Yes Siargao is mainly known for its great surf. But there are plenty of other things to do for non-surfers. In this article, I will show you many options as well as some insider tips on what to in Siargao.
Magpupunkto rock pool
One of the most famous and most stunning sights in Siargao is Magpupunkto rock pool. This is a stunning rock formation which forms a natural pool within the sea during low tide. During high tide, it disappears underwater and you will not see anything. You can swim in this natural rock pool as well as jump from an approximately 3 meters high rock.
Useful information about Magpupunkto rock pool:
You can only see and swim in the pool during low tide. Check this website when low tide is: https://www.tideschart.com/Philippines/Caraga/Province-of-Surigao-del-Norte/Port-Pilar-(Siargao-Island)/ You can also come 1 or 2 hours earlier than the peak time of low tide. The pool will already be visible. But don’t expect to be the only one there. As the hours to visit this place are limited many people will accumulate during the low tide hours. It is still worth it to go and really impressing. Don’t forget to bring flip-flops or shoes for the water in order to walk on the sharp rocks to the pool.
Insider tip for Magpupunkto Rock pool :
Go to the second pool which is after the „main“ pool with the characteristic rock in the middle and you find a more calm place to swim and enjoy the pool.
Cloud 9 is THE surf spot of Siargao and not only famous for travelers but also hosts the World Surf League’s „Cloud 9 Surfing Cup“. Even if you are not surfing, like me, the place itself is stunning and worth a visit. And of course, watching pros surfing or kids of 8 years surfing like grown-ups is fascinating as well.
Useful information about Cloud 9:
You have to pay an entrance fee of 70 pesos to enter the boardwalk which leads to the viewing platform of the famous Cloud 9 surf spot. If you are lucky and it is a rainy day or you arrive in the evening you might now have to pay.
Insider tip for Cloud 9:
Come here for sunrise when the usually often cloudy sky turns into thousand shades of red, pink and yellow.
3-island hopping tour
This boat tour will bring you to 3 stunning islands just offshore of General Luna and only a 20 to 40 minutes boat ride away. The islands are called Guyam Island, Naked island and Daku Island. My favorite one was Guyam Island, which is a very small, round island full of palm trees. It takes you 3 minutes to walk around the island and the water is just stunning: turquoise and crystal clear. They placed some egg chairs, hammocks and blankets on the island for having a rest in the shadow. You will love swimming and snorkeling there, it feels like in paradise. Naked Island is just a stretch of white sand without any tree or anything else. On hot days and during lunchtime it can get extremely hot. Therefore make sure to bring enough water and cover your head and body. Better try to stay as long as possible at Guyam Island. Usually, the last island these tours go to is Daku Island. This island is bigger than the first two and not any special. Small local stands at the beach serve lunch there and you can eat and relax for the rest of your tour on this island.
Useful information about 3-island-tour
The 3-island-tour is extremely popular due to its short boat ride from General Luna. Depending on the season the islands are very crowded.
Insider tips for 3-island tour
Think about chartering a boat just for yourself and your friends and avoid the busy lunchtime and early afternoon. Instead, ask your boat man to either go very early in the morning or just before sunset when most tour boats have left already.
At Daku Island: try to walk a bit further along the beach away from the food stalls where all the tour groups gather for lunch and you will find your private spot to chill. And make sure to try the spider conch shells which you have seen a thousand times, but never eaten. It tastes … interesting. But try yourself!
INSIDER HIGHLIGHT: Mam-on Island
We liked the 3-island tour, but were still seeking for a more remote place, a place just for ourselves, a more authentic place. And this is how we found Mam-on Island. This is a real insider tip! This island is harder to reach than the islands from 3-island-tour and takes around 1.5 hours by private boat. But you will be rewarded. We were the whole afternoon almost alone there, had some great snorkel with sea urchins, starfish and crystal clear water, meet some school kids on their way home and got turtle meet offered (and refused!) by locals.
Useful information about Mam-on island:
Some tour operators in General Luna claim to go to Mam-on island, but most of them don’t go because the demand is too low. Therefore you will have to charter a private boat. Most tour operators in GL will willing to help you to arrange it. We paid 1500 pesos for the whole day.
Insider tip for Mam-on Island:
Well, the island is an insider tip already 😉 But there’s one more tip: On the way to the island, you will already pass many untouched beaches. Ask your boatman to stop at one of these beaches for a real Robinson Crusoe experience. And make sure to snorkel on the island side of the beach which is formed like a little headland rather than the ocean side. We saw many sea urchins and starfish there – and: A SEA HORSE!
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North of the island
After some days in General Luna, I recommend visiting the untouched North. You will find pristine beaches, friendly people, puppies, pigs and a scenic palm tree road (well actually all roads leading you through the island are scenic palm tree roads 😉 ) Be aware that after Pacifico beach which is located in the East, there will almost be nothing. The next village is Burgos where we rented an apartment via Air BnB. There was nothing extraordinary to do there, but we enjoyed being the only tourists, observing the local life in Burgos, like the kids coming home from school, fishermen selling their fish at the beach and exploring the area on scenic scooter drives.
Useful information about the North of Siargao
At the time when we were visiting Burgos, there were no accommodations except our AirBnB apartment. So make sure to book your accommodation before you go to Burgos so that you’ll have a place to stay. The closest accommodations to Burgos were either in Pacifico beach (20 minutes by scooter) or DaRosa del Mar Beach Resort all the way up North.
Also, there are no real restaurants for foreigners in Burgos. Therefore we always ate in Pacifico beach or took some food home.
Be aware that it gets extremely dark up there! It is not like General Luna where the whole street and area are populated and illuminated. After 6 p.m. (in July) it was just black. There are no street lights, as there are no villages, there are no lights from any houses, it’s just extremely dark. Meaning you have to be at your accommodation before sunset. Otherwise, you will have a hard time finding your way home safely with a little scooter light.
Insider tips North of Siargao:
Look for „Million dollar view house“ in Air BnB to rent a great place with a garden, tucked uphill with a great view at Burgos beach. There are 2 community projects, called „LOKAL“ in Burgos where you can support the local people and their products: A market where a lovely lady and her son sell self-grown vegetables of the season. And a little coffee where they serve home-made drinks and coconut ice cream as well as some little snacks like wraps.
You can also make your way to the only waterfall in the North of Siargao from Burgos. But we warned: depending on the season it can be really disappointing, like when we went there and the water was really really low. The little rain in the past weeks showed the ugly truth of this waterfall: a concrete basin that actually forms the pool in front of the waterfall. But if you are going there in a time when it was raining a lot, you will not even see this basin and you can swim in the waterfall & jump in from a rope. Decide yourself if you want to take the risk.
Sugba Lagoon is a huge natural park far away from civilization and little hill shaped islands around it – all unpopulated. The landscape is truly stunning and I didn’t mention the amazing turquoise sea yet. Your base for the day will be a little house on the water and you can swim there, rent a bamboo raft or stand-up paddleboard, jump from a platform and just enjoy the day. Most tours also stop at 1 or 2 islands on the way.
Useful information about Sugba Lagoon:
You can book a day trip at any tour operator in General Luna. The boat ride will take you around 1.5 hours and the day trip costs more or less 1500 pesos. Alternatively, you can try do find arrange a private boatman in Del Carmen, from where it only takes 1 hour.
Insider tip for Sugba Lagoon:
This day trip is quite popular and the lagoon can get quite crowded. Very similar to this spot is a place in the South, called Sohoton Cove (or Tara Resort). We were only 4 guests at this resort located in a lagoon like Sugba Lagoon. So if you are looking for a unique experience away from the General Luna tourists, you should consider going for one night there. (Read on in the highlights for more information)
Discover the island by scooter or Tuktuk
As you might have already realized the island is worth to be explored. Just driving around randomly by scooter is already so worth it because the whole island is covered with coconut trees meaning every road looks super tropical especially the parts running directly next to the ocean.
Insider tip for a discovery tour on the island:
The drive between Pacifico Beach and Burgos is extremely scenic because there are some parts where the street runs parallel to the beach, bends and runs down-hill which means an incredible view.
Another great place to drive (and stop) is a spot in the middle of the island which gives you a great view of the massive palm tree jungle. You’ll get there by driving to Mapgpupungko Rock Pool or Pacifico from General Luna. When the street goes through the island and not along the beach anymore you will reach this elevated spot from where you have a great view over the whole island till the sea. You will notice when you are there.
Useful information for discovering the island:
You can rent a scooter everywhere in General Luna and they all cost around 400 pesos per day. Ask if they have a helmet before paying because not all do have.
You can also rent a Tuk-Tuk which is a little bit more comfortable to drive. This is not common in Siargao, but we found one provider who offered to rent a white Tuk-tuk to us. He is located at the height of Romantic Beach Villas on the beachside of Tourism road. And be aware that as soon as the sun sets, it gets extremely dark on the island because there are no street lights (nor any other lights). Therefore make sure to be back at your accommodation before sunset.
Sohoton Cove & Tara Resort
This place is similar to Sugba Lagoon but more far away and doesn’t belong to Siargao anymore but to Bucas Grandes. Actually this was my favorite place during our travel. Sohoton Cove is a national park and an area of little hill-shaped islands, clear water & no population just like Sugba Lagoon in Siargao, but more remote. We stayed at Club Tara Resort, a resort which was already a little bit old, but has a unique and fantastic location. The resort is completely isolated in a little cove and they offer kayaks and stand-up paddleboards for free. In addition, you can snorkel there and we could even spot a pink starfish! So amazing! You can also do a boat tour where they drop you at different caves, beaches & snorkel spots, but if you are staying at Tara resort, you’ll have all this in front of your bungalow and there is no need for a tour with many other people.
Useful information about Sohoton Cove & Club Tara Resort
The best is to book the transfer with Tara Resort. Pick up will be at Dapa and the boat ride takes around 2.5 hours (even if they will tell you, it’s faster). We stayed at the resort for 2 nights, which was the perfect amount of time.
Insider tip for Club Tara Resort:
Watch the sunset from the little island just in front of the Resort or hike up in the jungle behind the resort for a great view.
Secret beach in the South of General Luna
If you want to escape from General Luna, you can take the scooter and drive to Secret Beach. The way to get there is quite exciting because you need to go through private land (which permits surfers to enter by foot). And there you are, on your private secret beach, maybe there will be some other surfers out but besides these, you will be the only one.
How to get to Secret beach in Siargao:
Getting there is a bit tricky: Take the scooter and drive to South towards Nay Palad Hideaway (the luxury resort) (not on the Dapa road, but the small road along the beach). Before the street becomes a dirt road take a right and further follow the street for about 15-20 minutes. Keep your eyes open for a small sign indicating „secret beach“ on the left side of the street on a coconut tree. Park your scooter at the street and follow the dirt road for about 10 minutes. Now you will arrive at a fence saying this is private land, but surfers are allowed to enter. Well, just enter and walk through the private land towards the beach. And there you are: at a long, private beach without civilization.
I love stand-up paddling and if you never tried it you should definitely go for it. It is easy to learn, relaxed & fun (don’t worry you don’t need a course, just start on your knees instead of standing and when you feel comfortable like this, stand up).
Useful information about stand-up paddling
There are several places where you can rent the SUPs: Kermit (where everybody can rent it) and by the time you’ll arrive there are probably some more providers.
Insider tip for stand-up paddling in Siargao
If you stay in Romantic beach Villas (located in the middle of General Luna) you can use their SUPs for free.
Get the complete travel guide about Siargao as e-book.
This is an extensive travel guide about Siargao with more than 50 pages and full of insider tips, practical information, amazing picture spots and all you need to know before and during your travel to Siargao.
Or find some more useful articles about Siargao in the Philippines in the following (but be aware, these are just small parts of the complete travel guide about Siargao):
Best islands close to Siargao
There are various islands close to Siargao which can be reached by boat. I show you which ones and point out the best one. Read more in this article: http://ready-steady-travel.com/best-islands-close-to-siargao-the-philippines/
How to get to Siargao
Getting to Siargao is not as easy as to other places in the Philippines. Read all you need to know in this article: http://ready-steady-travel.com/how-to-get-to-siargao-in-the-philippines/
Best accommodations in Siargao
Over the past years many accommodations established in General Luna. I’ll show you our favorite ones. In addition I will show you where you can stay apart from General Luna: http://ready-steady-travel.com/best-accommodations-in-siargao-island-resorts-more-basic-places/
Best Yoga Place in Siargao
There is one amazing Yoga retreat in Siargao and clearly the best place of Siargao to practice yoga. In this blog post I’ll show you which one: http://ready-steady-travel.com/best-yoga-place-in-siargao-in-the-philippines/
I hope you liked all my things to do and insider tips about Siargao? If you want, you can follow me on Instagram for more travel inspiration (see below).