In the south of the Philippines is an island entirely covered with palm trees. It boasts the best waves in the country and attracts surfers from all over the world. While the island is known as a surfing hotspot there are so many awesome things to do in Siargao that don’t involve the waves.
Despite it’s growing popularity over the last few years, it is still quite a cheap place to explore as is most of the Philippines.
For those heading to Siargao Island, this fairly nondescript, gridlocked city, the capital of Surigao del Norte Province, is usually a necessary overnight stop (unless flying directly). The town plaza is the centre of activity, hosting everything from impromptu chess matches and cheap massages to first dates, while a portion of the long waterfront boulevard is lined with makeshift alfresco KTV (karaoke) bars and night-time second-hand clothing stalls.
This Siargao itinerary will help you plan your time and also give you an idea about the expenses and budget you might expect to need for your time in Siargao.
Siargao is pretty straightforward when it comes to picking a region to stay because 90% of people choose to stay somewhere near General Luna. All of the bars, restaurants, tours, ports, and hotels are near General Luna and Cloud 9 surf break. There are a couple of other regions you could stay in like Pacifico or Sohoton Cove but unless you are purposely looking for isolation, General Luna is your spot. So what are my suggestions for where to stay in Siargao…?
In this blog post, I will first and foremost give you the top-rated hotels, resorts, and hostels in General Luna. I will then make some suggestions about where to stay outside of General Luna like Pacifico and Sohoton Cove. I’ve stayed in all of the above regions multiple times and am confident in the accommodations I am recommending below based on location, quality, and atmosphere.
This guide on the best places to stay on Siargao is categorized into three different areas of Siargao and one area outside the island. There’s plenty on offer, from luxury resorts to cheap accommodation on Siargao Island. It depends on what your budget is, what kind of person you are, and then what kind of activities you like to do. Here’s a quick guide to finding your place in the island.
Here’s a quick summary to start!
The town of General Luna is the best spot on Siargao Island. Truth be told, this area does not only boast surfing hotspots, particularly Cloud 9 but also offers a lively party scene. When the sun goes down, the nightlife starts to kick in. This is one of the reasons why travelers pick the area. It has a variety of beach resorts, homestays or hostels, restaurants, and bars. Here are my accommodation picks for you.
Lampara Siargao Boutique Hote (value)l: Lampara Siargao is an oceanfront boutique hostel conveniently situated on the exotic island of Siargao. The lounge area has a calm atmosphere where guests can chill and enjoy the cool island breeze and sea views of General Luna. With its air-conditioned glamping tents and 8-bed mixed dorms with lockers and hot showers, guests will be assured to have comfort and convenience. Lampara’s staff are amazing and they will treat you like a family. This is the kind of place you wish you had booked after you see it when you arrive. It’s literally everything you want and needs on Siargao.
Kalipay Resort (Good atmosphere): Set amidst the town of General Luna, this place is absolutely beautiful that you would wish for staying here longer. It has a chill and unique vibe with modern comforts included. Kalipay Resort lets you enjoy the island life but you still stay in a luxury resort (although not too over the top) It’s the island life but still your best life! It is not also far from the best restaurants in General Luna so it’s pretty much convenient place. I think for western travelers who want all the comforts in between their adventures this is a pretty good find.
White Banana Club (Value) The best budget but value option accommodation on Siargao Island is called The White Banana Club in General Luna. For just $20 a night you can grab yourself a dorm room. The key attraction here is the vibe. People actually come to visit this place as it hosts sunset sessions on Fridays and there is always something social happening here, which is why people come to Siargao for the good vibes. It’s very clean and has a huge chill-out area with hammocks and bean bags for those post-surf siesta sessions.
Hiraya Surf Hostel (Cozy): Hiraya Surf Hostel in General Luna provides adults-only accommodation with an outdoor swimming pool, a beautiful garden, and a bar. Located 3 minutes away from Cloud 9 Surfing Area (insane location), the hostel offers a great vibe and is equipped with fully-airconditioned bunk beds, private bathrooms, and a bar where guests can chill and chitchat. The hosts are super accommodating and they can arrange everything for their guests from island tours, motor rentals and surfing lessons for a hassle-free stay.
Malinao is not too far from the hustle-bustle of General Luna. Here you’ll be treated to white sand beaches, both luxurious and affordable resorts, and stunning scenery. Snorkeling, sunbathing, and watching sunsets over the islands of Guyam and Dako are some of the things you can do in the area. If you rent a motorbike this is pretty ideal as you get to enjoy peace and quiet but can still visit all the restaurants and parties in General Luna.
Nay Palad Hideaway (Luxury): Nay Palad Hideaway is one of the most luxurious accommodations in the Philippines. With its beautiful outdoor pool, terrace with either garden or ocean views, comfy seating areas, and an iPad in each room for guest use. Everything is on point from the best quality food, great hospitality, an array of activities, and elegant villas. It’s one of the most picturesque and what we would call ‘Instagrammable’ from every angle.
You will get total privacy and you will be treated like royalty. The spa area is nothing but pure serenity and nature. The hanging white wicker pods on the coconut trees are perfect for swinging and even for your Instagram post. If there is one place on Siargao that I would highly, highly recommend if you are not worried about the price it is Nay Palad. It is a classic Bali style of accommodation and honestly, it is picture-perfect! You need to book this one well in advance as within two-months it is almost always booked out that far ahead.
Surfing Carabao Beach Houses(Couple Pick): For those who are looking for some romantic, private and quiet place, this property is an ideal place. Surfing Carabao offers spacious bungalows with ocean views and a communal kitchen for the guest to use. The beach here is exceptional where you can chill and relax while watching the sunset- just footsteps away from your hut. GL is only 10 minutes away by motorbike if you want to grab some delicious bites. The hosts are very welcoming and I loved how they care for the environment by recycling waste and offering reusable tote bags to their guests. This is another place you need to book in advance. It’s almost always booked out at least 2-months in advance during peak season.
The Village Siargao(Value): This place is perfect for all kinds of travelers such as couples, small families, and solo travelers who are looking for an affordable yet comfortable staycation. This B&B accommodation is located on the tranquil side of General Luna. The porch is the guests’ favorite spot to hang out while sipping their morning brewed coffee. The hosts are very friendly and they are quick to respond to all guests’ needs and requests such as arranging island hopping, tricycle rides, and many more.
Pure serenity makes it worth the drive to the Northeastern part of Siargao. Pacifico, which many of may not know as you focused on the fame of Cloud 9. Unlike General Luna, there are not many accommodations in this region but you can still find some awesome places to stay at. You will enjoy the long stretch of white sand to yourself, countless palm trees, and the relaxing sound of the Pacific Ocean’s waves crashing on the shore. It is near the Magpupungko Rockpool and Taktak waterfall. I visited up here several times and even did a beach clean-up one day on the beach. It’s about as ‘island-style’ as it comes and for a few days, this would be absolute bliss.
Grotto Gardens(Tranquil): If you want to experience and taste a simple local life, stay at Grotto Gardens. It is a beautiful and quiet accommodation with a nice view near the mangroves. It offers an amazing view from bungalows and the host family is very hospitable. They will cook delicious meals for you, help you with activities such as the firefly tour, and even invite you during a special family occasion such as a birthday. This place is recommended if you are exploring Pacifico beach, Magpupungko Rockpool, and Sugba Lagoon.
Calypso Surf and Dive (Budget-friendly): Set on beautiful Pacifico in the northeastern part of Siargao Island, Calypso Surf and Dive is a family-run jungle house. It is quiet and away from the bustling sound of General Luna. This place is ideal for a professional surfer who does not want to be in crowded General Luna or for travelers who crave not to be disturbed by phone or internet connection.
Socorro is in Surigao del Norte and the lone town in the islands of Bucas Grande. If doing an island hopping tour in Sohoton Cove and Lagoon is on your bucket list, it is more convenient if you stay in the town of Socorro in Surigao del Norte. It only takes an hour boat ride from Dapa port on Siargao island and 30 minutes away from Hayanggabon port in Surigao. You can do a day trip from Siargao.
This area is absolutely insane with incredible lagoons and caves.
Club Tara Resort (Unbelievable Location): Club Tara is a once-in-a-lifetime accommodation with over the water bungalows situated in paradise. You couldn’t get a more picturesque resort and you will be pretty much the only people out there as most others are only making a day-trip. Here you will have access to snorkeling, kayaking, diving boards, boat trips, and the lagoon… all from off your patio.
Serenity OceanSide Guest House (Value/Family Pick): Serenity Oceanside is a guesthouse with a relaxing view of the sea and cool ambiance. You can walk barefoot on its’ white and clean sand. The location is best when you are planning to go to Sohoton Cove. The guesthouse has large and clean rooms. Personally, it’s a perfect place to stay if you need seclusion. The staff is super nice and kind.
Elena Hostel and Cafe(Budget): Elena Hostel and Café is an inn with 2 classy decorated rooms. Its location is off the beaten path within the islands of Bucas Grande but you here you can find true paradise. Fishing, playing table tennis and darts, hiking, and cycling is among the activities that guests can enjoy near Elena Hostel and Cafe. They offer tour package in SIARGAO & Sohoton National Park. They are flexible in your time schedule. Your stay and experience worth it. Recommended for family and friends tour.
The beauty of Siargao is that there is no right or wrong way to enjoy the island. Many people come and just surf all day every day and party every night. Others, like myself, only surf a couple of times but instead choose to explore the island, the beaches and the other islands nearby. I think the only thing I will say is a necessity for Siargao is to stay for more than a couple of nights. Too many travelers come for two nights and rush it all.
Make the most of Siargao. You have paid for the flight out to the island and now you need to relax and soak up the vibe. Coming for just a few days isn’t worth it all. I know many of you are trying to cram eight different locations into your first Philippines backpacking trip but you will genuinely have a better time staying for at least a week on Siargao than rushing it all.
In this Siargao itinerary and expenses blog, I am first going to discuss all of the expenses and then show you the activities you simply cannot miss below. You can decide how you fit those all into your itinerary depending on how long you stay.
Most people on Siargao rent a moped or motorbike. The roads on Siargao are beautiful and surprisingly in great condition. I say surprisingly because of other comparable islands around Southeast Asia, which have horrific road conditions. Siargao has put a lot of money into their infrastructure and the roads around the island are great although in General Luna they are bumpy and dirt. However, you are only going slow through the town so it is okay.
For about $7-8 per day you can rent a moped or motorbike and gas/petrol is only a few dollars to fill up your bike. You can fill it up at gas stations around the island without an issue.
Expect to budget:
Where to eat on Siargao Island: We had a month to try the good and the not so good. We were on a budget so the price is just as important as taste to us. These were our favorite Siargao backpacking budget eats:
Miguels: Awesome burritos and tacos for $1.50 in General Luna. They are prepared quickly and they go down great with a San Miguel Beer.
Fat Lips: Also good burritos are 2 for 200 pesos.
Shaka Cafe: Each morning we start the day at Shaka Cafe and you can get a beautiful smoothie bowl and machine-made coffee for $5 USD.
I hope you found this guide helpful
Ronaldo’s: It’s the local favorite. They serve just about any food but the best is the bbq chicken which they do out the front on the bbq. It takes forever to get your food but it’s pretty cheap and pretty good quality. Go with a group of friends and hang out for quite a while before you get your food! Chicken curry is only $3 to give you an idea of the price.
Aventinos: After a long day of adventuring you don’t always want to wait an hour at Ronaldo’s. When we wanted something quick and cheap we headed to Aventinos pizza. It’s super cheap and you can get a huge pizza for as low as $2.50 and obviously more expensive with different toppings.
Those were our three go-to cheap spots to eat in Siargao. If you aren’t on a tight budget there are lots of great restaurants on Siargao. Kermit and Bulan has the best pizza on the island and Harana is also one of the most popular restaurants.
Expect to budget:
To give you an idea of the other costs you might have to pay, here is a look at some of the Siargao expenses you can expect:
As you can see you can expect to pay a small amount for most of the activities, accommodations, and food on Siargao. I would say the minimum amount to budget per day for your Siargao expenses would be $40 per day depending on your activities, accommodation and food choices. Much less than $35-40 a day and you will begin limiting yourself to what you can and can’t do but you will still be able to make it work if you can find really cheap accommodation.
Daily (Cheap) budget:
Moped and gas $9
Total: $31 (Before any activities or entrance fees)
Now that we have covered the expenses let’s look at the itinerary. There are so many things to do on Siargao that you need several weeks to see them all.
This list of things to do in Siargao has to begin with the surf, it is after all the surfing capital of the Philippines. Siargao hosts the ‘Cloud 9 Surfing Cup’ each September, an official WSL Pro event. The Cloud 9 boardwalk and viewing area has become one of the most popular Siargao tourist spots.This wave barrels and is not only one of the best waves in the Philippines but is ranked in the top ten waves of the world. If the waves aren’t rolling in nicely at the beach breaks you can pay $4-5 USD to ride a boat out to an island break less than an hour from Siargao and surf the afternoon away in the middle of the ocean.
Cloud 9: This is the most famous surf break on Siargao and has some nice barrels. We spent many mornings watching the experts carve it up from the three-story hut that sits out over the water. This wave has singlehandedly made Siargao the surfing capital of the Philippines.
Jacking Horse: The most accessible beginner wave on the island. A great spot for learning how to catch a wave but often crowded with surf lessons and it has a strong tide. Lots of paddling if you aren’t a gun. Some of the local long boarders tear it up here!
Stimpys: A consistent left-hander, which is a great place for short-boarders to have a little fun.
Pacifico: Although its a long drive (up to an hour) from General Luna, at Pacifico, you will find some of the biggest surf on Siargao.
Rock Island: Take the boat out for a fast-moving right-hander. Best for experienced surfers.
Guyan (Secret Beach): Head on past the trespassing signs and enjoy small rolling waves great for beginners. It’s about 30 minutes from General Luna.
If you don’t surf there are still plenty of things to do in Siargao! If you are wondering what to do in Siargao and you aren’t a surfer this list has you covered with all of the best places to visit in Siargao.
One of my favorite things to do in Siargao was to wake up for sunrise and chill out at the end of the Cloud 9 pier. Sometimes surfers were tearing it up and watching that was awesome. Other times I watched the sun slowly rise in the distance. Hardly anyone wakes up to head out there except for a few others, quietly enjoying the start of the day at Cloud 9. It could be something to consider when you are thinking about where to stay in Siargao. Somewhere near Cloud 9 pier means you will have your sunrise spot sorted! If you had out here for sunset you will find yourself sharing the hut at the end of the pier with quite the crowd. It doesn’t get the perfect sunrise or sunset due to its location but it’s one of your best bets if you are in General Luna.
Magpupungko Rock Pools on Siargao Island are one of the most popular things to do and easily my favorite tourist spot on Siargao.. Just a 45-minute moped drive from the main tourist area of General Luna, the rock pools are exposed at low tide and are an awesome spot for hours of exploring and cliff jumping.
The crystal clear blue water had me speechless. This is an epic little area, with coves, caves, and cliff jumping spots aplenty. There are multiple spots to get your backflip on if you are into a bit of a jump. I advise wearing water shoes or just regular shoes like me as the rocks are very jagged and sharp to climb. Make sure you check the tides in advance (they change daily), so that you don’t arrive during high tide. When you get the tides right, this is a truly magical spot and one of my favorite places to visit on Siargao Island.
Tayangban Cave Pool was one of the highlights of my many adventures throughout Siargao Island. It was one of the best caving experiences I have had in Asia. For 15 minutes you swim and float in darkness, only aided by torches. Bats fly around you until you finally emerge to the open cave pool where you can cliff jump from seven meters.
This is a spot you will likely drive to without even planning on it. On the way to destinations like Pacifico, Tayabangan Cave poolor Magpupungko Rock Pool you will pass through an area we called ‘top of the road’.
It’s halfway to Magpupungko Rock Pool and you will know when you have arrived. You will veer around a sharp corner after about 30 minutes of driving from General Luna, and all of a sudden, you will be looking out over thousands of coconut palms.
Sugba Lagoon is one of the most popular things to do on Siargao. It’s a short day trip from General Luna, Siargao to a spectacular lagoon surrounded by epic mountains. A floating hut has a diving board and SUP rentals. The day trip costs around 1500 pesos (30 USD) per person or more if you book it in the tourist are of General Luna. However, we managed to find a way to get to Sugba Lagoon for 300 pesos (5 USD) per person. It is a 4000-hectare sanctuary, which you will enjoy on the drive-in as well as while you hang out in the main lagoon. Activities at Sugba Lagoon include renting a big wood raft, SUP boards, diving board, swimming and relaxing in the cafe.
There are so many awesome things to do in Siargao Island but one of the most popular activities is to get off the island and go island hopping from Siargao. There are three beautiful islands only a short long-tail boat trip away from General Luna, which is the tourist part of Siargao. Guyam Island, Daku Island, and Naked Island are the three stops along the tour, which includes pick-up, drop-off, and a seafood lunch. The whole Mindanao region is covered with beautiful islands
Guyam Island is a tiny island covered in palms. You can walk from one side to the other in about 50 steps! It’s a beautiful little Oasis!
Daku Island is the biggest island of the tour and a great place for a swim and lunch. Small huts line the beach, perfect for chilling in the shade and enjoying a seafood banquet!
Naked Island is a small sandbar, which earned its name by literally just being sand. A few bits of grass are growing on it now but it is a great little stretch to hang out with mates!
The first thing I noticed at Alegria Beach on Siargao was the white sand and crystal clear water. Coconut palms lined the beach. It could have been a postcard. This wasn’t one of the popular Siargao tourist spots with just a few locals hanging back on the grass behind the beach. It is quite a long drive to Alegria Beach from General Luna. It can take about an hour driving. here is quite a bit of reef at this beach but there is still water deep enough to swim in, which isn’t too common on Siargao. One of the hardest things to do in Siargao is to find a beach where you can swim without being near a reef. Alegria isn’t perfect but you can get fully submerged in parts without stepping on sharp rocks.
It may seem like a long drive but a visit to Pacifico beach is one of the things to do in Siargao that you will not regret. Far away from the crowded waves of Jacking Horse in General Luna, Pacifico gives you that North Shore, Oahu small surf town feel. A few resorts and homestays are nestled in the dense palm trees that line the pristine stretch of beach that is Pacifico. The drive towards and past Pacifico is beautiful with winding roads leading you along the coast and in and out of palm tree forests.
Corregidor Island is about 30 minutes by longtail boat from General Luna. It isn’t normally included in the daily island-hopping trips. Often it is a stand-alone adventure with resorts like Kermit offering tours to Corregidor.
On Corregidor, a small number of locals live in the village. Beautiful beaches cover every inch of coastline. It is one of the few islands in the area, which has an elevation. This means hiking. we hiked to the top of Corregidor, which is covered in long grass and palms. It’s a landscape you don’t see very often.
The best time to visit Siargao depends on what you are looking for. Many consider the best time of year when the weather is best but that also means crowds. I will give you a few options below about when is the best month to visit Siargao Island:
September: Siargao hosts the ‘Cloud 9 Surfing Cup’ each September, an official WSL Pro event
July – November: The best time period for surfing in Siargao is July until November. The easterly Mindanao current provides the islands with waves that came from the deepest regions of the Pacific.
March – May: If you aren’t as interested in the surf but are craving that sun. March until May should bring you guaranteed sunny days. But it’s the Philippines so you can’t guarantee it.
I hope you found this guide helpful!