Best THINGS TO DO & tourist spots in Siargao
Siargao island is a tropical paradise and is steadily becoming a favourite destination while travelling around the Philippines.
It also happens to boast the best waves in the country and is aptly known as the surf capital of the Philippines. However, there are loads more activities, tourist spots and things to do on a trip to Siargao. In fact, our 1 week on Siargao didn’t include surfing. Instead we cruised all around the island stopping at the island’s attractions in the middle of exotic landscapes, lodged in one of Siargao’s isolated towns and got lost in the island’s coconut palms.
Welcome to this stunning island in a remote part of the Philippines. Here is our blog about Siargao with everything you need to know, where to stay, things to do, how to get there and our very own personal experience.
Where to Stay in Siargao
General Luna is Siargao’s tourist area. There are 2 areas to General Luna. Either somewhere around the world known Cloud 9 surf beach. Or else further south in the town proper. Being close to Cloud 9 is a great place to stay especially if you want to be close to this beach.
However, the largest concentration of hostels, hotels, guest houses and all the restaurants, cool cafes and hip bars are further south. So if you want everything within walking distance, I would suggest somewhere near General Luna town proper.
If you want somewhere that is more chilled out, consider Pacifico, Burgos or Alegria. Each one is a seaside village in Northern Siargao. This part of the island is still undeveloped and rather isolated. However, there are a few accommodations, restaurants and amazing local eateries. If you’re searching for somewhere remote offering long stretches of deserted beaches, then somewhere in north Siargao is for you.
Keep in mind that the tourist spots in Siargao are scattered all around the island. Whether you choose to stay in General Luna or Pacifico, you will need some means of transport to get to all the popular attractions.
How to Get to Siargao
Siargao is a popular island. Therefore you shouldn’t have any problem getting there. You can find direct flights from Cebu City and Manila. To get the best deals and filter through all available flights, check through Kiwi.com. Kiwi.com is a search engine and offers the best available prices.
The Philippines is a huge country with islands scattered all around. If you’re traveling frequently, flight costs will add up. So you may want to use a ferry when possible. It is possible to arrive in Siargao by ferry and spend a fraction of what it would to get there by air.
From Cebu City there is an overnight ferry to Siargao via Surigao. And since it’s overnight you will save on a night’s accommodation. To check everything on how to do this refer to our guide for how to get to Siargao. We have dedicated a whole post on how to arrive in Siargao from Cebu and other nearby islands.
Things To Do in Siargao
Siargao island boasts the country’s best waves. And I would suggest to include a couple of surfing lessons in your itinerary. However, don’t stop there. Outside of the cool seaside town of General Luna there are loads of fun activities and amazing tourist spots for you to explore. We spent a week in Siargao and cruised all around the island and have created this list of things to do for you to have the perfect trip.
Things To Do in Siargao & Tourist Spots on Map
Siargao orientation space.
- Towns in Siargao (General Luna, Dapa & Pacifico) are marked in red.
- Attractions are marked in blue.
#1 Take a refreshing dip at Tak Tak Falls
In the Northern part of Siargao there is Tak Tak Falls, the island’s sole waterfall. From General Luna the ride takes 1 1/2 hours. If you plan ahead, it is possible to include other Siargao tourist spots on the way. That way you will make a full day adventure out of your trip. Apart from that, the scenery along the way is simply amazing.
We had done most of the trip on the previous day when we left General Luna to spend 2 nights in Pacifico. We cruised up to Siargao’s tip and slightly back down towards Tak Tak Falls. From Pacifico the ride along the coast, ocean waves and hundreds of coconut palms takes around 25 minutes. And there are a couple of confusing signs leading to the fall, but are good enough since there isn’t much going on in the area.
Unlike other falls in the Philippines, we didn’t come super early and still there wasn’t a sole around beside the maintenance team, cleaners, the booth lady and stall owner. From the ticket booth and parking area, a 5 minute paved trail with jungle on either side got us to the fall. Tak Tak Falls isn’t the largest or even the most stunning of waterfalls in the Philippines. However, is still a great place to cool down and dive into a huge man made pool.
#2 Feast your eyes & try counting the trees at the Coconut Trees View Deck
Coconut Trees View Deck is a vantage point that looks onto one of Siargao’s most impressive landscapes. This place will put into perspective how many coconut palms are on the island. And why some call Siargao the “land of coconuts”.
From the town proper in General Luna, the ride along well paved roads takes around 25 minutes. There isn’t really any need on planning to come to Coconut Trees View Deck since this tourist spot is located on the way to some of Siargao’s most popular attractions. Unless you never leave General Luna town, you are bound to pass by on the way to other attractions. Just a short ride away is the Maasin river (Bent Palm Tree Swing), Tayangban cave and pool and further north Magpupungko Rock Pool and Pacifico.
In fact we stopped here on our way to the Maasin River. And the thing about this viewpoint is how it pops out of nowhere. We were cruising along the streets right as the sun was rising. A few curves along the way and then at some point we turned around a sharp bend and these thousands of coconut palms took up most of what we could see. And being here early in the morning during the golden hour is definitely one of the best times to come.
#3 Rope swing like Tarzan at the Bent Palm Tree Swing
Our next stop for the day was the Maasin River and the swing hung from a bent palm tree. From the coconut viewpoint it takes around 10 minutes riding north. And we had passed by the river on the previous day but didn’t realize we were over the Maasin river. But once you know where the exact location is, its pretty hard to miss. There is a red steel bridge passing over the Maasin River and if you look through the structure’s openings you will see the swing.
We managed to reach the Maasin River still during the golden hour time. And parked in the designated area which was still empty. We actually had expected tourists to be here from early morning. From the parking place it takes around 5 minutes walk from under the red bridge and along the Maasin. And that wonky tree with a rope hanging down is the first to spot.
A few local kids take care of the swing and fee. Entrance is free however for the swing there is a 50 Pesos ($1) fee for unlimited swings and awkward jumps into the river. The river and overall setting are simple yet stunning. A blue transparent river flows through the lush landscape with water so calm its like a mirror, everything reflects in it.
#4 Swim against the strong river current at Tayangban Cave
Further along the line of tourists spots in Siargao there is a cave with a river flowing through and on the opposite side of the road a pool surrounded in cliffs and entwined vines.
I started this adventure from the cave part. A guide was assigned and was given a helmet and life jacket. A short down hill trek through trees and dangling vines lead me and my guide into the cave. A river flows through the cave creating a unique caving experience.
And a rather strong current makes it even more interesting. I mostly guided myself with ropes tied along the cave walls and rocks. Some parts we had to clamber over the rocks and back down into the water. Meanwhile my awesome guide somehow managed to take a lot of photographs all the way through the cave with my phone.
➳ Check Tayangban Cave guide for more info. on our experience at this Siargao’s tourist spot.
#5 Get your own private pool at Magpupungko Rock Pool
Siargao island has a combination of different tourist spots and activities.
And one of these is the Magpupungko Rock Pool. It is located in Pilar, a region somewhere in the centre of Siargao. Magpupungko is a tidal pool that is created when the tide is swept out leaving this big natural hole full of fresh sea water. And with the water being so still and free of currents, what is left is blue transparent water where you can see right to the bottom.
Keep in mind that you can’t just come here at any time of day, or early in the morning as to avoid any crowds. You will need to get familiar with the tidal times and come during low tide. During high tide the pool will be covered with the ocean. This tourist spot is similar to Nusa Penida’s Angel’s Billabong.
I have given this description after searching the web. Unfortunately, a few days before arriving in Siargao Magpupungko had been closed for tourists in the hope of preserving the place and giving it a break from the crowds.
#6 Snack, chill & enjoy Sunset In Dapa
If you come to Siargoa by ferry, Dapa will be where the ferry docks and you won’t be short on tricycle drivers. Dapa isn’t really catered for tourist so not too many foreigners bother to come for the sunset.
In fact, we only happened to stop here after a day full of activities. We were on our way back to General Luna when we realized what an amazing sunset we were facing. Right near the ferry there is a big open space. Locals come here to exercise, get together , drink beer and eat barbecued meat.
And we weren’t an exception. We had wandered half the way around the island and had barely ate anything all day. And while searching for a local eatery in Dapa, we came across this great location with a sunset.
We sat down outside a stall that had just opened for the evening and were facing the sun and the island next to Siargao. A large bottle of Red Horse beer and a few sticks of grilled liver accompanied us while watching the sun setting. And as the sun slowly disappeared behind the island amazing hues were created in the sky. We didn’t venture out too much in Siargao for sunsets, so to just happen to be here at the right time was a big plus to our week in Siargao.
#7 Watch the surfers from over Cloud 9 Board Walk
Cloud 9 beach and surfing area is the most popular part of Siargao. It has some of the best waves on the island and amateur surfers come take surfing lessons here everyday. And in the shallows of this palm-fringed beach there is a board walk leading onto platforms closer to the bigger swells.
But we didn’t end up coming here to surf. Instead we came when the sun had just started to set. This part of the island doesn’t face the sunset. Nonetheless, it offers great views from the vintage wooden structure built along the shallows of Cloud 9 beach. At the very end of the structure there is a 3 storey platform. Straight ahead are the big professional waves and behind you is a view of the turquoise waters, white sand bay and long palms.
#8 Relax & cool off at Doot Beach
On our trip to Siargao, there was one beach where we would go to relax under the palm trees. Sometimes we would grab a beer and some snacks from a vendor nearby. And other days we spent a lazy afternoon chilling out with a few friends. The name of this palm fringed bay is Doot Beach. It is just outside of General Luna, and it is one of the best places to chill out away from any crowds.
Doot beach is at the end of a bumpy road that was actually being constructed during our visit. And you will need to make way your through what seems like a private property. On our first attempt to reach Doot beach, we actually turned back and thought we were in the wrong place. When you see a bamboo wall, pass through the door. A path will lead you through the palm trees and the beach is straight ahead.
On our second attempt we made it to this beach that was recommended to us by our friends. Palm trees are scattered along the white sand. For some reason the setting and landscape made us feel like we’re on a remote island around the coast of Coron. We were the only foreigners, a few vendors and some locals had hung their hammocks between the coconut palms.
#9 Learn to surf at Secret Beach
Away from the hustle in General Luna and Cloud 9, there is Secret Beach. And a break that creates the best waves for beginners and a viewing area entirely covered in coconut trees that will make you feel as if you’re in the middle of a jungle far away from civilization.
Secret Beach is a 30 minute scooter ride from the town proper in General Luna. The point on Google.Maps isn’t quite correct but is in the same street so you are bound to spot the place. If you drive west for 30 minutes out of General Luna, at some point you will see scooters with side racks parked at the side of the road. From here, a rocky, gravel path leads to the beach. It took us around 15 minutes and although the trail is rough, we still managed with plain old flip flops. But we had no idea what lay ahead of the slightly uphill trail.
So we reached the point were we could actually see and were stoked with what we saw. A huge garden of coconut palms. The surrounding of Secret Beach is a densely packed cluster of palms, so much that once we got under these tropical leafy trees the sun barely passed through.
Secret Beach is the perfect place to get a surfing lesson. It isn’t too crowded and waves are right for intermediate and maybe beginners. We did come here with the intention to do a surf lesson but gave it a miss. Instead we wandered around the lush landscape and clambered over rugged rocks to the other side of the surf spots. This side of Secret Beach was deserted and was a great vantage point that looks onto the crashing waves and an exotic landscape.
#10 Meet the friendly locals at Secret Lagoon
And on the way to Secret Beach there is even a secret lagoon. Not that it’s a hideaway lagoon or anything. In fact, the lagoon is right beside the street that goes to Secret Beach. I thought of secret lagoon because I can’t find the name to the place and few tourists stop by.
We had spotted the lagoon on our way to Secret Beach. There wasn’t a sole around. And on our way back to General Luna we stopped and checked out the place. This time there were a group of local teens chilling out. We thought of leaving and didn’t want to ruin their vibe. One of the guys called us and insisted we joined their little party. And they even came to help Jacqueline walk over a rocky ankle deep path in the lagoon that leads to a bamboo barge with a hut on it. For the next hour or so we ended up being part of this Filipino group that were drinking whisky and smoking cigarettes.
More Things To Do in Siargao
Pretty much this list was what we were up to during our week long trip in Siargao. However, it seems we didn’t manage to do the best thing both on mainland Siargao and at sea.
One of the most interesting spots that we didn’t do is Magpupungko Rock Pool and surfing. And some of Siargao’s favourite and most popular tourist spots aren’t actually on Siargao, but a short boat ride away. Here are 2 additions to our Siargao bucket list of must do’s on our next trip.
#11 Tri Island Hopping Tour Siargao
While you are in Siargao, consider a full day island hopping tour where you will get the chance to explore 3 different islands not too far from Siargao.
Each island offers a different scene and are surrounded in beautiful reefs and clear waters. You will hop on an outrigger boat in the morning and sail to Naked Island. No need to strip down here. Naked island is referring to the nature of this place. Nothing more than just a bare sandbar in the middle of nowhere which reminds as of White Island on Camiguin. Which was our next stop after Siargao. All details on our Camiguin adventure in our series of blogs.
While on Naked Island you will have the time to snorkel along the reef or chill out on the beach.
The second stop is Daku Island. This is the largest island you will visit on this day. You will have the chance to explore the island, wander in the coco palms, swim in the ocean and get your tan on. In the meantime, lunch will be getting prepared. Lunch is a variety of food and freshly prepared ingredients. The buffet style lunch usually includes fish, squid, chicken, pork, rice and tropical fruits and drinks. The lunch alone will be one of the highlights, trust me on this one.
And the last stop will be Guyam. A small island surrounded with a turquoise reef and a sandy bay wrapping around a tiny tropical landscape with a few palm trees right in the middle. Guyam is what comes to mind when you think of a tropical paradise.
Note: some tours start off with Guyam and end at Naked Island with mostly tours leaving Daku island during mid day as a lunch stop.
#12 Sugba Lagoon
In the sea of western Siargao there is a beautiful lagoon amidst lush mountains covered in exotic vegetation. It only takes 20 minutes by boat to get to Sugba Lagoon from Siargao. This should be one of your bucket list tourist spots. After all it is a popular tourist attraction very close to Siargao. For those of you that have yet to explore the Philippines, I can tell you that this isn’t the only lagoon. We didn’t go to Sugba but did a day trip and visited lagoons in El Nido on Palawan island. And from what we have seen, Sugba Lagoon seems to be one of the most stunning.
You can reach Sugba Lagoon by boat from a town named Del Carmen on Western Siargao. Either book a tour in advance from General Luna where there are loads of tour agents. Or drive your way to Del Carmen and settle a price for your trip.
Booking a Boat Trip or Island Hopping Tour in Siargao
General Luna is the main tourist town on Siargao and you can find dozens of tour agents to book any boat trip, island hopping and even tours on mainland Siargao. Tours usually include a buffet lunch around mid day and hotel pick up and drop off. However, this isn’t always the case so just check before booking to be sure.
Another option is to charter the entire boat for the day. This option is best if you’re in a larger group where you will divide the cost. Or simply want the privacy and privilege of going about your day at your own pace. The downside on this option is that you won’t get lunch included or transport to and from your accommodation. On the upside, you can ask the captain to avoid the tours when on an island hopping trip by taking a different route. Tours usually take the same route each day so its quite easy to avoid.
Tours, boat trips and island hopping cost around $20 per head which is a fair price. Included in price you will get entrance fees, lunch, drinks and some places offer you a hut to chill out on an isolated island.
A chartered boat costs between 60-70$. Considering that price can be divided by 8 or 10 passengers depending on boat capacity, it is the cheapest option.