Ahh, Siargao! Probably one of the best places in the Philippines where there’s a healthy mix of awe-inspiring sights, crazy nightlife, beautiful beaches, and more! Let’s not forget it’s also a top surfing hub! You will never run out of things to do in this tropical paradise.
⚠️ IMPORTANT REMINDER: Postpone, don’t cancel! Let’s save the tourism industry. Some information in this post may have changed due to the pandemic and it might affect your travel plans. Always be a responsible traveler and keep yourself updated by reading COVID-19 advice from your local authorities and in your point of destination/s before traveling. You can go ahead and take inspiration from this post, bookmark it, or save it on your Pinterest travel board for future reference.
I’ve been posting about Siargao on my IG (follow me @hazywanders *wink*) for the past couple of weeks now and I thought it’s about time I write a blog post about it. Siargao is the last trip I had before the lockdown and I miss it so badly.
In this post, I want to share with you everything I know about this beautiful island. Hopefully, this would be helpful for those planning to travel to Siargao once the crazy outbreak is over.
The Ultimate Siargao Travel Guide 2020
What You Need To Know About Siargao
Siargao Island is well known as the “Surfing Capital of the Philippines.” Surfers from all over the Philippines and even from outside the country flock here to experience the amazing waves. It’s also where international surfing competitions take place.
This tear-drop shaped tropical paradise is located in the province of Surigao del Norte. Although it’s in the northeastern part of Mindanao where they have a local dialect called Siargaonan, they speak Filipino and English just as fine.
Speaking of Mindanao, I want to break the stigma that Mindanao is unsafe for travelers. I traveled to Siargao with only 2 other female friends. We had a grand time and I can attest that Siargao is safe for female travelers!
How To Get To Siargao (IAO)
The official airport code for Siargao is IAO. Del Carmen Siargao Sayak is the name of their airport.
From Manila you can take direct flights to Siargao. Alternatively, you can get to Siargao via Clark International Airport. Some flights have a stopover (usually Cebu or Davao). So choose your flights accordingly.
If you want to get there the quickest, definitely take the direct flights from Manila. If you don’t mind the Cebu/Davao stopover, you can choose those flights from Manila that have a stopover. If you want to save money and don’t mind flying from Clark, you can also do so. It’s much cheaper that way, and that’s how we flew there.
We booked our flights via Philippine Airlines during one of their seat sales. The roundtrip fare was only Php 3,652 per person because it was the wet season (October 2019), plus we flew from Clark. Ticket prices can go as high as Php 15,000++ for regular non-seat sale ones.
💸 BUDGET TRAVEL TIP: Fly from Clark International Airport for cheaper flight options! You can find cheap flights via Skyscanner.
Where To Stay In Siargao
From affordable to luxurious accommodations – Siargao has plenty of options. Take your pick from hotels, inns, hostels, dorms, Airbnbs, and more!
💡 PRO TIP: Choose accommodation along Tourism Road, General Luna. It’s where the happy-nings are! 😉
Here are some of the places that made it to our shortlist and also the accommodation we ultimately chose. We prefer to book via Agoda so the options below are the ones listed from there.
Harana Surf Resort
Location: Tourism Road, General Luna, Siargao Islands, Philippines, 8419
Accommodation type: Deluxe room and dormitory type. Verified guests from Agoda said that Harana Surf Resort has exceptional service and exceptional facilities on-premise.
Here’s one review of Harana Surf Resort posted on Agoda:
We had a wonderful time here. Spent 3 days in the beachfront cottage and woke up every morning to a splendid sunrise and a tasty breakfast. Everybody we spoke to at the resort was nice and helpful and the bed was extra comfortable. Thanks Harana!– David from Germany Reviewed February 27, 2020
The dormitory type is around Php 567 per person per night. The deluxe room could set you back around Php 2,300 per room/night. Click here to check the latest price and room availability for Harana Surf Resort.
Mad Monkey Hostel Siargao
Location: Tourism Road, General Luna, Siargao Islands, Philippines, 8419
Accommodation type: hostel. Verified guests from Agoda said that Mad Monkey Hostel has exceptional service and excellent cleanliness.
Here’s one review of Mad Monkey Hostel posted on Agoda:
Really enjoyed my stay in mad monkey, the dorms were very clean and spacious. The reps Killian and Manuel were very friendly and got the whole hostel going throughout the day and night time.– Karl from Ireland Reviewed December 14, 2019
If you love meeting people, the chill party vibe, and don’t mind sleeping in bunk beds, then Mad Monkey is for you! Click here to check the latest price and room availability for Mad Monkey Resort.
Reef 9 Beach House
Save the best for last! Reef 9 Beach House is the lovely place we called home for 4 days while in Siargao. The famous surfing spot Cloud 9 was literally just a few steps away from our home. We booked the Studio Triple Deluxe Room for Php 10,335.90. If you do the math, it’s approx Php 3,400 per person. Not bad! Considering the room is spacious, there’s FREE wi-fi, basics like towel, refrigerator, hot/cold shower, coffee/tea, etc. are provided.
And the view right outside our doorstep?
Hello tropical paradise! Ahhh someone please take me back there! Just the view of palm trees and the sound of the ocean nearby can give me a relaxing summer vibe! Click here to check the latest price and room availability for Reef 9 Beach House.
💸 BUDGET TRAVEL TIP: Book via Agoda for cheap accommodations. Always look for accommodations that have the “Book Now, Pay Later” scheme.
Tight on a budget? CHECK THIS OUT FOR CHEAP ACCOMMODATIONS IN SIARGAO
Getting Around Siargao
You won’t have a problem getting from the Del Carmen Siargao Sayak airport to the city center. Just outside the airport, there are a lot of vans waiting for passengers. Preferably choose one that is already almost full so you won’t have to wait long for the van to fill in more passengers (we did this mistake so we ended up waiting around 30 mins? Boohoo!). After getting inside the van, pay around Php 250 – 300. Tell the driver the name of your accommodation and you’re all set. Rest and sit back as travel time can be around 45 minutes.
If you’re staying in an Airbnb, better prepare the exact address or landmark so it’s easier for the driver to locate it. We rode in the van with this pair of travelers whose Airbnb the driver cannot locate. So we went in circles for god knows how many minutes trying to find the darn place. At one point, I was getting impatient… I mean all I wanted was to get to my freakin’ room already after hours of traveling HAHA… easy, Hazy, easy.
Other modes of transportation: motorbike (aka habal-habal) and multi-cab (think tricycle but more spacious). Although I won’t recommend these two if you have many things with you (case in point: we brought suitcase LOL ~ don’t judge ~ I think it’s easier if you just wheel things around rather than carry it). Or if you’re in a big group. Van is still the best option.
You can try habal-habal when you’re around General Luna already. There are a lot of motorbikes for rent. This can be your main mode of transportation if you know how to operate one. Sadly, we girls don’t know how. So we ended up hailing multi-cabs most of the time.
At one point, we also chartered a multi-cab so we can tour around more freely and in our own terms. We didn’t participate in group tours because the weather was unpredictable and we didn’t want to pay upfront for group tours that might be canceled anyway. Kuya Roy our very helpful multi-cab driver toured us for 2 days and made sure we get back to our hotel safe and sound after a night of partying. Here’s his number if you need a multi-cab and tour guide and photographer in one: +639507098120.
💡 PRO TIP: Befriend locals like your multi-cab driver! They’re one of the best people who can tour you around since they know the ins and outs of the island.
Things To Do In Siargao
- Visit famous spots like Magpupungko Rock Pools, Coconut Mountain View, Sugba Lagoon, and Maasin River.
- Take an island tour! There are 3 islands near General Luna: Guyam Island, Daku Island, and Naked Island. You can either charter a private boat (around Php 1500 – 2000 per boat) or join a group tour (cheaper option and you can make new friends along the way!)
- Go to Cloud 9 to surf (or watch people surf and just chill by the beach). Head to the famous and Instagram-worthy Boardwalk and Tower. The three-story wooden tower will give you a fantastic view of the Cloud 9 beach and the Pacific Ocean.
- Try fresh seafood like shrimp, crabs and fish, plus anything BBQ! And of course buko juice! Yum!
- There’s something about island nightlife that makes it more exciting than in the city. Maybe it’s the laid back vibe? Or knowing that when you’re hungover, the comforting beach is just within reach? Siargao’s nightlife definitely didn’t disappoint. Party all night long and bar hop at Bravo, Kermit and Harana! Good music, good drinks, awesome crowd.
I have a separate post about what went down in our Siargao trip. Things included: what exactly we did in our 4 days 3 nights stay in the beautiful Siargao island. Plus the unexpected things we did because we got stranded! Oh boy, the downside of traveling during the wet season. But still, we had a lot of fun!
Frequently Asked Questions About Siargao
I gathered some of the most frequently asked questions when planning a trip to Siargao. In case you have these questions in mind too, then here are the answers!
- How many days do you need in Siargao?
Typically 3-4 days are enough to explore the best places on this island. But many travelers (mostly foreigners) stay longer – some stay months or even years to fully enjoy the beach paradise.
- How much should I budget for Siargao trip?
It would depend on your activities, food choices, and accommodations. But prices are relatively cheap, so you can manage with Php 1,000 per day budget. For our 4D3N stay, I spent around Php 10,000 in total only because we splurged on fancy food and drinks on some days. You can definitely keep your expenses down if you stick to a budget.
- What is the best time to go to Siargao?
I say any month is a good month to visit this paradise! If you’re there for the surfing, the best months would be August to November. But that’s also wet season so expect heavy rains (which usually what makes the waves higher and stronger of course). If you want to enjoy the beach and the island tour without soaking in rain, visit during the dry season between March and May. Make sure you check the weather forecast before boarding the plane, Philippine weather is unpredictable!
- What is there to do in Siargao at night?
You can go bar hopping! Some of the best bars around include Bravo, Kermit, and Harana. Keep in mind though that there’s a curfew in some of these places (quite understandably since these are hostels/beach houses and some guests want to sleep in peace). So the party stops at 12 MN. But don’t worry just ask around and go where the party peeps at!
- Is Siargao worth visiting?
A big YES! I think it’s like Boracay, Palawan, and Bohol in one! It’s like Boracay in the sense that there’s nightlife happening, and it’s like Palawan or Bohol because of the unspoiled beaches and beautiful views. I hope that makes sense. Just go and visit to see for yourself.
📌 SAVE IT ON PINTEREST FOR LATER! 📌
So there you have it! I hope this post is helpful for anyone planning to visit the island! See more insta shots on @hazywanders. Still not following me on Instagram? Come onnnnn man, you’ve reached this far already. Seriously, hit the follow button now. 😂💙
💡 PRO TIP: Learn more travel tips in this Ultimate Guide To Planning Your Trip In 8 Easy Steps! I covered the basics of planning a trip and also included the tried and tested websites and apps I normally use to score cheap deals.