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“The best kept secret”

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Secret Paradise Resort & Turtle Sanctuary
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Port Barton
Certificate of Excellence
Indiana
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“The best kept secret”
Reviewed July 14, 2013

me my wife and our four year old daughter stayed for 5 nights here starting at the last days of June.It was a splendid time.at that time we were the only guests and there was a storm that very same day when we arrived that we were not aware of. I'll start with the trip from the airport to port Barton the Suv accommodation was comfortable and great with lots of room.I said suv as no van during that weather can reliably take us to the port. Its an adventure in itself to get to the port. Hard to describe the last 22 km ride through jungle and rough terrain. Our family enjoyed it. The way I look at it, its an added attraction. It was raining during the boat ride to get there. The boat was big with safety vest for all.Then finally...Our cottage was the lovebird with a king bed where me and my wife slept and a separate bed which my daughter called her princess bed as this mosquito net drops from the top.same as with our bed.NO BUGS in the cottage.it has a mini bar, hot and cold shower .flat screen TV and wifi.The front of our cottage have a porch with a hammock that we use for napping in the afternoon. My family have been to big resorts with /w/o casinos and gigantic pools everywhere, but that's not what were looking for.Its precisely this. One with nothing but beautiful nature everywhere you look. Luckily, the storm was gone the second day. My God. talk about nature, My wife heard noises in the trees behind and it turns out to be a family of monkeys twenty feet from us. Didn't bother us we took picures of them.ive seen them while fishing with my guide early morning at the end of rocks where the surf splashes hard at the other end of the island, eating small crabs perhaps or clams? or climbing coconut trees that's shared with of all animals, squirrels. I didn't even know we have them here in the Phil. Weve seen parrots and a lot of exotic birds behind our cottage that my wife took pictures of..My daughter had a blast with all the nice shells she collected and not to mention the beach itself. It is devoid of large waves as my daughter describe it as calm. Thats because the waves are blocked from either side, being a cove. Perfect for swimming ,kayaks, snorkeling, sand castles. Anytime strolling in the shallow .Im a certified diver and didn't feel the need to dive during this stay as you can see all the marine animals you want anytime you want. Lots of reef fish, parrot fish snapper, grouper, corals, turtles. which is abundant in the morning or late pm.you don't have to go to the water to see them as they peek their heads and carapace above water. All this, twenty feet in front of your cottage. The bugs, i came prepared with high deet to be sure. They have coconut oil too for added protection. I use both as the coconut oil tends to stay even after being in the water. Mark fogs the resort regularly but unfortunately it was rainy season and because of the storm its pointless to do so as the rain washes the sand where the sand flies are,They still fogged a couple of times that I know. I myself was not bothered nor my family but yes we still got bitten .This maybe the only thing that may spell the difference between for some guests not to come back in the future. Not us. The food is.Perfect!! Cooked to order with same reasonable time like in any restaurant. Always hot and delicious. The chef puts his own twist to things that I appreciate. I have my catch cooked twice and my guide was even nice to buy me octopus from a spear fisherman we happen upon during fishing.I requested to grill my fishes and as for the octopus, to boil it. cut to peices and sautee it in butter and garlic with only salt and pepper with a dash of fresh chili and calamansi..The chef included lemongrass. NICE! Great with my red horse beer. My wife had the the head waitress who also is the bartender,concocted my wifes favorite drink combination. The service? Very personable. Very attentive. My daughter ended up playing with her 4 yr old daughter for one afternoon even if they speak totally different language as we requested her to play with our daughter in the resort after we met her during the hike to the fishing village and visiting their childrens school and meeting with their teachers. They both had so much fun. Her father was also my fishing and hiking guide. Overall, our stay was a trip of a lifetime.and Im looking forward to stay there again with my family hopefully very soon. Thanks to Mark and his great staff. We hope to see you again soon. I hope this helps other folks as I try to detail our experience to get a better picture of our stay.

Room Tip: turtle beach cottage are excellent
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank ckms2150
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 review, August 4, 2013
Hi Jerick and family. Hope your all fine. Thank for your detailed review. It was good to see your whole family enjoying our nature reserve and marine sanctuary, even your young daughter. I enjoyed our chats over a beer and look forward in your family returning soon.
Take care all
Warm regards Mark
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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227 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (50)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Hebrew first
  • Italian first
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  • Russian first
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
25 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed July 8, 2013

I don't know where to start with this place... I just wish really hard I can go back now!
We were 5 friends, young professionals, travelling in the philippins for 2 weeks. Nothing prepared in advance not wanting to splash money but looking for a remote paradise to rest and enjoy life.
Secret paradise resort exploded all our expectations.
I found the place while browsing trip advisor as we were in a quite mediocre pension in El Nido and we wanted to a nice resort to end our trip.
They came to pick us up with a boat at our hotel in el nido (small fee). The whole trip was a wonder, we met dolphins and turtles on our way.
We were welcomed by the owner and his wife. He is the nicest chap you can meet, welcoming, warm but discreet.
We had 2 bungalows with view on the beach for a very very decent price. The bungalows were spotless with hard built bathroom (usually an option on this island) and hot water!
Simple decoration but elegant and nice.
An open air restaurant is used as your own personal living room, you order delicious foods, play card or snooker. Everyone that was staying at the same time as us (they cannot have more than 12 guests or something) were very nice and the overall atmosphere was very chill.

During the day, you have access to the beach, which feels totally private, you can use the canoe to explore the bay, swim, play volleyball or badminton, snorkle. Strangely time stops and passes really fast at the same time.

If you do stay there, allow at least 3 days to really enjoy it.
That is a gem, let's hope it will stay that way!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Palmiterro
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 review, August 4, 2013
Hi Charley,Meg and Jessica,
Glad you had a great time with us and enjoyed the boat ride from Elnido with my boat crew.
See all again soon.
Warm regards Mark
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bellevue, Washington
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed June 5, 2013

I found Secret Paradise here on TripAdvisor and I'm glad I took a chance on it. Our stay was excellent and far too short. Their beach and snorkeling is amazing and it's a wonderful place to explore and relax. The nearby island hopping were some great activities as well. I'd highly recommend the one with the waterfall - beautiful and refreshing. I'd also recommend visiting the Underground River if you get a chance.

The cottages were very nice with lots of places to relax and enjoy the beauty. The staff was very friendly and we were able to join them on a few nights while they were night fishing during low tide. It was a great experience and I can't wait to go back.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank kuwan
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 review, August 19, 2013
Thank you for your kind review. Look forward in your returning to us, to see all our new improvements just finished in all cottages and rooms.
Warm regards Mark.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed May 23, 2013

So glad to have stumbled across secret paradise resort. This was the highlight of our trip so far. Stunning beaches in a secluded bay. Boat for exploring the different beaches was free to guests. Very friendly staff and reasonable menu. Nice snorkeling to be had in the aptly named Turtle bay. Lovely short walk to the hill behind for stunning views. Clean rooms of a good standard. We appreciated the effort gone to by the owners in preserving the area. Overall a wonderful, highly recommended resort!

  • Stayed May 2013
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Kmandlm
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 review, September 9, 2013
Thank you for your review. Glad you appreciated our hard work in protecting our nature reserve and Turtle Bay marine sanctuary. Look forward in seeing you next year.
Warm regards Mark -resort owner
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed May 16, 2013 via mobile

Secret paradise is a fantastic place, the place is kept as natural as possible. It is fantastic to see how Mark is protecting the area.
Swimming with the seaturtles was an unforgettable experience and to do it every day just amazing.
The staff was very freindly and serviceminded. The rooms was kept very clean. It was obvious that the staff was instructed to leave the guest alone unless you seek it yourself.

Downsides:
There where a lot of sandflies and we got so many bites eventhough we used tons of the free coconut oil.
When you are traveling with kids as we are it is a shame that it is impossible to play in the sand.
They are doing all thet can to prevent them.
The menu was a bit boring, we where there for 4 nights and it was difficult to find something exiting you wanted to eat at the end.

Conclusion:
All in all Secret paradise is a fantastic place and we would love to come back anytime despite the sandflies.

  • Stayed April 2013
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
3 Thank Fam D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
53 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed May 9, 2013

Secret Paradise is really in a majestic location. Seemingly isolated from the rest of the world, the views both above and below water can't be beat. The songbird cottage was lovely, perfect for a couple, and a nice distance away from the restaurant. Snorkeling was amazing- as a marine biology student I was stunned to see lion fish, turtles, rays, clownfish, giant clams, and a multitude of other critters while snorkeling right outside of my front door. It was enough to keep me occupied for hours, which was good because we had not expected the hikes to cost money, nor the tours to cost what they did. Despite this we did the fishing village hike with Mark and had a good time, although I don't think it was worth the price. The waterfall tour was stunning, with lots of great snorkeling and a really nice hike to a beautiful waterfall. The crew that brings you is really kind and seem to know the best spots to see fish. The meal they offer on the tour has a fish or squid option only, and I really had to ask to get them to give me vegetables only, other meat was out of the question.

The Filipino staff in the restaurant and on the premises were really kind, and genuinely seemed to care about the guests. The manager (who never introduced himself so I don't know his name) seemed really stuck-up, and the few questions we asked him made us feel like we were interrupting him. On our last day (of five) we met the actual owner, who was a great guy, very warm and friendly, which made us wonder why he would ever hire the other guy. On our last few days the resort seemed very full and there was only one girl there to waitress, bus tables, bartend, and take care of other random requests like checking out. She seemed completely overwhelmed, and they should definitely hire more help in the restaurant.

The food at the restaurant was bad. Considering its the only option on the island, we had to eat there every meal and it was generally overcooked, dry, or tasteless. I can't speak in terms of the seafood dishes because I don't eat it, but my experience with the restaurant was not good. Mangoes were in season and they were out of them when we got there, then had them back in stock for a day and a half before running out again. Disappointing to say the least.

The beach was definitely beautiful, but they had sand fly issues, which they try their best to prevent by spraying in the morning and giving coconut oil to guests, but they are still pretty bad in the late afternoon and evening and the bites are much more itchy than mosquito bites, but the bites were far outweighed by the beautiful water and critters beneath it.





  • Stayed April 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Bimson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
17 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed May 8, 2013

We spent 4 special days there 2 weeks ago & we are going back for more. Its a really really special place. Totally cut off, lovely staff, fabulous views, turtles swimming in the bay, monkeys along the side. Its like your own private beach.

  • Stayed April 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank PTim
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

Property: Secret Paradise Resort & Turtle Sanctuary
Address: Turtle Bay | San Vicente, Port Barton, Palawan Island 5300, Philippines
Location: Philippines > Mimaropa > Palawan Province > Palawan Island > 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 (Based on Average Rates): $$
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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