Last Updated on August 18, 2021 by Natalia
Siargao Island is famous for being the best destination for surfing in the Philippines, but there’s much more to the island than that! Although many come to the island to ride the great waves of the Cloud 9 reef break, there’s plenty for non-surfers to do too. The nature in Siargao is particularly impressive – from the clear waters of Sugba Lagoon to the beautiful beaches on island hopping tours. When deciding on a Philippines itinerary it can be hard to pick which islands to visit, but you should make sure Siargao is one of them. Find out everything you need to know for your trip with this Siargao travel guide.
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How to get to Siargao Island
Getting around the numerous islands of the Philippines isn’t always easy. Thankfully, Siargao does have an airport which means flying is a viable and affordable option. Alternatively, you can take the ferry from Surigao city but we’d recommend flying unless Surigao city is already on your route.
Flights – Direct flights are available from Cebu city, Clark and Manila to Siargao. We recommend booking as far in advance as possible as flights can be quite expensive. To save money we recommend using 12go.Asia as they regularly have great deals for internal flights in the Philippines.
Vans are available to take you from Siargao airport to General Luna or Cloud 9 for 300 pesos per person.
Ferry – If you are planning to be in Surigao city, then your best option is to catch the ferry to Dapa port in Siargao. There are daily departures with the first being around 6am and the last being around 12pm. The journey time is between 2 and 4 hours depending on the service and tickets cost approximately 200-300 pesos.
From Dapa port you should be able to take a tricycle or habal-habal to your accommodation.
Getting around Siargao Island
By far the cheapest way to get around Siargao is to rent a scooter – which should cost around 300 pesos per day. This allows you to drive around the island without having to pay for transport each time, which quickly adds up.
Be careful doing this though as if you do not hold an appropriate license and get into an accident you won’t be covered by your travel insurance policy. Another possibility is that the local police will fine you if you are caught riding without a license.
A safer option if you don’t hold a license to ride a bike/scooter is to rent a car. Although, this will cost around 2,500 pesos a day it’s still a reasonable price and it won’t invalidate your travel insurance as long as you have a valid driving license.
If you don’t want to drive yourself then you can take either a tricycle or a habal-habal. A habal-habal is a form of motorbike taxi and is generally slightly cheaper than going the same distance on a tricycle. As always, negotiate with the driver in order to get a fair price for yourself.
If you’re unsure ask someone at your accommodation how much you should expect to pay for a journey.
Best time to visit Siargao Island
The dry season in Siargao is between March and October, so this is the best time to visit in terms of weather. If surfing is one of your main reasons for visiting, then the best time to surf in Siargao is between July and December with September and October being particularly good months. Surf competitions run at this time of year so the island is at its busiest – so book your accommodation in advance if you can!
As Siargao is increasing in popularity it is becoming a somewhat busy destination all year round. When we visited in March 2018 we found our accommodation options quite limited despite booking a fair while in advance.
Things to do in Siargao Island
Island Hopping – Some of the best beaches in the Philippines can be visited on island hopping trips from Siargao. Island hopping is perfect if you want to spend your day relaxing on beautiful beaches. All of the tours visit the same spots – Guyam Island, Naked Island and Daku Island.
Guyam is a small paradise-like island covered in palm trees and surrounded by beautifully clear water. Naked Island is a small sand bank providing a mini beach only reachable by boat. Daku Island is much bigger and provides a larger beach area to enjoy.
The price of an island hopping tour in Siargao is between 700 and 1000 pesos per person depending on the operator – although all tours follow the same itinerary. Tours can be arranged at a number of restaurants, hotels and resorts in Siargao.
If you’d prefer to beat the crowds and have the islands to yourself, we recommend paying for a private boat. This costs just 1,500 pesos and you can set off as early as you want. There is normally a maximum of 6 people for a private tour.
We started our trip from Siargao at around 6.30am and had both Guyam Island and Naked Island completely to ourselves. Unless you are travelling solo, it ends up being a similar price to rent a private boat so we fully recommend it!
To find a boatman in Siargao for a private trip either ask in your accommodation or at a restaurant. We were able to find one near to Bravo Restaurant as they had a sign up advertising a boat for hire.
If you want to book your island hopping in advance, you can do so via Klook. The group tour is available from just 795 pesos per person, whilst the private tour cost varies depending on how many people are going. Arranging your tour in advance is ideal if you don’t want to worry about sorting it out once you get to Siargao.
It’s worth noting that if you opt for the private tour you normally have to arrange lunch separately. Often the boatman is happy to cook you lunch if you purchase the ingredients, but it’s worth confirming this before you set off!
You’re able to rent a cabana for 300 pesos around lunchtime on Daku Island. We recommend doing so in order to get out of the sun for a while to minimise the chance of getting sunburn!
For more great island hopping, make sure to visit Port Barton in Palawan.
Sugba Lagoon – One of the most popular tourist spots in Siargao is Sugba Lagoon. It’s hard not to enjoy the lagoon’s beautiful turquoise waters that will entice you in for a swim. The boat ride to the lagoon is also quite pleasant as you pass mangroves and stilt houses built on the water.
The easiest way to get to Sugba Lagoon is by booking a tour. Most tours we saw were around 2,000 pesos per person, but if you book via Klook it’s substantially cheaper. They offer transportation to both Sugba Lagoon and Magpupungko Rock Pool for just 1,080 pesos per person, which is great if you’re trying to do Siargao on a budget!
If you’d prefer, it’s possible to visit Sugba Lagoon independently. To do this, we recommend reading this article on visiting Sugba Lagoon without a tour.
Once you’re at the lagoon itself there is a small restaurant that will let you use their tables for 50 pesos. Food is quite expensive so we recommend bringing your own if possible. There’s a diving board, which is free to use, and kayaks and paddleboards are available to rent too.
We’d also advise against a trip to Sugba Lagoon in bad weather. When we visited it was particularly rainy and as you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors it can certainly dampen the mood!
Surf – Siargao is one of the best places to surf in the Philippines, largely thanks to the famous Cloud 9 surf break. The surf is so good that the reef break at Cloud 9 is ranked as one of the top 10 waves to surf in the world!
Although Siargao has massively increased in popularity recently amongst travellers, surfers were ahead of the game and have been visiting for years to take advantage of the great waves!
If surfing isn’t your thing but you’re still keen to watch, head to the Cloud 9 boardwalk and tower. It costs just 50 pesos to use and you get great views of surfers riding the waves. Unsurprisingly, it’s a very busy spot for sunset!
Sunset – If you’re wondering what to do in Siargao as the day comes to a close, head to General Luna pier. Walk all the way to the end of the pier and you can enjoy the sunset free of the crowds found at Cloud 9.
Sohoton and Bucas Grande – Take a day trip to Sohoton and Bucas Grande for some of the most spectacular nature you can see when staying in Siargao. Your trip will include a visit to the Sohoton Lagoon jellyfish sanctuary – where stingless jellyfish are found in the beautifully clear water.
Previously it was possible to swim with the jellyfish but this is no longer possible in order to protect them. The trip will also give you the opportunity to explore more lagoons, caves and islands.
Find out everything you need to know about arranging a trip with this guide to visiting Sohoton and Bucas Grande.
Magpupungko Rock Pools – The Magpupungko rock pools are one of the more unique points of interest in Siargao. A series of naturally formed pools at Magpupungko beach, they are a delightful work of nature. The shallow pools are perfect for swimming, although are equally enjoyable from the water’s edge.
The best time to go to the Magpupungko rock pools is low tide as this is the only time they are visible and you are able to swim. As the tide gets higher the pools become submerged meaning there is only a small amount of time in the day that you can access the pools. Click here to check the tide times for your visit.
The entrance fee to the Magpupungko rock pools is 50 pesos, and there’s also a parking fee of 20 pesos for a scooter/bike and 30 pesos for a tricycle. The rock pools are only really accessible in low tide, which unfortunately makes it hard to avoid crowds during your visit as everyone arrives at a similar time.
If you don’t opt for the combination tour to the rock pools and Sugba Lagoon, then Klook also offer another tour that visits the pools. It’s a private tour that takes you to some of the island’s lesser visited spots, such as Panghuhungawan Marsh and Maasin River, as well as an optional visit to Tayangban Cave.
Where to stay in Siargao Island
Finding accommodation in Siargao can be hard as the options are quite limited and tend to book up quite far in advance. There currently don’t seem to be enough hotels and resorts on Siargao Island to cope with the number of visitors.
We planned our trip around 1 month in advance and found our options extremely limited so we’d definitely recommend booking as far in advance as possible.
In terms of the best area to stay in Siargao, we’d recommend either General Luna or Cloud 9. If you’re planning your trip, we recommend booking somewhere on either Booking.com or Agoda as soon as possible – they often have great deals but if you leave it too late your options will be limited.
If you’re wondering where to stay in Siargao without breaking the budget, Kokai Resort offer cheap rooms close to General Luna. All rooms have air con, which is definitely needed, and there are a number of restaurants within walking distance. Rooms start from around $29 USD (1,550 pesos) per night.
Click here to check availability at Kokai Resort on Booking.com or if you prefer to use Agoda then click here to see the property on their website!
Located nearby to the Cloud 9 surfing area, Casa Bianca offers good quality rooms for a reasonable price. It’s a short tricycle ride to a number of restaurants and bars, so you have plenty of options when it comes to dinner and drinks.
Although there is no pool at the property, the rooms have air conditioning to help you stay nice and cool! Prices start from $87 (4,500 pesos) per night.
Siargao Bleu Resort and Spa
If you’re looking for a comfortable stay, then Siargao Bleu Resort and Spa may be exactly what you’re looking for. There’s a pool at the resort, which is perfect for cooling off, and all rooms are fitted with air con too! Rooms start from around $139 USD (7,450 pesos) per night.
Isla Cabana Resort
Isla Cabana Resort is the perfect getaway if you’re looking for a luxurious stay with a pool in Siargao. Situated just outside General Luna, the resort’s pool is situated on the beachfront – the perfect place to enjoy a drink or two! All rooms are fitted with air conditioning and make for a comfortable place to stay in Siargao. Rooms start from around $151 USD (8,100 pesos) per night.
Nay Palad Hideaway
If you’re looking for a no expenses spared stay, then the exclusive Nay Palad Hideaway is for you. Also known as Dedon Island Resort, this beautiful beachfront resort offers everything you could possibly want in a stay – from a great pool to a relaxing spa to incredible service and attention to detail.
Such a luxurious stay does come at a price, but if you have the money it’s sure to be a stay to remember! Rooms start from around $1,300 USD (69,500 pesos) per night.
If you would prefer to use a different website then click here here to book a stay at the property through Agoda!
Where to eat in Siargao Island
Bravo – Bravo restaurant serves up some of the tastiest food in Siargao. There’s plenty on offer from cocktails to small bites to full meals. Our particular favourite here was the Peri-Peri chicken which we recommend washing down with some Sangria!
Kermit – Kermit is one of the go to restaurants for many visitors to Siargao. The pizzas are particularly good, but there’s also a selection of Filipino dishes available, along with pasta, salads and more. Click here to check out the menu.
Pleasure Point Café – This was our go to place for breakfast in Siargao. The café is only open for breakfast and lunch, and serves an all day breakfast menu alongside some delicious smoothies. Pleasure Point Café is slightly outside the main General Luna area, and you can find the exact location on their Facebook page.
Buddha – Part of the Buddha Surf Resort, the restaurant offers up a variety of dishes – with the Thai curry being particularly tasty! Every Monday night Buddha have a vegan buffet, so if that’s your thing it’s the perfect place to head! If you’re not looking for vegan food though you should avoid Mondays, as the normal menu isn’t served in the evening.
Warung – If you fancy something different to the above, head to Warung for some delicious Indonesian food. It’s a great introduction to Indonesian food if you haven’t tried it before, with classic dishes like Mie Goreng and Nasi Campur on offer!
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