A peaceful volcanic island in the Bohol sea, just 10 km north of Mindanao, Camiguin is covered by dense forests and surrounded by great diving and snorkeling spots.
Getting There and Around
You can reach Camiguin either by ferry from Jagna, Bohol, or from Northern Mindanao. The trip from Bohol takes roughly four hours. We had nice weather so the journey was rather pleasant. The boat trip from northern Mindanao is much shorter, but less used by tourists.
There is also a small airport (CGM) with regular flights from Manila and Cebu City.
It's hard to get lost on Camiguin, so rent a bike and drive around. Or bring your own like we did. Just pick a direction and stick to the circumferential road. Watch out for signs pointing to side roads leading to hot springs, water falls or other attractions along the way.
Stunning views can be had whenever you go up into the mountains and there's some really decent twisted roads that are great fun on two wheels.
Mambajao is the biggest city on the island, this is also where the ferries from Bohol arrive.
Trans Island Highway
This new road crosses Camiguin from Catarman to Mambajao. An interesting drive and convenient shortcut at the same time.
There are a couple great hiking routes on Camiguin, unfortunately when we've been there the weather wasn't stable enough yet. Come in April or May if you want to hike across the island.
Mantigue is a tiny island in the south east of Camiguin and can be reached by small boats that leave from the town of San Roque. When going there, bring food and drinks as there is basically nothing to buy on the island. We did the trip as an organized tour and it was really great, despite being a bit cloudy and even rainy at times.
Snorkeling clearly is the main attraction here, but you can also walk around the island and explore the interior on a trail that leads through the jungle and the small fishing village.
Despite named an island, this really isn't much more than a sand bar and a shallow lagoon. Yet it is one of the main attractions of Camiguin and there's a whole flotilla of boats ready to bring passengers there for a few hours. Enjoy lots of white sand, crystal clear shallow water and an amazing view of Camiguin. Bring your own umbrella or rent one on the island (we didn't ask but given the complete lack of natural shade it certainly won't be a bargain).
Go there early in the morning to avoid the crowds and the heat.
A Tour Around Camiguin
Starting in the north, in reverse-clockwise direction. There's lots of things we missed or left out so have a look on the map and around you for yourself!
Ardent Hot Springs
A short motorbike ride up into the mountains in the north of the island takes you to the Ardent Hot Springs. Frequented by tourists and locals alike, this place was quite busy when we were there. Watch out for the signs along the circumferential road, there are several possible roads to take.
This is where we've been, there are other hot springs on Camiguin as well I believe.
Sunken Cemetery and Guiob Church Ruins
In the 19th century, several volcanic eruptions which led to the creation of Mt. Vulcan destroyed town of Cotta Bato, which then was Camiguin's capital, in the west of the island. Parts of the town including it's cemetery even sank down beneath the sea level. A cross nowadays marks the location of the cemetery which is also a popular dive spot now.
The impressive ruins of the "Old Church" that was build in 16th century by the Spanish are still standing on a hill close to the sea.
Boat construction was going on next to the church.
The Bee Farm
A nice restaurant on the western coast. Delicious home made ice cream!
Once hidden in the mountains and hard to reach, there is now a monstrous parking lot and lots of food stalls etc just 50m away from the pool. A shame.
If you drive the new road across the island you can't miss it.
A little town with an interesting church.
Remarkable views and some nice driving in the mountains.
There's a lagoon with several good fish restaurants around in the south of Camiguin.
Back in the north, time for a cool down at the impressive Katibawasan falls. It's by far the highest falls in Camiguin and I believe also among the highest in the Philippines. Quite impressive.
Where to Sleep in Camiguin
There's plenty of options, mostly in the northern part of the island.
We stayed at the Camiguin Volcan Beach Eco Retreat & Dive Resort. This is one of the more expensive places and we enjoyed our stay very much. It's a very green resort with rooms of european standard directly by the sea. Food and drinks from the restaurant were very good as well.
Watch the movie!