One of the most recommended activities in Albay is the Mayon ATV Adventure. Whether you’re young or old, you can experience first-hand how to maneuver an all-terrain vehicle across dirt roads, streams, and mountain trails – with a beautiful backdrop of Mount Mayon!
Here’s our experience including a guide on where to book your tour and a list of must-read tips!
Our ATV Experience
I went on this ATV tour in this summer of 2022. It was the last activity of our 6-Days Bicol Trip, which was organized by the Tourism Philippines Board.
We arrived there at around 4PM. We were running a bit late, so preparations were a bit rushed. We attended a short orientation and were then ushered to a long line of ATV vehicles for single- and double-person use.
At first, I was reluctant to join because I wasn’t feeling that well and – if I’m going to be honest – I’m deathly afraid of ATVs. Haha. The first time I rode one was at a resort in Rizal, and I was a screaming mess when the ATV started rolling in the flat grounds. My boyfriend Hali still laughs when he remembers it.
As fate would have it, I found an ATV buddy. Kuya Mico and I went to get the last 2-seater ATV and a guide told him how to drive it. Then we followed the rest of the ATVs outside the camp. I believe we were supposed to have a practice run, but we skipped it probably because of the rushed time.
The trail we would be doing is the Black Lava Trail. It’s a 2-hour 18-km trail from the camp to the lava wall at the foot of Mount Mayon, which was formed from volcanic eruption and mudslide sometime in 2006.
First, there were dirt roads. It was fairly easy, and even though it was Kuya Mico’s first time to drive, he did fairly well. Then there was a series of river crossings, which can sometimes be tricky. A guide was there to assist us when needed. As the driver of the ATV, you need to rev the engine to get past the opposing water flow and then maneuver the vehicle to keep it steady and avoid the huge boulders on the side.
I admit the parts where the ATV would tip slightly sideways got me scared, but at the same time I am comforted realizing that the ATV’s engine is much more powerful than an ordinary vehicle – in fact, we could stop on an upward slope, no problem.
After the river crossings, the trail was smoother. We arrived at the Lava Wall Camp during sunset. There were facilities here including small stores, cottages, and rest rooms.
We didn’t really have time to rest though. After parking our ATVs, we trekked for 5-10 minutes to the helipad. This one was also easy, but it may be challenging for those who aren’t used to mountain trekking.
The concrete helipad offers a more close-up view of Mount Mayon, which is standing about 6 kilometers away. The other side has a view of the Albay Gulf and the city.
When we arrived, it was already starting to get dark. The last remnants of the sunset gave a fiery glow to the clouds hovering beside Mount Mayon. Again, we had a full view of Mount Mayon. The locals kept telling us that the mountain is often shying away behind clouds, so the people who see it in its full glory are lucky. Some people even make a wish.
There is a zipline from the helipad that goes straight to the parking area. There were too many of us and we trekked back instead. After refreshments, we went back to our ATVs. As it was already dark, we drove through the main roads back to the camp.
Overall, it was a very enjoyable experience. Even though I was on the passenger seat, the ride still felt long and tiring. Some of the group had stiff arms and fingers from continuous holding of the handles. It was a good thing that we’d listed it as the last thing to do in our itinerary because we were so tired afterwards that it was easy to fall asleep in the bus on the way home.
Your Guide to Mayon ATV Adventure
If it’s your first time doing a Mayon ATV adventure, here are the things you need to know.
Who can do the ATV adventure
This activity is good for all ages and even those without prior experience driving an ATV. The guides will teach you how to operate the vehicle and assist you along the trail. Children can join the ride in the backride, accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
When is the best time to go
The ATV adventure can be done all-year-round. However, during extreme rains, the activity may get cancelled for safety.
What to bring
Bring only the necessities. It’s essential to bring water, since the ride can get tiring. Don’t forget to bring your phone – an action camera is also ideal since it’s small and can be waterproofed.
I recommend bringing an easy-access waterproof bag where you can store your items while driving.
What to wear
Wear a sportswear or any light, comfortable outfit but with enough coverage for sun protection. Rubber shoes or sneakers are fine, but a good pair of sandals may be a better choice since your feet may get wet during river crossings.
Lastly, prepare a change of clothes. If it rains especially, you may get mud stuck all over clothes.
Where to stay
Here are some recommended stays at Legazpi City, Albay.
- Your Brothers House Tribal Village. Book here.
- Hotel Sentro Legazpi. Book here.
- Lotus Blu Hotel. Book here.
Tips for your Mayon ATV Adventure
Additional tips before you go!
- ATV riding is generally safe. However, sometimes minor accidents may happen. As such, it’s important to listen to the instructions of your guide.
- Don’t be shy! You can ask your guides to break if you want to take photos along the way.
- If you want the best lighting conditions with the backdrop of Mount Mayon, go in the morning. We went here in the late afternoon and we had a backlight instead. We still had a lot of good photos in certain spots, but a lot of them are also heavily shadowed.
Where to book & Mayon ATV rates
Our Albay ATV adventure was provided by Your Brother Travel and Tours.
They are one of the highly recommended travel agencies in Albay. Interestingly, they are also the original creators of the Mayon ATV tours.
What I particularly liked about our tour was that the guides were always ready to assist us, particularly on difficult parts. Even though it was my first time riding an ATV, this put me at ease. The equipment and the ATV also looked well maintained, so we had no qualms about using them.
As of 2022, Mayon ATV adventure rates start at P599 per person for the budget trail. Our tour was the 2-hour Black Lava Trail, which is priced at P1999 per person.
Disclaimer: This tour was part of the trip hosted by the Tourism Promotions Board. As always, thoughts and opinions are my own.
Have you tried the Mayon ATV Adventure? What was your experience? If you have comments and questions, let us know at the comment section below!
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Katherine Cortes is a 30-something freelance writer/editor. She likes beaches, snorkeling trips, and relaxing staycations (preferably with bath tubs!).