Siargao – Guide to Paradise on Earth
On the far east of the Philippines, lies the remote and idyllic island of Siargao. Surrounded by beautiful blue waters, stunning lagoons and covered with palm trees, Siargao is a true paradise. The peaceful atmosphere of the island and its people make Siargao our favourite destination in Asia. If you are planning to visit this wonderful place, read on this guide to find out what best Siargao has to offer!
- What do to on Siargao
- Getting to the Island
- When to go
- Good-to-know Infos
- Where to Eat
- Where to stay
Surf at Cloud 9
Siargao is a mekka for surfers. Cloud 9 has some of the world’s best surf breaks and hence attracts surf enthusiasts from all over the world. The surfing conditions are great year-round, perfect for advanced surfers, as much as for those who’d like to give it a try. On the beach by Cloud 9 pier, you can find boards to rent and instructors.
Swim in Magpupungko Rock Pools
Magapupungko Rock Pools are located 45 minutes away by scooter from General Luna and are one of the most popular things to do in Siargao. There is a stunning long, white sand beach, surrounded by palm trees, but that’s not all. The low tide uncovers the rock pools, perfect for bathing and even cliff jumping!
↬ Note : Make sure to check the hours of low tides as it changes daily. Entrance to the pools during high tide is forbidden. Be aware of strong current even during low tide and take care when in the pools. I hurt myself badly when the water pulled out of the pool onto the sharp rocks. The water was sucking me and swept me over the rocks and had no way to stop myself. But thanks to my hero Hamilton ?who throw himself to catch me, I ended up with only with few scratches and bruises.
Coconut palm tree forest
There is no real indication to this spot, but it’s impossible to miss it. On your way to the north of the island you will drive onto the unbelievable view of canopy of palm trees spreading for kilometres. This jaw-dropping view is worth a stop every time you pass by and we think it’s worth mentioning in this Siargao guide.
↬ TIP : When driving a scooter or motorbike on the island, make sure to always get on the bike from the left side. After stopping at the palm tree forest, I got on the motorbike from the right side and burnt my calf pretty badly because of the boiling hot exhaust pipe ?I had to wear a bandage covering this rather large burnt for our whole trip. We actually saw lots of other people with similar injury.
Discover the incredible Sohoton Cove
Hands down it’s the most incredible place in Siargao. Even if it’s not technically located on the island. ?Sohoton Cove is a Natural Park in Buca Grande, an hour boat ride from General Luna in Siargao Island. You will dive in stunning underwater caves, swim in between mountains of lush, green vegetation, find your way out from a cave and pass by sea of jelly fish.
Go island hopping
There are 3 small, idillic islands just a short boat ride from General Luna: Daku, Guyam and Naked Island. Each has different vibe and things to offer. On a day tour from Siargao you will visit those 3 islands and have lunch on one of them. It’s amazingly relaxing and fun experience.
↬ Read : Sohoton Cove & Island Hopping in Siargao – a Day in Paradise (The 2 photos after were taken the same day btw ?)
Jump into waters of Sugba Lagoon
Sugba Lagoon is a great day trip just a short long tail boat ride away from Siargao. It’s a beautiful lagoon surrounded by epic mountains covered with green vegetation. It’s a huge sanctuary, so even if you won’t get this place all to yourself, you’ll be able to enjoy it without crowds.
↬ Note : Sugba Lagoon was a priority for us while visiting Siargao. We planned it for the third day of our visit, but the night before I had too many calamansi mojitos in Bravo and couldn’t get out from the bed until late afternoon… We missed our chance to see this place, but that’s one of the reasons we definitely will come back to Siargao?
Have a smoothie bowl at Shaka Cafe
This cute, little hut Shaka Cafe serves the best acai bowls, smoothies and fresh juices on the island. I’d say it’s a must stop for anybody visiting the island. It opens at 6.30 AM which means it’s the perfect spot for breakfast and coffee before your boat ride to Sohoton Cove or Island Hopping tour that always start around 7-7.30 AM.
Watch sunset at Cloud 9 Pier
The pier at Cloud 9 is the most famous spot to watch the sunset on the island. This beautiful wooden pier stretches 30 metres onto the sea and has a 2 floors area at the end. It’s one of the most romantic spots in Siargao.
↬ TIP : If you want to avoid the crowds, come for sunrise instead of sunset. The views and colours will be astonishing and there is a good chance you will be all by yourself.
Chill at Ocean 101 or Kermit
We absolutely loved the chill vibe at Ocean 101 and we hanged out there a few times, even if we stayed in their accommodation just for one night. There is a cute wooden hut from which you can watch the sunset as well as beautiful outdoor space with hammocks to just relax. We saw many people doing yoga as well.
Kermit Resort is one of only few high standards hotels on the island. The grounds are really beautiful and their breakfast choice if fabulous. It also has great wifi signal which is not common on the island.
Enjoy a night out at Bravo
Even if you are not a party person, this is a place you simply should not miss. Bravo is one of the best restaurants on the island, serving delicious food and amazing cocktails. We loved their idea of putting 2 couples on a table sitting 4 people, to minimize the waiting time. Thanks to this, we spent a very fun evening exchanging travel experiences with a young couple from Spain. It was our favourite night on the island.
↬ TIP : Try their calamansi mojitos, but be aware that this drink is deceively strong ?
One of the most beautiful beaches on Siargao. Located on the northern tip of the island, it’s not very popular with tourists. There is a great chance you will have this beach to yourself. The white sand and crystal clear waters are encircled by countless palm trees, making this beach a true idyllic paradise.
↬ TIP : On the way to Alegria Beach stop at Tak Tak waterfall, the only waterfall on Siargao.
Tak Tak waterfall
It’s the only waterfall on Siargao. Located in the north, it takes about 1h30min by motorbike to reach it. It’s a great stop on your way to the idyllic Alegria beach.
↬ TIP : There is a small entrance fee of 25 PHP (0,4 EUR)
Swim in Tayangban Cave Pools
Located on the way to Magpupungko Pools, there is a cool cave you might like to check out. There is an indication on the road so it’s pretty easy to find. We planned to stop there on our way back to General Luna, but we hanged out longer at the Magpupungko Pools and arrived too late.
There is a small entrance fee and you need a guide to enter this cave in Siargao. For a few minutes, you will be surrounded by complete darkness and have only your guide with a torch light for guidance.
Feel the wind in your hair driving across the island
Siargao is definitely best explored with a motorbike. Driving through the island covered in palm trees, passing through beautiful rice fields and mangroves it’s a highlight itself. Hop on your rental and drive north, feeling the wind on your face and admiring this tranquil paradise. That being said, the experience there is a bit different from anywhere else in Asia we’ve been to. The bikes in Siargao are pretty much all semi automatics 125CC. You have a pedal at your feet and you need to change the speed manually. There is not much traffic on the island, and helmets are kind of superflous for people there… Riding your bikes on this island really gives you a sensation of freedom. It’s really awesome. ??
Getting to Siargao
Siargao is located on the east of the Philippines and has a small airport.
Getting there by plane is definitely the easiest way. There are direct flights from Manila, Cebu or Puerto Princess on Palawan operated by Cebu Pacific. We flew with them around the Philippines and can highly recommend this company.
The airport on Siargao is located about an hour drive from General Luna which is the main tourist destination on the island. There are minibuses waiting at the exit hall on the airport. For 350 PHP (6 EUR) per person they will drop you off right in front of your hotel. There is no need to pre book it.
You can also get to Siargao from Cebu by ferry. It is a cheaper option, but far less easy and comfortable as the night ferry goes first to Surigao, and then you must take another ferry to Siargao.
Directly at Cebu Port, buy a ticket for a night ferry to Surigao. There are 2 companies Cokaliong departing at 7 PM and arriving in Surigao at 3.30 AM and Lady of Love departing at 8 PM and arriving in Surigao at 4.30 AM. The prices for the tickets are the same: around 1100 PHP (19 EUR) per person for a bunk bed inside the ship. Cokaliong is said to be more comfortable.
Once in Surigao, you will have to take another ferry to Siargao leaving at 4 AM and the ticket costs around 150-300 PHP (2.5 – 5 EUR) per person. You will then arrive in Siargao Dapa Port at 7.30 AM. From the port you can take tuk-tuk to General Luna.
Getting around the island
The easiest and best way to travel around Siargao is by rented scooter/motorbike. It costs around 350 PHP per day (6 EUR) and you can find rentals anywhere in General Luna. If there will be no bikes available at the spot were you ask, the locals will give you a ride to another shop, without any charges. People are nice like that there !
↬ Note : Helmets are not really used in Siargao, and getting them is quite a challenge.
Best time to visit
As Siargao is located on the far west part of the Philippines, the seasons here run a bit differently than for the rest of the country. The ideal time to visit is from March to October as it’s the dry season. There is a surf competition held in Siargao in September, which attracts lots of people.
How long to stay
Siargao is a true paradise. We love this island most our of all of our travels in Asia. We stayed 3 nights and we were at least a day short. I think the minimum time to spend on the island is 4 nights if you’d like to experience the highlights. But we think that you could easily stay on Siargao for a month and still enjoy this place as if you just arrived.
Good to know
Make sure you have enough cash for your stay. There are no ATM in General Luna, the closest one is in Dapa, by the port. In most of the hotels you can pay by credit card, but most of restaurants accept cash only.
If you need to exchange currencies, head to Ronaldo’s . We got the best exchange rate here throughout our whole trip in the Philippines.
There are many cute shops on the road in General Luna selling clothing, surf equipment, jewellery and souvenirs. We both got a pair of hand made sandals for 550 PHP (10 EUR) each and use them all the time.
Where to eat
Siargao has many cool spots to eat. The food is always fresh, including seafood caught daily and fresh vegetables. We give you our favorite places of Siargao in this guide:
Bravo: Amazing food and great night life
Shaka Cafe: Perfect breakfast spot, best acai bowls and smoothies
Mama’s Grill: budget friendly option. Great barbecue food in a simple hut.
Kermit: The best resort on the island, it also has a great restaurant for a fancier night out.
CEV: This new restaurant serves great ceviche
Respect the island
Siargao is becoming more and more popular with tourists. This is a real paradise on earth and we all should try to keep it this way. People on Siargao are one of the kindest we have ever met and treat tourists as they own, not as stranger. We kindly ask you to respect the nature on the island and the way people live.
Locals try to do what’s in their power to minimize the negative impact tourism has on their idyllic island, therefor the use of single-use plastic on the island is forbidden. Never leave any trash behind and be respectful.
Where to stay in Siargao
The tourist in Siargao bloomed over the past years, therefor there are many new hotels and resorts on the island. The best area to stay in definitely General Luna, where most of hotels and restaurants are located.
↬ Find all hotels for Siargao Island on booking.com