After the temporary rehabilitation closure of Boracay two years ago, Siargao saw a steady increase of tourists arriving in its surroundings.
However, while Siargao did not catch the eyes of tourists up until recently, it has always been regarded as a tropical jewel by locals who thrive on the island vibe. In fact, the island was recognized recently as the BEST island in the world for the years 2018 and 2019. Since then, Siargao regularly welcomes tourists from all over the world and locals from all regions of the Philippines. The island is enticing just as it is energizing insomuch that it is quite easy to fall in love with the island. Upon arrival, you can readily see just how beautiful and picturesque the place truly is that it would render you awestruck. It is an island that is almost covered in coconut palm trees and surrounded by crystalline azure waters peppered with white powdery sand. Indeed, from that picture alone, Siargao should rank as one of the top tropical destination choices in the Philippines.
Siargao, being a natural paradise, is one of the most charming and secluded islands of the Philippines. Its laid back and relaxing vibe has always served to attract backpackers and as a result, the undeveloped beauty has been at the forefront of the nomadic backpacking lifestyle for quite a while. Regarded as one of the best surfing towns in the Philippines, Siargao welcomes a steady stream of surfers from July to December with the swell at its peak come September and October (with an average of 15-20 swells per season). However, while Siargao undeniably has some of the country’s best surfing conditions, the island is so much more than your typical surf town insomuch that even non-surfers can find a myriad of activities to do. The islands wide array of activities include everything from island hopping, beach visiting and even a vibrant nightlife scene. In fact, the island’s seemingly empty roads are sure to take you to places of natural bliss. To make the most out of your trip to this slice of paradise, take a gander at the travel guide below to ensure that you can experience Siargao in its entirety.
WHERE TO STAY IN SIARGAO
Footprints Homestay (Best Hostel)
Footprints Homestay is a hostel owned by an interracial couple (Filipino and American) owing to their sheer love for Siargao. The lively hostel is recognized as one of the very best in the island and is perfect for travelers who are looking for a place to stay and an opportunity to make friends. Footprints Homestay is one of the accommodations in Siargao that does not only provide you with a warm bed to sleep in but great memories to leave with as well.
Viento Del Mar (Best Budget Hotel)
There is absolutely no need to splurge when it comes to accommodations–particularly if you are the type who only uses the hotel to sleep in at night. Viento Del Mar is one of the hotels in Siargao that offers guests value for their money. With direct beachfront access, surfing, kitesurfing school as well as weekly events, Viento Del Mar is indeed an enticing option. While it is located on the outskirts of General Luna, it is just off the Tourism Road and is still located in a prime location.
Kalinaw Resort (Best Luxury Hotel)
Remote and luxurious are two things to describe Kalinaw Resort. Travelers who are looking for an upscale and lush experience will definitely get it from Kalinaw Resort. With the hotel’s private beach, spacious room designs, individual villa infinity pools, in-house restaurant and pool bar are just some of the few reasons that make it the best and most luxurious on the island. This lavishly designed resort will definitely leave the best kind of impression on you.
Siargao Island Villas (Best Hotel for Couples)
If you are traveling as a couple, you should never miss the chance to stay at Siargao Island Villas. Secluded but nonetheless romantic, the property’s villas make for a truly romantic getaway. With a beachfront as well as an in-house restaurant, Siargao Island Villas is one of the best options for couples looking for a honeymoon destination.
WHERE TO EAT IN SIARGAO
Regardless of whether you are a pizza fan or not, you should never leave Siargao without trying Kermit. Lauded for its great-tasting pizza, even those who have never been to Siargao have already heard of the place from friends who have tried the restaurant’s food. The Italian restaurant claims to have the best pizza in town and along with that the best chocolate lava cake on the island.
A modern surf resort of all sorts, Harana is primarily a hotel with an in-house restaurant. Their food offers are a reflection of their local pride offering Filipino eats with a delectable twist–something you ought not to miss while on the island.
Travelers on a budget will certainly love Mama’s Grill. Known as the most authentic and affordable BBQ experience in Siargao, Mama’s Grill offers skewers for as low as Php 150-200 per person and that already covers the entire meal (meat, seafood and drinks). However, be sure to arrive early as the waiting time can reach a couple of hours during peak dining hours.
La Carinderia offers a fusion of Italian and Filipino food. In fact, this restaurant is known for serving the best Italian and Filipino comfort food. To complement their menu, La Carinderia serves cocktails and local coffee with an Italian twist.
Magpupungko Rock Pool
Magpupungko is part of Siargao’s land tour. This natural rock pool found of the east coast of Siargao is best visited during the low tide as it will seemingly look like pockets little pools where you can take a dip. As it is a 45-minute drive from General Luna, you may choose to access the place by plying the route yourself (the island offers motorcycle rentals) or by taking the tricycle all the way there. Keep in mind that the Magpupungko Rock Pools are tidal, meaning that they are only accessible during the low tide when they are exposed. Check the tide times in advance to ensure you get to have the full experience.
As part of the land tour, most tour guides offer Sugba Lagoon as part of their itinerary in conjunction with Magpupungko Rock Pool. However, reaching Sugba Lagoon takes quite a while as apart from the land trip going to the jump off, you will need to take a twenty-minute boat ride. However, the trip will be worth it as Sugba Lagoon offers an unforgettable experience to its visitors. It is one of the bluest lagoons in the Philippines and for thrill seekers, there is a diving board from which you are allowed to jump into the lagoon.
Cloud nine is primarily a spot for surfers but even non-surfers can find something to do in the area. For one, it is one of the places on the island where you can witness the most beautiful sunset. Cloud 9 Siargao is also rated as the best surf break in the Philippines and as a result, it has become a favorite place for most die-hard surfers. As Cloud 9 sits on the south-east corner of Siargao island and in the small town of General Luna, it is easily accessible wherever you might be staying.
Naked Island is part of Siargao’s island hopping tour. More often than not, it is the first stop. The island’s moniker already gives it away as it is nothing more than just a tiny naked sandbar sitting in the middle of the ocean with absolutely nothing on it. There are no trees on the island so there is no shade. However, it is surrounded by colorful reefs that make it a prime spot for snorkeling. While there may not be much to do apart from getting a tan, it is a good place to get some aerial shots from a drone.
Daku is a visayan word that translates to the word “big” in English. As the name suggests, Daku is the biggest island among the three islands visited in Siargao’s island hopping tour. Typically, Daku is the next stop after Naked Island as it takes only twenty minutes to reach. More importantly, this is where visitors take their lunch.
The last stop on your Siargao Island Hopping tour is Guyam Island. Guyam is a visayan word for small and given that the island is tiny, it was named as such. The tiny little island is covered with coconut palm trees and surrounded by white sands and a shallow, rocky reef–a postcard worthy shot!
Tayangban Cave Pools
If you enjoyed Magpupungko Rock Pools then you will definitely enjoy Tayangban Cave Pools. This inland experience is unlike any other where you can discover bat caves, unique twin cenotes and emerald rock pools on a canyoneering adventure at Tayangban Cave.
Palm Tree Swing Siargao
The Palm Tree Swing in Siargao is one of the island’s best-kept secrets. In fact, it only got recognition when it was discovered on the Maasin River back in 2017. While the swing is not hard to find, it can be easily missed. Just be sure to stop as soon as you get to the bright red Maasin Bridge. From there, you can already spot the famous palm tree poking out over the Maasin River.
The peak season of Siargao invariably depends on what kind of traveler you are. While surfers typically chase the swell of the season, non-surfers who wish to just experience the beach opt for a dryer season. The peak tourist season in Siargao is between the months of March and October which is the dry season. Off-peak is during the wet season which is generally between November and February. Surfers visiting Siargao should book their trips anytime between August through November as these are the prime months for surfing.
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