DER ULTIMATIVE SIARGAO ISLAND GUIDE
PART 3: WHAT TO EXPERIENCE
Where to start, where to stop? In any case, Siargao’s reputation for being a surfer’s paradise is half the truth. Yes, whoever wants to ride waves gets into ecstasy at around 30 surf spots. But the island has so much more on hand!
ISLAND HOPPING: THE LONGER THE BOAT TRIP, THE LONELIER THE BEACHES
As mentioned before: Siargao’s coast is nice, but hardly suitable for swimming. A fact that is only disappointing if you doesn’t have more in mind – or have never heard of Guyam, Daku or Naked Island. Siargao is surrounded by a number of insanely beautiful offshore islets which are only a stone’s throw away! Outrigger boats, so-called Bancas, set for a few euros and stay until you’ve had enough of postcard beaches. Starting point is General Luna’s harbour or one of the resorts that organize such tours. FYI: Guyam (also called Hamburger Island) is tiny, Naked Island a shadowless sandbank. Both islands are more than Instagram-worthy, but not really suited to spend the day on them. If you want to do that, better settle on Daku: For a small fee, the islanders rent nipa-covered cubos (huts) and provide you with fresh coconuts. You can’t survive without Rum and Coke? No worries. Even that has Daku to offer. If that doesn’t sound remotely enough to you, you’ll have to travel further. The longer and rougher the boat trips get, the more deserted are the islands. Where you should head for exactly? Sorry, that remains our little secret (in the hope of saving at least some beaches from the crowds).
ROCK POOLS: BEAUTIFUL, BUT NOT THE BEST KEPT SECRET ANYMORE
Sooner or later the time has come: someone recommends the northern Magpupungko pools. Good tip? Yes and no. At low tide, water pulls itself back from rugged Magpupunko beach and leaves natural, crystal clear saltwater pools behind. What may look pretty has got around: if you’re out of luck, you’ll have to share the attraction with hordes of other tourists (and their inflatables at worst). Those who can hide that, will still spend a fun time here. For all others, we recommend leaving the pools behind and staying on the road. To the north!
THE NORTH: WHERE TIME STANDS STILL
Out of everything we’ve seen and done on Siargao Island, motorcycle tours along the coast thrilled us most. If you leave G.L. towards north, the scenery turns from pristine to surreal: sleepy villages, grazing water buffalos and landscapes that are so stunningly beautiful that you wonder if they’re real. Good to know: off the beaten track, restaurants and accommodation can be scarce. Halfway between G.L. and Burgos, the island’s northernmost town, lies Pacifico (and the simple yet idyllic Pacifico Beach Resort) – a perfect place for a stopover. Or even a few nights in solitude.
MANGROVES: THE MOST UNDERRATED NATURE SPECTACLE
Admittedly, it wasn’t love at first sight. As fans of crystal clear waters, the murky swamps, which take up large parts of Siargao, did not set us in ecstasy first. How stupid we were! Apart from the fact that mangroves belong to the most productive ecosystems of the world, they are – on closer inspection – breathtakingly beautiful. Rent a SUP board and book a guided tour from Catagnan to Tawin-Tawin (or alternative routes) at Kermit Surf Resort. We promise: It doesn’t get any more peaceful!
SUGBA LAGOON: IN SEARCH OF THE BEST BLUE
The web is full of images of transparent lagoons on or around Siargao Island. Someone must have visited them – unfortunately, it wasn’t us. Despite several attempts to locate lesser-known lagoons, we always end up in the most renowned: the Sugba Lagoon at Del Carmen. Well, we won’t complain! This place is paradise. Bring a SUP board and snorkeling gear and enjoy the crystal clear waters to the fullest. How you get there? Head for Del Carmen and book a boat to Caob Island there.
BUCAS GRANDE ISLANDS: OR SIARGAOS „JURASSIC PARK“
There is not much undone on our personal Siargao “Bucket List”. Except: Getting lost in Bucas Grande! The small archipelago is home to the Sohoton Lagoon National Park, a maze of saltwater lakes, mini-islands and bays, which we were able to delete from the list after our first Siargao trip. Seen that! Later on we realized that Bucas Grande has so much more to offer: If you take the approximately two-hour boat trip from General Luna to Sohoton Lagoon, you will see hundreds of meters of coastline passing by. Pristine beaches and dense jungles, Landscapes like fallen out of time. It’s unlikely that many adventurers have set foot on that land – and that we won’t do it anyway.