Port Barton Itinerary: 3 Days in Paradise

by Apr 12, 2024Itinerary, Philippines, Travel

Planning a trip to the Philippines? Looking for ideas on what to do in Port Barton? Wondering if it’s even worth visiting?

In this Port Barton itinerary post, I’m going to highlight some of the best things you can do in Port Barton in 3 days. I’ll also tell you where to eat, where to stay, and how to get to Port Barton.

I stayed in Port Barton for 8 days. YOU don’t need 8 days, though. A  stay of 3 or 4 days is enough. This would include 3 days of sightseeing and 1 day of just doing nothing.

If you’re going on to El Nido from Port Barton, check out my El Nido Travel Guide as well as this fantastic tour of Sibaltan.

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About Port Barton

The first thing you’ll read about Barton is that it’s nothing like El Nido, meaning it’s quiet and non-touristy.

True. True. True.

But it’s not as much of a backwater as what you’ve also heard. There have been lots of changes recently.

You might have heard…

  • Port Barton has electricity for only a few hours a day – NOT TRUE – When I was there, there was electricity 24 hours a day,
  • Port Barton is quiet – YES and NO. Compared to El Nido, it’s like a cemetery, but in the evenings, it sounds like every hotel on the beach is trying to compete with each other for who can play the loudest music. And nearly every spot on the beachfront is filled with a hotel or restaurant.
  • Port Barton has no ATMs – Well, I saw an ATM near the beach and I did see people using it, so yes, electronic banking has come to paradise.
  • There’s no internet – Not, completely true. You can get 4G connection in Port Barton, but it’s pretty abysmal. And some hotels have WiFi, but that is even in a sadder state than the 4G.

So, Port Barton has come a long way, and by the time you read this, maybe they’ll have paved all their roads.

About Port Barton Town

Situated halfway between Puerto Princesa and El Nido on the island of Palawan, Port Barton is much smaller and much less developed than both of these cities.

The road leading into town is still unpaved. The town has mostly potholed dirt roads that can get so muddy when it rains that it can feel like you need to run through an obstacle course to get anywhere.

There’s a small bus station that gets busy when a mass of tourists are leaving in the morning or arriving in the afternoon.

What makes Port Barton so special is that it still feels like a place that’s first and foremost for the locals.  This is so unlike El Nido where it seems that the city exists to cater to tourists.

You can see the local culture in the evening. That’s when the town comes alive.  The church gets going, stalls open up selling everything the locals need from food to clothing, and the stadium becomes packed with locals watching a concert or a volleyball game.

You’ll still come across cafes selling tourist fare like pizzas, mojitos, and vegetarian food within the first block or two from the beach. There’s even a coffee shop owned by an Italian selling amazing Italian coffee and gelato.

The Beach in Port Barton

Shaped like a crescent, the shore has a nice long and wide sandy beach. You can comfortably walk barefoot on it without worrying about stepping on rocks.

Lined up along the shore are small independently-run hotels. Thankfully, I didn’t see any huge resorts in Port Barton.

For a beach-facing room expect to pay around US$60. For rooms not facing the beach, around US$40. These prices are much cheaper than anywhere else I’ve seen in Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam). You can find even cheaper places than this a block or more from the beach.

If you’re facing the water, the hotels on the right side of the beach are quieter than those on the left side.

a boat in the water at sunset

The water is the biggest disappointment. The ocean in front of the beach is filled with tour boats. Not fishing boats. People don’t fish here anymore. Instead, they take tourists out for island hopping.

The water is also shallow, so you need to walk pretty far out until it’s deep enough to swim. On top of that, the water is murky, so you can’t see what you’re stepping on, and there are enough rocks on the bottom to make it an unpleasant experience. If it’s one of those days when the current brings in the jellyfish, well, you’ll probably be one of the many unlucky ones who experience their sting. I ran into 2 people who’d gotten stung swimming in this water.

If you really want to swim, you need to take a boat to White Beach (300 pesos RT (US$6)) or pay more for another beach somewhere further away (2,000 pesos minimum (US$40)).

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Day 1: White Beach

Start your Port Barton itinerary with a nice relaxing day at White Beach–a medium-sized beach with nice thick sand and water that’s not too deep and not too shallow at the shore–a perfect place for swimming.

How to Get to White Beach

You can get to White Beach by boat, foot, or motorbike. I don’t drive a motorbike, so I took a boat. Boat rides take 20 minutes and cost 150 pesos (US$3) one-way and 300 round-trip (US$6).

It’ll take you over an hour to walk to the beach.

While I was walking down the beach at around 11:00 am, touts were asking people if they wanted to go to White Beach.

The boat was right in front of the hotels along the beach. You’ll need to walk in the water to get onto the boat. Before getting off the boat, arrange a time for them to pick you up from White Beach. Just remember the name of your boat.

Arriving on White Beach

When I got to White Beach, I was met by a guy informing me that I needed to pay a fee of 50 pesos (US$1) to the hotel (Esmerelda Villa – US$60/night) that occupies the area in front of the beach. The fee allows you to use the hotel’s hammocks, toilets, and showers. However, even if you don’t use these things, you still need to pay.

Where to Eat on White Beach?

There’s a restaurant at the hotel. Prices are the same as anywhere else in Port Barton: 250 – 300 pesos (US$5 – $6) for an entrée (I ordered chicken adobo) and 60 pesos (US$1.20) for a 1.5-liter bottle of water. If you buy water in a store, it costs 35 pesos.

What to Do on White Beach?

There’s not much to do on White Beach except lie around and relax. 

Swimming is good as the water is not too shallow and not too deep. But it’s not as clear as the water is in Thailand or other beaches in the Philippines.

There are tons of hammocks all over the hotel grounds and in front of the beach. But the hammocks look more comfortable than they actually are. Don’t worry. If they’re all taken when you get there, one will open up soon.

Day 2: Island Hopping Tour

You’ll see signs all over Port Barton for the alphabet tours: tours A, B, C, and D. This is the same naming convention they use for tours in El Nido. I signed up for a tour through my guesthouse (Paradiso), but the tour company was called Gilligan’s through Villa Marguerita. I paid 1,200 pesos (US$21).

I didn’t even know which letter it was. I asked several of my fellow passengers and they all said different letters. Our guide said that they don’t do letters anymore; they just take you to the best places. We went to a combination of places where all the other tour boats went and places where there were no other tour boats.

You can also book your tour online through Get Your Guide. This Port Barton Tour gets rave reviews (4.7/5) but there’s not much detailed information.

Stop #1 – Twin Reef

The first stop on this island hopping tour was at Twin Reef. Our boat and 5 others parked near a reef (dropped the anchor on the reef!) and went snorkeling. It was like a traffic jam. I was always bumping into other swimmers.

This was my first time snorkeling. Ever. I had a hard time getting used to the mask and snorkel, so I don’t remember much.

Stop #2 – Exotic and Maxima Islands

Because German Island was packed with other boats, we went directly to Exotic and Maxima Islands.

Our boat and 15 others arrived at two beautiful small islands at the same time. To get from one island to the other, you crossed a shallow lagoon with water that goes up to your waist and that was as clear as a glass of water and as warm as your bathtub. The sand was soft and not rocky at all.

The crew served lunch. We had grilled fish, chicken adobo, eggplant, cucumbers, rice, fruit, and a lot of flies. It was the same lunch you’ll see on all of your tours around Palawan minus the flies. Compared to the tours in Latin America (you ONLY get a pasta salad with tuna). this was a gourmet feast.

Stop #3 – German Island

We were supposed to stop here before Exotic and Maxima Islands, but there were too many boats, so we came here afterward. This was a good decision because when we got to German Island, there were only two other boats.

We didn’t actually stop on the island. Instead, we went snorkeling over a reef off the coast of the island. There were two turtles that everyone in the boat except me saw!

By the way, it’s called German Island because a German bought it and then donated it to the city of Port Barton.

Stop #4 – Fantastic Reef

We next went to another reef for more snorkeling. When we arrived on this amazingly gorgeous island, we were the only tour boat.

I wish I could tell you that I saw a lot of colorful fish and coral. However, I was still struggling with learning how to snorkel. I’m a slow learner.

Stop #5 – Pamuayan Beach

For me, Pamuayan was the most beautiful beach I had ever seen. That is until I went on the Sibaltan Island Hopping Tour in El Nido and until I visited Kalanggaman Island.

The beach here was as long as the eye can see and as empty as a deserted island. The water was not warm but hot and as clear as glass.

There was one hotel on this beach. It was a little shack called EVIO. There was a restaurant on the beach where you could order a beer and sit around sipping it while admiring the beauty of nature and the fact that there weren’t any other tour boats

Oh, and lest I forget: there were starfish everywhere!

WARNING: I met two couples who visited the beach within 1 week of each other and both got severely bitten by sand flies. They didn’t see any flies when they were there but when they woke up the next day, they had large red welts on their back and legs from them.

Stop #6 – Old Sandbar

The last stop is at Old Sandbar, a sandbar in the middle of the ocean. I actually never knew sand bars in the middle of the ocean existed until our last stop of the tour. There were even more starfish.


Overall, the island hopping tour in Port Barton was fantastic. The best places we visited were Exotic and Maxima Islands, Pamuayan Beach and Old Sandbar. 

Day 3: Pamuayan Waterfall & Pamuayan Beach

On the third day of your Port Barton Itinerary, you can spend the morning at Panayuan Waterfall and then head to Panayuan Beach in the afternoon.

Stop #1: Pamuayan Waterfall

The waterfall isn’t anything spectacular, but the pool at its base is a fun place to cool off and go for a swim.

How to get to Pamuayan Waterfall

You can walk, rent a motorbike, or hire a tricycle or motorbike to take you there. I chose to go on foot. From my hotel, which was at the farthest end of Port Barton’s beach and thus, the closest to the Waterfall, it took me 1 hour and 10 minutes. If you’re staying on the other end of the beach, it will take longer. You can find the Waterfall using Google Maps.

What to do at Pamuayan Falls

You can swim in the pool at the base of the waterfall. The water was cool (not ice cold) but also refreshing. I’d suggest bringing some food with you so you can have a picnic. I got hungry but hadn’t brought any food, so I went back sooner than I wanted.

On the weekend, it can get crowded with locals having parties and picnics.

The walk back is more strenuous as it’s more uphill than downhill.

Stop #2: Pamuayan Beach

After leaving Pamuayan Falls, head back to the fork in the road and take the unpaved road to Pamuayan Village. Signs should point the way to Pamuayan Village. It should take you 30 minutes to get to the beach from the waterfall.

You can also get to Pamuayan Beach by kayak from Port Barton.

Pamuayan Beach is the same beach that you went to at the end of the previous day’s island-hopping cruise.

At first glance, Pamuayan Beach is about as PERFECT as any beach can get. It is gorgeous! When I was there, there were few hotels or guesthouses and few tourists. A quiet and beautiful beach.

There might be a reason why there aren’t many people on this beach. The beach suffers from sandflies. I met two couples who went to the beach and both got severely bitten by sand flies.  They didn’t see any flies when they were there but when they woke up the next day, they had large red welts on their back and legs from them.

If you go to the beach, ask about the sandflies, or just don’t lie on the beach. 

clear crystal water off the coast of Pamuayan Beach in Port Barton

More Things to Do in Port Barton

Do you want to extend your Port Barton itinerary for longer than 3 days?

I don’t blame you.

Here’s a list of more thing to do in Port Barton:

  • Go scuba diving
  • Get your PADI license
  • Take a yoga class
  • Rent a kayak and explore more beaches around Port Barton. You can get to Pamuayan Beach by kayak
  • Rent a scooter and head to some hard-to-reach beaches like Nao Nao Beach
  • Lie in a hammock all day with a good book

How to Get to Port Barton

You can get to Port Barton easily from Puerto Princesa, Sabang, and El Nido.

Take the van and NOT the bus. Buses are non-airconditioned.

The frustrating thing is that you’ll hear that everyone paid different prices for their trip. It can cost between 350 and 600 pesos (US$7 – $12) to get from Puerto Princesa to Port Barton.

  • From Puerto Princesa to Port Barton
  • From El Nido to Port Barton
  • From Port Barton to El Nido

Getting from Puerto Princesa to Port Barton

I traveled from Puerto Princesa to Port Barton twice. The first time I took a van from my hotel and the second time the van was from the bus station.

A Shuttle Van from Hotel

A tourist shuttle from Puerto Princesa should cost 400-500 pesos (US$7 – $9). The shuttle usually picks you up at your hotel or hostel in Puerto Princesa. Check schedules on 12Go.

You can book a shuttle through your hotel or to ensure that you have a seat on the day you want to depart, book online through 12Go or book online ahead of time through Klook.

It should take between 3 and 4 hours to get to Port Barton. The shuttle usually drops passengers off at the bus station in Port Barton. When you arrive in Port Barton, you’ll need to pay a 50 peso (US$1) environmental fee. 

I took SBE Transport and the driver drove like a maniac, passing every vehicle on the road.

A Shuttle Van from the Bus Station in Puerto Princesa

When I was in Port Barton, I had to go back to Puerto Princesa to see a doctor and then return to Port Barton the same day. A van from the bus station in Puerto Princesa costs around 350 pesos (US$6.20) + 150 (US$2.66) for a tricycle to get to the bus station.

Getting from El Nido to Port Barton

You can also get to Port Barton from El Nido. You can book your shuttle through your hotel or to guarantee a spot on the day you want to go, you can book online through 12Go or book online through Klook.

It costs around US$11-$13 and it should take between 4 and 5 hours.

Departure times are either 8:00 am or 1:00 pm.

Getting from Port Barton to El Nido

You can get a shuttle from Port Barton to El Nido. Tickets should cost US$12 and it should take 3.5 to 5 hours. Shuttle usually leaves at 8:00 am or 1:00 pm.

You can book a seat at the bus station in Port Barton or book online through 12Go or book a shuttle through Klook.

Where to Stay in Port Barton

I stayed at the Paradiso Beach Resort which is a misnomer since it’s NOT a resort. It’s someone’s home and when I was there, they rented out 3 rooms on the top floor while a caretaker lived on the bottom floor.

I think they rent out the whole house as one unit now. The reviews on Booking.com are not that good now either. (Agoda | Booking.com)

Greenviews Resort ($)– I liked Greenview Resort. When I was in Port Barton, I often ate at the restaurant. The food was really good. They have rooms overlooking the ocean for US$60 and rooms farther back for US$35 – $40. Rating: 8.7/10 | Check Rates & Book Your Stay: Booking.com

Coconut Garden Island Resort –  – If you’re looking for a peaceful spot, check out this resort located on its very own island. Rating: 8.8/10 | Check Rates & Book Your Stay: Agoda | Booking.com

Lady Ghagha Room Rental – This place gets rave reviews from travelers. Great location and great customer service. Rating: 9.3/10 | Check Rates & Book Your Stay: Booking.com | Agoda

Where to Eat in Port Barton

These are the places I ate at while in Port Barton:

Greenview Hotel restaurant – This place had the best food at the best price is Port Barton. I had fresh prawns (6 pieces) for 250 pesos (US$5). They also give you soup and dessert along with the main entrée. Their specialty is curry, which costs 300 pesos (US$6). They have decent breakfasts for 150 to 200 pesos (US$3 – $4) that include coffee or tea. They have wifi.

Mabuti Restaurant – If you’re looking for vegetarian food, stop by Mabuti Restauarnt – This place was quite popular when I visited. Prices for entrees are the same as anywhere else in Port Barton (250 pesos US$5). I had lumpia (spring rolls) with peanut sauce. They were filled with delicious tofu plus carrots, and what tasted like sauerkraut. They were so soggy and wet that it was difficult to eat. The sauerkraut overpowered everything else even the peanut satay sauce. SKIP THE SPRING ROLLS! Their shakshuka is supposed to be delicious. They have wifi.

Mojito’s – There were signs for this place all over Port Barton when I visited. It was also recommended to me by some other travelers. They specialize in mojitos. It’s about a 15-minute walk from the beach along muddy roads. At night, it can get really dark and the roads around it can get really deserted.

When you get there, they give you a complimentary shot of a mojito. I got the cherry flavored shot, which was delicious. They have all kinds o fruity flavors. But I ordered the house mojito, which I thought was too sweet. It cost around 295 pesos.

Their entrees are each around 350 pesos (US$7). They have rice bowls (satay sauce, teriyaki), sliders (fish (frozen), pork, beans, or chicken), and tacos. I ordered the chicken slider. It was good, but I felt that it needed some zip to it. All I could taste was the chicken and mozzarella. I couldn’t taste the garlic or the honey mustard sauce that was supposedly on it.

Milano’s – On your way to and from the bus station, stop by an Italian owned café called Milano’s. They serve Italian coffee, ice cream, sandwiches, and desserts. I had a macchiato and it was the best thing I’d drunk in the Philippines. I also had the ice cream (salted caramel and coconut), but I felt it was a bit too sweet. I was told that the owner makes his own ice cream. They have wifi.

How to Get Medical Care in Port Barton

I don’t usually include medical care in my posts, but since I experienced it, I thought I’d tell you what I know.

Free Health Clinic in Port Barton

There’s a free clinic next to the police station (the same road you take to get to the bus station). You can’t find it on Google Maps. I had a plugged ear. They flushed my ear out with cold sanitized water and pretty much made the ear worse. I needed some medicine, but the person who owned the only “store” in town where you can get the medicine was gone for the day.

Health Care in Puerto Princesa

I went to Puerto Princesa for medical care. First, I went to the Emergency Room at Adventist Hospital, which is about as basic as the clinic in Port Barton. They didn’t have the equipment to help me so they sent me to an ENT specialist at Medical City (15 minutes away by foot), where I got excellent treatment.

The moral of the story is that if you need medical care, there’s basic care in Port Barton, but for anything more serious, you’ll have to go all the way to Puerto Princesa.


PRO TIP: Here's a list of essential items to pack for all of your island-hopping tours while in the Philippines:

  • Dry bag - Your stuff will get wet while on island hopping tours so a dry bag is ESSENTIAL for the Philippines.
  • Waterproof bag or pouch for your cell phone especially for your visit to such places as the Big Lagoon and the Secret Lagoon in El Nido and island hopping in Port Barton.
  • Water shoes - It's important to have a pair because sometimes you'll need to be walking on rocks to get to your destination. You'll thank me later for bringing them.
  • Sunscreen - You buy sunscreen in the Philippines, too, but it's pricey (500 - 700 pesos depending on the store--shop around!)
  • Mask and snorkel -  I recommend bringing your own mask and snorkel. If you're new to snorkeling, start with the full face mask and snorkel. That's what I did.

Final Thoughts on Port Barton

So there you have it! That is my 3 days in Port Barton itinerary. I hope you’ve found something useful in this travel guide.

If you’re on the fence about adding Port Barton to your Philippines itinerary. Don’t be. It’s definitely worth it.

Port Barton is quieter than El Nido and Coron. There are some beautiful beaches nearby. The biggest disappointment was the beach in front of the town.

The island hopping tour was better than the ones in El Nido because the one in Port Barton took us to an incredible sandbar and the best beach I’d ever seen.

If you found this post helpful, please share the love and post on social media! If you have any questions or comments, please add them below! 

You can check out more Philippines travel guides here.

Thank you!

Best Resources for Planning Your Trip to the Philippines

Book Your Flight to the Philippines

Use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights to the Philippines. They will turn up results for all airlines including major ones and local airlines. You’re going to find EVERYTHING that’s available and thus get the cheapest price.

Book Your Accommodations for the Philippines:

The best hotel booking sites for the Philippines are Agoda and Booking.com. Both sites have the biggest selection, and they consistently churn out hotels and hostels at the lowest prices of any other booking site. Another website for backpackers and budget travelers is Hostel World.

Book Your Tours for the Philippines:

The three best tour booking sites for the Philippines are Viator and Get Your Guide. Viator has the biggest selection. Get Your Guide has terrific customer service. They will help you if you have trouble with your tour, especially if the tour company cancels your tour or doesn’t show up. I also like using Klook for booking tours in Southeast Asia.

Buy Your Ferry and Shuttle Tickets for the Philippines

Check ferry and shuttle schedules and buy your tickets on 12Go. It saves you from having to trek all the way to the ferry terminal or bus station to buy your ticket.

Stay Connected When in the Philippines:

To have access to the internet while you’re out and about in the Philippines, get a physical SIM card or an eSIM. I was very happy with the eSIM that I used from Airalo, so I can highly recommend them. Their instructions weren’t the most user-friendly, but the eSIM worked as well as any physical SIM card I used.

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  1. Great detail! I’m not familiar with this place and I learned a lot here. Thanks!!

  2. The medical options is a really good thing to add into destination posts. I’m glad you included it. When we were in Thailand my friend got bit by a stray dog. She had to go to a hospital to get rabies shots. The shots are given each day.. so they sent her home with a box full of rabies vaccines (no needles, so she couldn’t administer them lol) she tried bringing them on a plane, they were in a styrofoam cooler with RABIES written on the side of it… people on the plane had concerns… hahaha

    • Thank you! I always seem to get hurt or sick while traveling overseas, and I never know where to get treated. Getting rabies while traveling overseas is my biggest fear.


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The Bamboo Traveler

Welcome to The Bamboo Traveler, a travel blog dedicated to helping those travelers who want to dig deeply into the history, heritage, and culture of a place. Whether it’s through the pages of your passport or the pages of a book, I’ll help you travel the world and uncover the history, culture, food, architecture, and natural beauty of some of the world’s most fascinating places.

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