The Caramoan Islands is a group of small islands spread across the Caramoan Peninsula. Located on the eastern edge of the Luzon island, it showcases white sand beaches, sandbars, grand rock formations, and deep blue open sea. Because of its remoteness and sheer beauty, it has been the location of different Survivor, the reality show, franchises over the years.
Caramoan is actually a municipality of Camarines Sur. To get here, the usual route is via the three-hour bus ride from Naga City, where the the airport and the major bus terminals are located.
If your are not used to long bus travels, there is actually a faster way to the Caramoan Islands. Not too far to the east is the province of Catanduanes which, may not be known to the many, is an excellent alternate entry point to Caramoan.
There are boats in Codon Port of San Andres that offers island hopping trips to the different islands of the peninsula.
How to Get to Caramoan Islands via Catanduanes
- From Virac airport, ride a van going to Pandan. Tell the driver to drop you off at Codon Port in San Andres. Fare is P100. Travel time is 45 mins or less.
- If vans are not available right away, you can go to Virac port by tricycle (P20) where most terminals are located.
- Take note that public transportation in Catanduanes becomes more difficult later in the day. So after your Caramoan tour and you have to go back somewhere else in Catanduanes, you might need to hire a tricycle which costs around P300-P500 depending on your location. It would be better to talk to a driver as soon as you arrive in Codon, so that later, you are guaranteed to have a ride back.
Caramoan Sights and Scenes
It was our second day in Catanduanes, the sun was up and the sky was clear. We just got off the van in the humble barangay of Codon in the town of San Andres.
There were a number of fishing boats docked at the port. We approached one of the fishermen who offers a tour to the Caramoan Islands.
The standard whole-day island hopping rate is P3000 and may differ by a few hundreds depending on how you negotiate. Boats usually have a maximum capacity of 6 people, so bringing a few friends along is always a good idea.
At around 8 in the morning, we hopped on a boat and started our Caramoan Tour.
The travel from Codon port to our first destination took about an hour. It was a bit long but we didn’t mind because the views that we witnessed along the way were such a visual treat. Our boatman led us to the extreme east tip of Camarines Sur where impressive rock formations stand tall.
Our first stop was the Tinago beach. As its name implies, tinago (hidden), this cove is secluded by the towering rock formations of eastern Camarines Sur. There is a relatively narrow opening where boats can pass through.
Inside, is a white sand beach with a shallow saltwater lagoon. The surrounding rock walls are reminiscent of El Nido Palawan.
One of the more popular islands in the Caramoan is Lahos. This small island has a white-sand beach sandwiched by giant limestone rocks on both ends. The visayan word lahus, which means you can pass through, is a perfect description of this beauty because of its unique narrow shore.
Lahos’ clear waters is ideal for swimming, snorkeling and even scuba diving.
Just across Lahos is Matukad Island, another precious gem of the Caramoan. This picturesque island is a common destination among tourists, boasting its fine white sand that could easily top most of the popular beaches in the country.
Hidden behind its towering limestone rocks is a small lagoon where a giant bangus (milkfish) is resident. Many locals believe that this giant fish is a guardian of Matukad, and misfortune awaits those who try to catch it.
Not too far southwest of Matukad is the Kagbalinad Island. This rocky land provides a more intimate ambiance to its visitors because of its short stretch of familiar Caramoan white-sand shore.
What’s unique about Kagbalinad is its relatively shallow water. And because every drop is crystal clear, you can actually view the seabed up to the neighboring Hunongan Cove.
Kagbalinad is surrounded by limestone cliffs covered with thick vegetation that would definitely give its visitor a feeling of solitude.
At around noontime, we stopped by the Paniman Beach to have our lunch. Although the place may look typical, this is where most of establishments are found, including the restaurants.
Souvenir shops are also located in Paniman, so in case you want to buy something to bring back home, make sure you stop by.
Our last stop, and perhaps the unorthodox destination of a Caramoan tour is the Catanaguan Island. Its rocky beach is only visible during low tide so it is only accessible on certain times of the day.
Though it may not have fine white sand that most people look forward to, for me, this the island where I enjoyed the most. Its serene and peaceful ambiance is quite different than most of other islands of the Caramoan probably because of its isolation.
We lied on the rocks, played with the sand and swam on the clear waters. We had the whole island just for ourselves.
At around three in the afternoon, we were back in Codon awed by Caramoan’s charm. Eventhough its popularity has surged over the years, it is amazing how its beauty has remained pristine and natural. Hopefully it remains that way in the years to come.
Read More about the Catanduanes Series!
If you enjoyed reading this, you might want to check the other articles of this Catanduanes Series.
- Catanduanes : The Land of the Howling Winds
- Catanduanes : The Cascading Nahulugan Falls, Gigmoto
- Catanduanes : Puraran Beach and the Majestic Town of Baras
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