So, you’ve decided to visit the secluded island escape of Port Barton? You’ve made an excellent choice! Many people overlook this beautiful Palawan beach village and head straight from Puerto Princesa to El Nido, however they’re missing out by not coming here. The island hopping on offer rivals the limestone cliffs of El Nido in the north and you’ll likely see far more sea turtles and tropical fish. We sure did! Browse our list of the best things to do in Port Barton below and plan a trip with a good mix of relaxation and adventure.
1. Island hopping
As the top attraction on our list and a combination of the best things to do in Port Barton, island hopping is many activities in one, including remote islands, snorkelling spots, sand bars and majestic waterfalls. We could have included each of the attractions as their own ideas for things to do, however most people visit them all in one action-packed day out at sea.
Book a Port Barton island hopping tour with a local travel agent (or online before you arrive) and you’ll get to experience all of the following. The islands around Port Barton are far less touristic than other parts of Palawan and simply cannot be missed! The places you visit will all depend on the tour route you choose; A, B or C. Different companies may also change the route slightly.
Key destinations on your island-hopping tour:
- Amazing snorkelling spots – Your tour guides will navigate you around the Port Barton seas to find shallow lagoons of turquoise water. Here, tropical fish, giant sea turtles and other sea life roams freely. You’ll stop in each area to snorkel at your leisure before moving onto the next location. It’s exactly like all of the amazing underwater pictures you’ve seen of the Philippines so bring your underwater camera to capture some cool snaps!
- Starfish Island – A huge sandbar in the middle of the ocean where you’ll encounter full-grown starfish and baby starfish basking in the shallow waters. You can pick them up carefully but make sure you keep them submerged in the water. A super-cool destination where you’ll see some amazing starfish and will feel like Jesus walking on the sea.
- Camping on a remote island – Stay overnight on a private island in beach tents. You’ll embrace beach life at its best, playing volleyball, bathing in the ocean and talking to other travellers around the campfire on an evening. The islands are peaceful, feature amazing scenery and you’ll feel at one with nature. And who doesn’t love freshly BBQ’d fish? Try to opt for an overnight camping package if you can – it’s well worth it.
- Idyllic waterfalls – There are various waterfalls in the Port Barton area and on the islands you’ll encounter on the tour. Disembark your tour boat and trek 20 minutes inland to a collection of fresh-water streams. You can relax in the refreshing pools, take pictures and go on a mini nature trek.
- Inaladelan Island – An island resort and key stop-off point on most boat trips, where you can relax on a quiet, idyllic beach surrounded by colourful Bangka boats. There’s plenty of sun-loungers, shaded areas and hammocks for you to wind-down after an active morning of snorkelling. There’s also a tiki bar to grab a drink! Life here is bliss…
If you’d like to book your island hopping in advance to secure a space with a top-rated company, check out the Port Barton DIY tour on Viator. Alternatively, visit on of the town travel agent booths or book at your accommodation on arrival.
2. Visit an amazing Turtle sanctuary
Secret Paradise Resort & Turtle Sanctuary is an idyllic corner of Port Barton where the scenery is amazing, the beaches are serene and you can stay in your own luxury villa if you wish. It’s the perfect spot for couples on a romantic getaway! Visit the private resort’s ‘Turtle Bay’ between November and May for turtle hatching season, where the many eggs laid on the beach in previous months suddenly hatch and you’ll find groups of baby turtles dashing across the sand. The stretch of beach is home to endangered Green Turtles and Olive Ridley Turtles and the resort staff do all they can to ensure the turtles are well looked after in their natural environment. Stop by to pay our turtle friends a visit and relax on the beach. Please don’t touch any of the turtles – but you can take some great pics. They’re so cute!
The adjoining private beach villas of Secret Paradise Resort is the only luxury hotel on the island. Extend your stay at Turtle Bay if you want a few days on a beautiful beach, secluded from the hustle and bustle of town.
3. Relax on the Port Barton town beach
As Port Barton town has open access to a long sandy beach from anywhere you’re staying, it’s the key thing to do here and you’ll want to plan in at least a few hours of beach time each day. You are on holiday after all and will want to relax! Bring along your towel and find a secluded section to bathe in the sun or prop up near a bar or hotel for easy access to food, drinks and a livelier atmosphere. We personally love the beach area outside Native’bo reggae bar for chilled Bob Marley beats and great cocktails.
4. Listen to live music in a chilled Reggae bar
Speaking of Native’bo Reggae Bar, this is a key nightlife spot as the sun goes down, a great place for happy hour cocktails around 6pm and a quiet place for a drink during the afternoon. A live singer plays occasionally during the day depending on how busy it is and evenings are electric as everyone takes a seat to listen to some great live bands and solo artists. Native’bo Reggae Bar is affordable, the staff are great fun and it’s right on the beach. You can actually sit with your drink on the beach gazing at the glowing plankton in the sea and still experience the atmosphere of the bar behind.
5. Watch a local basketball game
In the centre of town right next to the Port Barton church, a warehouse-style basketball arena is the talk of town. The sport is huge in the Philippines and Palawan has plenty of teams that play here. Depending on the evening you visit, you might be lucky to catch a basketball game, and it’s completely free to watch! Take a seat in the stands, grab a beer and some popcorn and pick a team you want to win. We personally picked the team with the best jerseys… This is very much a local hidden gem of things to do in Port Barton and you won’t find many tourists. As such, they don’t have a website. We recommend visiting during the day when you arrive in Port Barton and asking for their evening game schedule in person. View the basketball arena on Google Maps here.
6. Take a day-trip to San Vicente
Port Barton is part of the San Vicente area of Palawan island. The entire region is a stretch of beautiful beaches on the west coast with very few crowds of tourists. If you’re staying in Port Barton town for a few days and have already experienced many of the activities on offer, why not spend one of your days in San Vicente town? The return trip by boat costs around 2000 PHP and takes 2 hours each way. You can spend the full day exploring the beaches of this more secluded region and pay the shops, bars and restaurants in town a visit. Many people overlook the San Vicente town in favour of Port Barton but it’s well worth a visit if you have time.
7. Experience the ultimate Port Barton night out
You wouldn’t think that a sleepy beach town such as Port Barton would have a vibrant nightlife, but it does! As there aren’t many bars and everything is on a small scale, locals and tourists alike visit the same places, packing them out and creating a great atmosphere, although it all depends on the season you visit as to how busy it’ll be. We recommend starting your evening out in a cool restaurant such as Mojitos or Miam Miam. They have adjoining bars where you can sample some cheap San Miguel Light beers or snazzy cocktails. From there, head to the beach for bars such as Happy Bar and Native’bo Bar. Both are great fun!
As midnight arrives and it’s a decision of whether to go home to wake up bright and early or continue the party, Sirko after party club is the place to go for dancing until 4am. Sure, Port Barton isn’t as action-packed with bars as El Nido or other parts of Asia, however the bars they have are very good, the atmosphere is friendly and there’s enough going on that you’ll never be bored!
8. Sample the best restaurants in Port Barton
For a basic but beautiful beach town that struggles with WiFi and is yet to have hot running water, the restaurants on offer are top-notch. Dine in eco-friendly eateries decorated in bamboo furnishings, garden restaurants and healthy vegan spots that rival those in any major city. They have their fair share of poor or mediocre restaurants as with anywhere though, so be sure to check reviews. After staying in Port Barton for 4 days and sampling some of the best restaurants on offer in this small town, we recommend checking out the following.
- Mabuti Eat and Chill – Enjoy a healthy breakfast or brunch in bright and airy surroundings. Mabuti is our favourite place to go for a morning cappuccino and smoothie bowl.
- Mojitos Restobar – A cool outdoor restaurant with intimate garden seating and large group tables. It has a nice wooden décor, good atmosphere and a varied food and drinks menu.
- Kusinero Del Barrio Restobar – The go-to place in Port Barton for traditional Filipino food. They do a great Chicken Abodo!
- Miam Miam Glou Glou – The pizzas here are enormous. Plus, they taste great! Share with friends or accept the challenge yourself if you’re feeling hungry. The best Italian food in Port Barton.
9. Go on a challenging hike to Pamuayan Falls
For an active adventure during your stay in Port Barton, tie up those trainers and head to the edge of town to the north. Here you’ll find signposts to the beautiful Pamuayan Falls. The hike to the falls takes an hour, guiding you through a nature trail of forest, fields and rock paths. Once you arrive at Pamuyan, you’ll likely be one of few tourists there. Bathe in the refreshing pools, take cool photos under the falls and have a picnic. We recommend embarking on the trek in the morning whilst it’s still cool. You may then wish to return the way you came and take a detour to Pamuyan Beach; a quiet place to spend your afternoon with a bar for food and drinks. You’ll probably be tired from all the walking so grab a Trike taxi back to Port Barton at the end of the day.
10. Uncover the beauty of Port Barton’s reefs on a scuba diving excursion
Whilst you can see some amazing tropical fish and turtles on a snorkelling tour as part of the island-hopping itineraries, if you’re a keen scuba diver or even a beginner and want to explore the beauty of Port Barton’s bays in depth, scuba diving is the way to go. Experience a full day at sea with a diving school such as Aquaholics and dive far deeper than you could with a snorkel. The guides will show you the best spots for capturing sea life with your underwater camera and the waters are unbelievably transparent. Scuba diving is popular all over Palawan and Port Barton is no exception. We recommend Aquaholics for their top reviews and dive options.
Thanks for reading our inspiration on the best things to do in Port Barton! It’s a Palawan destination that we’re confident you’ll love. Like many tourists, you’ll probably want to spend a lot of your time in Port Barton chilling out, however we highly recommend booking a one- or two-day island-hopping tour if it’s the only thing you do. We’ve provided enough activities to keep you busy for a full week so feel free to research them in more detail to decide on the best options for you.
Are you also visiting El Nido, Puerto Princesa and the other top Palawan destinations? Check out our Philippines guides here for more tips, tricks and itineraries.