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Please note: Sugba Lagoon will be closed for rehabilitation from 19 Jan-10 Feb 2020
Sugba Lagoon is truly one of the most beautiful places in the Philippines and the most popular way to visit is via a day trip from the stunning island of Siargao (I think possibly the most beautiful island in all of The Philippines!).
So to help you plan your visit to Sugba lagoon, I’ve put together this complete guide which will take you through getting there and how to visit via an organized tour and DIY (which is what we did!).
Let’s get right to it!
You’ve probably seen the beautiful pictures of Sugba lagoon plastered all over Instagram. Unsurprisingly, it's become one of the most popular places to visit in Siargao. This has led to an increased interest in the area which means more people, which means being strategic with your visit. But if you’ve seen the pictures, you’ll know why you should visit. It’s absolutely stunning!
It’s also got wonderful water to swim in and dive boards…(sort of), basically there are some awesome opportunities to jump into the water and Bradley took full advantage of that….(I was on camera duty :P). You can also rent out kayaks for a cheap price and kayak around different areas of Sugba lagoon which is awesome.
Regardless of whether you DIY your Sugba Lagoon adventure, or take an organized tour, either way you’ll be leaving from the `port” of Del Carmen, which is situated west on the island of Siargao. The boats to Sugba Lagoon leave from here.
So to get to Del Carmen port you’ve got a couple of options:
If you’re the type of person who doesn’t want any hassle, or simply don’t feel comfortable driving on a moped, then you can take an organised tour to Sugba Lagoon. There are a variety of companies in the General Luna area who offer this service and they offer both private and group style tours.
We were quoted 1900 (each), and that included the transfers to and from, the boat over and entrance to the Sugba Lagoon. We thought this was pricey (for the Philippines), so we opted to DIY.
But if you are interested in taking an organised tour (I would have done this if I was travelling SOLO too for the chance to mingle with other travellers) then check out these ones below…
Many ask, should I visit Sugba Lagoon without a tour?
And the answer is, if you want to visit Sugba Lagoon tour free then it’s totally possible!
Firstly, you’ll need to rent a moped, which as mentioned above is around 350 pesos per day.
The first boat leaves the Del Carmen harbor for Sugba Lagoon at 8 am, so it’s best to leave the General Luna area at around 7 am.
When we arrived at the port, there was already a queue for the entrance, and the boat didn’t leave on time (it left at 8.30 am), it was actually annoying that we were there for the first boat and it was already busy...but trust me, you still want to get the FIRST boat, because when you reach Sugba Lagoon, within 40 minutes, you'll see that the first stint of busy….wasn’t busy at all…
When you arrive, you wait in a queue to purchase your Sugba Lagoon experience. Basically you are buying a boat and a driver for the day…..and you can add on other stops, which I’ll go into later.
It’s a set price for the boat, so if you can gather more people to go in with you, then it’s going to work out cheaper. We didn’t, we just went with the two of us in one boat and it cost us 1600 peso (as of 2019).
So regardless of how many people you put in your boat it’s 1600, so the more people, the cheaper...you get the idea! (you can fit up to 6 in a boat).
When you arrive at the Sugba Lagoon, you’ll want to take advantage of the peace real quick…
We were the second boat to arrive, and it took about 7 minutes for the tranquility to disappear. There is one sort of “decking” area that everyone goes to and they charge you for a table, which is 50 pesos, where you can leave your stuff, then 50 pesos for a life jacket and 300 pesos for a kayak (which you should rent!).
Anyway, when you’re there, you’ll want to jump off the famous platform, for a really cool picture.
What’s really annoying, is that there is a queue of people, who climb up there, just to get a picture, and then they walk down again….now I’m not here to judge, but I just think that’s silly and it means you’re literally waiting on each individual to have a mini photoshoot with 5 different poses, to pretend they jumped….which meant Brad had to wait for a bit to jump...but when he did jump, he LOVED it!
There is another jump that’s actually hidden around the corner and you can only access it via kayak. It’s a lot higher, and there are fewer people there, so it’s a great place to visit in general, but if you’re brave enough, then jump! Brad did, and again, I sat in my little kayak waiting patiently :P
The best thing to do when you’re at the lagoon is to rent your kayak and go somewhere more peaceful too, we actually kayaked by a “coffee” shop place which was cool as you could hop off some for snacks (there is no where to get food unless you’re on an organised tour who’ve brought it with them).
As I mentioned above, when you book tour tickets for visiting the Sugba Lagoon, there are a number of options. Bradley and I chose the basic sugba lagoon option which was 1,600 pesos all in, but there are other options too.
Tour A: This is a smaller tour that will give you a view of the Mangroves from a viewing platform, which will be an epic view. It costs less as you’re doing less. It’s 600 pesos for the boat plus an environmental fee.
Tour B: This includes a visit to the beautiful Mangroves that surround the Sugba Lagoon. You’ll see some of them when getting the boat to the lagoon, but this tour immerses you in them with a guided tour. It costs 1,600 for the boat plus an entrance fee of 300 pesos.
Tour C: Sugba Lagoon (Jump for the Mangroves): 1600 peso plus environmental fee. This is the tour Brad and I did.
Tour D: Sugba Lagoon and Kawhagan Sandbar. You stop at the sandbar on your way to the Sugba lagoon which provides a good spot for drone pictures. Cost of a boat is 2000 pesos, plus 150 peso docking fee and environmental fee. There is a second option which takes you to the beach instead of the sandbar, it’s the same price.
Tour E: Tour E has two options one which includes the Kawhagan Sandbar and the other which includes the Pamomoan beach. Both are the same price. Mangrove View Deck, Sugba Lagoon & Pamomoan Beach: 2,600 pesos for the boat, docking fees of 150 peso and environmental fees.
Tour F: Mangrove View Deck, Sugba Lagoon, Kawhagan Sandbar & Pamomoan beach: this is the FULL experience, it covers them all. Cost of a boat is 2,800 pesos, plus docking fees of 150 pesos and the environmental fee.
The prices are all correct as of 2019.
So generally the best things to do include:
We’ve already established that the best time to visit time wise in the day is the morning, as you’ll want to the one of the very first boats to arrive so you can experience Sugba Lagoon without the crowds.
However, with regards to when is the best time to visit Sugba Lagoon in terms of time of year, this will coincide with the best time to visit Siargao in general. The months that are perfect for weather are March until October. We visited in March and the weather was perfect in Siargao.
You can visit other times of the year, but you need to be wary of the monsoon seasons and pretty violent weather that the Philippines can produce.
Siargao isn’t a very big island, and you can drive the whole way around it in a couple of hours, so generally you can stay wherever you like on the island and you’re within a fairly easy access to Sugba lagoon. However, below I’ve listed some of the closest options available to you, which is good if you’re going DIY and don’t want a long drive/ride.
Remember though, even if you’re staying in General Luna, you’re still only a 40 minute journey to the port of Del Carmen to begin your journey to Sugba Lagoon.
So there you have it, I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to visiting the Sugba Lagoon in Siargao! It’s a beautiful place, but it’s getting busy, so make sure you visit soon. If you’ve got any other questions, then just pop a comment below and I’ll get back to you.
More reading on what to do in Siargao: