Located in the Central Luzon region of the Philippines, Zambales is one of the most popular summer destinations in the country. Here you can visit pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters, explore beautiful mountains, and see historic landmarks. Aside from its natural attractions, it is also home to Subic Bay, a commercial shopping and resort district popular among families. There are so many things to do in Zambales that cater to all types of travelers.
In this article, we will take you on a virtual journey to the best Zambales tourist spots and attractions.
- 1. Anawangin Cove
- 2. Nagsasa Cove
- 3. Capones Island
- 4. Hike to Mount Pinatubo
- 5. Traverse to Mount Pundaquit
- 6. Magalawa Island
- 7. Surf in Liwliwa
- 8. Lubong Nangoloan Falls
- 9. See baby turtles hatch
- 10. Inflatable Island in Subic Bay
- 11. Potipot Island
- 12. Hermana Islands
- 13. Ina Poon Boto Chapel
- 14. Casa San Miguel
- 15. Ramon Magsaysay Museum
- 16. Rosa Farms
- 17. Botolan Wildlife Farm
- 18. Day hike traverse to the Cawag Pentalogy
- 19. Hike to Mount Tapulao
- 20. Pamulaklakin Forest Trail
- 21. Skydiving
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1. Anawangin Cove
Anawangin Cove is one of the most popular Zambales tourist spots, ideal for beach lovers. It has a unique landscape characterized by ash-colored shores, crystal-clear-waters, and enchanting pine trees. It offers a quiet getaway from the bustling city life.
The best way to enjoy Anawangin Cove is to camp under the shade of pine trees. There are also a handful of resorts, such as Destinare Beach Resort, where you can book a proper room or cottage, swim in a pool, or just enjoy the nature around you.
Aside from swimming in the beach, if offers hiking opportunities to viewpoints where you can see the entirety of the cove and island hopping tours to other nearby islands.
The peaceful ambiance, coupled with enjoyable outdoor activities, makes Anawangin Cove a must-visit destination in Zambales.
2. Nagsasa Cove
Not too far from Anawangin Cove, you will find Nagsasa Cove — another hidden paradises that showcases the raw beauty of Zambales. This cove is part of the island triad in San Antonio, Zambales (the other two being Anawangin Cove and Capones Island). It is known for its dramatic scenery, with mountains serving as a backdrop to its pristine beach and crystal-clear waters.
You can visit here on an island hopping tour or choose to stay overnight by camping. Nagsasa Cove is often less crowded compared to Anawangin Cove, which makes it ideal for those who prefer a quieter stay especially in the peak of summer months.
3. Capones Island
When visiting San Antonio in Zambales, don’t skip on stopping by Capones Island. This small island is home to a beautiful Spanish-era lighthouse, which offers panoramic views of the ocean and neighboring islands. It is also a haven for beach haven and snorkeling enthusiasts, who can explore the vibrant marine life found in the surrounding coral reefs.
Whether you want to relax on the beach, explore the underwater world, or capture stunning photographs, Capones Island is one of the best Zambales tourist spots that you shouldn’t miss.
4. Hike to Mount Pinatubo
Mount Pinatubo is one of the most iconic tourist attractions in Zambales. This active volcano is located at the tripoint of Zambales, Pampanga, and Tarlac and offers a challenging yet rewarding trek.
The most common way to reach Mount Pinatubo is by riding a 4×4 vehicle from Capas in Tarlac. If coming from Zambales, the route is easier since you will ride a bigger truck from Botolan to the jump-off point, where you will trek for 2 hours to reach the summit. There, you will be greeted with a mesmerizing turquoise-colored crater lake formed by the previous eruption of the volcano — a truly surreal and picturesque scene.
Hiking to Mount Pinatubo is an experience that will leave you in awe. It’s one of the best things to do in Zambales.
5. Traverse to Mount Pundaquit
Mount Pundaquit is a beginner-friendly mountain located in San Antonio, Zambales. The trek is relatively easy and only takes about 2 hours from the summit, from which you can enjoy a panoramic view of the mountain and shorelines.
However, hiking Mount Pundaquit also has its challenges. In the summer, you will have to endure the heat from the sun, while in the rainy months, the river along the trail is filled with strong flowing water.
The trail head to Mount Pundaquit begins at the barangay. From the summit, you can traverse down to Anawangin Cove and enjoy the rest of the day resting and swimming at its beautiful shore.
6. Magalawa Island
Another one of the best beaches in Zambales that you should visit is Magalawa Island. This small but captivating island offers a tranquil escape from the bustling city life. It is popular among beach lovers and especially those who are in a budget, since the accommodations and rates here are fairly cheap.
Here you can easily enjoy swimming, beachcombing, and snorkeling. The shallow waters near the shoreline are teeming with marine life, making it a great spot for snorkelers to explore the colorful coral reefs and encounter tropical fish. Magalawa Island also offers opportunities for island hopping, where you can explore nearby islands and witness more of Zambales’ natural beauty. Finally, it is a great place to enjoy fresh seafood since it is surrounded by local fishing communities.
With its peaceful atmosphere and unspoiled surroundings, Magalawa Island provides a serene retreat that allows visitors to unwind and reconnect with nature.
7. Surf in Liwliwa
For a weekend of surfing, head over to the quiet town of Liwliwa in San Felipe, Zambales. Liwliwa is one of the best surfing destinations in the Philippines, with huge waves ideal for both beginner and experienced surfers.
There are plenty of Liwliwa beach resorts where you can stay for a night and book surfing lessons from. Relax in a hammock, spend the whole day at the beach, wait for the beautiful sunset, and enjoy bonfire at night. This town also has a great selection of local restaurants, so you can turn your enjoy your beach vacation with good food to booth.
The best time to visit Liwliwa is during the rainy months, from July to November, when the outpours help create huge ocean waves for surfing.
8. Lubong Nangoloan Falls
Lubong Nangoloan Falls is one of the hidden gems of Zambales. Located in San Felipe just a few minutes from the surfing town of Liwliwa, this waterfall makes for a great picnic and day trip destination in the province.
To get here, you can either walk for 15-20 minutes from the jump-off point or get on a fun carabao ride.
The waterfall has three levels. At the bottom is a deep cascade where you can swim and enjoy the cool refreshing water. You can hike up to see the second and third levels, from which you can also enjoy cliff jumping.
The area surrounding the waterfall is properly maintained. There are cottages, tables, and toilets that you can use during your visit.
Lubong Nangoloan Falls is one of the must-visit Zambales tourist spots, especially if you like discovering natural attractions or simply having a relaxing nature break from the city.
9. See baby turtles hatch
One of the best things to do in Zambales is watch see baby turtles hatch and then release back at the ocean! This activity can be done in Pawicare, a non-government organization located in the town of San Narciso that aims to protect sea turtles.
There are no specific schedules for when the sea turtles will hatch from their eggs, but if you are staying in the town from November to January, you can get updated with the monitoring group at Pawicare to witness this amazing nature event.
You can also visit the center to get to know more about their advocacy and donate if you wish to do so.
10. Inflatable Island in Subic Bay
Inflatable Island is one of the newest Zambales tourist spots, catering to those who love fun water adventures. Located in Subic Bay, it is considered one of the largest inflatable playgrounds in Asia, offering a fun-filled experience for visitors of all ages.
This water theme park covers 4,200 square meters and features a wide range of thrilling and colorful obstacles, slides, towers, and floating structures. The park is divided into different zones, each offering its own set of exciting challenges and attractions.
One of the highlights of the Inflatable Island is the “Unicorn Island,” which features gigantic unicorn-shaped inflatables, rainbow slides, and a unicorn swing. The park also includes various other attractions such as the “Tarzan’s Swing,” “Human Launcher,” “Jumping Pillow,” and the massive “Vortex,” a spinning water slide that plunges you into the water.
In addition to the inflatable attractions, the park provides amenities such as sun loungers, beach beds, and beach umbrellas, where you can relax and soak up the sun. There are also food and beverage options available, ensuring that you can refuel and satisfy your hunger during your visit.
The Inflatable Island is a popular destination for families, friends, and even corporate outings. It offers a unique and unforgettable experience, where visitors can let loose, have fun, and create lasting memories.
Book an Inflatable Island ticket here.
11. Potipot Island
Known as the “Little Boracay of the North,” Potipot Island is a small but enchanting paradise located in the town of Candelaria, Zambales. T is one of the must-visit Zambales tourist attractions for those looking for a budget-friendly getaway.
Potipot Island is accessible by a short boat ride and offers a secluded escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. It is famous for its picturesque white-sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and swaying coconut trees — all of which create a postcard-perfect setting.
Here you can spend your days swimming in the inviting waters, sunbathing on the soft sand, or snorkeling to discover the vibrant marine life beneath the surface. The island is also a popular spot for beach camping, allowing visitors to spend a night under the starry sky and wake up to the soothing sound of the waves.
12. Hermana Islands
Hermana Menor and Hermana Mayor Islands, collectively known as the Hermana Islands, are two stunning islets situated off the coast of Santa Cruz, Zambales. These islands boast pristine white sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a serene atmosphere that allows visitors to unwind and escape the crowds.
Hermana Menor, the smaller of the two islands, is hugely popular due to its tropical sandbar, which emerges during low tide. It offers a secluded beach experience where you can relax, swim, and soak up the sun.
On the other hand, Hermana Mayor is a privately owned island that can be accessed by arrangement. It features more extensive white sand beaches and provides an exclusive getaway surrounded by nature’s beauty.
Whether you choose to visit one or both islands, the Hermana Islands promise a tranquil retreat and an opportunity to bask in the natural splendor of Zambales.
13. Ina Poon Boto Chapel
Located in Botolan, Ina Poon Boto Chapel is one of the most important religious landmarks in Zambales. The chapel features a simple and modern stone structure, but what’s really interesting about it is that it houses a wooden de tallado image created based on the original miraculous statue of Ina Poón Bato (“Mother of the Lord Rock”).
Devotees from all over the country visit the chapel and it is said that there were reported miracles through her intercession. Her feast day is celebrated every January 24.
14. Casa San Miguel
Casa San Miguel is one of the most unique destinations in Zambales. Situated in San Antonio, this artist retreat center is ideal for those who love art, music, and culture. It stands on a 15-hectare mango orchard and features an art gallery, a museum, and a music academy, showcasing various art forms and providing a platform for local artists to showcase their work.
Here you can explore the galleries, attend concerts and recitals, and even participate in workshops and art classes. There are also accommodations for overnight guests, which will allow you to fully immerse in the artistic ambiance.
Whether you’re an art enthusiast or simply appreciate the beauty of creativity, Casa San Miguel is one of the most interesting Zambales tourist spots that you shouldn’t miss.
15. Ramon Magsaysay Museum
The Ramon Magsaysay Museum is an important historical and cultural landmark as recognized by the National Historical Commission. Located in the town of Castillejos, the museum can be visited as a side trip to other destinations in the province, including Liwliwa.
The museum serves as a tribute to one of the most beloved presidents in the Philippines, Ramon Magsaysay. Also referred to as “Champion of the Masses,” Magsaysay led significant reforms and improvements in governance, particularly in the areas of rural development, education, and defense.
The Ramon Magsaysay Museum showcases various artifacts, memorabilia, photographs, and documents that highlight Magsaysay’s life, achievements, and contributions to the country. It not only aims to educate visitors about Magsaysay’s life and achievements but also serves as an inspiration for future generations. It aims to promote the values of good governance, public service, and integrity that Magsaysay embodied during his presidency.
16. Rosa Farms
There are many adventurous things to do in Zambales, but if you just want to do something casual and fun, then head over to Rosa Farms in the town of San Antonio. Rosa Farms is one of the most established tourist spots in Zambales and it offers a chance to explore a mango farm.
Here you can pick and pay ripe mangoes during harvest season, enjoy delicious meals made with farm-fresh ingredients including mango sticky rice and mango pizza, and join an agricultural tour or workshop.
Visiting Rosa Farm is a great activity for the whole family and those who are interested in farm tourism.
17. Botolan Wildlife Farm
Are you an animal lover? Then consider visiting at Botolan Wildlife Farm, a family-run wildlife sanctuary located at the town of Botolan, Zambales. The sanctuary is a great place to see different animals up close and enjoy a relaxing time with your family or friends.
The sanctuary is located in a 55,000-sqm property and is home to a variety of exotic animals and plants from all over the world. You can see the Philippine’s Brown Deer, the Brahminiy Kite (an endangered species of bird) and other colorful birds, ostrich, crocodiles, turtles, and even a Siberian tiger.
They also provide basic accommodations if you wish to stay the night, with meals at an additionl fee. There is also a kiddie pool for swimming, as well as other activities such as fishing and camping.
Botolan Wildlife Farm is one of the best places to visit in Zambales for animal and nature lovers.
18. Day hike traverse to the Cawag Pentalogy
Zambales is marked by beautiful mountain ranges, making it a great destination for hikers. One of the more difficult yet rewarding hikes is a day hike traverse to the Cawag Pentalogy.
The Cawag Pentalogy is a collection of five stunning mountains located in Subic, Zambales. The pentalogy includes Mt. Bira-Bira, Mt. Naulaw, Mt. Dayungan, Mt. Mabanban, and Mt. Cinco Picos. Each mountain offers its own unique charm, with trails that lead through lush forests, rocky terrains, and scenic landscapes.
The hike to complete the Cawag Pentalogy is a challenging endeavor, requiring stamina and endurance. However, the reward is worth it as you conquer each peak and enjoy views of interconnecting mountain peaks and beautiful coves. Along the way, you’ll have the chance to immerse yourself in nature, spot wildlife, and witness the beauty of Zambales’ mountains up close.
The day hike will take approximately 19 hours. However, you can also opt for a multi-day hike if you wish.
The Cawag Pentalogy is a true test of hiker’s spirit and a memorable experience for those seeking an epic adventure. It is one of the must-visit Zambales tourist attractions for those looking for challenging outdoor activities.
19. Hike to Mount Tapulao
Mount Tapulao is a favorite among mountain climbers and hiking enthusiasts. Standing at an elevation of over 2000 meters, it is the highest peak in Zambales province.
The trek to the summit has a moderate difficulty and is best reserved for experienced hikers. It takes 7-9 hours to reach the summit, depending on your pace. Despite its distance and the rocky road that comprises most of the trail, this is often done as a day hike.
During the trail, you will encounter beautiful nature views, including pine forests and a mossy forest. The summit does not have a view like other mountains, as it is surrounded by bonsai trees. Regardless, you will feel a sense of accomplishment by conquering the highest mountain in Zambales.
20. Pamulaklakin Forest Trail
One of the best Zambales tourist attractions is Pamulaklakin Forest Trail. Located within the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, it offers a unique opportunity to get to know the Aeta community and explore the province’s rich biodiversity.
Pamulaklakin Forest Trail’s name is derived from pamulaklakin vines, which grow abundantly in the area.
There are different outdoor activities that you can do here. Get to know the Aetas, their culture and everyday life, and taste their local cuisine. You can also do a short jungle tour or a 2- to 3-hour ecological tour with an Aeta guide where you will encounter various plant species, including those used as medicine by the Aetas.
Pamulaklakin Forest Trail is a great destination for those who want to know more about the indigenous communities living in the Philippines and enjoy a nature trip across the jungle.
Did you know that Zambales is one of the few places that offer sky diving activity in the Philippines? Skydiving in Zambales is held at the airport in Iba and is organized by Skydive Zambales, an organization composed of police, army, and military personnel with USPA license for skydiving.
This activity is open for first-time sky divers. All you need is courage and a couple of thousands of bucks (it is one of the most expensive activities, but definitely worth it). You can choose from either solo skydive where you will dive alone with radio assistance and a tandem skydive where you will dive with an expert diver.
Skydiving is one of the most memorable things to do in Zambales that you should add in your bucket list.
That concludes our list of best Zambales tourist spots and things to do! Do you have other recommended destinations in Zambales that first-time tourists can visit? Let us know in the comment section below!
What to read next:
Traveling to Zambales? Check out our guides:
Here are the best resorts in Zambales:
- Best Zambales Beach Resorts and 13 Private Resorts in Zambales
- Best Beach Resorts in Liwliwa
- Best Beach Resorts in Subic
- Kwentong Dagat in Liwliwa
- The Glamp Zambales in Liwliwa
- Destinare Beach Resort in Anawangin
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Katherine Cortes is a long-time backpacker and a freelance writer/editor. She likes beaches, snorkeling trips, and relaxing staycations (preferably with bath tubs!).