The Philippines are known for their beautiful islands and fantastic beaches. Palawan/Coron and Boracay have featured in many “best island” lists, but my new favorite island is Siargao. Long popular among surfers, it offers nice beaches, unspoiled nature and a cool vibe for relaxing getaways, even without a surfboard! It’s much less developed and still has a “Robinson Crusoe” feel and the local mayor is determined to keep it that way!
Siargao has been on my “islands to visit” list for years, but inconvenient flights always got in the way. When SkyJet Airlines started non-stop flights from Manila, the time was right and I’m glad we finally went!
Siargao is a lot less developed than other islands and you’ll know as soon as you arrive at the tiny airport with its brand-spanking new terminal. From there you’ll make your way on the only paved road around the island to the beaches in the South – and the scenery will make it clear that you are a long way from Manila! Combine that far-away-from-the-crowds reality with the relaxed surfer vibe along the beaches and you’ll find an atmosphere very different than on much more developed Boracay or luxury Palawan! It’s one of these places were you won’t think: “I wish I’d come here 10 years ago”!
The beaches in the South are long, white and face the warm ocean. Even better, you don’t have to share them with a lot of people and we had a few walks along the beach without seeing anybody else – an experience that’s worth the trip alone!
You’ll also find Cloud 9 here, home to the legendary surf that draws surfers from around the world. They’ve built piers and huts for surfers to wait and spot the perfect wave – and there are plenty of cafes and restaurants to hang out, if you just want to watch. You can probably thank the locals and surfers for the relaxed attitude on the island. The restaurants and bars are fun to hang out and enjoy the evenings on the island!
Siargao is part of a whole group of islands, so similar to other places in the Philippines, you can go island hopping and spend a lazy day on islands even smaller, quieter and emptier than Siargao. Go, have that island to yourself!
While the South of Siargao is all about the beaches, there is an equally beautiful mangrove coastline in the North. We did a day trip to the Sugba Lagoon. The banka boat ride through the – the deep green waters, lush mangroves and blue skies couldn’t be more beautiful, perfect postcard material! You can swim, snorkle, kayak or paddle board or just enjoy a relaxed day surrounded by nature!
One reason I’ll be back and why it should be on more traveler’s list of beach destination is the weather! Siargao is in the South of the Philippines and has opposite seasons to Palawan or Boracay, with the dry season from May to October, which is when you can expect rainy weather and even Typhoons in other parts of the Philippines or Thailand! That makes it perfect to anybody looking for an exotic beach destination for traveling during the Northern summer vacation times!
Most beaches that have as few tourists as Siargao are very difficult to get to, but with new non-stop flights from Manila, you now get the best of both worlds – easy access without the crowds! If you are a beach fan looking for that next secret destination, you better hurry, the secret is out!
Check out my review of Isla Cabana Resort for a getaway with luxurious private pool villas!