Luckily the tiny airplane landed safely on the airfield of Siargao. The flight from Cebu takes just around 40 minutes, but speaking of propeller machines I was so happy to walk on solid ground again. Capturing the island from high above was already breathtaking! It promises a green paradise surrounded by iridescent water from Azur to Ultramarine. So hello vacation! Below you will find all my favorite insider tips for this marvelous island.
The first thing to do after arrival? Head to General Luna. The town is known for its famous surf spot Cloud 9, where many competitions are being held. I had no idea what to expect and am so blessed I had the chance to get to know this fascinating area around General Luna. It simply has this kind of hippie vibes you just can’t resist. No wonder some people decide to stay forever …
What you need to know about Siargao
The island used to be relatively unknown by tourists but becomes more popular each year, since it was featured by the famous surfer photographer John Callahan in the 1990’s. Siargao is located in the Philippines Sea just above Mindanao island, to which it belongs. The largest city of Siargao is Dapa. But surfers and backpackers rather stay at the coast close by General Luna. Here travelers discovered the perfect conditions for surfing in the 1980s. But it’s not only the surfing that makes each of us fall in love with the island ever since. It’s the friendly people, the relaxed atmosphere, the great food and eco-friendly environment. (I haven’t seen a cleaner island in Asia than Siargao – Karimunjawa comes close though.)
How to get to Siargao
The easiest way to reach the island is by plane. The airport on Siargao in Del Carmen is still super tiny. Only three planes start and land on a daily basis. Two of them with Jetsky from Manila and one from Cebu City via Cebu Airlines. But by the end of the year, the airport is supposed to be enlarged. Let’s hope that the island can maintain its charming atmosphere despite the increasing number of tourists.
The most beautiful accommodation on Siargao
On Siargao there are really fantastic accommodations for every budget. These three are my favorites.
Lying in a hammock and listening to the sound of waves is exactly what we need to do during vacations. At Siargao Inn you feel home away from home. The bungalows are close to the beach and during the day the staff offers plenty of sports activities.
Bravo Beach Resort
The Bravo conveys a super relaxed surfer atmosphere. Before heading out for dinner you can relax in your generous bungalow. Or just stay and try one of their delicious Spain-Filipino inspired dishes, that are served in the in-house restaurant. Experience the taste of a traditional Peri-Peri Chicken.
The Emerald isn’t located directly on the waterfront, but its just a three minutes walk to get there. The resort is in close proximity to the surf spot Cloud 9. The cottages are super charming (each of them is designed differently) and they even offer massages. Another plus is that it’s right next to the Shaka Café, that you will love. Which leads me to my next point …
Where to eat on Siargao
This tiny café is just adorable. They serve the best Acai Bowls, fruit shakes and juices on the island – and that’s probably the reason why it gets very crowded here in the morning. Nevertheless, you will always find a place to seat. I have to admit I spend almost every day here to enjoy some healthy breakfast with my friends.
In the evening this place becomes super crowdy. The restaurant is packed with people waiting for hot grilled vegetables, chicken and tuna. I am not that obsessed with meat, but once in a while, Mamas Grill has been a great option for some local experience.
Taccos, Chicken Burritos and ice cold beer are what you get close to the waterfront at Miguel’s. It’s a neat place for lunch or to catch up with friends. They offer only a few spots outside, but usually, there are not too many people around. This still remains a secret hotspot.
Activities on Siargao island
Experience your first surf lessons on Siargao
As already mentioned, surfing is kind of a big thing on Siargao. But besides the famous surf spot “Cloud 9”, that is for Pro-Surfers only there are many other spots to explore for beginners. One surf shop that offers surfing lessons is the “Hippie’s Surf Shop”. The rental costs are around 200 Pesos for an hour (4€) or 500 Pesos (10€) for the whole day. The shop also offers Yoga classes every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 9:30 am right on the boardwalk of Cloud 9.
Mapupungku – explore the natural tidal pool
With a scooter, it will take approximately an hour to reach the pools. It is an easy ride on solid empty streets through the wild nature of Siargao. But make sure to arrive in time. The pools are shielded from the Pacific Ocean by a reef barrier and are most enjoyable during low tide. The pool itself is calm and clear and one of the most visited natural attraction of the island.
Do an island hopping tour and explore the underwater world
There are several small islands around Siargao that are worth a visit. The first stop of the tour is Naked Island, followed by Daku Island and ending at Guyam Island. This trip is a great opportunity to snorkel in crystal clear water. Boats can be rent by the port of General Luna or will be organized by your resort.
I hope you will enjoy your stay as much as we did. Curious for more insider tips? Get to know Karimunjawa in Indonesia.