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