Siargao Travel Guide: 11 Best Things to Do

Siargao is known for its amazing beaches, world-class surfing spots and natural beauty that attracts tourists from all over the world. Surrounded by hundreds of palm trees, the island is (still) a hidden paradise and a real hotspot, especially for surfers. Explore the best things to do in Siargao, Philippines.

What are the Best Things to Do in Siargao?

Located in the province of Surigao del Norte in the northeastern part of Mindanao, it’s a popular destination for travelers seeking adventure and relaxation in the Philippines. Siargao is known as the ‘Surfing Capital of the Philippines’, attracting surfers all around the world to its famous Cloud 9 surf break. Besides, the island is blessed with stunning natural beauty including white sand beaches, crystal-clear turquoise water and captivating rock formations.

1. Rent a motorbike

Firstly, to best explore the island, we strongly recommend renting a motorcycle. Renting a motorbike in Siargao unlocks a world of possibilities and freedom. Say goodbye to strict travel plans and enjoy the spontaneity of the open road as you explore the island’s best-kept secrets off the beaten track.

We were able to rent a scooter directly from our accommodation (Makulay Siargao Resort in Santa Fe, General Luna). In fact, a scooter costs around 250 to 350 PHP (approx. 4 to 6 USD) per day. The rental is really cheap and you are super flexible. So it’s no problem at all to book accommodation a little further away from the main attractions like General Luna.

To rent a motorbike in Siargao, you typically need to present a valid driver’s license, either from your home country or an international driver’s permit (IDP). Some rental shops may also require a cash deposit or hold on your credit card as security against damages or theft.

Tips for renting a motor bike in Siargao:

  • Choose a trustworthy rental company that offers well-maintained motorcycles and fully comprehensive insurance cover.
  • Always wear a helmet and practice safe riding behavior, especially on unfamiliar roads and ground. Although the roads are well developed in Siargao, traffic can still be very chaotic and in some places the roads are not developed and littered with potholes.
  • Keep an eye on fuel levels and plan your routes accordingly, as gas stations may be limited in some areas.
  • Watch out for potential risks such as potholes, loose gravel and unpredictable weather conditions and drive carefully.

2. Maasin River (Palm Rope Swing)

Away from the busy tourist centers, the Maasin River offers a peaceful retreat in the heart of Siargao’s lush rainforest. Surrounded by towering palm trees and lush greenery, the calm waters of the river meander gracefully through the surrounding landscape, inviting travelers to soak in the beauty of nature.

Unfortunately, the famous Palm Rope Swing is no longer there due to the typhoon in Siargao, but it still has a place on the best things to do. It’s a beautiful spot that we highly recommend. The palm tree has been artificially re-erected and you can now climb a staircase to a small viewing point and enjoy the wonderful view over the Maasin River.

Along the riverbanks, you’ll encounter glimpses of local life as fishermen cast their nets and children play along the shores. Take the time to connect with the friendly residents of nearby villages, learn about their traditions, and gain insight into the rich cultural tapestry that defines life along Maasin River.

As protectors of the environment, it is important to have as little impact as possible on the fragile ecosystem of the Maasin River. Respect the natural environment, avoid waste and support sustainable tourism initiatives that aim to preserve the beauty of Siargao’s natural treasures for future generations.

Tip: We definitely recommend coming here early in the morning or late in the afternoon (for perfect light also) to avoid the crowds.

3. Crystal Lagoon at Maasin River

Of course, at Maasin River you can not only enjoy the beautiful view, but also go on a peaceful adventure by kayaking on the river. You can hire a kayak directly on location, where a friendly Filipino will paddle you along the Maasin River to a small lagoon called ‘Crystal Lagoon’. As a ‘Monkey Drone’ – as they call themselves – he will also take great pictures of you in the Crystal Lagoon. And all without a drone 😉

Enjoy a relaxing river cruise along the Maasin River. Pass by swaying palm trees and emerald greenery as you soak up the serene atmosphere and appreciate the pristine beauty that surrounds you.

Tip: Get waterproof bags, especially for cell phones and valuables.

4. Palm View Point

Continuing on the land tour through Siargao, you will come to a beautiful viewpoint on the way while seeking the best things to do in Siargao. It’s not signposted, but you can’t miss it.

Palm View Point offers visitors a breathtaking panoramic view of the island’s rich vegetation. Located in the municipality of Pilar, it has become a popular destination for tourists seeking breathtaking views and unforgettable photo opportunities.

In addition to that, it is easily accessible by both motorcycle and car, as a well-maintained road leads to the viewpoint. You can enjoy a scenic drive through the island’s landscape before reaching the elevated platform.

Besides its natural beauty, Palm View Point offers visitors the opportunity to experience the warm hospitality of the local community. You can get tasty snacks and fresh drinks from small stands opposite the view point and enjoy the view.

5. Driving through Palm Tree Roads

The palm-lined roads add to the picturesque charm of Siargao’s landscape, offering visitors scenic drives and opportunities for stunning photos. The tall, swaying palm trees form a beautiful canopy over the roads, providing shade and a tropical vibe as you explore the coastal and inland parts of the island.

The streets surrounded by palm trees are a popular photo spot on Siargao. Especially the famous “Palm Tree Road” or “Coconut Tree Road” is worth visiting and to stop for some stunning pictures. But along the whole island there are many picturesque spots. We also took some incredible pictures near the Magpupungko Rock Pools.

Tip: The best view is from above, so you can take amazing drone shots here!

6. Visit the Magpupungko Rock Pools – a natural infinity pool

The last stop from the Siargao land tour are the Magpupungko Rock Pools. Located in the municipality of Pilar, it is about 10 to 15 minutes from the Maasin River by motorbike. The Magpupungko Rock Pools are a natural wonder formed by rock formations and tidal pools that emerge during low tide. It is a must-see for all those seeking adventure and tranquillity amidst the wonders of nature.

Tip: The Rock Pools are only accessible during low tide, so make sure to check the tides before you go.

Once you arrive the Magpupungko Rock Pools, you can enjoy a variety of activities that maximize the natural beauty and charm of the area. From leisurely swims in the cool, turquoise waters to adrenaline-filled adventures in cliff jumping, there is something for everyone. Snorkeling enthusiasts will delight in the colorful coral reefs, tropical fish and other fascinating species that populate the pools. In addition, the surrounding rock formations offer excellent opportunities for cliff jumping and climbing, making Magpupungko a playground for outdoor enthusiasts.

Tip: Make sure you take water shoes with you when you walk along there, the ground can be very sharp-edged and there are also sea urchins in many places. So be careful when walking!

Next to the Magpupungko Rock Pools there is also a small beach and a few bars and restaurants serving local dishes. After exploring the Magpupungko Rock Pools, you can relax on the beach or grab some fresh food and drinks. The Magpupungko Beach is a long stretch of sand, which offers stunning views over the Pacific Ocean.

7. Go on the Three Island Tour

In addition to the fantastic landscape on the island and the unique highlights that it has to offer, you can also explore the surrounding islands. Several tours start in General Luna, which you can book directly on site. We recommend the Three-Island Tour to the nearby islands of Naked, Daku and Guyam. Here you can enjoy pristine beaches, crystal clear waters and picturesque surroundings.

As the name suggests, Naked Island is a small, uninhabited sandbank known for its pristine white sand and crystal clear turquoise waters. Here, you can relax on the soft sandy beach, swim in the shallow waters and soak up the sun while enjoying panoramic views of the surrounding ocean.

Daku Island is the largest of the three islands offering picturesque beaches surrounded by many palm trees. You can enjoy many activities here, including swimming, snorkeling, beach volleyball or beach walks. Moreover, there are local traders on the island, offering freshly grilled seafood, tropical fruits and refreshing drinks.

Guyam Island is a small island known for its peaceful atmosphere and breathtaking nature. You can explore the island’s rocky shores, swim in the clear waters and relax in the shade of the coconut trees. In addition to that, snorkeling enthusiasts will also find plenty to see underwater, as there are colourful coral reefs and a diverse underwater world to discover off the coast.

Tip: Book a private tour to avoid the tourist crowds and spend a unique day on remote islands.

8. Day trip to Sohoton Cove National Park

Another highlight outside of Siargao is the Sohoton Cove National Park on Bucas Grande Island. Sohoton Cove National Park is definitely one of the most breathtaking regions in the Philippines and a must-see when you’re in Siargao.

Here you can take a boat trip through the national park, swim with jellyfish and jump off cliffs. A wonderful landscape and plenty of adventure await you here. Also the Sugba Lagoon is another must-visit destination. It is known for its tranquil emerald-green waters, lush surroundings and opportunities for kayaking, paddle boarding, and swimming.

Several tours are offered in General Luna, but you can of course make your own way there by scooter and ferry.

9. Enjoy the beaches in Siargao

To relax a little, of course, you should explore the beautiful beaches in Siargao. The beaches have white sand and crystal-clear turquoise water. Many of the beaches are still completely undiscovered and you have the entire stretch of beach to yourself.

At our resort (Makulay Siargao Resort), we even had our own dreamy private beach. From this “private beach” you can discover a small secluded island. At low tide, you are even able to make your way to Olin Island on foot. You can definitely relax completely here!

10. Try delicious local food & drinks

In addition to all the attractions on the island, you can’t help but try all the delicious food. Exploring the culinary scene in Siargao is part of the island experience, offering visitors the opportunity to savor the traditional Filipino flavors, indulge in fresh seafood, and discover the vibrant food culture of this tropical paradise.

Tip: Try our highlights Chicken Adobo and Mango Banana Shake. Mmmmh!

11. Watch the beautiful sunsets

And of course, we saved the best for last: the breathtaking sunsets. Siargao is renowned for its stunning sunsets, which paint the sky with vibrant hues of orange, pink and purple as the day comes to an end. Watching the sunset from one of the island’s beachfront spots or scenic viewpoints is a magical experience not to be missed. We have probably seen the most beautiful sunsets we have ever seen in the Philippines, especially in Siargao.

How to get to Siargao?

By Air: You’ll first need to fly into one of the major international airports in the country, such as Manila or Cebu. From Manila or Cebu, you can book a domestic flight to Siargao’s Sayak Airport. Several airlines operate flights to Siargao, including Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and SkyJet Airlines. The flight from Manila take around 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours. The flight from Cebu typically takes about 1 hour.

Upon arrival at Siargao Airport, you can take a van or motorcycle taxi to your accommodation. We booked a van in advance through our accommodation. It’s about 45 minutes to General Luna.

By Sea: If you prefer traveling by sea, you can take a ferry from Surigao City to Siargao. Surigao City is accessible by land from major cities like Cebu and Davao. Several ferry companies operate daily trips between Surigao City and Dapa Port in Siargao, with travel times ranging from 2 to 3 hours. Depending on your location, you may also find ferry connections to Siargao from other nearby islands such as Leyte or Bohol.

Whether you choose to fly or take a ferry, the journey to Siargao offers scenic views of the Philippine islands and provides memorable introduction to this tropical paradise in the southern part of the country.

Where to stay?

Siargao offers a range of accommodation options for different budgets and preferences. Here is an overview of some of the best places to stay:

General Luna: This is the main tourist area of Siargao. It is known for its bustling beach scene, surf spots and vibrant atmosphere. Here you will find a variety of accommodation, from budget hostels to luxury resorts. General Luna is ideal for travelers who want to be close to the action and nightlife. There are also some accommodations a little further away from General Luna if you want to be away from the hustle and bustle. Especially if you want to rent a scooter, you will still be in General Luna very quickly.

Cloud 9: It is located in General Luna and is famous for its world-class surf spot and breathtaking sunsets. There are several resorts and guesthouses overlooking the breakwater that offer easy access to the waves. With a stay at Cloud 9, surf fans are right in the middle of the action.

Pacifico: Located on the northeast coast of Siargao, Pacifico is known for its laid-back atmosphere and pristine beaches. This area is ideal for travelers looking for a quiet and secluded retreat. Accommodation options in Pacifico include beachfront cottages, eco-resorts and budget guesthouses.

Malinao: If you’re looking for a peaceful and off-the-beaten-path experience, consider staying in Malinao. Located away from the main tourist areas, it offers a tranquil setting surrounded by coconut palms and mangrove forests. Accommodations in Malinao range from rustic beach huts to upscale villas.

Dapa: It is the main port town of Siargao and serves as the gateway to the island. While Dapa may not have the same appeal as General Luna or Cloud 9, it does offer a glimpse into local life and culture. Accommodation options in Dapa include budget hotels and guesthouses, making it an ideal base for exploring the island.

How long should you stay in Siargao?

We recommend at least four days on the island. Especially if it is your first destination in the Philippines, we recommend a little more time to arrive. In the end, we would have liked to stay longer, but we will definitely be back!

Best time to visit

From March to October, during the dry season, is generally the best time to visit Siargao. The weather is mostly dry and sunny with occasional short rain showers. Particularly from August to November, the surfing conditions are optimal. But accommodation prices may be higher during the peak season.

The wet season is from November to February and is characterized by frequent rain showers and occasional typhoons. While surfing is still possible, conditions may not be as ideal and some surf breaks may be affected by strong winds and rough seas. Although there are fewer tourist during this season, making it a good time to visit if you prefer a quieter atmosphere. Accommodation prices may be lower during the wet season, and you may be able to find good deals on flights and accommodations.

Regardless of when you choose to visit, Siargao’s natural beauty and laid-back atmosphere make it a destination worth exploring year-round.

Cash & ATMs

In Siargao, particularly in tourist areas like General Luna, there are several ATMs available where you can withdraw cash. While there are ATMs in Siargao, the number of machines is limited. In addition, they can sometimes run out of cash, especially during peak tourist seasons. Therefore, it’s advisable to carry enough cash with you, especially if you plan to visit remote areas where ATMs may not be readily available.

While some businesses in Siargao accept credit cards, cash is generally preferred, especially in smaller establishments, local markets, and for paying for transportation. However, make sure to have enough Philippine pesos on hand for your daily expenses.

Health & Safety

Siargao generally maintains a safe environment for visitors. It’s known for its laid-back atmosphere and welcoming locals. Exercise common sense and caution, especially in crowded areas and tourist spots. Keep an eye on your belongings, avoid displaying valuables openly, and be wary of pickpockets in crowded places.

Siargao, like many tropical destinations, is susceptible to natural hazards such as typhoons and earthquakes. Monitor local weather reports and follow the advice of local authorities in case of severe weather conditions.

Just stay informed about local news, weather updates and any travel advisories that may affect your plans. With reasonable care and awareness, you can fully appreciate the beauty and hospitality that Siargao has to offer.

Internet & Electricity

Internet: The internet infrastructure in Siargao has improved in recent years. But it may still be slower and less reliable compared to urban areas. Many accommodations, restaurants, cafes, and resorts offer Wi-Fi access for guests, but the connection speed can vary. If you rely heavily on internet access for work or communication, consider purchasing a local SIM card with a data plan for more reliable connectivity. But even with a local SIM card, you will have little or no internet in some areas of Siargao.

Electricity: Siargao experiences occasional power outages, especially during storms or peak tourist seasons when demand is high. However, most accommodations have backup generators to provide electricity during outages. It’s a good idea to inquire about backup power availability when booking your accommodation, especially if you require electricity for essential devices like medical equipment or refrigeration.

Overall, while Siargao may not have the same level of infrastructure as larger cities, you can generally expect to have access to both internet and electricity during your stay. However, it’s essential to be flexible and prepared for occasional disruptions, especially during adverse weather conditions.

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