Palaui Island, Cagayan : Travel Guide


Palaui Island is a protected landscape and seascape nestled in the northeastern most part of  Cagayan Valley, Philippines.

I still recall our first attempt to conquer Cape Engaño in Palaui Island back in 2010. During that time, detailed information on how to get to Palaui is limited. In fact, if you type “Palaui” online, the search engine will suggest the country “Palau”. A kind fisherman with his family approached me and my friend Angel of Lakwatsero and let us hitched in his boat without asking for anything in return. Touched by his genuine hospitality, we asked the fisherman to be our guide to trek the lighthouse. He politely refused and gave us directions instead because he opted to go fishing at night. At that time, like many locals of Palaui, he doesn’t know yet that tourism could provide them additional income. We asked for his number, and then off we went to search for the path to Cape Engaño lighthouse.


Unfortunately, we never arrived at our elusive destination. We got lost in the forest, walked nine hours around the island and ended up having badly wounded and scarred legs. We have failed, but we took home a story of finding the courage to know when to give up, and meeting kind locals.

We blogged our experience and returned 6 months after (July 2011) with our friends.

With the influx of tourists to Palaui Island due to blogs and social media, the boat of the fisherman who helped us eventually turned into a tourist boat by day. Indeed tourism helps create jobs, but like any other tourist attractions that have risen to fame, change is expected.  New rules have been implemented to protect the island; the boat rate and guide fees are now regulated. I hope with all these changes, the locals of Palaui Island will still benefit from its tourism revenues. And may this marine reserve be continually conserved and protected for the benefit of future generations.


How to get to Palui Island in Cagayan from Manila



If you’re taking a plane to Tuguegarao, you can just walk outside the airport, a few meters away is the highway leading to Sta. Ana.  Cross the street and wait for vans  or bus en route to Sta.Ana, Cagayan.



You can get to Palaui Island from Manila by taking a Victory Liner bus bound for Tuguegarao (Fare is Php 600) from Kamias, Sampaloc and Caloocan.  At Tuguegarao City, proceed to the van terminal and ride a van to Sta. Ana, Cagayan.






From Sta.Ana Cagayan to San Vicente port

The bus/van will stop at the Sta.Ana Commercial Center where you can buy food, water and booze.  Take a quadcycle / tricycle to Sta Vicente port. Take note of the  642 kilometer, that’s the  last kilometer marker up north.   There is a Php 50 fee that you need to pay for before going to the island  at the Tourism Visitor’s Office and you have to sign in the log book.

At San Vicente port, you can hire boats to Palaui Island.  To avoid getting lost  (like what happened to us) , please get a guide.  Depending on the package that you paid for,  or  if the sea is calm, the boat can take you directly to  Cape Engaño lighthouse, no trekking required.


I highly recommend kuya Edwin Tabucol, a local of Palaui Island. Contact no: +63 926 9064 657  or +63 916 1165 850 . He has two boats that can be rented to take you to the lighthouse and to Palaui from San Vicente. He can also guide you to the lighthouse.

I just revisited Punta  Verde and met up with Kuya Edwin to check on the changes in the island and how tourism has changed the life of his family.

He is now the vice president of  the boatmen association (PASAMOBA Cooperative).  He showed me the standardized boat rates now.







Maximum of 8 passengers. Good for 6 hours only from the time of boarding to arrival.  An additional fee of Php 100 for every extended hour of service. Additional Php 300 for an overnight in Punta Verde.



Cape Engaño Lighthouse Php 1,800 45 minutes
Anguib Beach Php 1,500 25 minutes
 Siwangag Php 1,500 30 minutes
Puzurubo Php 1,800 30 minutes
Crocodile Island Php 500 5 minutes
Punta Verde Php 1,000 25 minutes
 Pugo Muro Php 500 5 minutes






Palaui Combination Tour Rates





Crocodile Island

2 hours – Php 500

6 hours – Php 800

Crocodile Island + Pugo Muro Island 30 minutes –  Php 1,000
Anguib + Cape Engaño Php 3,000
Punta Verde + Cape Engaño overnight Php 2,800
Punta Verde + Mabolbol Overnight Php 2,500
Crocodile + Anguib Beach Php 1,800
Cape Siwangag Php 2,200
Siwangag + Anguib Php 3,000
Cape + Crocodile Php 2,200
Punta Verde + Anguib Php 2,200
Snake Island + Crocodile Php 1,500
Punta Verde + Crocodile Php 1,000
Punta Verde (Cape trekking) Php 2,500
Special trip  (Punta Verde + Cape Engaño + Crocodile Island +Anguib) Php 3,500
Special Trip Overnight (Punta Verde + Cape Engaño + Crocodile Island +Anguib) Php 3,800







Camping near the beach or near the Cape Engaño lighthouse is no longer allowed to protect the beach and the island. I was told this is because of the lack of discipline of previous tourists (leaving trash and vandalizing).  There is no resort or hotel in Palaui, your only option is homestay.

For Palaui Homestay you may contact :

Elsa Lagdaran – mobile number: 0905 283 2559

Rate is Php 250 per head. Her house has 2 rooms that are good for 8 people.  Pitching a tent outside her garden is also allowed, same rate applies Php 250. Homestay rates are standardized. Ate Elsa can also cook meals for you, just tell her in advance.


Alternatively, you can stay overnight in Sta. Ana, Cagayan.



palaui hotel - country inn

Country Inn Hotel and Restaurant

Samuk-samok, Centro, Santa Ana, Santa Ana, Cagayan

Click here to check room rates

palaui hotel - jotay

Jotay Resort

Barangay Centro, Santa Ana, Santa Ana

Click here to check room rates

palaui hotel - avalon

Avalon Beach Club Hotel

Dugo – San Vicente Road, Santa Ana

Click here to check room rates

palaui hotel - edens

Edens Lodging House

Arellano St., Centro, Santa Ana

Click here to check room rates






  • Swimming, beach bumming, snorkeling, diving, game fishing, adventure trekking, camping, sunset watching, last kilometer marker for Luzon (KM 642), colonial  lighthouse Cape Engaño
  • Bring your own camping equipment and flashlight, there’s no guesthouse, hotel or resort in the island, camping near or at Cape Engaño lighthouse is now prohibited. You have to stay at Punta Verde. Check out the list of accommodations above.
  • Bring your own snorkeling gear since the waters around Palaui Island is part of a marine reserve
  • The island is actually a watershed having several waterfalls. I was told there’s already a wash room near the lighthouse where tourists can wash up.
  • On the northeast side of the island you can see two islands: the Dos Hermanas (two sisters).
  • For the more adventurous soul, try hiking the East side of the Island to the West but again, make sure you have a guide with you to avoid getting lost.
  • The trek to the lighthouse will take you through a coastal community, mangrove forest, inter-tidal zone, agricultural area, forest and some grassland before getting to Cape Engaño lighthouse.


Crocodile Island close to San Vicente port

Anguib Beach– is another white sand beach in Sta. Ana, Cagayan .
Cagayan Special Economic Zone- casinos, a naval camp

Palaui Island was used for Survivor TV series  back in June 2013.



This 2 days/ 1 night Palaui travel itinerary is ideal for long weekends or weekend trips.  Just leave Manila Friday Night and leave early afternoon on Sunday. You can also start the trek earlier than I wrote here so you can leave early and arrive in Manila early morning.

DAY 0  
09:30 PM Travel to Tuguegarao from Manila


 DAY 1  
10:30 AM Estimated Arrival in Tuguegarao
10:35 AM Early Lunch
11:00 AM Tuguegarao to Sta.Ana by Van
01:00 PM Buy drinks, snacks and food at the market
01: 20 PM Tricycle to San Vicente Port
01: 35 PM Registerat the Tourism Office and pay the Php 50 environmental fee
01:45 PM Proceed to San Vicente Port. If you haven’t contacted a boatman yet (see my recommended boatman above) you can charter a boat at Sta.Ana Port
02:00 PM Boat ride from San Vicente Port to Punta Verde in Palaui Island
02:25 PM Arrival in Punta Verde, Palaui Island
02:30 PM Check in at Homestay or Pitch Tent at Homestay
03:30 PM Swimming
04:30 PM Explore the community, talk to the locals
07:00 PM Dinner (you can order dinner in advance from Ate Elsa (see her homestay details above)
09:00 PM Lights Out


DAY 02  
05:00 AM Wake up call
05:30 AM Breakfast
06:00 AM Start of trek to Cape Engano Cove + Lighthouse in Palaui Island
09:30 AM Arrival at Cape Engano. Lighthouse Photo op + Swimming
11: 30 PM Trek back to Punta Verde community
02: 30 PM Arrival in Punta Verde. Bath and prepare stuff for check out
03:30 PM Check out
03:35 PM Boat ride from Punta Verde in Palaui Island to San Vicente Port in Sta.Ana
03:55 PM Arrival in San Vicente Port, Sta.Ana
04:00 PM Tricyle to Van Terminal near the market
04:15 PM Van ride to Tuguegarao from Sta. Ana
07:15 PM Arrival at Victory Bus Terminal in Tuguegarao
07:30 PM Bus back to Manila







Note that this is good for 1 person. so if you are traveling with someone or with a group, trip budget is much cheaper.


Bus Fare between Manila dn Tuguegarao (roundtrip) Php 600 X 2 =Php 1,200
Van Fare  between Tuguegarao and Sta.Ana Php 220 x 2 = Php 440
Environmental Fee Php 50
Palaui Island Homestay Php 250
Boat to Punta Verde (roundtrip) Php 1,000
Guide Fee (trekking) Php 300 + tip
Meals (per meal x # of meals) Php 150 x 3 = Php 450





  • Wear rashguard and aqua shoes when swimming and snorkeling to avoid being stung by sea urchins, jellyfish or stone fish.
  • Do not step or touch corals when snorkeling.
  • Never leave your trash nor collect plants or  sand.
  • Bring mosquito repellent and personal medicines.
  • Stack up cash (Philippine peso) as everything is on cash basis.  ATMs abound in Tuguegarao, you can withdraw there before proceeding to Sta. Ana
  • No restaurant in Palaui Island, you can buy food at Sta.Ana Commercial Center walking distance to the van terminal) before proceeding to San Vicente port.
  • You can also text Ate Elsa (mobile # 0905 283 559), she has a homestay in Palaui, if you want to have your meals cooked.







First published : February 2011

Updated: June 2013 /  June 1, 2014 / March 2016



24264_351910964162_336201504162_3580676_6142279_nAbout the Blogger : Gael is an award-winning Filipina travel blogger who had been to all 81 provinces in the Philippines. Her work has appeared in local and international publications. Follow her on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram. For advertisements, sponsorship and partnerships, you may reach her at gaelhilotinblog (at) gmail (dot) com.

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99 thoughts on “Palaui Island, Cagayan : Travel Guide

  1. This is a good guide! Kung wala lang sana akong bonggang trip nung December, kasama sana ako hehe 😛

    Talagang get a guide ah 😛 I’m looking forward to more photos pa 😛

  2. finally, i have an access to your blog. I dunno what happened. I love your pictures. Travelling alone is fun! I am mesmerized with your pics and the places you been to. im so inggit!

  3. I’m in awe! The photo is so out of this world! And, I love how you make the post more informative for all your readers and possibly travelers in the future! You rock woman! Cheers!

  4. Hi, plano kong mag Sta. Ana this April 2011. May maisusuggest po ba kayong itinerary for a day trip sa place na ‘to? Balak ko umalis ng 5am from Tuguegarao papuntang Palaui island then balik din sa Tuguegarao kinahapunan. I would also appreciate information regarding sa first trip and last trip ng vans and buses from Tugue and Sta.Ana since day trip lang po ako. Lastly, saan po pala banda sakayan ng vans both in Tugue and Sta. Ana? Thank you very much!

    1. Hi Eve! 🙂 chck here for suggested itinerary: Vans sa Tuguegarao is available til 6pm lng ata, ganun din sa Sta. Ana, kung wala na mag-Florida bus k nlng (24/7 sila). ride ka lng ng trike to the bus station. ganun din sa vans to Sta. Ana, madame kase station ng vans dun , nag-bus kame papunta pero nunng me pununtahan ako na town outside Tug, sumakay ako ng van, yung mga papauntang Sta. Ana, pero nag-trik lng ako. maliit lng Tug so d ka naman mawawala. trike ka lng, konteng ingat lng kase mejo mahala managa ang mga trike drivers sa Tug. yung van sa Sta. Ana ay asa market lng. trike ka lng din frm the port kung galeng ka ng Palaui.

  5. halu!! tanong ko lang po, same route din ba ito papuntang Sun City San Casino and Resort? Thank you ng marami. Very beautiful pictures btw. =)

  6. thanks for this gael! i want to go to Palaui Island soon. But would you say that it’s better to travel here in groups than solo? thanks! 🙂

      1. below the lighthouse, sa may beach. but now, bawal na daw po mag-camp. you have to stay sa village dun sa island.

  7. hi teh gael,

    will visit palaui island this feb…thanks for this itin… u r my inspiration n this trip… again maraming salamt.

    keep inspiring and keep travelling =)

    happy travels!!!

  8. hi, we just went to palaui island.. i was so inspired to go when i saw this website.. but we didnt know that they have implemented new rules in the island.. hindi na pwde magcamp sa cape engano or anywhere near the beach.. pinag-camp kami sa compound nila and made us pay per person.. hndi man lang matanaw yon beach from the camp site.. =( we were really disappointed.. no bonfire as well.. cape engano was the perfect campsite.. sobrang ganda and sobra linis.. but u cant camp their anymore..

    1. i’m sorry to hear about that. that’s sad news, but i;m sure they wanted to protect it cguro. 🙁

  9. ..we are booked to tuguegarao dis june..we are going to tuao to be specific..i am just wondering how long will it take to sta, ana from tuguegarao city…is the anguib beach at palui island also? we are planning to go there. thank yo..i am hoping you can give me information.

  10. Planning to go to Palaui Island but will be using my car to go North. Is it advisable to do this? Where can we leave the car to explore the island? Advice please.

    1. at San Vicente port. pero i suggest asking na lang po the resorts in Sta. Ana if you leave your car there. or inquire po at the tourism office where you need to pay the entrance tickets. enoy! 🙂

  11. Hi Ma’am/Sir,

    I just wanna ask if is it possible to have a Private Camping at Palaui Islands for about 2-3days?
    Hoping for your reply.

    best Regards,


  12. Hi. I’ll be visiting CDO soon and am planning of a Palaui-CDO-Camiguin itinerary for 4D/3N (early flight back to Manila on the 4th day). Is it possible to explore Palaui in just one day? I’m thinking of visiting it during our first day, then whitewater rafting at CDO on the second day, and visiting Camiguin on the third. Thank you.

  13. Aiza, I think you’re thinking of a different Camiguin Island. CDO and Camiguin are in Mindanao and Palaui Island and another Camiguin Island are in the northern tip of Luzon.

  14. my girl friends and i are scheduled on a trip this june. and this blog really helps alot. muah! more power and blessings!

  15. Grabe ang laki ng minahal ng price, i was just there last December and the boat fare was just 700php for the whole day, ngayon it’s being implemented per hour na and the minimum is 1k. I don’t know but in my opinion overpriced na ang palaui, the price is so just not worth it kasi in reality you just get to spend minimum amount of time in a boat and like the rest of the day your hiking/swimming, buti sana kung katulad to ng el nido that you spend your whole day in a boat plus with buffet food, and in el nido it’s just 1.2k-1.8k ang price (regardless if your alone or not). Too greedy tsk tsk tsk. Please don’t they me ot’s because they use it to clean/maintain the place, eh para san ang environmental fee na sinisingil nila?

  16. i had the best travel trip so far when i went to palaui last week…my four day stay in the island was truly memorable…my jaws dropped upon laying my eyes on the picturesque landscapes and sceneries…truly stunning and breathtaking!

  17. Hi Gael! Very helpful post, salamat po! I am just wondering about the Palaui Homestay (with Elsa); is it on the Palaui island itself? And how much would the estimated cost for food per person if we decide to avail of that service? Thanks again and hope to hear from you soon. So looking forward to visiting come January!

  18. Hi,

    Great guide, very informative and useful. But I’m still a bit confused on some information here especially that most of the places mentioned here can’t be found in google 🙁

    I’m trying to google for Siwangag, Puzurubo, Pugo Muro, Mabolbol, Crocodile Island, and Snake Island but I couldn’t find any useful info about them over the internet. They are just mentioned but there are really no brief description on what you can see/experience there. There are even no pictures available for these places 🙁

    If it is not too much to ask, can you please provide some descriptions of these places and what you would recommend to us to see. Surprisingly, there is no boat rates to visit all these places, I wonder why…

    We plan to go in Palaui on Jan30. If we go to Palaui (hiking to the lighthouse), Anguib and some other islands/beaches, can we do this in a day (starting really early) then go back to Tuguegarao by afternoon? I’m thinking of spending the night on Pagudpud instead (bus ride from Cagayan). Is this possible?

    Hope you could reply soon 🙂

    1. “We plan to go in Palaui on Jan30. If we go to Palaui (hiking to the lighthouse), Anguib and some other islands/beaches, can we do this in a day (starting really early) then go back to Tuguegarao by afternoon? I’m thinking of spending the night on Pagudpud instead (bus ride from Cagayan). Is this possible?”

      — Or at least go back to Tuguegarao by night so that we can travel to Pagudpud early in the morning the next day 🙂

  19. Nice blog,,hope you can help me,,I’m planning to go to palaui on 18,,and anguib beach on the 19,,you were saying I need to take van or bus going to sta Ana.whats the next thing to do,,how much are the boat fare for the two beaches and is there a place to stay for the night on 18,,thanks

  20. Is it really possible to go here alone? I am planning to go here alone on July. I am planning to leave at July 16 evening then leave on July 18 at dawn.

    1. That’s habagat season already, check the weather update before proceeding. I suggest instead of going straight to the lighthouse and cove, you rent a boat to Punta Verde (15 mins from mainland Sta. Ana) and then hike to the cove and lighthouse. You will need a guide. Kindly contact kuya Edwin, number is on the blog.

  21. very imformative maam, planning to go there with my family by 2017. I iwill include this iteneraries to my 2017 road trip from Manila – Ilocos – Cagayan – Baler – Manila. Probably to stay at my wife’s relative somewhere in Ballesteros. Maraming salamat po. God Bless always on your GALA mode all through out your life.

  22. Hi Gael,

    Wow. I couldn’t imagine what you and Angel went through on your first trip to Palaui.

    Well, Thank you for this detailed post. We’ve been planning to go to Palaui since last year but it didn’t push through. But now, summer is near, I think we will plan again and make sure to experience Palaui. This is very helpful. Thanks


  23. Hi! Would you know how long the boat ride from Palaui to Batanes is? And how much? Planning to go on a solo trip last week of April. Thank you! 🙂

    1. I can’t remember. Never took that route. There is one from Aparri. I took the bus from Laoag to Aparri and then the driver dropped me off at an intersection somewhere near Aparri where I transferred to a ous bound for Sta.Ana. I’ll look for my notes again.

    2. Take the Sta. Ana-Vigan City bus. Just alight at Pagudpud. There are tricycles along the road to take you to the beach resorts.

  24. Hi Gael, I’ve been following your blog since last year. I was able to reach Mayang Todi’s Homestay in South Cotabato and told her I referred to your post about your stay with them. Btw. Would just like to us if camping is still allowed in Anguib beach. I think its a hassle if we are to go back to punta verde and proceed to the next island the following day. Thank you ver much.

  25. Hello,
    Very nice guide. Were planning to go to here. Is it possible to arrange for a sunrise, sunset and night photography shoot with the guides?

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