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Siargao Trip Guide: 5 Tips for Your Best Holiday Getaway!

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Siargao Trip Guide - 5 Tips for Your Best Holiday Getaway!

Siargao, a small teardrop-shaped island nestled along the northeastern coast of Mindanao, is one of the country’s premier tourist destinations and holds the esteemed title of the Philippines’ surfing capital. In a testament to its allure, Conde Nast Traveler readers honored Siargao with the title of the Best Island in the World in 2019. This article will dive into Siargao’s Intricacies with this Siargao travel guide.

 

Siargao Trip Guide:

Optimal Timing for Siargao Visits

When scheduling your Siargao adventure, consider your primary activity: surfing or island relaxation. For surf enthusiasts, the prime time to visit is July to November, the peak surfing season on the Island. However, if surfing isn’t your focus, the optimal period spans from March to September. The weather is sunny during these months, resulting in more transparent waters, perfect for leisurely beach activities.

Surfing Season: July to November

During these months, favorable swell and wind conditions create prime wave-riding opportunities. Additionally, the annual Siargao International Surfing Cup takes place every September, offering spectators a chance to witness top athletes compete against each other in the sport’s premier event.

Dry Season: March to September

In addition to exceptional waves, Siargao is adorned with stunning beaches and islets that entice beach enthusiasts. March to September offers perfect conditions for swimming or island-hopping adventures. With minimal rainfall during these months, you can fully immerse yourself in various water activities without interruptions.

Climate and Weather Overview

Siargao experiences minimal temperature variation throughout the year. May typically emerges as the hottest month, With an average daytime temperature peaking at 32°C and nighttime temperatures dipping to around 26°C. Conversely, January marks the coldest period, with an average low hovering around 24°C and daytime temperatures reaching up to 29°C.

Rainfall is consistent across all months in Siargao. However, May tends to receive the least precipitation, while the period from March to September boasts the lowest likelihood of rainfall. Conversely, January records the highest rainfall, with November through January presenting the highest probability of rain.

What to Pack

Amid the hot season, opt for light, breathable attire to combat the sweltering and humid conditions. Remember to pack essential beach gear, including sunscreen, swimwear, a rashguard, lightweight shirts and shorts, flip-flops, sunglasses, goggles, towels, and a hat or cap.

Regardless of the time of year, carrying an umbrella is wise. This versatile accessory shields you from the scorching sun and the occasional surprise rainfall, ensuring you’re prepared for any weather scenario.

How to Get to Siargao   

Flying to Siargao is the most convenient mode of transportation to access the Island. Direct flights to Siargao are available from key departure points in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao—the three primary island clusters of the Philippines. You also have the option to fly to Surigao City and then take a ferry to Siargao Island.

By Air:

Siargao can be reached via its airport, the Sayak Airport, in the municipality of Del Carmen. However, Sayak Airport only serves domestic flights.

Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific Air, and Skyjet operate regular direct flights to Siargao from Manila, Cebu, and Davao. It’s recommended that you book your tickets early; prices usually go up as the departure date draws nearer.

For international travelers, you’ll need to fly into one of the major airports in the Philippines: Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Luzon, 

You can fly into Davao International Airport in Mindanao and Mactan-Cebu International Airport in the Visayas or Surigao Airport.

Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Luzon is a common connecting point for travelers transiting through Manila. NAIA offers connections to numerous international destinations in Oceania, the Northeast, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Europe, and North America. Direct flights to Sayak Airport in Siargao are available from NAIA.

Alternatively, you can fly to Mactan-Cebu International Airport in the Visayas. From there, you can easily find flights from Cebu to Siargao. Since Cebu is closer to Siargao than Manila, the travel time is shorter, and airfares are often more affordable. Mactan-Cebu Airport offers connections to 21 international destinations.

Another viable option is to fly to Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao, commonly known as Davao International Airport, located in Mindanao. This airport serves various Asian destinations such as Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan. You can then catch a connecting flight from Davao Airport to Siargao.

By Air and Sea

For budget-conscious travelers, an alternative route involves flying from Cebu to Surigao City and then taking a ferry to Siargao Island from Surigao Port. This option is more economical than flying directly to Siargao from Cebu.

 

From Surigao City

You can board a flight from Mactan-Cebu Airport to Surigao Airport and proceed to Surigao Port to catch a ferry bound for Siargao. Cebu Pacific offers direct flights from Cebu to Surigao City.

At Surigao Port, daily fast craft services are available to Dapa on Siargao Island. Atlantis Yohan Express and Evaristo & Sons Sea Transport are leading ferry operators, offering weekly sailings from Surigao City to Siargao Island.

Around Siargao

In Siargao, you’ll find various transportation options to suit your preferences and budget. In addition to the typical local modes like habal-habal (motorcycle), tricycle, and jeepney, you can rent a private car or even a tuk-tuk!

Siargao Trip Guide - 5 Tips for Your Best Holiday Getaway!

Neighborhoods and Areas

Siargao Island is just 437 square kilometers, making it a relatively compact destination. Choosing the right area for your accommodations is straightforward.

Historically, General Luna has been the go-to choice for travelers, offering a wide array of accommodations and amenities. However, recent developments have seen the emergence of lodging options in neighboring municipalities like Pilar and Del Carmen.

General Luna

General Luna is the vibrant epicenter of activity in Siargao. Renowned for hosting the Island’s premier surfing destination, Cloud 9, and its bustling nightlife, it’s no surprise that many travelers stay in this lively hub.

If surfing is your main agenda in Siargao, explore the hostels, homestays, hotels, and beach resorts lining Tourism Road in General Luna. You’ll find various accommodations and numerous bars and restaurants here.

For a quieter ambiance with less tourist activity, consider staying along Malinao Road in General Luna.

Del Carmen

Del Carmen is experiencing a surge in tourism, mainly due to the increasing popularity of Sugba Lagoon. Moreover, Siargao’s Sayak Airport is situated in this municipality, making it a convenient hub for travelers. Consequently, there are now several accommodation choices available here.

While General Luna may be the epicenter of activity, Del Carmen possesses a distinct charm and offers its attractions. Apart from the renowned Sugba Lagoon, the municipality is enveloped by numerous islets like Kawhagan Island. It features hidden gems, such as its protected mangrove forest, which often goes unnoticed by visitors.

Pilar

Pilar, another burgeoning tourist spot in Siargao, is renowned for its Magpupungko Lagoons and Rock Formations. Among its attractions is the Magpupungko Pool, a stunning swimming spot revealed only during low tide. It provides visitors with a distinctive experience set against the backdrop of limestone rock formations.

Pilar is also renowned for Caridad, a less bustling surfing spot famous for its impressive northeast swells. For those looking for a retreat from the hustle and bustle of General Luna, Pilar presents an enticing option.

What to See and Do in Siargao   

Exploring Siargao offers many captivating experiences, whether you’re an avid surfer, an island-hopper, or a sightseeing enthusiast. From riding the waves to venturing on island-hopping escapades, the Island is brimming with must-see attractions and activities to fill your itinerary.

For Surfers:

Cloud 9

Cloud 9, situated in General Luna, stands out as the quintessential Siargao hotspot, particularly renowned among surf enthusiasts. Its shallow reef hosts powerful right-hand waves, offering thrilling rides for advanced surfers.

Legend says Cloud 9 earned its name from traveling surfers in the 1980s. John Callahan, a pioneer and photographer of the area, recalls fond afternoons spent with friends, indulging in Coca-Cola and local chocolate bars dubbed “Cloud 9,” hence the moniker.

Accessible and adorned with a charming boardwalk, Cloud 9 draws crowds, including novices and spectators eager to witness skilled surfers in action. Alongside its famed waves, the vicinity boasts a vibrant commercial scene with trendy eateries and boutique shops.

For beginners seeking gentler waves, Jacking Horse offers an inviting starting point within walking distance of Cloud 9. Despite lacking Cloud 9’s acclaim, Jacking Horse presents accessible waves ideal for novice surfers, although it tends to attract a bustling crowd of learners.

Cloud 9, a renowned surfing spot in Siargao, catapulted this tranquil Island onto the international travel scene. Yet, beyond its surfing allure, Siargao offers a captivating destination for travelers seeking a rejuvenating island escape.

Siargao Trip Guide - 5 Tips for Your Best Holiday Getaway!

For Swimmers:

Magpupungko Rock Pools

Enjoy a refreshing swim at the stunning Magpupungko Rock Pools.

Magpupungko Rock Pools is renowned for its picturesque beauty, with crystal-clear waters that appear to glow. Visitors can enjoy cliff diving and cave exploration. Caution is advised when navigating the rocky terrain to avoid injuries. Plan your visit during low tide for swimming opportunities.

For Island Hopers:

While already captivating, Siargao offers further exploration opportunities with its surrounding islets. Easily accessible from General Luna, three notable islets await discovery during a half-day Siargao island-hopping boat tour.

Naked Island

Naked Island, a 200-meter stretch of sand in the Pacific Ocean, lives up to its name with its bare expanse. Though the midday sun can be intense, the striking contrast between the pristine white sand and the azure sky will captivate you.

Daku Island

Daku Island presents a longer shoreline adorned with cottages and coconut trees. Offering more activities such as kayaking and fishing, it’s perfect for group visits. Visitors can also indulge in a seafood boodle lunch by bringing raw seafood from the mainland to cook on-site.

Guyam Island

Guyam Island is small enough to stroll around in minutes. It is adorned with palm trees, offering a serene oasis vibe. Cozy huts dot the shoreline, making it an ideal spot to unwind and soak in the solitude amidst the tranquil ocean.

For Caverning:

Sohoton Cove

Sohoton Cove, nestled within Bucas Grande Island, is a premier Siargao tourist attraction that must be noticed. This hidden gem unveils a collection of petite islets boasting enchanting lagoons, limestone caves, and breathtaking rock formations awaiting exploration.

Additionally, Sohoton Cove is renowned for its inhabitance of thousands of stingless jellyfish, offering visitors the rare opportunity to swim alongside or interact with them under the guidance of knowledgeable tour guides.

Tayangban Cave Pools

For the adventurous, Tayangban Cave Pools, also known as Kantoloi Twin Cenotes, await. The caves, plunging over 100 meters deep, offer a unique experience. Start by wading through chest-deep waters amid echoes and bats, then emerge into open pools. Feel the adrenaline as you leap from a seven-meter cliff into 18-foot deep waters for an exhilarating thrill.

For Diving:

Blue Cathedral

Siargao’s underwater beauty rivals its famed waves, offering diving spots like Seeco Reef Coral formation near Naked Island (ideal for certified open-water divers) and Daku Coral Beach Staghorn Reef. Blue Cathedral, near Cloud 9, is a standout, suited for advanced divers at over 20 meters. With a 20-meter-wide hole and caverns, it’s a mesmerizing sight teeming with tropical fish. Accessible from Cloud 9, rent a boat to witness this underwater wonder.

 

Conclusion:

With its pristine white sand beaches, idyllic islands, and azure waters ideal for snorkeling and diving, Siargao beckons adventurers to explore its natural wonders. The Island boasts many scenic attractions, from cascading waterfalls and serene lagoons to mysterious caves.

Moreover, Siargao tantalizes taste buds with diverse local delicacies and international cuisine, catering to every palate. While General Luna remains a favorite among surf enthusiasts, Del Carmen is steadily gaining popularity, particularly for its enchanting Sugba Lagoon. Therefore, prepare and spend your holiday exploring the vast Island of Siargao.

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