There are a lot of amazing islands across the globe. So it might be a bit of a shock to find out that readers of Conde Nast Traveler named Siargao in the Philippines as the best island in the world. Those who have never heard of it might not understand what all the fuss is about, but those who’ve been won’t find the news all that surprising.
International and local celebrities regularly frequent the island even if Siargao still isn’t the mainstream destination Boracay happens to be. Getting there is a journey, Siargao doesn’t have an airport, which both adds to the charm and keeps away those visitors who aren’t committed enough to adventure.
It is impossible to mention Siargao without talking about the surfing. Known as the ‘Surfing Capital of the Philippines’, the famed Cloud 9 waves wash up on the beaches of Siargao. But you don’t need to be a surfer to enjoy the island. All types of recreational opportunities are available. Everything from kayaking to snorkeling can be found here. Meanwhile, some tourists prefer to keep it simple by renting a motorbike and exploring on their own.
This does bring us to what makes Siargao unique when compared to Southeast Asia’s tourist islands like Phuket and Bali. The island doesn’t have much in the way of facilities beyond the basics. You’ll find quaint seafood shacks serving freshly caught fish and convenience stores, but don’t expect much in the way of international chains or large hypermarkets.
White sand beaches can be found on many other islands in the Philippines, but none have the relaxed ambiance of Siargao. Of course, being named the best island in the world will likely bring more people to Siargao and could spoil the vibe. However, work has already begun to ensure things don’t spiral out of the control.
The local government recently put a masterplan in place to ensure tourism and development on the island is done sustainably. This is extremely important in the aftermath of the Boracay shutdown decision. Siargao is keeping a close eye on sewage and waste management, urban planning and tourism regulation in order to keep the island open.
When should you visit Siargao?
If you are simply going to Siargao for the beaches, the best time to visit is between March and October when the weather is calm. Surfers usually head to the beaches here from August to November when the waves are primed for riding. This is also a good time for other watersports.
December and January are by far and away the wettest and windiest months in Siargao. It is probably best to avoid the island during these times if you’re going to checkout the beaches.