Batangas is our go-to place for budget-friendly beach trips. This summer, I’m lucky to have discovered a new beach destination! I was invited by Biyaheros Travel and Tours in one of their day trips to Papaya Island in Nasugbu, Batangas.
Our day trip to Papaya Island, Batangas
Papaya Island is one of the several islands you can visit in Nasugbu, Batangas. Currently, it’s still an off-radar location, although it’s starting to make a name for itself especially for groups who are looking for easy beach options.
Since we were on a day trip, our van picked us up early in the morning in Manila and we traveled for about 1.5 hour to Nasugbu, Batangas. We got past Kaybiang Tunnel and stopped in the quarry, an area with signages for boat services going to Patungan Island or Papaya Island. We boarded a boat to reach the island.
After 20 minutes, a long shore lined with coconut trees, homey cottages and camping tents greeted us. The beach has a nice green color and reflects the forest growth in the island.
What you have to know about Papaya Island is that it’s a residential island set up with facilities for tourist beach-goers. It’s home to about 50 local families. As such, you can find a variety of accommodation depending on your preferred comfort and budget, as well as sari-sari stores and food stalls.
It’s your typical beach except that it’s less crowded and gives you the feeling of having to set foot on a virgin-ish location.
We had an outdoor cottage where we could leave our bags and rest. There was also an option to rent a closed cottage to secure our things.
We had a quick breakfast and then proceeded to our island hopping tour.
Island hopping tour
When you’re in Papaya Island, one of the things you shouldn’t miss is island hopping. An island hopping tour typically lasts 3-4 hours. Itinerary may vary, so ask your tour organizer or boatman to confirm what are the places included in the tour.
As for us, we were set to stop on 3 locations.
We passed by several islands, including Mother Elephant Cove and Baby Elephant Cove, which have funny island shapes.
We stopped by Santelmo Cove, which is a marine sanctuary. Locals simply call it fish feeding area. This is a great snorkeling area where you can see giant schools of fish swimming about, giant clams with pearls (if you know how to freedive) and various types of corals. This place is something everyone would enjoy.
We fed the fishes bits of crackers and bread, and they would come at us. It was fun and fascinating to see them swarm up to us. As I said before, in most places feeding is not practiced to prevent the fishes from being reliant on humans, but our guide said that the fishes here are already used to being fed since it was how they were propagated by the government for 2 years.
Santelmo Cove was my favorite in our island hopping trip. Make sure to bring your action camera here for beautiful underwater photos.
Our next stop was Taytayin Cove (in my past visit, it was called a cave), which is a giant arch. Tourists stop over here to swim and cliff jump. Snorkeling sights are mostly non-existent, although it’s possible to see a few corals and fishes in the water.
We headed to Taytayin Beach next. The beach is a private property so we were not allowed to set foot in the shore. As such, we decided to move to another spot which also has a small sandy area and stayed there for a little swim. My companions who were non-swimmers appreciated this break since they could dip in shallow water.
The last place we went to is Mugiw Island (pronounced as bug-yo), which is an optional island hopping activity. Here there are submerged caves where bats live and a cliff where you can take pictures. Cliff diving here is possible but may be dangerous since you’d have to make a big leap to avoid hitting the rocks below.
What I like about Mugiw Island is the route our boat took on the way back. We saw more submerged caves and close-up of cliffs where we could see rocks jutting out of the sediments. It’s actually interesting especially if you’re into unique rock formations.
In previous island hopping tours, Kabibinawan Cove is included in the itinerary but it won’t be from hereon. What I notice is that since some of the places in the island hopping tour are privately owned, the itinerary may change depending on whether outside guests will be allowed in these properties. Hence, there’s a continuing search for new locations for tourists to enjoy, such as Buguiw Island.
(By the way, I’d already been to these island hopping stops during our recent stay in Bituin Cove, which is about 30-45 minutes away. However, Papaya Island Cove is closer to these islands.)
Boodle fight with seafood for lunch
A beach trip wouldn’t be complete without a boodle fight! As per Ms. Shane, seafood is abundant and cheap in Papaya Island so seafood was also served for us during lunch.
We enjoyed eating salted egg salad, grilled eggplants, pork liempo, crabs and grilled fish (not in the photo). There were slices of sweet watermelon for dessert. The boodle fight was good and it was more than enough for our group, since we had leftovers. I had 3 pieces of crab and, nope, I don’t regret it.
Staying in Papaya Island Cove
The next hours during our day trip was our free time to stay and explore Papaya Island Cove. I took it as time to eat merienda since there was a stall nearby selling tusok-tusok and halo-halo.
I also tried swimming on the beach. It was low tide so I settled somewhere that’s only up to my knees. There are areas covered with seaweed, but overall it’s still swimmable and even kid-friendly since children can easily navigate through the shallow water.
Overall, what I can say about Papaya Island is that it may not have the blue beach we’re all looking for in Batangas, but it’s a good beach escapade nonetheless. In fact, I would say that Papaya Island has everything you want in a typical beach getaway. It has a decent beach, island hopping and snorkeling activity, various accommodations depending on your budget and more. It also offers fresh seafood which you can enjoy in your meals.
A day trip here is enough for those who’re looking for a quick & affordable beach trip. For snorkelers and freedivers, an overnight stay might be more appropriate since there will be more time for water activities. I actually preferred to have stayed overnight, but unfortunately I had a commitment the following day.
Papaya Island is an ideal option for barkada, family and even team outings.
How to get to Papaya Island
Papaya Island can be found in Nasugbu, Batangas. Locals also call it Sitio Iba Cove.
From Manila, it will take you 2 hours to reach Papaya Island.
- From Manila, ride a bus (Saint Anthony of Padua or Saulog Transit) en route to Ternate, Cavite. In the town proper, rent a tricycle to the Quarry or Barangay Patungan (P300 one way).
- From the port, ride a boat to Papaya Island (20 minutes).
Boat transfers are advertised in the port, so you don’t need to worry about booking in advance. If you have already reserved an accommodation in Papaya Island, boat transfer may also be included in your package.
For private cars, there are parking spaces in the port. Rate is P100 overnight.
Papaya Island Rates
Here are the current rates (Updated as of 2020):
- Boat transfer: P2000 round-trip transfer to Papaya Island. Includes cottage rental. Good up to 4-6 pax.
- Island hopping: P700 (good up to 2 pax)
- Guide fee for trekking to Kabibinawan Cove: P300
You may also rent a boat to Patungan Cove, which is an alternative to Papaya Island. Rate is P1500 (good up to 4-6 pax).
Here are other optional fees:
- Bonfire at night – P100 woodfire rate
- Kabibinawan Cove local guide fee – P30 per head
- Kwebang Kabag (Mugiw Island) – P75 per head
- Snorkel rent – P100
- Recreational activities: billiard, volleyball, videoke – price varies
Book your trip via Biyaheros Travel and Tours
For easy, hassle-free trip to Papaya Island in Nasugbu, Batangas, I recommend booking thru Biyaheros Travel and Tours. Biyaheros Travel and Tours arranges exclusive tours and joiner tours.
Biyaheros offers day tour and overnight packages. Inclusions are as follows: round-trip transportation, meal(s), island hopping.
Here are the island hopping stops:
- Santelmo Cove
- Taytayin Cove (Lagoon)
- Taytayin Beach
- Mother Elephant Cove & Baby Elephant Cove (running tour)
- Kainting Island
- Sitio Iba Cove
For inquiries and booking, please contact Biyaheros Travel and Tours in the ff: Facebook- Biyaheros | email: firstname.lastname@example.org | mobile: 09174590731 / 09201356073
Reminders and tips
- Papaya Island does not have a white beach. Regardless, it’s a good choice for families, even with kids.
- There are sari-sari stores in the island.
- There is solar electricity available for overnight stays. During daytime, you may need to rent a generator.
- Another place you might want to visit is Bituin Cove, which is located several minutes away. However, it’s better suited for backpackers since there are no commercial establishments or rooms there. You will need to bring your own tent.
- Masasa Beach is another beach we recommend!
Disclaimer: Thanks Ms. Shane Iguiban of Biyaheros for inviting me! As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Have you been to Papaya Island in Nasugbu, Batangas? Do you have other affordable beach getaways in Batangas to recommend?
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Visiting Batangas soon? Read these essential travel guides!
- Best Batangas tourist spots
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Looking for fun, affordable summer getaways near Manila? Check these out:
- Alibijaban Island and Burias Island (Quezon & Masbate)
- Jomalig Island (Quezon)
- Maniwaya Island (Marinduque)
- Bulalacao (Oriental Mindoro)
- Tambobong Beach and Cabongaoan Beach (Pangasinan)
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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!).