In this article, we will guide you to Siargao Island! This Siargao guide you will find all the necessary information and tips you need to get if you wish to visit this “surfing” capital of the Philippines.
This Island is, for so much justification, one of the most favorite islands in the Philippines. The “Mecca” for surf lovers, special thanks for the most famous and beautiful Cloud9 Wave; this hot spot has so much more to offer to those who do not challenge the board.
Do you know why Siargao is the favorite of many travelers? Because of the following:
- The landscapes of endless palm groves
- The beautiful lagoons
- The amazing natural pools
- The island hopping to nearby paradises
- The nightlife
- The delicious food
- And the comfort of relaxation plus the peace of mind you will get from the beautiful island.
Also, in this beautiful corner, many foreigners, especially Spanish, have decided to stay in the Philippines.
When our team visits in the island for the very first time, we fell in love with the island’s charms and made us consider the possibility of staying to live! (well, if that’s possible). We met a Spanish man there, and she fell in love with a Filipina and made him decided to stay for good.
Though the Island changed a lot, too much and too fast but still, it is our most beloved and favorite destinations in the Philippines for so many reasons.
Don’t you know that in the island there’s a lot to do aside from surfing? It is a circular road where you can see the beautiful landscapes of a thousand palm trees. (perfect for drone video!). And, also you can do island hopping! Oh, don’t forget to try the food, it is cheap and super delicious!
When you are Siargao Island, there is no shortage of options of activities to get and try. It is the beach paradise that anyone should visit. Well, if you are decided to visit but you’re having any difficulty on how to get there. This is based on our team’s experience and support information from our Filipino friends.
We will help you discover on how to get there in comfortable ways, where to stay there, the best hotels to check-in, where to eat and of course what to do in Siargao.
Are you now ready to stay in the Island for your next holiday? Continue reading this guide for you to get started!
WHAT TO DO IN SIARGAO ISLAND?
According to other people, “do not go to Siargao” if you are not a surfer. Or if you don’t know surfing, Siargao, not the right place to visit. Don’t listen to them! Here are the best lists you can do in Siargao Island:
- Surf: this is the number one reason why people visit. It is the best activity you can have if you know on how to surf. But if you don’t know and you are very much willing to learn, there’s a lot of trainers or instructors you can hire there for you to get started whether you are a beginner or a professional or want to learn. The professional fee is 600 pesos per hour, including the board rental. This is the best place to explore the amazing world of surfing. Cloud 9 wave is famous.
- Walking the roads of Siargao: Tire of surfing? How about walking the streets and see the beautiful palm trees? You will fall in love with the coastal road of this island. You can also see mangroves, rivers, beaches, natural pools – the Magpupungkot Rock Pools, waterfalls, and a lot of tranquility is waiting!
- Island hopping : Have you been to Coron and El Nido? Island hopping in that place is very different but not worse.
- Beaches: Compare to Coron and El Nido, Siargao beaches are not the best beaches that others may consider, but it is not that bad as what you’ve thought. People who tried Island Hopping in Siargao can justify that the beaches are beautiful. Within the island, most of them are low, so when it is low tide, you will have a hard time to take a bath or to swim. Anyway, enjoy Alegría Beach. But our team loves the ones in the Malinao area, near the Sandy Feet hotel. The palm trees near the sea very lovely to the eyes.
- Nightlife: Almost every day you can find a bar where you can have a drink and dance, so put this island on your itinerary in the Philippines, meaning to say nightlife is good in Siargao!
In this Siargao guide it is recommended that you need to spend at least 4 full days (without transfers) to discover and explore the beautiful island. If you can do it 1 week, much better.
WHAT TO DO IN SIARGAO
ISLAND HOPPING IN SIARGAO
You can see and explore the neighboring islands of Daku, Naked, and Guyam, but also the mangroves of Del Carmen, the famous beautiful Sugba Lagoon, and the remarkable sand tongue of Kawhagan Island. You will surely enjoy the Corregidor, Mam’om, or Sohoton, among many other corners.
To get information about Island Hopping in Siargao, how much they cost and much more, continue reading:ISLAND HOPPING IN SIARGAO
WHERE TO EAT IN SIARGAO ISLAND
If you have “Gourmet” Palate, then it is likely that is a paradise. There are many places where you can eat even though most of them are expensive. But, nothing to worry about because you can still find a budget-friendly eatery for all budgets.
From pizzas and risottos of the Kermit to the smoothies bowls of the Shaka passing through the neighborhood of carenderias or eateries the food starts at 50 pesos!
THE BEST PLACES TO EAT IN SIARGAO
HOW TO GET AROUND IN SIARGAO
Public transportation in Siargao is not very efficient. But. You can still find ways to get around. If you know how to drive and you’ve got a driver’s license, our advice is to rent a motorcycle, as it is the best way to explore the island. Or you can also rent a car or hire the services of a tricycle driver or a habal-habal (motorcycle drivers).
There is plenty of company that rents a very cool tuk-tuk or tricycle. Yes, it is more expensive than renting a motorcycle, but it is a perfect option if you are traveling with your family or friends. You can save plenty of money while discovering the Island.
How to get from Siargao airport to your hotel? From the airport of Siargao, shared vans leave to any point of General Luna, Cloud 9, and Malinao. They charge about 250 pesos per person.
If you want to save money and you are alone, you can rent a motorcycle outside the airport. Depending on the time you rent it, you can find it for 250-500 pesos a day. Just be friendly and talk in a nice way and negotiate.
Continue reading to get more exact information:
Good news! It is now easier to reach Siargao. Thanks to Siargao Tourism, Here are the basic and simple instructions on how to get there:
· Getting to Siargao by airplane: there are several dailies and direct flights from Cebu and Manila.
· Arriving at Siargao by ferry: From Surigao, several ships leave from 4:00 to 12:00. To get to Surigao, you can take one of the three ferries or boats that leave from Cebu almost daily, and you can sleep along the way because they have beds. If it is your side trip from Camiguin, you can also link transport, as we write the Camiguin Guide here: How to go to Siargao from Camiguin.
· Getting there by van: If you are from Davao, you can join a group of people who wanted to visit Siargao as well. There are plenty of Travel and Tours Agency who provide shared vans for rent that cost around 3000 to 5000 pesos only (back and forth to Davao)
Here is the detailed instruction on how to get to Siargao:
WHERE TO SLEEP IN SIARGAO
To tell you frankly, it is difficult to find where to sleep in Siargao. The island is now popular and hotel prices are high, and in this guide it is recommended that you need to book your accommodation in advance, especially in peak season like Christmas, Easter and the months of July, August and September (dry season on the island and when surfing championships are held).
You can find hotels between the town of General Luna and the Cloud 9 area. If you want more peace, but easy access to restaurants and bars, more options are in Malinao area. For surfing love, please go to the Pacific.
Here are some tips to Guide:
- BANK / ATMs IN SIARGAO: There are a lot of ATMs in General Luna and Dapa. But, sometimes the machine does not have enough money and does not work.
So Be careful and please carry some cash with you. Read our articles and tips about Best cards to travel to the Philippines and Money in the Philippines
- WHEN TO TRAVEL TO SIARGAO: Because Siargao’s climate is different from the other places in the Philippines, therefore the best time to travel.
- IS SIARGAO IS SAFE: Yes, Siargao is safe, but most accidents cause on the Island are traffic and have become severe.
The hospital on the Island will give you disappointments (unfortunately, this is the worst problem in the Island), and if something serious happens to you will have to be urgently transported to Cebu or Manila. Always be CAREFUL!
- INTERNET IN SIARGAO: The connections are 3G / 4G. There is wifi in hotels and restaurants too. In this guide from Siargao, we will explain our best experience was in the center of the town of General Luna.
We also recommend to buy sim cards and get some extra data for your mobile phone. Read our article about the internet in the Philippines for more info.
- BOOK IN ADVANCE: Siargao is the trendiest in the Philippines today, and prices are high. If you want to enjoy your vacation, book your accommodation in advance.
Siargao Island contains one of the largest mangrove forest reserves in Mindanao, covering an area of 4,871 hectares in Del Carmen. Long stretches of wetlands indicate a potential for commercial seaweed propagation. The extensive mangrove forests of the western coast in the Del Carmen area are home to the Indo-Pacific saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus). A large specimen measuring 14 feet, 9 inches (4.5 meters) was found dead in 2016.
Siargao Island is greatly influenced by the winds and currents coming uninterrupted from the Pacific Ocean, intensified by the Mindanao current running westward through the Siargao Strait. The tide of Siargao is diurnal with tidal curves typically present, especially on the east coast of the island.
Offshore, a classic tropical island lies protected within its surrounding coral reef with dozens of coconut palms dressed in the center circle of the island. Off to the right, well within the massive coastal reef, lies a shining white sand bar, (Pansukian, or Naked island) some 200 meters long.
The island’s Pacific-facing reefs are situated on the edge of the Philippine Trench, and the extremely deep offshore waters assure the ocean swells have undiluted power when they encounter the many coral and rock reefs. This Island has excellent surfing conditions, particularly during the southwest “habagat” monsoon from August to November, when the prevailing wind is offshore.
There are small islands surrounding Siargao, namely Guyam Island, Pansukian or Naked Island, and Dako Island. These are typically included in island-hopping tours that are popular activities being offered to tourists visiting the island.
In the past, the island could be reached via a direct domestic flight from Manila to Surigao City and then by a ferry to the coastal towns of Dapa or Del Carmen. Now, Cebu Pacific has flights from Cebu-Siargao, vice-versa as well as a direct Manila-Siargao route (it stops briefly in Cebu and passengers then switch to a smaller aircraft).
On March 2017, both Cebu Pacific and SkyJet Airlines commenced direct flights to Sayak Airport (SOS), The island from Manila Airport (MNL), the first direct flights to the island from the capital. Additionally, Philippine Airlines has been offering direct flights from Clark International Airport to Sayak Airport since July 1, 2018. There are plans to extend the runway of Sayak Airport, to cater to the demands of growing tourists who will be visiting this island paradise.
The first recorded sighting by Europeans of Siargao Island was by Spanish navigator Bernardo de la Torre on board of the carrack San Juan de Letrán in 1543, when attempting to return from Sarangani to New Spain. It was charted as Isla de las Palmas (Palm Island in Spanish).
The name originates from Visayan siargaw or saliargaw (Premna odorata), a mangrove species that grows on the islands.
There are several other quality waves on Siargao and nearby islands, but Cloud 9 has received more publicity than any other surf spot in the Philippines.
While it is not the only wave in the Tuason Point and General Luna areas easily accessible via the long pier from the shoreline and without the need for a boat, it is easily the most popular, leading to overcrowding and the nickname of “Crowd 9” among surfers.
Eager foreign and locally-owned accommodation and tourist facilities have profited from the magazine publicity and the influx of visitors drawn by the annual Siargao Cup competition in September and the General Luna area currently has nearly 100 accommodation options for visitors. A short motorbike ride outside of town yields even more lodgings, restaurants and bars.
One of the well-known surfing spots in Siargao and the Philippines, with a reputation for thick, hollow tubes is “Cloud 9”. This right-breaking reef wave is the site of the annual Siargao Cup, a domestic and international surfing competition sponsored by the provincial government of Surigao del Norte.
The wave was discovered by traveling surfers in the late 1980s. It was named by American photographer John Seaton Callahan after a chocolate bar of same name and was featured in the United States-based Surfer magazine in March 1993.
This surf trip to Siargao Island was named by Surfer as one of the “Ten Best Surf Trips of All Time” in 1995. Cloud 9 also has a reputation for being a relatively cheap destination for surfers with many accommodations, restaurants and bars to choose from.
Siargao, particularly the municipality of General Luna and the Tuason Point area, is well known as “The Surfing Capital of the Philippines” with a reputation among surfers within the Philippines and the International scene.
The island of Siargao was a hideout for convicted American drug smuggler and surfing entrepreneur Mike Boyum, who arrived on the island in late December 1988 and who died on Siargao from a 44-day “spiritual cleansing fast” in April 1989.
- In March 2018, journalist Karen Davila, anchor of late-night newscast Bandila, narrated in social media her family’s “traumatic” experience on the island. Her son’s whole chest bled from abrasions from hitting the rocks on the shallow waters while their surfing “trainer” “suddenly disappeared” after supposedly assisting the family. The journalist called out to the Siargao management, as well as the Mayor, that surfing instructors needed to be professionalized.
- In July 2019, singer Yeng Constantino complained about local medical facilities in a Facebook post. She criticized a Siargao hospital for allegedly not attending to her husband properly after he sustained a head injury while cliff diving in Sugba Lagoon