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“What a spot!”

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Secret Paradise Resort & Turtle Sanctuary
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Port Barton
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed May 10, 2012

Paradise is a fair description of the setting of this resort.

We spent 6 nights here recently and can truly say that if you want to get away from it all then this is a pretty good place to be.

Cottages 1, 2 and 3 are around on beach 2 out of the way pretty much giving you your own private beach/hammocks etc. What a view from the beach out to the bay. Wow. The other 3 cottages and 2 rooms are closer to the restaurant but as there are only 8 rooms at the time of writing you still can have an exclusive section of the beach if you can be bothered walking for 50 metres!

(The cottages are beautifully made and kitted out BTW)

Obviously when you are in such a place (an hour from Port Barton by Banka) you are restricted to the one restaurant. We had a couple of great meals from the set meal board which changes every day or so and to be fair most of the food we received was good. The service can be a bit slow in the restaurant and it is advisable to "pre book" your evening meal for a certain time. This may sound silly but bear in mind that the owner here is supporting the local fishing villages by employing the people (and fixing their wells among other things!). These people are not used to and never will be used to the pace expected by us in the western world. When you come here, slow down, have a beer and relax!

Another note on the restaurant is that the prices are very fair considering the effort made to get the supplies there in the first place and then keep them fresh with no power other than the generator which cannot obviously be kept running all day and night. (If it was none of us would go there because the price to stay would be too high!)

We got to see a fair bit of what goes on here as we were there for 6 nights. The owner is constantly battling the "island way of life" and Philippine infrastructure to get things organised the way he wants them and the way we expect them. If something doesn't work when you are there (eg. intercom) you can be assured that he is on to it. Things don't get sorted in 5 minutes in the Philippines from what we saw. (we spent 2 months there and traveled it extensively)

Note: There are sandflys on the beach so take some deet. The resort provides coconut oil which works to a degree but take deet to be comfortable.

All in all we had a fantastic stay here which was capped off by a day playing killer on the pool table (a few beers....) and a fire on the beach organised by the owner.

Nice one mate and good luck with all the plans!

K&K NZ & ENG

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank KevKate111
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 9, 2012

We arrived on May 06, 2012. Took the plane from Manila to Puerto Princesa then a private vehicle to Port Barton. Next the boat to Secret Paradise. Stayed until May 09, 2012. They have 6 huts with different set ups. From the time we arrived until the time we left we were treated very well with friendly staff and great weather and food. I am a vegetarian and they have a nice selection of food I could pick from. Also they have a special of the day that you can eat too. You are on a island and you will hear the animals at night. The ocean is very comfortable and clear waters to snorkel and swim. The coral has a nice amount of fish to see. They have a volleyball and badminton nets that you can use and kayak to take out. It is truly a paradise to visit. They have WiFi so you can still keep in touch with the outside world. Only one phone provider works there so if you need a phone make sure you have SMART sim card. For a place to relax and enjoy nature this is the place. They have alot of hammocks and lounge chairs to relax in the shade or sun. There are other activities to do while you are there if you don't want to stay at the resort everyday. Enjoy your visit to a beautiful place it is worth it!!!!

Room Tip: They have some huts with A/C but the electric is only on twice a day. 10AM to 1:30PM then 5:30PM to...
  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank ch_ad_1017
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 25, 2012

Hmmm. I have mixed feeling about this place.

The Trip..
Arrived at Puerto Princesa around 2pm we got a van from the airport straight to Port Barton, travel time aprox 3hrs. 2hr paved road and an hour of mud. We stayed a night at port barton then took a 45 min pumpboat (canoe on steroids) ride. This was summer and i dont know if the waves were calm but it looked to me like the boat was small enough to ride above some big waves so you get the illusion that its calm.

The Place.
Here's where i get my mixed feeling. The place itself is like a place where you imagined and dreamed it would be, its paradise, as the resort name suggested, white sand clear and turquoise water breathtaking sunset, stunning views all around. We knew that the place does not have 24hrs electricity so thats ok. They have enough bungalows but 3 of them are more expensive and is situated away from the rest for privacy (i guess). The bungalows are nice BUT!!!!! a couple of hours after we arrived, we prepared to go to the resort's restaurant for lunch. I decided to wash my face in the bathroom as i looked up in the mirror i saw a SNAKE less that a foot from my head hanging from the shower curtain facing me. So I calmly screamed, shouted and ran as fast as I could outside. Moments later their handyman (also the cook) "Alan" came and took the snake away. They said it rained hard the night before and insects were swept down and "where food is, snake follows". I tried to be calm because we are here for 3 days and we are just a few hours into it.. So we canoed around, swam, Frisbee and some other things. while we were eating dinner and laughing about the snake incident earlier the staff told us that its rare to see snakes there so that relieved me thinking its a one time thing and decided to take a look at the stars, next thing you know I was screaming and running again, another SNAKE! went passed me while i was about to go out. So I had to drink alot of Redhorse (local beer) to be able to sleep. Its funny now but this next thing we did made me sleep. We asked for crushed garlic then placed it all over the room, by morning we smelled like garlic rice.
I cant really be pissed about it, we wanted nature so we got it but snakes in the room? that should be extra if you want the adventure rooms.

The Food..
The food here is good. price is abit more but thats because the next town is in the otherside of the mountain. What I liked about it, is that they have everything in the menu. well, except if you want a fruit shake and the electricity is not on yet. The staff is wonderful the waitresses runs to the kitchen everytime I have a question then comes back with the answer, They are probably working part time there since its summer. but it never really bothered me.

All in All this vacation was great. the place the food the staff were awesome, its just that damn snake that didnt make it perfect.

Tip: bring lots and lots of garlic.

Room Tip: Tip: bring lots and lots of garlic.
  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank sancase
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 22, 2012

This is a truly wonderful place to put your feet up. We stayed for four nights, and didn't want to leave!

Pros
-Beautiful scenery. Very far from ANYTHING! It is an hour boat ride-be aware of this. You can island hop though...
-Island hopping. It is close to other resorts and small islands that have great beaches.
-Guests. We stayed during Holy Week-at whole capacity and it seemed like we were the only people there some days! The guests there are from all over, and very nice and laid back.
-Beach. Very clean and big. Plenty of space to set up camp and relax for the day. They have pretty comfy chairs and even MORE comfy hammocks to enjoy.
-Snorkeling. See below, as it's also a con, but the water itself is clear and very pleasant to explore. You are in a bay, so it is such a fun activity to spend a few hours moving instead of sitting on the beach.

Not so great
-Noisy (it's in a jungle-duh). We just had some problems sleeping.
-Bugs. Bring spray. I got eaten alive and was itchy the rest of the trip and upon my return. The mornings seemed worse.
-Food. Who cares though? The drinks are great!
-Snorkeling. You can tell the reef has seen better days, but the owner/manager (who is honest) says that recently they have seen a dolphin or two and turtles-which means it's getting healthier.

Overall, go! Port Barton seemed pretty ehh, and this place was an escape from it all.

Room Tip: ANY! Perhaps once further from the restaurant, but those rooms don't have as nice of beach.
  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with friends
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2  Thank jwm_8282
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 18, 2012

First of all - the cove is wonderful and the resort is nestled on a wonderful white beach. You should be aware that you have to reach this resort by from Port Barton by boat (Banca) which takes 1 hr. Anyway,the nature is impressive, so the time is passing by very fast.
We stayed in one of the cottages close to the restaurant-area. They are quite new and therefore ok. There is a gas operated water-heating system because of the limited power-supply. We were confrontated by jumping frogs and food searching rats inside our cottage. We told the problem to the proprietor and he offered us to change the cottage (luckywise there was one unoccupied).
If you stay longer than 2 nights the offered food will bore you - the quality is under mediocre and the service was the worst which we had to face during our whole trip on the Philippines (duration 3 months). The restaurant-service, executed by some village girls, is unprofessional, inattentive and most of them are without any knowledge of english language. They look at you always with a smile but they don't understand you - this results in orders you will a) never get or b) get uncomplete or wrong. We ordered rice noodles w/chicken - we've got only the noodles without chicken. We ordered 2 salad to be served at 12:30, at 13:20 we've still got nothing and I asked for our order and we were informed that they dont have any order. So we ordered again and we received instead of 2 salads only 1 - with a big smile indeed...
If you go snorkeling you can be witness of a destroyed coral reef. You will see some fish but the corals are dead and full overgrown by seagras and algae. This results from years of raping the underwater habitat by dynamit and Cyanid fishing.
We won't recommend this place to anyone. Just go there to visit the nice cove, have a beer or two and leave again for a better place to stay overnight (with more professional service and tasty food). I hope for the owner (who is quite symphatic) that he will improve the skills of his staff or he should hire more qualified people in the future to serve guests as they deserve to be served for the price level of this resort.

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank rosi64
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2012

We stayed in this place in December 2011 and loved every minute of it! We stayed in the second largest cottage, the love bird, and it was wonderful! It was nice and clean, romantic and secluded. I love this place because it is so private and peaceful. The restaruant has good food and I especially love the butter garlic crab. Staff there are friendly and kind. The water is crystal clear and fun to snorkle around here. If you cannot live without modern amenities such as TV or cellphone then this is not the place for you. But you like peace and quiet and simply be in one with the nature then this is truly a paradise. The van transportation on 4 wheel drive can get a little rough and the boat ride here could get choppy so be prepared for a good adventure. We didn't book the car with our accomodation and regreted it because it would have been so much easier just to booked it all at once instead of scrambling to find a boat when you are in puerto princesa. The owner Mark responds to you on Skype promptly and the staff on the ground were also very accommodating and friendly. I highly recommend this place!!!!!!

Room Tip: I would pick King Fisher or love bird.
  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled with family
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1  Thank minhsing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 6, 2012

we (2 adults and our son, 11year) stayed for 10 days at the secret paradise beach resort and it was simply excellent!
we stayed at the kingsfisher cottage and the cottages are wonderful, beautiful view on the bay and sea, a lot of privacy and very nicely build!
In real the place looks even better than the images on the website!
Don't expect anything posh, the resort is in a way basic and that's exactly how we like it.
Close to nature and the gorgeous azure blue sea, wonderful sunsets, great island hopping or kayaking, snorkeling, hiking etc.
Everything is done with love and care, you can really tell, and the staff is really nice, caring and sweet, the owner mark is very friendly and a lot of fun.
The food in the restaurant is very nice, good cocktails and great fresh coconuts: they cut them right out the tree for you!
I really can not think of anything bad about this place, only good.
It was a true secret paradise!

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank kehp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Secret Paradise Resort & Turtle Sanctuary

Address: Turtle Bay | San Vicente, Port Barton, San Vicente, Palawan Island 5300, Philippines
Location: Philippines > Mimaropa > Palawan Province > Palawan Island > San Vicente > Port Barton
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Port Barton
Price Range: $133 - $278 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Secret Paradise Resort & Turtle Sanctuary 3.5*
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Secret Paradise Resort is the only official turtle sanctuary endorsed by the government and WWF-Philippines. We are the only Marine Sanctuary & Nature Reserve of its kind in Palawan, set in 2 private coves with a 4km private coastline, lined with coconut trees and 4 private beaches with our own waterfalls. Our exclusive 90 hectare Nature Reserve has plenty to offer everyone, from hiking to kayaking to explore our 4 beaches, snorkel with the turtles and fish in our Marine Sanctuary called "Turtle Bay", or just view the beautiful 2 house reefs. Tour activities ranging from Island hopping with waterfalls, Underground River tours & more. Private transfers to/ from the resort from any destination in Palawan. Situated between Port Barton's Marine Park and Sabang's world famous Puerto Princesa Subterranean Underground River, voted one of the 7 Wonders of Nature in the World 2013. All our six cottages are detached beach front. All our 8 accommodation have air-con, mini bar, 24 hour hot water showers, safety deposit box, balcony with hammock & private beach loungers. All superior cottages & rooms have LED satellite TV/DVD. Free WiFi- snorkel/mask/kayaks. We accept credit cards/ currancy. Why share paradise with 100 other guest. Relax and experience true paradise in nature with us. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Secret Paradise Resort & Turtle Sanctuary Port Barton, Palawan Island

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