Philippines – Getting to know Siargao

With its laidback lifestyle, picture-perfect beaches fringed with coconut palm trees and invitingly warm turquoise waters, the island of Siargao is about as close to an iconic tropical paradise as it’s possible to find. Although this idyllic island has a world-renowned reputation as a surfing destination, Siargao has thankfully escaped the effects of mass tourism, so you don’t need to paddle out into the waves to find tranquility.

Philippines Siargao Travel Guide

Located around 800 kilometres southeast of the capital, Manila, teardrop-shaped Siargao is a three-hour ferry journey from Surigao City, and can also be easily reached by direct flight from Cebu City. But take our word for it, even if you had to swim the whole way, Siargao would still be more than worth the effort.

Most visitors to Siargao will begin in the bustling beach town of General Luna, which forms part of a protected marine landscape and is home to the famed Cloud 9 surf break. While you could spend a few days in this relaxed community and be perfectly content, it serves equally well as a jumping-off point to explore the rest of the island.

Soak up the breathtaking natural landscape of pure white sand beaches, cascading waterfalls, lush rice paddies and mysterious cave systems. Siargao is skirted with many traditional fishing communities: nothing compares to the taste of seafood fresh off the boat, washed down with a coconut-infused cocktail as you watch an epic sunset.

What to do on Siargao

Not everyone comes to Siargao to surf, but it’s impossible to resist the pull of the magnificent coastal scenery. Beach bums can rejoice in the knowledge that even during the peak surf season of September to October, it’s still remarkably easy to find an isolated stretch of sand.

Island-hopping is one of the most popular activities on Siargao. Lined with palm trees, Daku holds appeal for daytrippers seeking secluded sunbathing, as does the uninhabited Guyam. Despite the name, Naked Island isn’t a naturist resort, nor is it really an island, but an exposed sandbar that makes for a scenic stopover during a boat-trip.

Probably the best way to discover Siargao is by motorbike, so that you can roam local villages where the houses are built on stilts in the sea, deserted beaches and vast rice fields at your leisure.

Getting off the trail in Siargao

45 minutes by boat from the town of Del Carmen in the east of Siargao lies the remote and dreamy Sugba Lagoon. The crystal-clear waters that are filled with colourful tropical fish and shells positively demand snorkelling, but don’t stray into the mangrove swamps, as they provide a sanctuary for endangered saltwater crocodiles!

Explore the deep Sohoton Caves with a boat trip to the nearby island of Bucas Grande. The waters here glow a luminescent green, wild orchids bloom amid the lush vegetation, and bats perch in the darkness between immense limestone stalactites.

Around an hour by road from General Luna, the Magpupungko Pool is surrounded by unique rock formations and separated from the ocean by a reef, forming a kind of natural infinity pool.

Considered the surf capital of the Philippines, there are more than 15 distinct surf breaks around Siargao Island. The most famous, and therefore the busiest, is Cloud 9, which hosts several annual international competitions and was (randomly) named after a local chocolate bar! Ask us where to find the best waves to suit your surfing ability.

Snorkel with confidence in the Sohoton Caves, as the jellyfish in these waters don’t have a sting.

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Photos of Siargao


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