Siargao Island Hopping

Written by Bianca Versoza

Siargao might be known as the Philippines’ surfing capital, but it also offers many non-surfing activities for those looking for a more relaxed trip to the island. This makes Siargao an attractive destination for all kinds of tourists. 

One of the more enjoyable non-surfing things you can do in Siargao is island hopping. There are many islands to visit here, but three of them—Naked, Daku, and Guyam—are often visited together as part of a tour. These islands each possess a unique charm that will complete your vacation in Siargao.

Whether you explore these islands as part of the Siargao tri-island tour following your adventures at Cloud 9 and other beaches or include them in your itinerary after a visit to Sugba Lagoon, you’ll discover that the time and cost are well worth the experience.

What Is The Best Time To Visit Siargao?

The best time to visit the Siargao group of islands depends on what you intend to do during your trip.

For example, if you plan to go surfing, schedule your trip between July and November. The barreling waves are generally better during these months, especially as you approach November. In fact, if you happen to visit in September, you just might catch the Siargao International Surfing Cup. 

I personally don’t surf, but witnessing surfers from all around the world gather here for the competition is an exciting experience!

If you’re just going to island hop, plan your trip between March and May. It is usually sunny around these months, creating an ideal atmosphere for island hopping and beach lounging both on the islands and along Siargao’s coast. The seas are a bit calmer, too, making for a less bumpy boat ride.

How To Get To Siargao

It’s easy to get to Siargao from wherever you are. For instance, if you’re from outside the Philippines, you can book a flight to Manila and hop on a local plane to Siargao. Alternatively, you can book a flight to Cebu or Davao, then to Siargao. 

The following airlines offer air travel to Siargao: 

  • Philippine Airlines
  • Cebu Pacific Air
  • Skyjet

Once you arrive at the Siargao airport in Del Carmen, take a tuk tuk (a local rickshaw), taxi, or scooter to General Luna, where most of the lodgings are. General Luna also houses the port you need to depart from when you plan to island hopping.

Just make sure to verify that your plane is heading to Siargao and not another place called Surigao.

If you ever make that mistake and land in Surigao, simply ride a ferry bound for Siargao. The trip is about two hours. Once you’re in Siargao, arrange for a ride to take you to General Luna.

Siargao offers a variety of accommodations that suit all types of travelers and budgets. If you prefer to be near surfing spots, crowds, and restaurants, book your stay along Tourism Road in General Luna. However, if you prefer lodgings with a more laid-back feel, accommodations along Malinao Road will be a better fit. 

Regardless of where you choose to stay, you’ll have easy access to the port.

How to go Island Hopping In Siargao

There are several ways to go island hopping in Siargao. One option is to book a tour in the hotel or resort you are staying in. This might cost you as much as 3,500 Php (about 62 USD), but it comes with the assurance that your accommodations will take care of all the arrangements for you. Plus, if you run into any trouble, you have a reliable point of contact to turn to.

Alternatively, you can book a tour via Klook (from 28 USD), Viator (from 58 USD), and other travel activity websites. Depending on where you book and the price you’re asked to pay, the tour may include a lunch feast and other inclusions, too.

You can also book a tour with the vendors around the port in General Luna. Expect to pay around 1,000 Php to 1,500 Php (19 to 27 USD) for an all-day tour of the Siargao Islands. 

If you’re traveling with a group, you can even rent a large boat that will take you island hopping. This will cost you about 1,500 Php to 2,000 Php (27 to 35 USD), but the bigger your group, the more you save. For example, if you go with nine others, you will only need to spend about 150 Php to 200 Php (2.5 to 3.5 USD) for the boat ride.

(By the way, if you book a DIY tour this way, you should definitely buy some fresh seafood in Siargao, then take it to the locals in Daku Island so they can cook it for you for lunch!)

The tour will take you all day, so make sure to go early. Some tours leave as early as 7:00 to 7:30 AM and then drop you off at the port around 5:00 PM.

What Is There To See In The Islands Of Siargao?

The three Siargao Islands can be seen from the beaches of General Luna. They’re not far at all! You can visit all of them in a day with plenty of time to idle on every island. Here’s what to expect from each of them.

Naked Island

As the name implies, Naked Island is but a bare stretch of white sand that measures 100 meters long. It’s devoid of any structure, both natural and man-made. There’s also no growth on the island, save for a little grass. 

There’s not much to do on Naked Island, but if you arrive early and there are no visitors around, it’s the perfect tourist spot to sunbathe. The blue sea surrounding the island offers an ideal swimming spot, too. Just be sure to stay close to the shore or your boat if you’re not comfortable swimming in deep water.

Alternatively, if you manage to arrange your boat to take you here last, it becomes the perfect spot to witness the sun setting on the horizon. Personally, I think this is the perfect way to conclude your Siargao island hopping tour—just sand, shore, and sunset. 

Daku Island

Tours will often have Daku Island, the biggest of the three islands, as their second stop. This island has a lot of greenery (mostly coconut trees) growing in it. There are also plenty of cottages where you can rest and eat. 

Daku Island offers a quintessential Siargao relaxation experience: powdery white sand beneath your feet, crystal-clear turquoise waters ahead, and the fresh sea breeze filling your lungs. Rows of coconut trees provide shade on sunny days, while the gentle waves provide a soothing soundtrack along the shores. 

Moreover, in front of you is a feast of local cuisine—served boodle-style—which means it’s laid out on a banana leaf and spread across a communal table for everyone to enjoy. The feast typically includes grilled or barbecued fish and squid, boiled or stewed shellfish, grilled meat and/or chicken, adobo, heaps of freshly cooked rice, and sliced fruits in season. 

There’s no fine dining here; just a hearty and delicious meal for both the eyes and tummy, meant to be savored by hand. If your tour includes lunch, you will eat them here. 

Alternatively, if you brought seafood from Siargao, you can share it with the locals, who will gladly cook it for you at no charge. And even if you didn’t bring food, you can still buy them from the locals here, albeit at a more premium price compared to General Luna’s.

After a filling meal, you’re now more than free to explore the rest of the island. You can go kayaking along the shoreline, try your hand at fishing from your boat, or simply take a leisurely walk along the shore and go for a refreshing dip in the sea. There are plenty of activities to keep you occupied until you move on to the last island.

Guyam Island

The last of the three Siargao Islands is Guyam. This island is smaller than Naked Island (about 64 meters long) and has many palm trees growing on it. Despite its size, there are a couple of things you can’t forget to do while you’re here.

For example, you can walk around the area and marvel at how small the island is or refresh yourself by swimming in the beautiful turquoise water surrounding it. You can also cool yourself down by sitting down under the cover of the trees or on the hammocks strung around them.

Complete your visit to Guyam Island by drinking coconut juice that can only be bought here. For a small fee, you can ask a local to climb trees, get you and your companions’ coconuts, and open them for you so you can drink the juice and eat the meat.

As the last destination in your island hopping tour, Guyam Island is a good place to watch the sun go down if you prefer watching it under coconut trees. Alternatively, if you arrive here early in the morning, you might get the chance to enjoy what this little paradise has to offer solo or with your companions. 

Things To Bring Before You Go

Before going Siargao island hopping, make sure to prepare the following things to make your trip more comfortable and memorable:

Light clothes

First off, travel light. No matter when you plan to visit Siargao, it’s always better to wear light clothing since the weather will almost always be hot and humid. Shirts, tank tops, and board shorts are good choices for your trip. If you plan to swim (because who doesn’t?), make sure to wear rash guards on top of your swimwear for added protection against the sun. In fact, this leads me to my next point.

Sun protection

Make sure to bring with you enough items to protect yourself from the harmful rays of the sun. One of them is your favorite sunscreen, preferably with a minimum SPF of 30, to help you achieve a tan without getting sunburned. Bring a pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes. Wear a hat or a cap for added protection, too, especially since you’ll be riding a boat to go island hopping. 

Gadgets & gadget protection

Be sure to have a waterproof action camera, or at the very least, a waterproof casing for your digital camera or a waterproof pouch for your smartphone. These will allow you to capture photos and record videos of your island-hopping adventure.

If you have a drone, that’s even better! Use it to record videos of the islands from a distance. 

Philippine drone policy

The Philippines does not require drone operators to have a license or permit to fly one as long as it weighs less than 7 kg and you fly it in accordance with a couple of rules:

  • Fly only during daylight hours and in good weather conditions
  • Your drone must stay within your line of sight while flying
  • Drones must not fly higher than 400 feet above ground
  • Fly at least 30 meters away from people or large crowds. 
  • Avoid densely populated areas such as markets or schools.
  • Fly at least 10 kilometers away from airports 
  • Drones cannot be used in areas where it could hinder the work of law enforcement or first responders

If your drone weighs more than 7 kg, you will need to go through a long and tedious process to get certified and licensed to fly it. You will need an RPAS Controller Certificate, which is your license to fly a commercial drone; an RPAS Registration Certificate for your drone; and an RPAS Operator Certificate, which is used for your drone services business.

The three certificates are required if you plan to fly a drone exceeding 7 kg in weight, want to fly drones commercially, or simply want to go beyond the rules of drone flying mentioned above. 

Lastly, make sure to check with your airline if you can bring your drone with you on the plane. Drones have batteries, and some airlines have strict rules when it comes to those. 

Dry Bags

Aside from bringing waterproof casings and pouches for your gadgets, you should also bring a Dry Bag for your other things. This will ensure that your other things that do not have waterproof pouches, such as your wallets, extra clothes, and towels, stay dry and safe from water damage.

Water bottle

Bring a water bottle with you and refill it before going island hopping in Siargao. This will allow you to stay hydrated, especially if the weather becomes very hot. Bringing a bottle with you also allows you to save some money as compared to when you buy bottled drinking water every time.

Quick dry towel

Naturally, make sure to bring a towel with you. Microfiber towels are your best option since they can absorb a lot of water and dry quickly. They are also easier to pack compared to cotton towels and do not take up a lot of space in your bag. 

Smaller bills

Lastly, make sure to break any larger bills that you have into denominations of 20 Php, 50 Php, and 100 Php before you go on this island hopping trip. Many establishments, stores, and sellers in Siargao do not accept credit cards. Some vendors won’t even accept 1,000 Php and 500 Php bills because they do not have change for them. 

Wrapping up

Siargao is the perfect getaway for the traveler looking to relax after riding the waves or for those who just want a laid-back adventure with nature. These three islands are great for city-dwellers looking to unwind, honeymooners in search of quality time together, or anyone who just wants some time alone. 

Trust me—this tour is exactly what you’re going to think about when you next need a break. It’s just that relaxing!