Port Barton, Palawan Travel Tips

port barton hammocks

Port Barton is a lovely little fishing town in Palawan. For all its pristine natural beauty, it’s managed to stay clear of travel hype – and the large crowds that follow – lending the quiet beach town a quaint, rustic feel.

It’s one of the loveliest off-the-beaten-path destinations we’ve checked out in a long time and quite possibly the most underrated tropical destination there is.

If you plan on checking out this lovely beach town, here are some travel tips to make sure it all goes well.

Travel Tip #1. Be prepared for a bumpy ride

It used to be a nightmare getting to Port Barton, but it’s a lot better now. The road has been significantly improved and in more cases, you should be able to reach Port Barton from Puerto Princesa in around 3 hours.

port barton, palawan

Still, the buses that go are usually endowed with wooden seats and it’s a rather bumpy ride. Be prepared.

Travel Tip #2. Choose the best time

Port Barton’s tourist season starts in November, peaks between late December to March, and ends around early May. It can be hard to find accommodation during the holiday season – Christmas, New Year, Easter – since Port Barton has become a popular travel destination for Filipino travelers.

port barton, palawan

On the flip side, during low season – June to October – some of the resort and guest houses close down and the ones that are open will usually give you a discount. Although this sounds great in theory – no people! discounts! yay! – it also means there’s a real lack of things to do. Most places will be closed around evening time and it’ll prove a challenge to get enough people together for a boat trip to nearby islands.

Travel Tip #3. Bring all the money you’ll need

When we said Port Barton is off-the-beaten-path, we meant it. There are no banks, no ATM machines and no places to even change money. Make sure you have enough cash on you (and a little extra) to be able to pay for everything while you’re here.

That includes housing, food, island hopping tours, and anything else you might need. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself having to shuttle back to Puerto Princesa for some cash.

Travel Tip #4. Bring what you need.

Port Barton is a one-horse town. There are very few, very basic stores that offer a very narrow range of goods so if there’s a particular brand of, say, sunscreen that you need. Bring it with you!

We highly, highly recommend a bug-repellent-included sunscreen.

Badger Balm’s got an all-natural concoction that’s great at keeping both insects and sunburn away.


Travel Tip #5. Be prepared to unplug

Palawan, in general, has electricity issues. Port Barton is no exception. There’s a limited electricity supply here that comes on at around 6 PM and goes off around midnight. If you plan on staying up afterward, bring an LED headlamp or a flashlight.

The Cobiz Brightest 4 Modes LED Headlight is waterproof and provides plenty of light.

Arrange your WiFi time around this schedule as well.

Travel Tip #6. …and most importantly…

Make sure you’re covered for any travel-related incidentals so you can relax and concentrate on having fun! We highly recommend World Nomads.

They cover travelers from over 150 countries around the world, offer great rates, and cover a range of travel-related costs from the more commonplace – lost baggage and cancellation costs – to the more severe – emergency medical and evacuation assistance as well as coverage for a wide range of adventure sports and activities.


Best Places to Snorkel in Port Barton

snorkeling port barton

What is a beach vacation without a little (or a lot of ) snorkelling? Port Barton is a protected area and offers great marine diversity for your underwater exploration. Most of the snorkel spots are really close to Port Barton and easy to get to as well.

If you rent a boat for an island hopping and snorkelling expedition, it’ll cost you around 1200PHP, or $30, and the boat can accommodate up to 4 people. There’s a lot of competition amongst the local boatmen for tourism dollars so ask around for someone who comes with good references.

Ready to snap on a snorkel and a pair of fins? Keep in mind the best snorkel spots in Port Barton:

Port Barton Snorkel Spot #1. Aquarium Four

True to its name, Aquarium Four is teeming with marine life. It’s also perfect for families with children since, at its deepest point, it’s only about 2 meters deep.

The aquarium is best visited in the morning when the sea is calmest.

Port Barton Snorkel Spot #2. Exotic Island

There are two islands here and the water between them is shallow and perfect for snorkelling. There’s also a sandbar here that lets you walk out quite far into the water.

exotic island palawan

Swim a little farther, about 50 feet offshore, out to where more coral is in order to see the most abundant marine life.

Port Barton Snorkel Spot #3. Double Island

Double Island has a small resort on its premises and is surrounded by great snorkeling spots. You can reach the Small Lagoon Reef and the Fantastic Reef from here – both have beautiful corals and lots of fish.

Port Barton Snorkel Spot #4. Fantastic Reef

Like it’s name suggests, this is a fantastic reef close located close to Double Island. There are beautiful green corals here that are home to a large variety of fish and other aquatic life.

port barton

Read more on Port Barton travel tips.

Snorkel Spot #5. Manta Ray Reef

This reef is located about 200 meters from the short of Capsalay Island. This coral reef has an area of 150 hectares and is the largest are of corals in San Vincente. It was unfortunately damaged by high water temperature bleaching in the late 90s, as well as Typhoon Norming, but it is slowly recovering.

Snorkel Spot #6. Twin Rocks

The Twin Rocks is a snorkelling spot worth checking out since it’s really close to the Port Barton beach. Aim to snorkel here early in the day, since the currents get rough around mid-day.

Ready to start snorkelling? Check out our Port Barton snorkelling tips!


Top 5 Things to Do in Port Barton

port barton waterfalls

Port Barton is a quaint little beach town that’s somehow managed to retain all its quaintness and rural hospitality.

Off-the-beaten-path travelers come here to laze around its picturesque beaches, shifting slow-moving, satisfied eyes from one gorgeous view to another. But for the actively-inclined, there’s still plenty to do in Port Barton.

Here are the top 5 things to do in Port Barton, in no particular order:

Top Things to Do in Port Barton #1. Island Hop

You really can’t come to Palawan and not island hop. There is a bevy of gorgeous islands, mostly uninhabited, around Port Barton that you should really get to.

island hopping port barton

Before you go, find out the list of best islands in Port Barton!

Top Things to Do in Port Barton #2. Cool Down at a Waterfall

You know the feeling: you hike through lush jungles, whacking branches and spider webs out of your way, sweat dripping down your brow. One laborious step after another and suddenly, you begin to hear the whisper of falling water. You rush eagerly forward.

port barton waterfalls

The whisper turns into a roar and soon, you’re face-to-face with a majestic fall, feeling the refreshing spray against your face. Port Barton has 2 waterfalls nearby that are relatively easy to get to and are definitely worth checking out.

Bigaho Waterfall is a twenty minute boat ride from Port Barton plus a kilometer’s walk from Bigaho village. It’s perfect for an indulgent swim after the short walk and great for families with kids.

Papuwyan Waterfall is an easy hour-and-half walk from the town. The walk is not difficult, but the trail is a little tricky to find so hire a guide to show you the way.

Top Things to Do in Port Barton #3. Mangrove River

There are two rivers, Tugdunan and Darapiton, that combine to form a mangrove area. Hire a boat for the trip, lie back and glide along the mangrove. It’s a serene and silent ride, with nothing to hear but bird sounds and the occasional monkey call.

You can spot monitor lizards, various species of birds, snakes on and off the trees, and other animals. Keep your eyes peeled.

The cost for two people is about 600PHP.

Top Things to Do in Port Barton #4. Snorkel

Since Port Barton is a protected area, the marine life is abundant and the corals are plentiful. Without even donning diving gear, you can spot tortoises, mantas, and several varieties of fish. Snorkel gear should cost between 100 – 150 peso. It’s a good idea to snorkel while island hopping so be sure to pack your mask and fins…

port barton palawan

Read through our Port Barton snorkel tips before you dive in!

Top Things to Do in Port Barton #5. Do…Nothing

If you’re coming to Port Barton, this one is highly recommended: Just lie like a log, basking in the sun.

Note: Don’t be without sunscreen.


Port Barton, Palawan Snorkeling Tips

snorkeling port barton

With over 7,000 islands making up its beautiful country, the Philippines, in general, is a giant snorkeling spot and Port Barton, Palawan is certainly no exception.

This lovely little fishing and farming village is most well-known (or unknown) for its tranquility. While lazing on the beach is probably our favorite Port Barton activity, there are plenty of other activities to dive into when you tire of lying under the sun, gazing off into the lovely horizon.

Snorkeling is one of the top activities to explore the waters and islands around Port Barton. Check out the best snorkel spots around Port Barton!

But before you strap on your fins and dive in, here are some tips on snorkeling in Port Barton, Palawan:

Tip#1. Get an Early Start

As they say, the early snorkeler sees the fish. Actually, they don’t say that. Fish are around all the time – in fact, they live there full-time. But ocean conditions are the best in the morning. Around 8 AM is probably the best time to set off.

port barton palawan

If you organize a full-day island hopping and snorkeling excursion with a local fishing boat, it’ll typically start around 8 AM and last until around 4 PM. Make sure lunch is included and that there will be enough – you’ll be raving starved after a few hours of snorkeling.

Tip #2. A Boat with a Canopy

The full-day excursions mean you’re going to be spending a lot of time on the boat. Make sure you get a boat with a canopy for shelter from the sun and also in the event of rain. In tropical climates, the rain sometimes comes without much warning and it can get really cold, really fast.

Tip #3. Check the Tides

Reefs are great since that’s where the fish congregate, however they’re pretty rough for humans. Protect your skin against the corals (and vice versa) by checking to see that the tide isn’t too low before you set off to snorkel.

Tip #4. Get a Snorkel

It’s a really smart idea to invest in a snorkel beforehand. Port Barton is not the most lively place on the planet – which is a huge part of its charm – and it doesn’t have a huge collection of rental shops.

snorkeling port barton

You’ll be able to rent snorkel gear at Palawan Easy Dive but it’d be better to have your own mask and snorkel so you don’t have to roam around the sleepy village and also so you know that your gear is legit.

Tip #5. Beware the Jellyfish

Port Barton is occasionally invaded by swarms of jellyfish. The blue jellyfish are pretty alarming looking but not really harmful – still, if you’re going snorkeling during jellyfish season, bring along a light wetsuit and some vinegar.

Tip #6. Stay covered, stay safe

Make sure you’re covered for travel-related incidentals wherever you roam so you can relax and concentrate on having fun. We highly recommend World Nomads. They cover travelers from over 150 countries around the world, offer great rates, and cover a range of travel-related costs from the more commonplace – lost baggage and cancellation costs – to the more severe – emergency medical and evacuation assistance as well as coverage for a wide range of adventure sports and activities.

Ready to go snorkelling? Check out the best snorkel spots in Port Barton, Palawan.

The Best Islands Around Port Barton

port barton palawan

The beach at Port Barton is laid-back and relaxing, although it’s admittedly not the most gorgeous beach in Palawan. It’s still plenty close to a bevy of islands with stunning beaches, though, and they’re not difficult to get to.

Port Barton’s islands are beautiful on land and in water, so be sure to snorkel while island hopping.

Here are the best islands to sneak away to while visiting Port Barton, Palawan:

Best Island Around Port Barton #1. Exotic Island

Exotic Island has a breathtaking white sand beach. This island is actually made up of two islands, but it doesn’t exactly appear this way because the water separating them is really shallow.

port barton palawan

If you want to snorkel here, you’ll have to swim out a little but there is plenty to see once you do: lots of fish and corals.

Best Island Around Port Barton #2. Capsalay Island

This island has a reef named Manta Ray Reef about 200 meters from its shore.

This coral reef has an area of 150 hectares and is the largest are of corals in San Vincente. It was unfortunately damaged by high water temperature bleaching in the late 90s, as well as Typhoon Norming, but it is slowly recovering.

Best Island Around Port Barton #3. Paradise Island

Paradise Island is a privately-owned island and a small fee per person is required for docking here, around 50 PHP. This fee goes to the caretaker and his wife, who go far and above in taking care of the island, such as keeping poachers away from the reef and raking the beach to rid it of sandflies.

As a result, the beach here is pristine and has one of the best seascapes of the islands in Port Barton. It’s also a great lunching spot. You can bring your own or enjoy fresh-caught fish from the sea.

Best Island Around Port Barton #4. German Island

German Island is also a private island but doesn’t require any fee for docking. The island is full of underwater life, but you need to swim out a bit further to see kaleidoscopic fish, beautiful corals, and the occasional sea turtle.

To get to these islands, you can rent a boat which will cost you around 1,200PHP, or $30, and accommodates 4 people. Ask around for boatmen – there are plenty – and go with the one who has good recommendations.

You can visit these islands separately by hiring a boat to drop you off then pick you up at a certain time or you can purchase a package deal that groups the islands together for a set price.