Blue Cove Tropical Island Resort (www.bluecoveresort.com) is a unique and rustic getaway that provides an incredible experience for the right sort of person/couple. As many of the other reviews have indicated, this is not the place to come if you are looking for five star service. In fact, there is not much “service” at all – the staff are rarely seen or heard – which only adds to the secluded feeling of being on your own tropical island. This is also not the place to come if you are looking for any sort of nightlife or evening entertainment. Other than the five bungalows, the restaurant, and a few outbuildings, the resort property is blissfully free of development. This place does not feel like a resort, but rather, feels like playing Robinson Crusoe for the length of your stay.
The opportunity to experience nature in this environment is top notch! The sounds of the birds, insects, and other critters of the night make for a memorable morning wake up call. Just in front of the resort is some wonderful snorkeling with some equipment available for use by the guests. On a calm morning, this is a fantastic way to wake up and enjoy the diversity of the underwater world. There are small boats (bangkas) that can be used for free – the resort provides paddles and life jackets. If you have the time and can enjoy a day paddling around the island, the bird life is fantastic (I saw several kingfishers and other colorful birds).
There are a few important things to know about this resort. The breezy, atmospheric restaurant is the ONLY option for eating unless you bring your own food. Guests have a choice of dining in the covered beach-side restaurant or sitting at one of the two tables up in the charming "tree house." Breakfast is not included in the price of the room. Choices are extensive and include pancakes, eggs, rice and meat. If you plan to eat dinner, you need to place your order by 6pm. The dinner options are very tasty and there is a lot of fresh local seafood available, along with some chicken and pork, but options are very limited for vegetarians. Staff are very accommodating, however, and will prepare variations of menu items (i.e., vegetable curry or pasta with vegetables). It is worth mentioning that there are no snacks or salads available and the availability of fruit is limited (bananas were the only fruit available throughout my stay, and these ran out).
Drinking water is quite expensive for the amount you will need for such a warm, humid climate. The resort charges 90 pesos for a 1.5 liter bottle or you can purchase refills (with your own bottle) for 30 pesos. Ironically, buying a bottle of rum is nearly the same price.
Staff are only at the resort until shortly after 7pm when they go “home” to the other side of the island. After 7:30pm, there is a security guard on-site
One of the charms of this resort is its small size. Accommodation is limited to a maximum of 10 guests in 5 bungalows. Each bungalow has an en suite bathroom, fan, and mosquito net. The most expensive option is a spacious, stand-alone bungalow at the far end of the beach perched over the water. Occupants of this secluded bungalow will enjoy two verandas, one with shade and one open to the sun, as they experience the stunning views and sounds of the surf. The mid-range option is a “duplex” bungalow, where two bungalows share a common wall, located in the garden set back from the restaurant. These are the only two bungalows with hot/cold water available. There are also two stand-alone bungalows set back in the garden against the hillside forest with views of the ocean. These are the least expensive price option and are perfectly adequate, if not strangely close together.
Be advised that electricity is only available for a few hours in the evening (provided by a generator that can be heard at times). This means that the fan provided in the room will stop working when the generator is turned off at 9pm. Given the limited electricity, there are no cold drinks available.
Unless you arrive at Blue Cove by privately arranged charter boat, there are only two options to get to Albaguen Island which involve a combination of land and boat transport. The resort charges 800 - 1000 pesos per couple for a one-way boat pick up from San Vicente or Port Barton to Albaguen Island (you need to text or call ahead to ensure the boat is waiting when you arrive). By far, the best way to get to the resort is through San Vicente. There are both public jeepneys and also private air conditioned shuttle vans that operate in and out of San Vicente. The alternative, to travel through Port Barton, requires a 25km journey over a rough and sometimes flooded road that sees little public transportation. I was told that only a couple of jeepneys per day make the trip into Port Barton from Puerto Princesa - and there is no public transport that will take you all the way to Port Barton if you come from the north. So, unless you are coming from Puerto Princesa or can connect with the morning jeepneys, you will need your own private vehicle or you will have to find your own way to Port Barton from the highway junction. If you get to the highway junction to Port Barton and you have missed the jeepneys, hiring a tricycle is an option (there are plenty waiting at the junction) which allows for good views of the jungle as you bounce and bump your way up and over the mountains to the coast during the 1.5 hour ride. The cost of this option should be around 500 to 600 pesos.
All in all, Blue Cove provides a memorable experience for a certain sort of traveler. If you are lucky enough to visit Blue Cove outside of the high season, there may be a night or two when you are the only person/couple staying there. Not many places in the world offer this sort of island experience. In my opinion, it is an experience not to be missed.
- Also Known As:
- Blue Cove Island Resort Port Barton, Palawan Island