Explore Calaguas Island– the Hidden Gem of Philippines

Calaguas Island is consists of a group of virgin islands in Camarines Norte whose pristine landscapes have been untamed. These secluded Philippine islands have no commercial establishments or modernized accommodation but include all tropical island perks: a moderate climate, breathtaking seascapes, diversified sea creatures, rolling mountains, and lush forests. Pretty much all there is to do are relaxing, swimming, kayaking, scuba diving, beachcombing, island hopping, and partying.

Calaguas Island

Where do you plan to visit Calaguas Island?

Among the group which makes up the Calaguas Island in Camarines Norte, Tinaga Island has become a destination of choice for visitors over the past few years, as it is home to the renowned and untamed white sand beach which locals call Mahabang Buhangin. Another major island is Guintiua Island. The rest of the islands are islets, which are also desirable for off-the-beaten – path seekers because of their unspoiled scenery and unique tranquility.

How to get to Calaguas?

There are many DIY travel guides on how to get to Calaguas. The most straightforward route, however, is to get to Paracale or Vinzons first, then go to the fish port and ask around for Bangka transfer to Mahabang Buhangin (aka the White Sand Beach).

An alternative way to reach the Calaguas is to join an organized group tour, several of which can be found online. Tents, transportation, and meals are included.

A Typical Day in Calaguas

It is late afternoon, Bangka docks at the white sand beach in Tinaga, and the smell of the sea and trees spreads out in the air. Along the shore, travelers laugh in the ocean and splash water on each other. The colorful sunset peeks through the clouds and will shortly disappear under the tumbling sea. Nearby, people get their griddle ready to cook a scrumptious dinner for their family and friends. Soon after dusk, a full moon illuminates the night sky.

The night in Calaguas Island is definitely something everyone is looking forward to. There is no phone and internet service phone on the island so you do not see people check in with work on the phone or look through Facebook updates. Instead, people bond with their friends, party around the bonfire, and relax under the cool ocean breeze.

Bonfire party at night at Calaguas Island
Bonfire party at night at Calaguas Island/Photo taken by Julie Cao

Maybe you want to sleep on the powdery white sand, maybe you prefer to sleep under the lush trees, but no matter which place you choose, you will rest under the stars, listen to the wave crash on the shore, and awaken to the cool dawn wind.

Calaguas Island morning walk
Morning walk on the beach, Calaguas Island/Photo taken by Julie Cao

Its early morning and the sunlight already entered your tent. You walk on the beach and are impressed all over again by ho beautiful the island looks in the early morning. When you come back, a delicious smell of fresh-made breakfast makes you drool. Rain and storms may start ravaging the island, but you do not care. This island is specially designed for you, true adventure – seekers, to get away from the daily routine. You feel you are far, far away from the rest of civilization.

Where to stay in Calaguas  

This is an absolutely pristine island, and no forms of concrete-walled accommodation exist. You are advised to bring your own tent and sleeping bag. The Calaguas Island offer native huts for visitors to stay in. However, these are not perfect for a good night sleep, as there will be many insects and flyers around.

Things to do

A day out on the water swimming, fishing, snorkeling, and scuba diving are some common activities. The water in Calaguas Island is crystal clear, and marine creatures are easily visible in the deep-sea. If you are staying for two days or longer, you can opt for island or beach hopping.

Calaguas Island, Philippines

Do not visit the Calaguas between June and September.

The best time to visit the Calaguas is during the dry summer season, the months of April and May. I do not recommend anyone to visit Calaguas during the rainy months, from June to September. The currents are strong and the Bangka trip is always delayed or canceled by the fishermen.

A Few Travel Tips

Take seasickness pills with you

A journey to the Calaguas Islands is thrilling but never easy. As a result of the open sea ride, you have to cope with the bumpy waves and massive seasickness for two hours, and you will definitely need anti-nausea pills.

Get everything you need before leaving Paracale or Vinzon

Before leaving Paracale or Vinzon for the Calaguas, purchase everything you need, including food, drinks, and flashlights, for the duration of your stay.

Take away your own trash

Garbage is not allowed in the Calaguas Islands, to keep the islands as uncontaminated and simple as they are now.

Side Trips

Many nature lovers head to Daet for a short break or a weekend away. They stay at the Bagasbas Lighthouse Hotel Resort, the best resort in town, a twenty-minute ride from Daet bus terminal.

Situated along the far side of the Bagasbas Lighthouse Resort is the Bagasbas Beach, a surfing paradise which draws visitors from all over the world. Bagasbas Resort offers surfing lessons every day for surfers at all levels. To top it off, you do not have to show you have mastered swimming skills to register for the surfing class.

Attached to the Bagasbas hotel lobby is a ritzy restaurant which serves a complimentary breakfast. The Resobar is a classy place to spend a night, because of the superb live music performance and tasty tropical drinks.

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Tips on Explore Calaguas Island in Philippines


Julie Cao

Julie Cao is a travel blogger, travel writer, and global citizen currently living in Toronto Ontario.

14 thoughts on “Explore Calaguas Island– the Hidden Gem of Philippines

  • November 30, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    I love it! Especially the beach, so pretty. I saved it for my trip to Asia next year 🙂

    • December 5, 2016 at 6:58 pm

      Thanks Neni! T

  • December 1, 2016 at 8:58 am

    I must be honest that I’ve never heard of this place before. Thanks for sharing your experience. I hope to visit one day.

    • December 5, 2016 at 6:59 pm

      No problem. Hope you will make it there someday! It is really a beautiful place to be.

  • December 1, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    Thanks for this 🙂 I grew up in the Philippines (Cebu) and have never been to this place. I should really visit soon. Posts like these make me want to go back!

    • December 5, 2016 at 7:00 pm

      I have never visited Cebu and I should go there too. I have read Cebu is a very nice place to visit also! There just have too many beautiful places in Philippines.

  • December 1, 2016 at 9:38 pm

    I’m contemplating going to the Philippines for the first time this Winter so will keep this in mind. It’s rare these days to find such a secluded beach – thanks for sharing!

    • December 5, 2016 at 7:02 pm

      It got nice weather there too in the winter and it does not have too many tourists. Have fun!

  • December 2, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    WOW! Thanks for all the useful info you have shared.
    I must admit that I have never heard about Calaguas Island before, however, that’s kind of normal regarding Philippines amount of islands.

    I have been a couples of times around SEAsia but I have never checked the Philippines before.. maybe it’s time to do it 🙂 I hope I can remove it from my bucket list soon! 🙂

    I’m just wondering.. how many days do you recommend to stay in Calaguas Island to enjoy it properly and relax for a while?

    • December 5, 2016 at 7:05 pm

      I would recommend minimum of 2 days but no longer than 3 days. Take the boat and arrive at the first day and leave next afternoon, island hopping so you can have an ultimate camping experience next to the ocean and under the moon. You can spend an extra day island hopping as well.

  • December 5, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    Thanks for the comprehensive guide. I had never heard of Calaguas before this. Is there also any historical significance to this place?

    • December 5, 2016 at 7:09 pm

      Hi Nisha, I am not too sure about the history of the place, but it has some great nature and it is a great place to escape.

  • December 6, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    Thanks for informing about this hidden gem in Philippines. We are so willing to plan a visit to Philippines ourselves and now Calaguas Island has surely made to our list!

  • December 7, 2016 at 10:07 am

    Such a beautiful place and I had not heard of it before. Indeed it is a hidden gem


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