Caramoan is considered as Bicol’s best kept paradise. Even if there have been man-made changes in some islands, the rest remained unspoiled.
Like the tourists that flock to the peninsula all-year round, here are five reasons you’ll love Caramoan, too.
1. It offers unparalleled coastal exploration opportunities. Whether you visit the nearest islands or those farthest from Paniman, you’ll discover that every island is an ideal spot for endless outdoor adventures. Island hopping is the big drawcard, but travelers can also experience Caramoan through snorkeling, rock climbing, trekking, as well as spelunking, mountain biking and camping.
When beach hopping, visitors can choose whether to explore the nearest islands or opt for the islands located farthest from Paniman. The islands near Paniman – namely Matukad, Hunongan, Lahos, Tinago and Gota Beach – can be reached via a 15 to 30-minute boat ride.
On the other hand, reaching the more distant islands would take at least an hour or more for visitors to know how it feels like to be in the middle of nowhere when they stepped foot on Cotivas island, or experience once again the thrill of playing with abandon on the wide stretch of Manlawi sandbar. The longest and triangular-shaped island that is Sabitang laya is also waiting to be explored in ways only every group could think possible.
2. No islands are ever the same. Each island found in the peninsula is incomparable to others. For instance, the postcard-perfect view that is Matukad is a 125-meter stretch of pristine powdery white sand walled with jagged limestone cliffs. It has a lagoon (with an enchanting tale) tucked between the island’s lush tropical forest and limestone formations. Lahos island has sugar-like powdery sand whose shoreline is sandwiched between two beaches and two identical giant rocks. What makes Lantangan beach on Pitogo bay interesting is its pebbled covered shoreline which will make you realize that Caramoan islands are not all about fine white sand.
3. You can have some of the islands all to yourselves. This is particularly true to islands located farthest from Paniman. But if you don’t want to travel that far and spend more on boat rental, consider visiting Tinago beach. In Bicol dialect, the root word tago means hide. True to its name, Tinago beach/lagoon is surrounded by imposing rock formations covered with lush green vegetation. It’s hard to get through the entryway of the lagoon when the current is strong.
4. Encounter An Underwater Garden. Tayak lagoon in Malarad island has a vast coral garden where the corals resemble those of the coral garden in Coron, Palawan. The broad coral formation is spread just a few feet from the water surface, which makes it ideal for snorkeling. However, you need to swim underneath the rocks on the side of the beach to access the lagoon.
5. Caramoan offers some of the “best mountain-meet-the-sea vistas”. Mountains of Caramoan also have distinctive shapes — some resemble those rolling hills in Batanes or the lush, green meadows of Palaui island. These sights, along with the scenic and some insanely shaped limestone karsts, make the trip from one island to another less exhausting.
The trip to the peninsula could be excruciating, but tourists seem not to mind especially since enduring it comes with a reward. That is, experiencing a natural high that only nature’s ultimate wonders like Caramoan can give.
*Photo credit to my travel buddies and cousins, as well as to Gota Village Resort. Pictures were used with permission.