Port Barton is a small village located on the west coast of Palawan Island in The Philippines, roughly halfway between the more well-known towns of Puerto Princesa and El Nido. Much smaller and less developed, Port Barton provides a slice of laid-back island life.
While its popularity is increasing, it remains a tiny place with relatively few tourists. If you’re looking for a beautiful quiet beach, a place to sit back and relax or go island hopping without the crowds, Port Barton should be on your Filipino itinerary.
Good to Know!
El Nido Map & Resources
Port Barton, The Philippines – Guide for Backpackers
Best Time to Visit Port Barton
The best time to visit Port Barton is during Palawan’s dry season (November-May). A visit at this time should result in sunny skies and warm days. For cooler temperatures during the dry season, December to February are great months to visit. The months of March to May are dry and hot – perfect for sun worshippers and beach bums.
Where to Stay in Port Barton
Port Barton is centred around a small bay. Much of the accommodation lines the beach but budget digs can be found along the roads in the village just behind the beachfront.
Best Hostels in Port Barton
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CocoRico Hostel is situated in the centre of the village, just a stone’s throw from the beach. This is a social hostel with 18-bed dorms and an onsite bar and restaurant. Ever so slightly more expensive than the hostels further out of the village centre, the great location and buzzing atmosphere make this a great place to stay in Port Barton. The hostel also organises a boat party with unlimited drinks three times a week.
My Green Hostel is along the main road, a few minutes walk out of the village. With 16 beds in each, the dorms are busy, but the lodgings are capsule-style with curtains, guaranteeing a level of privacy. Sadly there is no WiFi and the mobile phone signal is intermittent, but the staff are helpful and the rooms and bathrooms are clean. This is a great option if you’re looking for a quieter stay.
Russell Place is a small complex of little wooden bungalows, offering cosy but basic 6-bed dorms for a good price. There is no air conditioning but beds are fitted with individual fans.
For those on a shoestring budget, Garpeza Inn has good-value dorm rooms in a convenient location, close to the centre of the village and the bus terminal.
Things to Do in Port Barton
1. Enjoy the Beach and Island Life
Port Barton is the perfect place to break up the journey between Puerto Princesa and El Nido and escape from the demands of travel for a few days. This laidback destination runs on island time and is an idyllic spot for some well-deserved rest and relaxation.
2. Take a Boat Trip
Island hopping tours depart from Port Barton beach every day and cost around 1,500PHP (approx. $27USD), although you may be able to haggle for a cheaper rate.
The boats here are much less crowded than the island hopping tours available in El Nido and you may find yourself on board the only boat moored up on some exotic far-flung beach.
The tours also offer great opportunities for snorkelling – keep an eye out for both sea turtles and starfish!
3. Hike to Pamuayan Waterfall
Take a hike through the jungle to see Pamuayan Waterfall where you can swim in the beautifully cool pool. The journey takes just over an hour from the centre of the village and the route passes some amazing views along the way. The last 15 minutes of the hike are a big highlight, the path will take you through pristine jungle and over stepping stones as you follow the river to the falls – a true tropical treat!
4. Visit Coconut Beach and White Beach
Hire a boat for around 300-400PHP per person (approx. $5-8USD) and take a scenic trip to Coconut Beach and, a little further on, White Beach. Here you can enjoy relaxing on a beautiful swathe of white sand beneath swaying palm trees. It’s like something from a postcard!
It’s also possible to walk there in under an hour if you follow the beach out of Port Barton before joining a path through a wooded area. This will lead you out onto a road that heads down to Coconut Beach. If you’re lucky, you may even meet some of the pigs that roam free here!
5. Grab a Free Drink
Every evening from 7-7.30 pm CocoRico offers free drinks to everyone in the village. That’s right, you don’t even need to stay there to enjoy a complimentary tipple in the evening! Just head down to the bar to enjoy your free drink and let the good times flow.
6. Get a Massage on the Beach
If lazing on the beach all day isn’t quite relaxing enough for you, you can also enjoy a massage directly on the beachfront to really help you unwind. Prices start from around 500PHP (approx. $9USD) for an hour.
Food and Drink in Port Barton
CocoRico is home to a lively bar and restaurant with a good range of western and local food. The menu also includes a few vegetarian and vegan options. For cheap local eats, try Gacayan Restaurant on the road directly behind CocoRico Hostel.
Along the beachfront, McFredo’s Bar and Grill offers local food and chilled vibes. They also have an evening-long happy hour running from 4-10 pm when you can get two cocktails for the price of one.
The Beach Barn, also on the beachfront, has both Filipino and Western options for breakfast. For lunch and dinner, the varied menu includes local dishes, soups, salads, toasties, pasta and Thai curries.
Fat Cat Bistro is a cute little café close to My Green Hostel and Russell Place. The menu is western and it serves good breakfasts, including smoothie bowls, mashed avocado and eggs benedict, and lunch and dinner options, including salads, pasta and pizza.
Flavoroso Food House is a favourite amongst visitors and serves both Filipino and Western dishes, including seafood and pasta. It also has vegetarian options. Make sure to try the pancakes at Besaga Café on the beach – reportedly the best in the whole of Port Barton!
Getting Around Port Barton
In such a small place, the best way to travel is on foot. Wherever you choose to stay, the beach will be less than a 10-minute walk and with plenty of dining options, you’ll never be far from a good meal.
Getting around by motorbike is possible but not recommended. Rental is limited and can be relatively expensive at around 500PHP (approx. $9USD) for eight hours. Many of the roads are rough and rocky and can pose a challenge to even experienced riders.
As well as offering island hopping tours, boats are available for hire. They can take you to some of the other nearby beaches, such as the aforementioned Coconut Beach and White Beach.
How to Get to Port Barton
If you’re trying to be economical with your visit, the much cheaper option to get to Port Barton is to fly via Puerto Princesa where flights from Manila can cost as little as $30USD and a minivan is 550PHP. Flying to El Nido costs around $100USD and the minivan is around 700PHP.
Where to Go Next:
El Nido: This is the backpacker hub of Palawan and perhaps the whole of The Philippines! El Nido is a bustling town with a huge choice of places to stay, eat and shop, plus a range of fantastic island hopping tours.
Puerto Princesa: Palawan’s biggest city and gateway to the Subterranean River, one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.
Coron: Take a minibus to El Nido and then a ferry to Coron for spectacular beaches, wreck diving and beautiful lakes.