It is also called “Born of Fire” or “Island on 7 Volcanos”.
Tiny volcanic island located between Mindanao and Bohol. It’s really exiting that on such a small piece of land you can find so many natural wonders! The road around Camiguin is about 100 km long so it takes less than a day to cross it with motorcycle! In 1 day you can see volcanos, swim in hot, cold and soda springs and visit waterfalls. Of course it’s better to split the tour for 2-3 days to take your time and enjoy fascinating views!
It took us 3 days to visit Bura Coda Springs, Santo Nino Cold springs, Arden Hot Springs, Tuasan and Katiwabasan waterfalls, do tracking up to Old Vulcan, not active anymore (absolutely nothing to do there though), to do some diving, ride up to the mountains to enjoy the view and to find Tangub hot springs (which was not easy), coming out to the sea. And of course we visited famous Giant Clams Sanctuary to see huge tridacna. As we were told by local guides, medium-size tridacnas (30-35 cm) are local, from Camiguin, and big ones that can grow up to 1 meter are exported from Australia. They said there are about 200 of them living here in their sea sanctuary though the area is quite small. There’s something magic in collection of these big clams… It feels like you are touching silent wisdom centuries old…
We travelled to Camiguin at the end of June which is considered low season in Philippines. That’s why there were not many tourists. But there were lots of locals. You can see people really loving their land and enjoying it. They come to the hot springs in the evening after work – just to relax in the warm pool; they make picnics on weekends at cold or soda springs, or waterfalls. Children have fun in the natural pool in the heart of jungle while adults dine in the shadow of huts with lechon baboy (traditional filippino grilled pork).
So, let’s begin from the very beginning. Ferry from Bohol (Super Shuttle ferry) takes 3 hours and leaves from Jagna to Camiguin, Mambajao. You can also get there by plane, flights are performed by Cebu Pacific from Cebu. Airport and sea port are close to each other. The most convenient is to stay at the same area as most hotels and eating spots are located here. We stayed a bit away from the sea at Mountain View Resort. For double accommodation in new nice cozy cottage with a small yard we paid 800 peso / day. No hot shower and aircon (we were lucky with season, you don’t really need any of them, fan is enough), and there was a small kitchen with fridge, gas burner and complete set of kitchen utensils. We also rented a bike from the owner for 300 pesos a day.
Next day we started to explore the island using Maps.me. We tried to see all places of interest.
Bura Soda Springs – entrance fee is 30 php. You can swim in the pool and drink soda water from special taps. Water is delicious!
Tuasan waterfall is located not far from soda springs, just a few kilometers away. There’s no entrance fee. Waterfall is not big but nice. But I didn’t feel like swimming – the pool is very shallow, knee-deep. And besides, there were too many locals in there.
St.Nino Cold Springs: entrance fee 30 php. It’s hard to believe, as this is tropical region, but water in the pool is really refreshing!
Between last 2 spots you can find “D&A cottages”. If you walk through down to the seashore and take a path along the sea, in a bit you will reach Blue Lagoon – good place for snorkeling. Live colorful reef, lots of marine life, we even saw a turtle. By the way it’s one of the local dive-sites. No entrance fee.
Tangub hot springs are on the map, but in fact there’s no sign for them. There’s a spot on the mainroad (hotel or something like housing estate – I didn’t quite get it) named Sea & Sun. You should follow the road down to the shore to find out… Just rocky seashore! No sign about any springs! But when you step into the sea you feel really hot water is washing your feet. Exactly, not just warm but really hot! Very strange feeling. Andi it works only in low tide. Entrance is free.
Giant Clams Sanctuary. From the main road there’s a sign, and the side road goes down. It is quite steep and sometimes rough and slippery. Entrance fee to the sanctuary is 25 php + 150 for snorkeling with giant clams + snorkeling gear rental fee. Equipment rent is 100 php for mask and snorkel + 100 php for fins. But even if you have everything your own you still pay 50% of their rental cost! So we paid 225 php each for snorkeling with own equipment. But it definitely worth it!
Katibawasan waterfall: entrance fee 30 php. Quite nice high waterfall hidden in the jungle. The lake at its bottom is partially bounded with cement creating a kind of pool where you can swim. But be ready that water is quite chilly.
I definitely recommend going to Volcan observatory. The road goes up to the mountains from Mambajao. From there you can enjoy magnificent panoramic view of the sea. And following this road further on is must! You will enjoy beautiful pastoral pictures of simple filippino’s life at the bottom of volcano!
Arden Hot Spring: entrance fee 30 php. We expected the water to be a bit hotter but it still was nice to relax there in the evening after active day. They are opened till 10 pm.
And of course we did some diving! How could we resist? But there’s another story.