Discover Sugba – Siargao’s Hidden Lagoons

Have you ever dreamed of finding your own hidden lagoon? Would you like to jump or dive into the most exquisite turquoise seawater ever? Do you like exploring beautiful scenery on a stand up paddle board? All this and much more is possible at Sugba: Siargao Island’s hidden lagoons. They are situated on Siargao’s west coast within Caob Island, about 4 kilometers offshore from Del Carmen. Del Carmen is an easy 25 kilometer drive from Dapa and just 8 kilometers from Sayak Airport.

In recent years, Sugba has become a prime Siargao attraction. It’s obvious why. The outstanding natural beauty of the entire area and the activities possible within the lagoon area make it an irresistable trip for both first timers and returning visitors. It never fails to take your breath away. Don’t miss this place if you visit Siargao for a few days. It’s much cheaper and quicker to visit than Sohoton Caves and offers comparable scenery.

Discovering Sugba

In 1997, on my very first trip to Siargao Island, I visited Sohoton Caves on Bucas Grande Island. The trip involved a lengthy boat ride across open ocean south of General Luna. Then, a few hours on a boat within the cave complex. Finally, the return trip to Siargao. It was a wonderful experience, but I have never returned to Sohoton mainly because of how far away it is. Twelve years later, a Filipino friend recommended my family and I check out some hidden lagoons offshore Del Carmen. He said it was similar to Sohoton but far quicker to reach. We took his advice and absolutely adored the place. As a result, we have recommended Sugba to every Airbnb visitor to our Siargao home and returned scores of times ourselves with friends and family.

Returning to Sugba

Last year, my family and I decided to return to Sugba to check out the area since Siargao’s rise to tourist hot spot. Three of us on a bike, we rode over quite early in an attempt to enjoy the area sans tourists. The cool morning breeze swept our hair backwards as we zig-zagged our way across the island’s brand new concrete roads. It took less than an hour to reach Del Carmen. We arrived an hour before high tide, perfect timing to access the lagoons. As usual, it was easy to find a boatman willing to cruise us out to Caob Island. My son Rafael loves anything related to bones (although dinosaurs are his favourite), so we instructed the boatman to first stop at the cave containing human skulls from World War II. Rafael found the cave eerily quiet and didn’t want to stay too long. Therefore, we quickly proceeded on our journey, past some small picturesque settlements, then out again into open sea. Finally, the boatman pulled into the main lagoon. We asked him to drive slowly and as close to the edge as possible. The almost breathless conditions inside the lagoons meant the sea was like oil: clear and translucent. The pretty coral heads easily visible beneath the boat as we glided towards the mooring spot for Sugba visitors.

Sugba Changes

Actually, Sugba hadn’t changed so much, just a new wooden diving board and a few flags. It was as stunning as ever, but the site was no longer free; the government charged a fee according to your nationality. We brought our own solid stand up paddle board and cruised over the beautiful waters with all three of us on board. It didn’t take too long for some other visitors to join us. However, the size of the area made it easy for us all to find our own space and solitude in one of the most beautiful places in the Philippines. 

After swimming, paddle boarding and diving, we all felt so hungry. My wife Mirasol had had the foresight to pack a large hamper for an early bruch, which we ate overlooking the wonderful waters of the lagoon. Once again, Sugba had delighted us and we’ll always recommend the place to our upcoming Airbnb visitors. It’s very easy to reach compared to the larger Sohoton Caves and with so many similar qualities.

Follow in our footsteps

– If you want to stay in the area, the nearest resorts are available in Pacifico (22km), basic guest houses in Dapa (30km) and a fairly expensive hotel at Sayak (13.5km). However, it is an easy drive from General Luna or Cloud 9 and there is no need to stay overnight.

– Staying overnight in the town of Del Carmen is possible, but you cannot book online for the basic accommodation there.

– To arrange a boat to Coab/Sugba Lagoons, just drive to Del Carmen pier and ask around for a pump boat operator. Someone will help you arrange one within a few minutes. Expect to pay at least P1500 for the pump boat.

– Government fees apply for anyone visiting Sugba Lagoons; expect to pay approximately P100 per person (foreigner price). You can rent a SUP at Sugba for P200 per hour.

– Bring all your own supplies. You cannot buy food or drink at Sugba.

– To reach the mooring point for Sugba Lagoons, you must arrange your trip around high tide. Check magicseaweed Cloud 9 surf report for approximate tide times.

– Some General Luna-based resorts offer tours to Sugba, but it is far cheaper to arrange yourself especially if you are in a group.

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