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“Beautiful, if remote location, but beware of sandflies on the beach”

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Secret Paradise Resort & Turtle Sanctuary
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Port Barton
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 9, 2012

Yes, it is an absolutely beautiful bay with nice, if a bit basic, accommodation. But, food, transfers, and daytrips are all overpriced. Also even in calm weather, it took us well over one hour by very loud local banca boat from Port Barton. The resort is pretty well maintained, however, some pieces of rubbish were not picked up during the length of our 4 night stay. The worst however, were the sandflies on the beach, you have to cover yourself in repellent even during the day (and some Jellyfish & of course mosquitoes at night). Having said that, if aware of the above, it is a very romantic and quiet spot for a few days of privacy & relaxing. Free tea & coffee self service, and free WiFi in restaurant during electricity times. Beware of current building works involving a little bit of noise.

Room Tip: For a maximum of privacy, take one of the three cottages on the beach away from restaurant.
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank lortzing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Secret Paradise R, Owner at Secret Paradise Resort & Turtle Sanctuary, responded to this reviewResponded August 22, 2013

Thank you for review saying our resort is remote, this is great, as most of our guest come here to experience peace and quiet and life with nature. No cars noises and no cockerels.
You say our cottages was a little basic, i agree, this year 2013, we have upgraded the resort with many new more experienced staff, including new manager and head chef.
We also now run all night power and all our cottages has air-con, hot water shower, mini bar to name a few.
The sand flies problem we had last year, has been greatly reduced, now we use new chemical to spray the beaches.
All our improvement works are done and we are happy to receive, 2 trip-advisor awards this year 2013. Travelers choice ( top 14 small resorts in the Philippines) and Certificate of Excellence.
As you are aware we are a semi-island resort, due to this we transport our food supply by road and boat, except when we buy direct from the fishermen.
Please inform our resort manager or write any constructive criticism on the guest questioner before leaving resorts. This way we can improve our service to new guests.
Warm regards Mark

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175 - 181 of 263 reviews

Reviewed November 25, 2012

What an amazing place. Best place to spend your time relaxing, really good accommodation. We originally planned to stay for 2 days ended up spending the rest of our week there. Loved the resort we stayed in the song bird cottage lovely cottage for both of us. The sunset are amazing and the very romantic. If you appreciate nature then this will not disappoint. Coming back next year!

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank gill b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 22, 2012

From the moment I walked onto the resort it was just Paradise! The backdrop to where the resort is placed is beautiful the sunsets are a joy just to sit down on the beach and watch. The wildlife are a real gem swimming with marine turtles in the bay is an experience to behold.

The staff are fantastic and always on hand to help and are very knowledgeable. The facilities are very authentic especially the native sauna there. Rooms are spacious clean and comfortable to have your own cottage is great only thing is there was no TV but honestly didn't need it with views I had! Food was yum I experienced local delights especially the squid, crab and lobster caught locally. Definitely take up the island hopping very good fun.

Looking forward to next time.

Room Tip: Next time I will stay in the Kingfisher Cottage.
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  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Charlie V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 5, 2012

This was our first trip to Secret Paradise and it was amazing. We stayed there for 4 days from October 30 - November 2 and we still wanted to extend! Loved everything about the place! The song bird cottage was nice and it's size is perfect for couples. It's nice that our cottage was located at Turtle beach which is separated from the restaurant which made it more private. We enjoyed kayaking around to the other beaches of the resort. The staff was very warm and friendly. The food was normal except for the garlic and butter crabs which was really good. Electricity wasn't a problem since the generator was on from 6pm to 6am and they also turn the generator on every afternoon but who needs it in the afternoon when you'll be out exploring the place anyway. Globe hardly has any signal but smart has and the resort offers free wifi at the restaurant. The resort offers hikes around the place, they have board games for kids, snorkeling gear and they have free coconut oil for the occasional sand mites. We saw one of the best sunsets we've ever seen there at the resort and its also lovely to go stargazing at night. If you love being around nature and want to go to a place that's quiet and relaxing Secret Paradise is the perfect place to go to. We had an excellent time there and we plan to go back next year :)

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank missjmm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 11, 2012

This was my second stay at secret paradise resort and this time around i finally realised just how special it truely is, first i will start by saying this resort is so isolated and peaceful and intune with a natural nature feel that i couldnt help but sleep for my first 2 days here, in the hammock on my bed etc etc..... my room was an orchid cottage a few steps to the beach and a few more steps to the resto which is never really loud infound and closes at 11pm. My cottage had a big king size bed and seperate single bed but i didnt need the single however a nice touch if your traveling with a family or friends. The bathroom was a stand out smash hit for me as traveling in the philippines bathrooms are very small and lack hot and cold water combined. Here however my cabin had a gas hot water shower which gave me hot water for as long as i needed..... great toilet and sink with big mirror and allot of space make this a hidden secret alone... as for those who have experiance washrooms in this country will appriciate this alone. However i will not stop there the cabin its self is native design with "nippa roof" and native designed walls. I had a big walk out balcony 10meters from turtle bay. In secret paradise there is a 70hecter nature reserve with 4 beaches, white sandy and full of surpises... the owner mark i met said he moved there 8 years ago and opeb door for a resort only 2 years ago, currently there is 6 cabins and 3 smaller rooms above the resturant. Mark is an avid nature man and enjoys saving local animals and marine life and each year pays a fee to the local government to keep fisherman out of turtle bay and therefore restoring the marine life and in return mark helps to support the local fishing villages for their schools and upgrades. With that in mind i took a hike to the local fishing village and gor to spend a few hours with the guide and locals which was a fantastic experiance!

To sum up this resort now would not give it justice as its simply amazing and for the amount you pay one cannot get better for location seculison and the raw amount of bare baron beach line thay could easily fit hundreds of people at a time however never did i see more then 4 people om the big beach at a time. As for the food it was great also as i had a choice of a menu or a set meal... from local crabs, lobster, tuna lapu lapu one has many choices here as they buy from the locals very fresh and serve it that day. I was informed that not everyday they have lobster and crabs as its expensive to buy.. apprently manila buy bulk seafoods and the local fishermen can make more profit, however with that said i had more sea food options here then i did anywhere else in palawan.
Turtle protection, every year turtles comes between feb and april to lay there eggs, mark and his team protect the eggs help ensure and protect them from people and animals tjus ensuring a great chance for survival. Mark told me him and his team of workers returned 1,300 baby turtles back to the ocean last year alone and only every 28years the same turtles will arrive back on that same beach to lay there eggs.. this was truley an amazing story and the picture to show were awesome. I wish mark luck and gods help to keep sich a huge undertaking on as from what i see it is not easy.

Overall my cottage was great and bed very comfy, if your a nature seeker and enjoy wild life and treaks this place is a must. If you want to hide or just sit on the beach and relax agaim this place is enough. Best place in palawan for value and what you get.

Transportation from puerto princesa can be abit tricky as omly one jeepney travels at 9am apprently im told there is a roro bus now aircon evey 2hrs to san juam juntion then from there you hire a trike to port barton. Me i used a private car which cost me 6000p for 3hr ride but the driver stopped where ever i wanted which made me feel much better as teansportation is not a strong poi t in the philippines.

Take extra time at this resort as ill be back for more i hope! Thanks team spr see you soon

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled solo
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3  Thank rustichonestreviews
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 2, 2012 via mobile

I decided to return another trip to secret paradise as my first adventure was to short. After leave ellas cottages in port barton i hired a bunka boat for 1500p to secret paradise resort the ride took about an hour or just under, the weather was great and sunny and when we got into the marine santuary bay it was amazing to see the colors on the water light blues and greens so tranquil to the eye.. after landing on the beach we turned down welcome drinks and had a few beers in the resto watching time float by, then eventually made our way to our room love bird cottage and agai thw views were as stunning as the first time i seen the place. The room a nice native size with added touches huge bathroom with amazing hot cold water shower, aircon but one doesnt need it here. We also had a mesquito net over our bed in case we needed it. On this day we went for dinner at 7pm and had the chance to order fresh slipper lobster and tuna steaks!! We were told that not everyday do they get such a big supply of fresh sea food but nonetheless we were indulging! And next thing you know it few glasses of white wine we were well on our way to even more relaxation. On day 2 we decided to take a hike to the local fishing village and see how the true native locals live, the guide that was with us was a man named jc and he even showed us his bamboo house with an amazing gardeb with wild orchids and other beautiful flowers. It took us about 30min to walk there and 30min back but we stayed about 2 hours there talking with the locals and the childern who seemed to never stop laughing at us and hiding around the corners and trees... was truley a heart warming exeperiance. Day 3 we decided to do some natice kayaking to a beach calldd beach 4 to climb and see some waterfalls although we didnt go far enough to reach the falls we did however see about 20 monkeys and 3 monitor lizards. Words cannot express what i felt on this last trip here how amazing this place actually os and for the cost you cannot beat it. My best opinion is stay here 3 to 8nights to get the real feel and be able to do the hiking and amazing snorkeling. My last thought is if your like me and work in china as an xpat make sure to make this your relaxing nature get away
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Turtles apprently arrive feb to april but no set times. Thanks mark, arial and staff for making my second trip a huge heartfelt stay.

  • Stayed: October 2012
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3  Thank SirWade
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 20, 2012

I hesitated before reviewing Secret Paradise, however the reviews on TA reviews played a massive part when booking our stay, so I thought I would share our experiences too, as unfortunately it was not as great as those we read.. SP is no doubt a paradise, its scenic, serene & beautiful. The huts we great, private, semi rustic & comfortable.. just what we were after! Unfortunately, I was surprised to see that the garden was littered with rubbish, including big chip packets, & the cigarette butts had built up to a point that they were everywhere! Although the staff should not have to pick up after the disrespectful people that would litter their home - its a sad distraction from the otherwise natural surroundings. We stayed there for 5 nights, & our room was never cleaned - which we didn't mind, but as paper is not meant to be flushed in the bathroom, the bins should at least should be emptied daily, & it would have been nice to have clean dry towels, especially as it was raining a lot and everything was very damp. The snorkeling was nice, not as colorful as the other places we visited, but perhaps that had something to do with the recent rain. On a particularly rainy day, we decided to head to the bar & kick back with some Tanduay's to watch the beautiful view.. although it was just the 2 of us, & the 1 or 2 girls that worked behind the bar we were not once approached for drinks that day.. or during our entire stay in fact. When we had to approach them for something, it almost felt as though we were bothering them from whatever they were busy doing on their phone. Unfortunately we found the restaurant staff unfriendly & on a couple of occasions rude (they didn't realise that I am half Filipina & able to understand everything they were saying). The food was (I hate to use the word..) terrible! Even the Filipino dishes were not good. Every day I asked for the Buko / Calamansi Juice on their menu, but I was told for the entire week that they were out although there was a massive Calamansi tree right next to the restaurant, & there were more Coconuts in the area than you could count.. I ended up asking if they minded if I helped myself, although I was happy to pay & they were ok with that. This wouldn't normally bother me, but it just added to the feeling that the staff were less than helpful. We enjoyed a tour to the fishing village, & definitely recommend. The guides & boatmen were all really friendly & we met their families, who were very welcoming & we had a great time. As soon as we left SP, it felt like our holiday had finally started - everywhere we went, people were suggesting awesome things to do, helpful, chatty & full of smiles! The Philippines! We realised then, how much we had been missing, & wished that the staff at SP have had been as nice & helpful, as we almost felt as though we had wasted the last several days. We ran into some other patrons of SP in El Nido, & they had felt the same way. It seems that we were of the few that had a bad experience there though, so perhaps it was just a bad week..? Yet of the 5 places we stayed in Palawan, unfortunately it is the only place that we would not return to.

Room Tip: We stayed in one of the 3 huts on Turtle Beach, which I would highly recommend for more privacy.
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank B3ck
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SecretParadiseResort, Owner at Secret Paradise Resort & Turtle Sanctuary, responded to this reviewResponded September 5, 2012

Thank you for your review, however I must say that as the owner and living at Secret Paradise Resort, I have never seen rubbish in my garden over the last 6½ years. We have made Secret Paradise Resort a paradise for all to enjoy, and take a great deal of pride in keeping it so, not allowing anything to detract from this. Maybe you are a little confused. I would understand if you said our beach was littered with rubbish, as this can happen after a big storm, but not our garden. I totally disagree.

You mentioned that we have a massive calamansi tree next to our restaurant which our staff was unwilling to pick for you. We do have 2 young calamansi trees, but non bearing fruit. We buy our calamansi from Port Barton.

Our resort policy is not to interrupt our guests during their holiday. On all our cottages and room doors we have a sign if you would like your room cleaned. Sorry you did not read this.

We endeavour to make our guest’s holiday a wonderful experience, so rather than wait until after your holiday, we encourage any complaints or wishes to be brought to the attention of myself the owner, or our manager as soon as possible, and we will do everything we can to resolve matters.

Hope you can email us back on - inquire@secretparadiseresort.com and give your name and the dates of your holiday, so I can check to see if you stayed at the resort or not and look further into your complaint about my staff.

Warm regards
Mark

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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: $187 - $354 (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 & Turtle Sanctuary is Palawan's premier award winning resort. Our mission and vision is to protect the endangered sea turtles and nature. Philippines only turtle sanctuary endorsed by WWF-Philippines & PCSD/ zero carbon resorts. Semi-island resort, set in 2 private coves with a 5km 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 3 exclusive hiking trails to kayaking to explore our 4 beaches, or snorkeling with the turtles and fish in our 28 hec marine sanctuary called "Turtle Bay", or just view the beautiful 2 house reefs. Resort offers herbal sauna, massage treatments, island hopping with waterfalls, sunset trips, snorkeling, fishing and diving. Free use of kayaks, snorkel/ mask & Wifi. All 14 accommodation is beach front with 24 hour power, air-condition, satellite... Resort accept credit cards/ currency. Relax and experience true paradise.. ... more   less 
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Secret Paradise Resort & Turtle Sanctuary Port Barton, Palawan Island

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