FULL Travel Guide to Siargao, the surfing island and more!

Heyo it’s Léah with an H!

So do you plan to go to the Philippines, and think about visiting the island of Siargao ?

Here is a mini guide to Siargao! There I experienced one my most beautiful discoveries and memorable adventures so I hope you’ll enjoy as much as I did!

 

Don’t forget to follow me on Youtube to see my travel Vlogs and Instagram to follow my #LeahTravels adventures! To book your plane tickets, just click here! And if you have any questions, leave a comment at the bottom of the article!

Cultural intro! 

Ranked as the number #1 island in the world, Siargao is the PARADISE for surfers and non-surfers! Yes, this island offers much more than surfing!

Siargao was once known as a surf hotspot where thrill seekers from around the world came together to surf what is ranked the 8th best wave in the world. But in recent years, people have really opened their eyes – not just to surfing – but to the magnificent 48 islands and islets that make up Siargao. It is quite simply an adventure zone waiting to be discovered. Between the magnificent lagoons, the white sand beaches, the tropical landscapes with its thousands of palm trees, the enchanted rivers and especially the locals, you will understand why this island is the best in Asia.

How to get there? 

Getting to Siargao is simple #eazybreezy! From Manila, many local companies will take you to the island in less than 3 hours (direct flights)! Info: Siargao airport being small, the planes are narrow so for those who fear this kind of plane like my father and I .. take a sleeping pill before take off!

  • By plane: The best known airlines offer direct flights to Siargao such as SkyJet, Cebu Pacific, Philippines Airlines, Air Asia.

From Manila: direct flights in 2hours and 30minutes or with stopover 3h30

From Cebu City: During my first trip, I had just explored the island of Cebu so I took my plane to Siargao from Cebu City; I took a domestic flight with CebGo – Low cost airline partner branch of Cebu Pacific

From Clark: On my second trip, I was already in Manila. However, we couldn’t find affordable place tickets from Manila to Siargao – too last minute and too expensive – so we opted for a plan B! Take a flight from Clark, Pampanga! For this, we took the road from Manila to Clark by car (2 hours from Manila without traffic). You can either book a private van as we did or a cheaper way, a Premium Point to Point bus.

  • By ferry: From Cebu then Surigao and finally Dapa (Siargao).

Once you land at Siargao Airport, many vans will be waiting to take you to your destination. It is 300 pesos per person – fixed price for all established by the cooperative of Siargao. Once in the van, you’ll get on a pretty long ride and will realize that Siargao is actually a huge island.  Most visitors stay at General Luna. I strongly recommend that you book your accommodation there because everything happens there! In addition, G. Otherwise if you want a little more peace, towards Malinao or Pacifico.

Siargao is a big island on which General Luna is the liveliest city because everything happens there! The city of General Luna is quite large and getting from point A to point B can be time consuming if you are walking. You can take a tricycle (20 to 100 pesos depending on the distance) in town but I strongly recommend that you rent a motorbike for your entire stay. (between 300 and 400pesos the rental for 24 hours).

 

Where to go?

 

To explore the whole island, it would take at least 1 whole month! But this is because I know that many of you stay in the Philippines for a short period of 14-15 days maximum, I have prepared a list of essential activities and places to do during your visit! Doable in 4 to 7 days!

How long should I stay there? To maximize your stay, I recommend staying for 4 days, I have selected the must-go-to-visit places in red!

Island tour

#1 – The Sea and Road of Coconuts 

#2 – The Maasin River and its famous swing 

#3 – Magpupungko Rocks

#4 – Visit Pacifico

#5 – Visit the abandoned LightHouse (not yet visited)

#6 – Visit Malinao and its Secret beach

#7 – Visit the Tak Tak Falls (not yet visited)

 

Boat Island Hopping tour

#8 – Naked Island 

#9 – Daku Island 

#10 – Guyam Island 

#11 – Corregidor Island (not yet visited)

#12 – Mamon Island (not yet visited)

#13 – Sugba Lagoon 

#14 – Sohoton Cove

 

Other & Nightlife

#15 – Surf & sunsets Cloud 9 

#16- Day pool & night party

 

Where to stay in Siargao? (coming soon)

FOOD GUIDE à Siargao – The best restaurants/café of the island (coming soon)

 

Go on a Road trip!

@heyoleah facing the Seas of Coconuts

One of the most beautiful experiences to live in Siargao is to go on a road trip! Besides, it was there that I learned to drive a scooter! And this feeling of freedom and independence is great!

You can either join so-called land tours or simply set off on your own. Personally I did both and there are positive and negative points

Pros of land tours: +++ small family groups – accompanied guide, itinerary, saving time, possibility of resting and even taking naps during insured transfers, lunch included BUT — less independence, you can not stop when you want on the road spontaneously because there is a schedule program;

Pros of DIY tour on a scooter: +++ for the adventurous! free of your time, admire the landscapes on your way and possibility of stopping at the edge of secret beaches, take a photo with your motorbike, pigs or other spots and economical because 300-400 pesos rental per day (price negotiable). Refueling is your responsibility, you can find across the island bottles of coconut gasoline sold in small stores “sari-sari” or houses by the road. Prices vary between 30 and 60 pesos per liter. BUT — you will be exhausted at the end of this long day on the road! be vigilant night falls quickly so do not delay too much and especially WEAR A HELMET! It is mandatory. Otherwise you can be fined 13,000pesos. Safety first. You will remove it for the photos;

MY TIP? If you are traveling with your family, book a PRIVATE land tour! You will not only be able to visit all the spots but in addition the guide being very friendly, he will be able to make you stop on the road spontaneously (as long as you get back on time) to take photos or even buy PAN DE COCO – local coconut bread on the go!

Pan de Coco – Siargao @heyoleah

Road trip Recommendation # 1
Spend an entire day driving North, stopping at these must-see places: The Sea and Road of Coconuts, the famous swing at the Maasin River, Magpupunko Rock Pools and Pacifico.

Road trip Recommendation # 2
This road trip will take you to lesser known corners. There you will live an authentic experience and discover how the locals live on a daily basis

More info on the different places below:

#1 & 2 The Sea and Road of Coconuts

The Sea of Coconuts @heyoleah

Basically .. apart from seeing thousands of coconut trees on the horizon and taking souvenir photos #instagramgoals, there’s nothing …more! But it’s pretty and quite impressive to look at! And it’s one of the most popular viewpoints in Siargao! On the other hand, what really struck us was as soon as we arrived, we met local children who were trying to sell sustainable bamboo straws ((100 pesos the set of 10) to cover the minimum of their needs for the day ! Even if you do not really need these bamboos, I assure you that you will not regret making this little gesture because the smiles on their faces will definitely make you the day! And that is priceless!

On the coconut road @heyoleah 

#2 Visit the famous palm tree swing at the Maasin River

Maasin River Drone shot @markdavidacoba
On the bamboo boat – Maasin River @heyoleah
Swinging at the Maasin River @heyoleah

It is probably the most famous palm tree in the whole world, and I understand perfectly why! Some might find it quite simple and be a tourist trap but take the time to go there because this place is unique! The location and the landscape simply cannot be beat. This particular palm tree leans over the river, making it something out of a dream. Attached to the palm tree is a rope which serves as a large swing.

To all our adventurers, it’s time to show your skills! Climb the palm tree with the help of the locals who are happy to help you in any way, hang on to the rope and jump! Let yourself swing and then dive into the clear water of the river! It is also possible to hire a small boat to go down the river. A cool boat that looks good in the photos too. It’s the perfect place to have a good time, or if you want cool photos.

Like every hotspot, there are a lot of people during the day, so I recommend you get up early if you want to avoid the crowds. The Palmier swing is about 30 minutes’ drive from General Luna.

Leah’s tip: If you are on a tour, the guide may follow the same program as the others and therefore some hotspots may be crowded … at my first visit, we first visited the Maasin River before the Magpupungko Rocks! 😉

#3 – Magpupungko Rocks

@journeyera
@journeyera

This white sand beach hides a secret place that only appears during low tide: natural pools are formed between the rocks! If you arrive at the right time, you will witness one of the natural beauties of Siargao Island!

It is one of the most famous corners on Siargao Island! There you can also enjoy the white sand, relax, have a snack – banana Q, fish balls, kamote Q – and buy souvenirs! (significantly cheaper than General Luna)

Leah’s Tips – Plan your trip to the rock pools of Magpupunko! Be sure to check the tide calendar as the pools are not accessible at high tide. The area is completely closed at high tide, you won’t even be able to see the big rock next to the pools. The tide changes every day, so be sure to plan ahead before setting out. For this, ask the inhabitants of the island for more information! Also, there may be a lot of tourists who take photos, do not hesitate to go past the first pools towards the big rock in order to have a better view!

The entry price is 50 pesos, which represents around 1 euro, plus 20 pesos for parking if you come with a motorbike.

#4 – Visit Pacifico

If you are looking for a piece of paradise on Siargao Island away from the crowds, Pacifico is the place to go. Located in the north of the island of Siargao 1 hour from General Luna is one of the best known surf spots. There, you will find only a small amount of resorts and host families. This is where you will relax and escape.

During my first visit, I unfortunately could not go to Pacifico for lack of time … and all my local friends told me that I had missed something and that was all the more reason to return to Siargao! .

And indeed, during my second visit, just after our lunch break at Magpupungko Rocks, which was then full of tourists, we stopped at Pacifico where the beach was literally empty! The waves are quiet big & impressive, the water is clear, the sand is fine and warm. It was the perfect spot to digest and relax!

What to do there?

  • If you’re feeling hungry, I highly recommend going to Pacifico Beach Resort. There, you can relax in hammocks and taste their organic and fresh dishes on their farm located on the island!
  • Pacifico also has one of the best surf spots on the island. I was told that it is a place reserved for experts because the tides are strong on the shallow reef. But if you’re just a beginner like me, no problem, it’s still a peaceful place to stay.
  • Friends have told me that you can climb the cliff for an overview of Pacifico and further up visit the abandoned Lighthouse located north of Pacifico Beach.
  • Personally, we went there spontaneously to chill! It is the perfect place to relax under the coconut trees, sunbathe and meditate for an entire afternoon.

#5 – Visit the abandoned LightHouse (not yet visited) 

coming soon

#6 – Visit Malinao

Malinao is a small place just 10 minutes by car from General Luna.

On a small strip of road, this is where you will find some of the most luxurious hotels on the island. During my second visit, we stayed at Bayud Boutique Resort, one of the island’s isolated and chic hotels! Unlike General Luna, this place is still very quiet and underdeveloped. If you are for a picnic, a sunset or just a nice walk on the beach by yourself, this is the ideal place.

The best place is at the end of the road. When the road stops, you can head to the so-called Secret Beach (not so much secret btw ;)) and pass by the big luxury hotels.
Instead of going straight to the beach, keep going straight until it stops. Here you will find a small lagoon, an unfinished bridge and a magnificent beach overlooking the mangrove on the other side of the river. This area is simply beautiful. The ground is covered with pleasant grass, so it’s perfect for a picnic right by the beach.

Info: Be respectful of the environment and properly dispose of waste in the bins provided!

#7 – Visit the Tak Tak Falls (not yet visited)

coming soon

GO ON A BOAT TRIP – ISLAND HOPPING!

The islands surrounding Siargao are just as beautiful as the main island. Going on a boat trip called Island Hopping is a favorite among all who visit.

The most popular tour is the Tree Islands Tour or Tri-Island Island Hopping Tour as it is often called. On this tour, you will stop at the three neighboring islands, Naked, Daku and Guyam Island. During these tours, the boat normally makes a longer stop on Daku Island for lunch.
Another favorite is to visit the island of Corregidor.

Organizing your favorite visit is very easy. Most hostels tour the three islands as part of their weekly schedule. If you are staying elsewhere, simply get off at General Luna’s pier and you will be approached by boatmen who offer to take you wherever you want. A boat can normally accommodate 6-8 people and the price is around 1500 pesos to 1700 pesos depending on the organizer for the whole day.

More information on the different locations below.

#8 – Naked Island

Naked Island – Drone shot by @markdavidacoba

This island is located 20 minutes by boat from the port of Siargao, General Luna. The name of the island comes from the fact that there is nothing on it. The island is literally … naked! It is basically a little sandbar in the middle of the ocean.
Since there is nothing on the island, the only thing you do here is relax in the hot water, go around and go to each end of the island to see the waves crashing together . The waves can be quite strong so be careful. That being said, it is a cool site that is worth a visit.

#9 – Daku Island

Daku Island by @Laagan007

The next stop on the tour of the three islands is Daku Island. Daku means big and it is the largest of the three. This island is one of the most beautiful islands I have ever visited. When visiting the three islands, this is the place where they prepare lunch while you explore the island or just relax in the incredibly clear and blue water. The waves are also strong but it’s still very fun because you feel like you’re at a water park jumping over the waves and getting carried away! The beach is one of the best I have ever seen. What makes it so good is not only the perfect beach, but also the small hut located along the beach, supported by a huge palm forest.

Léah’s Tip: If you are not on an organized tour including lunch, bring fresh food from the General Luna market and the local population will prepare it for a small sum while you enjoy the beach. They also sell refreshing coconuts, water and soda on the island.

#10 – Guyam Island

@heyoleah in front of the Guyam Island

Guyam Island is the last stop on the three island tour. Guyam means small and it is the smallest of the islands. This island is what you see in magazines. It is so small that you can walk in a few minutes with coconut palms in the middle. It’s hard to explain how cute this island is.

The locals have installed several swings and photo corners to allow you to keep beautiful memories! Tropical paradise are appropriate words. Take a look at the photos below.

# 11 -Corregidor Island (not yet visited)

I have heard a lot about this island! Unfortunately due to lack of time I could not visit it. According to my research and my local friends, this island located 45 minutes from the port of General Luna, offers a totally different landscape! First, know that this island is much less developed than the others, and therefore you will not find anything to buy there.

Yet, there is so much to do! Explore & be adventurous!

You will find small beaches on each corner of the island, a large meadow and a hill with a unique palm tree #instagramgoals! Go there for a hike of 25-30 minutes, which will take you into the most unique landscape with long grasses and palm trees spread over a large area

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA – DO NOT OWN THIS PHOTO

#12 – Mamon Island (not yet visited)

#13- Visit Sugba Lagoon

One of the coolest things you can do during your stay in Siargao is to visit certainly Sugba Lagoon. This day trip or half day to your preference you really leads through unique landscapes, different from anything you’ve ever seen before. It is the one of the most popular circuits the Siargao. I recommend you to go there. If you have a drone, make it fly and you’ll see how beautiful the place is .

There are several ways to organize your visit to the Sugba lagoon. :

  • Option 1: Book your visit with a travel agency in partnership with expert excursion services. This is what I did with my family during my second visit. If need of contacts, leave a comment!
  • Option 2: Sugba lagoon is located just outside of another town called Del Carmen. This second option is the one I made on my first visit, and it requires you to drive your motorcycle to Del Carmen by yourself. The journey takes 1 to 2 hours depending on your speed. (Ps: to be honest, it was the most exhausting day.) Once in Del Carmen, head to the pier where the ticket office is located. Each boat can accommodate up to 6 people and the price is set at 1,500 pesos for the standard visit. The ticket office opens at 8:00 am, so I recommend being there in good time beforehand as there will be a queue.

Tip Léah: the boat that takes you to Sugba Lagoon is very noisy! I advise you to take cotton, buddy or your noise-canceling earphones with you so as not to come deaf!

WHAT TO DO:

Once at Sugba Lagoon, a house was built on the water where you can rent tables for 50 pesos. This is the place where you can leave your things to go and enjoy the lagoon. There are lots of activities to try! You can rent kayaks, paddle boards and bamboo rafts between 300 and 500 pesos. You will also find the epic diving board with the most beautiful bottom of all time. (ps: on the photos, one has the impression that the diving board is high and that the lagoon is gigantic but the photo is taken in height from, thus  this optical effect)

If you are a little adventurous, I also recommend exploring the nearby lagoon. Here you will find an even higher diving board 10 meters high embedded in a tree. Personally, because it is not for me! I prefer to relax on a paddle board and take nice pictures;)

 

 

@heyoleah on a paddle board – Sugba Lagoon Siargao

#14 – Sohoton Cove

This is one of the unique and isolated places on the island of Siargao that I loved visiting Siargao!

Visiting Sohoton Cove National Park in Surigao Del Norte is a must on your list of things to do in Siargao! Sohoton Cove presents natural wonders such as caves, lagoons and cliff jumping, making it a fun day trip from Siargao. This natural site is one of the most preserved places on the island of Siargao and is worth a visit if you have time during your stay in Siargao.

Indeed, this natural park is located 2 hours by boat from General Luna. If you want to take a tour, you can combine the visit to Sohoton Cove and the tri-island in the afternoon with lunch at Sohoton Cove.

Tip Léah – As at Sugba Lagoon, the boat’s engine is very noisy! So plan to bring cotton and / or noise-canceling headphones because the journey is long!

ON THE ARRIVAL

From your first steps in Sohoton Cove, you arrive at the pier of the national park. And there, you will be surrounded by purely green and blue landscapes! The water was bluer than I had imagined – and I mean seriously blue !! We waited a few moments while waiting for our turn. With Mark, we took the opportunity to fly our Mavic Pro drone to discover the overview of the national park .. and wow!

WHAT TO DO?

When your turn arrives, you will board a small boat with yellow helmets to protect yourself! My friends literally looked like MINIONS haha

The Minions – Travel Squad at Sohoton Cove

The program was in 3 stages:

  1. Hagukan cave. This cave was incredibly epic, to say the least. WARNING! So it is not a simple cave to visit in a boat. To enter the Hagukan cave, we had to jump from the boat and dive for three meters, swim under a rocky ledge, then swim in the cave pool on the other side. To access it I had to access my breath for about 5 to 10 seconds and the local guides pulled us to open the way into the cave. Once inside, it was quite dark and difficult to see, but then our guides told us to start wading and the water started to shine in an electric blue color … beautiful! It was scary but frankly to do once!
  2. Magkukuob cave. This place was super cool to visit, you have to enter the cave through a small entrance, walk and climb through the cave and exit at the top of the cliff. And there a diving board of 5 meters awaits you! This is the main attraction;)
  3. The jellyfish sanctuary. After visiting both Hagukan Cave and Magkukob Cave inside Sohoton National Park, our private boat returned to the pier from where we left. So to be honest, my companions were hungry! We then waited for lunch and we no longer had time to visit the jellyfish sanctuary. priorities hahaha! But from what the guide explained to me, there is a corner where dozens of small jellyfish swim freely. And their peculiarity is that these jellyfish do not bite! You can then take some in your hands .. for the most courageous;) Here is our half-day visit to Sohoton Cove! If you have time, I strongly recommend you spend a whole day there because there are so many other sites even more impressive to visit 🙂

#15 – Surf and sunset Cloud 9

MANDATORY STOP! Dear friend, it is time to live the Siargao experience to the FULLEST! Go to the Cloud 9 station at General Luna to take your first surf lessons (for those who have never done it)! There you will come across very easily recognizable surf instructors = they are very tanned and often have long / blond hair hehe

It’s 500pesos an hour with rental of the surfboard (all the same price). Choose the Kuya with whom you have a good vibes hehe Personally it was the young Angel who taught me to surf!

Surfboards at Station Cloud 9

 

Cloud 9 is an iconic corner in Siargao. You can surf there because the waves are perfect for beginners. In addition, it is not very deep. By cons beware there are small rocks so be careful when you fall

 

Healthy breakfast at Shaka Café, Cloud 9

Finally, watch one of the most beautiful sunsets on the island of Siargao. We never get tired of them..!

Sunset at Cloud 9 @heyoleah
Sunset at Cloud 9 @laagan007

#16 – Party! Day pool party & Night out

Siargao in particular the town of General Luna is one of the most popular meeting places on the island for partying, dancing, socializing, watching live bands and drinking.

Indeed, you have about twenty restaurants, bars and hotels / resorts that enliven the city! Some would even compare Siargao to Bali or Boracay, but the local government is taking steps to avoid excess. For example, following very wild parties, it’s been several months since- the local mayor imposed a curfew at midnight for security reasons. But the evening starts early because it is early night, around 17-18H in the Philippines;)

As soon as night falls, General Luna has a completely different face! I recommend that you take a tour of the stores (open until 10 p.m. – very pricey! European prices) to buy yourself – t-shirts, caps, little grigris. Dine locally either in a relaxing atmosphere like at Emelia’s, Mama’s Grill, Isla Mercato or if you want a more classy European touch in restaurants / resorts like Isla Cabana, Kanilaw, Bravo and Kermit! (More info on another article to come)

And then go to one of the club bars / resorts to party! Rumbar, Baile, Harana, Lampara etc. Indeed, Siargao is also known for its many Full Moon Party evenings, pool parties, Live Band, Night parties mixing reggae, electro, techno, Brazilian funk, old school hip hop which welcome both Local and international DJs! It is an experience to live in Siargao in order to have a complete experience!

WHERE TO GO?

There is a week calendar which indicates where the evening will take place! So ask your receptionist where the evening will take place and don’t miss this opportunity!

 

So has this article made you want to visit the island of Siargao ?!

Check out my other articles to complete your trip and above all book your tickets in advance for preferential rates with your Visit-Philippines travel agency!

 

Rédigé par

@heyoleah

Suivez moi sur Facebook, Instagram et Youtube – @heyoleah

xx

Léah with an H

 

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