Contributed by The Outcast Journey
Caramoan is a beautiful and unspoiled place. In just a day, you can go and enjoy at least three of its islands! Although the distance going to Caramoan can be quite far, the experience and the views you will get from there are still worth every hour of travel time. I created a three-day Caramoan itinerary that my travel companions and I followed when we went there recently which be could be of help to you, too! This will give you the opportunity to see the highlights of Caramoan as well as a side trip to Albay to see the majestic Mayon Volcano.
Considering the travel time going to Caramoan, we opted to leave Manila as early as 7pm via Philtranco Bus. We reached our first destination, which is the Naga City terminal, around 3am. Unfortunately, the first trip of the bus going to Caramoan already left by that time, so we had to wait for the next trip which was around 6am. While waiting, we just had a porridge for breakfast and took another round of sleep.
Our first day started when we left the Naga City terminal. I thought it was going to be quick, but little did I know, the travel time would also take another four to five hours. The first hours were manageable as I was asleep. But when I woke up in the middle of the trip and realised that we were still far from the destination, I started to feel anxious and kind of irritated (I swear I’m getting used to long journeys, but this time it tested my patience again). The roads going to Caramoan at that time were under construction and the bus always stopped to load and unload passengers in every barangay. It was around 11am when we reached The Travelers Camp, where we will be staying in. We just put down our things, took a brunch and then we were off for the first day of the island hopping.
First in our list was Guinahoan Island, which is the farthest island from the port. This wasn’t the prepared itinerary for us due to our late arrival, but our guide managed the time for us so we could still see the most beautiful islands. There’s always a high chance of rainfall in Caramoan, which I think is because of its location near the Pacific Ocean. With the weather being unpredictable, maybe it wouldn’t hurt if you bring raincoats or umbrellas with you.
After taking in the amazing view of Guinahoan, we then enjoyed ourselves on the powdery white sands of the Cotivas and Manlawi sandbar. It was around 6pm when we got back to our accommodation.
03:00 ETA in Naga Terminal
06:00 ETD to Caramoan
11:00 ETA in Caramoan. Check in at The Travelers Camp/Lunch
13:00 ETD to Guinahoan Island
14:00 ETA Guinahoan island
15:30 Cotivas Island
16:00 Malawi Sandbar
18:00 Back to inn
19:00 Buffet dinner
It was almost like the same setup as in our first day, except that we went to a set of new islands and spent the whole day just for the island hopping tour. Most of the islands that we had been to this time were mostly used in the reality TV show Survivors. We were so lucky at that time since there weren’t too many people visiting Caramoan with us at the time.
Prepare to witness two beaches at once while you’re in Lahos island, do rock climbing in Matukad island and enjoy swimming and snorkelling in the clear waters of Minalahos island and Cagbalinad island.
If you are a fan of visiting old churches in the Philippines, then the century-old St. Michael the Archangel Church is surely worth adding to your itinerary, which we did just before having our dinner. The church is sometimes closed on weekdays so be sure to check the schedule first.
05:00 Wake-up call
10:00 Second day of island hopping with swimming and snorkelling
10:30 Lahos Island
12:00 Matukad Island
14:00 Minalahos Island
16:00 Cagbalinad Island
18:00 Back to inn
19:00 Buffet dinner
Note: Lunch is served in any one of the destinations above.
Since we already covered most of the top places to visit in Caramoan during our first two days there, our third day was focused on another place. We just prepared our things, ate breakfast and waited for our checkout time in the inn.
This time we chose the Port Guijalo route going back to Naga city. The boat cost us ₱120 each and it took two hours to go to Sabang Port. The boat is kind of small but it could take in up to 20 or so passengers including six boatmen. During the entire time, we were just praying that the boat would not sink! Upon arriving at Sabang Port, you will see vans in the area and you can ask the dispatcher to lead you to vans going to Naga. The travel time is only one hour.
We took the time to visit SM Naga City and had our lunch there, too. I also recommend visiting the plaza, where you can buy souvenirs. For tourists, probably the most well-known delicacies in Bicol region are tarts and pili nuts!
We finished off our three-day vacation with a visit to one of the relatively nearest side destinations from where we were, which is the Cagsawa Ruins. From Naga City, we rode a bus marked “Legazpi” which is roughly three hours away. The entrance to Cagsawa Ruins costs ₱20 pesos per person and the place is open until 6pm only.
According to some, the Mayon Volcano typically reveals itself in the morning when it’s not that cloudy, so I’ll probably consider that when I come back. Although the Mayon Volcano didn’t show its full form at the time we we were there, we just enjoyed ourselves with the food. We definitely recommend you to try the chili ice cream, which comes in different flavours. However, I strongly suggest the mango one.
There are already buses outside Cagsawa Ruins that will take you back to Manila. We got back around 4am the next day.
06:00 Wake-up call and breakfast
08:00 Check out from The Travelers Camp
08:15 Drop off at Guijalo port
08:30 ETA at Sabang Port
10:45 ETD to Naga City via van
12:00 Lunch at SM Naga City
13:00 Tricycle going to plaza for shopping of souvenirs
14:00 ETD to Cagsawa Ruins
17:00 ETA in Cagsawa Ruins
18:00 ETD Albay going to Manila
To give you some additional information on doing a three-day Caramoan vacation with a side trip to Albay, above is a breakdown of our expenses mostly consisting of fares and tour fees. Even with food and a few additional expenses, it’s still unlikely to exceed ₱6,000 pesos.