Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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The Philippines is an extremely diverse country of thousands of islands, each with its unique culture and characteristics. Since each beach is so different, any number of them has the possibility of being suitable for your needs or not quite what you’re looking for.
Whether you’re planning a honeymoon or a trip with friends, this list will give you all the essential information you need to know to narrow down your options. So get ready to dive into the best beaches in the Philippines you should consider before you visit.
Map of the 15 Best Beaches in the Philippines
The 15 Best Beaches in the Philippines
1. Alona Beach, Panglao Island
Alona Beach is a popular beach destination among both locals and tourists. Its proximity to the Bohol-Panglao International Airport (TAG) makes it a great place to start your Philippines vacation.
Since the beach is close to the airport, you will hear planes overhead occasionally. However, they’re usually not too intrusively loud, and there are plenty of other benefits to this beach that outweigh that one setback.
It’s covered in soft white sand and is lined with trees and cliffs in some sections, which help you immerse yourself in the tropical ambiance. There are a number of shops and reasonably-priced eateries nearby to make your day by the water even more comfortable.
The beach is also popular for its nightlife. The local restaurants attract plenty of people, so there’s a lively atmosphere even after the sunsets. It’s also suitable for people traveling with younger children.
2. Apo Island
Apo Island is a small body of land that spans just 183 acres. However, despite its small size, it’s one of the best coastal spots in the Philippines, especially for nature lovers. Part of the island’s shores is part of the Apo Island Marine Reserve, which helps preserve the natural habitat of the sea life that lives around the shores.
If you decide to trek over to this part of Apo Island, you can even take part in a snorkeling excursion that lets you swim with sea turtles and fish around the nearby coral reef. While the coral gardens are easily what the island is most known for, it also offers a relaxing place to unwind on the sand.Hot Tip:
If you’re traveling with young kids, they may not be able to partake in any of the diving, but the water is shallow near the sand.
3. Bounty Beach, Malapascua
If you’re staying on the Malapascua island, you’ll likely end up at Bounty Beach. Due to the large number of hotels located around this shore, it’s a popular spot among tourists. However, you don’t have to worry about crazy crowds. If you venture onto the sands in the morning, you can usually get some peace and quiet before other people start to file in for the day.
If you’re an extrovert, this is also a great place to meet and mingle with people from around the world. Since this is a highly trafficked tourist area, there are also nearby amenities, such as restaurants and restrooms, to make your day by the water comfortable.
The beach is quite long, taking up much of the island’s southern portion. The water is also shallow and clean, which is perfect for swimming and diving.
4. Cape Engaño, Palaui Island
Cape Engaño is known for its landscape, largely made up of lush greenery, white sand, and clear blue water. This part of Palaui Island has multiple beach spots, mainly centered around its lighthouse.
While it’s a great place to stay close to land by wading and swimming in the shallow waters near shore, it’s even better for snorkeling. You don’t have to venture too far to find the coral reefs that help protect the shore from open waters and natural debris.
Since the water is clear, you can get some one-of-a-kind pictures if you have an underwater camera. If you’d prefer to stay dry or the weather isn’t ideal for swimming, you can explore the paths around the shore and even check out the Engaño Lighthouse. Its elevated location allows you the chance to get a great panoramic view of the horizon.
5. Cloud 9, Siargao
Cloud 9 isn’t just one of the best surfing areas in the Philippines but the entire world. Waves here are consistent, and it’s prone to large swells that draw surfers from around the globe.
You don’t have to be an expert surfer in order to have fun here, though. Surf lessons are offered, and the waves in some areas tend to be a little tamer for people just trying out the sport. For the best waves, make sure you visit between September and November, though the water is rarely completely calm and still here.
However, you can enjoy your time at Cloud 9 even if you have no interest in surfing. The pier is a great spot to watch the sunset, and both locals and tourists can be found relaxing on the sand. The water is also gentle in the shallow areas near the shore.
6. Coron Bay, Palawan
If you’re interested in diving or snorkeling, you have to visit Coron Bay. Located in the Sulu Sea, this region is known for its turquoise, clear waters and colorful underwater world.
The area started getting popular after the Second World War when diving the wreckage sites of planes that went down around the islands became a popular recreational activity. Though the place has become well-known among enthusiasts, it’s managed to fly under the radar of most casual tourists, so it doesn’t get very crowded.
Coron Bay is also near a plethora of shops and restaurants, so you can get any essentials or souvenirs you want to pick up before the end of your trip. However, if you’re visiting the Philippines with young children, this may not be the right place for you since they’ll be too young to dive, and they might get bored on the sand.
7. Kalanggaman Island
Kalanggaman Island is a tiny but picturesque island off the coast of Leyte. Known for its brilliantly blue water and sandbars, it’s a remote location that’s often considered to be one of the most beautiful islands in the Philippines. That’s saying a lot considering there are over 7,000 islands that fall within the country’s borders.
Obviously, since the island is separated from inhabited areas, you’ll need to take a boat to reach its shores. However, once you’re there, you have ample opportunities to explore its lush palm trees, relax on the sand, or go for a swim in the shallow water.
One side of the island even has a coral reef you can explore with snorkeling or diving gear. However, keep in mind there are no lifeguards on the island, so swim with caution or with a group.
8. Long Beach, Palawan
Stretching over 9 miles, Long Beach, located in San Vicente, is the longest white sand beach in the Philippines. Hence its name.
This stretch of coast isn’t just ideal for walking or laying out on soft sand, though. It’s also a popular spot to do a number of other outdoor activities. Since the water near the shore is calm and shallow, it’s a great spot to wade and go for a relaxing swim, even if you’re visiting with young children.
However, if you venture a little further away from the sand, you’ll notice the tide pick up a bit more, with more consistent waves that are ideal for those interested in trying their hand at swimming. You can even take a boat out on the water. The location is particularly popular among young travelers due to its vicinity to a number of hostels and cafes,
9. Nacpan Beach, Palawan
Stretching just under 2.5 miles, Nacpan Beach may not be the largest beach in the Philippines, but it is one of the most idyllic. The shore is lined with palms and green hills, which help keep it naturally pristine.
In general, swimming here is safe, and the water is gentle enough not to be overwhelming for young or inexperienced swimmers. However, keep an eye out for red flags that are posted when the water’s conditions are dangerous.
Though waves here are inconsistent, they can get big on occasion, so if you’re an expert surfer, you can try your hand at tackling them. If you’d prefer not to head in the water, you can stretch your legs or lay a towel out on the golden sand that covers the shore. The beach is also relatively quiet since it is 10 miles from town.
10. Paliton Beach, Siquijor
Paliton Beach is easily the most popular beach on Siquijor Island. Since it’s located on the west coast, it’s particularly popular in the evening because its unobstructed horizon gives visitors a great view of the sun going down. It’s even near town, so it’s easy to get around, though it’s still recommended you get a bike or scooter as walking can get tiresome if you plan on visiting the beach multiple times.
Some tourists frequent Paliton Beach, but it doesn’t get quite as much traffic as other beaches in the Philippines. It’s been able to maintain a laid-back and more authentic ambiance that isn’t overtly commercialized.
If you visit between December and February, when the country’s crowd levels dip, you might even have the beach virtually to yourself for a while in the morning or during the week.
11. Great Santa Cruz Island
Great Santa Cruz is a small island that gained popularity for its interesting shores. While many places in the country have beautiful white or golden sand, this little island’s beaches have more of a pinkish hue.
This unique color comes from the coral off the coast. Over thousands of years, some of this coral has eroded and slowly built up on the sand, causing the pink expanses that draw tourists from around the world.
It’s worth keeping in mind that visitors aren’t allowed on all of the island’s shores, as the military does use parts of the island. However, the public beach is more than large enough to fit the typically low crowd levels here. You don’t want to forget sunscreen before visiting since there’s not much natural shade, especially near the water, so you can easily get sunburned if you’re not careful.
12. Hermit’s Cove, Cebu
Hermit’s Cove gets its name from its location tucked under a seaside cliff. For years, very few people other than locals knew about it, but it’s slowly beginning to gain popularity among visitors. In order to keep the beach from getting overrun with tourism, an entry fee is required in order to access the sand. This helps ensure the area is maintained, and it helps keep crowd levels low.
However, its natural location is worth the cost. The beach’s bright blue water contrasts with its bright white sand and greenery, giving the area a very cinematic atmosphere. There are even food options available on-site.
It’s worth noting that the beach will occasionally set time limits for visitors. So, if you want to be able to stay all day, try to plan your visit during the week and avoid local and international holidays.
13. Sandira Beach, Bantayan Island
Sandira Beach is a must-visit spot for anyone looking for a quiet place to listen to the water and enjoy the Philippines’ natural coastline. The low crowd levels of Sandira Beach can be attributed to 2 main factors.
The main reason is location. The beach is tucked away from the public view and is accessed via a rugged dirt road, so if you don’t know it’s there, it can be easy to miss. Even people who are aware of it might easily choose to head to a more easily accessible shore.
The second reason is cost. You have to pay a small entrance fee which goes toward maintaining the area. It’s not a high price to pay, but it does dissuade some visitors. However, Sandira is worth the effort. It offers soft sand and pristine water that’s perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
14. White Beach, Boracay
Boracay’s White Beach is aptly named after its bright, light-colored sand that seems even lighter when compared to the brilliant blue of the water.
The sand here isn’t just bright, but it’s also soft and powdery, making it an extremely comfortable surface to lay a towel out on. The beach is lined with palm trees, which help add to the tropical ambiance of the shore. However, don’t count on getting much shade from them, as they’re a bit of a distance from the water’s edge.
White Beach is a popular spot, but it doesn’t attract very rowdy crowds, so even when it’s busy, it’s still peaceful and relaxing. It’s also wide enough, so it’s easy to find space for yourself and your travel group.Hot Tip:
The beach is particularly beautiful around sunset when the sky and the water both turn bright pink, red, and orange.
15. White Island, Camiguin
White Island is a tiny strip of land just off the coast of Camiguin which can be reached by boat in just a few minutes.
This little strip may be small, but it offers a secluded and remote beach experience without having to go too far to get it. Since the islet is essentially a large sandbar, there aren’t any frills, so make sure you have all the essentials you’ll need while you’re there.
What really makes the island worth visiting is its powdery soft sand. However, you may want to avoid laying out on it for too long unless you bring plenty of sun protection because there’s no shade on the island.
The water directly around the island is quite shallow, and there are virtually no waves or currents, so it’s the perfect place for a relaxing swim.
The Philippines clearly has no shortage of beaches. From tourist hotspots full of amenities to more secluded areas where you’re surrounded by nature, there’s something for everyone in this diverse country. We hope you can use this list while making your travel arrangements so you can plan the tropical trip of your dreams.
Featured Image Credit: Ramon Kagie via Unsplash
Frequently Asked Questions
The Philippines has thousands of islands, giving it one of the longest coastlines in the world. That geographic characteristic, mixed with its tropical climate, clean water, and soft white sand, creates a virtually ideal environment for beautiful beaches.
You can have a great time in the Philippines no matter how long you spend there. However, due to its combination of hidden gem locations and tourist spots, it’s recommended you spend at least a week here, with 10 days being ideal.
The tropical climate in the Philippines means it’s warm virtually all year. If you have the freedom to pick when in the year to visit, choose to come between December and March. These months are usually more comfortably warm, and rain is limited.
The Philippines has a number of great beaches that are well worth traveling to visit. The country is made of over 7,000 islands, many of which are covered in white sand and clear turquoise water, making it a near-unbeatable tropical coastal destination.
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