Explore the Caramoan Peninsula in the Philippines

Three popular tourist destinations in the Philippines were included in Travel and Leisure’s 2022, 25 Best Islands of the World. 2022’s list included Cebu, Boracay, and Palawan while the latter two carried over to this year’s list with Boracay holding the No.9 spot.

Because of this, the world became even more curious not only about these three places but also about the country as a whole. Other nationalities discovered more destinations in the Philippines and enjoyed experiencing bits and pieces of it through travel activities like backpacking.

Beyond the fame of Boracay and Palawan is another beauty waiting for you to see, explore, and experience. Caramoan in Camarines Sur, Philippines, offers a bunch of exciting activities perfect for your #TravelGoals where you can perhaps cross out some of your travel bucket list items.

Who knows? You might even get a once-in-a-lifetime experience you never thought you’d have.

Whether you’re backpacking around the Philippines or having a longer stay, it’s best to have a handy on-the-go bag with you when you visit Caramoan.

Make sure you pick out a good duffle or a backpack that’s easy to carry around yet durable enough to cope with all the transferring of bags on and off boats as you embark on your island-hopping and exploring the beauty of Caramoan, Philippines.

There are 12 popular island destinations in Caramoan, but these are the five you should not miss:


Cotivas Island



Cotivas is a virgin island where you can enjoy typical beach activities. Known for its shallow waters and the famous Cutivas sandbar, it is advisable for you to visit the island during high tide for a more exciting beach swim.

Still, visiting Cotivas Island during low tide won’t be a waste. You can take lots of stunning photos along the sandbar, have your picnic by the shores, or admire the starfishes just a few meters away from the shoreline.

If you have swimming gear like goggles or snorkels, use them to better appreciate the sea creatures. (Note: please don’t take the starfishes out of the water! Admire them from afar or capture their beauty with your camera)


Manlawi Island



Just a short distance away from Cutivas is Manlawi, another stunning island with its own equally captivating sandbar.

Other than feeling the sensation of flawlessly smooth sand tickling your feet, you can also take advantage of the most well-known activity in Manlawi: having your lunch or snacks inside floating cottages!

Each floating cottage can hold about 6 people – 3 individuals on each side divided by a small table in the middle. You can also buy buko (coconut) juice from vendors rowing around in smaller boats. After a hearty lunch, don’t forget to clean as you go!


Paniman Island



This island is a popular jumping-off point for island-hopping. Home to a variety of Caramoan accommodations ranging from hostels to hotels, Paniman Island is busier and more modern compared to its neighboring lands.

If you’re not checked in at any of the lodgings in Paniman, you can enjoy simple activities like having snacks or a cup of coffee by the sea or buying simple souvenirs for your loved ones back home.


Cagbalinad Island



As an untouched island, Cagbalinad showcases your typical white sand beach and crystal clear waters but that’s not the only thing that makes this island special. Just some meters away from its shoreline is a majestic underwater world perfect for snorkeling!

The corals are rich and alive, the fish are everywhere, and the overall snorkeling area is simply a marvelous sight to see. Maximize snorkeling off-shore, and take with you some leafy vegetables and other healthy fish feeds for the fish. They’ll surely love it and you’ll definitely have a one-of-a-kind experience having them swim up to you and interact with you.


Matukad Island



Curious about local stories? Head over to Matukad Island. It’s one of the most popular destinations in Caramoan because of its prominent limestone formations to see, cliffs to hike across, and stories to know about.

Upon arriving at the island, you will see a cliff. You can hike up the cliff to see the lake on the other side where there is a rumored lonely giant milkfish swimming around. It is said to be the guardian of the lake and has all sorts of local stories surrounding it. If Matukad Island is part of your island-hopping tour, don’t forget to ask the locals about these stories.

Aside from these five islands, others in Caramoan include a pebble-shored beach that sings on Pitogo Island, the twin beaches at Lahos Island, and the famous Sabitang Laya which is often a location for the reality show Survivor.

The best and quickest way to get to Caramoan is via Virac, but Naga is a good alternative, too. The island-hopping tours are usually offered as half-day or whole-day excursions depending on your preference but if you’re staying for a little while, you might want to consider exploring all 12 islands which can be done over a span of around three days.

For your Caramoan trip, make sure you pack the following for the island hopping:

  • First aid kit for any cuts you might suffer from the coral
  • Water bottle
  • Lightweight yet durable beach shoes
  • Resealable plastic bags for waterproof storage of your gadgets
  • Towel
  • Snorkeling gear
  • Snacks (don’t forget to clean as you go!)

With Caramoan’s countless untouched beaches, stunning landscapes, and unique travel experiences, you’re sure to have a great time. The rest of the world will soon recognize the beauty of Caramoan, but until then, enjoy traveling to these lovely islands before they get overrun with other travelers.

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