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  • Writer's pictureAcacia Gabriel

The Ultimate Siargao, Philippines Travel Guide 2024

Updated: Jun 12

Arriving in Siargao feels like exhaling a breath you didn’t know you were holding. The island is sunny and lush, and palm trees feel like open arms. It is known for its beautiful waves, and lessons are friendly to surfers ranging from aspiring to professional. However, there is more to the island than the surf. 


General Luna is teeming with restaurants, bars, and activities for wellness and nightlife junkies alike. Melomaniacs will adore the jazz shows, dance-worthy cover bands, and casual street performers that put many celebrities to shame. 


They say that there’s a Siargao curse; those who visit will either extend their stay or are sure to return. As you meet the locals on the island, you’ll find that many of them first visited on what was supposed to be a short trip but never wanted to leave. 


These are some of the places that made me fall in love with one of my favorite spots in SouthEast Asia, but you’ll have to stumble around and adventure in order to find the places that make it special to you:


Where to Stay in Siargao

Most travelers to Siargao stay in General Luna. It’s the island’s main town and it’s where you’ll find 90% of the restaurants, hotels, bars, and ports. If you’re thinking of getting away from the noise and enjoying more of the island, here are some recommendations for Pacific and Santa Monica. 


Three Little Birds Hostel 

Three Little Birds is one of my favorite hostels of all time. It’s located right in town near some of the main surf breaks as well as the island’s best coffee spot. The people who run the hostel are lovely and they host family dinners, jam sessions, and other activities. 


Hiraya Surf Hostel 

Hiraya is a great hostel for solo travelers who are looking to surf. The dorms don’t have curtains and they are 18-person rooms, but everyone who stays there is really respectful. Also, the massive rooms force you to really socialize with all of the guests.


They host island hopping tours, a Saturday night party, and other events for guests. It’s built for solo travelers (they don’t allow large group bookings) which makes it a nice place to start your stay in Siargao if you are looking for people to explore the island with.


How to Get Around Siargao

General Luna is a small town, but I wouldn’t count on being able to walk places. It is obscenely hot and humid most of the time, and -- like many places in SouthEast Asia -- the sidewalks aren’t great for pedestrians. Here are some other ways to get around the island:


Airport Shuttle 

When you arrive at the airport, vans are waiting outside ready to take everyone into General Luna. It’s the main way to get into the town and costs 300 pesos. 

When you leave through the airport, you can typically book the shuttle through your accommodation. If you leave through the port, you can organize a tuktuk driver. 


Motorbike 

Siargao has gorgeous roads for driving, along with a handful of incredibly sketchy side streets. Either way, motorbiking is the best way to get around the island. A motorbike is typically 350-400 pesos a day, but you can find deals if you are staying on the island for more than a week (my bike was 290/day for two weeks). 


If you plan on renting a surfboard, you can typically ask for a surf rack for your bike. You can send text number on WhatsApp to ask about renting a bike: +63 966 411 9094.


Tuktuks 

You’ll find tuktuk taxis all around General Luna, especially near the parties at night. They’re generally pretty cheap, and you can bargain with them to get the price down. 


If you plan on drinking, it is absolutely worth the $3-4 to take a taxi rather than biking under the influence.


Things to do in Siargao

Take Surf Lessons

You can’t go to Siargao and not surf. It’s one of the surf capitals in the world, and the island’s culture is built around it. Whether you’re looking to do a few intro lessons for fun or you’re a pro looking to do Cloud 9, there is something for all levels. 


For those looking to learn, you can typically book lessons through your accommodations. Depending on how committed you are, there are also always surf instructors hanging out by the popular beaches or you can even look into a surf camp like MaoMao.  


Chill at Doot Beach 

Most of the beaches in Siargao are built for surfing. They’ll have reef breaks or they’ll be so filled with surfers that it is too noisy to relax. Doot Beach is just 10 minutes outside of General Luna, and it’s the best spot for lounging on the sand and reading a book. 


Ice Bath at Mujo 

Mujo is an ice bath and juicery spot in General Luna. Ice baths have many benefits from mental clarity to increased metabolism. A cold-water plunge and ginger detox shot are a great way to recover after an intense surf session, and I enjoyed going there to escape the heat on particularly humid days. 


Things to do in Siargao, Philippines. Siargao travel guide

Lay by the pool at the Surfing Temple

The Surfing Temple is a boutique hotel with a stunning pool (and beautiful hidden shower). You can splash around in the water on hot days, and there are plenty of places to lounge in the sun. Just be sure to buy a drink or snack. 


The drive can get pretty tricky, but you can also park on the main street and walk the rest of the way if you prefer.


Maasin River 

At Maasin river you can take kayaks or rafts down the water and enjoy the peace quiet. It is best in the morning when it is less crowded, but you can also go later in the day. Maasin River is also worth the trip without paying for the tour. They have a big structure that you can jump off of for free!


I recommend pairing a trip to Maasin River with a stop at Coconut Viewpoint because they’re so close to each other. 


Coconut Viewpoint 

Siargao’s endless rows of beautiful palm trees gave the island its original name: Isla de Las Palmas. One of the most popular photo spots for enjoying the view is Coconut Viewpoint. It’s about 30 minutes from General Luna and you’ll drive by it on your way to or from the airport. 


It’s a nice stop if you’re already going in that direction, but I personally wouldn’t go out of my way to see it. The island is full of beautiful viewpoints that are far less crowded (like Pungkay View). 


Where to Watch the Sunset in Siargao

Catanyan Bridge for Sunset 

Catanyan Bridge is a daily ritual for most people visiting Siargao -- and for many who live there full-time. The bridge comes alive at golden hour with food venues, boutique pop-ups, and more. Lots of locals bring their skateboards to the bridge to do tricks and skate around. 


Not only is it a beautiful spot to enjoy the sunset, but it brings General Luna together into this really lovely community. You run into everyone you know (and I mean EVERYONE), enjoy a beer, and watch the skateboarders rush by. It’s a very sweet spot, and it’s common to get emotionally attached to the bridge. 


Pungkay View 

Pungkay View is a great spot for golden hour. It’s a bit of a hike to the top, but there are gorgeous views of the palm trees, the water, and the rest of the island. When we went, it was completely empty and we could see a rainbow form over the ocean. 


It was very tranquil and quiet, but -- in classic Filipino fashion -- they also serve beers and have a karaoke machine. It’s not loud enough to disturb your sunset, don’t worry. 


Secret Spot - Paradise Beach

Depending on the time of year, this is a great surf spot for beginners. There is a place to rent boards right by the water, but you can also enjoy the beach and views. 


It has a beautiful and quiet view of the sunset, and it’s the one of the only places where you can watch it right over the water.


Cafes in Siargao

Coffee Stroll 

Coffee Stroll is -- without a doubt -- the best coffee in Siargao. I became quite a coffee snob living in Melbourne, and this is seriously some of the best coffee in the Philippines. The founder, Paulo, is dedicated to excellence. All the coffee is manually brewed with single-origin beans from the Philippines. 


My personal favorite signature drink is the Salty Havana, a maple espresso drink with matcha. The coffee is made with care, earning them a loyal fanbase of locals, visitors, and expats alike. 


Vedya 

Vedya is a Moroccan-inspired boutique hotel and cafe. They have a lot of vegan dishes, fresh food, and tons of smoothie options. The ube granola bowl adds a nice Filipino touch, and the hummus toast was my favorite. 


Soul Shack 

Soul Shack is a mostly vegan restaurant with a bohemian, comfy vibe. They have refreshingly healthy options and lots of drinks. It is a great spot to spend the morning, especially with its pool and hammock areas.


They are known for their smoothie bowls and wide variety of cacao drinks. I personally adored their salads, but they’re huge and definitely made to be split. 


Budget-Friendly Food Options in Siargao

Many travelers complain that Philippines don't have the same cheap, local food options as other countries like Thailand or Vietnam. However, they aren't looking hard enough. Here are some of my favorite cheap


Kurvada

Kurvada is very popular among backpackers, and it’s obvious why. It’s located right on one of the main streets in General Luna, and they have a buffet of simple dishes that you can choose from. It’s perfect for a quick, cheap, and easy lunch. 


Pangpang 

If you are interested in trying pork sisig, a Filipino dish, Pangpang has one of the cheapest options on the island. They also have wonderful chicken wings, Red Horse, and fruit shakes. It’s a bit off the main road in General Luna, and it’s truly nothing fancy. However, it’s a quiet dinner place that is perfect if you’re looking for something authentic and budget-friendly. 


Yassi’s 

Yassi’s is a quick and easy local spot where you can get reasonably priced fried chicken and other Filipino-style dishes. The portions at Yassi's are very large. They even have unlimited rice, which is particularly handy when you’re trying to eat more carbs before/after surfing. 


Dinner Restaurants in Siargao

Cev 

Cev boasts that it is the world’s first and only Ceviche and Kinilaw restaurant. Kinilaw is a traditional Filipino dish made of raw seafood. Cev has some of the best food and the island, and I recommend grabbing a few different dishes so you can taste and try as much as possible. 


Unlike most spots on the island, you’ll need to make a reservation a few days in advance. Contact them on Instagram


Roots 

Roots earns its name from its dedication to natural Filipino ingredients and its dedication to the heritage and journeys of its founders. They use local and seasonal ingredients to create high-end, one-of-a-kind dishes. 


It is one of the nicest restaurants on the island and it’s only open on the weekend, meaning you’ll have to save your spot using their Instagram or phone number. 


Las Barricas 

Las Barricas is a tapas and tacos, Spanish-style restaurant in General Luna. Enjoy some delicious sangrias and small bites as well as stellar service. My favorite dishes include the Fabada and the Pescado Con Vino Blanco. 


Las Barricas is also located under a very sweet bar called the Extension, so it’s easy to do both in one night.


Bars in Siargao

Manu 

Located steps outside of the main General Luna nightlife area, Manu is the trendiest and nicest cocktail bar in Siargao. You could walk by it without knowing it’s there, but their elegant neon red sign is sure to pique your interest. 


It is a tiki-inspired, modern bar that maintains a neighborhood Filipino feeling, but it is very modern with a great cocktail list. 



Strum 

Strum is a locally-owned live music bar. On Mondays, the owner’s band plays, but they have local artists play sets every night of the week. The performances are shockingly impressive, and it often turns into a big sing-along dance party. 


One of the most charming aspects of the bar is that they invite members of the audience to come up and join them for a song or two. Either way, come prepared to tip. 



The Extension

The Extension is far more of a lounge bar than other spots in Siargao. It has a glowy vibe, cocktails, and live music. Once again, Filipino live music is sure to blow you away. All of the bands are fantastic, and it’s a perfect little date spot. 


If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see Honey Bandits perform. This band is made up of some of the nicest people on the island, and they’re all incredibly talented. Their live jazzy covers are gorgeous, and you’ll be impressed by how many instruments each of them can juggle around and play. 



Siargao Party Schedule

Siargao follows its party schedule religiously. The parties and bars close at midnight and then everyone heads to the Siargao Beach Club. For better or for worse, you will run into every partier on the island at Siargao Beach Club, but -- on its own -- it's nothing to write home about. It's handy to bookmark the schedule on your phone, but many backpackers and tourists know it by heart.


If you are looking for the biggest group parties on the island, this is where they'll be until midnight:


  • Monday

    • Mama Coco Party

  • Tuesday

    • Barrel Trivia

    • Sidargo Party

  • Wednesday

    • Goodies

  • Thursday

    • Bed & Brew Party

  • Friday

    • Barbosa

    • Mama Coco

  • Saturday

    • Harana -- This is the biggest party on the island and my personal favorite. The venue is incredibly impressive and it draws a huge crowd.

  • Sunday

    • WakePark Sunday Fund

    • Happiness Bar


Doing the Banana Pancake Trail?

Check out more recommendations from around SouthEast Asia:


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