There are a wealth of things do on Siargao Island that continues to draw more travelers to the Philippines every year. It’s been said the Siargao in the Western Philippines is one of the most beautiful islands, not just in the Philippines, but the world.
An island filled with rolling hills, white sand beaches, world class surf spots, and an endless amount of palm trees – what is not to love? Here is your epic list of things to do in Siargao. Let’s dig in!
Things to do on Siargao
1.) Catch Some Waves at Cloud 9
This surf break is widely considered one of the best in the world and it is Siargao’s claim to fame. Not long ago Siargao was only a small hamlet in the outer reaches of the Philippines with a legendary surf break that attracted determined surfers. As the years passed on the secret got our from the surfers about the beauty of Siargao in the last few years tourism has picked up fast.
There are a lot of surf breaks around the island and board rentals are cheap and plentiful with a nice selection of sizes. Even if you’re a larger guy it’s likely you’ll be able to get your hands on a surfboard. There are a plethora of breaks around the island outside of Cloud 9. Here are a few of the most popular areas.
Jacking Horse: This may be the most popular spot on the island as it is prime for beginners and most lessons take place here. It can have a pretty strong current and a reef break like many on this island so come prepared to put in some work with risk. It’s best to head to this spot around mid-tide and then ride throughout the high-tide.
Tuason’s Point: This point break delivers a consistent left-hand tube and is a popular spot for both advanced and intermediate surfers. Of course, the ability all depends on the swell because in high season the waves are known to be heavier than Cloud 9 with breaks over a shallow reef. The paddle out is easy, but be careful when entering the water as there are a lot of sharp rocks.
Stimpy’s: This is an expert’s only surf spot and is accessed via a short boat ride. It costs about 200-300 pesos a person for a ride out to this perfect tube over shallow water.
Caridad – Great spot for barrels when in the season if you’re looking to escape the more popular surf spots.
Cemetery: This break takes its name from being located right in front of the General Luna Cemetery with a wave that breaks both left and right.
Pilar: This is a bit of a long haul as it’s a 1.5 hour boat ride from General Luna. It’s pretty quiet and has two left reef breaks that are best during the Northeast swells.
Daku Island: This is the same island that is popular on the island hopping tours, but the surf break is typically quiet. You’ll need to pick up a ride from General Luna Dock for around 250 pesos a person.
Pacifico: It’s a long haul up from General Luna and Cloud 9, but it’s our favorite beach on the island and has a great big break in peak season.
Guyan: This is a short drive out of General Luna and requires crossing some “no-trespassing” signs. However, it’s a nice break when the swells are too big for beginners. When swells are low it’s not worth bringing a surfboard as it’s almost flat.
Location: Cloud 9 Surf Break
2.) Watch Sunrise or Sunset at Cloud 9 Pier
While the surf is an amazing facet for many travelers, not everyone surfs. For those who aren’t ready to take on heavy reef break swells, you can catch some amazing views from the pier.
It is built for easy access to the break for surfers and operates as the best place to catch views of the surfers competing for one of the most consistent surf breaks in the world. Views from the pier are amazing and the structure is unlike any pier we’ve ever seen.
It’s a great spot for sunset, but it gets pretty crowded. If you want our opinion get out with some of the surfers and catch the sunrise for a more quiet experience with epic views. There is an entrance fee to go out on the boardwalk of 100 pesos. We arrived in the evening and early morning so we never ended up paying as the booth was unmanned.
Location: Cloud 9 Pier
3.) Get Healthy at Shaka Cafe
After catching the waves or watching surfers at Cloud 9 you should check out Shaka Cafe. It’s a small chain of smoothie bowl restaurants with a few locations throughout the Philippines.
They serve up some delicious combo of a smoothie bowl and coffee for 300 Peso ($6 USD). We visited Shaka almost every day in Siargao and their other location in Moalboal. My personal favorites are the Cloud 9 Kook, ¡¡Bom Dia!!, and Bakunawa Bowl.
Location: Shaka Cafe
4.) Sun Bathe on Pacifico Beach
Once you escape the madding crowds of General Luna the island returns back to what it was not long ago. Siargao so far has almost entirely escaped development and throngs of tourists. Granted that may all change in the future, for now, Pacifico remains a large beach with one backpacker resort and a few little shops/restaurants for surfers.
It’s a gorgeous untouched beach with white sand and lined by palm trees that make it the best beach on the island. There is one small resort, and a number of small home stays/restaurants. It’s a crusty little town with some great surf and the perfect spot to relax for an afternoon or catch some waves.
Location: Pacifico Beach
5.) Dive in to the Sugba Lagoon
This is widely considered one of the best day trips on the island and if you have more than a few days it’s more than worth your time. It’s one of the most popular things to do in Siargao and it’s a pretty easy day trip to arrange from General Luna.
Sugba Lagoon is spectacular lagoon surrounded by mountains and features a lagoon that is a myriad of shades of blue and green. In the center of the lagoon is a hut with a diving board and rentals such as kayaks and SUP boards.
Day trips to the lagoon can be arranged in General Luna and run around 2000 pesos a person ($30 – 40). We paid for a tour from General Luna at Kermit’s that included a basic lunch, and had a great experience.
However, it’s very easy to do yourself for cheaper and have the exact same experience. Afterward the tour, we wish we had done this. It’s extremely easy especially if you are a group and can hire out your own boat.
The lagoon trip has been organized by the local community so boat drivers charge a flat fee of 1600 pesos per boat and each visitor is responsible for a 100 peso environmental fee. It’s super easy to set up by getting yourself to the tourist office/pier in Del Carmen. The boats line up and serve first come. With 6 people per boat, you could easily get the price down to around 350 pesos a head.
It’s a super popular spot on the island so don’t expect to get the lagoon to yourself unless you’re the first or last boat to arrive (thankfully we were the first). We had about 10 minutes until the crowds started coming in. Even with a fair amount of people, the lagoon is plenty large enough to find some space away from others if you rent a kayak or SUP.
Location: Del Carmen Pier
6.) Cliff Jump at Taktak Waterfall
This is one of the only waterfalls on the island, and don’t expect to have your socks knocked off. By the standards of the Philippines, it’s pretty underwhelming. However, if you take the time to drive up to the Northern section of the island it’s worth taking a dip to cool off and wash off the dust.
As an added bonus you can also do some cliff jumping and explore the verdant cliffside around the waterfall. The drive from General Luna takes about 1.5 hours so be prepared for a full day of riding. However, it’s worth adding it on to a tour around the island and Alegria Beach is close to the waterfall. We went on a weekend and it was pretty packed with locals enjoying the refreshing water. I imagine if you go on a Monday afternoon it will be far less busy.
Location: Taktak Waterfall
7.) Catch Low Tide at Magpupungko Rock Pools
The most popular spot on Siargao is only accessible during low tide, so you have to time your visit right. Because of this, it can get very busy. Despite the slight crowds, The Magpupungko Rock pools are still one of the best spots on Siargao and we had a great morning here until the tide came along.
The pools are a series of tidal pools with large rocks that are about a few meters tall and you can jump off the small cliffs while exploring the tidal pools, coves, and small caves.
It’s not all there is to the site either as there is a beautiful beach with facilities and a handful of restaurants. It should be noted there is an entrance charge to the beach for 50 pesos ($1), a small price to pay for a great experience. Oh yea – and don’t forget to bring water shoes here. Seriously the rocks are very sharp and I was so thankful to have mine!
Location: Magpupungko Rock Pools
8.) Swim with Jellyfish in Sohoton Cove
This awesome spot is not on Siargao but on its neighbor island of Socorro. To reach the island is pretty easy as there is a ferry that leaves from the town of Dapa. Once you’ve arrived on Socorro you have to charter a long boat to take you out to Sohoton Cove.
The central piece of Sohoton Cove is the Blue Lagoon (Titikan Lagoon). It is similar to many of other famed lagoons in the Philippines that feature beautiful cloudy blue water with dramatic cliffs. It’s an amazing day trip and arguably the best on the island and one of the best in the Philippines.
Location: Socorro Island
9.) Gaze Across the Coconut Trees
We stopped at this spot a number of times while touring around Siargao. It’s not an official spot – at least not one with a name. However, the viewpoint affords visitors epic views of the island’s wild landscape with an endless amount of palm trees.
The landscape is halfway between General Luna and Magpupungko Rock Pools so you’ll likely pass this spot while on the island. It’s near impossible to miss as the view is impressive. We drove by the viewpoint multiple times while on Siargao and stopped every time to stretch the legs and take in the viewpoint. A few families have also set up shop with as small vendors so you can stop and enjoy a coconut with the view.
Location: Coconut Trees View Deck
10.) Swing into the Maasin River
This river made a bunch of lists and it looks like a pretty awesome spot, but so many photos we saw of the river were edited to make the water look extremely blue. We came expecting an awesome spot but found that those blogger/Instagrammers had photoshopped a normal brown river to blue, go figure.
That being said there is an awesome rope swing off a bent palm tree that makes for some fun photographs. Plus the river is a pretty magical place that makes for a worthwhile stop.
Location: Maasin River
11.) Chill Out on Doot Beach
This beautiful little beach is relaxed and sees few tourists despite being only a 10-minute drive from General Luna. The drive to the beach is down a dirt road that’s pretty rough but easy on a motorbike. Once you reach the end there are a number of signs that read “no-trespassing;” however, we asked a few locals we saw walking past the sign and they said not worry as long as we were respectful. This could be bad advice, but no one seemed to mind and it is a really amazing little beach to spend an afternoon.
Location: Doot Beach
12.) Take a Dip at Alegria Beach
On the far North of the island near Tak Tak waterfall is Alegria Beach. Since it’s a long drive up from General Luna very few visitors frequent the white sand beach. It’s perfect to relax on if you want to sunbathe and need a break from the long motorbike ride up from General Luna. It’s super popular with locals on the island and gets a little crowded on the weekend or the holidays.
Like almost all of the beaches on Siargao, there is a surrounding reef that makes swimming difficult. However, the water is deep enough here to take a dip and cool off. We had a tricky time finding beaches on Siargao we could take a real swim on, but this is one where we could take a dip with no need for water shoes.
Location: Alegria Beach
13.) Island Hopping — Guyam, Daku and Naked Island
Island hopping is THE thing to do in the Philippines. It also happens to be one of the most popular things to do on Siargao. There are two basic itineraries for island hopping out of General Luna. The primary one visits three islands that are a short boat ride from the main dock in town. Naked Island, Guyam, and Daku are the three stops on the tour and each has its own vibe.
The basic itinerary includes a short stop at each island, lunch, pick-up, and drop off and costs around 1,000 pesos ($20) a person from tour operators. It’s super easy to do on your own too as boats operate on a set rate (1,500 pesos) and if you can get to the dock in General Luna. We picked up our own boat and some fresh fruit and did the whole thing for about 2300 for a private tour.
If you have a group of three or more it would be easy to organize the whole thing for less 1,000 pesos. If you are just one person I recommend booking with a tour operator like Kermits in General Luna or waiting at the General Luna pier to find a group to tack onto.
Furthermore, if you’re looking for a fresh fish meal you can ask your boat captain with help to pick up some fresh in the local market next to the dock.
Naked Island: Is the first island we visited on our tour and its name is pretty easy to understand. It’s a small sandbar with no trees and surrounded by crystal blue water. There is ZERO protection from the sun so make sure to pack sunblock and aim to arrive on the island early in the day.
Daku Island: The largest island on the tour and probably the best for swimming. It’s a large forested island with a small village and has a number of cabanas and tables/restaurants that will cook up any food you bring to the island such as fresh fish. You’ll have to pay an additional charge to use these tables and also to have them cook the food you brought.
Guyam Island: This was our favorite island on the tour and thanks to being on our own schedule we shared it with only a few other boats. It’s a tiny island that may be only 50 meters wide filled with a small forest of palm trees and a number of hammocks.
Location: General Luna Pier
14.) Tayangban Cave Pools
With only a week on the island we ran out of time to check this off the list, plus we knew it would be tough to grab any photos without a dry bag. For many Tayangban is a highlight on the island. It’s a great caving experience and gives a nice swim through a pitch dark cave before opening up to a cave pool that features some cliff jumps up to seven meters. It’s not too deep and for the majority of the cave, you can stand with the water up to your chest.
Location:Tayangban Cave Pools
15.) Drive Down the Palm Tree Road
Still wondering what to do in Siargao? This spot is a great photo spot and it’s an amazing place to take in the massive amount of palm trees on Siargao. We’ve seriously never seen as many palm trees as we have on Siargao. This spot is famous on Instagram and photos of Siargao as the newly paved road cuts a straight line through a dense forest of palm trees with no development. Taking a motorbike down this road is an awesome thing to do on Siargao.
Location: Palm Tree Road
16.) Rent a Motorbike
There are a few ways to get around Siargao. It’s possible to rent a bicycle although sometimes the streets and sidewalk can be a bit hectic. However, the most popular way to get from point to point efficiently and fast on Siargao is with on a motorbike.
Motorbike rentals in Siargao generally go from around 300 – 500 pesos a day. We paid 400 during a busy period, you might get lucky and negotiate it down to less than 300. We picked ours up from our guesthouse and appreciated the ease.
Many hotels or guesthouses will have their own motorbikes or know someone that has a motorbike so that should be your first point of contact for nabbing one. If you can’t seem to find a reputable motorbike seller walk into any business and they should be able to help you out.
One last thing please for the love of God wear a helmet! We know it’s not cool to wear, but think about the hospitals on Siargao and their lack of an ER, operating room, or any type of brain injury expert. If you crash and seriously hurt your head you’ll have to be rushed to another island for treatment. The ONLY time we took off our helmet was for a quick photo like the one below.
Where to eat on Siargao Island?
It’s pretty tough to find a decent kitchen with your accommodation on Siargao so you’ll probably spend most of your time going out to eat. While the Philippines are rightfully not known for their cuisine there are some great spots to eat on Siargao.
Miguel’s Tacos: This joint makes some delicious tacos and burritos for a cheap price of around 150 pesos ($3). A great way to fill that afternoon snack.
Kermit Surf Resort: Kermit is the spot on Siargao. They have a big open restaurant that’s tucked away in the resort with a full bar and Italian food for a decent price.
Harana Surf Resort: Located right at Tuason’s Point we loved the vibe at Harana as it’s laid back with floor seating on bean bags and serves up some delicious food at a great surf spot.
Shaka Cafe: As I said you have to try at least one smoothie bowl at the Shaka Cafe and enjoy the tropical island vibes.
Mama’s Grill: This grill is a staple for visitors and gets super crowded when open. We tried to time it three days in row only to find it closed. Finally on the fourth day after we’d given up did we see it open. Classic.
Sushi Nori: I was pretty skeptic to try sushi or raw fish on the island. However, they make some great poke bowls worth a stop with fresh fish.
General Luna Market: You can pick up fresh fruit and fish at the General Luna market near the pier. Get there before noon for fresh selection!
Where to stay on Siargao Island
There is pretty much only one area to stay on Siargao as almost all of the hotels, guesthouses, resorts, and hostels are based around General Luna. General Luna is also where you’ll find all of the restaurants, tour operators, bars, and coffee shops so you should opt for accommodation in the area.
Within General Luna, we really preferred the vibe just out of town up near the Cloud 9 surf break. The area is a little more laid back, less dusty, and you have access to a fantastic sunrise spot, bonus if you’re looking to catch some waves. There are plenty of Airbnb’s and hotels around the area to choose from. If it’s your first time using Airbnb you can see our guide on how to score a good one here, plus there is a coupon code!
It’s also possible to find something near Pacifico if you are after a more quiet and lad back vibe, but this area has far fewer things to do.
Accessing Cash on Siargao
ATM’s are limited on Siargao. There are only two in General Luna and we found that neither of them accepts foreign Visa cards. It’s best to have a Mastercard Debit to pull money out otherwise you’ll have to drive back and forth to Dapa town every time you need cash.
We didn’t find anywhere on the island that accepted credit card, so make sure to have enough cash on you for the entirety of your trip. Read more about how we access cash abroad here.
To be safe I would budget at least $35-50 a day AFTER your accommodation expenses here.
WiFi on Siargao
We rarely found working WiFi on Siargao – even in our Airbnb that advertised it. We didn’t sweat though, because data is super cheap in the Philippines.
You can easily pick up a SIM card in General Luna for 50 Pesos. From there we paid about 100 Pesos for 2 GB of data and topped it up as we used it.
What to Pack for the Philippines?
Travel Water Bottle
The tap water in Siargao is not safe to drink as with most of the Philippines. To avoid buying plastic water bottles and contributing to our world’s plastic problem we like to use a water bottle that purifies water. See all of our favorite water bottles here.
If you’re visiting during the summer you will definitely want sunglasses in the Philippines. My favorites are made by Smith. The Chromapop lens technologyis like seeing the world with a fresh set of our eyes. They enhance contrast, reduce glare, and reflection for superb vision whole out on the water. We also love the style of the glasses for anyone who likes to live an active lifestyle.
Reef Safe Sunscreen
You will absolutely need sunscreen for your trip to Philippines. You can purchase it when you get there, but then you’ll be searching around for it and may pay a premium for a generic brand. Please consider spending a few extra dollars for reef safe sunscreen. The typical sunscreens like Coppertone, No Ad, and Banana Boat have many chemicals in them that will run off your body while swimming damaging the precious coral and marine life.
If you plan on doing any surfing, snorkeling, diving, or spending a significant amount of time in the water, you should invest in a rashguard. A rashguard not only protects you from skin rashes, but also keeps you warm, and protects from the sun. I travel to all beach destinations with mine from Find Your Coast. (Use Code ‘theworldpursuit’ for 10% off.
Chances are you’ll want a camera for your trip to the Philippines. Our favorite pocket-sized point and shoot camera for quick trips are the Sony RX100V. It takes fantastic photos and video and is the size of your palm. In fact, a number of street photos in this post came from the discreet camera.
To up your photography game, a bit consider the Fuji X-T3. We just bought that camera and find the images out of unbelievable. Check out our other travel cameras here.
We never travel without travel insurance with World Nomads. Natasha is a bit of a worry wart and would rather stay safe than sorry. Travel insurance gives us that piece of mind that someone has our back should anything go wrong. World Nomads offers incredible flexible and great plans!
Sometimes it’s nice just to have a real book in your hands when traveling. It’s pretty helpful when you’re on the islands as getting connected online can be difficult at times.
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