Travel Guide: Palaui Island (Updated)

*First Publication 03-Mar-2011/14-Jun-2011/01-Jun-2013/Updated 06-Feb-2014

Sta. Ana, the north-eastern tip of the province of Cagayan and mainland Luzon, is a Special Economic Zone bustling with some modern industrial establishments, casinos and other gaming facilities. The town is also blessed with beautiful coastline, with some great white sandy beaches along its shore. Yet it still looks so rural and laid back, projecting contrasting features that add to its mystique.

Palaui Island

But what makes the town more contrastingly beautiful is the island off its shore that offers so much. White sandy beaches and coves, a century old lighthouse, hidden waterfalls and lovely people, all in a scenic rugged terrain surrounded by howling wind and huge waves – Palaui Island.

With a land area of more than 3,000 hectares, Palaui, an island made up of volcanic debris, is politically under the jurisdiction of the town of Sta. Ana. It is home to a fishing community, without electricity and commercial accommodation. Its main attraction aside from its beaches is the Farol de Cabo Engaño, an 18th century lighthouse built by the Spaniards that guides ships entering and leaving the coastal towns of Sta. Ana specially those vessels using Port Irene and San Vicente Port,  and those traversing the Babuyan Channel and Philippine Sea.

Fall in love in a place built by wind and waves, and nurtured by time; discover the distinct charm of its scenic rugged terrain; sing with the howling sound of its gigantic waves. Discover, explore and experience Palaui Island.

Palaui Island

One of the many beaches of the island

How to Get There

Barangay San Vicente in the town of Sta. Ana is the jump-off point to the island of Palaui. In San Vicente port, there are fishing boats that can be chartered for a short ride to the island. Cost is P1,000 back and forth, for a boat that can fit up to six people, travel time is half an hour at most. San Vicente is a short trike ride from Sta. Ana town proper (P15.00 per passenger).

Going to Sta. Ana from Manila, one can either take a plane to Tuguegarao or take the night bus going to Tuguegarao. From Tuguegaro, ride a bus (P185.00 as of December 2010) or van (P180.00 as of February 2014) going to Sta. Ana, travel time is two to three hours.

Palaui Island

Farol de Cabo Engaño

By Plane

PAL Express and Cebu Pacific fly to Tuguegarao from Manila, travel time is approximately an hour.

By Bus

Via Tuguegarao: From Manila, Victory Liner, Baliwag (Contact No: 524-7111, 525-1067, 525-3064, 525-6769, 525-2338, 525-2294), EMC Bus Company, Auto Bus Company (Contact No: 7358096) and Florida Liner have daily trips to Cagayan Capitol everyday almost every hour. It is around 485 kilometers north of Metro Manila; travel time is about 11 to 12 hours and  fare is P599.00 (as of February 2014).

If you are coming from Tabuk, jeepneys are available in Kalabaw Intersection (in front of St. William Cathedral), fare is P55.00 (as of 2008). From Ilocos and Abra, GMW Liner and Florida Liner have trips to Tuguegarao.

From Tuguegaro, ride a bus (P185.00 as of December 2010) or van (P180.00 as of February 2014) going to Sta. Ana, travel time is two to three hours.

Direct to Sta. Ana: Florida Liner is the only bus company that goes direct to Sta. Ana, Cagayan. Daily trips to Sta. Ana leave Sampaloc at 12PM and 3PM.

Palaui Island

Cape Engaño Lighthouse from afar

Where to Stay

There is no commercial accommodation in Palaui Island. Tourists who opt to stay overnight in the island can look for homestays or pitch a tent in Punta Verde. A recent local government resolution restricts camping in any other areas in Palaui Island except in Punta Verde.

The nearest commercial accommodations are in mainland Sta. Ana. For budget traveler, Mel and J’s Inn located in Sta. Ana Market, offer rooms for as low as P500.00 for a very basic fan room that is good for three person. Do not expect too much on this room :P

Other accommodations in Sta. Ana are:

  • Balai Cagayano
  • Cagayan Holiday Resort
  • Ceza Guest House
    Centro, Sta. Ana, Cagayan
    Contact: (63)-78-585-1021
  • Country-Inn By The Sea
  • Costa Carina Beach Front
  • Costales Lodging House
  • Jotay Resort
    Centro, Sta. Ana, Cagayan
    Contact: +63906-4781270
  • Tres Rosas Beach Resort
    Diora-Zinungan, Sta. Ana, Cagayan
  • Orquidia Beach Resort
    Diora-Zinungan, Sta. Ana, Cagayan
  • St. Anthony’s Resort
    Rapuli, Sta. Ana, Cagayan
  • El Cortez Beach Resort
    Diora- Zinungan, Sta. Ana, Cagayan
  • Eden’s Lodging House
    Centro, Sta. Ana, Cagayan
  • Lordwins Beach Resort
    Sta. Cruz, Sta. Ana, Cagayan
  • M&E Lodging House
    San Vicente, Sta. Ana, Cagayan
  • Jerolinda Beach Resort
    San Vicente, Sta. Ana, Cagayan
  • Phil. Game Fishing Foundation
    San Vicente, Sta. Ana, Cagayan
Palaui Island

Wild water buffaloes freely roaming in Palaui’s grassy hill

Activities

  • Trek to Cape Engaño Lighthouse in Cape Engaño Point
  • Check out Siwangag Cove
  • Swimming and Beach Hopping on its 21 kilometer shoreline and coves of white sand
  • Find its hidden waterfalls
  • Snorkeling/Scuba Diving (bring your own equipments)
  • Fishing (bring your own equipments)
  • Bird Watching
  • Hiking
  • Camping/Picnic
  • Beach Volleyball/Frisbee
  • Skimboarding (bring your own board)
  • Watch the sunrise and sunset
  • Visit Anguib Beach, Jerolinda Beach and Buacag Falls in mainland Sta. Ana
  • See the Gotan mangrove forest and waterfalls
  • Visit the nearby Crocodile, Mapurao and Manidad Islands
  • Experience Viray Festival held yearly from May 26 to 30
Palaui Island

A local collecting shells

Tips

  • The best way to reach the town of Sta. Ana from Manila by land is via the night bus of Florida Liner direct to Sta. Ana
  • If you are trekking Cape Engaño Lighthouse by land, please GET A LOCAL GUIDE! Guide fee is only P300, for one to four person; P600, for five to six person; and P900, for eight to 12 person. The trek takes at least two (2) hours. There are two trails going to the lighthouse: the easier Lagunzad’s Trail and the more challenging Leonardo’s Trail.
  • All guests should register in Ecozone Visitor Center, the local government arm that manages tourism in Sta. Ana. Advance reservation is not necessary but encouraged, contact Ms. Roselyn Foronda at 0917-7809302.
  • If you are going to Cape Engaño Lighthouse by boat, the rate is P2800 for a boat that can fit up to six persons, P3,000 if you are coming from Anguib Beach.
  • Gael (of www.thepinaysolobackpacker.com) and I, highly recommend Kuya Edwin Tabucol, a local of Palaui Island. Contact no: +639269064657. He has a boat that can be rented to take you to the lighthouse and to Palaui from San Vicente. He can also guide you to the lighthouse. (All tours are now handled by the Ecozone Visitor Center, if they happen to assign Kuya Edwin to you as guide, say hello to him for me! :D)
  • If you plan to head north to Babuyan Islands, there is a ferry the leaves every morning of Tuesdays and Fridays from San Vicente Port to Camiguin and Calayan Islands. Camiguin is around three (3) hours from San Vicente Port, fare is P320.00 as of December 2010. Calayan Island is around five hours away, fare is P640.00 as of December 2010. The return ferry leaves Camiguin and Calayan every Wednesdays and Sundays morning. (Schedule is subject to change.)
  • Ferry from San Vicente Port going to Batanes is seasonal and operates only during summer/calm seas and weather (usually April and May)
  • The last trip of van going to Sta. Ana from Tuguegarao is 530PM
  • The last trip of van going to Tuguegarao from Sta. Ana is 1PM
  • For other information and tips, please visit The Pinay Solo Backpacker’s Palaui Island Travel Guide
  • The 27th and 28th seasons of reality show Survivor US Edition already finished shooting in the island
Palaui Island

The beautiful cove below the lighthouse.

130 Comments on “Travel Guide: Palaui Island (Updated)

  1. Hi! Is it possible na 2days lng para sa callao cave & palaui island? Thanks!

    • if you’re arriving by plane ETA 12:55 get a tricycle or car fr a/port & go straight to Callao Caves, then be sure to be in TUG to catch the last van to Sta Ana/San Vicente at 5:00pm. Stay overnight at San Vicente (if u stay at EFCostales, its walking distance to pier) & take the boat b4 6:00am (i don’t know though if they now allow DIY tours to Palaui) be back to Sta Ana b4 noon to catch last van to TUG 1:00pm. You’ll arrive at TUG about 4:00pm so plenty of time to see TUG proper before catching the bus at 7:00pm to MNL, arriving 7:00am the next day.

  2. Me and 3 of my companions will be going to Palaui on May 28 2014, anyone who wanna tag along? Contact me, 09157718962 =)

  3. Who’s going to Sta. Ana or Palaui on April 15-17? Me and my two friends are going to Sta. Ana on april 15-19.. April 15-17 will be to sta ana/palaui and then after 17-19 in Tuguegarao will be going to visit callao cave..

  4. kay, if you’re going to the Lighthouse from Cape Engano itself (45 min boat ride fr San Vicente), it’s easy. Even senior citizens like us managed to go up in sandals. If you’re treking fr Punta Verde, it’ll be 2-3 hrs. I don’t know how the terrain is.

  5. hi anyone who would be goin to palaui this april 6-7? looking for travel buddies. I just checked on the website of palaui. So if u rent a boat dpat may package na ksama lagi? no walk inn na starting april 1 eh. di pa kc ngrereply ung sa info ctr. thanks

  6. Just got back from TUG: the trip to Palaui was short but worth the 4-hr trip fr Tuguegarao to San Vicente. Stayed at EFCostales Lodge who were helpful enough to get us our Day Pass & arrange for our boatman, since we arrived late Monday evening, and was leaving 5am the following day. Costales Lodge is walking distance to the pier. I suggest people go to Cape Engano Lighthouse early to avoid the crowd as the pathway to the lighthouse is good for single file only. The view is breathtaking. Another recommendation also for those staying in Tuguegarao: go to Villa Blanca Hotel. They have promo for aircon twin room for P750 w/free b/fast & airport transfers. Anyone who is interested in the contact nos.,let me know.

    • hello JJ wer group of 15 any suggestion/reccomendations where to stay in TUG, wer leaving on April 1 6am (Manila)..on the ff day going to sta ana cagayan:) thanks for helping

      • for Tuguegarao I suggest you go to Villa Blanca Hotel contact: Janet 09178615161 email:villablancatuguegarao@yahoo.com website http://www.villablancahotel.com.ph/ they hv dormitory type for P250/head. Airport transfer is also free. I know they hv a coaster that can accommodate a big group. For Sta Ana, I suggest you go straight to San Vicente where the pier for Palaui Island is just walking distance. Contact Ela of EFCostales Lodge 09059590115 or 09998172799 email efcostaleslodge@yahoo.com website: http://efcostaleslodge.jimdo.com/ They also have rooms w/own kitchen. for boatman, you can contact Hamil 09168259612. Each boat carries only 8 people. But starting Apr 1, there is a new policy where travelers can join package tour w/c is cheaper & includes food. The only hitch is there is a fixed schedule of visit to Palaui Island.

  7. hi, my friend and i were planning to go there on march 30, anyone who’s gonna be there and open for boat sharing?

    • Hi my sister and i plans to go there this march 29-30 too. wanna tag along?

    • Wanted: Palaui Trip Joiner

      it’s just my sister and I, original plan is that when we get companions this coming March 28-30, we will go there, the boat trips are quite expensive so if you guys are looking for joiners we are in.

      if there will be no joiners this coming March we plan to move it on April Holy Week (April 17-20), anyone interested can contact me at this mobile number 0917802743 or leave a comment. :)

      • when are you going to explore the light house,…. we will be arriving in palaui on the 29th and we will leave the island on the 30th in the afternoon…..

      • I cant contact Ms. Roselyn on her CP # posted here….
        can i get another # of the tourisim officer for PALAUI?

        can we go straight ahead to punta verde?

        • u can contact Grace Ruiz of Ecozone Visitor Centre cp#09175937139.
          you can make Punta Verde your first stop, stay overnight camping (its the only place in Palaui Island they allow tourists to stay overnight), then do a 2-3hr trek from Punta Verde to Cape Engano Lighthouse, then go back direct to san vicente. you talk to your boatman about pick up arrangements. But before you take the boat for Palaui you must first get the Day Pass for yourselves & your boatmen.

          • hi, is it a rough trek to cape engano lighthouse? do we need hike/trek shoes or plain rubbershoes will do?
            many thanks.

  8. Hi! Kuya Edwin will be my boatman to Palaui on March 22. Thanks for all the informations. It was very helpful.

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