Caramoan is a traveler's paradise. It is situated at the tip of the peninsula in the eastern part of Camarines Sur, Philippines. It is blessed with hectares of limestone forests and rock formations, beautiful islands with white sand beaches, enchanting caves and stunning coves.
By Bus: You can take a bus in Cubao Terminal going to Naga. Travel time is about 8 hours and fare is about 700 Php per head for an air-conditioned bus with own comfort room. We took the night bus to Naga and reached it by 8:30AM. For our first 2 nights in Caramoan, we stayed in beautiful Tugawe Cove Resort. The van of Tugawe Cove Resort fetched us in Naga City Central Bus Terminal. To learn more about our stay in Tugawe Cove, read the blog here. For those who will go straight to Paniman, which is the jump off for the island hopping tours in Caramoan, take another bus from Naga City Central Bus Terminal going to Caramoan. Travel time is about another 4 hours.
By Van Transfer: The most convenient way is to take a private van provided by tour agencies. This is usually inclusive of the tour packages for Caramoan. Meet up point is in Manila and they drive you directly to Caramoan. Travel time is also about 8 hours. For going back to Manila, we joined Explore Camsur Travel & Tours for a hassle free trip going back home.
On our third day, we checked out of Tugawe Cove Resort to explore the other islands of Caramoan. The resort provided our boat transfer to Guijalo port. Travel time is about 30-45 minutes. From Guijalo port, we then took a tricycle going to Paniman, the jump off point for the island tours. Tricycle fare was 300Php for 2 pax. The roads were paved and travel time was about 45 minutes.
Traveling With a Local Boatman
Paniman is a charming fishing village. There are no big hotels but there are a lot of eateries and sari sari stores. For this day, we explored the different islands of Caramoan with a local boatman. Our contact, Ms. Liezel Alcantara, met us in Paniman beach and introduced us to our boatman, Bernardo. We called him Kuya Berns. We are also thankful to Brgy Capt. Emil for making this possible.
We were lucky that the weather was sunnier than the past days. We explored Matukad Island and stopped by rock formations with white sand beaches. Next stop was Bosdak Island and then we went snorkeling near another island. Afterwards, we headed to Lahos Island but we weren’t able to go to the main beach area which was no longer accessible to public because the props for The Survivor series were already there.
After Lahos, we went to another island but the tide was so low and our boat can not dock near it due to the corals. So we decided to have our lunch in the boat while waiting for the tide to go up. After lunch, the water was still not high enough for our boat to go near the island so we decided to go to Tinago Cove instead. It is a bit farther than the other islands. When we reached it, we then understoond why it’s called ‘Tinago” which means hidden. The cove is hidden behind towering limestone rock formations. The cove was empty when we arrived. We were the only human beings there. Our boat was not able to go inside the cove right away because the tide was still low and we risked hitting the corals or getting stuck in the rocks. So we patiently waited for high tide. We sat on the boat enjoying this moment. We got to admire the big rocks surrounding us and the clear waters beneath. We can hear the birds chirping and the tides slowly coming in. It was surreal. It feels like being inside a cathedral with nature’s music playing in the background. The cove has two white sand beaches. We docked in one of them. The water is so clear and inviting that we spent some time here just chilling together in this paradise while Kuya Berns took a nap.
After a while, clouds started to form and it began to drizzle so we decided to head back. But on the way, the drizzle stopped, we pleaded our boatman to take us somewhere beautiful. He took us to a secluded white sand beach lined with coconut trees. The water here is clear and has a shade of jade green. The water was warm. However, we did not stay here long since we spotted a few jellyfish looking creatures while snorkeling. We called it a day and headed back to Paniman Beach. We thanked Kuya Berns profusely and wished him well. Check out our video below of our island tour with Kuya Berns.
Explore Camsur Experience
It was almost dark when we got back to Paniman. We called up Janet Beltran, owner of Explore Camsur so that we can join her group tour in exploring Caramoan. She was kind enough to host us for the rest of our stay in Caramoan.The Explore Camsur Headquarters was just nearby the beach and was our home for 2 nights. Janet welcomed us and immediately ushered us to our room so that we can shower and change. She is very hands on in taking care of all her guests. She even personally prepared the dinner of the group together with her staff. We had a beautiful boodle feast for dinner. Big banana leaves were spread on top of the dining table and filled with rice, fish, meat, mangoes and laing.The following night, we were served delicious fresh big fishes with sauce aside from meat and vegetables. We love the food here. We enjoyed our dinners with the whole group. We would have a lot of laughs and would exchange notes about our trips. We definitely recommend Explore Camsur if you are looking for budget and hassle-free tours in Caramoan. Here is an example of Explore Camsur’s itinerary for a 3 days 2 nights trip:
ITINERARY DAY 0: 7:30 pm: Meet up/Assembly beside MOA - Shrine of Jesus Church 8:30 pm: ETD to Caramoan
DAY 1: 6:30 am - Stop Over Naga City for Breakfast (not included in package) 10:00 am - ETA Caramoan - Check–in 10:30 - 11:00 am - Rest, Freshen Up 11:15 am - Island hopping at Matukad, Tinago, Napla, Lahus, Cagbanilad, Minalagos (Lunch at Matukad) *Option for early lunch before island hopping 05:00pm- Prepare to leave the islands 05:30 pm - Back to accommodation 7:00 pm - Dinner
DAY 2: 06:00- Wake-up call 06:30- breakfast/prepare for island hopping 07:30- leave accommodation 9:00 - 5:00 pm - Lighthouse*, Lunch at Cotivas, Manlawi Sandbar* *floating cottage rental not included in package - 200Php/cottage 5:00 pm - Back to Accommodation 7: 00 pm - Dinner
DAY 3: 6:30 - Breakfast 7:15 - Town souvenir shop, visit 18th century church 8:00 - Van leaves Caramoan 10:30 - Side trip CWC* (we can allot 2 hrs in CWC for wakeboarding, and skip Naga City side trip) 12:30 - Side trip Naga city for lunch (not included in package) 2:00 pm - ETD Manila 7:00 pm - Stop over for Dinner (not included in package) 12:00 mn -ETA Manila
INCLUSIONS: √ Aircon Van transfer from Manila to Caramoan and V.V. Pick up point: MOA - Shrine of Jesus Church (inclusive of gas, toll fees, parking fees, driver's meals) √ Aircon room accommodation √ Six (6) full board meals (2x Breakfast , 2x Lunch and 2x Dinner) in Caramoan √ Island hopping for 2 days with life vest provisions (picnic lunch at the islands) √ Tour assistant to accompany your tour in Caramoan √ All government fees, island entrance fees, cottage rentals*
(*Floating Cottage in Manlawi Sandbar not Included - 200/cottage)