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  • Writer's pictureAcacia Gabriel

Port Barton Travel Guide

Updated: May 16

Port Barton is the ultimate place to enjoy the paradise beaches, fresh seafood, and warm hospitality of the Philippines. It is in between El Nido and Puerto Princesa, making it a perfect stop for anyone traveling through Palawan.


Port Barton has some of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen, and -- after growing up in California and living in Australia -- I consider myself a beach connoisseur. There are a few beaches, and they are all absolutely stunning with perfectly clear water, white sand, and little piglets running around.


More than that, many of the restaurants, tours, and hostels are locally owned, so I felt very happy about my impact as a tourist in this town. I had some of the best meals of my trip in Port Barton. Whoever started this rumor that Filipino food isn’t good clearly never ate at Star Apple Canteen.


If you’re going to Palawan, you have to do El Nido. You don’t want to miss kayaking in the canyon or ziplining from one island to another. But, if you want to relax on beautiful beaches and meet some of the nicest local people, you cannot skip Port Barton.


Learn more about Port Barton:


Where to Stay in Port Barton

Port Barton is such a small town that you can stay wherever you’d like and still be walking distance from everything. It’s not nearly as developed as El Nido or other popular sites in Palawan, but that’s part of what makes it so lovely. What it lacks in running water and cell service it makes up for in charm. That being said, unless you are staying at a hotel or resort, most of the hostels have issues with running water, power outages, and other island problems. 


Dam Dam Place 

As far as I can tell, Dam Dam is one of the only locally-owned hostels in Port Barton, and the family who owns it is absolutely lovely. Kids and puppies run around the hostel and the people who work there are very kind and helpful. 


It’s not very social, but the rooms are pretty comfy, air-conditioned, and quiet. They also have a restaurant and cafe on site. 


My Green Hostel 

My Green Hostel is a good mix of being social without being too party-oriented. They host a lot of events for guests like the boat trip, yoga classes, and family dinner, and people generally seem more social in the common areas. 


CocoRico 

If you want to be right in the middle of the action, CocoRico is the best option for you. The party starts here most nights, and they offer their own boat tour for those looking to booze. I believe it’s the most social hostel in Port Barton, but the facilities are not great. They didn’t have functioning showers for the entire week I was in Port Barton, and it’s one of the more expensive hostel options. 


If you’re like me, you can easily stay in Dam Dam or My Green and pop into CocoRico when you’d like to meet more people. 


Holiday Suites 

The Holiday Suites was the first resort hotel in Port Barton and it is right on the beach. They offer a pool, bar, and restaurant.


Where to Eat in Port Barton

Star Apple Canteen 

If you only go to one restaurant in Port Barton, go to Star Apple Canteen. It is a local barbecue place with freshly caught fish and locally grown vegetables at a shockingly reasonable price. I kid you not, we went there five days in a row. Every day they have different fish options, and it was the best price we could find in Port Barton.


Evio

Our boat taxi dropped us off at Evio on Pamuayan Beach, and none of us expected this random lady's house to serve one of the best meals of the trip. The eggplant dishes were fantastic, but it was also one of the best chicken dishes I have ever had. It's also on one of the quieter beaches in Port Barton, so it's worth spending a few hours at Evio.



Fat Cat 

Fat Cat is a suspiciously modern cafe in the middle of this unassuming town. It's a bit pricey compared to other places, but they have good coffee and Western breakfast options. If you are there for lunch, the pizzas are also very good.


Port Barton Bistro 

If you're craving a Western meal, the Port Barton Bistro has lots of pasta and pizza options. Even if you don't go for dinner, it's one of the best spots to get comfy on a beanbag, sip on a Red Horse, and watch the sunset. They even have fire shows at night.


What to Do in Port Barton

Coconut Beach

Coconut Beach is probably the most popular beach in Port Barton. It's beautiful with clear water, palm trees, and a family of pigs running around. They don't have food, so I would bring snacks and prepare to camp there for the day. Trust me, you won't be in a rush to leave.


There are three ways to get to Coconut Beach: by foot, by bike taxi, or by boat. I always liked the boat ride the best, something about it just felt so summery and perfect. As with most beaches in Port Barton, you will need to pay an environmental fee to go. I recommend going straight from Coconut Beach to White Beach.


White Beach 

White Beach was my favorite place to watch the sunset in Port Barton; the water was so glassy that it just catches the light perfectly. It's really quiet and peaceful.


You can take a boat taxi straight to White Beach, but you can also walk there from Coconut Beach. It takes about 15 minutes and it's quite easy depending on the tide.


Boat Tour 

This is definitely a hot take, but I liked my Port Barton more than Tour A in El Nido. They take you to several snorkeling sites, tiny paradise islands, and a lunch spot. The food was incredible, the tour guides were lovely, and the snorkeling was biodiverse and colorful. It was one of the highlights of my trip to the Philippines.


You can book through your hostel or go straight to the tour operators at the beach. Either way, expect to pay environmental fees along with the cost of the tour. CocoRico offers a party version of the boat tour if you're into that.


Pamuayan Beach 

Pamuayan is one of the quieter beaches in Port Barton, but it's as beautiful and clear as the others. If you go, you have to eat at Evio for lunch.


Pamuayan Waterfall

If you've been traveling SouthEast Asia for a while, you can probably skip the waterfall. There are definitely more impressive ones in Thailand, Vietnam, or other areas, and the beaches are really the main draw of Port Barton.


However, if you're in Port Barton for a while and want a break from the saltwater, it's a nice way to spend the day and lots of locals go there to swim.


You can get there with a tuktuk taxi, and they will usually take you to Pamuayan Beach as well.


Port Barton Nightlife 

Port Barton has a surprisingly fun nightlife for such a small town. Plus, most people are here to chill out, so it’s easy to stay out late and spend the next day frying on the beach. I didn’t go out much because I was on antibiotics, but every night follows a similar trajectory. 


The typical night in Port Barton starts at CocoRico hostel. Then, everyone heads to the Reggae Bar around 11pm. From there, people go to Moon Bar for the rest of the night. The nice thing about this routine is that tuktuks offer free rides to each of the bars, and you always run into people you know. 


I also really liked Happy Bar’s live music nights. There isn’t much of a schedule, but, when they have performers, it’s a great place to dance on the sand. Plus, it’s the Philippines, so the live performances are always absolutely incredible.


Things to Know Before You Visit Port Barton

The roads aren't very good for driving

I'm pretty comfortable motorbiking around, but the roads in Port Barton are especially bad. Luckily, anything in the town is a comfortable walking distance, and taxis are fairly inexpensive. If you want to go to different beaches, you can take boat taxis from Itaytay Beach.


There isn't very much cell reception

The cell reception in Port Barton is limited to say the least. It's a great place to unplug for a few days and enjoy small beach town life. As a backpacker, you are likely to run into everyone you meet because the town is so small. However, it's not great for working remotely. I would also recommend downloading anything you need (maps, bookings, season 2 of Sex and the City, etc.) ahead of time.


Most places only take cash

You will definitely need cash in Port Barton. Even the places that generally take credit cards are limited by how bad the cell service is. There are several ATMs, but you can also stock up on cash using the Remitly App in any city in the Philippines (including Puerto Princesa or El Nido).


About the water pressure...

I wouldn't go to Port Barton expecting to be able to take a long shower after a beach day. The water pressure fluctuates throughout the day, with some of the cheaper accommodation options only offering buckets of water to shower with. You have to embrace being a bit salty.


Look out for jellyfish season

I visited Port Barton in April and there were quite a few jellyfish in the water. I didn't see anything dangerous, but it was enough to be annoying. Ask locals if you are ever unsure and wear a rashguard if you are trying to snorkel around them.


Doing the Banana Pancake Trail?

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