Most likely you have not heard of Camiguin Island in The Philippines before. If you have heard about it, then probably because of its 7 active volcanoes and islands relation to magic and witchcraft. Well, like that is not fun enough Camiguin has beaches, giant clam sanctuaries, volcano treks, waterfalls, and a mystically sunken cemetery. Okay, that sounds a bit like witchcraft! We will share with you what to do in Camiguin in The Philippines to create the best Camiguin Itinerary and much more! Let's go!
How to Get to Camiguin Island, The Philippines
Camiguin Island can be reached directly from Mindanao Island ports of Cagayan De Oro and Balingoan. Ferries to and from Balingoan in Mindanao travel every hour or 2 hours and take roughly 1.5 - 2 hours. The trip costs PHP 205 (4$) Have a look at more up to date information or ask any local and they will surely be able to advise you.
It can also be directly reached from Bohol Island - Jagna port. The ferry from Bohol to Camiguin goes only once a day, 1 pm from Bohol and takes 4 hours. Vice versa the ferry from Camiguin, Balbagon port leaves at 8 am. The trip costs PHP 420 ($8)
The other option is to fly directly to Camiguin Airport from Manila, Cebu, or other cities in the Philippines. You can often find cheap flights from Manila for roughly $30, so it would save you a lot of time and hassle.
Forests and mountains as far as the eyes can see!
Related: How to Find Cheap Flight Deals?
Bring CashOne of the most important things to know before coming to Camiguin is that you are better off if you withdraw or exchange cash before your arrival. There are a few ATM's in Mambajao (main city). However, if you are staying on the other side of the island going all the way to the ATM will be too much of a hassle. Exchange rates in the few banks and Pawnshops in Mambajao are not the most favorable, so just take PHP (Peso) with you.
Even though it's cloudy, there are still many things to do in Camiguin!
Enjoy the Hikes, but Do Not Focus on the Beaches in Camiguin
Camiguin is not a typical white sand, wide, soft beach island. You probably are used to the dreamy beaches of El Nido and Siargao. However, Camiguin is not a typical beach destination in The Philippines. Due to the many volcanos calling Camiguin home the beaches are covered in dark sand and quite narrow. However, it does not mean that you cannot have your perfect beach escape! Read on to discover the best beach escapes in Camiguin!
The white sand beach is just 5 minutes away from Camiguin by boat!
Getting Around Camiguin
The best and cheapest way to get around is to rent a motorbike. It will cost you PHP 300-350 ($6-$8) per day and you will have the freedom to go wherever you want. The traffic is a bit busy around the Mambajao area. However, once you are out of the city you can cruise down the windy roads in peace.
Want to go for a ride in this colorful bus? Jump in!
If you do not feel like renting a motorbike you can hire a tuk-tuk (motorela) for your private use, and agree on the price before you get it. For example, a 25-minute ride from Mambajao to Benoni port will cost you PHP 200 ($3). Shared rides between villages cost as little as PHP10 - 20 with multi-cabs or motorelas. You will jump in and squeeze with the locals, its whole lot of fun!
If you prefer hiring private transport to tour you around the island the price could be anything between PHP 1000 - PHP 1300 ($20). Just ask around one of the drivers and he will be more than happy to be your guide for the day.
Relax and Take It Slow
Camiguin Island is very laid back and relaxed. As it still is more of an off the beaten path destination partying and many organized tours are not the top things to be listed when it comes to what to do in Camiguin Island. Rather take your time to relax. Enjoy the island life and the absence of tourists when visiting Camiguin.
White Island in CamiguinWhite island is a must when it comes to planning what to do in Camiguin. It is super easy to visit White Island as it is only 5 minutes away from the coast of Camiguin. A roundtrip with boat costs quite a lot when you realize it is so close. We felt stubborn and said, "we could swim to it for free!" Jokes aside, though, roundtrip costs 400 PHP ( EUR 7 / $8) and the boat fits 4 people. So if you are alone or traveling as a couple, wait around and you will find someone to share the boat with.
You can rent fins and snorkeling gear before going to the island (200 PHP). White Island is a great snorkeling spot. Make sure you bring enough water with you, as there is NOTHING on the island. That being said, if you do not like being in the sun for long, take an umbrella or a scarf to hide from the sun. And, sunscreen, of course!
White Island with absolutely nothing on it - just sand.
Giant Clam Sanctuary
Feel like swimming with giant clams? No problem, you can do that at the Giant Clam Sanctuary. And, honestly, it is a pretty fun activity. We know, we know, it is quite weird to get so excited about clams! Entrance fee in the Sanctuary costs 50 PHP ($0.90) and includes the tour around the territory. It also includes a kid explaining all you need to know and even more about the giant clams and showing you around the pools where they are grown. If you want to snorkel with the clams it costs 150 PHP for the permit and 100 PHP for snorkel rental.
If you are not that much into clams, fret not. The Sanctuary is located on one of the few white sand beaches in Camiguin. Kabila White Beach is a gorgeous place to laze in the sun and enjoy the classic island life. The beach alone is worth a visit, so make sure you visit the Southern region of Camiguin as well.
Ardent Hot Spring
Who does not love hot springs? Especially if it is cool outside or you have been exploring or hiking the whole day. Ardent Hot Spring is divided into 4 pools, each of different temperature. The hottest pool is around 40 degrees Celsius warm.
We would highly recommend visiting during the week or early in the morning as in the weekends locals come to relax at the hot springs and the springs tend to get very crowded. The entrance fee is just PHP 20 ($0.40).
Locals burn dried coconuts to use as coal for BBQ.
Ardent Hot Spring is a great way to relax after a long day outdoors. The fresh, cool jungle air and the steaming hot springs are the perfect combination. The entrance costs only PHP 50 ($0.80).
Soda Water Pools
Swimming in soda, wasn't that everyone's' childhood dream? Well, apparently it is possible, only in Camiguin island. Bura Soda Water Pools are located a bit out of the way. However, the Soda Pools can be visited on a day trip including Tuasan Falls and a visit to the Giant Clam Sanctuary. The pools are well worth a visit, but this time we will contradict our usual advice and suggest not to go early to avoid the crowds. Simply, because the pools usually are not that crowded and because the water is quite chilly in the morning. If you need that cold water kick - for sure. Otherwise, it is better to visit when the sun is high and the air is warm.
Sunken Cemetery is a very unusual sight and well worth a visit. Where else you have seen a big cross in the middle of the sea and a cemetery underneath? It definitely reminded us of some historical sunken cities and legends. An old capital was pushed under the water when a volcano erupted in 1870, the cross is built to commemorate the loss. It gets even more interesting when you realize that it is possible to go snorkel in the area and see what's hiding under the water's surface.
Tuasan Falls is a gorgeous waterfall hidden up in the mountains. Even though the waterfall probably is not the biggest or highest you have ever seen the road up to the waterfall is quite scenic, as well as the cliff around the waterfall. Tuasan Falls was made accessible to tourists only a couple of years ago so it is a fairly new sight. The waterfall is easily accessible and does not require tough hiking so it's a great place to enjoy with the family.
There's no such thing as having seen enough waterfalls!
This is one of the most popular attractions in Camiguin. Probably everyone includes Katibawasan Falls in their "What to do in Camiguin" list. The waterfall is truly amazing and you can even take a dip in the refreshing, cool water. The entrance cost only PHP 20 ($0.40), but the area is well-kept and clean.
A gorgeous, tall waterfall! You can go for a swim!
The Old Spanish Church
Light falls so beautifully in the late afternoon inside the Old Spanish Church.
Climb Mount Hibok Hibok (Volcano)
Ready for a challenge? Climb Mount Hibok Hibok for unforgettable views and a great day adventure! Be warned that it is not an easy hike, though! Start your climb at 5.30 am to avoid the heat. The climb goes endlessly up and leveling off is not really an option so your knees might hate you later. Make sure to take plenty of breaks and wear proper shoes.
You will be able to see wildlife like monkeys, birds, perhaps a snake and even a boar during your hike. Another interesting thing is that the mountain has its own microclimate and it gathers clouds around the peak and acts completely opposite to what the rest of the island does. It is quite amazing if you think about it.
A guided tour would cost roughly PHP 700 per person. The hike takes approximately 7 - 8 hours to go up and down to prepare for an exhausting but very rewarding day! You will not regret it once you see the view from the top.
Experience the closeness of nature by hiking up a mountain trail.
Lanzones Festival in Camiguin
You are in luck if you are planning to visit Camiguin Island in the second half of October when the Lanzones Festival takes place. It is a 4-day celebration devoted to the most important fruit of Camiguin island - Lanzones fruit. The festival is packed with activities and is so culturally rich that you won't be able to believe how such a tiny fruit can be so important to throw together such a party. Asking yourself what to do in Camiguin? Coming to celebrate the Lanzones fruit!
The famous Lanzones fruit - it has many health benefits!
There are a few places that will make your trip to Camiguin very memorable! Depending on what you prefer we have two recommendations! Both from our personal experience! So apart from planning on what to do in Camiguin, you can also plan where to stay!
If you want to enjoy the jungle vibe and wake up in between the clouds, the wind caressing your face, we recommend staying at Bintana Sa Paraiso Binunsaran.
A great jungle vibe where you wake up with nature in the middle of the mountains.
If you prefer the relaxed beach vibe, hot springs ar your doorstep and overlooking the ocean first thing you wake up - Bintana Sa Paraiso Mambajao location will be the perfect fit for you.
Can the view get better than this?
Notwithstanding the yet small amount of tourists visiting Camiguin, the accommodation options are great! Starting from budget accommodations $14 a night. Continuing with mid-range accommodations for around $40 around the island; finishing up with some luxury treats starting from $100 a night.
With plenty of things on the list of what to do in Camiguin, there is no doubt you have to visit this off the beaten path destination in The Philippines. Overlooked by tourists but so precious to locals, Camiguin is the perfect island escape in The Philippines. Especially, with such diversity of things to do in Camiguin - this island has it all. Camiguin is so easy to reach so do not miss it on your next trip to The Philippines.
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