Book a flight to Naga Airport via commercial airlines like Cebu Pacific Air, Philippine Airlines, and AirAsia. From Manila Domestic Airport, it's only about an hour's flight. When you get to Naga City, head to Bicol Central Station. There will be buses available there that are bound for Caramoan. Travel time usually lasts about four hours.
The boats in San Jose's Sabang Port serve Guijalo Port, which is Caramoan's port of entry. To get there from Naga City, you must first head to Naga Van Terminal and board one of the vans for a one-hour trip. At the port, hop on any of the boats that are headed to Caramoan. The ride takes less than two hours.
Bus lines like Peñafrancia and Raymond Bus offer direct trips from Metro Manila to San Jose's Sabang Port. Travel time is about eight to nine hours. But if you missed the direct trip, you can always just take a bus to Naga. DLTB, ALPS, and Philtranco are just some of the bus lines that offer eight-hour trips to Naga. And once you get to Naga, there are vans at Naga Van Terminal ready to take you to Sabang Port.
How to Get Around
Tricycles are the main mode of transportation when getting around the different spots in Caramoan.
There are also jeepneys in Caramoan. Renting jeepneys is also ideal among group travelers especially when heading to the jumping-off points for island hopping tours.
Boats are available to tour you around the many islands of Caramoan.
What to See
Caramoan is a paradise for nature lovers. Boasting beautiful islands, falls, and caves, anyone who visits this place will truly be mesmerized. There are also a handful of activities for tourists to enjoy, making it the ideal place for a vacation and more.
The Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Grotto is an interesting spot in Caramoan. A 26-feet tall image of the Blessed Virgin stands atop the Caglago Mountain, which you can reach after climbing up a total of 524 steps. Aside from being a pilgrimage site, the grotto is also an ideal spot where you can enjoy a scenic view of the town.
The Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Grotto is not the only place in Caramoan that pilgrims can visit. St. Michael the Archangel Parish Church is also usually a stop for sightseeing tours. This 17th century Hispanic church has a charming red brick facade and quaint interiors that are a sight to behold.
Caramoan is blessed with natural wonders. There are about a dozen islands scattered around the peninsula, most of them can be accessed via island hopping tours. With unparalleled unexploited beauty, some of these islands even became the location of the local and a few international editions of the reality show Survivor. Soon, this quiet coastal town simply blossomed into a highly sought-after tropical paradise in the country.
Matukad Island features white sand shores and clear waters that are perfect for a swim. Featuring limestone rock formations, the island has a hidden lagoon that intrigues most travelers because locals believe that it serves as the home of a giant fish. Tayak Island is another island which also has a lagoon, which the locals believe to be enchanted. Lahos Island, on the other hand, is named as such because it disappears during high tide (the world laho means to vanish or disappear). Apart from its elusive beauty, the island is also a popular snorkeling site because of its bountiful underwater marine life. Meanwhile, for lovers of white sand beaches, Sabitan Laya's magnificent and pristine shores are so picturesque that you’ll enjoy taking selfies with the beachscape as your background.
Cotivas Island also features stunning rock formations as well as clear waters for swimming. Meanwhile, Lahuy Island's main attraction is the Manlawi Sandbar which also vanishes during high tide.
Aside from the islands included in the tours, Gota Beach is also worth a second look. Just like most of the beaches, it features white sands and gorgeous waters that can tempt anyone for a nice swim.
Caramoan is not just about islands and beaches. It also has some mysterious caves for those who want to go spelunking and caving. There's Omang Cave and Calupnit Cave, which both serve as homes to huge colonies of bats. Meanwhile, Manipis Cave has become well-known because it is believed to be the hiding place of the treasure of the late General Yamashita. The story of Yamashita’s gold is one of the biggest mysteries in the Philippines which continue to pique the interests of both historians and even treasure hunters.
Unknown to some, Caramoan is not just a place for beach bums and nature lovers. With the various recreational activities and watersports it offers, adrenaline junkies are truly in for a treat.
Caramoan is home to a rich marine ecosystem which can be explored by snorkeling. There are numerous snorkeling sites in town which you can visit while island hopping. Aside from discovering an impressive underwater world, you can also go kayaking or paddleboarding.
With limestone cliffs that surround some of its waters, Caramoan is simply a natural wonderland. Some of these formations allow tourists to try out cliff diving. But if you're into something more extreme, you can also go rock climbing and rappelling as you make your way down. The surrounding forests are also ideal for hiking and trekking amongst the wondrous flora and fauna of the town.
Events and Festivals
To know more about the culture of Caramoan, you can schedule your visit during some of its celebrations. Madahom Festival is celebrated by the people of Caramoan to honor St. Michael the Archangel, its patron saint. Every year, this feast is held to give thanks to the bounty of resources that the people yield. Every May 1 to 8, this colorful event features lively street parades and dances, trade expos, bazaars, and even competitions like beauty pageants.
Where to Eat
There are limited dining options in Caramoan since most of its areas are not yet developed. There may be only a few restaurants in town but that doesn't mean that they don't serve delicious food. Most of the dining places are in-house restaurants at accommodations such as Caramoan Bed and Dine and Kamalig Grill.
Since Caramoan is part of the Bicol Region, you can expect to find some of the fiery Bicolano dishes in its eateries. The favorites like laing are available as well as fresh seafood cooked with coconut milk. And since you’re in a coastal town, the dishes are guaranteed to be made with the freshest catch of the day.
Carinderias or eateries are the budget dining options in Caramoan. They serve affordable yet quality-tasting dishes that suit a backpacker's budget.
Don't forget to order Bicol's famous dishes. Have a plate of the spicy bicol express and some laing. For dessert, you can order some sweet pili nut treats.
There are also bars in Caramoan like Caramo-tan Grill and Restobar where you can enjoy a drink or two.
Where to Shop
Head to Caramoan Market to buy some fresh ingredients like seafood if you're planning to cook your own meals. The best part about buying from markets is you can always haggle.
At Caramoan's Centro, there are some souvenir shops selling all kinds of merchandise like T-shirts, keychains, wallets, and other handicrafts.
Banks and ATMs
You'll also find some banks and ATMs in Caramoan if you need to withdraw money for your expenses.
Fare: PHP 800.00++
The bus fare from Metro Manila to Sabang Port costs more or less PHP 800.00, while the bus fare to Naga is about PHP 600.00 to PHP 750.00.
Food: PHP 50.00 to PHP 200.00
At PHP 50.00, you will be able to enjoy great-tasting food at a carinderia. Meanwhile, if you eat at a restaurant, the price range per dish is about PHP 150.00 to PHP 200.00.
Shopping: PHP 50.00++
PHP 50.00 should be enough to buy trinkets like keychains and mini wallets to give as pasalubong to your friends or officemates. Meanwhile, a Caramoan-printed T-shirt can be bought for as cheap as PHP 100.00.
Accommodations: PHP 750.00 to PHP 5,000.00
From hostels and inns to beach resorts, Caramoan has a wide variety of accommodations to suit every traveler's budget. For a little over than PHP 700.00, two people can already have an overnight stay at a private air conditioned room at a hostel.
Activities: PHP 1,500.00.00 to PHP 4,000.00
Island hopping tours per person range from PHP 1,500.00 to PHP 4,000.00 depending on the size of the tour group and the included stops in the itinerary. Prices are lower for big tour groups.
Other Fees and Taxes: PHP 30.00 ++
You're required to pay a PHP 30.00 environmental fee at Guijalo Port.