Discover San Vicente, Palawan: Port Barton Island Hopping

Port Barton is a fishing village whose exotic islands off the western coast of Palawan are starting to attract attention from local and foreign tourists.  This idyllic village is part of San Vicente, located between the more popular Puerto Princesa City and El Nido.

San Vicente has 22 unexploited islands and islets, endowed with pristine beaches, coral reefs, mangroves and rich biodiversity.  Of these, 12 islands are under the protected area of Port Barton Marine Park.  Given its rich marine resources, Port Barton island hopping is one of the best activities to do when in San Vicente, Palawan.

We were coming from the Long Beach, another must-see destination in San Vicente, when we took an island hopping tour.  There is a designated boat tour booking office at Brgy. Poblacion.  Either you take a private tour or join other groups if you want it to be less expensive.  Since most of the islands are more easily accessible from Port Barton, island hopping from here can be less expensive, as compared to coming from the port in Brgy. Poblacion.

Port Barton Island Hopping

Because we were staying at the Long Beach on our first two days in San Vicente, we hopped on to Boayan Island on our first boat tour.  This island is closer to the Long Beach than Port Barton so we went back to the Long Beach after that.  The next day, we took another island hopping tour and this time asked our boatmen to drop us off at Port Barton village at the end of the tour.

If you are coming from Port Barton, you can ask for an island hopping boat rental from the Boatman’s Association Office.

Port Barton Island Hopping

Port Barton Island Hopping

Island hopping tours normally include picnic lunch, snorkeling gear and entrance fees to private resorts.  Be kind to your boat captain and his assistant/s because aside from maneuvering the boat, they’ll also buy fresh catch for your lunch, cook your lunch and act as your guides.  Find out more about island destinations and exciting activities you can do in a Port Barton island hopping tour.

Port Barton Island hopping

The port in Poblacion, San Vicente

Port Barton Island hopping

The port area is in the process of being reclaimed.  Not sure if this area will be part of the reclamation.  I hope not...

Port Barton Island hopping


Read more about other Philippine destinations:

15 Interesting Things That Are Uniquely Batanes

How to Spend a Weekend in Biliran

Sagay City: An Ecotourism Destination

Boayan Island

Boayan, the biggest island in San Vicente, can be easily accessed from the port in Brgy. Poblacion, San Vicente.  We docked on the southern part of the island, named as Kalipay Beach, where the sand is white and fine.  A small walk to the other end of the coast led us to a rocky shore with amazing stone formations.

Port Barton Island Hopping Port Barton Island Hopping

While out boatmen happily cooked our lunch, we explored the beach and noticed a stream of water flowing towards the beach.  Our boatmen confirmed its coming from a mountain spring (and not from a wastewater pipeline!) as there are no human inhabitants in that area.  The spring water was perfect for washing off the saltwater in our body after we swam and snorkeled not far away from the shore.

Exotic Island and Maxima Island

These two islands are located close to each other, in that you can cross one island to the other by walking through the shallow water during low tides.  Aside from the literal island hopping, the best activity to do in this paradise is to swim and go snorkeling to see patches of coral gardens.

Port Barton Island Hopping

Exotic Island on your right, Maxima Island to your left

Port Barton Island Hopping

The shallow way to Maxima Island 

Say hello to Maxima Island

You will not find these island names in Google map.  I believe, Exotic and Maxima (sounds like a title for a sexy film, don’t you think?) are just names baptized by the locals.  You’ll find these as Cayoya and Albaguen Islands in Google map, instead.

Inaladelan Island Resort (German Island)

Inaladelan Island Resort is formerly known as German Island because a German apparently rented this island for 20 years.  It’s a privately owned island with an entrance fee of Php 100.  Ours was already included in our island hopping package.

The resort offers a gazebo, which makes it the best stop to enjoy lunch, skillfully and lovingly prepared by your boatmen.  There are hammocks and swing planks to laze on but as there were a lot of boats stopping by for lunch, too, I preferred to explore the other end of the resort on foot.   The sandy shores changed to a rocky landscape as I walked further.

The surrounding clear blue waters of the resort is best known for snorkeling, not just for colorful coral gardens and fishes, but most especially for spotting pawikans or sea turtles.  Further southeast off the tip of the resort lies Double Island, about 200 meters away.  This ridge is also known for beautiful underwater sceneries.

We went off shore the resort after lunch, but the waves unfortunately got stronger that time.  Feeling disappointed that I might not be able to stop a single sea turtle, one of our boatman suddenly beckoned us as he saw one big pawikan.  There’s a certain feeling of elation seeing the turtle in its natural environment.  Well, one is better than none and I’m happy with that.

Port Barton Island Hopping

Sandy turned rocky at the other side of Inaladalen Resort

Twin Reef

A popular snorkeling site, Twin Reef was named as such because the area is composed of two adjacent reefs.  We snorkeled through one of the reefs and feasted our eyes on the diverse corals and colorful fishes beneath.  The water above the reef is shallow, making close coral viewing a delightful activity.

However, some portions looked too shallow I can almost touch the corals.  My body almost froze at these sections as I was afraid of two things.  One, I might get in contact with the corals and damage them, and two, the branching corals might get into contact with me and scratch me.

Sandbar or Starfish Island

The Starfish Island is actually a sandbar near Port Barton beach.  Submerged during high tide, Starfish Island is named so because….you guessed it right, starfishes are scattered around the sandbar.  It was blazing hot when we reached the sandbar but its charm didn’t stop us from enjoying the place, nonetheless.

On a funny note, the locals also call it Luli Island from the words "lulubog lilitaw".  Lulubog is Filipino for "will be submerged" and lilitaw means "will emerge", denoting how sandbars emerge depending on the tides.

Port Barton Island Hopping

It's disturbing that our boat docked at this area with some corals

Port Barton Island Hopping

Walking our way to the "litaw" (non-submerged) portion of the sandbar

Port Barton Island Hopping

Port Barton Island Hopping

Well, everyone does it! <Korean heart>

There are more pristine islands and teeming reefs to explore in a Port Barton island hopping exploration like the Fantastic Reef, Wide Reef and Paradise Island.  If you want to wash away saltwater from a day of island hopping, you can also opt for Bigaho Falls as part of the island hopping tour.

How to get to San Vicente, Palawan

From Puerto Princesa City

It takes 3-4 hours of land travel through public vans and buses to get to San Vicente from Puerto Princesa city proper.  Catch buses and vans at the Puerto Princesa San Jose Terminal.  If you want to go to the Long Beach, ride the van going to Poblacion, San Vicente.  If you want to go straight to Port Barton, there are mini-buses and vans going to Port Barton, as well. Click here to check latest prices and book at 12GoAsia for vans from Puerto Princesa to Port Barton.

From Sabang, Puerto Princesa, there are motorized boats going to Port Barton.  Travel time is about 3-4 hours.

From El Nido

There are vans from El Nido going to Poblacion, San Vicente or Port Barton.  Travel takes 5 hours.  Click here to check latest prices and book at 12GoAsia for vans from El Nido to Port Barton. Boats can also be hired to take you to Poblacion, San Vicente.  Likewise, Port Barton may be reached from El Nido by renting a boat.  Boat ride is about 5 hours.

San Vicente is not YET touristic, but it has a lot of potential natural treasures yet to be tapped.  It is dubbed to be the next premier destination in Palawan.  However the municipality’s Tourism Master Plan is progressing, let’s always be mindful of how we impact the environment as we travel.  Be responsible, reduce waste at source and properly manage your wastes.  Let’s contribute to keeping San Vicente in its unspoiled state.  Click here for ways on how to travel green from planning to post-trip and here for simple items you must consider using today to reduce wastes as you travel.

Also check my recommended travel essentials for your island hopping:

Item Amazon Lazada Philippines Item Amazon Lazada Philippines
Rash guardDry bag
Snorkeling maskFlip flops
Water bottleSunscreen
Underwater cameraMicrofiber towel

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Port Barton Island Hopping

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  1. Nicole 3 March, 2018 at 19:18 Reply

    I have yet to visit this side of the world but I am continuously enamored by it when I see all the beautiful island hopping photos by others. This seems like the best way to get the most out of your island hopping experience and it sounds like the boatman were one of your best resources.

    • findingjing 4 March, 2018 at 14:25 Reply

      Yes, Nicole. Having the boatmen to help you get the fresh catch and grilling these on one of the island stops is a normal island hopping set up from the Philippines.

  2. apackedlife 7 March, 2018 at 18:19 Reply

    That looks absolutely idyllic. Island hopping is such a beautiful pastime, and those outrigger boats and the wonderfully clear water are incredibly tempting. Then you mentioned sea turtles, and I was totally sold. On my list!

  3. 100cobbledroads 8 March, 2018 at 14:27 Reply

    One can get seriously spoilt for choice here. I’m wondering what I will do if I have limited time. All of these island look so wonderful. Which are the top two you would recommend ?

    • findingjing 9 March, 2018 at 05:24 Reply

      You can go to 3 or 4 sites in a day. My top 2 would probably be Boayan Island (because of its tranquility- we were the only ones in that part of the island at that time) and the Twin Reef (love the colorful coral gardens here).

  4. Chris Behrsin 8 March, 2018 at 19:51 Reply

    I think you’re doing a great job about bringing out the best of the Philippines in this blog. Every time I come across your posts, I’m awestruck about the beauty of the pictures and just how much it seems like paradise. Glad you got to see the sea turtle, and once I finally get over to what sounds like a wonderful country, this site will be my first port of call :).

  5. Sandy N Vyjay 9 March, 2018 at 02:53 Reply

    Philippines is indeed the stuff of dreams. The islands and beaches of the country are gorgeous and never ending. Just when one thought that one knew about all the islands and beaches, out comes another gem. Barton Island is one of them. What an experience island hopping from here. The islands are really the most exotic ones and the water is really hypnotizing, it is so pristine and clear.

    • findingjing 9 March, 2018 at 05:19 Reply

      The world never runs out of hidden gems to explore! And yes, Port Barton is pristine and I hope it’s maintained that way even when visitors come to enjoy.

  6. Samantha 9 March, 2018 at 04:55 Reply

    The Philippines is one of my favourite places, ever! I had a great time visiting but sadly did not get to go to Palawan! I only went to Boracay, which I know for many is too much and oversaturated with commercialization. I still had a great time though!

  7. Marteen Lane 10 March, 2018 at 10:19 Reply

    I haven’t visited anywhere in Asia yet but I love reading posts on places in Asia I was reading through your post and looking at the pictures thinking “oh that island is beautiful. Oh that island’s beautiful.” It’s difficult to choose, they all have their own great things about it

  8. Maria Eileen 6 April, 2018 at 02:14 Reply

    I am really glad that I came across to your blog. Is it possible to share your itinerary please.
    I am really having a hard time choosing between Port Barton and Long Beach because I want to visit Cacnipa and Boayan Island but those 2 island are too far from Port Barton which we will be staying.
    Any recommendations please.

    • findingjing 6 April, 2018 at 17:43 Reply

      Hi Eileen! Thanks for reading! We had 5 days including travel from Manila. Arrived Puerto Princesa evening of Day 1. Day 2 morning – PP to San Vicente (stayed near Long Beach). Day 3 – Boayan Island and Palawan Camping (overnight near Long Beach). Day 4 – Island hopping Port Barton, overnight in Port Barton. Day 5 – Pamoayan Falls (am), back to PP in the afternoon. Hope this helps.

  9. Bels Tanghal 4 June, 2018 at 04:37 Reply

    We have a trip to San Vicente in Sept for 2 nights only and we will stay in a resort in Poblacion, SV. The following is our itinerary:
    Day 1 arrival in PPS then straight to SV (around 3pm)
    Explore Long Beach
    Day 2 island hopping
    Day 3 drive to El Nido by 10am

    For our island hopping, where do we go?

    • findingjing 4 June, 2018 at 05:02 Reply

      Hello! There are island hopping tours offered in different sets much like Tours A,B,C in El Nido. One day island hopping would usually take you to 4 different islands or attractions. You can check my guest post at Green Global Travel here, where I tagged in Google map the different island hopping attractions just so you’ll have an idea how far each are from each other. If you want to see sea turtles, I recommend you choose a tour that includes a stop at Inaladelan Island (aka German Island). You can check the Tour sets at the booking office at the San Vicente port. We booked there on the day itself and did not have any problems with securing a boat for the tour.

  10. AIZEL LYN DELOS REYES 17 September, 2018 at 04:01 Reply

    Hi! Will be staying also in Long Beach also this Nov, can you recommed boatman/guide where we can avail Island hopping tours from Long Beach to Port Barton? 🙂

    • findingjing 17 September, 2018 at 05:10 Reply

      Hi Aizel! My suggestion is for you to go to the San Vicente port, where you will find boatmen who offer island hopping tours to Port Barton. Nakapila ang boats nila don. As there are several islands and reefs to choose from, you can choose from their somewhat standard packages depending on which sites you want to get covered. From Long Beach, you can just ask from your accommodation for tricycle hire going to the port. You can arrange the island hopping tour a day before your intended tour or go to the port early morning (like we did) on the day itself.

  11. Pierre 11 May, 2019 at 17:02 Reply

    Hi, that’s a very complete guide, and quite helpful with the actual names of the places, which can be hard to distinguish since the day-to-day names are almost always different (for example, the “German island” seems to be actually named Inoladoan Island, and not Inaladelan Island which would be the name of the resort(?)…).
    In any case, one of the best place to see turtles (even though never 100% guaranteed of course) is in Turtle Sanctuary, located in Turtle bay. Quite an awesome place to experience!

    • findingjing 27 May, 2019 at 14:39 Reply

      Hi Victoria! Sorry for the late reply. I do not have the contact number. We just went to the port on the day we went on a tour. If this suggestion isn’t too late, I recommend that you visit the port a day before your tour to reserve a boat.

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