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What to do in Siargao, Philippines | A Guide to the Island Of Palms

What to do in Siargao, Philippines | A Guide to the Island Of Palms

June 10, 2020

Siargao (pronounced shargow) is a tiny tropical island in the Philippines, near Cebu, most known for its world-class surf breaks.

However, there is a lot more to this tropical paradise than just surfing!

Siargao is difficult to get to, meaning this gem in the Pacific Ocean has remained mostly untouched. 

The landscape is bursting with lush tropical jungle, the sand is white and the ocean is crystal clear. The island of Siargao is a true tropical paradise! It is also home to many locals who have been living on the island without access to modern infrastructure for generations.

But the secret is getting out. Tourism is growing rapidly in Siargao for backpackers, surfers, yogis and resort goers alike. It is akin to Bali 10 years ago. 

There are many amazing hostels, resorts, cafes and bars popping up in the thriving tourist hub of General Luna. 

So get to Siargao now while it is still lesser-known but full of amazing options for travellers.

Here are 16 amazing things to do in Siargao.

1. Go Surfing

Surfing is definitely the number 1 claim to fame for Siargao with thousands of young surfers flocking here every year.

Siargao has perfect surfing conditions for both beginners and advanced surfers with breaks dotted around the island. 

The most famous spot for surfing in Siargao is world-renowned Cloud 9. Cloud 9 close to General Luna making it the perfect spot to take up surfing.

Other great surf spots on the island are Jacking Horse, Mamon Island, Tuason's Point, Pacifico and Stimpy’s.

Grab a surfboard, jump on your scooter and hunt out the best surf break on the island.

2. Island Hopping

The big island of Siargao is surrounded by reef. While this is great for catching waves, it means swimming in most places is only possible during low tide

This is where the surrounding smaller islands in Siargao come to the rescue. 

If you are after an utterly perfect tropical island you will find it by going Island hopping in Siargao!

The most popular and closest islands to General Luna are Naked Island, which is literally a bank of sand in the middle of the ocean, Daku Island, and Guyam Island. Daku Island and Guyam also have facilities where you can buy food and drinks.

All three islands are beautiful with blue warm seas and pristine sand. They are a must-visit when you are in Siargao. You will probably want to keep going back every day!

There are a number of other incredible islands in Siargao you can visit that are a little further away. One of the best to visit is Corregidor. This island is relatively large with pristine beaches and a local village. 

Corregidor is most well known for its stunning hike which takes you through the village and up to the highest grassy point on the island. You will be rewarded with sweeping views of the island’s isolated beaches.

The Best Way to Island Hop

You have a couple of options when it comes to island hopping. You can either do an organised tour with a company like Siargao Island Hopping. This will cost around $35USD per person and includes all fees, a guide and food and drinks.

The other option is to rent a boat yourself for the day for around $30USD per boat which can take up to 6 people. You will have to pay small fees of around $1USD to enter the islands and dock at the port. There is no guide or food included but it works out to be much cheaper per person. This is a great option if you can get together a group of people from your hostel! 

3. Take a Day Trip to Sugba Lagoon

It is quite the journey to get to Sugba Lagoon from General Luna but it is so worth it!

Sugba Lagoon is a beautiful lagoon located on the northwest side of Siargao. The boat journey there takes you through beautiful rock formations, villages and deep turquoise waters. Eventually, you reach the idyllic lagoon which is complete with a diving board and transparent kayaks for hire.

For around $40USD per person, you can get a fully organised tour from General Luna. 

Otherwise, you can get your own scooters, or hire a driver and drive 1 hour to Del Carmen. From Del Carmen, you can hire your own boat to take you to Sugba Lagoon. The cost of this is around $30USD for 6 people, plus $2USD per person environmental fee.

4. Watch the Sunset at Jacking Horse

Siargao is known for having spectacular sunsets where the whole sky lights up in bright hues of purple and pink.

One of the best spots to go and watch the sunset is at an area called Jacking Horse, which is near the famous surf area of Cloud 9. You can go for a surf as the sunsets or sip on a San Miguel beer and sit in the sand, watching the sun go down.

Ocean 101 Beach Resort has an amazing restaurant near Jacking Horse which an epic place for sunset.

These sunsets will have you spellbound. Be prepared to make this your evening ritual, especially when the tide is in!

5. Hang out in Hammocks at Cloud 9

Cloud 9 is not only an amazing place for surfing, but it is also one of the best places on the island to chill out. There are numerous coconut trees in the sand on the Cloud 9 beach with many hammocks tied between them. Either hire one or bring your own!

You can purchase drinks and food from Cafe Loka and they will take them out to you on the beach or in your hammock. Sip on a coconut, soak in some sun and cool off in the calm, reef-protected waters. 

6. Get Lost in the Tuason’s Point Palm Tree Forest 

This Palm Tree Forest near Cloud 9 is little known but it is incredible and right off the main road.

Nestled behind the palm tree forest is a beautiful beach known as Tuasons’s point with amazing surf. There is always hardly anyone here, making it the perfect place to chill out without the crowds. 

The best way to get to the Palm Tree Forest is to go to Harana Beach Club and walk right through to the beach, turn left and keep walking along the beach until you reach a bay with beautiful rock formations. Behind this beach is where you will find the amazing coconut tree forest!

7. Take an Overnight Trip to Pacifico Beach

Pacifico beach is a beautiful white sand and coconut tree-lined beach just over an hour north of General Luna.

There isn’t much up there except for a couple of guesthouses and a resort making it the perfect place to get away from the busyness of General Luna and relax. Splash out and stay at the beachfront Pacifico Beach Resort or find accommodation at a local guesthouse for the night.

If you are a keen surfer there are also some top-notch breaks in Pacifico.

To get to Pacifico you can either hire your own scooter, hire a local driver or take a shuttle service.

8. Swim in the Magpupungko Rock Pools

Magpupungko is a natural rock pool on the east coast of Siargao. It is one of the most popular tourist spots to visit. The rock pools are full of deep turquoise water and are a must-visit when in Siargao. 

Just make sure you get your timing right and only visit during low tide as during the high tide the pool disappears under the ocean. 

The rock pools are 45 minutes out of General Luna and easily accessible by scooter, a hired driver or an organised tour. The entrance fee to the pools is $1USD.

9. Coconut Trees View Deck

Coconut Trees View Deck offers some of the most impressive views on the whole island. As the name suggests you get to see nothing but a huge sea of coconut trees as far as the eye can see.

The viewpoint is accessible on an elevated section of the road, giving the spectacular view of the untouched landscape. You can’t miss this viewpoint as it is on the way to General Luna. Your first peek will be when you are on your way to your accommodation from the airport. You will 100% want to go back for a second look!

This is a great stopping point when you are going anywhere in Siargao.

10. Coconut Tree Swing at Maasin River

The coconut tree swing on Maasin River is one of the most iconic places in Siargao. You have no doubt seen it trending on Instagram.

The Maasin river and swing is easily accessible from the main road. All you have to do is park your scooter and walk down under a bridge to access the tranquil river. From here you can hire a canoe to go down the river or just head straight to the coconut tree for a swing.

There will be a local on hand to help you climb up the tree!

You will be asked to pay a small fee for parking your car and to enter the Maasin river, around $1USD each. If you use the swing it will be expected that you give the guy helping a tip.

But most importantly have fun!

You will find Maasin river just a few moments after the Coconut Tree View Deck.

11. Explore the Island on a Scooter

This leads onto point number 11 which is to hire a scooter to explore the island. You will find basically everyone on the island has a scooter. It is the best way to get around and the most cost-effective.

If you don’t know how to drive a scooter Siargao is one of the best places to learn. The roads are wide, flat and there isn’t much traffic. Just make sure you wear a helmet!

It costs around $8USD per day to hire a scooter. Petrol is $2USD per litre of petrol, which is sold everywhere on the side of the road.

There are so many places you can explore in Siargao by scooter. As mentioned above you can drive up to Pacifico, stopping at the Magpupungko Rockpools, Maasin River and coconut tree viewpoint along the way. Drive all the way up to the top of the island to Burgos and Tak Tak falls, stopping along the way at any beaches that catch your eye. 

Enjoy the lush tropical jungle lining the roads and the endless number of coconut trees along the way. You will also get to see some local villages where they live in huts on the water, play basketball with coconut trees used for hoops and sing karaoke at all hours of the day.

There are many other places and secret beaches you can visit, just ask around for the best off the beaten track places to visit.

12. Party in General Luna

General Luna and Cloud 9 have a thriving party scene once the sun goes down. During the high season when thousands of young surfers and backpackers descend on the island, the popular spots are heaving with people till the early hours.

Each night there will be one place that will be hosting a party. There is even a late-night venue that people venture to until the sun comes up!

Popular places include Barrel Sports Bar for their pub quiz, Bravo for their pool party, Kermit for happy hour, Harana for a big blow out, Viento to feel fancy, White Banana Beach Club for a beach party, Lamari for great DJ music and Rum Bar for the after-party! 

13. Eat at Amazing Cafes & Restaurants

You are spoiled for choice when it comes to amazing cafes and restaurants in Siargao. Many of the bars mentioned above are incredible places to eat by day.

There are a number of cafes serving smoothie bowls and brunch as well. 

Great places for brunch include Shaka Cafe, Kali Ma Cafe, Greenhouse Cafe, Cafe Honest, Kook Cafe, Crepes Siargao Cafe and Deli Street. 

For lunch or dinner check out Kermit, Bravo, Harana, Miguels Tacqueria, The Bliss, Olas Banditos and Lamari.

The nice cafes and restaurants will set you back around $10USD a meal (which is very pricey for the Philippines) but you can also get amazing local food in Siargao for a fraction of the price.

Make sure you try the local coconut bread that they make fresh and sell on the side of the road, you can’t miss it! 

There are also a number of local places which serve fresh hot food displayed out the front in big pans. You get to choose what and how much you want. For $2USD you can stuff yourself silly! 

You can find a couple of these places on Tourism Road in General Luna with fruit and vegetable markets attached. Or you can head to the main General Luna Local Market by the port for more local finds! 

14. Sneak into the High-End Resorts

Even if you are on a budget you can still enjoy the incredible resorts in Siargao without having to fork out $100s.

There are some amazing resorts in General Luna and Cloud 9. You either need to pay a fee to use their facilities or buy food and drinks while you are there. If you are game you can also just wander in as if you are a guest!

Kawayan, Siargao Bleu, Lotus Shores and Isla Cabana are all beautiful resorts with amazing pools to lounge in and live the high life for a day.

15. Practice Yoga at Lotus Shores

Lotus Shores is a beautiful yoga retreat centre set back in the jungle in General Luna. They also have an outstanding vegan cafe called Kali Ma for you to enjoy.

The yoga shalas are in big lofty wooden buildings dotted around a tranquil garden, complete with coconut trees and a swimming pool. Lotus Shores is a complete oasis away from the madness from General Luna. They have some of the best yoga teachers from the Philippines and around the world in residence. If you are an avid yogi or want to try yoga this is the best place to go in Siargao.

Lotus Shores offers all-inclusive yoga retreat packages where you stay with them. If you want to practice yoga but don’t have the budget to go on a retreat you can drop-in to all their classes. They also offer concession cards if you want to practice regularly while you are in Siargao.

Lotus Shores has an amazing community spirit. They regularly hold donation classes and delicious communal dinners in their restaurant. 

16. Check Out the Markets 

Siargao has amazing options when it comes to shopping. Isla Mercado is a recently opened night market with permanent stalls selling food and locally made jewellery and clothing. 

There are also regular pop-up weekend markets at Malijon Garden Cottages. There are a number of trendy stalls as well as delicious food and music to enjoy. 

People sell clothing, like the conscious brand Cote Femme, jewellery, homemade hummus and many other locally made and imported goodies.

There you have 16 amazing things to do in Siargao that aren’t just surfing!

Siargao truly is a tropical paradise. It is a special island with a unique vibe and so much to do and see. 

It doesn’t matter if you are a budget backpacker or after a luxurious vacation, Siargao will blow you away.



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