Siargao is absolutely one of my favorite places in the Philippines. In fact, whenever I have friends coming over to visit the country this is on top of my list, along with Coron (Palawan). I like everything about it — the sun-kissed locals, beaches, sights and sounds — Siargao gives off good vibes.
Before we proceed, here’s a little background about Siargao.
Siargao is a tear-shaped island which can be found in the province of Surigao del Sur. With over 20 surf breaks, it’s mostly known for its surfing. In fact, it’s dubbed as the Surfing Capital of the Philippines.
That saying, there’s a bunch of activities to do here even for non-surfers. You can island hop, swim in natural lagoons and rivers, go spelunking or just chill on a beachside bar with a beer or cocktail. There are also day trips available such as Sohoton Cove in Bucas Grande Island, which is one of the best ecotourism spots in the Philippines. Siargao offers the ultimate tropical experience in the Philippines.
Here’s our complete travel guide to Siargao, including a sample 5 days Siargao itinerary.
- How to get to Siargao
- When is the best time to visit
- Things to know before you go
- How to get around
- Best things to do in Siargao
- Where to Eat
- Where to Stay in Siargao
- 5 Days Siargao Itinerary
- Budget and Expenses
- Siargao Travel Tips
- What to read next:
How to get to Siargao
Siargao is located in the province of Surigao del Norte in the south of the Philippines.
Via Sayak/Siargao Airport
- From Manila and other major airports (Clark and Cebu), there are direct flights to Siargao.
- From Siargao Airport, you can ride a van (P150 per person), motorcycle (P400, good up to 2 people) or tricycle (P500, good up to 4 people) to General Luna. Travel time is 45 minutes.
Via Surigao Airport
The flight to Surigao City is considerably cheaper compared to a direct flight to Siargao and this is often the option of backpackers or those who want to do side trips to places in/near Surigao City first.
- From Surigao Airport, head to Surigao Port and then ride a ferry to Siargao. Travel time is 2-3 hours, fare is P210-350 per person. Earliest schedule is at 5:30AM and the last at 3:30PM.
- As above, once you get off at Siargao Port there will be public transport available to take you where you’re headed.
When is the best time to visit
If you want to catch the waves, the best months to visit are from September to November. Every September, Siargao holds an annual surfing competition.
If you’re a non-surfer, the best time to visit Siargao is during the dry months of February to June. I read some blogs saying it’s fine to visit from June onwards, but take note that this is already rainy season so the conditions may not be ideal for your trip.
Things to know before you go
- How long to stay: Siargao will reel you in. Plan your trip for 5-7 days at least.
- What to expect: The island has a pretty laid-back atmosphere, so it’s perfect for a relaxing vacation. At the same time, there are a lot of activities you can do. Take note that the night life here is pretty low-key — you can find beachside bars to have drinks at, but it isn’t as loud as other places such as La Boracay.
- Budget: I find the prices in Siargao more expensive compared to other destinations in the Philippines. That saying, local communities benefit from tourism in Siargao, so if you’re happy with the service you’re getting, don’t forget to leave a tip!
- ATMs: There are a few ATMs in Siargao. They are sometimes unreliable and most of them are incompatible with foreign cards. If the ATM nearest you is unavailable, another option is to draw from a local payment center for around P10. As a general rule, it’s best to bring sufficient cash before you get to the island.
- Safety: It’s generally safe in Siargao. Make sure to follow local regulations and don’t do anything that might endanger your safety. The island is still developing, so hospital infrascture isn’t the same as that in the city.
How to get around
It’s easy to explore Siargao! Here are your options:
- Public transport. There are habal-habals and tricycles that can get you around close destinations for a minimum fare (around P20).
- Rent a motorbike. This is the cheapest way to get around the island. A motorbike can be rented for P350-500 a day — it’s cheaper if you rent it for 3 days or longer. Make sure to bring a driver’s license (there are checkpoints), wear a helmet and follow traffic laws. A lot of roads in the island is poorly lit, so it’s best to get off the road before sunset.
For land tours, you can do arrangements with local guides for a motorcycle tour or tricycle tour once you get to the island. There are no standard rates so you have to haggle.
There are also car or van rentals available in the island. This is a good option if you’re carrying lots of baggage or you want a comfortable mode of transportation.
Best things to do in Siargao
These are the best activities you can do in Siargao.
Of course, surfing is the topmost activity you should try out in Siargao! There are over 20 reef breaks in Siargao — some of them are on the beach, while others require a short paddle boat ride to reach.
For beginners, the shores in Cloud 9 offer moderate waves where you can practice. For mid-level surfers, other places you can visit are the Secret Spot and Pacifico.
Surfing lesson is very affordable and includes a 1-hour practice and surf board rental.
2. Island hopping
From General Luna, you can visit 3 nearby islands: Naked Island, Daku Island and Guyam Island.
Naked Island is literally a patch of sand in the middle of the sea. Daku Island has a long stretch of sand ideal for swimming, accessible only during low tide. There are small food stalls here and cottages here for overnight stay. Guyam Island is similar to Daku Island, but it has a smaller beach cove with the surrounding area made up of rock formations.
Here’s our Island Hopping Experience in Siargao.
3. Swim at Magpupungko Rock Pools
This is one of our favorite spots in Siargao! Magpupungko Rock Pools is a natural tidal pool located inside Buddha’s Surf Resort in Pilar, about 45 minutes away from General Luna. Its name comes from the Visayan word “pungko” (squat), referring to the large rock on the edge of the pool that appears to be squatting to another rock.
Make sure to visit during low tide when the pool is visible.
You can swim in the pool or cliff jump from atop the huge rocks. Magpupungko Rock Pools is simple but it’s enchanting and definitely one of the places you shouldn’t miss in Siargao.
4. Cliff jump from Sugba Lagoon
Sugba Lagoon is basically a lagoon filled with massive inlets. In the middle of the lagoon is a 2-story structure that serves as docking area/resting area for tourists. Here you can swim in the clear water or jump from the dive boards!
From Sugba Lagoon, you can also visit Kawhagan Island and Pamomomoan Island.
To get here, head to Del Carmen Port and then rent a boat that will take you to the lagoon. Here’s our visit to Sugba Lagoon in Del Carmen.
5. Venture inside Tayangban Cave Pool
This is certainly a unique experience. The caving is about an hour, and inside you can see stalactites and stalagmites. There is also a part wherein you have to wade through chest-high water for 15 minutes. At the end of the cave is an open pool where you can breathe and relax! There is also a spot where you can cliff jump from 18 feet high.
6. Stop by at Maasin River
Maasin River is one of the most IG-famous spots in Siargao. The river is surrounded by coconut trees, and there is a bent tree with a tarzan swing where you can swing back and forth before plunging into the water. At the end of the river is a “secret lagoon”.
Maasin River is only 5-10 minutes away from Tayangban Cave Pool. If you’re on your own, it is easy to miss. Keep your eye out for a red bridge, which is the landmark to the river.
7. Visit Corregidor Island
Corregidor Island is home to a small village, with the coastline covered with beautiful beaches. Here you can beach bum or hike to the top of the island to get a beautiful view.
Corregidor Island is located about 30 minutes away from General Luna.
You can book it as standalone tour or with the tri-islands in Siargao.
8. Side trip to Bucas Grande Island
Bucas Grande offers out-of-this-world nature attractions including beaches, islets, lagoons & inland lakes and caves. Honestly it’s beauty just blew me away.
Bucas Grande is an island in the municipality of Soccoro, about 1 hour away from Dapa Port in Siargao. You can stay here for a day to see Sohoton Cove and Jellyfish Sanctuary or stay for longer to explore its beaches and lakes.
As for us, we decided to book a tour which included Bucas Grande Island and the 3 islands in Siargao (Naked Island, Daku Island, Guyam Island). Here’s our Day Trip to Sohoton Cove and Tri-Islands in Siargao.
Other activities in Siargao
Aside from the places mentioned above, you can still find lots of islands and beaches that are off the beaten path.
If you like discovering waterfalls, there is only one in the island: Taktak Falls. It’s a 15-meter-high waterfall with brownish water, with a cliff jumping spot. I didn’t include it in the list because many people agree that it can be skipped entirely.
There also other activities you can do in Siargao, such as yoga, horseback riding and more.
Where to Eat
Food is generally expensive in Siargao but you can always find local eateries where you can eat for around P100 per meal.
Here are some good local restaurants:
- Mama’s Grill. A local favorite, Mama’s Grill offers local Filipino meals and BBQs for affordable prices (P100-150).
- Bulaloan. Offers bulalo (beef soup) with unli-rice.
If you like gastronomic adventure, here are other restaurants you should check out:
- Kermit Siargao. One of the most popular restaurants in Siargao, this serves Italian food including pasta and pizza. Other options for Italian fare include Aventino’s and La Carinderia.
- Deli Street. A good place to get freshly made sandwiches, with an array of cheeses and cold cut meats.
- Shaka. Offers delicious smoothie bowls.
For the night life, every night there is 1-2 host bars you can party at. Beverages are generally cheap so you can enjoy Siargao Rum party until the wee hours.
- Monday: Emerald, RumBar
- Tuesday: Loose Keys, Octopus
- Wednesday: Loose Keys/Bravo, RumBar
- Thursday: Baile
- Friday: Loose Keys, Octopus
- Saturday: Harana, RumBar
- Sunday: Bravo, Kitya’s
Where to Stay in Siargao
General Luna is the tourist hub in Siargao. It’s where most resorts, restaurants and bars are located. It’s also close to Cloud 9 and other surfing areas. Transport to explore the island is easily available.
Here are some of the recommended resorts:
Mid-range to luxury options:
- Kalipay Resort Siargao | Book discounted rooms
- Lampara Siargao Boutique Hostel | Book discounted rooms
- Nay Palad Hideaway | Book discounted rooms
Another great place to stay is Pacifico. It’s located on the northern part of the island. Pacifico offers bigger waves (it is called the “Big Wish”) and there are lesser tourists.
Here’s our pick of the Best Resorts in Siargao.
5 Days Siargao Itinerary
Here’s a sample 5 days itinerary in Siargao.
|Day 1||Arrival in Siargao|
Check in at accommodation
Surfing in General Luna
|Day 2||Land tour:|
– Magpupungko Rock Pools
– Taktak Falls
– Tayangban Cave Pool
– Coconut Mountain View
– Maasin River
|Day 3||Sugba Lagoon, Kawhagan Island and Pamomoan Island|
|Day 4||Sohoton Cove and tri-islands in Siargao (Naked Island, Daku Island, Guyam Island)|
|Day 5||Check out of accommodation|
Budget and Expenses
Here are the expenses in Siargao (Updated as of 2020):
|Activities||Surfing lesson – P500 per person|
Surf board rental – P500-600 per day
Siargao island hopping (boat rental) – P1500 for a half-day tour (excluding entrance fees)
Sugba Lagoon boat tour:
Sugba Lagoon – P1600 (good up to 6 pax)
Sugba Lagoon + 2 islands – P2800 (good up to 6 pax).
Additional P200 per additional person (maximum of 9 people in a group)
Magpupungko Pool – P50 per person
Maasin River – P20 per person (Optional: boat rental for a 15-minute cruise – P500)
Tayangban Cave Pool – P50 per person + guide fee of P100
|Tours||Motorcycle tour – around P1300 per day (good up to 2 pax)|
Tricycle tour – P2000 per day (good up to 3-5 pax)
Car rental – P2500 per day (excluding driver service and gas)
|Others||Corregidor Island overnight cottage – P500|
Budget depends on how many you are in the group and if you plan on DIY touring or getting a packaged tour. In a group of 5 people, for 5 days, a safe budget is around P10,000 per person.
Siargao Travel Tips
Here are some useful tips for your travel in Siargao.
- Traveling to Siargao is more expensive compared to other places in the Philippines. It’s best to go in a group. If you’re solo, you can easily find joiner tours for the activities too.
- Budget your money by renting a motorbike to explore the island and staying in a hostel. For food, you can eat in regular carinderias or prepare your breakfast and dinner by buying ingredients in the local wet market.
- Bring your own ecobag and reusable travel bottle. Siargao practices sustainable tourism and single-use plastic is banned in the island. Accommodations usually offer free refill for water.
Has this Travel Guide to Siargao been helpful to you? Let us know in the comments below!
What to read next:
Visiting Siargao soon? Check out the rest of our articles on Siargao:
- Siargao: Travel Guide and 5 Days Itinerary
- Island hopping in Siargao: Guyam, Daku, Naked Islands + Sohoton Cove
- Sugba Lagoon, Kawhagan Island and Pamomoan Island in Del Carmen, Siargao
- Best Resorts in Siargao
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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!).