40 AWESOME THINGS TO DO ON SIARGAO, PHILIPPINES
In the south of the Philippines is an island entirely covered with palm trees. It boasts the best waves in the country and attracts surfers from all over the world. It also happened to be my home for the last month of 2017. Siargao was my island home for 35 days. I adventured on land and sea to create this bucket list of tourist spots in Siargao. While the island is known as a surfing hotspot there are so many awesome things to do in Siargao that don’t involve the waves. Here is the ultimate Siargao bucket list!
Wondering about the best spot to stay on Siargao? I wrote this guide that breaks down the island into the best regions with my personal hotel/hostel/resort recommendations: WHERE TO STAY ON SIARGAO ISLAND
FIVE MOST POPULAR TOURS ON SIARGAO ISLAND
I thought I’d kick you off with the best tours. I’ve been to all these spots and I challenge you to head out to these locations and come back without a smile on your face. It’s pure magic on the land attractions and out on the island hopping! All the links below go to Klook. Either book online with Klook or at a vendor. The other online sites are overpriced sometimes by triple or more for the same tour.
ISLAND HOPPING – NAKED ISLAND, GUYAM & DAKU – Epic day of exploring the three closest islands to Siargao mainland. Unlimited palm trees, white sand and island vibes with a great, seafood lunch.
SUGBA LAGOON BOAT TOUR WITH KAWHAGAN – I love Sugba Lagoon. It’s truly a gem of a spot with a 5m and 10m diving board in the middle of a vivid blue lagoon! An incredible day.
JEEPNEY LAND TOUR WITH MAGPUPUNGKO ROCK POOL & TAYANGBAN CAVES – An epic day seeing the sights of Siargao as you explore caves, tidepools, palm-tree rope swings, and palm tree viewpoints.
PRIVATE LAND TOUR: Vist ten attraction in one day and hit all the Siargao hot spots with one trip. Beaches, caves, rock-pools, palm tree swings and viewpoints.
SOHOTON COVE TOUR: My favorite place in Siargao isn’t Siargao… it’s Sohoton. This is a must-do. The most incredible islands you’ll ever see and a 10/10 view from the sky for drone lovers.
40 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN SIARGAO
#1 Enjoy the best Siargao Surf spots!
This list of things to do in Siargao has to begin with the surf, it is after all the surfing capital of the Philippines. Siargao hosts the ‘Cloud 9 Surfing Cup’ each September, an official WSL Pro event. It also boasts waves almost all year-round, similar to surfing hotspots like Oahu, Hawaii. The Cloud 9 boardwalk and viewing area has become one of the most popular Siargao tourist spots.
The beauty of surfing on Siargao is that there is a surf break for all levels. Personally, I suck at surfing so I hit up the beginner waves at Jacking Horse. I did enjoy watching the seasoned surfers tearing up the bigger waves out at Cloud 9. This wave barrels and is not only one of the best waves in the Philippines but is ranked in the top ten waves of the world.
If the waves aren’t rolling in nicely at the beach breaks you can pay $4-5 USD to ride a boat out to an island break less than an hour from Siargao and surf the afternoon away in the middle of the ocean.
These are some of the popular surf breaks in Siargao and what you can expect at each of them.
Cloud 9: This is the most famous surf break on Siargao and has some nice barrels. We spent many mornings watching the experts carve it up from the three-story hut that sits out over the water. This wave has singlehandedly made Siargao the surfing capital of the Philippines.
Jacking Horse: The most accessible beginner wave on the island. A great spot for learning how to catch a wave but often crowded with surf lessons and it has a strong tide. Lots of paddling if you aren’t a gun. Some of the local long boarders tear it up here!
Stimpys: A consistent left-hander, which is a great place for short-boarders to have a little fun.
Pacifico: Although its a long drive (up to an hour) from General Luna, at Pacifico, you will find some of the biggest surf on Siargao.
Rock Island: Take the boat out for a fast-moving right-hander. Best for experienced surfers.
Guyan (Secret Beach): Head on past the trespassing signs and enjoy small rolling waves great for beginners. It’s about 30 minutes from General Luna.
If you don’t surf there are still plenty of things to do in Siargao! I only surfed three times in Siargao during the whole month but still had an action-packed adventure. If you are wondering what to do in Siargao and you aren’t a surfer this list has you covered with all of the best places to visit in Siargao. I took this below photo from the Cloud 9 pier with a 200mm lens.
#2 Cloud 9 Pier
One of my favorite things to do in Siargao was to wake up for sunrise and chill out on the end of the Cloud 9 pier. Sometimes surfers were tearing it up and watching that was awesome. Other times I watched the sun slowly rise in the distance. Hardly anyone wakes up to head out there except for a few others, quietly enjoying the start of the day at Cloud 9. It could be something to consider when you are thinking about where to stay in Siargao. Somewhere near Cloud 9 pier means you will have your sunrise spot sorted! If you had out here for sunset you will find yourself sharing the hut at the end of the pier with quite the crowd. It doesn’t get the perfect sunrise or sunset due to its location but it’s one of your best bets if you are in General Luna. I wrote a full blog post about the best sunsets spots on Siargao best sunsets spots on Siargao.
#3 Magpungko Rock Pools
Magpupungko Rock Pools on Siargao Island are one of the most popular things to do and easily my favorite tourist spot on Siargao.. Just a 45-minute moped drive from the main tourist area of General Luna, the rock pools are exposed at low tide and are an awesome spot for hours of exploring and cliff jumping.
The crystal clear blue water had me speechless. This is an epic little area, with coves, caves, and cliff jumping spots aplenty. There are multiple spots to get your backflip on if you are into a bit of a jump. I advise wearing water shoes or just regular shoes like me as the rocks are very jagged and sharp to climb. Make sure you check the tides in advance (they change daily), so that you don’t arrive during high tide. When you get the tides right, this is a truly magical spot and one of my favorite places to visit on Siargao Island.
PRIVATE LAND TOUR: A great way to explore the best locations on Siargao Island is with a private land tour starting at just $20 when booked online with Klook. The Land tour is customizable and includes all of the top locations like Magpupunkgo, Tayangban Cave Pool, Coco Rope Swing, and the epic palm viewpoint. You can really tick off most of the epic Siargao hot spots (the tour includes 10 attractions) with one big adventure day! Here is the link for the activity booking page on Klook: Siargao Island Land Tour
Full Blog Post: Magpupungko Rock Pools on Siargao Island
#4 Tayangban Cave Pools
Tayangban Cave Pool was one of the highlights of my many adventures throughout Siargao Island. It was one of the best caving experiences I have had in Asia. For 15 minutes you swim and float in darkness, only aided by torches. Bats fly around you until you finally emerge to the open cave pool where you can cliff jump from seven meters.
Immediately after descending through the opening, we were chest-deep in water. We swam through the dark caves, guided by a solitary torch. From time to time bats swooped down on us and eerie noises shot out from the distance. The water was mostly chest height so you could walk through in most sections if you prefer rather than swimming.
The cave opened up after fifteen minutes with a huge archway that helped to breach the darkness and welcome us back to the sunlight. It was then just a short swim to the open pool, which is the end of the tour. Many people finish here but there is a cliff jump spot into the 18ft deep water. That was a big bonus for us and made it one of our favorite places to visit in Siargao!
Full Blog Post: Tayangban Cave Pool (Cliff Jump)
#5 Coconut Palm Forest at the Top of the Road
This is a spot you will likely drive to without even planning on it. On the way to destinations like Pacifico, Tayangban Cave Pool or Mapgpupungko Rock Pool you will pass through an area we called ‘top of the road’. I’m not sure if this is a local/official name or something we came up with but by the end of our month on Siargao Island, we all knew it by this name.
It’s halfway to Magpupungko Rock Pool and you will know when you have arrived. You will veer around a sharp corner after about 30 minutes of driving from General Luna, and all of a sudden, you will be looking out over thousands of coconut palms. I think we pulled the mopeds over to the side of the road almost every time we came here to check it out.
One morning we even came for sunrise. Even though it is not a spot to see the sun come over the horizon, the colors were so beautiful as the light slowly broke out over the palms. The Siargao region is just covered in palms it has to be the most palm trees per square meter in the Philippines! We did have to wake up at 4 in the morning for that mission. Sunrise in the palms is nice and at both sunrise and sunset, you can get some light rays shooting through the palms!
#6 Sugba Lagoon
Sugba Lagoon is one of the most popular things to do on Siargao. It’s a short day trip from General Luna, Siargao to a spectacular lagoon surrounded by epic mountains. A floating hut has a diving board and SUP rentals. The day trip costs around 1500 pesos (30 USD) per person or more if you book it in the tourist area of General Luna. However, we managed to find a way to get to Sugba Lagoon for 300 pesos (5 USD) per person. You can read about that by clicking the link below for the full blog post.
Despite being recommended as one of the popular Siargao tourist spots, Sugba Lagoon isn’t overcrowded such as spots like Kayangan Lake in Coron. You won’t have the lagoon to yourselves but it’s a big enough area to find your own piece of paradise to chill, take photos and hang out. It is a 4000-hectare sanctuary, which you will enjoy on the drive-in as well as while you hang out in the main lagoon. Activities at Sugba Lagoon include renting a big wood raft, SUP boards, diving board, swimming and relaxing in the cafe.
Sugba Lagoon is about an hour boat ride from Del Carmen or an hour and a half boat ride from General Luna. You can book a tour online pretty simply. The best one I know if is online with Klook (all the others are overpriced). I’ll drop the link here to the activity booking page: Sugba Lagoon Day Tour (+2 other islands) The tour also includes a visit to Kawhagan and Pamomoan Island.
Full Blog Post: Sugba Lagoon from Siargao
#7 Siargao Island Hopping – Guyam, Daku and Naked Island
There are so many awesome things to do in Siargao Island but one of the most popular activities is to get off the island and go island hopping from Siargao. There are three beautiful islands only a short long-tail boat trip away from General Luna, which is the tourist part of Siargao. Guyam Island, Daku Island, and Naked Island are the three stops along the tour, which includes pick-up, drop-off, and a seafood lunch. The whole Mindanao region is covered with beautiful islands
Guyam Island is a tiny island covered in palms. You can walk from one side to the other in about 50 steps! It’s a beautiful little Oasis!
Daku Island is the biggest island of the tour and a great place for a swim and lunch. Small huts line the beach, perfect for chilling in the shade and enjoying a seafood banquet!
Naked Island is a small sandbar, which earned its name by literally just being sand. A few bits of grass are growing on it now but it is a great little stretch to hang out with mates!
To book your Siargao Island hopping experience online, the best price and most reliable one is this activity on Klook. The price is very similar to what you will find at the street vendors (and likely on the same boat). For about $15-20 you get your full day of island hopping and lunch included. It’s hard to go wrong.
Full Blog Post: Island Hopping in Siargao
#8 Tak Tak Waterfall
Heading up to TakTak waterfall in Santa Monica is a full-day adventure to the north part of the island. From General Luna, the waterfall is a 1.5-hour drive but is well worth the effort. We enjoyed the waterfall to ourselves. Cliff jumping, tree jumping, and exploration to the top of the falls were the highlights of the adventure. It’s one of the less touristy things to do in Siargao but definitely worthy of making it into my Siargao travel guide. It’s the only waterfall you will find on Siargao but a pretty damn cool one!
Full Blog Post: Tak Tak Falls – The Only Waterfall on Siargao
#9 Alegria Beach
The first thing I noticed at Alegria Beach on Siargao was the white sand and crystal clear water. Coconut palms lined the beach. It could have been a postcard. This wasn’t one of the popular Siargao tourist spots with just a few locals hanging back on the grass behind the beach. It is quite a long drive to Alegria Beach from General Luna. It can take about an hour driving.
There is quite a bit of reef at this beach but there is still water deep enough to swim in, which isn’t too common on Siargao. One of the hardest things to do in Siargao is to find a beach where you can swim without being near a reef. Alegria isn’t perfect but you can get fully submerged in parts without stepping on sharp rocks.
Full Blog Post: Alegria Beach – The Best Beach on Siargao
#10 Santa Monica Pier
In the very north of the island is one of the least touristy things to do in Siargao. In the town of Santa Monica is a huge pier. We headed out here after a day of visiting Alegria Beach and Tak Tak Falls. Siargao isn’t the best island for sunsets as the main Siargao tourist spots don’t really face west at the sun. However, this is one spot where you can watch the sun drop down over the horizon on the ocean.
Sitting out on the end of the pier, we watched as the fisherman packed up after a day of work and chatted with a few young kids. The drive back to General Luna in the dark isn’t too fun but we stopped halfway in the dark, turned off our moped lights. It was then that we were blown away by the epic blanket of stars. It was the best starscape I have seen in my entire life! Fireflies buzzed around us and we couldn’t have been more grateful to be on Siargao in those moments!
#11 Shaka Cafe Smoothie Bowls
This is not a food blog but there are a few spots that will make it into this Siargao travel guide that you need to try! Shaka is the standout and an obligatory acai bowl is required from this chill little cafe right by Cloud 9 surf break. With lots of different smoothie bowl options, you can’t go wrong especially with a coffee included for $5 USD. Not a bad way to kickstart your day! Don’t forget to upload a photo of your bowl to Instagram because these bowls are works of art. If you didn’t gram it.. did you really have a smoothie bowl?
#12 Pacifico Beach
It may seem like a long drive but a visit to Pacifico beach is one of the things to do in Siargao that you will not regret. Far away from the crowded waves of Jacking Horse in General Luna, Pacifico gives you that North Shore, Oahu small surf town feel. A few resorts and homestays are nestled in the dense palm trees that line the pristine stretch of beach that is Pacifico.
The drive towards and past Pacifico is beautiful with winding roads leading you along the coast and in and out of palm tree forests.
#13 Beach Clean-up
Halfway through my stay on Siargao, I received an invite on Instagram from @thesuncrew.
The Sun Crew is an organization in Pacifico that has over 40 registered kids who they help in a number of ways. Some of the kids stay with The Sun crew, others came and hang out and do activities. Each weekend they organize a beach clean-up at 9 am on Saturday to help keep Pacifico Clean. More importantly, the kids learn early on that rubbish can have a negative impact on the environment and keeping it clean is instilled in them at an early age.
After the beach clean-up, the kids have a surf and a big lunch, which is kind of the reward for the clean-up, although they had just as much fun running around picking up the trash with us!
This was just one big family and was one of my favorite things to do in Siargao. Thanks so much to The Sun Crew for inviting us and to the 40+ kids for making us laugh for four hours straight.
#14 Siargao Nightlife – Hit one of the nightly parties
We didn’t party too hard on the island but we ventured out into the Siargao nightlife four or five times in the month. One of the most popular things to do in Siargao is to surf during the day and party at night then repeat that every day for the entire trip.
The bars in Siargao actually have a cool system that works well for the partiers but also the clubs and makes the Siargao Nightlife busy every night. Each night is a different venue and the bars share the nights of the week. If you feel like partying just ask anyone where the party is at that night. They will give you the pre-pre location, pre-location and the actual party, which will kick off around 11 pm. Because of the surf and the nightlife, backpacking on Siargao is becoming more and more popular every year.
Bravo, Rum Bar and Viento seem to be the popular picks throughout the week but hands down you can’t leave Siargao until you have had the ‘Jungle’ experience. Each Friday night there is a wooden shed with open walls that fill to max capacity and becomes one hell of a party. During the day it looks like a place you would keep your horses but come Friday night you don’t want to be anywhere else!
#15 Secret Beach
I mentioned this spot earlier in the surfing section but I think it deserves its own bullet point. Secret Beach or Guyan Beach is about 30 minutes drive from General Luna. You’ll know you’ve arrived when you see 20 motorbikes with surf racks parked in the middle of nowhere on the side of the road. You’ll need to walk through the palm jungle for about 15 minutes up and down a few hills until you will reach the coast. Here you will find a small surf break with good intermediate waves.
The walk to the beach is reason enough to visit but this whole experience just exudes island vibes.
#16 Dapa Town
While it might not be high on your agenda of things to do in Siargao, to visit the main town of the island, I always like to check things like that out. In Dapa you will get to see Siargao life beyond the tourists. We did some grocery shopping here, had to visit the pharmacy (none in General Luna), left from Dapa port to visit Socorro and had lunch here on the way up north several times. Life on Siargao is pretty relaxed whether by the surf or not.
Tip: We had a burrito and shake at the Mexican place in Dapa for $1.50 USD. No complaints.
#17 Sunset at the Secret Mangrove Wharf
Just before you reach Del Carmen, a small town in the northeast of Siargao you will unknowingly pass one of the best sunset spots on the island. This is one of my favorite things to do in Siargao and each time I visited this magic spot I was the only tourist around.
The wharf extends out towards the mangroves which are the focal piece of the view along with the perfectly still water. When we first saw this water so still, we knew it would be an amazing spot for a colorful reflection if the sunset blew up. We were in luck.
A local took us out in a small boat and we also sent the drone up on every occasion we visited this spot. From the sky, this complex mangrove system only gets more and more epic.
Full Blog Post: Secret Sunset Spot – Del Carmen Mangrove Wharf
#18 Visit Corregidor Island
It’s not a common thing to do in Siargao but it was one of my favorite spots in the region. Corregidor Island is about 30 minutes by longtail boat from General Luna. It isn’t normally included in the daily island-hopping trips. Often it is a stand-alone adventure with resorts like Kermit offering tours to Corregidor.
On Corregidor, a small number of locals live in the village. Beautiful beaches cover every inch of the coastline. It is one of the few islands in the area, which has an elevation. This means hiking. we hiked to the top of Corregidor, which is covered in long grass and palms. It’s a landscape you don’t see very often.
To book your Siargao Island hopping experience online, the best price and most reliable one is this activity on Klook. This activity includes four islands all in one day. You get to visit Corregidor, Naked Island, Daku Island, and Guyam. It costs slightly more than the regular three-island trip but that’s because you get four islands and visit them all in one day! The price is very similar to what you will find at the street vendors (and likely on the same boat anyway). You get your full day of island hopping and lunch included. It’s hard to go wrong.
View the full blog post: CORREGIDOR ISLAND TOUR FROM SIARGAO
#19 Try the best Coconut Ice-cream (in the world!)
Yes… big claim I know. However, where else in the world than the land of coconut palms would you expect to find the best coconut ice-cream. To find this little gem you will need to drive your moped to the small town of Burgos, near Pacifico. Here you will head to a small cafe called Lokal. Aside from the coconut ice-cream (we had two each!), they also serve really high quality, fresh food, like vegetarian cold rolls, wraps and fresh smoothies which is not that common up north in Siargao. Let the guys know we said to say hey if you do drop by for a coconut ice cream or coco-coffee!
#20 Watch the Sunset at Cloud 9 Pier
I mentioned earlier in this post that the Cloud 9 pier can get a little busy at night but it’s all relative. You will have space to sit down on the edge of the hut and watch as the pastels in the sky burn and slowly dim. Watch the last surfers retire from the waves below as the sky darkens.
#21 Chill Sessions at Kermit Restaurant
Hanging out at Kermit was one of my favorite things to do in Siargao. The breakfast wasn’t necessarily cheap but for $5 USD you got a choice from french toast, a big bowl of fresh fruit, bacon, and eggs etc. Also included was a coffee and a fruit smoothie. Pretty decent value if you ask me.
The Wifi on Siargao is pretty unreliable all over the island. Kermit wasn’t perfect but better than most and it was always a good place to start the endless wifi search. Out the back, they have a few pull-up bars and a slackline. We tried very hard to learn to slackline but that shit is hard! My mate and I would work out on the bars at Kermit and then jog the 3 kilometers down to Cloud 9 for sunset. Island life! Kermit is a chill resort and it looked like the place I would want to stay if I wasn’t a tight-ass budget backpacker!
#22 Visit Sohoton Cove in Socorro
Our favorite day on Siargao… wasn’t actually on Siargao. We island hopped on the ferry from Dapa and then a few small boats to Socorro then Sohoton Cove.
There’s a day-tour to Sohoton Cove offered on Klook for about $50 including lunch was is pretty reasonable considering it is about a 1.5-hour journey out there! It will be a shorter/compressed version of my trip below (my trip was an overnight stay) but you will still get a great look at the area. The link to the activity booking page is here: Sohoton Cove Island Hopping Tour
We visited so many cool spots in one day on our tour that I will list each one individually:
Blue Lagoon (Titikan Lagoon)
Water so blue it reminded me of Kawasan Falls. I don’t understand how something can be so milky blue right next to crystal clear water around the corner. We arrived at the Blue Lagoon and took a short tour in a private boat up and down the lagoon. It’s similar to the lagoons in El Nido.
Tip: this is the most epic place to drone from. You won’t see it until you are in the air!
View the full blog post: SOHOTON COVE NATIONAL PARK TOUR
Venture deep into this epic cave system. I mean really deep. We walked several hundred meters into the cave with our guide. Watch out for stalagmites and bats. You can also squeeze down a small tube for several hundred meters. It’s so tight that we all came out covered in mud! This is not one for claustrophobes!
This was the craziest damn cave ever! To start with you swim in an entire way to the back, which extends over 30m. Once inside Hagukan Cave, if you splash the water you will soon discover why this is labeled as the luminescent cave. The water will glow electric blue as you splash. We were like a big bunch of kids splashing about, fascinated by the glow!
We thought the Hagukan Cave would be by far the best cave and the highlight of the day but shortly after we visited Magkuku-ob Cave. You swim into the cave then climb up into the cave before emerging at a 5-meter cliff jump back into the lagoon where you began! What an adventure spot this is.
Club Tara Resort Diving Board
Our tour guide parked the bought at a pier to a bit of a random-looking resort. However, it had a 5-meter diving board. They knew us too well. 30 flips and crash-landings later my head was full of water and we had the best time! Definitely, try and stop here if your guide is up for it.
Behind the resort is a huge lake, which I am having trouble locating the name of. Definitely, make the five-minute walk over the hill to check out how peaceful it is.
Sunset in Sohoton
Finally, you should end your day on a beach or in your boat like us, enjoying this epic region as the sky lights up. We were blessed with an absolute belter of a sunset. Fiery red marked the end of the best day ever!
#23 Go Cliff Jumping in Siargao
Siargao is a small island in the Philippines that from first glance may seem to have no cliff jumping opportunities and maybe cliff jumping is just not of the things to do in Siargao. In fact, when I first arrived I thought there would be no jumping for my next 30 days on the island. Throughout our adventures, during the month we ended up finding quite a few spots ranging from 3m to 8m.
Tayangban Cave Pool: 7 meters
Magpupungko Tide Pools: 4 meters
Magkuku-ob Cave: 5 meters
Sugba Lagoon Diving Board: 3 meters
Secret Cliff Jump Sugba Lagoon: 8 meters
Club Tara Diving Board: 5 meters
Tak Tak Falls: 3-6 meters
Full Blog Post: 6 Awesome Cliff Jumping Spots in Siargao
#24 Smoothie at the local
In the heart of General Luna, you’ll find a couple of local stores with fruit hanging from the ceiling creating an entire wall at the shop-front. For around $1 they will make you a pure fruit smoothie. It’s just goodness. Have it in-house and they serve it in a glass with a bamboo straw. The perfect way to refresh and leave no trace!
#25 Go Off-Road on Random Roads into the Jungle
The beauty of Siargao is that is so raw and the island atmosphere is so real! General Luna is touristy but 90% of the island is not touristy at all. Jump on your moped and go for a drive. Turn off onto some random dirt tracks during golden hour and watch the light rays shine through the palms as you get eaten alive by mosquitoes. Getting lost in the jungle was one of our favorite things to do in Siargao during the golden hour.
#26 Shoot Photos on Siargao’s Most Epic Road
At either sunrise, sunset or just whenever head down just pass ‘Top of the Road’ and you will be on a long stretch of road. Coconut palms line this road and it’s not till you send a drone up that you will fully understand how awesome this road is. If you don’t fly a drone then no worries. It’s still the best road on the island for photos. We shot both from the air and down on ground-level and they are my favorite shots of the trip. It’s becoming quite popular two years on now from when I added this photo but don’t be an idiot and set up your tripod in the middle of the road. Remember it is a road with cars and trucks who will either plow through your camera or swerve off the road and lose control to avoid it. Be smart and enjoy the views.
#27 Climb a Coconut Palm to the Top
If you love a challenge, try to copy the masterful locals who scale a coconut palm in seconds. The first few steps up the cuts in the tree are easy until you find yourself tired and 10-meters high in a palm. This might just be one of the hardest things to do in Siargao, unless your a local.
#28 The Bent Palm (Now The Maasin River Rope Swing)
While there are many palms that have grown sideways on Siargao (They can’t all be perfect!), there is one that has had an extra little bit of attention than the others. We had a blast in this cool little spot taking some photos and getting glass in our feet while wading down the river! There has been a rope swing installed and it is a Siargao tourist spot with the locals hanging out there.
Here’s my epic fail on the swing!
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#29 Coconut Palm Forest for Sunset or Sunrise
Hanging out inside the coconut palm forest is so damn cool. I was just overwhelmed no matter which way I turned. Thousands of palms, small pools of water, light rays shining through, small fires burning off rubbish, pet pigs squealing and small wooden huts. It’s an amazing place to explore and once again if you drone, send it up here and look around. It’s not one of the commonly suggested things to do in Siargao but you won’t regret it!
#30 Secret Cliff Jump at Sugba Lagoon
There are actually two lagoons at Sugba Lagoon, the crowded one with the diving board and another hidden, empty one around the corner. Swim or paddle the 500m there and then at the top of the tree is a nice wooden platform, which I would see is about 7-8 meters high. It has epic views of the lagoon and you can see how deep the water is from up there. We never touched the bottom once but do your own depth check in case rocks or branches lurk below the surface.
The jump was awesome and easily the BEST cliff jump in Siargao and easily the highest official jump! Here’s a little video of my jump.
#31 Mam-On and La Januza Island Hopping
Mam-On Island and La Januza Island are found just off the coast of Siargao. They several beautiful beaches and coves and are covered in palm tree-covered hills. The reef surrounding both islands and in the channel between the two is truly remarkable. You can now do these two islands as part of a day-trip as an alternative to the regular tri-island hopping. I highly suggest it as it’s not as busy and equally as beautiful.
View Full Blog Post: MAM-ON ISLAND AND LA JANUZA ISLAND NEAR SIARGAO
#32 Kawhagan Island and Pamomoan Beach
These are two great beaches separated by just a few hundred meters of water. You can visit both as part of the Sugba Lagoon tour, which is how I visited them also. Pamomoan Beach is part of Caob Island and is a chill place for lunch with nice white sand, palm trees and hammocks. Kawhagan Island is a small, palm-tree covered island that has an epic sandbar at low tide. It’s a pretty sweet spot for late afternoon or sunset.
You can book a tour to Kawhagan and Pamomoan online pretty simply. The best one I know if is online with Klook (all the others online seem overpriced). I’ll drop the link here to the activity booking page for the tour I went on: Sugba Lagoon Day Tour (Kawhagan & Pamomoan). You can also book at one of the vendors or tour operators in General Luna.
View Full Blog Post: KAWHAGAN ISLAND & PAMOMOAN BEACH NEAR SIARGAO
#33 Discover Poneas Island and find the Hidden Lake
Up in the north-west of Siargao is a town called San Benito. Here you can hire a boat and head out to Poneas Island. When you arrive you will take a small hike up over the hill and down the path until you find the hidden lake.
The lake is truly incredible. Hidden from the ocean and the outside world, you are truly in a secret paradise it feels. As I took to the air to get a better understanding of the region it was quite impressive to see the small mountains of Poneas Island, which had a resemblance to the terrain of the nearby Caob Island. Details of how to book with my local guide are in the blog post linked below.
View Full Blog Post: DISCOVER THE HIDDEN LAKE OF PONEAS ISLAND, SIARGAO
#34 Visit Kangkangon Island and Pagbasayan Island
After visiting nearby Poneas Island, we visited Kangkangon Island, which was a quiet little patch of paradise in the middle of the ocean. Just one caretaker was on the island in a little hut as we played about in the sand and took a short walk around the entire island. This island-hopping experience won’t be as busy as visits to the islands near General Luna. We didn’t see any other tourists for the entire day.
And after Kangkangon Island, our final stop of the day was Pagbasayan Island, which had a lot more going on. A number of cottages, a bar and play equipment for children were scattered amongst the several hundred coconut palms that are tightly packed onto this small island.
We sat on the beach and enjoyed a coconut before setting off to explore the rest of the island. There is one really unique feature of this island that many probably don’t know. Pagbasayan Island has its own natural, private swimming pool amidst the reef that surrounds most of the island.Details of how to book with my local guide are in the blog post linked below.
View Full Blog Post: DISCOVER THE HIDDEN LAKE OF PONEAS ISLAND, SIARGAO
Watch the big surf at Pacifico
If the surf starts to get big you can either head down to cloud nine or drive up to Pacifico to watch the show. The latter is advised. A typhoon hit Siargao both times I visited so on the second typhoon, I rode my bicycle up to Pacifico and spent the day watching the huge swell smash the coastline. It was clean enough for a few hours that several locals even managed to grab a few epic waves. Hanging out at Pacifico Beach Resort guarantees good food and front row seats to the waves while laying back on their lounge chairs.
#36 Ride around the island
While you can do it on a motorbike, this bucket list item is referring to a bicycle. Josh and I rented a mountain bike from The Greenhouse in General Luna and rode all the way around the island with a night stay in Burgos to break up the journey. It was 65km one day and 70km the second day as we completed the loop. The roads are fantastic and with little traffic and much to see along the way it is really one of my favorite things to do on Siargao. People think there is one or two epic palm-tree roads on the island. Wait till you pedal around it. There are literally fifty incredible spots worth a photo or a drone flight. It took us 2 hours and 15 minutes from Burgos to General Luna so get pedaling and message me if you beat our time from GL to Burgos on the mountain bikes.
#37 Santa Fe Beach
Head across the newly constructed bridge near Cloud 9 that links General Luna to Libertad and you will escape the crowds of Cloud 9 and enter Siargao bliss. Libertad in itself has some great sunset spots, albeit facing the wrong direction. However, my favorite spot is just near Santa Fe. If you just chuck Santa Fe into your google maps, there is no specific spot but just pick a bit of beach and enjoy it all to yourself. No-one else comes out here as they just take the lazy option of General Luna for sunset but I used to ride my bicycle down here in just twenty minutes and found it very peaceful!
#38 Libertad Beach
Libertad is just across the bridge from General Luna. In the past, there was no bridge so it was a 40-minute drive but now in just 10-minutes, you can be in Libertad and far away from the crowds of Cloud 9. The beach isn’t amazing for swimming but the palm trees as a backdrop and the glow over the ocean are very peaceful and a great way to end the day.
#39 The Bridge to Libertad
The newly constructed bridge that links General Luna to Libertad is definitely going to be one of the top new alternative sunset spots on Siargao. Why? Because it actually faces the sun. The big problem on Siargao for sunsets is that everyone is on the wrong side of the island for the sunset but now with just a little walk or drive you can hang out on the bridge and watch the sun setting over the mangroves. I had to shoot a photo there before the colors popped as I was on my way to Santa Fe so there is no pastel sky in my photo below, but take my word for it and hang out on the bridge during sunset.
#40 Hang Out with the Locals
No matter how many awesome things there are to see or how many waves you will ride, the most important thing in each destination I visit, is the locals. You are visiting their home. Not only should you treat every inch of their land with respect but these are the people you want to hang out with if they give you the chance. This is one of the best things to do in Siargao and I encourage you to go out of your way to meet a local at karaoke, a surf, a chat at breakfast in the hostel, a beach cleanup or a full-day adventure. Think not what can they do for me but how can you help them. Our favorite day on Siargao was the beach clean-up we did at Pacifico with all the local kids and surfers. The people in Siargao are pretty chill and happy to share a joke with them.
Siargao is a beautiful island. Treat this island with respect. Leave it better than you found it and be proud of your actions. Make a positive impact during your visit. I hope this Siargao travel blog has given you an idea of just how beautiful Siargao is!
Here is some more useful information about Siargao to help you plan your trip and itinerary the best you can. I hope this blog post really does help you explore the island and enjoy one of the best places in the Philippines.
WHERE I SUGGEST TO STAY ON SIARGAO
Budget Hostel in General Luna: The White House: The best budget option for dorm style/hostel accommodation on Siargao Island is called The White House in General Luna. For just $10 a night you can grab yourself a dorm bed.
Value Pick in General Luna: Lampara Siargao Boutique Hostel: Lampara Siargao is an oceanfront boutique hostel conveniently situated on the exotic island of Siargao.
Luxury Pick in General Luna: Nay Palad Hideaway: Nay Palad Hideaway is one of the most luxurious accommodations in the Philippines. With its beautiful outdoor pool, terrace with either garden or ocean views, comfy seating areas, and is the resort you will see featured on Instagram all the time!
WHERE I STAYED ON SIARGAO ISLAND
Siargao is pretty straightforward when it comes to picking a region to stay. 90% of people choose to stay somewhere near General Luna. All of the bars, restaurants, tours, ports, and hotels are near General Luna and Cloud 9 surf break. There are a couple of other regions you could stay in like Pacifico but unless you are purposely looking for isolation, General Luna is your spot. So what are my suggestions for where to stay in General Luna?
First, I’ll tell you where I stayed. Because I stayed for over a month, I managed to find an Airbnb. It was 4 blocks back from the beach, had wi-fi, A/C, a private bathroom, patio and inside were just two bunk beds. It was super basic and I stayed here with two mates and my sister. It was 900 USD for the entire month, which we split four ways so it was just $225 each. There’s a photo below of our sweet Airbnb pad on Siargao Island.
Best time to visit Siargao Island
The best time to visit Siargao depends on what you are looking for. Many consider the best time of year when the weather is best but that also means crowds. I will give you a few options below about when is the best month to visit Siargao Island:
September: Siargao hosts the ‘Cloud 9 Surfing Cup’ each September, an official WSL Pro event
July – November: The best time period for surfing in Siargao is July until November. The easterly Mindanao current provides the islands with waves that came from the deepest regions of the Pacific.
March-May: If you aren’t as interested in the surf but are craving that sun. March until May should bring you guaranteed sunny days. But it’s the Philippines so you can’t guarantee it.
Where is Siargao Island Located
Siargao is located in the region of Mindanao in the Philippines. Mindanao is the southern region of the Philippines.
How to get to Siargao Island
When I visited in 2017 there was only one flight a day from Manila and one from Cebu. Now there are 10-15 flights a day so the question of how to get to Siargao has become much easier. Without going into deep detail on every single option. These are the options for how to get to Siargao:
- Fly from Manila $90-$100
- Fry from Cebu $90-$100
- Ferry from Surigao City to Siargao Island $5
There are ferries that leave from Manila and Cebu but they go to Surigao City first and then Siargao Island.
ARE YOU FOLLOWING MY SIARGAO SERIES OF BLOGS
Cliff Jumps: 9 CLIFF JUMPING SPOTS IN SIARGAO
Where to Stay: WHERE TO STAY ON SIARGAO ISLAND
Island Hopping: SIARGAO ISLAND HOPPING – GUYAM, DAKU & NAKED ISLAND
Ultimate Guide: 40 AWESOME THINGS TO DO ON SIARGAO
Sohoton Cove Itinerary: SOHOTON COVE NATIONAL PARK TOUR – CAVES AND LAGOONS
Visit Sugba Lagoon: SUGBA LAGOON FROM SIARGAO ISLAND
Hidden Lake on Poneas Island: DISCOVER THE HIDDEN LAKE OF PONEAS ISLAND, SIARGAO
MORE PHILIPPINES BLOGS
I have also visited many other places in the Philippines that you may want to add to your itinerary and remove one of. the locations I visited. There is no right way to travel to the Philippines. The reality is that you will miss some awesome places no matter what Philippines backpacking route you take. You can check out the links below to my other Philippines backpacking guides.
Caramoan: CARAMOAN ISLAND HOPPING
Romblon Island: ROMBLON TRAVEL GUIDE: 17 AWESOME THINGS TO DO
Tablas Island: TABLAS ISLAND TRAVEL GUIDE: 20 AWESOME THINGS TO DO
Sibuyan Island: SIBUYAN ISLAND TRAVEL GUIDE: 9 AWESOME THINGS TO DO
Sohoton Cove: SOHOTON COVE NATIONAL PARK TOUR – CAVES AND LAGOONS
Carabao Island: CARABAO ISLAND TRAVEL GUIDE: 5 THINGS TO DO
Cebu Itinerary: CEBU 5-DAY ITINERARY – DETAILED ADVENTURE TRAVEL GUIDE
Cebu Things To Do: 16 AWESOME THINGS TO DO ON CEBU
Philippines Backpacking Guide: PHILIPPINES BACKPACKING: 2019 BUDGET TRAVEL GUIDE
Ultimate Philippines Itinerary: ULTIMATE PHILIPPINES TRAVEL ITINERARY FOR 3-4 WEEKS