So my wandering feet brought me back to North Luzon where I found myself trekking again to the crater lake of Mount Pinatubo, the infamous volcano that had its catastrophic eruption in 1991 after more than six centuries of dormancy. Its eruption shaped a beautiful landscape that we see today. Ironically, it is now attracting countless tourists after its eruption fend off millions from the area in the past.
A trek to the crater lake of Mount Pinatubo can be done in a day. It involves a 4×4 ride on a lahar field surrounded with panoramic sand walls, and at least three hours of trekking back and forth. I suggest you pack light, as the trek can be strenuous specially when the sun is high up. Bring only what’s necessary – trail food, enough water and a compact camera to document the moment.
A packaged tour from Manila to Pinatubo Crater Lake via Capas usually costs around P3,000 (cheaper if large group) and P2,500 via Botolan (no food). A DIY tour via Capas will cost you at least P2,500 and cheaper via Botolan. If you opt to choose the latter, here’s how:
- Bus from Manila, Cubao or Pasay to Capas, Tarlac (Mc Donalds Capas Junction)
- Trike to Sta. Juliana Tourism (cheaper alternative is to take a jeep at P30 per pax or trike for at least P150 per trike to Patling and transfer to a trike at P60 per trike to Sta. Juliana Tourism)
- Register at Sta. Juliana Tourism who well then arrange the 4×4 ride, be five in a group to maximize the sharing cost for the 4×4 ride.
- The ride will take about an hour which will be followed by at least two hours of trekking
If you are alone and on a DIY tour, you may join a group at Sta. Juliana Tourism to share the 4×4 ride and guide cost. Remember that 10AM is the cutoff at Sta. Juliana Tourism, no one is allowed to go to the crater lake beyond that time.
A new route to crater lake via Botolan, Zambales just opened recently, it is a bit cheaper because instead of riding a 4×4 jeep, they use bigger truck to transport trekkers to the trailhead.
For more information on trekking to Mount Pinatubo, check out my Mount Pinatubo Travel Guide.