Siargao may be a teardrop-shaped island but over the years, it has become a go-to happy place for many locals and foreigners alike. Its remoteness from the urban noise and closeness to nature continue to attract people into moving here for the basic and holistic island lifestyle.
Aside from the island’s mainstream reputation for being a surfer’s paradise, it actually has a lot more to offer. You can explore its majestic rock formations and enjoy its nice beaches with crystal blue waters.
The simple life in Siargao is never dull with so many adventures waiting for you to hop on. Read on and find out how you can make the most of your Siargao trip.
How to Get There
Before we embark on a narrated journey to Siargao’s finest spots, let’s start with how to get there first. We prepared the ultimate guide on how to get to Siargao–to its airport, from the airport to General Luna, and your options, of course.
Whether you’re coming from Manila, Cebu, Clark, or Davao, there are already direct flights that will take you straight to Siargao’s own Sayak Airport. Cebu Pacific, Skyjet, and Philippine Airlines are the operating airlines for these flights.
The cheapest average flight from Manila to Siargao is 3000 PHP/ 60 USD for Cebu Pacific flights. The flight from Manila takes approximately 2 hours.
There are Roll-on, Roll-off (RoRo) ferries that leave to and from Surigao City. If you’re coming from that city, you can just go to the main seaport of Siargao in Dapa by boat for only 200-300 PHP/ 3-6 USD.
Once you get to the airport, you’ll still have to travel to General Luna, which is where the happenings are. Sayak Airport is located in a different municipality called Del Carmen. Here are your options in getting to General Luna:
This is the cheapest and quickest transfer to General Luna. For only 300 PHP/6 USD, you can enjoy the comfort of an airconditioned vehicle and arrive at your destination in 45 minutes.
Multi-cabs are like shrunken trucks that have enough space for luggage and a few people. The vehicle rental is 1500 PHP/ 30 USD.
By Motorcycle (Habal-Habal Service)
If you want to get into the island vibe early on and you’re not carrying a lot or some big luggage, then rent a motorcycle right at the airport. You can also hire a motorcycle, which is called habal-habal service.
The habal-habal fare is 500 PHP/ 10 USD and the rental costs the same per day.
10 Things to Do
Enjoy the Coolest Surf Spots
Let’s begin this list with the surfing scene. After all, it’s the surfing capital of the Philippines. Also, its most popular surfing spot, Cloud 9 is not just the best in the country but is recognized in the top ten waves of the world list as well.
The good thing about Siargao is it has surfing spots for different levels. Whether you’re an amateur or already a seasoned surfer, there’s a wave that’s just right for your rhythm.
- Cloud 9: This is where the annual Siargao Cup takes place, so this is definitely not for new surfers. Professionals can expect a surge of adrenaline in riding this surf break’s incredible barrels. It’s what made Siargao a surfing capital, so only expect a hell of a thrill.
- Guiuan (G1): This almost secret surf break is perfect for visitors of the island who want to learn the sport and see the breath-taking views around the island.
- Stimpy’s: If you are a short-boarder who loves good left-handed waves, this is the perfect site for you. However, this area is usually crowded but with some luck, you can have the waves to yourself at times too.
- Jacking Horse: This is the most visited beginner’s wave on the island. It’s the friendliest place to learn how to surf, but it would require a great deal of paddling if you’re really new to catching waves.
- Rock Island: Head out to this spot if you like fast, right-handed waves with drops that can be pretty steep. Known for having tricky waves, here’s a challenge you might want to take on.
- Pacifico: This is for advanced surfers who are looking for double-overhead left-handed barrels. Although the drive to this surf break can take up to an hour from General Luna, the big and crazy waves are definitely worth it.
Visit the Tayangban Cave Pools
This main tourist site in Siargao is a 30-minute motorcycle drive away from General Luna. On the way here, you’ll catch a good sight of the beautiful fields on the island.
When you arrive at the Tayangban Cave Pools, you’ll be asked to pay an entrance fee of 70 PHP/ 1.5 USD per head. You would need to hire a guide as well, and it’s due to the expertise needed in navigating the dark caves.
Be kind to tip the guide and the people who will also look after your valuable items while you’re in the caves. These people will be safekeeping your belongings in their own homes. It’s their only livelihood for their little families as well.
Once you get inside the cave, expect a single dim-lit torch to carry you through the darkness. You have nothing to worry about such a condition, though.
You’ll have the cerulean waters shining subtly throughout the cave tour anyway. Just enjoy swimming until you reach an archway leading to the other side where the bright sun is looking down on vines where you can jump into the open pool.
Spend some time hanging on these exotic vines or jumping off a nice cliff into the 18-foot deep water.
Go Island Hopping
Siargao has three magnificent island destinations: Daku Island, Guyam Island, and Naked Island. These slices of heaven have pristine light sands and emerald waters.
You can book a private island hopping tour here. It only costs 795 PHP/16 USD to join a group. This rate is inclusive of a tour guide, set lunch, entrance and docking fees, life vests, and boat ride.
With all of those things covered, you just have to prepare for what you’re going to see on the three islands. Here’s what to expect:
- Daku Island: Daku island has a wide stretch of white shores that’s spacious enough to play beach volleyball, frisbee, or just set up a picnic with friends or family. There are also plenty of coconut trees and hammocks around that will put you in full tropical relaxing mode.
- Guyam Island: Guyam is known for its delightful shallow glass-like waters surrounded by ivory sands and striking rock formations. The beach has cool waters that are perfect for a sunny day. A quick tip: lie on the velvet sands after a dip in the waters. Doing so can cause a therapeutic effect that should lift your spirits up, especially if you’re dealing with stress or any negative emotions.
- Naked Island: If you want to get a tan quickly, here’s the island to be. There are hardly trees or any shed around the area so you’ll be right under the sun here. Enjoy bathing under the sun or in the cool waters lined by soft chalky sands.
Explore the Coconut Palm Forest
This coconut palm forest is located along the way to other tourist sites like the Tayangban Cave Pool. Do not just pass by these pretty palm trees. Take this as one of the free but satisfying pleasures on the island.
Make some time before your tours to visit the coconut palm forest. Bask in the unparalleled ambiance of thousands of coconut trees towering above you almost close to the sky.
This spot is particularly appealing when you visit it before sunrise. So go on an early morning motorcycle ride. Then watch the light rays of the sun hit the forest, an Instagram-worthy moment to capture.
Try Cliff Jumping at the Magpungko Rock Pools
The Magpungko Rock Pools shy away from the main tourist areas on the island. It’s hidden by the ocean most of the time. It’s during the low tide that the ocean unveils the place.
You can then see colorful fish swimming in the pools. The waters can be very shallow that you can sit in it and also be as deep as 15 feet depending on the tidal movement.
The enormous 12-foot rock where you can cliff jump from is in the middle of the deepest pool. This should be fun for the adrenaline junkies there and even for those who are just beginning to conquer their fears.
You’ll be excited to descend into the wonderful, almost see-through teal waters below anyway. The sight is just too spectacular not to fall for.
You’ll only have to pay a 50 PHP/ 1 USD entrance fee per person to experience all this. Then there are parking fees as well; 20 PHP/0.40 USD for scooters, 30 PHP/ 0.60 USD for tricycles, and 50 PHP/1 USD for 4-wheeled vehicles.
Have a Food Trip
What’s an island visit without trying its delicacies or simply taking advantage of its affordable treats? Siargao is home to many eateries locally known as carinderias and other international restaurants that cater to everyone’s taste buds.
Here are five of the most recommended places to eat on the island:
- Harana: This place is a surf resort that is a fusion of modernity and native aesthetic, including hammocks. The restaurant serves Filipino dishes with some signature kick. They take pride in their Adobo Bibimbap and Halo-Halo with Watermelon, so make sure to try those out. You should also visit them on a Friday night for their Open Jam night.
Address: Tuason Point, General Luna, Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte
- Mama’s Grill: For only 150-200 PHP/3-4 USD, you can already get an authentic barbeque, some seafood, and drinks as well. The place is known for its Grilled Pork BBQ, Grilled Marlin, and Isaw. Due to the popularity of the joint, the waiting time can go up to 2 hours. Make sure to arrive there early before the peak dinner time if you want to get your barbeque right away.
Address: Tourism Rd., Siargao Island, General Luna, Surigao del Norte, 11 AM-3 PM & 6-10 PM Mon-Sun except Wed
- Shaka Siargao: This all-day breakfast bar serves healthy and colorful smoothie bowls, specialty coffee, and cold fruit juices. True to its branding, the restaurant uses papaya stalks instead of plastic straws. Try their bestsellers, Cloud 9 Kook and Bom Dia. You can also avail of surf photography services from this place!
Address: Tourism Road, Cloud 9, General Luna, Siargao, Surigao Del Norte, 6:30 AM-5:30 PM Mon-Sun
- Kermit: Fancy some Italian? Kermit holds the reputation for serving the best pizza in town. The restaurant is famous for its make-you-own-pizza, homemade pasta, and buy 1 take 1 cocktail. The Kermit Pizza, Pan-Seared Tuna, and Mango Daquiri are among their specialties. Check their daily specials for more surprises.
Address: Kermit Surf Resort, Purok 5 8419 General Luna Siargao Island, Surigao Del Norte, 7 AM-11 PM Mon-Sun
- La Carinderia: Comfort has never been this tasty with this restaurant that offers Filipino and Italian comfort food. Even their cocktails and local coffee are touched with some Italian flavors. From 6 PM onwards (except on Tuesdays), La Carinderia hosts a seafood grill selection you should definitely try.
Address: Purok 5 8419 General Luna Siargao Island, Surigao Del Norte, 10am-10pm Mon-Sat, 6am-10pm Sun
Join one of the Nightly Beach Parties
There is nothing like the nightlife in Siargao. There’s no need to get all dressed up as it’s all about the charms of the moonlight, meeting new souls, the sea breeze, good old alcohol, and great music.
Here are three of the most notable places to party on the island:
- Jungle Disco: If you want to dance the night away, here’s the club for you. Just take note that this is a dirt dance floor so make sure you’re ready for that. This dirt club is the most active on Tuesday and Friday nights.
- Offshore Bar: Known for its cheap beers and billiards, this bar is where the expat community hangs out. Head to this place for a laidback night and some soft-serve ice cream.
- Rum Bar: This is where the real beach party happens. Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday nights are the best time to go if you want to witness Siargao’s party scene at its rawest.
Go on a Sohoton Cove Island Hopping Tour
A Sohoton Cove Island Hopping Tour can fill your whole day with excitement as you would be visiting different remarkable sites that will make you admire the island even more. For only 2150 PHP/ 43 USD, you can join a day tour that already covers your lunch. Book the tour here.
Here are the places you’ll be going to on this tour:
- Blue Lagoon (Titikan Lagoon): This place has an extraordinary combination of milky blue and lucent azure waters. It’s definitely not something you’ll easily see anywhere.
- Crystal Cave: Prepare to walk several hundred meters inside a cave where you’ll be greeted by bats and stalagmites. This is not a good activity to venture into if you’re a claustrophobe like me as the cave is almost just a tight tube.
- Hagukan Cave: This cave is like a portal to another world with its sapphire waters glowing like they’re powered by LED. Swim the entire cave like a kid finding out about a psychedelic blue Narnia.
- Magkuku-ob Cave: This one is such an interesting cave. You swim into it then climb up of it, only to dive from a 5-meter cliff. back into the lagoon where you started.
- Club Tara Resort Diving Board: If the Magkuku-ob Cave’s cliff jump wasn’t enough, there’s always this last stop. Here, you can jump from a 5-meter diving board into yet another amazing water. Check out the lake behind the resort as well where there’s a deck perfect for just sitting in peace after a full day cave hopping.
Take Pictures on Siargao’s Iconic Road
You should not miss a photo opportunity with the most iconic spot in Siargao (Instagram-wise). If you have a drone, make sure to fly it over trees where you can have a full view of the road and the green hills ahead.
Don’t worry, even if you’re just using a regular camera. After all, the road is such a classic Siargao thing that just a photo of you standing there is enough. The road is the main vibe, I guarantee.
Watch the Sunset at Cloud 9 Pier
Getting to the best point to watch the sunset in Siargao is also another free amusement like waiting for the sunrise in the coconut palm forest. Sit on the edge of the hut of the pier and relax to the sight of pastel hues slowly dimming into the night.
This is the perfect way to end a long day of hopping from different restaurants and discovering new corners of the island.
Siargao is one of the remaining pristine islands of the Philippines. Due to the influx of tourists in the area, there’s a risk that the island might lose its purity and original spirit. So enjoy the sights, respect the locals, and clean as you go.