For years, tourists continuously flock Caramoan, featured several times in the hit reality TV show Survivor. Sadly, some of the most beautiful islands here are closed to the public whenever they are filming.
While undeniably Survivor helped put Caramoan in the tourist map, the domestic tourists comprise a huge percent of the total tourist arrivals here, which is also a big help to the local economy. I hope Caramoan does not forget that.
I have visited some of the country’s most gorgeous islands like El Nido, Coron, Bucas Grande Island, Hundred Islands, Siquijor and Batanes, so admittedly, my expectation when it comes to islands and beaches is quite high, but Caramoan still does not disappoint. Every island has its own unique identity. So I encourage everyone to visit.
Anyway, here’s my Caramoan travel guide. Hope this helps you out in planning your Caramoan tour this 2017.
HOW TO GET TO CARAMOAN FROM MANILA BY LAND
Manila to Caramoan / Manila to Sabang Port
From Manila (Cubao, Pasay, Alabang) take a bus bound for Sabang Port. Raymond and Penafrancia/Isarog have buses that go directly to Sabang Port in San Jose Camarines Sur, the usual jumping off point of tourists to Caramoan town.
Buses leave at around 6:00 -7:00 PM (I’ll update this again when I get a hold of the bus schedules and fare). Travel time is around 10 hours, prepare around PHP 700- PHP 800 / USD 14 – USD 16 each for the fare (air-conditioned bus) or PHP 500 / USD 10 (ordinary bus).
From Sabang Port, you need to take the passenger boat to Guijalo Port in Caramoan. Fare is PHP 120 / USD 2.41 , travel time is about 2 hours. Don’t forget to write you name in the manifest before boarding.
At Guijalo Port, pay the PHP 30/ USD 0.60 per person Environmental Fee at the structure labeled Caramoan Feeder Port and take a tricycle to Caramoan town center where most hotels, lodges and guesthouses are located. Travel time is 30 minutes, fare is PHP 300/USD 6 for one tricycle, so if you are alone, better join other tourists or locals headed downtown.
Alternatively, if you have a private vehicle, you can now travel directly to Brgy.Paniman in Caramoan (a jumping off point for island hopping) without the need for the ferry ride at Nato Port in Sangay, Camarines Sur. We took this route from Naga last May 2015 courtesy of Nagax (Naga Tourism). Travel time from Naga is about 4 hours though.
Proceed to Bikal Port at Brgy. Paniman. Charter a boat to take you to Caramoan Island (Php 1,500-Php 2,500 good for 6 pax). PHP 1,500 / USD 30 (good for 6 pax) for the nearer islands like Matukad, Sabitang Laya, Tagbon and Cagbanilad. PHP 2,500/ USD 50 island for the farther islands such as Cotivas,Manlawi Sandbar, Guinahuan, Ocata Island and Lahuy Island. (Naga Tourism).
Alternatively, if you are pressed for time and you want to be whisked away to all the mentioned islands above in one day, you can charter a boat for PHP 4000/ USD 80.30.
Some of the islands may not be visited due to survivor filming, varying weather conditions and tide level.
Manila → Naga → Sabang Port → Guijalo Port → Caramoan town
This is the most famous route used by tourist heading to Caramoan. From Manila, take a bus bound for Naga such as Philtranco, CUL, Raymond and Isarog/Penafrancia/RSL. Travel time is about 9 hours, fare is around PHP 800 / USD 16 for air-conditioned bus and about PHP 600 / USD 12 for ordinary bus.
From Naga Bus Terminal, take a tricycle to the nearby East Bound Terminal or Naga Van Terminal at the back of SM Naga. It’s just near but tricycles lined up at the terminal may charge you PHP 30/ USD 0.60 even if you are alone. So I suggest you walk a few meters away from the terminal and hail a passing tricycle instead, PHP 10 / USD 0.20 per person will do). Ride a passenger van or Filcab en route to Sabang Port, fare is PHP 150 / USD 3 and travel time is 1.5 to 2 hours. Vans to Sabang Port depart at 6:00 AM.
At Sabang Port, take the passenger outrigger boat to Guijalo Port in Caramoan. Travel time is 2 hours and fare is PHP 120 / USD 2.41. You will not be allowed to board the boat without writing your name in the manifest. Last trip to Caramoan and from Caramoan is at 11:00 AM, so to avoid missing the passenger bpat, you should leave Naga before 9:00 AM, because if you miss the boat, you’re next option is to charter a boat to Guijalo Port in Caramoan for PHP 2,500 – PHP 3,000 / USD 50.19/ USD 60.22.
At Guijalo Port, pay the PHP 30/ USD 0.60 per person Environmental Fee at the structure labeled Caramoan Feeder Port. Then charter a tricycle to Caramoan town center where most hotels, lodges and guesthouses are situated. Fare is PHP 300/ USD 6 for one tricycle. So if you are alone, I suggest you join other tourists or locals headed downtown to save a few bucks.
Proceed to Bikal Port at Brgy, Paniman. Charter a boat to take you to Caramoan Island (PHP 1,500 / USD 30.11 -PHP 2,500/ USD 50.19 good for 6 pax). PHP 1,500 / USD 30.11 (good for 6 pax) for the nearer islands like Matukad, Sabitang Laya, Tagbon and Cagbanilad. PHP 2,500 / USD 50.19 island for the farther islands such as Cotivas, Manlawi Sandbar, Guinahuan, Ocata Island and Lahuy Island. Alternatively, if you are pressed for time and you want to be whisked away to all the mentioned islands above in one day, you can charter a boat for PHP 4,000/ USD 80.30.
HOW TO GET TO CARAMOAN BY AIR:
Manila → Naga → Sabang Port → Guijalo Port → Caramoan Town
Philippines Airlines and Cebu Pacific Air fly between Manila and Naga City in Camarines Sur. At Naga City, head to Naga Van Terminal and catch a van bound for Sabang Port. Fare is PHP 150 / USD 3, travel time is 1.5 to 2 hours. Vans depart at 6:00 AM, for you not to miss the last boat at Guijalo Port, make sure you leave before 9:00 AM.
At Sabang port, board the passenger outrigger boat to Guijalo Port in Caramoan. Travel time is 2 hours and fare is PHP 120 / USD 2.41 and ensure that you have written your name in the manifesto. Last tripgping to and going from Guijalo Port in Caramoan is at 11:00 AM, so make sure you don’t miss that.
At Guijalo Port, pay the PHP 30/ USD 0.60 per person Environmental Fee at the structure labeled Caramoan Feeder Port and charter a tricycle to Caramoan town center where most hotels, inns, bed and breakfast and guesthouses are located. Fare is PHP 300/ USD 6.02 for one tricycle. So if you are alone, to save a few bucks, talk to other tourists or locals so you can join them in the tricycle and just divide the fare.
Head to Bikal Port to charter a boat to take you to Caramoan Island. (PHP 1,500 / USD 30.11 -PHP 2,500/ USD 50.19 good for 6 pax). For the nearer islands like Matukad, Sabitang Laya, Tagbon and Cagbanilad, boat rental will cost you PHP 1500 /USD 30.11 (good for 6 pax)
For the farther islands such as Cotivas,Manlawi Sandbar, Guinahuan, Ocata Island and Lahuy Island, boat rental will cost you PHP 2500/ USD 50.19. Some of the islands may not be visited due to survivor filming, varying weather conditions and tide level.
Take note that food is not included in the island hopping tour if you are renting a boat so you can either buy food from the restaurants or buy fresh fish, poultry or meat and have your boatman cook them ( do tip your boatmen).
Manila → Virac (Catanduanes) → Caramoan Islands
Cebu Pacific flies to Virac (Catanduanes) from Manila. At Virac, charter a tricycle to take you to Codon Port (PHP 300 / USD good for 4 pax), travel time is 1 hour.
At Codon Port, charter a boat from the fishermen living near the port to take you to Caramoan Island. Boat rentals will cost you PHP 2,500 / USD 50.19 – PHP 3,000/ USD 60.22, travel time is just 30-40 minutes. Some of the islands may not be visited due to survivor filming, varying weather conditions and tide level.
GETTING AROUND CARAMOAN TOWN
Tricycle fare around town is only PHP 10 / USD 0.20 per person. Restaurants, eateries and grills abound here. Prepare around PHP 60/ USD 1.20 – PHP 100/ USD 2 per meal. However, do take note that establishments at Caramoan town closes at 8:00 PM so schedule your dinner early.
Other activities in Caramoan
- Go spelunking at nearby caves
- Visit the brick church of St. Michael Parish
- Hike up the 500 steps Mt. Caglago crowned by the colossal statue of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Mother of Peace that offers a scenic view of the islands dappled around Caramoan.
CARAMOAN TOUR PACKAGE 2018
For more information on Caramoan tour packages this 2017 and other attractions in Camarines Sur including Naga, visit the official website of NagaX (Naga Tourism) at http://nagax.com/.
You may also contact Kaddlagan or Jojo Villareal – Tour Adventure Coordinator at + 63 919 800 6299 or email them at [email protected] Their tour package includes island-hopping, caving, hiking, camping and a lot more.
BEST TIME TO VISIT CARAMOAN
The best time to visit Caramoan is during the dry season, from March to May.
WHERE TO STAY IN CARAMOAN
Tugawe Cove Resort
This is where we stayed.
Barangay Colongcogon, Colongcogong, Caramoan
MIDRANGE CARAMOAN RESORTS
Casita Mia Bed & Breakfast
Brgy. ILI-Centro, Caramoan, Malabog, Caramoan
The Central Discovery Hotel
109 Paz Street, Malabog, Caramoan
West Peninsula Villas
San Andres, Malabog, Caramoan
CARAMOAN BUDGET HOTELS
La Casa Roa Hostel
Teoxon Street., Brgy. Tawog,, Malabog, Caramoan
River View Vacation Inn
No. 6 Fernandez Street, Barangay Ili, Malabog, Caramoan
Paniman, Paniman, Caramoan
CARAMOAN TRIP BUDGET/ EXPENSES
Here’s my sample budget for a 3 day/ 2 night Caramoan trip. This could go lower or higher depending on your spending habits. It is best to share the island hopping trip with other tourists so you can save on boat rentals. So if you can convince your family or friends to travel with you, you could save on the island hopping tours in Caramoan.
|PHP 800/ USD 16.09||Bus fare from Manila to Naga|
|PHP 800/ USD 16.09||Bus fare from Naga to Manila|
|PHP 150 / USD 3||Van fare from Naga to Sabang Port|
|PHP 150 / USD 3||Van Fare from Sabang Port to Naga|
|PHP 120 / USD 2.41||Boat fare from Sabang to Guijalo Port (Caramoan)|
|PHP 120 / USD 2.41||Boat Fare from Guijalo Port to Sabang|
|PHP 100 / USD 2||Shared Tricycle from Guijalo to Caramoan (one tricycle is PHP 300 / USD 6.03)|
|PHP 100 / USD 2||Shared tricycle from Guijalo to Caramoan (one tricycle|
|PHP 1,500 / USD 30.16||Boat for Island Hopping|
|PHP 1,000/ USD 20.11||Accommodation (shared) 2 nights. PHP 500/ USD 10 per night|
|PHP 100 / USD 2 x 5 times = PHP 500 / USD 10.05||Meal|
|PHP 5,340 / USD 107.38||TOTAL|
(3 DAYS/2 NIGHTS)
|08:00 AM||Arrival at Sabang Port, Head to Caramoan|
|09:30 AM||Arrival at Guijalo Port in Caramoan|
|10:00 AM||Check-in at hotel|
|11:15 AM||Head to to Brgy.Paniman – Bikal Port|
|11:40 AM||Head to Islands|
|12:00 PM||Lunch at the beach|
|01:00 PM||Island Hopping : Busdak Beach and Cave, Matukad Beach, Lahos Island, Minalagos Island and Cagbalinad Beach|
|5:30 PM||Back to Bry.Paniman/Bikal Port and proceed to accommodation|
|07:00 AM||Head to Bikal Port|
|07:45 AM||Bikal Port to Tabgon|
|09:00 AM||Head to Grotto of Our Lady of Peace|
|11:00 AM||Start of island hopping : Sabitan-laya Beach, Manlawi Sandbar, Bag-ing Beach, Cotivas Island|
|01:30 PM||Continue Island Hopping|
|05:30 PM||Back to Bikal Port|
|06:00 PM||Back to accommodation|
|06:30 AM||Check out of accommodation|
|07:30 AM||Drop by at Church of Saint Michael|
|08:00 AM||Buy souvenirs|
|09:00 AM||Proceed to Guijalo port|
CARAMOAN TRAVEL TIPS AND REMINDERS
Depending on the season, there are jellyfish in some Caramoan islands and beaches like Sabitang Laya. Be careful when swimming and watch your kids. Bring first-aid kits and vinegar in case of untoward incidents.
Always wear life vest when traveling by boat.
Some of the islands may not be visited due to survivor filming, varying weather conditions and tide level.
Take your trash with you. Don’t throw it anywhere.
Don’t take home sand as souvenir.
DISCLOSURE: MY tour was arranged and sponsored by Naga Tourism (NagaX) in partnership with Kaddlagan Outdoor Adventure Tours. We were also hosted by Tugawe Cove Resort.
About the Blogger : Gael is a Filipina travel blogger. Her work has appeared in local and international publications.
For advertisements, sponsorship and partnerships, you may reach her at gaelhilotinblog (at) gmail (dot) com.
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