Exploring Siargao’s Hidden Gems: The Island’s Best Kept Secrets

 Siargao’s Hidden Gems

Siargao Island is a remote tropical paradise located in the province of Surigao del Norte in the Philippines (about a 2 hour plane journey from Manila). It is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty, pristine white sandy beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, best surfer waves and it’s stunning coral reefs. Siargao has gained popularity as a top destination for travellers seeking a true laid-back island experience.

We absolutely loved it here and is our favourite island in the Philippines so far! So here is our ULTIMATE guide to experiencing Siargao.

If you’re looking for more unusual things to do, our direct local contacts and itineraries – our guide is COMING SOON.

How to get to Siargao

To get to Siargao, there are a few transportation options available depending on where you are starting your journey. Here are the common ways to reach the island:

  1. By Air: The fastest and most convenient way to get to Siargao is by air. Siargao has its own airport called Sayak Airport (IATA: IAO) located in Del Carmen, about 45 minutes away from General Luna, the main tourist area. You can book a direct flight from Manila or Cebu to Siargao. Several airlines offer direct flights to Siargao, including Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and SkyJet. Flight duration from Manila is approximately 1.5 to 2 hours, while from Cebu, it’s around 1 hour.
  2. Combination of Air and Ferry: Another option is to combine air and ferry travel. You can fly to Surigao City, either from Manila or Cebu, and then take a ferry from Surigao City to Siargao. This allows you to experience both air and sea travel while providing more flexibility in terms of flight schedules and availability. Sometimes this option proves to be cheaper and if you have extra time Surigao is a great place to check out for a few days too!

Note: flight and ferry schedules can be subject to change, especially during bad weather or peak travel seasons. It’s advisable to check the latest schedules and book your tickets in advance, particularly during high-demand periods.

How to get around Siargao

Exploring Siargao's Hidden Gems
  • Tricycle: Tricycles are the primary mode of transportation on the island. These are motorcycle-driven vehicles with a sidecar that can accommodate up to five passengers (with a bit of a squeeze). Tricycles are readily available in major towns like General Luna, Dapa, and Cloud 9. You can easily hail a tricycle from the roadside or ask your accommodation to arrange one for you. Tricycles are affordable and convenient for short to medium-distance trips within the town or nearby areas. Top Tip: Remember to negotiate the price down as they always start with a much higher price
  • Motorbike/Scooter: Renting a motorbike or scooter is a popular option if you want more freedom and flexibility in their transportation. It allows you to venture to different parts of the island independently and at your own pace. Many rental shops in General Luna offer motorbikes or scooters for daily or weekly rental. It’s important to have a valid driver’s license, wear a helmet, and be careful while riding especially as there are TONS of bikes and tricycles out here in the main areas. But generally, we felt quite safe! We paid 350 PHP per day and rented the bike from one of the shops on the main road in General Luna.

Best time of year to visit Siargao

  1. Surfing: If you’re a surfer or interested in surfing, the best time to visit Siargao is during the surfing season, which typically runs from September to November. This period, known as the “Siargao Cloud 9 Surfing Cup,” attracts professional surfers from around the world, and the waves are at their peak. However, if you’re a beginner or prefer smaller waves, you can still enjoy surfing throughout the year, with smaller swells during the rest of the year.
  2. Dry Season: Siargao experiences two primary seasons: the dry season and the wet season. The dry season generally spans from March to October, with May to September being the driest months. During this time, the weather is generally sunny, and there is less rainfall. The dry season is ideal for beach activities, island hopping, and exploring the natural beauty of Siargao.

Important things to know before you visit Siargao

  • Language: English is widely spoken in the Philippines so you’ll have no issues communicating whilst in Siargao!
  • What to expect: Filipinos are extremely friendly and welcoming. If you need help, just ask a local and they will be more than happy to help you.
  • Safety: Siargao is very safe (of course be aware of petty crime, but we didn’t even hear about any cases whilst we were there)
  • Currency: The currency used is Philippine Peso (PHP) – the rough conversion is 55 PHP = 1 USD 

Where to stay

Siargao hotels Hidden Gems
there are so many beautiful places to stay!

General Luna, Alegria, and Pacifico are widely regarded as the best areas to stay in Siargao, each offering its unique charm and attractions. Here’s why these three areas are our favourite:

  1. General Luna: General Luna is the heart of Siargao and a popular choice for many travellers. It has a buzzing atmosphere and is home to the famous Cloud 9 surf break, attracting surfers from around the world. It also has some of the best restaurants we have ever tried, lively nightlife, boutique shops and cafés. If you’re looking for a buzz, General Luna is without a doubt the best place to stay in Siargao. There are tons of places to stay, check out our favourite hotels here!
  2. Alegria/Santa Monica: Situated just a short distance north of General Luna, Alegria/Santa Monica offers a quieter and more laid-back atmosphere. It is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a laid back and more secluded beach experience. Alegria has the most gorgeous white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and definitely a more untouched environment. It is a great area for relaxation, beach days, and some of the most breathtaking sunsets. Whilst Alegria is away from the bustle of General Luna, it is still within reach of some of the most popular locations to visit on the island. There aren’t a huge amount of places in Alegria so consider Santa Monica too! Here our favourite hotels in these areas!
  3. San Isidro AKA Pacifico: Located on the northeastern side of Siargao, Pacifico is a hidden gem that offers a more off-the-beaten-path experience. It is known for its unspoiled natural beauty, pristine beaches, and incredible surf breaks. Pacifico is a paradise for surfers looking to ride challenging waves away from the crowds. The area has a relaxed and rustic vibe, with fewer commercialised places. Here are the most popular places to stay in San Isidro but our all time favourite is Trogon’s Perch with it’s STUNNING infinity pool and views, you’ll see why!

Siargao Wifi & SIM card

The wifi in Siargao is pretty inconsistent all round, so it’s not the best place to come if you’re looking to get some work done. A lot of business owners have begun installing Starlink (world’s first satellite broadband) but there is a huge waiting list so only a handful of places have this at the moment (as of May 2023). 

It’s worth getting a Globe as well as a Smart SIM card as the strength of the signal varies based on where you are in the Philippines.

In our experience, if you have to choose one, Globe is better in the cities and Smart is better on the islands (Siargao). 

Sim cards cost 1,600 PHP (~$30) for unlimited data, some calls and text messages. You are best off getting this at the airport as it is quite difficult to get them in town as they don’t sell them readily. You will need to find a Smart or Globe store and the process is quite lengthy.

Alternatively if you’re travelling Asia it can work out easier and cheaper to get an Airalo e-sim.

Money & Budget

There are plenty of ATMs in Siargao and most ATMs charge 250 PHP per transaction and the maximum you can take out is 10,000 PHP. Here’s a rough budget breakdown on what you can expect to spend per day:

HOTEL – 25-50 USD/night

FOOD – 25 – 30 USD/day


Exploring Siargao

Siargao is stunning to explore by motorbike. From the main tourist area (General Luna) to Alegria on the north tip is around 1h 20 minutes, so we recommend at least 3 – 5 days on the island so you can split the days up.

Unusual things to do

There is surprisingly so much to do in Siargao and here are some of our favourites! For more details on each place, where to find it and day itineraries – our guide is coming soon which has everything broken down to make your life easier!

Our secret spots

Swim up to the edge of the beautiful Infinity Pool at Trogon’s Perch

Located in San Isidro AKA Pacifico, our favourite area in Siargao, you’ll find this beautiful restaurant/hotel with delicious food and drinks, a gorgeous setting and this unbelievable infinity pool. The views from here are just incredible! Hardly anyone was here when we went and it was an amazing way to spend the day! You will need to spend 800 PHP/ person (~$14) to use the pool, but with the food as delicious as it is – that really won’t be difficult!

Siargao's insland Hidden Gems infinity pool at trogon's perch

Climb up the abandoned lighthouse at Trogon’s Perch

If the views from the infinity pool weren’t enough, wait until you get up the lighthouse at Trogon’s Perch! You really will have the most spectacular view of the island! (Unfortunately we had crashed our drone the day before so we don’t have any photos to show you of the views, so you’ll just have to believe us and go there!)

Challenge locals at a game of Billiards

We were driving around the island and found this spot, parked up and went in. Anish challenged the locals at a game of Billiards and they were really welcoming! Mainly because they knew they’d thrash us! (Anish did actually win one of the games and we left on a high!) Make sure you bring some cash, place a bet and you’ll have the whole place cheering after you!

Discovering Siargao's hidden gem

Shoot some hoops with the locals

The best thing about the Philippines is that the locals are full of laughter, happiness and love! They will smile, wave and chat to you wherever you are. They also LOVE basket ball. You’ll find basket ball hoops absolutely everywhere here. You’ll see makeshift ones that kids have built outside their houses, you’ll find proper basket ball courts on the side of the road, you’ll even find some on the road side and when there’s not many cars, kids will come out and play. The dedication here is REAL. So if you ever stop by and ask for a game they will be more than happy to play with you!

Sunset swims at Tangbo Beach

Tangbo Beach really is a tucked away spot and there are not many people here at all! You can get in for one of the most beautiful sunset swims ever! There’s not much around here, so don’t forget to bring a towel, some water and a couple of beers!

TIP: for more secluded sunset spots, stay tuned for our full Siargao guide which is coming soon – we have a great spot for watching the sunset with locals outside their houses!

A breathtaking sunset over Siargao’s hidden gems

Spend the day at the secluded Alegria Beach

Beaches really don’t get better than Alegria Beach! You can also swim here quite freely as the waves are really far back creating a calm lagoon right next to the pristine white sand beach! There’s a small homestay here where you can buy some water and beers! But make sure you bring your own towels and there are no sun beds here, it is a purely natural beach!

Exploring the pristine beaches of Siargao’s hidden gems

Refresh yourself at Taktak Falls – The only (known) waterfall in Siargao

We’d recommend getting to Taktak falls around 2/3pm (it’ll take you around 1/1.5 hours from General Luna) where you’ll hopefully get the place all to yourself for a refreshing dip and to practice your cliff jumping skills off curved tree stumps! The water isn’t that deep so be careful when jumping so you find the right spots! There are usually some local kids there jumping in and they will be able to show you where is safe to jump. Also, although this was one of our favourite places, some people who are looking for a clear blue waterfall this isn’t the one! Nonetheless, we found it really fun and a great way to spend an hour, especially in the heat! Note: you’ll need to pay 25 pesos to enter and an extra 10 pesos to park your bike!

Sip a coffee on the edge of the airport runway (the adrenaline rush is real!)

This was our all time favourite. Kathy and Nicol have set up a food & drink shack just at the end of the aeroplane runway. You can sit here, have a refreshing drink or taste some of their local delicacies and hold your breath as the planes go right overhead. Make sure to check when the flights are taking off so you know what time to come! If you do go, tell them we said hi!

Siargao food Hidden Gems
Kathy and Nicol: Siargao's Hidden Paradises

The things you shouldn’t miss that you might already know about

Coconut Plantation View

This really is spectacular. You aren’t allowed to climb up onto the wall and take pictures but it is a great place to spot to take in the insane view only our way around the island. We would suggest coming near sunset to really catch the beautiful colours over the sea of palm trees!

Siargao's Hidden Gems: Coconut plantation

Magpopongko Rock pools

Magpopongko rock pools are located around 45 minutes motorbike ride (you can rent a motorbike for around 350 PHP) from General Luna. The rock pools are only visible when it’s low tide, so make sure you check the tide here to plan when to come! Once you get here, expect to pay 50 PHP (~$1) entrance fee – this is an environmental fee so they can maintain the area. You will also need to pay a 20 PHP fee for the motorbike. Once you’re in you can spend the whole day here.

This is quite a popular spot in Siargao but don’t let that put you off as it really is beautiful and there rock pools are big enough so it doesn’t feel crowded at all. The water is crystal clear, really refreshing and fresh and the views of the waves crashing on the rocks next to you are beautiful!

Don’t forget to also grab lunch and a mango shake here! It won’t cost you more than ~$4pp. The mango shakes are delicious!!

Finally, the walk to the rock pools from the beach is a bit tricky, so make sure you bring the following things with you:

Water shoes

Go Pro

Dry Bag




Exploring Siargao's Hidden Wonders

Cloud 9 Boardwalk

You will need to pay a fee of ~50 PHP to enter Cloud 9 boardwalk! The fee hasn’t changed even though the boardwalk is basically non existent. There used to be a tower, however, you’ll no longer see this anymore after the huge typhoon that hit in 2021. You can still however walk out on the boardwalk and watch the surfers and we suggest just before sunset for the beautiful coloured sky too!

Unearthing Siargao's Hidden Gems

Pop Up Bar Siargao

Pop Up Bar Siargao is a really nice place for some evening drinks and the colours of the sky after sunset here are beautiful! If you do want to come here and want to avoid paying the fee to enter Cloud 9 boardwalk, take this lane from the main road right to this beautiful bar.

Capturing the serenity of Siargao’s hidden gems
Siargao's Hidden Gems: Pop Up Bar

Our favourite restaurants in Siargao

Here are our favourite restaurants you definitely shouldn’t miss whilst in Siargao!

Cumin – The most delicious Indian fusion restaurant. We are Indian so have very high standards, and the taste here is unbelievable! Everything is great but the chicken curry is the best. We ate here twice.

Kurvada – Local Filipino cuisine in a buffet street side style (only open for lunch)! Everything is home made, fresh, delicious and cheap! You choose what you want and you a charged by item (the portions are HUGE!) We ate here three times!

Lokanto – Mediterranean cuisine with amazing flavours. The atmosphere is also really romantic in the evening! Hummus, lamb, greek salad, all are a must! We ate here twice.

CEV Ceviche Shack – Fresh fish & Ceviche restaurant. All the fish dishes are delicious but our favourite was the Ceviche Pacifico!

Bravo Beach Resort – Mixed Cuisine. The main reason for coming here is for the atmosphere. They have a gorgeous pool which you can use if you have lunch here too. The Peri Peri chicken thighs were delicious! But this place is a bit pricier!

Kermit Surf Resort – Italian cuisine with the best wood fired oven pizza in Siargao. This place is tucked down a back road but worth the walk especially for the pizza!

Siargao Corner Cafe – Brunch, smoothies & fresh juices. Great location, very busy and amazing smoothies! Very reasonable prices too. They also roast their own coffee!

Mamas grill – BBQ grill restaurant. Delicious grill restaurant with fresh meat and fish. Choose your meat/fish from the fridge and it’s flame grilled right in front of you and served with rice. Really cheap, clean & delicious!

Siargao's Hidden Gems BBQ grill restaurant

Where to hang out in the evenings

The island has a weekly nightlife schedule where everyone gets together in one place on particular nights! We didn’t find out about it until our second night, so save this so you don’t miss out!

  • Monday: 80s beats at Mama Coco (@mamacoco.siargao), open from 6 pm to 12am. Make the most of the happy hour from 6 to 8 pm.
  • Tuesday: Head to Sidargo (@sidargo.ph) for their “Tuesday Thing” parties. Happy hour from 7pm to 9pm!
  • Wednesday: Buzzing night out at Goodies (@goodies.siargao), where DJs kick off at 9pm.
  • Thursday: Local beers and cocktails at Siargao Bed and Brew (@siargaobedandbrew), music starts at 8pm and finishes around 11.30pm. There are 3 floors of craziness here and a BBQ out front!
  • Friday: For House/Techno beats head to Mama Coco (@mamacoco.siargao), while El Lobo (@ellobo_ph) is the main spot to hang out in! Everything kicks off at around 9pm.
  • Saturday: Harana’s (@haranasurf) “Sabado Nights” with live music. Open from 6 pm to 12am. The after party is at Hang Loose (@hangloosesiargao)
  • Sunday: Happiness Siargao (@happinessphsiargao) from 6pm until late!

About Us

anish & serena | co-founders

It’s us! Nice to see you all here!

Here’s a little about who we are and why we do what we do! 

Anish and I run UNDISCVERED; your ultimate digital wingman for exploring the world like a local. But we’re not just your average travel guide, we’re like your best friend who knows all the insider secrets of every destination. 

We’ve got connections with locals all over the world and we’ve curated all their juicy recommendations into bite-sized, easy-to-digest info.

But don’t worry, we’re not just about the hidden gems. We cover the well-known spots too, but with a little insider help to make your trip even more epic. Think of us as the digital version of Lonely Planet, but way more up-to-date.

Our approach doesn’t just help you have an awesome time, it also supports local businesses and communities. So, if you want to be a savvy traveler and spend less time googling and more time exploring, UNDISCVERED is your new BFF (with some seriously good info).

Check out our Instagram highlights for more info on us!

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Serena & Anish