I had a great feeling about Jungle Beach Resort in Puerto Princesa (Palawan Island, Philippines) from the moment I saw it on Agoda.com. At the time, it was rated a 9.4/10, an exceptional score considering that people complain about everything from pillow firmness to water temperature. Would I give it the same high score? Absolutely.
It was a relief to arrive at such a peaceful resort after a stressful drive- more on that later. The owner, Jürg (George), a friendly Swiss man, waved off typical check-in procedures and greeted us like we were old friends. Desiree, a Filipino woman and chef extraordinaire, whipped us up a welcome drink of mango juice and Tanduay, a popular Philippine rum, and I felt my tension ease.
In the main hut, we piled our plates with homemade Filipino food and listened to the sound of waves lapping on the beach.
The morning brought fresh light to this small, cozy resort. The main hut was aptly decorated with an abundance of shells and sarongs. I felt myself quickly slipping into the ease of island life, a lifestyle I could have kept up for weeks.
We started our mornings off with a hearty breakfast: grilled cheese, banana crepes, watermelon, succulent mangos, eggs, and thick, homemade bread.
While we were eating, kittens jumped into my lap and dogs waited patiently at my feet for scraps. How nice it was to have animals around! It made me realize how much I miss the presence of sweet animal friends.
There was even a monkey! When Maya the monkey wasn’t wrapped around Desiree or George’s head, she was on her branch eating fruits or exploring the guests who came near. Maya had been rescued as an abandoned baby and now lived full time at the resort. She was quite the sweet thing, and she loved the mangos almost as much as I did.
In the mornings, we explored the private beach areas of Jungle Beach Resort, which were right outside our hut. In one direction was white sand, perfect for laying out, and in the other direction was a beach of large, smooth rocks. Gigi, the golden retriever loyally accompanied us wherever we went and insisted that we throw large rocks into the water for her to retrieve.
The area wasn’t ideal for swimming because it was rocky, but the resort provided water shoes to walk out onto the rocks and coral. They also had masks for snorkeling and diving equipment- and a small boat that guests can take for a spin!
When I wasn’t laying in the sun or playing with the animals, I was laying in the hammock reading Big Magic. Or doing yoga in the sand. Or drinking a beer. Tough life!
Because Jungle Beach Resort was in a secluded area, we had no agenda during the day except relaxation. If you’re going to be confined to your surroundings, it’s best to be in paradise!
We anxiously awaited dinner time every night; Desiree and the staff put out a buffet-style spread of home cooked food that was phenomenal: calamari, sweet and sour fish, pasta salad, chicken cordon bleu, hash brown patties. I would have liked to sample the stone oven pizza, too. In the main hut, we ate our dinner and chatted in the ambiance of dim lights and sounds of the ocean. After dinner, Michael and I would play cards and drink San Miguel, a Philippine beer.
I thought it was unique that guests have a notebook where they keep track of everything they eat and drink throughout their stay. I enjoyed helping myself to beer and beverages from the fridge and making my own mixed drinks; it made me feel more at home. I can appreciate a business that uses the honor system.
Every night, with full bellies, we would retire to our hut, the Papaya Fan Room. Simple, and perfect for a 3-night stay. We paid about 2300 Philippine pesos ($48 USD) per night for the Papaya Fan Room. With only 5 huts total, Jungle Beach Resort fills up fast!
Our stay was well worth it despite some difficulty getting there. We arrived at Puerto Princesa Airport on Palawan Island and took a harrowing van ride ride to Jungle Beach Resort. 45 minutes were spent in Puerto Princesa traffic (apparently worse around Christmas time) and then 1.5 hours in the dark careening along the curvy highway that runs through the hills from Puerto Princesa to El Nido, until we were dropped off (alive) on the highway at our destination.
We ended up skipping out on Subterranean River National Park, which had been on our Palawan to-do list. It was more work to get there than what we had anticipated, so we opted to spend another day relaxing.
The animals, location, small number of guests, and homemade food made Jungle Beach Resort one of my favorite experiences in the Philippines. It’s a pit stop in paradise. I found that many island towns on Palawan can be overwhelming and chaotic, but Jungle Beach Resort was personal, simple, secluded, harmonious, and nature-friendly. If you need a few days of solid relaxation and decompression THIS is the place to do it.
I paid for my own stay at Jungle Beach Resort. I wrote about my experience there because I love supporting great businesses and recommending outstanding experiences to other travelers.