I already wrote about learning how to surf on Siargao, but there’s a whole lot more going on at this surf island than just hanging ten on Cloud 9 (see what I did there?).
I’m pretty sure I wore my bathing suit the entire week I was on Siargao – maybe a little bit because I’m gross and/or lazy, but mostly because I was in and out of the water every single day. Pretty much all of my outdoor adventures took place in the water, whether I was in a boat, on a board, or under the sea… and they were EPIC.
Here are my picks for the best things to do on Siargao, in the water:
It would be a crime to come all the way to Siargao and not go surfing. It’s what this island in the Philippines is known for, and avid surfers travel from all parts of the world to hit the epic waves at Cloud 9. DO IT.
If you don’t have your own board with you, both Kermit and Lux have them available for hire (or included in accommodation packages). And if you don’t know how to surf, then you absolutely MUST book surf lessons. For a mere 500 PHP (US$10) per 1-hour surf lesson, you get to work with a local surf instructor one-on-one. They guarantee you’ll be standing up during your first lesson, which I can vouch for being true (at least for me!).
Surf lessons on Siargao are such incredible value for money, especially given the quality of the surf around the island. Kermit’s surf accommodation packages are even better value, if you can believe it, because they also include other goodies like meals, yoga, and excursions.
Read more about my experience surfing in Siargao – it was honestly one of the best things I’ve ever done!
Stand Up Paddleboarding in Siargao
If surfing isn’t your thing, you can still have fun on a board by taking yourself on a stand up paddleboarding adventure.
Both Kermit and Lux Boutique Resort have SUP boards available for guests to use on their own. At Lux, you can walk right out onto the resort beach and paddle out to the nearby mangroves; at Kermit, you’ll have to transport the board to the beach via motorbike since the resort is a bit inland.
If you want to try stand up paddleboarding somewhere with stiller water than the beach, it’s worth hopping on either the Sugba Lagoon tour or the Mangrove SUP tour with Kermit. Sugba Lagoon is well worth doing at 2000 PHP (US$40): it’s nearly a full day trip and includes a delicious BBQ lunch and drinks. Plus, I mean, look how stinkin’ gorgeous the place is:
SUP at Sugba Lagoon.
SUP at Sugba Lagoon is more of a DIY, take-the-board-out-yourself thing, while SUP at the mangroves is actually a guided paddleboarding tour where you’ll have some instruction. SUP is pretty easy to learn on your own, but if you’d feel more comfortable with a guide helping you out, the SUP mangrove tour is your best bet with prices starting at 800PHP (US$16), depending on group size.
SUP at the mangroves near Lux.
Siargao Island Hopping
Island hopping is an absolute must-do on Siargao. Kermit, Lux, and probably every other resort on the island offer the same island hopping package which stops at 3 islands: Naked Island, Daku Island, and Guyam Island. If you’re looking for idyllic beach scenes with blindingly white sand and bright blue water, you’ll find them on these islands… unless you get unlucky like I did and do this tour on a cloudy day. The beaches still looked pretty, though!
The full day Siargao island hopping tour costs 900PHP (US$18) and includes a BBQ lunch and ample time to swim and relax on each island. Note that if you go on a weekend, the islands will be a bit more crowded with locals.
Naked Island, Siargao.
Guyam Island, Siargao.
Diving at Siargao
I attempted to book some fun dives while on Siargao, but because diving is not hugely popular on the island, they don’t have guaranteed departures every day. The dive shop I inquired with took my email address and promised to email me if anyone else was interested in diving during the same timeframe as I was. Unfortunately I had booked another activity for that day so didn’t get to dive when they finally organized a trip.
If you’re keen to dive, walk down to the beach in General Luna and you’ll see a few dive shops around (alternatively, a few resorts organize dive trips). Blue Cathedral is said to be the best dive site in Siargao, but it’s only open to advanced divers with a certain number of logged dives. Free diving is also meant to be particularly excellent around Siargao with the fantastic visibility.
A one-tank dive with all equipment included costs 1800PHP (US$36) with Palaka Dive Center (the dive shop I had planned on diving with).
Photo Credit: Rutger Geerling via Palaka Dive Center.
Swimming & Cliff Jumping On Siargao
Ok, so you’re basically swimming in all of the previously mentioned outdoor adventures, but I had to find a way to include the Magpupungko Rock Pools in this post!
Low tide reveals these incredible tidal pools with the clearest, bluest water imaginable. You can hop between several different pools and sit on the rock ledges around their perimeter, or jump off the big boulder in the middle of one of pools. If you’re here when the tide is anything other than low, you can’t even tell there are rock pools – so be sure to time your trip according to the tides.
It takes just under an hour drive to reach Pilar and the nearby Magpupungko Rock Pools from General Luna. You can either rent a motorbike and drive yourself there or pay about 1000PHP (US$20) to have someone drive you there and back. Admission to the beach and tidal pools at Magpupungko is 50PHP (US$1).