Palaui Island, Cagayan : Travel Guide

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


How to get to Palui Island in Cagayan Valley from Manila, Philippines:

by Bus to Sta.Ana, Cagayan:

You can get to Palaui Island from Manila by taking a bus bound for Sta Ana, Cagayan. Travel Time is 14-16 hours.  Fare is Php 850. Check out Victory Liner, Florida Bus Liner, and Partas, among others.  Alternatively, you can take a bus headed to Tuguegarao (Fare is Php 645) and from there, take a van to Sta. Ana, Cagayan.

By plane:

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.

From Sta.Ana Cagayan to San Vicente port:

The bus/van will stop at the market of Sta.Ana 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 me and my friend Angel) , 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.

Boatman :

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 (May 2014) 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:


Boat Rates:

* 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 ( travel time is 45 minutes)  – Php 1,800

Anguib Beach (travel time is 25 minutes) – Php 1,500

Siwangag ( travel time is 30 minutes) – Php 1,500

Puzurubo (travel time is 1 hour) – Php 1,800


*short distance

Crocodile Island (travel time is 5 minutes) – Php 500

Punta Verde (travel time is 15 minutes) – Php 1,000

Pugo Muro (travel time is 5 minutes) – Php 500


Combination of 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+Anguib) – Php 3,500

* Special Trip (overnight) – Php 3,800

From Port San Vicente to:

Avalon Beach Club – Php 1,400

Orquidia Beach Resort – Php 1,000

Country Inn – Php 500

Jotay Resort – Php 500

Costa Carina – Php 500

Eden’s Lodging House – Php 500

Lordwin’s Resort – Php 150

Casambalangan – Php 1,800



Palaui Accommodation:

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).

For Palaui Homestay you may contact :

Elsa Lagdaran – mobile number: +63 905 283 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.

* You may also stay at San Vicente.


*Activities in Palui Island*

-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
-ask your guide where the freshwater spring is, so you can wash up there the next day. 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.
*Other places and beaches to see in Sta. Ana Cagayan*

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 was used for Survivor TV series last year (June 2013), some parts of it were closed to the public.

*first published  February 2011/ updated June 2013* /updated June 1, 2014



24264_351910964162_336201504162_3580676_6142279_nAbout the Blogger : Gael Hilotin is a travel blogger and freelance travel writer who has been to all 81 provinces in the Philippines. Her work has appeared in local and international publications and she was a solid contributor of Yahoo Southeast Asia News (Travel) from 2011-2015. She is the winner of the travel writing contest at the Blogfest Asia 2012 held in Siem Reap, Cambodia. 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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79 Responses

  1. Kuya Jack says:

    Wow! Great travel guide! Thanks for the mention Ate Jill!
    Yes, get a GUIDE! :)

  2. Senyorita says:

    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 😛

  3. It is really important to have a guide. Dapat yong guide na man na hindi mapagsamantala lalong lalo na sa kanilang presyo, ano gael?

  4. chyng says:

    noted Ga-el! pag may sale, book na agad sa Tuguegarao!

  5. ayoko parin kumuha ng guide, masyadong mahal… hahaha
    more travel guides to come gael

  6. Dyanie says:

    Hi Gael! May picture ka ba ng boat na ginamit nyo? Thanks!

  7. kar says:

    Nice blog. very helpful. :-) thank you for sharing your experience and sharing those info. :-)

  8. Sidney says:

    It looks like an unspoiled place.

  9. Kuya Jack says:

    Ate Jill!!! nakagawa na din ako ng Palaui Guide 😛
    Bubulong ko sa iyo why 😛

  10. Rome says:

    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!

  11. Ed says:

    ayan, isang detailed guide na naman! gawa ka na ng book gael. The Pinay Solo Back Packer’s Guide! 😀

  12. dong ho says:

    salamat Ga-el recommend ko blog mo pag may magtatanong sa akin about cagayan.

  13. nice, ngayon ko lang napansin bago na uli header mo :)

  14. Richard says:

    wow! na amaze ako sa photo. parang painting…

  15. Jorie Pacli says:

    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!

  16. Eve says:

    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!

  17. Happy Sole says:

    uuy! next piso seat sale, tuguegarao naman! :)

  18. kikay says:

    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. =)

  19. LOKALSOUL says:

    do you think that surfing is possible here? 3 to 4 foot waves is what’s considered to be surfable. thanks :)

  20. thanks gael! sana mapuntahan ko to :)

  21. chris says:

    sayang nasa dulo na kayo ng luzon sana nag batanes na rin kayo

  22. Kei Tan says:

    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! :)

  23. lagataw says:

    very informative. been wanting to see Palaui…the thing is, got a lot of climbs and races in my calendar. but soon…

  24. JLo says:

    I met and dove with Edwin Tabucol. He is a trustworthy person. Thank you for sharing your travel blog.

  25. John says:

    this is a very helpful tips for all backpackers.

  26. marie says:

    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!!!

  27. John says:

    although I’m from Cagayan, I haven’t experience like what you did.

  28. Marvin Eric says:

    wow. very nice blog… will use the info in my upcoming trip this Holy Week. hhehehe.

    Thanks for this!

  29. ms. innah says:

    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..

    • thepinaysolobackpacker says:

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

  30. mas mura ba mag bus to tuguegarao kesa mag eroplano na naka sale? wala naman ako trabaho kaya okay lang sakin kahit tatlong araw na bus ride hehe

  31. paul says:

    ..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.

  32. Robert Alarcon says:

    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.

    • thepinaysolobackpacker says:

      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! :)

  33. jessel says:

    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,


    • thepinaysolobackpacker says:

      hi, camping is no longer allowed near the lighthouse. you have to camp in the village.

  34. Aiza says:

    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.

  35. Biyahero says:

    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.

  36. MStengteng says:

    Hi Gael.. So inggit in your adventure.. That is my dream too.. Baka pede pasali heheheh

  37. I’ll include this one in my lists for this year! Excited for the lighthouse trekking, gggrrrrrr! Thank you for posting.

  38. Tsinelas says:

    hello, could you let us know how much the guide fees are? are they standardized? thank you!

  39. darlene says:

    thanks for the info.

  40. mariel says:

    it really helps alot. thanks

  41. mariel says:

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

  42. Ghee says:

    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?

  43. pat p says:

    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!

  44. Lester Moore says:

    Very detailed travel guide. Nice. ^^,

  45. ledelyn G. says:

    salamat sa magandang impormasyon maam, yung fare po ba sa boat is per head?

  46. Freda says:

    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!

  47. Rother says:


    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 :)

    • Rother says:

      “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 :)

  48. julyna says:

    Nice blog,a great help for me coz making out our own itinerary.

  49. Jennifer says:

    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

  50. Jenny says:

    we are looking for people who can join us or a group we can join. Travel date is on May 23-26, 2015.

  51. Evelyn C says:

    When is the best time to visit Palui Island?

  52. Abi says:

    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.

  53. john john says:

    Guys, pwede sumabay para makatipid sa boat? June 19-22.

  54. Sheen says:

    How about the weather and yung alon papuntang palaui during september 1st week? Hindi po ba delikado?

    • 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.

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