Palawan’s hidden gem
Otherwise known as Port Barton is somewhere you have to visit! It’s becoming more and more popular, but the small town is the kind of place you envisage as the perfect travellers town. It is full of delicious restaurants and bars that you can sit at on the beach, what more can you want? A cocktail in hand watching the sun go down…you can’t get much better than that.
How to get there?
Port Barton is just 3 hours away from El Nido, so if you have the time, I would definitely recommend you heading there just for a few nights. There are many minivan’s travelling the route every day and costs 600 pesos. If you’re short on time or you have things already planned, make sure you book the bus in advance. They are only small mini van’s so in high season, a lot of people are travelling up and down Palawan so they can get booked up quick.
Also, don’t forget, when you arrive in Port Barton you have to pay and environmental fee of 50 pesos, so make sure you have some cash on you when you arrive.
Eating in Port Barton isn’t the cheapest, but if you look around, you can find reasonably priced restaurants.
Kraken was one of our favourites. They served various wok dishes which you can chose your own ingredients, or they have a variety of dishes with rice or noodles. It was all really delicious.
Just next door, is a Mexican restaurant but can’t for the life of me remember what it was called. Too busy eating! There menu isn’t big but has typical Mexican food like fajitas, burritos and quesadillas but also burgers if you fancy it. The prices went up to around 260 Peso’s so still pretty decent prices.
I would love to recommend a particular restaurant called Cacayan, however we didn’t exactly have the best experience there. The restaurant is full to the brim most nights with staff putting out additional tables and chairs to accommodate. The menu has a good variety and for what it is, is probably one of the cheapest in Port Barton. However, be patient. You can be waiting up for about an hour for your food. So don’t go if your in a rush or particularly hungry! Unfortunately, we visited on a particularly busy night and they actually forgot our order and we were waiting for nearly 2 hours. In the end we actually just got up and left, we were starving and couldn’t wait any longer. However, this restaurant is really popular and if you can wait and be patient, it probably is worth going. Just make sure you keep on top of your order and how long your waiting.
If you fancy a drink and somewhere chilled to sit, head to the Moon Bar or Reggae Bar. Both are right on the beach and the perfect place to watch the sunset with a drink in your hand. You really couldn’t feel more chilled out that. The Reggae bar is a little cheaper with about 70 peso’s a beer, where as Moon Bar is a little more pricey as drink are at least about 150.
Where to stay…
Port Barton isn’t full of big hostels like we expected it to be. It’s only a small town and infact we loved how it was. It isn’t majorly developed and everything just seem’s beautifully basic and rustic. Accommodation is reasonably priced too. We would highly recommend staying in Gypsy Lodge. Its only small and think just has 4 rooms but we were so pleasantly surprised when we arrived. Hot showers and WIFI are hard to come by in The Philippines so the fact the Gypsy lodge has both, was such a bonus!
Tours in Port Barton
Just like El Nido, Port Barton provide different tours hopping around the more local islands and are categorised from A-D. There are tours and signs everywhere promoting them and what is included on each one. We were recommended tour A so without much thought in it, we just decided to go ahead and book. It cost us 1,200 peso and included lunch & snorkel gear so island hopping around paradise, we couldn’t really go wrong.
It was actually a really good tour and after experiencing an El Nido tour, we realised how amazing it actually was. There was only about 8 people including us on the boat which we loved, as were not a fan of big tour groups, especially on boats. I think it begins to ruin it, the more people you have. You end up waiting around and there will bound to be a group that does something to annoy you. 8 people was perfect and definitely more personal. There was also plenty of lunch for us which included lots of grilled fish and chicken which they cooked right there on the beach for us.
The only downside was visiting turtle reef…
I think just being optimistic, we thought we would be swimming with turtles…we couldn’t be more wrong. With the guide swimming us around directing us to where he can see a turtle, it was actually just one turtle chilling on the bottom of the sea bed. A bit of an anti climax to be honest but hey ho, it didn’t ruin the tour at all.
How long to spend there?
I would only really recommend a few days in Port Barton, unless you really do have time to kill. It is a lovely stop over while travelling Palawan but not a huge amount to do there. So from Port Barton, you can either head north to El Nido or down to Sabang or Puerto Princesa. We.got a mini van up to El Nido and it cost us 600 Peso’s and took about 3 hours.