You love to surf. In fact, surfing was one of the things you always did until you got into college, graduated, and got a job. And then you got married and then it looked like the years went by.
Now, you have decided to go on a vacation and you want to choose an exotic spot that has its perks and attractions for both you and your partner. And so you go on a search for an ideal vacation spot that is not so popular but is as beautiful as the ones you know of.
Like some ads will say, “Look no further!” I might have the perfect solution for you. Actually, the scenario I painted up there was where I was at until I discovered Siargao ( I mean looking for an ideal vacation spot).
Siargao is known as the surfing capital of the Philippines and is listed as the 2nd best island to visit in the Philippines.
- 1 About Siargao Philippines
- 2 Best Time To Visit Siargao Island
- 3 How To Get To Siargao Island, Philippines?
- 4 Siargao Airport To General Luna
- 5 How To Get Around General Luna?
- 6 Where To Stay In Siargao?
- 7 Activities You Can Do In Your Siargao Trip
- 8 Sample Siargao Itinerary And Expenses
- 9 Final Words On Siargao Philippines Travel Guide, Itinerary And Expenses
About Siargao Philippines
Siargao is a teardrop-shaped island in the Philippine Sea region. It is located in the region of Mindanao, the southeast of Surigao Del Norte province. It is surrounded by nine municipalities, namely General Luna, Burgos, Dapa, Del Carmen, San Benito, Pilar, San Isidro, Santa Monica, and Socorro.
Siargao is known for its surf waves, and its clear blue waters, white-sand beaches, and coastal reefs.
Siargao is the perfect blend for surfers and tourists in that it is popular for its surf waves, so much that there is an annual surfing competition held by the government of Surigao Del Norte.
For tourists and locals, Siargao has a large mangrove forest reserve, exotic wildlife, a vast amount of coconut farms, rock pools, cave pools, lagoons, and waterfalls. I am sure this is why the island is named “Siargao”, which is popularly translated to mean “a slice of heaven”.
The closest town to Siargao Island is General Luna and it is considered to be the most popular place to stay if you are going on a visit to the island.
You will enjoy the friendliness and welcoming nature of the Filipino locals. They happily share their culture and traditions, and if you have a quick ear for language learning, you can learn to speak their local language (Surigaonon) although they speak and understand English and Filipino very well.
Another thing to note though is that cash is the more appreciated mode of payment in Siargao. So, you might want to go there a little more prepared. The currency used in Siargao is the Philippine Pesos (PHP), which goes at the exchange rate of 100PHP to $1.96USD (as of October 2019).
Best Time To Visit Siargao Island
I know the surfers inched closer to the screen to see this part of this article. Not to worry, one of the greatest things about Siargao Island is that the surf is all-year-round. Although, there are seasons that will be more favorable to some tourists/visitors than others.
All year round, there is a perfect weather season to visit Siargao, and this will determine the best time to visit Siargao for you. For example, the dry season on the Island is between March to October, meaning that the rainy season begins in November, all through February.
If you plan on surfing the beautiful Siargao waters, the best time to visit Siargao would be between August and November because the swell tides and wind conditions are usually at their best during these months. You can even enjoy the International Surfing Competition while you are at it, just that you will have to share your vacation spot with a crowd!
If you enjoy boating or kayaking, the best time to visit Siargao would be between March and October. This period is the dry season, and you will enjoy the sunny side of the island, with the sun reflecting on the crystal blue waters and moderate to light winds.
Note though that any other time of the year is also ideal for boating and kayaking in Siargao. If you like to fish, March to May is the best time to fish to your heart’s content. There is actually a Game Fishing Tournament in Siargao that takes place in April, so you can do what you love and get recognized for it. Cool, right?
Scuba diving is best carried out between April and October, which is during the dry season because the waters are clear and thus visibility is better, and you can dive safely because of smaller swell tides.
You can use this opportunity to also visit the well-known diving spots in Siargao. Windsurfing and Kiteboarding are best done between December till March.
Most tourists agree that a cool spot to ride the winds will be in the warm, shallow, clear water lagoon in front of Viento Del Mar. There is even a Kite School for beginners and those who want to learn Kiteboarding.
Now, all the things I listed above mean that you will find an activity to do in Siargao, no matter the time of the year that you visit. Siargao is rich in activities, all-year-round.
How To Get To Siargao Island, Philippines?
To get to Siargao Island, you can either go by air or on water (by a ferry or by a boat);
1. Getting to Siargao Island by Air
Siargao has a small but functional airport, known as the Sayak Airport and this airport allows flights from major cities in the Philippines like Manila or Cebu.
If you want to go directly to Siargao from Manila, it is most advisable to go by flight. You can also go by ferry, but flying saves you more time howbeit expensive. Cebu Pacific and Skyjet are the only airlines that fly directly from Manila.
The average cost of a flight from Manila to Siargao is 4,000PHP (approximately $79USD) and it takes an average of 2 hours.
If you are traveling from Cebu to Siargao, you can use Philippine Airlines or Cebu Pacific. Philippine Airlines also offers flights from Manila to Siargao, but they will usually make a stop in Cebu. They also fly from cities like Clark and Davao, while Cebu Pacific is your option if you want to fly from Surigao City to Siargao. Flights from Cebu to Siargao take at least an hour.
I would advise that you book your flights in advance so that you can snag a cheaper airfare.
2. Getting to Siargao Island by Ferry
This option is the most popular alternative to flights to Siargao Island. In fact, some visitors split their trip by taking the ferry to Cebu first and then taking a flight to Siargao Island. The most popular ferries used for transport to Siargao are the Roll-on, Roll-off (RoRo) ferries.
These ferries are located at the Dapa Port (which is the main seaport), in the municipality of Dapa. The ferry makes a total of 6 trips from Cebu to Siargao and from Siargao back to Cebu every week. You can also take a ferry from Manila, but it takes over 24 hours and there will be multiple stops before you arrive at your destination.
You can also take a ferry from Surigao City to Siargao as well. The average cost of a ferry depending on your destination is 2,900PHP (from Manila to Siargao) (approximately $57.11USD), 290PHP (from Surigao to Siargao) (approximately $5.71USD), and 800PHP (from Cebu to Siargao) (approximately $16USD).
3. Getting to Siargao Island by Boat
Trigger Boats are also another option if you do not want to travel using a ferry. They are usually more pricey than using ferries but within the same time frame.
Cokaliong Lines is a credible shipping company that offers trips from Cebu to Surigao. The vessel departs Cebu from Dapa Seaport in the evening daily and is set to arrive at Surigao City Port in the afternoon. This trip costs an average of 850-900PHP (approximately $16.74USD-$17.72USD).
Siargao Airport To General Luna
Siargao Airport, also known as Sayak Airport is located approximately 45 minutes from General Luna, the city closest to Siargao. General Luna is the major town where most activities occur.
Most of the hotels, resorts, restaurants, and surfing camps like Cloud 9, Quicksilver, etc. are located in the town. The fastest and cheapest way of getting to General Luna from Sayak Airport is by using a rented van, which enables you to meet other tourists.
The average time for traveling with a van to General Luna is 45 minutes. It costs a minimum amount of approximately 300PHP (about $5.91USD). But, if you want a more comfortable option to travel to General Luna, you might want to use a cab or taxi.
Cab fares are usually between 102PHP-104PHP ($2USD -$4USD), and can go up to 559PHP-711PHP ($11USD-$14USD) for charter taxis. If you want to rent a cab, you might spend as much as 1500PHP (approximately $29.54USD).
There are taxis outside the airport, and you can take any of those. You can use online booking methods like Rome2rio to book a car or taxi as soon as you touchdown Siargao Airport.
Another mode of transportation you can use to get to General Luna from Sayak Airport is by using “Habal-habal” (local word meaning “motorbike”). The “habal-habal” trip lasts an average of between 45-60 minutes and their fares range from 500PHP (approximately $9.85USD).
You can also rent a motorbike per day at the same price. Using a motorbike, however, would not be the most advisable option if you have extra luggage.
How To Get Around General Luna?
Upon arrival at General Luna, you will be so mesmerized (or maybe you are just pumped with Vacation Adrenaline!) that you will want to explore the town immediately. Some hotels and resorts have the extra service of providing tour vans that can transport you from the airport to General Luna, and also within the city.
You will also have other options for exploring the city and enjoy some of the most scenic rides aside from vans. Some of which include:
1. “Habal-habal” (motorcycle) or by tricycle
“Habal-habal” and tricycles are the most common means of transport around the island. The local government has standard rates for them, but starting from the cheapest, you can flag down habal-habal drivers along the roads for 20PHP (approximately $0.39USD) one-way, but it can go up to 50PHP (approximately $0.98USD) for rides around midnight.
You can also go right ahead and rent your own bicycle for a daily rate of 250PHP (approximately $4.92USD) if you want to be in control of your movements and even exercise.
This is the fastest and most recommended mode of transport around General Luna. Motorbikes can be rented for a week at 350PHP (approximately $6.89USD) per day and 400-450PHP (approximately $7.88USD-$8.86USD) for less than a week.
4. Car Rental
If you are not on a budget or you are an “elitist” tourist, you might want to rent a car to take you around the town at the rate of 2,500PHP (approximately $49.23USD).
Where To Stay In Siargao?
Siargao has hotels and accommodation for all budgets, so you will definitely find something to your taste; and not just to your taste, but one that suits your budget as well.
You will also find a hotel that suits you according to the activities that you engage in. General Luna contains most of the hotels and accommodation, and I will just give a brief list of some hotels that cut across budget in different regions close to the Island:
Recommended Hotels in General Luna
The town of General Luna is the best spot to stay on Siargao Island. Truth be told, this area does not only boast surfing hotspots, particularly Cloud 9 but also offers a lively party scene. So if you enjoy nightlife as well, then you might want to choose any of these places.
1. Lampara Siargao Boutique Hostel
2. Isla Cabana
3. Paglaom Hostel
4. Sandy Feet Resort
5. Turtle Surf Camp
6. Kalipay Resort
7. Cloud 9 Resort
8. Vivo Inn
9. Hiraya Surf Hostel
10. Buddha’s Surf Resort
11. The White House
12. Ocean 101 Resort
13. Eddie’s Beach Resort Siargao
14. Point 303 Resort
Recommended Hotels in Malinao
A closer alternative to General Luna is Malinao. So, if you want peace and quiet but want to be close to General Luna, you can choose to stay in Malinao.
If you also love Snorkeling, sunbathing, and watching sunsets over the islands of Guyam and Dako, you can do them in the area. You can rent a motorbike so you can still visit all the restaurants and parties in General Luna. Recommended Hotels in Malinao include;
1. The Village Siargao
2. Nay Palad Hideaway
Recommended Hotels in Pacifico/San Isidro
Pure serenity makes it worth the drive to the Northeastern part of Siargao. Pacifico, which many may not know as you focused on the fame of Cloud 9.
Unlike General Luna, there are few accommodations in this region but you can still find some awesome places to stay at, some of which include;
1. Calypso Surf and Dive
2. Grotto Gardens
Recommended Hotels in Socorro (Bucas Grande)
Socorro is another option for accommodation for you and is perfect for Island hopping, especially if Sohoton Cove and Lagoon is part of that plan. Some places you will love to stay include;
1. Serenity Oceanside Guest House
2. Elena Hostel and Café
Activities You Can Do In Your Siargao Trip
I am sure that with all the things we have gone through above, you already have a bucket list of things/activities to do on your Siargao travel. Siargao Island is a hive of activities for both surfers and non-surfers. Some activities you can indulge in include:
I am sure if I did not write this at the top of the list, you will need to look again! What else would you want to do in the surfing capital of the Philippines? Whether you’re an amateur or a professional surfer, there is sure to be a wave in Siargao that you can ride. For example, the surfs you can ride include;
- Cloud 9: This is the most famous surf break on Siargao and has some nice barrels. This wave is what attracts tourists, especially surfers to Siargao. Cloud 9 has singlehandedly made Siargao the surfing capital of the Philippines.
- Jacking Horse: This wave is ideal for beginners because it is very accessible. It is a great spot for learning how to catch a wave but it is often crowded with people learning how to surf and it has a strong tide.
- Stimpys: This wave is ideal because it has an “in-between” surf feel. It is ideal for those that just want to have fun on the waves.
- Pacifico: Pacifico is a bit distant from General Luna, but it has some of the biggest surfs in Siargao.
- Rock Island: If you are an experienced surfer, be my guest at Rock Island! It will give you quite an experience.
- Guyan (Secret Beach): This is a great surf for beginners and it is located about 30 minutes from General Luna.
Beginner Surf Classes cost an average of PHP1000 (approximately $19.71USD).
2. Cloud 9 Boardwalk and Tower
This is the next best thing to surfing in Siargao and it is extremely cool because it is an activity that can be enjoyed by both surfers and non-surfers.
The entrance fee for the boardwalk costs an average of 50PHP (approximately $0.99USD). You will be amazed at the view during sunrise at the end of the Cloud 9 pier.
3. Magpupungko Rock Pools
Magpupungko is an attractive alternative to surfing spots. It is a little area with coves, caves, and a lot of cliff jumping spots. You would want to enjoy this view, especially when the tides are right. It has the extra advantage of having natural pools during low tides that is attractive for swimming.
It’s an all-natural infinity pool, so to speak. A second attraction at this spot during low tides is the Magpupungko rock, which is Magpupungko’s natural historic figure.
4. Tayagban Cave Pools
Tayangban Cave is a beautiful spot that has unique twin cenotes, bat caves, and emerald rock pools. You will find a small canyon that leads to an emerald green rock pool surrounded by vines and trees at the end of Tayangban.
The rock pool has 2 cliff jumping spots for you to choose from. The entrance fee for this activity is averagely 70PHP (approximately $1.38USD).
5. Taktak Waterfalls
This should definitely be on your bucket list of adventures. The Taktak waterfalls are the only waterfall you would see in Siargao, so you would not want to miss experiencing it.
Other activities you might want to engage in Siargao Island include visiting the following places:
- Sugba Lagoon
- Sohoton Cove National Park
- Corregidor Island Tour
- Sunrise Viewpoint at the Palm Tree Forest (The Bent Palm Tree Siargao)
- Siargao Island Hopping Tour
- Pacifico Beach
- Secret Spot (Doot Beach)
- Natural Jacuzzi Pool on Hanoyoy Island
- Santa Monica Pier
- Experience the Siargao Nightlife
- Dapa Town
- Sunset at the Secret Mangrove Wharf
- Cliff Jumping
Sample Siargao Itinerary And Expenses
I thought to give you a sample itinerary. I drew up a sample assuming that you are going on a trip with a partner and that you both are splitting the expenses.
This itinerary is for 4-days and 3-nights. And I am assuming that you budget 100-150PHP (approximately $1.97USD-$2.95USD) for each meal, and budget 2000PHP (approximately $39.4USD) per night for both yourself and your partner. You can adjust this depending on the budget you have, and the length of your stay.
Day 1: Arrival
02:00 pm — Arrival, van to the hotel, 300PHP (approximately $5.9USD)
03:00 pm — Check-in and rest
07:00 pm — Dinner at Mama’s Grill, 150PHP and 20PHP fare (approximately $2.95USD and $0.39USD respectively)
08:00 pm — Return to hotel, 20PHP fare (approximately $0.39USD)
09:00 pm — Sleep
Day 2: Cloud 9 & Magpupungko
05:00 am — Leave for Cloud 9 surf camp, 20PHP fare (approximately $0.39USD)
05:30 am — Sunrise at the Tower, 50PHP(approximately $0.98USD)
06:00 am — Breakfast, 100PHP (approximately $1.97USD) for food
07:00 am – Swimming, FREE!
09:00 am — Cloud 9 surfing lessons, 1000PHP(approximately $19.70USD)
11:00 am — Early lunch, 150PHP(approximately $2.95USD)
12:00 pm — Travel to Magpupungko Rock Pools, 250PHP (500PHP fare/2 persons) (approximately $4.93USD per person)
02:00 pm — Magpupungko (low tide usually early/mid-afternoon), 50PHP (approximately $0.98USD)
05:00 pm — Return to hotel, rest, 250PHP (x2 persons) (approximately $4.93USD per person)
07:00 pm — Dinner, 150PHP(approximately $2.95USD)
Day 3: Option A: 3 Islands Tour
07:00 am — 3 Islands Tour, 750PHP(approximately $14.78USD)
08:00 am – Guyam Island, 30PHP entrance fee(approximately $0.65USD)
10:00 am — Early lunch at Daku Island, 100PHP entrance fee + 150PHP for packed lunch, 250PHP for cottage rental (approximately $1.97USD, $2.95USD and $4.93USD respectively)
01:00 pm — Return to hotel
02:00 pm — Arrive at hotel, free time
04:00 pm — Tour to the Secret Spot, 50PHP fare (approximately $0.98USD)
05:30 pm — Sunset at the Secret Spot
06:00 pm — Travel back to the hotel, 50PHP fare(approximately $0.98USD)
07:00 pm — Dinner, 150PHP (approximately $2.95USD)
Day 3: Option B: Sugba Lagoon
06:00 am — Leave for Del Carmen port, 250PHP (x2 persons) (approximately $4.93USD)
07:00 am — Breakfast, 100PHP, 30PHP parking fee(approximately $1.97USD and $0.65USD respectively)
07:30 am — Boat to Sugba Lagoon, 270PHP (1,600PHP fare/6 persons) (approximately $5.32USD per person)
08:30 am — Sugba Lagoon, 50PHP entrance fee(approximately $0.98USD)
10:30 am — Return to hotel, 250PHP (x2 persons) (approximately $4.95USD per person)
12:30 am — Arrive at hotel, free time
04:00 pm — Travel to the Secret Spot, 50PHP fare(approximately $0.98USD)
05:30 pm — Sunset at the Secret Spot
06:00 pm — Travel back to the hotel, 50PHP fare(approximately $0.98USD)
07:00 pm — Dinner, 150PHP(approximately $2.95USD)
Day 4: Departure
09:00 am — Souvenir run, brunch, 100PHP (approximately $1.97USD)
11:30 am — Checkout, leave for the airport, 300PHP per person for van fare (approximately $5.91USD)
03:30 pm — Flight out of Siargao
- If you choose OPTION A (3 Islands Tour), this Siargao itinerary will cost you at least 7,600PHP (approximately $145USD) including hotel accommodations (but not flight tickets).
- If you choose OPTION B (Sugba Lagoon), this itinerary will set you back at least 7,300PHP (approximately $140USD) including hotel accommodations (but not flight tickets).
If your budget is large enough, you can as well enjoy the 3 ISLANDS + SOHOTON COVE combination tour to have the ultimate package and you have more memories of the Siargao adventure.
Final Words On Siargao Philippines Travel Guide, Itinerary And Expenses
I hope that this travel guide gives you all you need for that amazing trip to Siargao Island. I might like to add some extra tips though;
Add a little extra cash to every budget listed on this guide. You know how you add miscellaneous expenses to every budget you make. Do the same thing here, just with extra cash for everything.
Do not forget your sunscreen due to the sun rays that you would be experiencing on the Island. But, do not use sunscreen that is dangerous to marine life. In the spirit of being eco-friendly, also try not to leave trash on the Island. You will enjoy your trip because the Island was kept clean for you; leave it clean for the next tourist as well!
You can also do well to be friendly to the locals, especially the Habal-habal drivers. Your stay would be more enjoyable that way. I hope you learned something from this article. This article arose from the need to have a total travel guide that suits both surfers and non-surfers going to Siargao Island.
So, I would really love to know what you think in the comments section. I love to hear feedback, and also tell me how your stay in Siargao went. Please share this article if you liked it. And, have an awesome vacation in the Philippine Surfing Capital!
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