Budget Siargao Travel Guide

Budget Siargao Travel Guide

Nature’s playground

The little paradise island of Siargao (pronounced as Shargao) is found in the eastern region of the Philippines, in the province or Surigao del Norte. Trust me when I say, this is one of the most beautiful islands in the entire world – you’ll never want to leave! Even with tourism picking up, it is still relatively untouched, especially with all of the environmental policies put into place. No big hotels, no chain restaurants, no plastic, and no pollution!

Tip: Remember to bring a reusable water bottle and reusable bag with you as the locals do not want plastic pollution!

After spending a wonderful week and a half on this island, I decided to write a blog on the best spots to check out during your stay!

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Getting Around the Island

The best way to get around the island is to rent a scooter which is cheap, only around 350-400 pesos per day. This will cut costs from doing tours and give you a better view of the island, allowing you stop wherever you’d like!

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Itinerary

I stayed in the northern tip of the island to begin with, which was the perfect introduction to laid back lifestyle and natural beauty. I highly recommend staying up north if you want to avoid the chaos of General Luna (the busy southern region) and stay in a much quieter, more secluded region.

Siargao

DAY 1

Taktak Waterfall

Taktak Falls in an enchanting place, especially in the early morning when you can have it all to yourself. Who’s up for a shower under a waterfall?! This is one of the only waterfalls on the island and is a fun place to spend a couple of hours swimming, cliff jumping, and gazing upon this beautiful site!

If you are staying in General Luna, Taktak waterfall will be about a 1 and a half hour ride on the scooter. There is also a small entrance fee and parking fee upon arrival.

Secret Beach / Danjug Cave

Interesting spot to explore along with a beautiful, secluded beach! Danjug cave was inhabited by pirates in the 1900’s and was a shelter for Japanese soldiers during 1942. There are many antique items inside the cave and information written to learn the history.

Secret Beach is a perfect spot to escape the crowds and find a little spot for peace and quiet. Take time to relax on the white sand beach, on a hammock, or go for a swim!

Pacifico Beach / Secret Lookout

Pacifico is a great beach and is a lot less touristy from other beaches around the island. It’s great for surfing and swimming and there is also an amazing hidden lookout for a bird’s eye view. There are surfboard rentals from the town as well, right near the beach.

Secret Lookout: If you’re heading in from GL, there is a hidden footpath before you hit the entrance to the main beach. Park your scooter and head down the steps for a great view!

Pacifico also has a lot of local restaurants that are much more authentic to try real Filipino cuisine!

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Maasin Tree Swing

This is now a very well-known spot on the tourist track but is a lot of fun nonetheless! This instagrammable spot is in the region of Maasin. It is about a 30-minute scooter ride from General Luna and can’t be missed from the main (bright red) bridge. There is a parking fee and if you decide to try out the rope swing, don’t forget to tip the locals that are helping!

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Feel like Tarzan swinging through the jungle!

DAY 2

Sugba Lagoon

Although there are many spots to buy tours to Sugba Lagoon from GL, I would highly recommend the DIY version! I had my scooter rental and just drove up to Del Carmen which is the town where you will park and then take a boat. Upon arrival in Del Carmen, find the tourist information spot where you will be able to rent a boat (& captain). The budget way to do this is to make some friends and book a boat all together (up to six people)! It only ended up costing around 400 pesos per person rather than the 2000 pesos from tours heading out of GL.

The boat to Sugba takes about 35-40 minutes to get to, cruising through the enchanting mangroves… (Just watch out for crocodiles!… jk).  This is a beautiful spot with plenty to do – from jumping off the famous diving board into the crystal-clear water or renting a kayak and exploring the other parts of the lagoon. There are also small entrances to other little beaches and lagoons where it is super quiet and a perfect spot to relax (you’ll have to take a kayak to these spots though).

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Tayangban Cave

On the eastern highway on route to Pacifico, there are signs for Tayangban Cave. This is a tour through a cave with a great little cliff jumping opportunity at the end! For safety reasons, you need to pay for a guide to take you through, which is about 70 pesos. The guide will wait to have at least 5 people in a group before starting and the tour takes about 30 minutes. Remember to leave your bag and wear your bathing suit because you will be trekking through water on the inside of the cave!

Malinao

After a busy day of adventures, grab a beer (or two), kick up your feet, and enjoy sunset at the beautiful beach in Malinao. Malinao is only a 10-minute scooter ride from GL and is way more laid back than the beach in the city. Not a lot of people know about this location, so you are sure to have a piece of beach all to yourself with views of the mangroves.

If you’re lucky enough to be there during low-tide, look out for an amazing sandbar that you can walk out to! If you do this, watch out for the starfish that cover the ground (don’t pick them out of the water & don’t step on them!).  

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DAY 3

Magpupungko Rock Pools

Magpupungko is a region that is best experienced during lowtide, when the natural tidal pools show up. It is about a 45-minute scooter ride, on the highway heading to Pacifico. Upon arrival, you’ll need to pay a 25-peso scooter fee and a 50-peso entrance fee.

To get to the tidal pools, you need to walk a few minutes straight out to the left of the beach. Try to take as little with you as possible, as you may not want to leave your stuff unattended if you plan to swim.

There are a few big pools and a variety of small pools and you get a great view of the giant rock formations! There is also a spot to cliff jump from, but I would recommend wearing some water shoes so you don’t cut your feet.

Siargao

Surfing

Of course you need to try surfing in the surfing capital of the Philippines! This is the best place in the country to catch a break – so take advantage of it! The entire island has a surfer vibe and most of the local surf in their free time. If you are a beginner or advanced surfer, Cloud 9 and Quicksilver are great options. They are side by side, Cloud 9 is more advanced, and Quicksilver has smaller waves and available instructors for lessons.

Siargao

Cloud 9 Boardwalk

After your surf sesh, head for a stroll on the Cloud 9 boardwalk. A short walk leading to ocean views to end your day before heading back into town.

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DAY 4

Island Hopping

A day of island hopping was one of the most memorable days from my time in Siargao. I made friends with a group of fellow travellers and we decided to do a tour all together the next day. We rented a boat (& captain) to take us to the three islands: Naked Island, Daku Island, and Guyam Island. We got up extra early and headed out before the crowds – which allowed us to have the islands all to ourselves, which was especially perfect for the small Naked Island! Again, I recommend the DIY way for this adventure as it was much more intimate with a small group of friends. The other option is to buy a tour from a shop in GL and head onboard with a large group – which could also be fun, depending on your style!

We had bought food at the local market at the harbour in town before leaving and had locals cook it for us on Daku Island where we got to have a delicious lunch all together of fish, veggies, rice, and fruit!

Naked Island

Naked island gets its name from being bare of palm trees and vegetation but has the softest white sand! It is a very unique experience, being encompassed by the aggressive blue waves, looking out to see nothing but the depth of the ocean in every direction.

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Daku Island

Daku island is the biggest of the three and is great to explore for a few hours! We went off the beaten track and climbed coconut trees to get our own fresh coconuts! It’s a lot harder to open a coconut than you’d think while using nothing more than rocks – but with some caveman skills and a little luck, we found a successful method!

There is plenty of trees around for shade, a bunch of cabanas to leave your stuff, and crystal-clear water to swim! Take your snorkel gear our and search for some coral and fish!

Siargao

Guyam Island

Guyam is a smaller island covered in palm trees. Make sure to go for a swim in the rock pools and take a walk around the island. It’s a great spot to relax in a hammock or play basketball with the locals in the sand! Also, they have the best smoothies here – I had the original mango smoothie and it was the yummiest I had in all the Philippines – 10/10!

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DAY 5

Pilar

Pilar is a lot less known with tourists but known amongst the local surfers for the best break on the island! There are board rentals here so take advantage of good weather and perfect surfing opportunity! Keep notes that there are not instructors at this location though.

If you’re not into surfing, Pilar is still a great beach for swimming and sun-bathing as well as setting up a hammock under the palms.

Cruise!

Also, remember to take the scooter out and just take time to cruise around the entire island! There are so many hidden spots to stop and see – the entire island is covered in palm tree forest, it is pretty amazing to just wander through taking in nature at its best! I also absolutely loved stopping in all the small villages and trying out the fresh Filipino bakery! The people in these villages warmed my heart, everyone is so friendly and welcomed me in with a huge smile!

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Foodie Tip

If you are staying in General Luna, there is a vendor selling Pan De Coco, which is very popular amongst locals – because they are by far the best I’ve ever tried! Look out for a small outdoor stand with roasting coconut husks and a couple of ladies sitting in front making the buns fresh each day – they sell out within an hour and start at noon each day!

* Enjoy your time in this little slice of heaven! If this blog post helped – remember to click the like button below and share with your friends! If there are any blogs you would like information on, write a comment or send me a message! For other blogs on Asia, click here!

Siargao


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