(Updated: February 20, 2018)
Transport to Port Barton has come, well, a long way over the past few years. The road is still unpaved in parts, and nothing can be done about the waves at certain times of year, but overall the ride is shorter and smoother than ever. Here’s the lowdown on transport to Port Barton:
Transport from Puerto Princesa to Port Barton
Recaro Van from Puerto Princesa to Port Barton:
Recaro’s air-conditioned vans are the fastest and most comfortable transport to Port Barton, however if you’re unfortunate enough to be assigned a seat in the back row, you’ll probably heave a sigh of relief when this trip is over. Vans leave from the San Jose Terminal in Puerto Princesa at:
– 4pm, and
– 6pm (this last trip may not happen if there are not enough passengers.)
The ride takes just under three hours one way. Tickets are 300 pesos per person from the terminal, or 500 if you’re getting picked up at the airport. Text or call ahead (a few days in advance is ideal) to reserve seats.
Recaro van booking number:
+63 909 351 3037 (Smart)
+63 905 485 8597 (Globe)
Recaro’s vans start from the airport, pick up guests who have booked from hotels within the city, and finally visit the San Jose Terminal to collect the last passengers before leaving the city to Port Barton. It can be frustrating if you’re one of the first in the car, as you’ll have to make several long or short stops before you can be on your way.
Recaro’s vans often depart half an hour late (or more) from the terminal. Don’t be alarmed if it’s 20 minutes past the departure time and it hasn’t shown up yet.
The first part of the ride is on winding roads, and you might want to prepare yourself if you get motion sick easily. There is usually one 15-minute stop halfway at a roadside restaurant and toilet. Note that the last 40 minutes of the drive include sections of bumpy unpaved roads that curve through the countryside.
Recaro’s van ride stops at the tourism center in Port Barton, where ‘officials’ extract a 50-peso environmental fee from all visitors. The fee must be paid if you plan on going on any tours or getting on any boats in Port Barton. The van goes from there to the Recaro terminal. It’s a very short stroll from the terminal to the beachfront.
TIP: If you know the date you’re leaving Port Barton, you can book your onward van tickets in advance.
Lexxus Van from Puerto Princesa to Port Barton:
Lexxus Shuttle service is now running four trips daily between Puerto Princesa’s San Jose Terminal and Port Barton. The schedules are posted at this link, and tickets costs 400 pesos one way. Usually in the Philippines it’s not possible to book and pay for van or bus tickets ahead of time. But you can call ahead to reserve a seat, or request a pickup from your hotel for an extra charge. Lexxus also offers chartered van trips around Palawan. If you want to book an entire van for your trip, check out the prices on their website.
Lexxus phone numbers:
+63 917 686 1118 (Globe)
+63 920 957 1025 (Smart)
If you’re not sure if Port Barton should be part of your itinerary, check out my post ‘Why We Love Port Barton and You Will Too.’
Bus from Puerto Princesa to Port Barton
If you’re up for the adventure there is one open-air bus leaving every day from the terminal in San Jose, Puerto Princesa at 9am (tickets were 250 pesos last we checked, but prices seem to go up all the time.) Travel time is about four hours. There are no head-rests on the seats. You can expect a bit of a rough ride, and at least one stopover along the way.
Boat from Sabang to Port Barton
The trip from Sabang to Port Barton by sea is wonderfully scenic, full of virgin seascapes, lushly forested islands, foamy waves, and all the deep blue one could ask for. With the journey lasting anywhere from three to four and a half hours, there’s plenty of time to take it all in. This trip should only be attempted in good weather. Start out as early as possible while the sea is still calm.
Hiring the whole boat will cost from 4,000 to 5,500 pesos, depending on your haggling ability. If there is a boat already departing (a possibility in peak season), a ticket should run you 1,200 pesos. Go the the booking shed at Green Verde restaurant on Sabang beach to arrange a boat from Sabang to Port Barton. Another option is to arrange a stay at Secret Paradise Resort, which has its own boat that can pick you up from Sabang.
Before setting out, fully charge your i-things and musical devices. Then, enjoy this rarely seen part of Palawan to the soundtrack of your choice.
Van from El Nido to Port Barton
There are now several vans that go directly from El Nido to Port Barton. Travel time is about 4 hours. The Recaro vans leave daily at 8am and 1pm from the terminal in El Nido, tickets are 600 pesos. Call the Recaro number (above) to reserve a seat. Visit the bus terminal in El Nido and any local can point you in the right direction.
Transport from Port Barton to El Nido or Puerto Princesa
The easiest way to leave Port Barton is on a van to Puerto Princesa or El Nido. Some travellers choose to charter a boat for the three- to five-hour trip to El Nido, but a more reliable option is to go over land to your next destination.
Van from Port Barton to El Nido
Two Recarro vans make the trip from Port Barton to El Nido daily. The vans leave at 8am and 1pm from the Recaro terminal near Princess Michaela’s (they always visit the terminal before leaving, even if they load up passengers elsewhere.) Tickets should be 600 pesos if you book directly with Recaro. For more options, another new van service leaves from the corner just opposite Ayette’s Bamboo House at 8am and 2pm daily.
Important: Beware of the fixers that roam around the streets of Port Barton offering to book the van for you. They will often add anywhere from 100 to 300 pesos to the real ticket price.
The van drops you off in the bus terminal in El Nido. You can get trikes (three-wheeled motorbike + sidecar contraptions) to bring you from here to your hotel or resort. Haggle a bit on the price, most trips should only cost between 50 to 100 pesos.
Van or Bus from Port Barton to Puerto Princesa:
The open-air bus leaves from the coast guard hut in Port Barton headed for Puerto Princesa at 9am daily (tickets are 250 pesos.)
Airconditioned Recaro vans leave from Port Barton to Puerto Princesa at:
5pm daily (this last trip often doesn’t run in low season.)
Tickets cost 300 pesos, or 500 pesos for drop-offs at the airport. Be sure to text or call ahead to reserve seats (+639093513037, +639054858597) or buy them at the Recarro office near Princess Michaela’s in Port Barton.
Airconditioned Lexxus Shuttle vans make the trip (400pesos/person) from Port Barton to Puerto Princesa four times daily:
4pm (more info at this link.)
TIP: It can be quite helpful to inform your resort or hotel in Port Barton of the day and time you want to leave. They can usually call and reserve seats for you. Sometimes the van operators will come to your resort to help you move your luggage as well.
Both vans and buses will drop passengers off at the San Jose (New Public Market) terminal in Puerto Princesa, unless you’ve paid to be dropped off at the airport terminal. From the terminal, you can get a trike to the airport or any hotel in the city (usually not more than 100 or 150 pesos.)
If you’re spending any time in Puerto Princesa at all, check out my Ultimate Guide to a Short Stay in Puerto Princesa.
Recarro Van Terminal in Puerto Princesa