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Before we went backpacking in the Philippines, I got a lot of inspiration of where I would plan to visit from Instagram. When in Central America, I was saving lots of amazing photos in the Philippines and thinking “I need to go there”...turned out, the vast majority of those pictures were taken in beautiful Siargao.
So naturally, I was super excited to visit. I was actually worried it wouldn’t live up to the reality of Instagram, but I can tell you...it's even better in “real life”. So, sit back, relax and find out everything you need to know about the amazing Siargao and the top things to do in Siargao!
Siargao is a small island located “east” in the Philippines. Due to its East location, it’s a haven for surfers due to it’s awesome waves. But...more on that later.
Before they had an airport, getting to Siargao was a bit of an annoyance, but now there is an airport, you can get there super easy!
Flights go from Cebu and Manila direct, so if you’re starting point is either of those big cities, then just hop on a flight for around $50 (depending on the season).
We actually flew from Puerto Princesa in Palawan, with a stop over (of about 5 minutes hah) in Cebu, and it was the same price, so a visit to Siargao is still possible even if you’re on the other side of the Philippines.
We flew with Philippines Airlines, but Cebu Pacific also do flights. I suggest you check SkyScanner for the best prices.
Actually, you can also get to Siargao without a flight, but it’s a little more hassle. You’ll need to make your way to Surigao (which looks like Siargao, and also has an airport, so make sure you don’t book the wrong one when booking flights!)
From there you can get a ferry to Siargao to Dapa port, and you catch a quick ride to the “main” area of General Luna or Cloud 9 from there in about 20 minutes.
This website has information on all the different ferries available.
When you get off the airplane, there is a bunch of shuttle vans that all head to that area. No need to pre book and it’s a set price for everyone at 300 pesos per person.
You just tell them your hotel and they drop you at your door! You can also choose to rent a moped or a car from the airport and drive yourself to your hotel.
The best time to visit Siargao might depend if you’re heading there for surfing or not. Basically, generally the best time to visit is between March and October, which is the dry season.
Bradley and I visited in May and the weather was perfect! Super warm.
Big surf competitions are held here in October, so I would naturally assume the waves are at their biggest then. But, between July and December are the best months for surfing in Siargao”.
Since you’re probably going to be flying into Siargao, I think it’s worth staying a minimum of 4 nights.
You could easily spend weeks to months here, especially if you’re a surfer. If you’ve been to Canggu in Bali, the vibe in Siargao is very much the same.
The tourist streets are lined with shops, restaurants, quirky places, and everything you need as a backpacker to survive.
We stayed 4 nights and if Brad wanted to do more surfing, we would have needed more time, but I’ll go through our itinerary a little bit later and you’ll see how 4 nights is perfect.
Okay, now for the part you came for: the top things to do in Siargao.
This list is based on everything Bradley and I did, apart from like 2 or 3 things that we ran out of time but thought worth mentioning.
So let’s get right to it, keep reading for my top 18 things to do in Siargao, Philippines.
If you don’t already know, then I’ll tell you. Siargao is actually really famous for the thousands upon thousands of palm trees on the island.
It’s covered by them, and this is probably why its been voted one of Asia's top most beautiful islands. Anyway, this makes for some scenic shots.
But if you want to get an epic shot of coconut palm trees stretching for miles, then stop at the viewpoint on the North to South Road (the island has 2 main roads, you’ll see it on your way to the rock pools).
You’ll also know you’re there (not because of the obvious thousands of palm trees in the distance) but everyone taking their pictures and a couple of drinks stalls.
This is a great place to fly a drone, and if you want to avoid crowds, go early in the morning or around 2 oclock (we drove past then and it was empty).
It’s a nice spot for sunset too!
Okay, second on my list of the top things to do in Siargao, Philippines is the rock pools otherwise known as Magpupungko.
Straight up with you, I was the least impressed with this. Basically, I thought it was going to look like the pictures (bad idea, because once you do that, you always set yourself up for disappointment).
But, when we arrived, it was packed with people, and the “main” rock pool was crowded with children and people ,and lots of children peeing.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s refreshing, but it’s not impressive or “beautiful” as I’d hoped. Then again, the sun wasn’t fully out, so perhaps our timing was wrong.
Saying that, there are a few other rock pools which are smaller but away from the “main” pool which are much prettier.
Be sure to visit in high tide.
If you’re hungry, you can get food at the place as it’s lined with restaurants, but they’re crap and it took about 45 minutes for them to serve me a tiny piece of chicken and about 7 french fries...
Pacifico beach is a beach located up the east coast of the island and it’s much less crowded than many other beaches. It’s actually one of the “pro” surfer spots, so rent a moped and get a surf rack, then get yourself on the road.
There are a couple of bars and places to eat up there too.
Surfing in Siargao is definitely one of the top things to do! If you’ve been craving some surf in the Philippines, then this is your best bet.
There are lots of great surf spots in Siargao but the most popular beginner spot is near Cloud 9 which is quite shallow and no exaggeration, has over 100 people in the water, so it’s not really safe for normal surfers.
Below is a list of the surf spots in Siargao and their level.
If the surf spot is located on an island off the coast (which quite a few are), you can get a boat there and back for 300 PHP. This gives you a minimum of 2 hours surfing the waves here.
Board rental is cheaper the longer you have it. So for 2 hours it’s around 300 PHP, for a day it’s 500 and you can rent for weeks/or even a month for an even better rate.
Bradley did surf in Siargao, but actually cut his back on the reef, so be super careful. You’ll see lots of people with bandages on their arms and legs from being dragged on the coral! Lol
So, this is one of the top things to do in Siargao that we didn’t do. We went and everything, but turns out you need a guide to take you, and there was a 40 minute wait for the next guide and already a big group of people.
It was hot out and I actually hate caves with pools, so it would have just been Brad. But if you like to swim in blue waters in a cave pool, then this is perfect for you.
Entrance is 100 and a guide is 200, so it’s about 300 PHP per person as of 2019!
Sugba Lagoon was one of those spots I seen on Instagram that I knew I had to visit when I went to Siargao. It’s super beautiful, and makes the list of top things to do in Siargao.
Okay, so there are two ways to do this. You can either book a tour. We were quoted 1900 and that included the transport up to Playa Del Carmen, and the boat over to the ferry, including entrance.
We thought this was a little overpriced, so we decided to DIY.
All you need to do is rent a moped for the day (Average price of 350 a day), the make the drive up to Playa Del Carmen port. The ride takes about 40 minutes and you’re going to want to go on the first boat that leaves at around 8am.
So you’ll need to leave the General Luna/Cloud 9 surfing area at around 7am at the latest.
When we arrived, there was actually wait for the boat and it was already super busy (which was annoying), but anyway, boats started leaving at 8.30 am.
You queue for a ticket and you book a “tour”, there are actually a selection of tours available, some of which I’m going to discuss below too and then you’ll get an overall idea of price.
Basically, the boat over costs 1,600 regardless of how many people are in it. You can fit 6 people, so if you’re a group of 6 then, it’s going to be super cheap.
If you don’t have people you came with, you can ask the crowd if there is anyone that wants to join, we tried this, and no one wanted us, so we had a boat for two!
We were maybe the second boat there and we had about 5 minutes of peace before crowds and crowds of people filled with water and one deck that’s there to stand on (they charge you 50 pesos to use a table, 50 for a life jacket, and 300 for a kayak)
It’s a really beautiful place, but it’s too touristy, it’s overcrowded and it’s ruined by that. Even being the first people there doesn’t work, it gets super busy quickly.
I can’t even remember if we went on a weekend which made it worse, but it was busy!
There are two jumps you can do, the most iconic one is basically just filled with locals taking pictures at the top and not actually jumping. Poor Brad had to wait in a queue of like 13 people just taking photos...stupid.
Anyway ,if you rent a kayak and go around the corner, there is another jump which is much bigger, and a lot more scarier, plus hardly anyone at it! So if you love adrenaline, you can do that.
The mangroves are pretty cool and they can be combined as part of a tour with the Scuga lagoon. There are hundreds of Mangroves, and it’s one of the biggest Mangrove forests of the Philippines.
You can check out amazing wildlife and crocodiles, and you can head to the Mangrove viewpoint for an awesome view. Another great place to fly a drone.
The Mangrove Forest Guided tour is known as Tour B and costs 1,600 for the boat plus 300 entrance fee, or Tour A will give you the view from the deck for 600 pesos for the boat plus environmental fee.
This is a pretty basic but cool sand bar that you can check out on your way to Sugba Lagoon. It actually stops here first and it’s a great place to get drone shots.
The cost of the combination tour is 2000 pesos for boat rental, 150 for docking fees, and environmental fees.
There are other combination tours available which can combine all 3 sights and a stop at a beach, and I’ve included all the images of the tours available. These prices are correct as of 2019!
Ah, maasin bridge has to make it on my list of top things to do in Siargao. It’s again another item I seen via Instagram and couldn’t wait to visit.
What’s super interesting about this place, is the fact that it’s just been made a tourist destination in December 2018.
Before that it was remote, secluded and you didn’t pay an entrance fee. Locals began to realise they could and it’s only a 20 peso entrance fee, and you can rent out a boat and rafts for a couple of hundred.
We went early in the morning and there were lots of locals swimming and jumping in from the crooked palm tree into the water!
Bradley climbed and jumped twice, but be aware, this palm tree will eventually break!
It’s a really beautiful place and again a fantastic spot to fly a drone. I recommend if you’ve got time to rent a little boat and ride down the river itself.
Algeria beach is located in the “Santa Monica” area of Siargao, so up North, and it’s probably my favourite beach in all of Siargao.
It’s tranquil, quiet, clean and the water is lovely. It’s a great place to chill with friends with a bottle of rum.
When we visited there is no entrance fee or cost to park your moped.
As we’ve worked out by now, Siargao is bursting with amazing palm trees, and you’re going to want to get pictures with some.
Basically, if you’re driving with your moped, just pull into a road that looks like it’s heading to the sea with palm trees and you’ll have the place to yourself.
We did this twice and on the first spot we met a bunch of friendly locals who were drunks at 11 am and offered us some rum (I took a sip so not to be rude ;) ), then the second spot there was absolutely no one around apart from lots of little piglets which was super cute.
Now, what I will warn you is, coconuts fall and they can kill you.
Bradley was standing beside a tree and we heard BANG, right next to him a massive coconut fell and it would have killed him if it hits him, it was massive.
So, from that, we started walking between coconut trees and when we were near one, we wore our bike helmets.
You know coconuts will fall once they start to go brown, so if they’re all green, then you should be okay, but honestly it's not worth the risk.
In typical tourist spots they take down the coconuts to eliminate this risk, so when searching for new places on your own, just be aware of the coconuts!
Santa Monica Pier is basically North of the island and it’s literally just a pier, but it does offer a nice view. So if you’re looping the island anyway, then it’s worth a stop off, but don’t go out of your way purposely to visit.
It ain’t no Santa Monica Pier in LA :P
Sohoton Cove is a day trip from Siargao via boat. You can do this with a group tour, or a private tour. But there’s no way around it, you’ll need a boat as it’s a little island area of its own.
Basically, it’s a long day and the area looks amazing, but we ran out of time, so if you’re staying more than 4 nights in Siargao, then you can easily add this onto your itinerary.
Imagine beautiful greens and contrasting blues that look like broccoli (in a way), you’ll be impressed by its beauty.
Bucas Grande Island is an island in which the cove is located on. There is lots to do from jumping off platforms, to countless caves and swimming, renting kayaks etc.
Since we didn’t do it, I first got inspired by this post from Journey Era and he’s basically got all you need to know about visiting, so check it out.
This was without doubt the number one of the top things to do in Siargao, for me. I’d go as far to say this was one of my favourite island hopping tours and experiences in all of the Philippines.
It’s the same route for all island hoppers. You go to Guyam island, Daku, naked island and you go snorkelling.
First stop is at Guyam island which means small island and it’s super small, but SUPER beautiful. The water is so pure and amazing and there are two “natural” swimming pools too.
It’s a privately owned island and you can actually rent it out for weddings or private groups to yourself...if I had to own a private island, I choose this one.
The next island is Daku, which is just as stunning, but a lot bigger. There are actually 700 families who live on Daku island, so there are lots of places to eat and drink.
At this part of the tour you have lunch here, and the lunch on this tour was the best I’ve ever had.
Not only were the portions massive, but they had noodles, which for someone who is allergic to rice, is just amazing, especially in the Philippines were rice is what they live on breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The last stop is Naked Island, which is basically a sandbar. It’s fine, but it’s not as impressive as it would be if it didn’t have loads of people on it. Put lots of suncream when you’re on here.
Afterwards you’ll get to snorkel at a coral spot and there are lots of great fishes on offer, even nemo fish (Clown fish).
We went with Experience Siargao and it was an awesome day. What made it even better was the free flowing supply of rum we got all day for free.
I wasn’t aware about the rum, so when our lovely host said “So, shall I start making some rum for everyone”, I was like, wooo island hopping parttayy!
That was fun. It was the cheapest tour on offer as well with lunch coming in at 1000 per person and 150 if you want to rent a snorkel.
We had a fantastic day, with a brilliant group of people!
The Cloud 9 Boardwalk is literally just a boardwalk that goes out into the water with nothing on it in the Cloud 9 surfing area.
So I reckon it’s purpose is for the crowds that watch the surfing competitions here when they occur.
They charge you 50 pesos to walk down the pier, which I personally think is silly to charge, but hey ho. Don’t sneak, they catch you.
If you like to party, then you’ll love Siargao. As I mentioned before, it has a Canguu, Bali vibe to it, and honestly, every night there is a party going on.
Brad and I actually headed out for drinks on a Friday, watched live music, went to the “club” (the queues for drinks were really long and we just weren’t in the dancing mood”, but we did watch a guy do some pretty cool tricks with fire.
Basically, there are endless places to drink and when rum and coke with very generous measures are 60 piso...then yano, you might have a hangover!
There are lots of great places to meet other backpackers if you’re travelling solo.
I actually seen this advertised on the way out of Siargao to the airport, and I thought it looked pretty awesome.
It also looks really new, but this is the poster for it, so you can get an idea of where to find it, and also who to contact if you are interested.
If you’ve spent a while island hopping in the Philippines and just need some “me-time” and somewhere to relax and chill for a few days, or even a few weeks, then you’ll find Siargao is the best spot.
You’ll find healthy food options, yoga, massages and everything you need to relax and rejuvenate your body for a few days.
I hope you enjoyed my top things to do in Siargao section, and if you’re wondering how many days you need in Siargao to fit all these things in, then keep reading as I discuss a variety of Siargao travel itineraries to suit you.
So to help make your trip to Siargao even easier and to ensure you get to complete our list of top things to do in Siargao, we’ve created some Siargao travel itineraries.
But first, I’ve included a map of basically all the points that we visited and that are listed below, so you can get a general idea.
We followed the 4 day itinerary for reference, we were there for 4 nights and 5 days.
If you want the highlights of what’s on offer from Siargao, then I suggest you spend one day “looping” the island,which will look like the itinerary below, with all the major stops.
Then, on your second day, take an island hopping tour from 10 am to 5pm, then catch the sunset with a beautiful dinner!
A 3 day Siargao itinerary will include a loop of the country on day one to hit all the best spots such as the Maasin bridge, best beaches etc.
The second day will see you island hopping to check out all the amazing islands next to the island of Siargao.
The 3rd can be your day to visit the brilliant Sugba Lagoon, which we suggest you leave super early for, and then you can even add in other spots up there such as the Mangrove tour.
4 days is definitely enough to get all the best sights in Siargao done.
Start day one with doing a tour of the island and seeing all the best spots (as mentioned in the pic above and things to do in Siargao section)
Day 2, head off island hopping and experience the beauty of the nearby islands on offer.
Day 3, visit the Sugba Lagoon and see if you’re brave enough to jump off the boards...remember, you need to go early to beat the mass crowds.
Day 4: You could easily spend your day 4 taking surf lessons and checking out the best surf spots around the island, or you could do another day trip to Sohoton cave. We chose the surfing!
If you stay any longer, then you can definitely spend your time surfing and relaxing by the beach.
Remember with regards to the order of the activities you can pretty much do them in whatever order you like. It’s kind of impossible to predict the weather on the island...but what you will find, that if it’s raining on mainland Siargao, it can still be sunshine on the island hopping trip!
The best way to get around Siargao is via your own transport, i.e Moped. These start at 350 per day and raise to 500 per day, depending on where you get it and how long you are renting for.
Please remember to wear a helmet.
However, if you don’t fancy driving a moped, you can actually rent out your own 3-wheeler or tuk-tuk for a variety of days. You can rent with or without a driver.
If you don’t wish to use your own transport, then you will have to rely on jeepneys (which is basically a waiting game, but super cheap to use), or rely on tours to get you to and from your location.
If you are using the tuk tuks or 3 wheelers to get yourself around General Luna, or Cloud 9, then it’s a standard 20 PHP per person on each journey. Even from General Luna to Cloud 9 and vice versa.
Once it gets dark they will charge you a “night rate”. No idea if this is legit, but an extra couple of pesos will make no difference to you on the whole scheme of things.
You can go private or public when it comes to island hopping in Siargao.
Our first quote came for a private boat which worked out at 1400 for both of us, and you get the boat for as long as you need. This doesn’t include entrance fees or lunch however.
We then checked the price of a group tour with Experience Siargao and it was 1000 for lunch, rum, fees, etc This sounded decent to us, and we wanted to meet other people, so perfect.
Plus, the girl who runs it, is super nice so won us over.
This is the cheapest tour that includes lunch and everything, so we randomly picked the best one!
Book “direct” on the street, rather than with your hotel, as they’ll take another commission which will up the price of your tour.
You can stay all over the island of Siargao, but below I’ve listed the most common spots and why they’re good.
Do remember that Siargao isn’t a very big island, you could round trip it in around 4 hours, so basically wherever you choose to stay, as long as you have a moped, you can easily access all the great parts of the island.
General Luna is the tourist hot top of Siargao. It actually very much reminds me of Canguu in Bali. It’s got 2 tourist streets which are lined with restaurants, bars, boutique shops etc etc.
It’s also bursting with surf shops and great accommodation options. Basically,this is the best place to base yourself if you want easy access to everything on the island.
We stayed in an Airbnb, which I am not going to recommend as it wasn’t great. But, if you do opt for Airbnb in general, you can use my sign up code for money off your first booking here.
But you can check all hotels in General Luna here.
Cloud 9 is around 3 miles from General Luna and it’s the surfing hot spot of Siargao. The problem is, the surfing is so popular with beginners, it becomes way overcrowded and pretty unsafe to surf.
But the area itself is again filled with great bars and restaurants, and if you’re looking for accommodation that’s a little quieter, then it’s a great place to stay.
Bradley and I stayed in “9 Clouds Homestyle Accommodation” and it was perfectly fine. Good WiFi, good air con and the food was decent!
Dapa town is basically another town on the island of Siargao. It’s a good place to stay for surfers, because it’s got some pretty great intermediate spots, and still close to all the access.
I actually never really include sections on where to eat, but Siargao had some really great places that Bradley and I loved, so I thought they are definitely worth mentioning since there is A LOT of choice on the island.
This place does awesome vegetarian and vegan food, for a great price. You can literally dine on the beach under the stars and the drinks are very reasonable. I had a veggie burger (amazing) and brad and the faux Meatballs and Pasta!
We dined here about 3 times because we loved it. It’s a relaxed vibe offering burgers, full roasted chicken, wraps, etc and they are all fresh and delicious, AND super cheap.
Drinks are also super cheap, and the rum and coke measurements are to my liking...i.e LARGE! They are also open pretty much 24/7, which is awesome.
This is an Italian chain in the Philippines. It’s fine, it’s decent, but compared to Italian food elsewhere in the world, this place is overrated, BUT, if you’re looking for wholesome carb food and delicious pasta flavours, then I do recommend it, plus cocktails and drinks are super cheap.
It’s also a nice vibe as well, I think it’s a nice spot for a romantic dinner date.
It’s actually a chain in the Philippines and they do amazing smoothie bowls (picture-perfect). I loved their iced coffees and it’s 300 for a smoothie bowl and iced coffee which isn’t a bad deal. It’s right on the beach which is a perfect spot to relax.
It’s really hard to get any sort of decent coffee in the Philippines (which pained me), but their coffee is great.
Siargao can be as expensive or inexpensive as you want it to be. Accommodation in the form of hostels and dorm rooms are pretty cheap, and you do have a lot of choice.
We don’t stay in dorm rooms, or hostels, so it’s a little pricer for private rooms. But if you want a double room, with a private bathroom and air con then you’re looking at around $20-25 a night.
Less, if you book in advance…
Food wise, you can again so super cheap if you eat local, for around $2 per meal. Or you can increase your budget and still get great food for around $3-5 per meal.
Drinks are around $1 for a rum and coke and $2 for a cocktail.
Island hopping is around 1000 pesos, and moped rental is around 350 per day.
So, I would suggest a budget of around $30 for a comfortable room, nice food and the chance to partake in all the activities, oh and a rum and coke!
So there you have it, my Siargao travel guide featuring the best things to do in Siargao. I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and I hoped I’ve included most of what you need to know about visiting the beautiful Siargao.
If you’ve been to Siargao, or you have anything else I should list on the best places to visit in Siargao, then do drop a comment below.