San Vicente Travel Guide: 6 Best Things to Do

San Vicente is known for its unique natural beauty and relaxed atmosphere. You can explore stunning, powder-white sandy beaches here. These include the famous Long Beach, often referred to as one of the longest and most pristine beaches in the country. This Travel Guide shows you the best things to do in San Vicente.

What are the Best Things to Do in San Vicente?

San Vicente is a municipality in the province of Palawan. It is in the northwest of the island. In addition to the beautiful beaches and gorgeous sunsets, the town also offers nearby tropical forests that are home to a variety of endemic flora and fauna.

The hidden gem with authentic Filipino hospitality offers a tranquil retreat away from the crowds. Whether for relaxation under swaying palm trees, exciting outdoor adventures or cultural exploration, San Vicente promises an unforgettable escape to paradise.

1. Island Hopping

One of the best activities you can do in San Vicente is definitely island hopping. There are lots of islands and snorkeling stops off the coast that are just waiting to be explored by you. We booked a tour directly through our accommodation and set off straight from San Vicente. However, there are also various tours that start from Port Barton.
You can book the tours directly on site. There is usually tourist information at the port.
With an Island Hopping tour you will can make the following stops:

Maxima Island is a good snorkeling spot for spotting turtles. When we stopped there, we saw several of them.

Exotic Island is located right next to Maxima Island. The two islands are connected by a small sandbank. It has a beautiful little beach where the tour guides will prepare an excellent lunch for you. In addition to fresh fish, meat and rice, there is also delicious fruit.

Drone shot of Exotic Island
Underwater picture of a turtle

The Twin Reef is another good place for snorkeling. Here you can see lots of colorful corals and fish.

Starfish Sandbar is – as the name suggests – home to many starfish. Depending on the tide, there is a small island in the middle of the sandbar. Around it is a lot of very shallow water in which you can see many starfish.

Finally, you will make a stop in Port Barton. Here you can use the time to stroll along the promenade, enjoy the sun on the beach or drink a fresh coconut.

Afterwards, you take the boat back to San Vicente.

Tip: It’s best to book your tour a day in advance to ensure you can start early and get the most out of the day.

2. Relax on Long Beach

There are many stretches of beautiful beaches around San Vicente that invite you to linger. One of the most famous beaches in the area is Long Beach. With around 14 km of fine white sand, it is the longest beach in the Philippines.

Relaxing on Long beach is pure serenity in San Vicente: soft sand, gentle waves and a calming breeze create the perfect backdrop for unwinding.

The beach offers a natural escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, inviting you to let go of your worries and immerse yourself in the present moment. Whether with a good book or a relaxing walk on the beach. San Vicente definitely invites you to spend some time on one of the beautiful stretches of beach.

Tip: Make sure you are well moisturized and wear a hat. As everywhere in the Philippines, the sun’s rays are very intense in San Vicente.

3. Visit Bato ni Ningning

To the north of Santo Nino is the well-known viewpoint Bato ni Ningning. From here you have a great view over the beach and is an invitation to immerse yourself in the natural splendor of this picturesque coastal town. Apart from its aesthetic appeal, the viewpoint also offers opportunities for adventure and exploration. The more adventurous can embark on hiking trails that lead them through the local flora and fauna. For those who want to take it a little easier, the viewpoint offers a tranquil setting for picnics, meditation or simply enjoying the beauty of the surroundings.

Due to a lack of time, we were unable to visit the viewpoint, but have only heard positive things about it.

Tip: Come up in the late afternoon and watch the golden hues of sunset.

4. Try local restaurants

Taste the authentic flavors of San Vicente in the Philippines by venturing into the town’s charming little restaurants. These hidden culinary gems offer a taste of local culture and hospitality – from seaside fish stalls serving freshly caught delicacies to quaint eateries serving traditional Filipino dishes.

Exploring local restaurants is an opportunity to get off the beaten track and enjoy authentic, home-cooked dishes that can’t be replicated anywhere else. It’s a chance to connect with passionate chefs and hospitable hosts who are proud to share their culinary heritage with visitors from near and far. From street food stalls serving tasty snacks to family-run bistros, local restaurants are veritable treasure troves of gastronomic delights.

5. Visit Port Barton

A visit to Port Barton is like discovering a hidden gem on the pristine coast of Palawan. Located away from the hustle and bustle of tourist destinations, this charming fishing village exudes a tranquil atmosphere and unspoiled beauty that enchants the soul of any traveler who ventures there. The small coastal town with its charming promenade invites you to linger.

The main attraction of Port Barton is its stunning natural surroundings. Surrounded by powder-white beaches and crystal-clear waters teeming with marine life, the village is the gateway to a paradise of snorkeling, diving and island hopping. Discover secluded bays, vibrant coral reefs and hidden lagoons and immerse yourself in the fascinating underwater world of Palawan.

In the evening, Port Barton comes to life with the aroma of freshly caught seafood sizzling on the barbecue and the rhythmic sounds of live music.

Whether on the beach during the day or in a nice restaurant in the evening, you will definitely enjoy Port Barton. Depending on where you stay, the best way to reach Port Barton is by ferry or scooter.

6. Watch the beautiful sunsets

As with many places in the Philippines, San Vicente also offers the opportunity to see breathtaking sunsets. It is definitely worth taking a moment every evening to watch the spectacular sunsets.

How to get to San Vicente?

By Air: San Vicente has its own airport, which is only about a 20-minute drive from the actual city. The airport is served by the airline Sunlight Air, which offers direct flights from Manila. However, the number of flights is very limited and there are only irregular flights, which can only be booked with a short lead time.

The better alternative is to travel via Puerto Princesa. You can fly to the capital of Palawan from Philippine airports such as Manila or Cebu. You can choose from airlines such as Air Aisa, Philippine Airlines or Cebu Pacific. After landing, various local van and cab drivers will be waiting outside the airport exit to take you from Puerto Princesa to San Vicente. You will arrive at your accommodation within a 3-4 hour drive.

By Road: If you are traveling from El Nido to San Vicente or from other cities on Palawan, you can also take a van or cab, similar to the journey from Puerto Princesa. This is the preferred means of transportation on the island for longer distances with luggage. You will usually find departure points in the city center, where you can also find out about departure times and prices. It is best to find out about departure times at least one day in advance, as there are usually only 1-2 vans or buses per day.

By Sea: If you would like to travel from Port Barton to San Vicente, you also have the option of taking a ferry. It’s best to find out about transfer options at the local port. The ferry may have been canceled in the meantime, but you can always take a private boat if necessary.

Where to stay?

San Vicente offers a wide range of beautiful accommodation. We opted for the Marina 4Rooms in San Vicente. The town is relatively small, but has a good selection of apartments. As San Vicente is very quiet, you can also stay in Port Barton for a bit more hustle and bustle. There is a larger promenade here and it is generally busier.

Photo out of an open window in San Vicente

How many days should you stay in San Vicente?

You should plan about 2-3 days in San Vicente. It is a beautiful place to explore and linger, but you will have seen most of it in just a short time. So if you have other stops on your trip to the Philippines, this duration will be enough. It is an ideal stop if you are traveling from Puerto Princesa to El Nido. You can make a good stopover on the rather long journey before continuing from San Vicente to El Nido.

Best time to visit

The best months to travel to San Vicente are December to April. This is the dry season on Palawan and you will catch the months with the most days of sunshine.
However, due to its location in the west of Palawan, San Vicente is also less affected by typhoons in the other months, as these mainly occur in the eastern part of the country.

Cash & ATMs

There are a few ATMs in San Vicente. As everywhere in the Philippines, there is a risk of ATMs running out of cash, especially during the high season. It is therefore best to make sure that you always have enough cash and don’t only visit an ATM when you are really out of money.
Most transactions here are also primarily carried out in cash. Occasionally you can also pay by card, but this is rarely the case.

Health & Safety

San Vicente, like many rural areas in the Philippines, may have limited medical facilities. It’s advisable to travel with a basic first aid kit and any necessary medications.

We perceived San Vicente as a safe place. Use your common sense and exercise caution, particularly in busy areas and tourist attractions. Be vigilant about your belongings, refrain from openly displaying valuables, and remain alert to the presence of pickpockets in crowded locations.

You should also practice good hygiene and caution when consuming food and water to prevent gastrointestinal illnesses. Stick to bottled or purified water, and opt for freshly prepared, hot meals from reputable establishments. Avoid consuming raw or undercooked food, and wash your hands frequently, especially before eating.

As already mentioned, the tropical climate in San Vicente brings with it intense sunlight, which can lead to sunburn and heat-related illnesses. Wear sunscreen with a high sun protection factor, protective clothing and sunglasses to protect yourself from the UV rays. Make sure you drink enough fluids, especially during outdoor activities.

San Vicente, like other coastal areas in the Philippines, may be susceptible to natural hazards such as typhoons and earthquakes. Stay informed about weather forecasts and heed any advisories or evacuation notices issued by local authorities.

Internet & Electricity

Internet: The Internet in San Vicente is generally quite good. Most accommodation and restaurants have wifi. If you still want to be independent of wifi, you should get a local SIM card for your stay in the Philippines.

Electricity: The power grid on Palawan is relatively reliable. Of course, there can be occasional power cuts. However, these usually only last a few hours or are covered by an emergency generator.

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