Siargao Budget Travel Guide | A 5-day Itinerary with a side trip to Enchanted River and Tinuy-an Falls

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Siargao, you really are my favorite island in the Philippines! I spent a wonderful 5 days here with my Jeepsetters PH family earlier this month. It was my second time visiting and I cannot wait to make a return trip soon! While I can’t give you an expert guide to Siargao, I can give you a little, first-timer’s advice just like I would for a friend. Aside from Siargao, I am also including Hinatuan, the home of the Enchanted River, and Bislig, home to Tinuy-an Falls, just in case you would like a little side trip in Mindanao. So, here we go!
Siargao Budget Travel Guide
Top 5 Things to See and Do in Siargao
1. Surfing in Cloud 9
This has to be the first thing on this list because it’s one of the most memorable things I did in Siargao. Aside from the fact that the island is known as the Surfing Capital of Philippines, its famous surf spot called Cloud 9 is the location of some international surfing competitions. How cool is that?! Although this spot is used mainly by advanced surfers, there is a spot for beginners too.

Read my surfing experience when I first visited Siargao here.
Surfing lessons in Cloud cost 500 pesos per hour
2. Island Hopping Tour
For me, island hopping in Siargao is the next best thing. Having been to all the major islands in Siargao, I admit that I have my own personal favorites. However, the islands are diverse, has its own unique offerings, and one is certainly not "better" than another. In Siargao, the three famous islands included in all island-hopping tours are Naked Island, Daku Island and Guyam Island.

Read my island-hopping experience here.
Naked Island
Naked Island (a white sandbar with no shade at all) is my least favourite. Not because it is not beautiful but because it is so exposed you would definitely get sunburned! It is also not ideal for swimming because the current here is too strong. Nevertheless, it is a great place for picture taking and sunbathing.
Daku Island
Daku Island is my absolute favourite in Siargao. This island dazzles with glittering turquoise waters, wide white sand beach and swaying coconut fringes. It can handle a lot of people in comparison with Naked Island and Guyam Island, so it never feels too crowded. Aside from swimming and beach bumming, Daku is a great place for surfing too!
Guyam Island
Guyam Island is my second favourite island in Siargao, next to Daku Island. It is great for swimming, sunbathing, enjoying non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks at the beach bar, and the best beach to watch the sunset. 
Corregidor Island
Siargao's got a Corregidor Island too! This island, located an hour and a half boat ride from General Luna, offers breathtaking views of nearby islands. It also features powdery white sand and palm-fringed beaches and crystal clear turquoise waters. One thing I did not like about the island is you cannot really walk around the beach because it is owned by different resorts. You have to pay a separate entrance fee to get into another. Nonetheless, I enjoyed my visit and would definitely return for a second time!

Gotmakarked Tours Island-hopping Rates:
3 island tour with Corregidor Island - 1,700 pesos per head, available during Saturdays only
3 islands with Bucas Grande and Sohoton Cove - 2,000 pesos per head
Boodle Fight prepared by Gotmarked Tours at Corregidor Island
3. Rent a motorbike and take a trip to Magpupungko Tidal Pools
In Magpupungko, you’ll not only see spectacular rock formations but also inviting tidal pools everywhere! I first saw pictures of Magpupungko in Instagram and I told myself that I would see it one day. When I finally did, it took my breath away! Seriously, I was blown away by its clear waters with different shades of blue. Before I knew it, I was already cliff diving and swimming to my heart’s content. Magpupungko will always be a non-negotiable in Siargao. Going here is an absolute must!

Magpupungko Tidal Pools
4. Take a boat ride to Sugba Lagoon and Kawhagan Island
Another must visit in Siargao is Sugba Lagoon. Located in the second biggest mangrove system in the Philippines, this mystical lagoon offers various types of activities for all kinds of travellers. The star attraction is the bluest lagoon I have ever seen with a wooden diving board in the middle. This is where you can jump all you want or just stand at the board for some picture taking. If you get in to Sugba Lagoon early enough, the board and the lagoon will be all yours. But expect a queue for the diving board because this place is one of Siargao’s most popular destination.
Sugba Lagoon
Let's not forget about Kawhagan Island. Gotmarked Tours offer this as a side trip to Sugba Lagoon. This small island paradise located in Del Carmen is famous for its crystal clear turquoise waters, lush palm trees, and beautiful white sandbar on one end. You will surely fall in love when you see it. Trust me.
The beautiful sandbar of Kawhagan Island
drone shot by Rizanoia
5. Swim with the stingless jellyfish of Bucas Grande Island
Hidden within Sohoton National Park in Bucas Grande Island lies a small lagoon, home to rare species of stingless jellyfish. Touching them and seeing them up close were magical. It was definitely one of the most memorable experiences I had in Siargao (well not really in Siargao but Surigao del Norte). Aside from the Jellyfish Sanctuary, there are other great attractions in this island like the Hagukan Cave, Magkukuob Cave (with a 5-moter cliff jump board), Titikan Lake, and the instagrammable Club Tara Resort.

Swim with the stingless jellyfish of Bucas Grande Island
Other things to see and do in Siargao
  1. See the sunrise or sunset at the Coconut “Top of the Road”, Burgos Coconut Road and Maasin River (Bent Coconut tree) - you guys probably know what these places look like because they’re all over Instagram! 
  2. Follow the dirt road to the Secret Beach - also known as Guiwan Beach, this beach doesn’t receive too much attention compared to other beaches Siargao. To get there, check out this Secret Beach travel guide by Jonny Melon. 
  3. Party in General Luna - the party scene in Siargao isn’t as loud and wild as Puerto Galera or Boracay. You can basically party every night in the island but there is an assigned resort to host the “official” party each night. For example, Acoustic Night at Buddha’s Surf Resort is scheduled on Thursdays while Art Night is scheduled at Viento del Mar on Tuesdays. Make sure to ask your receptionist to know where the party at.
  4. Relax and destress by joining a yoga class - there are many resorts all around Siargao offering both single session and multi-day yoga sessions. If you need ta space to soothe your mind and release the tension in your body, then Siargao is a great place to do it! Kermit Siargao offers 1 session (1 hour and 30 minutes) for only 400 pesos while 3 sessions cost 900 pesos. 
  5. Descend thru Tayangban Cave Pools - Located near the Siargao Circumferential Road, this cave/cenote is one of Siargao’s best attractions. It can get a little scary to get there because of bats and total darkness, but it will be worth it. The best time to visit is the middle of the day when sunlight beams straight down and gives an almost heavenly reflection to the turquoise waters below. 
Cocount "Top of the Road" viewdeck
How to get there and around
Flights from Manila, Clark or Cebu to Siargao can be found for as little as 1,800 pesos ($40 USD), one way. Make sure to catch those seat sales from Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines to get super low fares for your travels. Another alternative route in going to Siargao is via Butuan. My friends and I did this on our recent trip, which allowed us to make a side trip to Hinatuan and Bislig. 

*Our Manila to Butuan and Siargao to Manila tickets were purchased for only 1,440.20 during Cebu Pacific’s piso sale. 
Jeepsetters PH on the road :)
Transportation around Siargao is relatively cheap. You can ride a habal-habal (shared motorcycle) and tricycle around General Luna for around 10-20 pesos (less than $1 USD). Scooters are quintessential to the Siargao experience, and it’s not uncommon to see travellers riding one around the island. Scooter rentals are available for rent in General Luna for as little as 350 pesos per 24 hours exclusive of gasoline ($7 USD). You should be an experienced motorcycle driver for this option though.

Where to book your tours in Siargao?
Gotmarked Tours offer the best island-hopping and land tours in the island. Their classic island-hopping tour takes you to the three tropical islands - Naked IslandDaku Island and Guyam Island. Starting September 1, 2019, Gotmarked Tours will also offer another island-island hopping tour which include Corregidor Island along with the three islands! My friends and I did this tour recently and fell in love with it!

Other tours offered by Gotmarked Tours:
Land Tour - Coconut Mountain View, Sugba Lagoon, Magpupungko Tidal Pools, and Maasin River - 1,600 pesos per head
3 islands with Bucas Grande and Sohoton Cove - 2,000 pesos per head
North Land Private Tour - Maasin River, Tayangban Cave, Pacifico Beach, Pacifico Lighthouse, Ageria Beach, Burgos Coconut Road, Little Hawaii, and Taktak Falls - 1,200 pesos per head

Facebook Page: GotMarked Tours
Email address: gotmarkedtours@gmail.com
a group photo of our Sugba Lagoon tour with Gotmarked Tours
drone shot by Rizanoia
Where to stay in Siargao
Budget Accommodation
  • La Luna Island Resort - One of the best budget resorts in Siargao is La Luna. For just 1,800 pesos a night you can grab yourself a spacious private room good for two with ensuite bathroom and balcony. It's a pretty old resort but renovation is currently underway so expect the resort to improve more. Check Rates and Availability
  • Lampara Siargao Boutique Hostel - for only 1,000 pesos per night, you can get a dorm-style accommodation with FREE breakfast in this hostel. Check Rates and Availability
  • Tres Islas Hostel - one of the cheapest and newly built hostel in Siargao. You can get a dorm bed for as low as 278 pesos! Check Rates and Availability
Mid-range Accommodation
  • Bulan Villas - a boutique resort conveniently located in General Luna, which features a perfect combination of value-for-money and comfort. Despite being located on the main "Tourism Road, the resort offers a tranquil respite away from the crowds of General Luna. Check Rates and Availability
*Save money in Siargao by booking with Airbnb! Get FREE 1,200 peso Airbnb Travel Credit by using my code when you book your stay in Bulan Villas!

Luxury Accommodation
  • Isla Cabana Resort – one of the most luxurious accommodations in Siargao. With their beautiful outdoor pool overlooking the Pacific Ocean, villas with either garden or ocean views, beachfront bar and restaurant, this resort is where celebrities stay when they are in Siargao. Check Rates and Availability
  • Siargao Bleu Resort And Spa - Located in General Luna, the resort offers a private beach and an outdoor pool. With a personal butler upon request, you will surely feel like a VVIP here! Check Rates and Availability
  • Kalinaw Resort - another famous luxury resort in Siargao. Check Rates and Availability
Super inviting pool at Bulan Villas in General Luna
Where to eat in Siargao
For such a small area, Siargao has lots of restaurants offering different types of cuisine. A basic local meal in General Luna (Tourism Road or Boulevard) will cost around 50-75 pesos. Western food is a little expensive but is still reasonable at around 200-300 pesos.  Here are my favourite restaurants in Siargao in no particular order:
a big chunk of grilled tuna from one of the local carinderias in the boulevard for only 150 pesos!
Shaka Cafe's best-sellers :)
Sample 5D/4N Siargao iItinerary (with side trip to Enchanted River and Tinuy-an Falls)

Day 1 (Manila to Butuan)
4:30 AM – ETD Manila to Butuan
6:10 AM – ETA Butuan Airport
7:30 AM – Van to Hinatuan
10:30 AM – ETA Hinatuan Bus Terminal
10:45 AM – Check in at Marky’s Hostel and early lunch
11:15 AM – ETD Enchanted River
11:45 AM – ETA Enchanted River
12:00 PM - Fish feeding at Enchated River
1:30 PM – ETD Enchated River to Tinuy-an Falls
2:30 PM – ETA Tinuy-an Falls
4:00 PM – ETD Tinuy-an Falls
5:00 PM – ETA Hinatuan and Rest at Marky’s Hostel
6:00 PM – Dinner at nearby Carinderia


Day 2 (Hinatuan to Surigao City to Siargao)
1:30 AM – ETD Marky’s Hostel
2:00 AM – Van from Hinatuan Bus Terminal to Ampayon
4:00 AM – ETA Ampayon Crossing to Surigao City
4:30 AM – Van/Bus to Surigao City
6:30 am – ETA Surigao City Bus Terminal
10:30 AM - ETD Surigao Port to Dapa Port (MV Yohan Sea Cruiser)
12:00 PM - ETA Dapa Port
12:30 PM - ETA General Luna
1:00 PM - Check in accommodation
1:30 PM - Late lunch
2:30 PM - Surfing lesson at Cloud 9
4:00 PM - Chill at Cloud 9 Tower
7:00 PM - Dinner


Day 3 (Inland Tour by Gotmarked Tours)
Coconut “Top of the Road” View
Kawhagan Island
Sugba Lagoon
Magpupungko Tidal Pools
Burgos Coconut Road
Maasin River

Day 4 (Island Hopping by Gotmarked Tours)
OPTION A: 3 Islands with Corregidor Island
Corregidor Island
Naked Island
Daku Island
Guyam Island

OPTION B: 3 Islands with Sohoton Tour
Bucas Grande Island (Sohoton Cove, Hagukan Cave, Magkukuob Cave, Jellyfish Sanctuary)
Naked Island
Daku Island
Guyam Island

Day 5 (Departure) 
5:00 AM - Wake up early to catch the sunrise at Cloud 9
7:00 AM - Surfing lessons (optional)
8: 00 AM - Breakfast
9:00 AM - Check out accommodation
10:00 AM - Travel to Siargao Airport
10:45 AM - ETA Airport
12:200 PM - ETD Siargao to Manila
2:50 PM - ETA Manila

Budget Breakdown of 5D/4N Siargao with Hinatuan and Bislig
Day 1
Van from Butuan Airport to Hinatuan Bus Terminal - 350 pesos
1 night stay at Marky’s Hostel (fan room) - 250 pesos
Habal-habal to Enchanted River and Tinuy-an - 600 pesos (1,200 for two pax)
Enchanted River Environmental Fee - 40 pesos
Tinuy-an Falls Entrance Fee -  50 pesos
Tinuy-an Falls Guide Fee -  50 pesos

Day 2
Marky’s Hostel to Hinatuan Bus Terminal - 100 pesos
Van from Hinatuan Bus Terminal to Ampayon - 300 pesos
Bus from Ampayon to Surigao City - 170 pesos
Tricycle from Surigao City Bus Terminal to Port - 10 pesos
Ferry to Dapa Port - 330 pesos
Tricycle to General Luna - 50 pesos
3 nights accommodation - 1,500 pesos
Tricycle to Cloud 9 - 20 pesos
Cloud 9 Tower entrance fee - 50 pesos
Surfing lesson at Cloud 9 - 500 pesos
Tricycle back to General Luna - 20 pesos

Day 3
Land tour by Gotmarked Tours - 1,700 pesos
Sidetrip to Kawhagan Island - 200 pesos

Day 4 
Island Hopping by Gotmarked Tours - 1,700 pesos
Tricycle to Cloud 9 - 20 pesos
Tricycle to Boulevard - 20 pesos
Tricycle back to General Luna - 20 pesos

Day 5
Van from General Luna to Siargao Airport - 300 pesos

Grand Total: 8,330 pesos

Disclaimer: This budget can be achieved if you have at least one travel companion. Only the basic expenses will be included in the total calculation (tours and entrance fees, accommodation, transportation and transfers) Other personal expenses such as airfare, food, alcohol, souvenirs, shopping, and the likes are not included. Also, please note cost fluctuate depending on season. Information was correct at the time of writing.

Siargao Travel Guide: Safety and Money Saving Tips
  1. Siargao is an incredibly safe place to travel, even for solo travellers (and even as a solo female traveler). The island is far from the dangerous areas of Mindanao and you’ll be surprised by the number of foreign travellers who decided to make Siargao their home. 
  2. When renting a scooter, always observe proper driving precautions. Wear a helmet. The most important piece of advice I can suggest is to purchase a travel insurance. You will never know when you will need it. 
  3. Wear aqua shoes when going to the beach. You don’t want to get infection from cuts and scrapes on reefs.
  4. Eat at a local carinderia or cook your own food. You can stock up your food supplies from the market or nearby grocery store.
  5. Save money on alcohol by buying your drinks at a local store instead of the bar. You can also drink like a local at one of the local carinderias located at the boulevard. Pulutan and booze are cheap there!
  6. Bring a water bottle.
So, that's about it my dear readers! Feel free to leave a comment below if you have questions, suggestions or stories you want to share about Siargao! Happy weekend!

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