Siargao Island is a tropical paradise located in the Surigao del Norte province of the Philippines. This teardrop-shaped island has grown steadily in popularity over the past few years and is often known as the country’s surfing capital. Visitors come from all over the Philippines and across the globe to experience the world-class surf, white sand beaches, beautiful sunsets, natural rock and cave pools, and smaller neighboring islands. There is something here for every kind of traveler, whether you are looking for excitement or relaxation. Siargao Island is usually accessed through Sayak Airport, which is about a 10-minute drive from the municipality of Del Carmen and a 40-minute drive from the main tourist town of General Luna.
Cloud 9 surfing area and boardwalk
The most popular attraction on Siargao Island is the Cloud 9 surfing area in General Luna. It is actually one of the most well-known surfing spots in the entire Philippines, as the right-breaking reef creates a barrelling wave known for its thick, hollow tubes. A surfing competition sponsored by the government of Surigao del Norte is held here every year. Cloud 9 is only recommended for advanced surfers, as it breaks on a very shallow reef. It is also best to come at mid to high tide, as low tide exposes most of the reef.
Even if you are not a surfer or not quite up to the skill level it takes to tackle Cloud 9, it is still highly recommended that you come and take a stroll along the boardwalk. Extending far into the sea, the boardwalk leads to a three-story viewing platform where you can watch the surfers. It is also a wonderful place to take photographs of the ocean. The best time to come is around sunrise or sunset.
Siargao Island beaches
The beach at Cloud 9 is a great place to catch some rays and relax with a drink, but you can find even more secluded and tranquil spots if you’re willing to head out of town. Siargao Island is a relatively small island, which makes it easy to check out the different stretches of sand along its coast. Here are some spots that deserve a place on your itinerary.
Just a 13-minute drive east from General Luna, Doot Beach is an easy and very worthwhile trip from town. The drive follows a dirt road lined with palm trees, which leads right down to the beach. It has a calm and casual atmosphere and doesn’t usually see many tourists, so it feels much more secluded than other beaches on the island. The beach is dotted with palm trees, and there are many great spots to go swimming. It is best to come to Doot Beach at high tide.
With a name like Secret Beach, this is a sandy strip you know you have to come and experience. It lies about a 20-minute drive from General Luna, past Doot Beach and just before the town of Dapa. The scenic drive will take you inland through the mountains and down to the coast again. From the main road, you will have to take a 10-minute walk through a palm tree forest before emerging on the beautiful beach. There are some right-hand breaks great for longboarding here, or you can simply relax in the sand.
A one-hour drive from General Luna, Pacifico Beach is located on the north-eastern side of the island. It is probably the second-best Siargao Island surf spot after Cloud 9, with fantastic reef breaks just a quick paddle away from shore and a choice of both right-hand and left-hand waves. If you are coming to surf, then mid to low tide is best. While a lot of surfers flock here, the beach usually isn’t very crowded, and you’ll easily be able to claim your own spot in the sand.
The furthest beach from General Luna but definitely worth the hour and a half trip if you have the time, Alegria Beach is known for its quiet and tranquil environment. The drive up takes you through the island’s interior before following the coast the rest of the way. Once you arrive at the beach, you will be amazed by the picture-perfect postcard setting. The sea here is calm, gentle, and suitable for swimming, or you can take a barefoot stroll through the white sand while looking out over the crystal-clear water.
Magpupungko Rock Pools
Just a 50-minute drive from General Luna, Magpupungko Rock Pools is one of the most popular tourist attractions on Siargao Island. These natural pools are created from water left behind in a coastal rock formation when the ocean retreats at low tide. The water in the pools is bright blue and incredibly clear, making it a popular spot to take a swim and go snorkeling. You’ll have the opportunity to watch a wide variety of fish and other marine life under the surface. The water is also deep enough to allow for cliff jumping off the surrounding rock formations.
Visiting the rock pool requires a small entrance fee of just 50 pesos. As this is a very popular tourist stop, you can expect some crowds, but the pools are large enough to comfortably accommodate many people. You can also beat much of the crowds if you come earlier in the day. Note that the rocks at Magpupungko Rock Pools can be quite sharp, so it is a good idea to wear aqua shoes or other protective footwear.
Tayangban Cave Pool
For the best inland adventure on Siargao Island, head to the Tayangban Cave Pool near the small village of Pilar. This is one of the most unique experiences offered on the island and is a great choice for those seeking some extra excitement. To reach Tayangban Cave Pool, simply head north about half an hour from General Luna. Once you arrive, you will see a clearly marked entrance sign and a small ticket office. There is a cost of 100 pesos to enter the cave, and it includes a mandatory guide.
Your guide will take you through a crack in a rock formation leading to Tayangban Cave Pool and down into the waist-deep water. The cave is dark, but the guide will carry a torch to illuminate the beautiful stalactite formations inside. There are also some sections of deeper water, but ropes and bamboo make the cave easy to traverse and navigate. The journey through Tayangban Cave Pool takes about 15 minutes, after which you will emerge to a beautiful, emerald green cenote with some fantastic spots for cliff jumping. Your guide will tell you where it is safe to land.
Maasin Village palm tree swing
The Instagram-famous bent tree of Maasin Village is just a quick, 30-minute drive north of General Luna in the direction of Tayangban Cave Pool and Magpupungko Rock Pools. The tree bends out over a river, and the locals have attached a swing to it that you can jump from into the water below. This is a very relaxed and picturesque spot where you are likely to meet a lot of the friendly locals. It is a unique and very worthwhile experience.
You will know you have reached the tree once you hit the red bridge at Maasin Village, which you can see the bent tree and the rope swing from. There is a small fee of 20 pesos to use the swing, and locals rent out boats for only 150 pesos that you can use to paddle up and down the river. If you want to make sure you have the swing all to yourself to take some epic pictures as you swing into the river, try to come as early in the morning as possible.
Dining in General Luna
As Siargao Island has become a more popular tourist spot, its culinary scene has grown accordingly to accommodate the tastes and preferences of tourists. Most of the island’s top dining spots are located in and around General Luna. You will find a range of different eateries, including cafes, bars, and restaurants, serving a wide variety of both local and international cuisine. Try some traditional Filipino dishes or opt for restaurants serving more western fair. The restaurants on Siargao Island are also known for offering a lot of fresh and healthy food options made with local ingredients, as well as tasty dishes for vegans and vegetarians.
Best restaurants in General Luna
- Bravo Restaurant
- Kermit Surf Resort and Restaurant Siargao
- Shaka Café
- Crêpes Siargao Café
- Altrove Siargao
- Miguel’s Taqueria
- CEV: Ceviche & Kinilaw
- Warung Siargao Indonesian Restaurant
- Homemade Taste Restaurant Siargao
- Wishyouwerehere Smoked Meat Diner
Shopping in General Luna
In addition to providing a lot of great dining opportunities, General Luna is also a fantastic place to go shopping for souvenirs or for some new clothing and accessories to wear during your travels. There are a lot of independent retailers on the island selling a variety of clothing, jewelry, swimwear, surf gear, and even skincare products. Many of the retailers on Siargao Island place a high importance on sustainability, and so you will easily find reusable products like straws and water bottles that help to keep litter on the island low. It is a wonderful place to shop for handcrafted and all-natural products as well.
Best shops in General Luna
- Fat Lips Surfshop
- Gwapitos Apparel Store
- Gasa Souvenir Shop
- Jose’s Surf Shop
- Dayo Siargao
- Hippies Surf Shop
- Mamon Surf Shop
- swell surf shop and board rentals
Bicycle and motorcycle rentals
Siargao Island is very friendly to bicycle and motorcycle riders, and the freedom of exploring the island on two wheels just can be beat. The island is small enough to traverse in only one day on a motorcycle by following the Siargao Circumferential Road. You will hit many of the landmarks and attractions on this list if you choose to do so, and the rode itself is incredibly picturesque. A bicycle, on the other hand, will make it easier to get acquainted with the locals and with the local way of life.
Motorcycle rentals on Siargao Island cost from around 400 to 800 pesos a day, depending on the model you choose. Cheaper rates for weekly rentals are also available if you plan on having the motorcycle be your main mode of transportation. Renting a bicycle is considerably cheaper and an excellent idea if you plan on exploring a smaller area for the day.
Sea of Palms viewpoint
Not too far before Maasin Village, when coming from General Luna, you will find the Sea of Palms, an elevated viewpoint that looks out over a veritable sea of coconut trees. It’s hard to miss this viewpoint when you are headed down Siargao Circumferential Road as it opens up before you as you come around a bend in the road. Thousands of palm trees spread out before you with deep green hills in the background. The Sea of Palms viewpoint is a great place to come for either sunrise or sunset. If you have the chance, then try to plan your day around seeing both!
Santa Monica Pier and Taktak Falls
The north end of Siargao Island is quieter than the busy tourist areas around General Luna, but there is plenty to see here as well. In addition to Alegria Beach, the northern tip of the island is home to two more must-see attractions that make a great day trip: Santa Monica Pier and Taktak Falls.
Santa Monica Pier is a roughly hour-and-twenty-minute drive from General Luna. It is also just a half-hour drive from Pacifico Beach. The pier extends far over the ocean water below and, as it faces west, it is an amazing place from where to watch the sun dip below the horizon in the evening. A short, 10-minute drive past Santa Monica Pier, you’ll find Taktak Falls, the only waterfall on Siargao Island. It is a popular spot for cliff-jumping, tree-jumping, or for just taking some nice photographs.
Sugba Lagoon day trip
Another highly recommended day trip when visiting Siargao Island is to Sugba Lagoon. Located on the smaller Kangbangyo Island just west of the main island, Sugba Lagoon offers an unforgettable adventure. The beautiful turquoise lagoon is surrounded by mountains and can be explored by canoes, paddleboards, and bamboo rafts. It is also a fantastic spot to go snorkeling, and there is a diving platform as well. Best of all, though there will likely be other tourists there, it isn’t usually overly crowded, and the lagoon is plenty big enough to enjoy your own private corner of it. A tour to Sugba Lagoon usually costs around 1,500 pesos per person.
Your day will begin with either an hour and a half boat ride from General Luna or an hour boat ride from Del Carmen, depending on where you chose to depart from. Once at the lagoon, you will be taken to a large floating pontoon house located right in the middle of it. It’s a good idea to rent a table for 50 pesos so that you can have a place to leave your belongings while you head out to explore.
Sohoton Cove day trip
Continue your off-island adventures and lagoon explorations by booking a tour to Sohoton Cove. This renowned tourist stop is located on the eastern side of Bucas Grande Island, which lies to the southwest of Siargao Island. Sohoton Cove is home to a stunning lagoon that is teeming with wildlife like fish and birds. It is one of the top activities around Siargao Island for adrenaline seekers, but visitors of all kinds are sure to have an enjoyable experience here.
Sohoton Cove is only accessible at low tide through the Sohoton Cave. The half-submerged cave is full of shimmering stalagmites and stalactites, making for a magical entryway to the lagoon beyond. The enclosed lagoon is a maze of blue water pools and limestone rock formations thickly covered in trees. There are a variety of other caves located throughout the lagoon as well, some of which are only accessible by diving down into the water and underneath a rock ledge. Others offer fantastic opportunities for cliff jumping. There is even a jellyfish sanctuary where visitors can jump into the water and swim with these unique creatures. Don’t worry; they are all of the non-stinging variety!
The most popular tour for visitors to Siargao Island is the three-island tour to nearby Naked Island, Daku Island, and Guyam Island all in one day. Each island offers something unique and seeing them one after another is a wonderful experience. The order that you visit the islands will depend on which tour you sign up with. They are all just a quick boat ride from General Luna, where your trip will begin. Tours typically include pick-up, drop-off, and a provided lunch.
As the name suggests, Naked Island is, well, naked! This small sandbar surrounded by ocean isn’t home to any trees or really any life at all, making it quite a unique place to visit. You can take a serene stroll through the white sand and enjoy the seclusion of being out in the middle of the ocean before heading into the warm water. If you’re up for a swim, you can swim around the entire island with little effort! Another popular activity at Naked Island is snorkeling. The spit of sand provides easy access to a colorful reef that has all sorts of colorful fish flitting around.
Just 20 minutes from Naked Island lies one of the most beautiful locales you will likely visit during your travels. Daku Island is a truly gorgeous sight, surrounded by crystal-clear waters and full of palms. It is highly recommended that you spend some time exploring the palm forest and even try to climb some of the trees! This is where many tours stop for lunch, and visitors are provided with a bungalow on the beach where they can relax for a while. Your stop on Daku Island is sure to be one of the highlights of your island-hopping tour and your trip as a whole, so make sure you take lots of pictures.
Guyam Island is another tiny island that you can easily walk from one side to the other of in a matter of minutes. It is covered in a thick stand of trees and surrounded by a big, shallow reef. Have fun exploring on foot and make sure you spend some time in the water as well. It is a quintessential tropical paradise that inspires you to sit back for a minute and enjoy some refreshing coconut water. Guyam Island is a place you will never want to leave.
Corregidor Island tour
Corregidor Island, also known as Casolian Island, is sometimes included as a fourth island in the popular tour of Naked Island, Daku Island, and Guyam Island. If your tour does not include a stop here, then it is a good idea to book a tour that does or to sign up for a quick tour just to Corregidor Island itself. It is located off the coast of Siargao Island and about a 45-minute boat ride from General Luna, past Daku Island.
As soon as you arrive at Corregidor Island, you will see why it was worth making the trip out. The island is lined with lovely beaches and covered in vibrant green palm trees. Tour operators often coordinate with the locals here to provide a freshly cooked barbecue meal. After eating, spending some time on the beach, and snorkeling in the blue water over the colorful coral reef, consider taking a small hike. The interior of Corregidor Island features rolling grassy hills. Make your way through the palm forest to the top of the highest hill to take in some truly spectacular views. You’ll be able to see the whole island along with its secluded beaches and the shimmering ocean beyond.
Check In to a hotel or holiday villa in Siargo Island
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