The laidback and unassuming beauty of North Palawan beyond the karsts and beaches of El Nido.
In the past 5 years, El Nido has been in the list of the world’s best beaches and islands.
El Nido’s towering karsts, turquoise waters and white-sand beaches lure thousands of tourists every year. For 2014 alone, El Nido welcomed 18,000+ tourists with this number growing as El Nido becomes more popular for both local and foreign tourists.
While El Nido is undeniably beautiful, Northeast Palawan also boasts other towns and islands worth your visit.
Port Barton is a barangay in San Vicente, Palawan. Named after an English Colonel who made land surveys in this part of Palawan, Port Barton is 3 hours away from Puerto Princesa via the town of Roxas.
HOW TO GET TO PORT BARTON:
From Puerto Princesa, proceed to the San Jose Terminal and look for Recaro transport. First trip out of Princesa to Port Barton is at 730AM and last trip at 5PM.
Upon arriving in Port Barton, accomodations are available from 1500-3000 for 2 people. Itaytay Inn offers backpackers accomodation (fan room) at PhP 700 for two people.
Island Hopping tours are available at PhP700 (standard rate by the LGU).
LINAPACAN GROUP OF ISLANDS
Somewhere between El Nido and Coron are the island municipality of Linapacan. Hailed by the news site Matador Network as having the “clearest waters to swim”, the town’s poblacion can be reached from Coron 3 hours by boat or from El Nido. Check with the locals though as boat schedules are not fixed.
However, if coming from El Nido, the southern islands Linapacan can be reached 1-hour via van or 2-hrs via tricycle in Barangay Sibaltan in northernmost El Nido. Several resorts offer day trips to the southern islands of Linapacan (Magransing, Maunsonon and Pical).
Honestly, I have to say that Linapacan has some of the “turquoisest” (if that word even exists) and clearest waters I have ever seen. The beaches are not cantilado and are ideal for swimming and as far as my visits to other beaches is concerned, I can say that Linapacan has some of the country’s best.
Off the northeast coast of North Palawan is the island municipality of Araceli. The town can be reached via 4-hour boat from Roxas town in mainland Palawan. The town’s main language is Cuyonon which is a regional language spoken by most of Palawan until the 80s when people from Southern Luzon started to migrate to Palawan.
The town is essentially off the radar from travelers and tourists as getting there is a bit of a challenge. The 4-hour boat ride from Roxas is sometimes rough and boat schedules are not always fixed. The town is relatively unexplored- I was not even able to find blogs about the town prior to going there.
Araceli’s pride is their 2.3 KM-long Tinintinan Beach. I have to say that Tinintinan is so unspoiled and deserted you can have the beach all for yourself. It is probably one of the most beautiful long-stretch beaches I have seen. Tinintinan’s fine, white sand can rival that of Boracay. Other activities in the town include island hopping in the nearby islands.
HOW TO GET TO ARACELI:
From the port in Roxas town in Palawan, take the 9AM (one trip only) boat to Araceli. Fare is 400 Pesos and trip lasts for 4 hours.
Upon arriving in Poblacion, Araceli, head to ARJEMARZYKA Lodge and stay at Php150/person per night. The owner of the same lodge also has a beach resort (Pandan Beach Resort) in Tinintinan Beach. Tinintinan Beach is a 10 minute tricycle from the town.
Palawan is not called the “Best Island in the World” for nothing. As the country’s largest province, Palawan has a lot of beaches and islands to explore. The next time you are heading to the island, take the road less traveled, and off-the-track destinations. The long travel is all worth it.
Written by your Amigo,