September 12, 2012

How-to Trip: Caramoan, Camarines Sur, Philippines

Caramoan is the name of a peninsula in the south-eastern area of Luzon island in the Bicol region of the Philippines. It is also the name of one of the main towns on the peninsula. Along the coast of Caramoan, there are many beautiful islands you can explore. The beaches are nice, white sand beaches and the water is crystal clear-- it's paradise! You can hire local boatmen to take you island hopping for a full day for cheap.

If you're planning a trip to the Philippines, Caramoan is a must-do! Largely due to the reality TV show Survivor having filmed here, it's currently gaining popularity as a tourist destination and people are saying that it could become the next Boracay. My husband and I decided to make a 3day/2night trip for our wedding anniversary. It was an amazing experience and incredibly beautiful. I highly recommend a trip to Caramoan to everybody-- from those who just like to lounge around on the beach to the more adventurous types who like to snorkel and climb rocks.

How To:
  • There are many ways to get to Caramoan, but the easiest would be to get to Naga City and go from there. To get to Naga City, you can either take a bus or van, or you can fly into Pili airport. If you get to Naga in the afternoon or later, you should spend one night there and head to Caramoan the next day, since boats only leave in the morning. (Since I have family in Naga, we drove our scooter from Legazpi City to Naga, spent one night with them, then headed out early the next morning.)
  • In Naga City, get to the Central Van Terminal (it's right next to the SM mall). Take a van going to Sabang. Vans run as early as 4am and run all day, and the trip takes about an hour. The cost is 100php per person.  (A few warnings: Vans usually won't leave the van terminal until their van is full, so you might have to wait a while until you leave. Also, the furthest seat back can be nightmarish if you're claustrophobic or get car sick easily, so if that's all that's available, you might choose to wait for the next van.)
  • When you get to Sabang, you will take a boat to Guijalo Port, which is in Caramoan. Before you board the boat, you will be asked to give 10php to the guys who help you board the boat, then the boat ride itself costs 120php-- so total it's 130php. The boat ride will take 2 hours.
Waiting to board the boat.

  • Once at Guijalo Port, you will be required to pay a 30php environmental fee. From the port, you can catch a shared tricycle to the center of town (15 minutes) for 20php per person.  It's usually possible to just show up, find a room somewhere, and do everything independently.  And in fact, it's a lot cheaper that way, but if you want convenience, many hotels offer package deals for prices that are still reasonable. 
  • To do some island-hopping (if you don't choose a hotel package deal), take a tricycle to Paniman- the little beach town where your island-hopping adventure begins. The cost is 150php each way-- so 300php roundtrip. The ride will take about 15 minutes.
  • Once at Paniman- you can find some local boatmen to take you island hopping. They will probably approach you as soon as you arrive.  If not, ask around, they're easy to find. Always agree on a price before you go (and that goes with anything-- i.e. tricycle rides). A full day of island hopping will cost you from 1500php to 2500php. The first day, we just went to the closer islands and it cost us 1500php. Then the next day we went to the further islands and that cost us 2500php. Take some food since you'll be out all day. Be courteous and bring food for the boat guides, too. 
One of our boatmen/tour guides.

  • If you have no specific islands you want to go to, the boat guides know where to go and will take you. (Two of our personal favorites that we remember the names of were Sabitang Laya and Manlawi Island sandbar)
  • Enjoy the experience- the scenery, the beaches, the water-- it really is paradise. 
Enjoying lunch at Manlawi Island Sandbar

Budget Breakdown (for 2 people):
Van (Naga to Sabang):
Sabang to Guijalo Port:
Guijalo to Town Center:
Tricycle to Paniman:
Island Hopping:
Tricycle to Guijalo Port:
Guijalo to Sabang:
Van (Sabang to Naga):
200php (100php per person)
260php (130php per person)
100php (50php per person: 30enviro. fee + 20 for tricycle ride)
800php (@Rex Tourist Inn for 2 nights for 2 people)
600php (Roundtrip for 2 days @150php each way)
4,000php (2 days. 2 trips. 1500php & 2500php)
1,500php (Breakfast, lunch & dinner for 2 people for 2 days)
260php (130php per person)
200php (100php per person)

                                            Total:   8,070php

Here are some pictures we took of some of the islands:

Matukad Island
Manlawi Island Sandbar

Sabitang Laya Island

Matukad Island

Lahus Island

Sabitang Laya Island

Don't remember the name of this one-- but it's close to Matukad Island.

Matukad Island.
Manlawi Island Sandbar

Here's a video breakdown of the trip:



  1. GORGEOUS! I found you over at Memories by the Mile! We've been watching Survivor Caramoan. So pretty!

    1. It's definitely paradise there! Thank you for stopping by!!

  2. What a wonderful place! All those php's make it seem expensive, but I bet it is really affordable. Thanks for sharing!

    1. It really is a wonderful place. It's actually quite affordable. The php is the Philippine peso. It's about 40 pesos to a U.S. dollar right now. And Caramoan is worth every peso! =) Thank you for stopping by!


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