El Nido vs Port Barton

Comparing Two Beach Destinations: Which One is the Best?

Are you trying to decide between El Nido and Port Barton for your next Palawan adventure? Both destinations offer stunning beaches and tropical islands, making the decision a difficult one. In this comparison guide, we'll take a closer look at the two destinations to help you make the right choice for your dream holiday.

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El Nido 

El Nido in Palawan, Philippines has gained popularity in recent years due to its breathtaking landscapes. While the town proper has an ordinary beach, it serves as a starting point to explore Bacuit Bay’s archipelago. This surreal location is dotted with pristine islands and islets, each with its own unique geological formations, and dozens of beaches. The islands of Entalula, Lagen, Shimizu, and Miniloc boast pristine white sand beaches and crystal clear waters, while Matinloc Island has a hidden beach accessible only through a narrow crevice.

Cadlao Island, the largest island in El Nido and closest to the town proper, has several beaches, including Bocal Point, Natnat, and Paradise Beach on the southern side of the island. Corong Corong Beach and Las Cabanas Beach are popular mainland beach options, with the latter offering spectacular sunsets and a relaxed atmosphere.

Lio Beach, located north of El Nido town, near the airport, is wide and uncrowded, making it easy to find a private patch of sand. The beautiful 7 Commandos Beach is an isolated location accessible only by water due to the mountainous terrain, offering sugary white sands and dreamy blue waters lined with coconut trees.

Nacpan Beach, located about an hour’s drive north of El Nido town, is considered one of the most spectacular beaches in the Philippines. Duli Beach, another remote stretch of golden sand in the northern top of El Nido mainland, is the center of Palawan’s surfing community.

Port Barton

Port Barton is a hidden gem worth visiting for a stress-free weekend getaway, offering a more peaceful alternative to the bustling El Nido. This idyllic destination is affordable and exudes a laid-back atmosphere.

The main beach in Port Barton, Itay Itay, boasts rustic accommodation, beach chalets, restaurants, and bars. While Itay Itay’s waters may not be ideal for swimming, other pristine beaches are located nearby and are well worth exploring.

Visitors can rent a “Banca” boat directly from the locals to access some of the most secluded and stunning beaches in the area. Pamuayan Beach is just a 10-minute boat ride away, and White Beach is accessible via a forest trail.

The islands of Port Barton’s bay are home to a plethora of picturesque beaches, such as Paradise Island, Exotic Island, and German Island, each featuring tiny white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters.

Which one should you really pick?

Choosing between El Nido and Port Barton can be a tough decision. Ultimately, the choice between El Nido and Port Barton depends on your personal preferences. If you’re after more beautiful beaches and don’t mind the crowds, El Nido is the way to go. If you’re looking for more secluded beaches with fewer tourists Port Barton is the perfect destination.

Island Hopping Tours

El Nido 

El Nido, once a tranquil fishing village known only to scuba divers for its abundant marine life, has become a popular tourist destination in the Philippines. Travelers from all over the world flock to El Nido to admire its breathtaking islands and explore the vibrant underwater world filled with colorful corals and marine creatures.

The stunning Bacuit Archipelago, located in El Nido, is a must-see attraction in Palawan. With numerous tiny islands scattered throughout its bay, many of which are uninhabited and easily accessible by rental boat, Bacuit Archipelago boasts picturesque landscapes above and below the sea.

To avoid crowds, hiring a private “Banca” boat is the best way to explore the islands. Alternatively, join a guided island hopping tour that is categorized into tours A, B, C, and D.

Apart from island hopping, El Nido offers many water-based activities, including diving, snorkeling, and kayaking.

Don’t miss the opportunity to witness the stunning beauty of El Nido’s Bacuit Archipelago, a place that’s hard to describe in words – it’s best to see it for yourself!

Port Barton

If you’re looking for a more laid-back and affordable alternative to El Nido, Port Barton is the perfect choice. Unlike its famous counterpart, this charming fishing village still retains its tranquil atmosphere, with fewer crowds and a slower pace of life.

Despite its size, Port Barton boasts an impressive array of beautiful islands, many of which are easily accessible by renting a private boat or joining one of the island hopping tours. The two most popular tours are Port Barton Island Tour A and B, each offering a different set of breathtaking scenery and excellent snorkeling opportunities.

The islands of Port Barton offer a stunning setting, with powdery white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters, perfect for swimming or simply relaxing under the shade of a coconut tree. You won’t find any big attractions or resorts here, but you will discover a peaceful and idyllic environment, surrounded by unspoiled nature.

Overall, Port Barton is an ideal destination for those seeking a more authentic and off-the-beaten-track experience, without sacrificing on the beauty and diversity of the Philippines’ breathtaking scenery.

Which one should you really pick?

In contrast to El Nido, where there are endless activities to keep you entertained for days, island hopping in Port Barton may seem a bit slower and more repetitive. However, the laid-back atmosphere of Port Barton allows you to fully appreciate the natural beauty of the area without feeling rushed or overwhelmed. While there may be fewer activities, you can still spend your days swimming, snorkeling, and exploring the nearby islands. And with fewer tourists around, you can enjoy a more peaceful and relaxing experience.

Accommodation options

El Nido 

In El Nido, there is a wide range of hotels, from budget guesthouses to mid-range resorts with excellent facilities. There are also a few outstanding luxury properties that offer breathtaking views, exceptional service, and other perks. These hotels are perfect for couples and honeymooners seeking a luxurious retreat.

Hotels in El Nido town are the ideal base from which to explore the many islands in Bacuit Bay.

Lagen, Pangalusian, Cauayan and Matinloc are among the most exclusive Island resorts in El Nido, and they offer unparalleled luxury and comfort.

Port Barton

On the other hand, Port Barton has fewer hotels compared to El Nido, and it is less developed. Holiday Suites is the most upscale resort in Port Barton, while most other accommodation options are small guesthouses with simple beach bungalows. The largest resorts are equipped with 24-hour electricity and air conditioning.

There are also a few resorts on nearby islands and beaches, but they are quite basic. Port Barton is an excellent choice for backpackers and travelers seeking affordable accommodation.

Which one should you really pick?

Overall, whether you are looking for luxury or budget-friendly accommodation, both El Nido and Port Barton have something to offer.


El Nido has higher prices compared to other places in Palawan, but keep in mind that it also offers more luxury options and facilities than Port Barton.


Both Port Barton and El Nido have a tropical climate, with temperatures ranging from 25 to 32 degrees Celsius throughout the year. However, Port Barton tends to receive more rainfall than El Nido during the wet season, which runs from June to November.

Recently, the beautiful town of Port Barton has unfortunately been hit by the devastating effects of Typhoon Odette. The typhoon caused significant damage to the area, including local homes, businesses, and infrastructure. As a result, some resorts and hotels may still be closed for repairs. The support of tourists can help the town recover from this natural disaster.


Palawan is generally a quiet place after dark, and both Port Barton and El Nido are no exception. While El Nido has a more active nightlife scene, it is still relatively low-key, and Port Barton is known for its relaxed atmosphere and lack of nightlife.

Visit Port Barton, El Nido, or both?

Choosing between Port Barton and El Nido largely depends on the type of traveler you are and the kind of experience you are seeking.

If you’re a young and adventurous traveler, you may find Port Barton more appealing due to its laid-back vibe and affordable prices. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a beach vacation in a popular tourist destination with a wide range of budget and luxury hotels, El Nido is the perfect choice. Families and honeymooners may also find the facilities in El Nido more suitable for their needs.

Both places offer a variety of experiences and activities, from island hopping and snorkeling to relaxing on pristine beaches. Plus, as they are relatively close to each other, it’s easy to visit both Port Barton and El Nido during your trip to Palawan.