Siargao – our favorite Island in the whole Philippines. In this ultimate guide, we share with you why we loved this island so much and the best things you can do on Siargao, including the best beaches, where to stay and eat as well as top boat trips to go on.
This Island makes you feel like being in another time. It’s full of palm tree forest, and while we followed the only road on the island, which leads you all around it, and crossed all those coconut palm trees, it somehow reminded us of Jurassic Park. Siargao is not touristy like other islands of the Philippines, and it’s a true paradise and mainly visited by backpackers. Besides, it’s very famous for its fantastic breaks, and for that reason, it attracts many surfers.
Best time to visit the Philippines
The best time to visit the Philippines is between November and April because these are the dryer and cooler months. The wet season starts from Mai until October and brings a lot of rain and hotter temperatures. However, the tropical weather in the Philippines is very unpredictable all year round.
We visited Siargao in February, and it rained sometimes. But the rain usually lasted only a few hours. Be prepared that the weather can change very quickly. It can be the most beautiful sunny day, and an hour later it is raining heavily. Another hour later, it may be perfectly sunny again.
How to get to Siargao
You can either get to Siargao by Ferry or by Airplane. The ferry port of Siargao is called Dapa and is located in the southern part of the Island close to General Luna. If you are not staying in this area, you can take a Tricycle to get to your accommodation.
The tiny airport of Siargao has only two gates, and it is located on the west coast close to Del Carmen.
Visa to enter the Philippines
Most nationalities can enter the Philippines for 30 days visa-free. If you want to extend your stay, you have to apply at an Immigration office. You can find all information here.
Top things to do in Siargao
One thing that is amazing about Siargao is that the Island is completely overgrown with coconut palm trees. There is a palm tree forest everywhere, and it’s so beautiful. There is a famous viewpoint to see over this vast palm tree forest, which is called “Palm tree view deck” on google maps. We recommend you to come here for sunset. It was magical.
Maasin River Palm Tree swing
This is the one place we recommend you to come early on Siargao. It got quite a famous spot and can get busy after 10 am. But it’s definitely worth a visit. Look for Maasin Bridge on google maps to find it. We had so much fun swinging into the river from this palm tree and talking to the kids there. When we arrived there at 7 am, we were the only ones, and only a few local kids were showing up. The entrance fee is 20 Peso per person, and if you want to use a boat or a raft, you will have to pay an additional 20 Peso per person.
Magpupungko Rock Pools
The fantastic rock pools of Magpupungko are not far from Maasin River, and to visit these two places can easily get combined. Unfortunately, the rock pools were closed during our time in Siargao because it was right when COVID 19 started and, they closed places where a lot of people could come together close. It’s quite a famous place to visit, and we heard it’s beautiful. We can’t wait to be back on Siargao and take a bath at the Magpupungko rock pools.
Cloud 9 is the famous surf break of Siargao. It’s an enjoyable place to hang out from cute beach cafes where we enjoyed a coffee in the morning, to a lot of surfers to watch in the waves. This place offers a lot of entertainment. If you like to learn surfing yourself, many small surfboard rentals offer surfing classes as well. Besides, you can train your balance on the ropes that are spanned between the palm trees, or relax in a hammock.
Suppose you need a delicious breakfast after surfing or watching the surfers in the morning, head over to Shaka cafe. They offer fantastic smoothie bowls with an ocean view.
Island Hopping from Siargao
Siargao offers a fantastic three islands hopping tour we can highly recommend. The island hopping tour from Siargao was one of our favorites because it is less known than Island hopping in other regions of the Philippines, It is cheaper, and the Islands that we visited are small paradises. From a big sandbank in the middle of the turquoise ocean to sipping coconuts under palm trees – this day trip was perfect and one of our favorite memories from the Philippines.
3 Island Hopping in Siargao
Pacifico Beach is located in the area of San Isidro, which is where we stayed during our time in Siargao. This part of the island not touristy at all and Pacifico is a long white sand beach with barely other people around. We met a few kids playing at the beach, some locals that went surfing, and only a couple of other people relaxing at the beach. The water is clear and beautiful. This beach has a good break for surfers as well. In San Isidro, you will find a few small restaurants to eat and some basic more backpacking accommodations to stay.
Alegria Beach was our favorite beach on Siargao. It lies at the most northern part of the island and is a beautiful white sand beach with the most fantastic turquoise and clear water. The beach was not busy at all, and we spend an amazing time there (besides that Stefan almost crashed the drone at a palm tree, haha). If you come up north for this beach, don’t miss eating at Jungle Cafe, which is close to Alegria Beach and an absolutely lovely place for breakfast or lunch.
You should count at least 1.5 hours to drive up here form General Luna, so another option is to visit other places like the rock pools, Maasin river, or Pacifico Beach on your way up so you won’t have to drive for too long at ones. We know the butt pain struggles from too many hours on a scooter very well.
Taktak is a pretty waterfall that is located in the northern part of the island, and if you stay in General Luna you can combine it with visiting Pacifico or Alegria Beach. The waterfall offers a big pool where you can swim in. The entrance fee is .. peso and the local family takes excellent care of this place.
Visit Sugba Lagoon from Siargao
Sugba Lagoon is a must-visit when in Siargao. This lagoon offers the most transparent water, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, and more. To visit Sugba Lagoon form Siargao was one of our favorite things we did in the Philippines. We highly recommend visiting this gem.
Visit Sugba Lagoon from Siargao
Where to stay in Siargao
The main area of Siargao is called General Luna, and it is located in the southern part of the island. General Luna offers fantastic accommodations, many places to eat and go out. Besides, it’s where the famous surf break, “Cloud 9” is located. If you decide to stay in this area, here are a few recommendations on where to stay in General Luna:
- Kermit Siargao – Surf Resort and Restaurant
- Lampara Siargao – Boutique Hostel at the beach, Glamping, Yoga, and surf
- Lamari Siargao – Resort with Restaurant
- Bravo Resort – Boutique Beach Resort with Beach Bar and Restaurant
We preferred to stay in Pacifico. This area is located more north on the eastern side of Siargao. It is a much less touristy area, great for surfing and empty beaches. Take note that in this area are fewer restaurants and things going on. It depends on what you are looking for. But we personally loved staying in this area. We had a scooter and sometimes drove to General Luna. The drive is around 1 hour. In the area of Pacifico, we recommend the following places to stay:
Where to eat in Siargao
We heard a lot how hard it is to find food in the Philippines as a Vegetarian / Vegan, so we were positively surprised that it wasn’t that hard anymore. The typical Philippino cuisine is indeed very meat and fish heavy, and for that reason, the local food was not an option for us personally. But on Siargao, we found the following cute places to eat, which were very Vegan friendly:
- Shaka Siargao – Best smoothie bowls in the Philippines, good coffee and more
- Cafe Honest – Fully Vegan Cafe, very delicious food, cute little restaurant with seating on 1st floor
- Kermit – Amazing place for a nice dinner, best Pizza from a stone oven
- Kitya’s Place – Lovely place with delicious and healthy vegan food made with love. We recommend the Quinoa salad bowl
- Common Ground Cafe – Our favorite place for breakfast, very delicious smoothie bowls, lovely little garden
- Lokal – Tiny local restaurant, entirely vegetarian, mostly vegan, delicious wraps and best homemade coconut Ice cream ever
- Jungle Cafe – a very charming place for breakfast/lunch, amazing views, very delicious food, and coffee
These are the costs we had for the time we spent in Siargao, which will give you an idea of what kind of a budget you will need to travel here:
- Ferry ticket to get to Siargao: 680 Peso per person (13$)
- Accommodation per night: 1500 Peso (29$) for two persons
- Costs for food per day: 1400 Peso (27$) for two persons
- Scooter rental per day: 350 Peso (6.60$)
- Three Islands hopping tour: 1500 Peso (29$)
How to get around
The easiest and cheapest way to get around in Siargao is by renting a scooter. It will give you a lot of freedom to explore the different parts of this beautiful island and all the beaches it has to offer. There is one main road which leads around the whole Island and which is a very safe street. Also, there is not a lot of traffic, so we found it easy to drive ourselves and explore the island this way.
Besides renting a scooter, you have the option of taking a Tricycle. These are a popular and cheap way to get around in the Philippines. We usually took a Tricycle to get from the ferry port to our accommodation.
Internet access in the Philippines is only reliable near big cities. If you’re on one of the many small islands, having internet access may sometimes be a matter of luck. Even though many cafes and hotels offer free WiFi, this doesn’t mean you’re having access to the internet.
From our experience, the best you can do is to buy at least one, maybe two SIM cards, or having a hotspot like the one from Skyroam as a backup with you. There are two major telecom providers: Smart and Globe. We chose Globe and have to say that we multiple times ended up not having a signal, where we would have had it with Smart. But as it sometimes was the other way around too, choosing the right provider is a matter of luck. In retrospect, we think we would go for Smart the next time we visit the Philippines.
Getting a SIM card is easy, as many shops are selling SIM cards. Even in remote places. We got ours at a small booth at the airport, and we paid 1000 Pesos (around 19 $) for a SIM card with 21 gigabytes of internet data. Unfortunately, we could only use twelve gigabytes but never figured out exactly why. Toping up your SIM card is straight forward and can be done instantly at one of the many small shops. Just watch out for posters from Smart or Globe. In the case of Globe, four gigabytes of internet data costs 140 Pesos (around 2.70 $) with the GOSAKTO140 package.
We found that Siargao is very clean and that there was no plastic pollution on the beaches or elsewhere. Please help to keep this paradise island clean and leave nothing but footprints.