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Updated 2020:Its funny, you know once someone tells you about something or someplace that you haven’t heard of before, then all of a sudden you start hearing about it from everyone? Well, that’s what happened with Port Barton.
Originally, we were going to the island of Palawan to visit El Nido but after I was told about Port Barton by a few people I knew we had to head there too whilst on Palawan too!
Island Hopping Port Barton
Where is Port Barton?
Port Barton is on the West coast of Palawan island and is halfway between El Nido and Puerto Princesa so it also made sense to head there to break up the journey back to the airport.
Update: Even in 2020 I still have people telling me that Port Barton is a hidden gem in the Philippines so be sure to visit Port Barton when visiting El Nido!
After 3 days in El Nido, we took a minivan to Port Barton, it was another uncomfortable journey with no leg room, it took about 4 hours and cost 600 peso/ £9.00. It was pretty pricey considering that going back to Puerto Princesa which is double the journey would cost about 400 peso but it well worth it!
The wifi in El Nido had been terrible so I hadn’t been able to look up accommodation or get any idea what this town was like and I couldn’t actually remember the last time I had just turned up somewhere with no idea what to expect and it was a really good feeling!
After a very bumpy ride for the last hour of the journey, we finally reached a little dusty town. We headed towards the beach to try to find some accommodation but once again we were hearing ‘no ma’am, sorry we’re full’, it really is high season in the Philippines at the start of the year!
Where to Stay in Port Barton
Luckily, a guy who worked at Barton Bistro, a place along the beach told us to follow him as he thought he might know somewhere that had accommodation. He took us to Whitehouse Guesthouse (it didn’t have its name outside but was literally a white house, I would recommend staying there and the wifi actually worked!!), they had a double room for 700 peso/ £10.00 per night which between Sarah and I was a really good price!… On this note I thought we would be paying a lot more for accommodation in the Philippines- roughly £10.00 each night but actually we were paying what I spent in the rest of South-East Asia.. Bonus!
For hotels that you can book online to ensure you get a room, have a look at Booking.com here, they have lots to offer!
We spent the afternoon relaxing on the beach and reading which was really nice and considering we were told a lot of the accommodation was full there we barely saw any other people on the beach!
Island Hopping Tour in Port Barton
The guy who helped us find accommodation told us he runs the island hopping boat trips around Port Barton. We knew we wanted to do a boat tour as like in El Nido that’s one of the best things to do in Port Barton so later that day we went and found him and booked the trip for 700 peso/ £10.00 each.
I was excited to see how this trip would compare to the trip we did in Tour A in El Nido and I’ll start off by saying I way preferred it this boat trip to Port Barton to El Nido.
Firstly when we met on the beach the following morning there were only 4 other people on the boat so 8 in total including the captain and his wingman, the boat was, of course, a lot smaller but it was so much nicer not having to queue up to get into the water for snorkelling and all 6 of us were a similar age and got on really well.
Secondly, the snorkelling was a lot better! If you’ve read my El Nido post about the Tour A boat trip I did there you’ll know there was so much coral that I kept hitting my feet, I got stung by a jellyfish and my snorkel was broken!
On this trip our first stop was to do some snorkelling not far from Port Barton beach, the water was so clear and calm and although we could swim over to where the coral was we could also swim around it a bit and there was no fear of being hit against it here!
The water in El Nido was a gorgeous array of blues but here in Port Barton, it was more green! The other main difference is that unlike El Nido which is surrounded by huge limestone cliff ‘islands’, Port Barton has islands which are made up of forests and they are actually inhabitable, our guide grew up on one of these islands before moving to Port Barton and i think this really added to the charm.
After we had done some snorkelling we headed to the lunch spot which was at a gorgeous beach. We had time to relax and sunbathe whilst lunch was being made and I just couldn’t believe how gorgeous the water was! We also headed back into the water to do some snorkelling where we spotted a sea snake!!
And the last reason I loved this island hoping tour.. because we saw a turtle!!!
When we booked the trip our guide had told us that we’ll be looking for turtles but we tried not to get too excited about it. After lunch, we headed to German Island (named German because a German man has lived there for a long time..obviously!) and we got straight in the water to follow our guides. They were swimming pretty fast and I wondered when the last time I had swum this much was but with the prospect of seeing a turtle I was not about to stop and then all of a sudden I saw it swim along the ocean floor and we all just stopped in awe to watch it!
Up until now, this was only my second time seeing a turtle, my first time was snorkelling just off Gilli T island in Indonesia so it was a great experience!
So that was the end of our island hopping trip and it was definitely a good day and I would highly recommend it to anyone heading to Palawan!
Another thing I really liked about Port Barton itself though apart from the lovely little streets and the beautiful beach was that there was a really good community feel to it.
Walking around we saw children walking to and from school and when we headed out in search of dinner on Saturday night we saw the children playing a serious basketball game with lots of people watching and there were also some stalls set up in the streets with games. I believe that this was because it was Fiesta time that weekend and/or coming up but it was really nice to see the locals being normal and having the activities to do without tourists being involved.
I loved my time in Port Barton and totally understand why so many people raved about it after visiting, we were only able to stay for 2 nights but there were a lot of people who seemed to be staying for longer and its easily a backpacker haven that you could get stuck in!
For accommodation in Port Barton have a look on Booking.com. I use this site to book all of my hotels and I often find some great places!
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