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I’m going to be straight-up honest with you: Siargao probably isn’t for everyone. As beautiful and rugged as this tear drop-shaped Filipino island is, going to Siargao is going to take you out of your way. Is it worth it? Well, I’ll let you decide.
The truth is, you’re either going to LOVE Siargao or you’ll feel a little bit ‘meh’ about the island. Which category you fall into will depend on your own tastes and hobbies. Below, I’ve listed all the kinds of things you might want to visit for. If any of those sound appealing, you’ll probably love Siargao! But if you feel kind of indifferent, you want to skip it for somewhere a little busier like El Nido and Coron.
What to do in Siargao
If you’ve already looked up what to do in Siargao, you’re probably already aware of the island’s main attraction: surfing! And it would be easy to write off Siargao as a surfer’s paradise that’s a little too out of the way for everyone else.
But there’s more to Siargao than surfing. Admittedly, there’s not a whole lot more, but there are other reasons to visit.
When I was looking for things to do in Siargao, I struggled to find a whole lot. That’s probably because the best thing to do is explore yourself, and that’s what I recommend you to do. Below are some of the things you might want to weave into your exploration.
Building a Siargao itinerary
These are the main reasons why you might want to visit Siargao. Of course, we’re all individuals and you probably fit into multiple categories. To build your ideal Siargao itinerary, feel free to mix and match ideas from any of the below.
If you travel for the unique experiences… get a little lost.
A large part of Siargao’s appeal is just how untouched it feels. Much of the island is completely undeveloped, meaning you can get lost easily. The only way to experience this is by driving deep into the island, and just driving around way my favourite part of Siargao.
There’s basically one main road that goes around the island. It’ll take you through the centre, to the tourist spots and out to the white sand beaches. Think quiet roads surrounded by layers of coconut trees, occasionally broken up by minute villages and huts. Sounds pretty dreamy, right? Well, that’s because it is!
RELATED READ: WHAT TO PACK FOR TWO WEEKS (OR MORE) IN THE PHILIPPINES.
Filipinos are some of the friendliest people in the world, and they’re usually incredibly happy to chat. Obviously don’t be invasive, but don’t be shy either. Stop at the local villages you pass and get to know the people – it will be one of your best memories.
If you want to hire a scooter, you’ll need a driving license in English. If you don’t have an English language license (or don’t want to drive!), you can also hire a driver for the day. Just ask at your hotel reception or speak to someone on the street.
If you want to try something new… hire a tricycle.
I really hope more destinations in South East Asia follow suit, but for now Siargao is the only place I know of where you can hire a tricycle. Not only is it a super fun way to get around, but it’s also incredibly practical!
We chose to hire a tricycle because it’s impossible to fit all our camera gear onto a scooter. It meant we could still get around and explore, but also didn’t have to worry about carrying gear. It would also be a great option if you’re travelling as a group because you can fit 4 people comfortably in each one.
We hired a Tricycle from Binggo. It costs 800-1,200 PHP per day if you’re happy to drive yourself, but you can also hire a tricycle with driver for 1,700 PHP (around £25).
If you love water sports… go surfing.
Well, this one goes without saying! But no post about what to do in Siargao would be complete without it. If you’ve never been surfing, Siargao may just be one of the best places in the world to take surfing lessons.
If surfing isn’t your thing, good news: it’s not the only adventurous thing to do. Wake boarding, snorkelling, kayaking and diving are all popular water sports in Siargao, so there’s a way for everyone to enjoy the water.
Even if you don’t plan to try your hand at water sports, watching the surfers at Cloud 9 is a great way to spend a lazy afternoon. It costs 50 PHP (about £0.75) to enter the boardwalk and pier, where you’ll get front row views of the action.
RELATED READ: If you’re heading to Siargao for the surf, this extensive surf guide to Siargao covers everything you need to know.
If you love seeing the sights… book a tour or two.
Although Siargao doesn’t have as many of the typical tourist sites as other islands in the Philippines, there’s still plenty to do. There are a few trips that travellers tend to take from Siargao.
Island hopping is one of the best things to do in the Philippines, and Siargao has its own island hopping option. You can pick up one of the daily tours once you arrive, and it will take you to Guyan, Daku and Naked islands. It’s also possible to visit Sohoton, the famous caves and Sugba Lagoon as part of the same tour or on a separate day.
If you prefer to stay on the main island of Siargao, visit the MMagapupungko rock pool and the island’s only waterfall, Taktak Falls.
If you try to travel responsibly… it’s the perfect Philippines destination.
Something we quickly noticed as we arrived in Siargao is how conscious everybody is of their environmental impact. It’s a change that I’ve since noticed in Manila, too, but it was much more prominent in Siargao.
Shops no longer offer plastic bags. Signs outside some stores advise you to bring your own, with paper bags and cardboard boxes the only other options.
You won’t get a plastic straw in your cocktail when you stop for an afternoon iced coffee. Instead, you can expect a metal straw or simply no straw at all.
And, given Siargao’s geography and isolation, you can be sure that almost everything you eat is made from locally sourced ingredients.
If you want to switch off… check in to a beach front resort.
Aside from surfing, there isn’t a whole lot going on in Siargao – but that may be just what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for an island break that has a selection of restaurants but doesn’t feel touristy, you’ll love Siargao.
Most of the resorts sit between the small town of General Luna and the famous Cloud 9 area. Hotels and restaurants line the entire strip, but it’s far from crowded. Although you’re never more than a kilometre or two from where you want to be, every resort feels like a secluded island getaway. It has that perfect mix of isolation and convenience that most places fail to balance.
Pack a good book and check into one of the beach-facing resorts for a super relaxing break. You can also book into one of the many spas if you feel like getting out and treating yourself. The WiFi is very unreliable, too, so you can completely switch off.
If you love photography…
Siargao is the kind of place that has lots to photograph, but it isn’t totally obvious. If you like a good location hunt as much as you like getting a shot, you’ll love Siargao for photography.
We didn’t see any other photographers in Siargao while we were there. That means you can enjoy scouting and shooting all by yourself, if you do wish. There are plenty of landscapes to discover, including the impressive coconut tree forests, or you can try your hand at surf photography at Cloud 9.
Like all of the Philippines islands, Siargao obviously looks incredible from the air too. If you own a drone, don’t leave it at home!
Siargao might not be the best island in the Philippines for everyone. But if you love surfing, healthy living or exploring untouched areas, it could be well worth adding Siargao to your Philippines itinerary. Pin the post below to save this page for later.