SAN VICENTE BUDGET TRAVEL GUIDE (with Port Barton DIY itinerary, top attractions, tips and how to get there)

Summary: This blog shares a budget travel guide for San Vicente, Palawan including a Port Barton itinerary; estimated budget is P3,225 per person that is good for 3 days which covers expenses for entrance, food and transportation only. All needed details for each top attraction are laid out in the post including operating hours, entrance fee, location and information on how to get there. The San Vicente and Port Barton blog is intended for DIY budget travelers, either solo or traveling in group.

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SAN VICENTE AT A GLANCE

As to why SAN VICENTE remains an unpopular tourist destination up to these days is way beyond me. I just think that this first-class community at the northwestern side of Palawan is too interesting to be missed out for travelers who seek for the raw beauty of a tropical paradise. For not only that it owns the impressive Long Beach – the longest beach in the Philippines which runs to an extent of 15 kilometers of soft, golden-flax sands – it also snugs down the sleepy fishing village of Port Barton which boasts of a rich marine park that is slowly making the rounds among backpackers in their list of must-see, off-the-beaten tracks.

Looking at Irawan Beach from Bato Ni Ningning.
Looking at the extensive Irawan Beach from Bato Ni Ningning.

Perhaps, it is due to the fact that San Vicente is between the more touristy Puerto Princesa and El Nido, or because its location is quite secluded and lacks the proper transport for easy access. Either way, San Vicente of Palawan is truly a must-visit, so while it is still on its naturally untouched, laid-back state and has not reached the hands of commercial tourism, go pack your bag and start hitting its road.

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QUICK FACTS ABOUT SAN VICENTE

  • San Vicente, Palawan which is named after Saint Vincent Ferrer, occupies a land area of 146,294 hectares that holds a population of around 32,000 residents. Clearly, it’s one that has a few number of populace against its geographical territory.
  • San Vicente is composed of 22 chartered islands and is politically divided into 10 barangays, including Port Barton.
  • As San Vicente is still a relatively unpopular tourist destination, it never gets crowded even during the summer months of April to June which are considerably its peak season.
  • The life in San Vicente is slow and totally constraint to simple living. For most of the people, livelihood consists only of fishing and farming.
A drone shot of the Long beach during sunset.
A drone shot of a quarter portion of Long beach during sunset.

HOW TO GET TO SAN VICENTE

As tourism is slowly building up around the area, San Vicente is now reachable by plane via its own airport which is exclusively serviced by Philippine Airlines with flights departing from Clark, AirJuan coming from Puerto Princesa and Busuanga, and Skyjet from Manila.

San Vicente terminal beside the public market.
San Vicente terminal beside the public market.

By land, you may take the shuttle service to get to San Vicente from Puerto Princesa or El Nido.

  • via Puerto Princesa. Shuttle is available at San Jose Terminal which can be reached via tricycle from Puerto Princesa Airport for about 15 minutes, fare is P100 for a group of 4. Shuttle service departs from San Jose Terminal at these intervals: 4:00AM, 1:00PM and 5:00PM by Virus Shuttle Vans (+63 998 577 5008), 8:00AM and 2:00PM by Cathy Transport (+63 946 191 2528). Fare is P400 and travel time is around 4 hours.
  • via El Nido. Van trips from El Nido bus terminal to San Vicente are serviced by Nature Island (+63 915 644 1630, +63 908 343 2907) every 4:00AM except Tuesday and Thursday, and Travelista (+63 928 622 8666, +63 926 744 1040) at 4:30AM, 1:00PM and 6:00PM. Fare is P500, travel time is around 4 hours. Both shuttle services have trips to Port Barton daily at 8:00AM and 1:00PM.
Tricycle (on the left) and motorbike (on the right) are two of most common mode of transport around Palawan.
Tricycle (on the left) and motorbike (on the right) are two of the most common mode of transport around Palawan.

Note: San Vicente proper and Port Barton are totally different destinations and are more than an hour apart so make sure you are riding on the right shuttle to avoid any inconvenience.

If you are coming from El Nido and mistakenly take a Port Barton shuttle instead of San Vicente just like what I did, you can tell the driver to drop off at Tabyak junction where you can take a top-down tricycle for P200 for 3 persons. From the junction, it will take around 40 minutes of ride on a well-paved road at the highlands to get to San Vicente town proper. In case no driver is around at the junction, contact Kuya Rodrigo (one of the drivers in the area) at +63 910 082 1003.

TOP ATTRACTIONS IN SAN VICENTE

Here are the best places around San Vicente Poblacion and Port Barton which can be covered in a full 3-day DIY itinerary, whether you are solo or traveling in a group.

BATO NI NINGNING

At the top of Bato Ni Ningning.
At the top of Bato Ni Ningning.

Bato Ni Ningning served as a location of a local television show which helped promote its unspoiled beauty. It is unique for having two big boulders at the top of a verdant hill that gives a 360-degree seascape view including the nearby Irawan beach. Sunrise and sunset can be seen over from Bato Ni Ningning, which is quite magnificent as you can observe the sun peeking through the mountains.

Bato Ni Ningning is around 45 minutes away from the town proper. To get there, you need to charter a tricycle for around P500 round trip fee. The price is somewhat costly due to its distance as it will take to pass through two barangays before you get to Bato Ni Ningning. Note: The first half of the road is well-paved but the rest of it is pretty rough so get a cover as it might get dusty on your way on a sunny day.

Rating: 3.5/5

IRAWAN BEACH

The full expanse of Erawan Beach taken during sunrise.
The full expanse of Erawan Beach taken after sunrise.

Like most of the tourist spots in San Vicente, there is not so many travelers that have known Irawan Beach which is good news for those who want an uncrowded place to chill out and relax.

Irawan beach is patched with creamy, soft but rugged dunes due to the constant contact with strong waves and winds around the area. To get there, you can include Irawan beach in your tricycle tour to Bato Ni Ningning as they are just in the same barangay and very close in proximity.

Rating: 3.5/5

LONG BEACH

The Long Beach of San Vicente. It will take 3 hours of walking to get from end to end of the beach.
The Long Beach of San Vicente. It will take 3 hours of walking to get from end to end of the beach.

Long beach is the very flagship of San Vicente as far as tourism goes. As its name suggests, it is a long, cream-colored, soft sandy beachfront that is stretched out to an expanse of 8 miles passing through three villages in San Vicente. Because of its sheer size, Long Beach is recognized as the longest sand beach in the Philippines.

On its distance, Long beach is 2-kilometer away in average from any place around San Vicente Proper, though much closer from its airport. To get to Long Beach, you can charter a tricycle for a round trip fare of P250 for a maximum of 3 persons or motorbike for P100 per person.

In my visit, I opted to walk to the Long beach which took me about 30 minutes from Mamacita, the hostel where I stayed at the town proper. Walking was my way of discovering and getting a better feel of the community which was not tiring as I did it in the afternoon and the path was full of shades especially near the beach.

Rating: 4/5

PORT BARTON MARINE PARK

Inaladelan or German Island of Port Barton, San Vicente, Palawan.
Inaladelan or German Island of Port Barton, San Vicente, Palawan.

More than its tranquil, laid-back atmosphere, what draws tourists to Port Barton is its marine park which safeguards a colorful reef and sanctuary that is teeming with marine wildlife around its 750-square kilometer area. Tourists would usually go island hopping on its top tourist spots which are divided into 4 tours; each is good for 1 day and costs around P750 per person for a joiner tour or P3,000 for a private boat tour good for 3 persons. The more popular attractions in Port Barton Marine park are the small islands of German, Paradise and Exotic, which are just a glance away from each other. An environmental fee of P50 is charged for each tourist by the Tourism Office.

Port Barton Marine Park strictly reinforces a No Fishing Policy and is heavily protected against illegal fishing and wildlife poaching.

There is no direct van trip from Port Barton to San Vicente Poblacion and vice versa. To get there from San Vicente, charter a motorbike or tricycle for a price of P500 to P700 or charter a boat good for 3 persons for P3,000. Boats are docked near San Vicente public market. If you are in Port Barton, you may arrange your island hopping tour with Kuya Bebs. Contact them at +63 927 808 6200.

Rating: 4/5

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TOP THINGS TO DO IN SAN VICENTE

Like in El Nido and Puerto Princesa, the top things to do and the more popular tourist activities around San Vicente are island hopping, beach bumming and snorkeling. Port Barton Marine Park and Island hopping can be arranged either in San Vicente proper or in Port Barton, which comes in 4 different tours covering its 12 islands as shown below:

Turtle at Port Barton Marine Park.
Turtle at Port Barton Marine Park.

TOUR A (Price per person for a joiner tour is P750)

  • Twin reef
  • Wide reef
  • Exotic island
  • German island

TOUR B (Price per person for a joiner tour is P750)

  • Aquarium Reef
  • Marine sanctuary
  • Paradise island
  • Double island reef

TOUR C (Price per person for a joiner tour is P750)

  • Twin reef
  • Capsalay reef
  • Palawan camping
  • Bigaho Waterfalls

TOUR D (Price per person for a joiner tour is P750)

  • Middle rock
  • Paradise cove
  • Coconut garden
  • Secret paradise resort
  • Wild reef

SAN VICENTE SAMPLE ITINERARY

This sample San Vicente DIY itinerary generally targets two top-rated attractions: Long beach and Port Barton Marine Park, with one day allocation for each as they are more than an hour away from each other and going on an island hopping in marine park would take up a full day.

Sunset at the Long Beach
Sunset at the Long Beach

The 3-day San Vicente Poblacion and Port Barton travel itinerary assumes a party of two and would set back an estimated budget of P3,225+ per person which includes expenses for food, transportation, and tour fees. It does not cover cost for airfare, accommodation, souvenir items and other incidentals.

Klook.com

Search for more discounted tours from KLOOK. Type “Palawan” and click “search”.

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DAY ONE

ActivityScheduleBudget
Arrive at Puerto Princesa Airport7:00AM
To San Jose Bus Terminal7:30AMP50
Stop over to eat11:00AMP150
Arrive at San Vicente 12:00PMP400
Check-in1:00PM
Charter Trike to Long Beach3:00PMP125
Stroll and Sunset6:00PM
Back to Hostel7:00PM
Dinner8:00PMP150
Lights Out10:00PM
Sunrise at Bato Ni Ningning
Early morning at Bato Ni Ningning

DAY TWO

ActivityScheduleBudget
Breakfast5:00AMP100
To Bato Ni Ningning for sunrise7:00AMP250
Irawan Beach9:00AM
Back to Hostel11:00AM
Lunch and Check-out12:00PMP150
Charter Motorbike to Port Barton2:00PMP500
Arrive at Port Barton and Check in4:00PM
Dinner6:00PMP150
Socials8:00PM

DAY THREE

ActivityScheduleBudget
Breakfast7:00AMP100
Island Hopping9:00AMP750
Lunch12:00PM
End of Island Hopping4:00PM
Check out and take a van to Puerto5:00PMP350

Things to note for this sample itinerary:

  • The start and end of the itinerary is at Puerto Princesa Airport.
  • Make sure to arrange a round trip tour when getting to Long Beach as public transportation is limited in the area especially at night.
  • Tourism in San Vicente is not yet regulated so it is best to agree the price before going on a tour to avoid getting ripped off.
  • Contact Kuya Ryan at +63 948 407 1273 if you are looking for a motorbike driver that can service from San Vicente proper to Port Barton.
  • For van trips that service the Port Barton – Puerto Princesa route, contact RECARO at +63 905 485 8597, +63 909 351 3037, with daily trips every two hours from 7:00AM to 5:00PM; and SBE at +63 919 445 5021 and +63 995 162 9155 with daily trips at 6:30AM, 9:30AM, 11:30AM, 1:30PM and 4:00PM.
The boulders at the shore of Exotic Island.
The boulders at the shore of Exotic Island in Port Barton.

TIPS WHEN TRAVELING TO SAN VICENTE

Here are helpful tips when touring around San Vicente, including Port Barton.

  • San Vicente can be enjoyed by just chilling out on its tranquil and uncrowded beaches, but it pays for a good experience if you also try out other tourist attractions like Bigaho and Papawyan (or Pamuayan) falls, and the whole of Port Barton Marine Park.
  • The best time to visit San Vicente including Port Barton is during dry season from late January to early June when it’s perfect time to go island hopping and embark on a land tour.
  • Globe has a good data and network connectivity in San Vicente proper, while Smart is a bit patchy. In Port Barton, internet is limited for all networks. Most accommodations around San Vicente offer free wireless internet but with slow connection.
  • Transactions in San Vicente is on a cash basis. Bring enough cash with you as ATM is not available in Port Barton. In San Vicente proper however, there is one near the port. If it does not work, you may go to the Caltex station as they exchange money with your debit or credit card using a POS machine. There is a 6% charge for each exchange.
  • Like in all places in the Philippines, electric socket is type A. Electricity is available 24 hours in San Vicente proper but limited around 10:00AM to 5:00AM in Port Barton so make sure to bring an extra battery and powerbank for your gadgets.
  • Major hospitals are not available (only small clinics and rural health center) in San Vicente. The nearest major medical center is in Roxas which is an hour drive away.

WHERE TO STAY IN SAN VICENTE

Firstly, don’t miss out the fact that San Vicente Poblacion is totally a different destination from Port Barton, as they are almost two hours apart. Make sure to choose the right accommodation for your itinerary or you will find yourself going on a long drive or chartering an expensive boat.

A small hut for guests at one of the only two resorts at the left end of Long Beach.
A small hut for guests at one of the only two resorts at the left end of Long Beach.

In San Vicente Poblacion, I stayed at Mamacita Pizza Place in their dormitory room, which is about 15 minutes away to the Long beach on a motorcycle ride. Check out its rate and availability here.

If you opt to stay near the beachfront, here are some of the top-rated properties that are alongside Long beach.

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In Port Barton, here are top-reviewed properties that are close in proximity to the beach and the bus terminal:

Ausan Beach Front Cottage. Click on the photo for rate and availability

USEFUL PHRASES

Like in any parts of the Philippines, the locals can speak English in San Vicente, Palawan. However, here are some good phrases that might prove useful when you find yourself endearing with them.

English to Tagalog (the most prevalent language among the locals in San Vicente)
Thank you – Salamat
Good morning – Magandang umaga
Good afternoon – Magandang hapon
Good evening – Magandang gabi
How much is… – Magkano ang…
Where is… – Saan ang…

Milkyway shot at San Vicente
Milkyway shot at Long Beach of San Vicente

EXTEND YOUR TRIP

Go to other major tourist destinations in Palawan:

Balabac Travel guide with top things to do, travel itinerary and sample expenses.
How about extending your trip to Balabac at the southmost part of Palawan. Personally, Balabac group of islands is the best place Palawan can offer. Plus, it’s not touristy. Check out this link for details: Balabac budget travel guide.
Tour around the city of Puerto Princesa on a budget tour. Click the link for details.
After Puerto Princesa, El Nido is always the next stop over. Check out this El Nido Budget Travel Guide to know more about this top tourist destination.

Or visit other top destinations in Luzon:

Visit other top tourist spots in Visayas:

Go to the surfing capital of the Philippines – Siargao! Budget Travel Guide here.

Or visit other countries in Asia using these budget travel guides:

Spend one day in Bangkok by going around its most-visited temples in a DIY style. Click the link for details.
Singapore is cheap if you know the ways to get around. Check out my Singapore Budget Travel Guide to learn some tips.

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