SAN VICENTE PALAWAN TRAVEL GUIDE 2020
San Vicente is a municipality in the west coast of Palawan island, tucked between the famous El Nido and Puerto Princesa. There are 2 main settlements as a base of all the activities in the area: San Vicente Poblacion, known as the town proper, and Port Barton. In this travel guide we are going to talk about the area of San Vicente Poblacion, not to be confused with Port Barton. Even if they both are in the same municipality, the 2 settlements are not that close to each other. Click here to see the different location of the 2 villages.
San Vicente is still pristine and untouched, a rural area that thrives on fishing and farming where endless palm-fringed long beaches are the main attraction. It’s the perfect destination to escape the crowd of the Palawan main tourist destinations and spend a few days surrounded by nature enjoying its wild white sandy beaches completely alone. There are only a few accommodations at the moment, but it’s about to change. The new airport with cheap flights from Manila will pave the way to many tourists to come as well as the other Palawan attractions.
- BEST TIME TO VISIT SAN VICENTE
The best time to visit San Vicente is from December to March, during the dry season. We visited the municipality at the end of February, and it was surprising since we met very few tourists. Most of the European tourists prefer to stay in the neighbouring Port Barton barangay (village), where the nightlife is better. In this season, if you are lucky, you can also see the turtles hatching.
- HOW TO REACH SAN VICENTE
The main settlement is San Vicente Poblacion (the town proper) where the airport, the bus terminal and the port are located. Once here, you can take a tricycle to reach your accommodation. The cost for a ride to the town proper is about 75 pesos, to Long beach about 150 pesos and to Alimanguan barangay (village) about 500 pesos.
The San Vicente airport is tiny, and there are only a few flights from Manila and Clark operated by Skyjet and Pal express. The best options are to fly to El Nido or Puerto Princesa and take a minivan or a bus. You can use the transports search engine of 12go.Asia below, one of the best platforms to move around Asia.
Puerto Princesa to San Vicente Poblacion
San Vicente town is located about 4/5 hours from Puerto Princesa, the biggest city and central hub of Palawan island. The Puerto Princesa Airport is served by the major local companies which fly from Manila, Clark, Cebu, and Davao.
The bus station is the San Josè Terminal, located about 25 minutes by tricycle from the city centre (200 pesos for the ride). The SBE bus company has daily trips to San Vicente Poblacion. The good thing is the bus passes by and stops in all the barangays (a village in Philippino) along Long beach (from Alimanguan towards the town proper). It’s a local bus picking up/dropping off people along the itinerary; therefore, you can ask the ticket seller to get off when you need. During our ride, they dropped us off right in front of Victoria Beach House, our accommodation in Alimanguan barangay.
At San Josè Terminal you’ll also find several vans going to San Vicente Poblacion from 4 am to 5 pm. Another option, if you are a group, is to book a private transfer. The accommodations in town also offer shared minivan ride to San Vicente Poblacion
Reservations: you can buy the ticket at San Jose Terminal paying onboard, through your accommodation or using the web platforms 12go.asia.com.
San Vicente to Puerto Princesa: the same means of transport are available to reach Puerto Princesa. Right in front of San Vicente Poblacion pier, next to the public market building, there is the San Vicente Travel e Tour agency where you can book your ride to your destination. Alternatively, you can click here to check fares and book your trip.
El Nido to San Vicente Poblacion
El Nido is plenty of tour operators where you can book your minivan ride to San Vicente Poblacion. Anyway, there are just a very few companies that operate between the two destinations. Therefore, it could be useful to book in advance for your ride. You can also go straight to El Nido bus terminal in Corong-Corong to book your trip. The ride lasts around 3 hours and a half and costs about 750 pesos.
San Vicente Poblacion to El Nido: we found only 2 rides. One at 7.30 am departing from San Vicente airport, and the other one at 9 am that picked us up at our hotel. Ask you accommodation or go to the Port and book with the San Vicente Tour and Travel. The ride costs 750 pesos.
San Vicente Poblacion to/from Port Barton
You have 2 options to reach Port Barton: by van or by boat. The fastest way is by boat. The boat departs from San Vicente Port at 8 am, 11 am and 3 pm; whereas it departs from Port Barton at 9.30 am, 12.30 pm and 4.30 pm. It takes 1 hour and costs 350 Pesos. You can also rent a private boat transfer for 3000 pesos (usually max 4/6 people). The van is not that worth since it takes 2 hours and a half. You first have to go to Roxas and then ask for Port Barton. Go to the San Vicente Travel e Tour agency at San Vicente Pier (next to the public market) and book there your ticket/transfer to Port Barton.
- WHERE TO SLEEP IN SAN VICENTE
The range of accommodations is not that much at the moment, but it’s going to develop soon. The area of Long Beach can be divided into 3 beaches where to stay: Long Beach 1, Long Beach 2 and 3.
Long beach 1: it’s the area near San Vicente Poblacion, reachable with a short tricycle ride from the airport or bus terminal.
Accommodations in Long Beach 1 are Turublien Inn and Bar, Long Beach Encantador Resort, Ursula Long Beach. You’ll find other accommodations in San Vicente Town Proper, and we are just mentioning the ones on the beachfront.
Long beach 2: it’s the part of the beach next to New Agutaya Barangay, reachable by tricycle from the town in 10 minutes.
Long Beach 3: it’s the part of the beach next to the small Alimanguan Barangay, reachable by tricycle from San Vicente Poblacion in 30 minutes. It’s our favourite area and where we slept at the Victoria Beach House Hotel, a fantastic small accommodation right on the beach where you can enjoy a beautiful clear sea and an incredible sunset.
- HOW TO MOVE AROUND
First of all, after getting to the port, the bus terminal or the airport, you can jump on a tricycle to reach your accommodation. A ride to San Vicente Poblacion/Long Beach 1 costs about 50 pesos, to Long Beach 2 about 100/150 pesos and to Long Beach 3 about 400/450 pesos. In Long Beach 3 and 2 is not so easy to find tricycles; therefore, you need to rent a scooter t move around.
To tour San Vicente and enjoy all its amazing beaches you can rent a scooter. In San Vicente Poblacion you’ll find stands renting scooters, in the other part of the area you can ask your accommodation. Renting a scooter costs about 400 pesos per day.
Another good option in case you don’t want to drive is to hire a motorcycle with a driver. We rented a motorcycle with a driver through our accommodation (1000 pesos from 1.30 pm to 6.30 pm) to visit all the most exciting spots of San Vicente. We started from the Bato Ni Ningning viewpoint ending up at Long beach 1 for sunset.
Alternatively, you can also book a daily tour with the web platform Klook that offer a visit to San Vicente Town and the main attraction of the area. Click here to check the fares.
- GUIDE BOOK
Our favourite guide book is the Lonely Planet, a great help to plan our trip.
- METHOD OF PAYMENT, ATMs AND MONEY CHANGER
The method of payment in San Vicente is cash. The only place where you can change your currency is San Vicente Poblacion where you’ll find a Pawnshop and a money changer along Poblacion-Long Beach road. We didn’t see any ATM.
- WHAT TO SEE AND DO IN SAN VICENTE
The main attractions of San Vicente are Long Beach and the other beaches on the north part. Other exciting activities are the islands hopping tours and several hiking trails to reach some of the beautiful waterfalls dotted in the hills of the area. The boat tours and the hiking trails are the same you can do from Port Barton.
You can book the boat tours through your accommodation or going straight to the port where you’ll find the San Vicente Travel e Tour Agency to arrange the islands hopping, hiking, transfer and also buy flight tickets. It’s always better to book your activity a day in advance, but if you want to arrange the island hopping for the same day, you need to be at the travel agency between 8 am and 8.30 am since the shared tours depart around 9 am. Alternatively, don’t worry, you can ask them to rent a boat for a private trip that is always a good option, but indeed it’s more expensive if you are travelling alone.