Close your eyes. Imagine yourself sitting on a beach, feeling the sand particles gliding through your fingers, hearing the wind going through the leaves of palm trees, sensing the warm clear Philippine Sea playing around your toes and your eyes are wandering along the rough limestone formations – yes this place can be called paradise.
Caramoan truly deserves it to be called an undiscovered paradise if you compare it to places like Cebu, El Nido or Boracay in the Philippines. The geographical location of this gem and the poor roads keeps the herds of tourist away.
Getting to Caramoan from the major regional towns like Naga or Legazpi can be a painful and long-drawn-out. Also, our trip started with a bit of a disillusionment since it took us roughly 12 hours to cover around 120km. We walked through the pouring rain, waited for a boat for hours until it turned out that there is no boat coming and then waited another two hours to catch a bus. So just as an advice, plan a whole day to get to Caramoan and spend at least three nights, otherwise your Caramoan experience may be a bit stressful and exhausting.
Where to stay and to eat in Paniman Beach
What surprised us in Paniman Beach, how good Filipinos can cook. We had most our meals at Sandbay in the center of the little seaside village. It is formerly known as Angie’s Place and the Chef Steve knows what he is doing. We had excellent squid, crab, grilled fish and chicken. Lynn and Angie who are running the place, were super helpful during our entire stay. They also have to clean and air conditioned rooms available to stay overnight.
Apart from Bay Sand, there are plenty of other options and we tried a few of them and made similar experiences. However, the warmth welcome and helpfulness of Angie and her team, turned us to frequent visitors of her place.
What to do
Apart from just relaxing there are many things to do. Our advice is to get yourself a kayak and paddle along the shore to the island to the East. Check out the tiny beach of Kagbalinad Island, my personal favorite. Then just paddle over to the shore of Hunangan Cove where a small luxury hotel is located. The beach is marvelous.
We also strongly advise you to do an island overnight stay in a tent. Matukad Island is the best place to do so. Ask the locals in Paniman Beach as they will help you to arrange everything. Tents can be hired in Paniman Beach.
To complete your Caramoan experience ask the locals for the large island hopping tour which takes you to the more remote islands. Expect to pay around 2000 to 2500 Pesos.
Additional information regarding camping
Camping is not the easy romp we imagine it might be in nice pictures and if you are not prepared your trip might end with disappointment. So think about the following before you set sails:
- Take a first aid kit with you
- Pack plenty of insect repellent since you will be the only piece of meat on the island
- Don’t forget food and sufficient water (Angie will help you with the supplies)
- Leave no trace regarding your human waste and other trash
- We were told that there are sea snakes around islands – so watch out!
- Enjoy your time it will be unforgettable – stay safe and sound.
If you do have more questions, do not hesitate to ask us.