Do you like a clean, endless, white beach?
Do you like crystal clear, turquoise blue water?
Do you like the relaxing atmosphere of a lone island?
If you can answer at least one of the above questions with YES then your next weekend escape should be Calaguas. I did my Calaguas Tour in 2015 with Kyra and we have been impressed by the beauty of the fascinating islands in the middle of the Pacific!
Where is Calaguas located?
Like the 100 Islands, Calaguas is a group of islands in the Philippines. It’s located about 250km south east of Manila. And it’s damn beautiful!
Remember this postcard with the picturesque island your friends used to send you from their last vacation in the Philippines that made you so jealous ? Now it’s time to strike back. Calaguas has it all, non-crowded, white beaches, clear blue water and and the idyllic atmosphere that feels close to paradise. I love this place!
People say it might become a second Boracay in a few years – with all the good….and the bad things. That’s why I would recommend you to visit it as soon as possible to enjoy the coziness and naturality of the islands and the people living there. Just before it becomes a main tourist attraction.
What can you do in Calaguas?
First of all: RELAX and take it easy! Seriously, rent a nice little hut in one of the resorts, lean back and listen to the relaxing tunes of Bob “Reggae God” Marley. If it gets too hot, then take a bath in the deep blue sea or play volleyball.
Besides this you can go kayaking, hike up one of the hills or go snorkeling. Otherwise you can also go island hopping.
Simply ask one of the guys from the resort, they will guide you and you can rent everything you need like volleyball, frisbee or snorkeling gear. I’ve also seen some guys skimboarding!
At night you can make a nice little BBQ, take a walk at the beach or maybe join one of the crowds while they perform one of the famous Filipino songs in Karaoke. Believe me, I’m far away from what you call a Karaoke talent but when it comes to “The Coconut Song” from Smokey Mountains I promise I’m on fire. Hahaha.
What to bring to your Calaguas Tour?
The island where you are staying is called Tinaga Island or Mahabang Buhangin as locals call it. There are some resorts on the island, but no restaurants yet. You find some Sari-Sari stores around the area, that will provide you with the necessities (including delicious Halo-Halo) but it’s still better to bring your own food, drinks and toiletries. A bucket of water for shower and toilet is around P10. Just prepare yourself for a normal camping trip and you will be fine.
And if your too lazy to cook, tell one of the tour organizers when you book the boat and they will arrange something for you. You can also borrow dishes and pots from them for cooking.
We simply did our groceries at the Paracale market near the port and bought water, fruits, vegetables, noodles, pork chops and hot dogs for BBQ.
And most important: Bring a lot of fun!
How to go to Calaguas?
If you start your Calaguas tour in Manila you have to go to Paracale first. Buses leave in Cubao Bus Terminal at 7:45PM and 9:00PM for sure. You can either use Super Liners or DLBT going to either Paracale or Daet. A reservation is recommended, especially on weekends. Better call ahead and ask for other time slots. The bus ride takes around 8h and is about P500. Student discount available.
You will arrive in Paracale in the early morning and can buy food from the local market. A tricycle will bring you to the port where you have to take the boat. The boat ride will take another 2h.
The boatman we contacted was Mang Boy. He provided us with dishes. The round trip is about P3000 over night. They charge an additional P500 for an extra night. You might give him a call or text him: +639471109451
In Calaguas you can choose if you want to stay in a tent (about P350) or in a hut. There are several resorts. So just go around and check out the prices and to see which is most convenient for you. Of course different resorts have different pitching fees.
And that´s it! After you pitched your tent you are ready for paradise and can enjoy the island.
Going back from the island after the 2h boat ride, we took a van going from Paracale to Daet. It’s the next big city and buses leave more frequently than in Paracale. You can also choose to stay and wait in Paracale for a bus that comes in at 6:30PM going straight to Manila.
If you need more tips for Calaguas just ask me or write it down in the comments!
I really enjoyed the time there. There aren’t that many places left on earth, that is so relaxing, fascinating and astonishing like Calaguas!