. Recommended dishes include shakshuka, veggie burger, and mango salad.
6 | Mojitos RestoBar
With an excellent cocktail list and great food, what’s not to love about Mojitos RestoBar? Add the impeccable service and relaxing ambience, it no doubt offers one of the best dining experiences when in Port Barton. Must-try includes fish tacos, poutine, and satay. The price is quite high compared to others in the area but it’s worth it.
7 | Oasis Port Barton
Located in Hotel Oasis, the restaurant is one of the top dining spots in Port Barton. It offers a wide variety of food and drinks with lemon chicken and seafood platter as bestsellers.
8 | Olive’s Crib Restaurant
Olive’s Crib offers Asian and Filipino dishes in a tasteful and friendly ambience. It is known to serve quality food in generous servings. It specializes in sizzling and seafood but the pasta is good, too.
9 | Reef Cafe
For Western favorites, Reef Cafe is the place to be. It’s an open-air restaurant made of bamboo and with rustic interiors. It’s price range is slightly higher than others in the area but with the quality and taste of the food, it is worth every penny. Bagels are a crowd favorite and their burgers, fish and chips, and soft tacos are equally great.
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WHERE TO STAY
There are many different types of accommodations available in this destination ranging from hostels to luxurious resorts. The following is your guide to our top choices for each range in Port Barton.
1 | Evergreen Bayview (Budget)
2 | Rubin Resort (Mid-Range)
3 | Holiday Suites Port Barton (Luxury | Resort)
This guide recommends using the following sites to conduct research online of where to stay in Port Barton or for a specific destination:
Book your room with these trusted online booking sites. Booking online in the Philippines almost always guarantees the best price and a room when you arrive. We use these sites frequently to get the best prices and enjoy convenient bookings. Click each of the buttons below to find the best place for you at the lowest rates:
TIP: Rubin Resort is the best property to experience this destination.
Book Online & Save Money
Use the chart below to get an idea of how much to budget daily. Actual amounts will depend on YOUR travel style. Keep in mind these are daily averages … some days you’ll spend more, some days you’ll spend less. Prices are in USD.
A bed in a hostel dorm costs from 350 PHP ($7 USD), but smaller dorms can cost from 500 PHP ($10 USD). For a private double, prices start around 700 PHP ($14 USD).
Most budget hotels begin at 700 PHP ($14 USD) per night for a double room and usually include free wifi and breakfast. For a three-star hotel, prices begin around 1,400 PHP ($28 USD) per night. AirBnB is also widespread throughout the country, with private rooms starting from as little as 500 PHP ($10 USD) per night. For entire apartments, expect to pay at least 1,400 PHP ($28 USD) per night.
Resorts and luxury accommodations vary greatly from 1,400 PHP ($28 USD) to 5,000+ PHP ($100+ USD). However, there are some really nice resorts and luxury accommodations which are surprisingly affordable.
We use and recommend booking online to save money using HostelWorld, Agoda, Booking.com, and AirBnB.
Local food is extremely cheap, with street food costing under 50 PHP ($1USD). For an inexpensive meal at a local restaurant, prices start around 100 PHP ($2 USD). For a meal at a mid-range restaurant with drinks and table service, expect to pay from 200 PHP ($4 USD). Knowing that their target customers are primarily tourists, Western food venues can be pricey compared to Filipino food. Also, some of the ingredients need to be imported, which contributes to the higher cost. Western food (burgers, pizza, pasta, etc.) is much more expensive but is still relatively affordable at around 200 PHP ($4 USD) for a meal and drink.
Fast food like McDonalds will cost around 200 PHP ($4 USD). A beer at the bar will cost around 50-100 PHP ($1–2 USD).
A week’s worth of groceries will cost between 300-600 PHP ($6-12 USD) per person. However, food in this country is so inexpensive, and kitchens & refrigerators are hard to come by, I don’t recommend cooking your meals here since there is plenty of delicious street food to eat at very cheap prices. You won’t make it as good as they do and the food is too delicious to miss!
There are many modes of transportation available in the Philippines and each varies greatly.
Public Transportation is cheap. Bus services on the islands are inexpensive. Local buses (called jeepneys) are the most common type of transportation in towns and cities. The fare is usually between 7-25 PHP ($.20–.50 USD).
On islands without a bus system, a taxi or tricycle is the only form of transport with fares starting at 50-500 PHP ($1-$10) USD for short trips.
Taxis are everywhere, and they’re very cheap. Most fares shouldn’t cost you more than 500 PHP ($10 USD) around town.
To get between islands, you’ll need to take a boat or to fly. There are ferries that connect the island together since they aren’t too far apart but, generally speaking, flights are the most realistic option.
Flights between islands usually cost about 2,000-3500 PHP ($40-70 USD). However, this isn’t the cheapest way to travel. It’s only recommended if you have limited time.
We recommend booking online to save money using: Skyscanner, momondo, Kayak, kiwi.com.
Attractions & Activities
Most attractions and activities in the Philippines are pretty cheap. Most attractions throughout the area are FREE to enter, though some of the more well known and popular ones cost 5-100 PHP ($.10-$2 USD) to enter.
Depending on the activity, most day tours only cost around 1,000-1,500 PHP ($20-30 USD), oftentimes less. You have more bargaining power if you go with a group. If you are expecting to do some climbing, remember to pack some warm layers. It gets cold at the top!
Other activities such as Island Hopping, scuba diving, helmet diving, swimming with whale sharks, jungle trekking, canyoning, ATVs, jet skis, wakeboarding, cruises, parasailing, horseback riding, cultural experiences, and tours can cost as much as 1,250-5,000+ PHP ($25-100+ USD).
The Philippines is one of the least expensive places to learn how to scuba dive. Learning to scuba dive usually costs about 15,000-20,000 PHP ($300-400 USD), but often includes FREE accommodation for the duration of the course, which lasts three or four days.
Always book your tours and activities when you arrive. Stick to travel agents who are selling on the ground. If a travel agent won’t negotiate with you, move on to the next until you find one that will. Booking tours online is almost always more expensive.
Typical Costs in Port Barton in 2023:
- Hostel Dorm Bed: 250-350 PHP ($5–7 USD) night
- Budget Hotel: 700 PHP ($14 USD) night
- Mid-Range Hotel: 1500 PHP ($31 USD) night
- Street Food: 50-150 PHP ($1–3 USD) meal
- Restaurant Meals: 200-300 PHP ($4–6 USD) meal
- Local Beer: 50-100 PHP ($1–2 USD) bottle
- 1.5L Bottle of Water: 38 PHP ($.75 USD) bottle
- Jeepney Ride: 7-25 PHP ($.20–.50 USD) ride
- Tricycle Ride: 20-100 PHP ($.5-2 USD) ride
- Public Ferry Ride: 200-300 PHP ($4–6 USD) ride
- Domestic Flight: 2,000-3,500 PHP ($40–70 USD) flight
- Island-Hopping: 1,000-1,500 PHP ($20-30 USD) trip
DOWNLOAD: Budget Planner Template
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The following is some of our best advice on traveling to Port Barton. Learn what you need to know BEFORE you go!
Tips & Hacks
he following are our Top 10 Tips when visiting this destination in the Philippines:
- Be aware that a tourist VISA is only 30 days. You can extend it upon arrival, or within the first 30 days, for an additional 30 days for a fee of approximately 3,000 pesos.
- Don’t buy into the fear factor. The Philippines has an unjustified reputation of being a dangerous place. It’s true there are security guards everywhere, but that is to deter theft.
- Manila is NOT the Philippines. Get outside of the cities to see the real Philippines.
- Don’t over plan. Boats, buses, and even airplane schedules are notoriously unreliable. Be flexible.
- Check the weather. The weather varies greatly throughout the Philippines daily.
- Typhoons can have a huge impact on your plans. Account for this when planning your trip.
- It’s not cool to raise your voice or show outward frustration in public.
- Be polite at all times. Realize that your country’s sense of humor may be different from Filipino humor and take this into account when interacting with Filipinos and while in public places.
- Things move at a slower pace. Accept it … don’t get frustrated … but do account for it.
- Don’t drink the tap water… but stay hydrated! Save money by buying large bottles (6-10 liters) of water and using it to fill your water bottle or hydration bladder in your backpack.
For a complete list of our travel tips & hacks, check out the following guide and be sure to download a FREE copy for yourself.
VIEW & DOWNLOAD: The Ultimate Travel Tips & Hacks Guide for the Philippines
The Philippines has its own currency called the Philippine Peso. Banks, ATMs, and money-changers can be found on the island. If you are exploring the neighboring islands or provinces, make sure to bring enough cash that will last until the next time you get to an ATM or bank since most tours, transportation, and budget accommodations only accept cash.
READ MORE: Money in the Philippines: Everything You Need to Know
Health & Safety
While overall the Philippines is a safe country to visit, as is Port Barton, you need to use common sense just as you would in any country, especially when traveling, and in a city, town, or area you are unfamiliar with.
Consult your hotel or resort front desk as they are more likely to give you reliable information than a random stranger on the street. Be careful when approaching strangers and selective about who you approach. Always pay attention to your gut feeling and follow it.
READ MORE: How to Avoid Scams & Thieves in the Philippines
There are many things to consider when traveling in order to stay safe … things that we may not be accustomed to during our normal everyday lives. The following are articles about tips on how to stay safe while traveling in the Philippines:
- 6 Common Accidents to Avoid
- How to Beat the Heat in the Philippines
- Taxi Safety Tips: Dos and Don’ts
- Motorbike Safety Tips
- Beach & Ocean Safety Tips
- Sun Safety Tips
TIP: The best way to avoid problems and stay safe is to travel with a local resident.
Staying fit & healthy can be challenging when traveling in the Philippines.
The tropical Philippines climate requires you to prepare for illnesses that you may not normally be accustomed to.
The following are our Top 10 Tips for Staying Healthy while Traveling in the Philippines:
- Maintain a Balanced Diet
- Stay Hydrated but Only Drink Bottled Water
- Get Plenty of Rest
- Allow Your Body Time to Adjust
- Keep Active
- Sanitize Often
- Be Aware of Food Safety Concerns
- Take Your Vitamins
- Practice Safe Sex
- Be Prepared Should You Get Sick
READ MORE: Stay Healthy in the Philippines: How to Avoid Getting Sick
You need to have a local-based SIM card in order to stay connected when in the Philippines. Network giants such as Globe and Smart have SIM cards you can use to make calls, send text messages, and also to connect to the Internet. A SIM card costs around 50 PHP ($1 USD) and usually comes with a FREE load worth 50 PHP ($1 USD). You can buy a card containing a code you can enter on your phone to replenish your load or buy an electronic load that is available almost anywhere in the city.
While you may not have problems with signal strength when in the city, it is not always the case when on islands or in remote areas of a province. So when arranging for transportation pick up, say when renting a boat to take you to and pick you up from the island, it would be best that you make it clear what time you need to be picked up before the boatman leaves.
Recommended Travel Apps
Apps for smartphones and tablets can be useful both before you leave and while you’re traveling. Most are available for iPhones and Android phones.
The following are our Top 10 most useful travel apps on our smartphones when traveling in the Philippines:
- Grab (taxis/ride shares)
- Angkas (motorbike ride-hailing)
- WhatsApp (phone calls)
- Skyscanner (flights)
- Rome2Rio (transportation)
- Agoda (accomodations)
- Booking.com (accomodations)
- AirBnB (accomodations)
- Traveloka (flights, accomodations, activities)
- Klook (attractions & activities )
Be certain to download and set up apps BEFORE leaving on your trip to make certain each is installed and working properly.
For our complete list of travel apps that we use and recommend while traveling in the Philippines, checkout our checklist below. Download a FREE copy for yourself as a PDF.
READ MORE: The Ultimate List of Travel Apps for the Philippines
Trying to decide what to do when traveling to a destination for the first time can be a bit overwhelming given your lack of familiarity with the place along with all of the available options.
We’ve created the following itinerary to help simplify the process and ensure that you get the most out of your trip. Although we provide a 7 day itinerary for this destination, it can always be adjusted to fit the length of your trip.
VIEW: Port Barton 7-Day Travel Itinerary
The secret to a successful and stress-free trip is to start by using a packing list. This will reduce anxiety from the start and ensure that nothing important is forgotten when packing. To make this process easy for you, we’ve created a detailed packing list. Click the link below to download it for FREE now.
Carrying your checklist with you during your travels can be useful when repacking, by helping to ensure that you do not leave anything behind.
VIEW & DOWNLOAD: Our Ultimate Packing Guide & Checklist
Things to Remember
This guide recommends to take note of the following while traveling in Port Barton or in the Philippines in general.
There is a nationwide ban which prohibits smoking in public places including indoors, the streets, on sidewalks, in restaurants , and on public transportation, requiring smokers to use designated smoking areas. Selling tobacco to and purchasing from or for minors is also prohibited. Violators are subject to fines (up to 5,000 PHP | $100 USD) and even 4 months in prison.
The minimum legal drinking age is 18. Alcohol such as beer and hard drinks can easily be bought in grocery and convenience stores. The most common alcoholic beverage is beer, generally served cold. Local alcoholic drinks include tuba (coconut wine which is usually very strong) and potent moonshine-like clear liquors made from sugar or fruit. Imported beer, wine, and name brand hard alcohol are available but expensive.
Drugs are illegal in the Philippines. Don’t use, buy, or sell any non-prescription drugs while in the Philippines … not even marijuana. It is considered an especially heinous crime to buy from, for, or sell drugs to children. The penalties are severe … up to and including death.
Public nudity is illegal in the Philippines and is not tolerated. Most locals consider it offensive. There are laws which prohibit provocative and erotic clothing and swimwear, therefore carefully consider your clothings and swimwear choices to make certain they are not too revealing.
Foreigners & Expats
If you are not a Filipino citizen, remember that you are a guest when visiting this country … be certain to act accordingly. Respect the people, their customs, and the environment and wlidlife. You can be deported and banned … so behave … but have fun and enjoy all that this wonderful destination has to offer.
READ MORE: Practical Information about the Philippines
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