Why we can recommend to visit Puerto Galera? If you want to relax this is your place in the Philippines. It’s not very far if you are staying in Manila. Puerto Galera is famous for diving and snorkeling and it was good. But we will discover for you that there are many things to do in Puerto Galera apart from diving and snorkeling.
There are different beaches depending what you are looking for, if you want more relax during the night or you want to hang out. Well we tried both of them and it depends what you feel at that moment.
How to get to Puerto Galera
If you are in Manila, you will have to ride a bus to Batangas port for 2-3 hours depending of the traffic. If you go in the weekends or first thing in the morning you will make to Batangas in a couple of hours. Prices for the bus costs $4. And once you are in Batangas you have to ride a boat to reach Puerto Galera an hour or so. Prices for the boat is $5-6. Once you ride the boat from Batangas, you need to do small payments for ferry terminal (half dollar) and also enviromental fee for maintenance of the island ($1-2). Puerto Galera is a touristic destination for locals and foreigners and you need to pay the price.
ATM’s in Puerto Galera
ATM is scarce in Puerto Galera but there are, at present, 3 ATMs in Puerto Galera; 2 are located in Poblacion and 1 in Sabang. All accept the 3 major ATM networks as well as foreign cards. If you’re in White Beach, ride a tricycle to Poblacion and tell the driver you are going to Allied Bank– the special trip costs 100 pesos. So it is suggested that you carry cash with you at all times. While most of the resorts around Puerto Galera accepts all types of credit card, there are small resorts and home-stay accommodations that do not accept credit/debit cards.
Best time to visit Puerto Galera
November to March is the High Season with a peak for Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Puerto Galera. April and May is the Peak Season so you should book well in advance as accommodations like hotels and homestays in Puerto Galera tend to be fully booked and has price increase. Tourists, local and foreigners will be all around the place having fun by this time. We believe that the best time to visit Puerto Galera is from February to April when you will find better prices and still good weather.
Transportation around Puerto Galera
Since Puerto Galera is just next to the sea and has other smaller islands, most commonly used vehicle to go around is banca, or a motor boat. It differs in sizes. There are bigger ones and smaller ones are used better for island hopping or going to the next resorts. Next to bancas, jeepneys are the next commonly used vehicle in Puerto Galera in land. May it be to the next town or the next city, jeepneys are the go-to vehicle to go around in land. Of course there are also tricycles for small trips, but jeepneys are better especially for longer trips. It might be a little uncomfortable to some but the fare is cheap. Tricycles can be rented if you want to have your own places you want to go to. One way for tricycle can costs 50-100 PHP or $1 to $2.
Daily budget in Puerto Galera
Daily budget for a tourist in Puerto Galera might vary by what time of the year you are there. Prices of accommodation and other daily needs can get a bit pricier for the peak season and will be back to normal once the peak season is gone. For non peak season, daily budget can be $35 to $38 a day with accommodation, food, transportation and entrance fees to some attractions and places. In peak season, daily budget can get up to $50 a day. Add some more if you want to island hop. It can get pricey but in our opinion, Puerto Galera is worth every penny. You can go down in your budget in you don’t do activities as island hopping, diving and snorkeling. Buet we recommend you to try them in Puerto Galera.
There are also Airbnb places to stay in Puerto Galera starting for $25-30. If you want to sign up for Airbnb, we give you $30 USD credit with your first booking!
Things to do in Puerto Galera
Puerto Galera is also a famous place to go to if you want to try diving. There are available diving lessons and diving activities you can opt to avail. Other water activities such as snorkeling, jet skiing and kayaking. Of course, island hopping is another popular activity since there are other smaller islands surrounding Puerto Galera that you can go to and explore. There are also inland places and attractions you can go to like the Tamaraw Falls and visit the local Mangyan Village at the foot of Mt. Malasimbo.
1. Island Hopping
Island hopping in Puerto Galera might be fun with friends, but you can also do it solo! Most bangka that you can rent to go to other islands around Puerto Galera can accommodate up to 8 person with the cost between 1,500 PHP to 2,000 PHP, depending on the season as well as the operators you’ll talk to. You can avail this activity in Sabang port but there will also be agents from travel and tours holding laminated cards of photos of the islands as well as the activities you can do there. You can approach them or they might approach you in White Beach. You’ll be toured on other unnamed islands. You can eat at the Maniknik Island since there are restaurants to eat to and enjoy the undisturbed serenity of the shore in Bayanan Island.
One of the most famous activity to do in Puerto Galera is snorkeling. It can be an activity that is a package deal with the island hopping tour, or you can just go to a certain site and do it. If you’ll add this activity in the island hopping tour, you can add more or less 300 PHP to the original fee on the island hopping package. One of the most loved site is where you can see the giant clam shells that are being cultivated and protected. Other areas boasts beautiful and colorful corals, fishes and other underwater creatures. You might want to bring a piece of bread with you to enjoy feeding the fishes.
Of course, this activity is also on the top of the things you can do while you are in Puerto Galera. There are resorts and travel and tours around Puerto Galera that offers diving lessons or diving services so you can easily avail whichever you want. There are famous sites there that you can opt to go to like The Canyons. This site is made up of three canyons and is a good site to spot snappers, barracuda and colorful corals. Diving can cost up to 3,200 PHP per person for 2 dives.
4. Party at White Beach
Along the stretch of white sands of White Beach lies the unending lines of bars, restaurants and resorts, ready to offer a night of fun and partying to the tourists. The night life in Puerto Galera is quite adult-oriented. But there are also fire dancers that can entertain even the younger crowd exploring the area. White Beach is famous for a drink called Mindoro Sling. It’s a drink made of rum mixed with fruit juices. It might taste good but it can give quite a punch, you’ve been warned!
5. Tamaraw Waterfalls
Along the main road if you’re from Calapan going to White Beach, you can already see the charming Tamaraw Falls in Puerto Galera. You can ride jeepneys and tell them to drop you off at Tamaraw falls. You don’t need to trek to reach it because it’s just near the road. It is named after the water tamaraws locally from Mindoro Island which is now endangered due to commercialization. You’ll need to go down a few steps to reach the entrance. You’ll have to pay the fee of 25 PHP per person before you can go in. The water is very cool and refreshing. There are man made pools in different levels that you can choose to swim at. Snacks can also be bought inside. Buko juice or coconut juice can also be ordered fresh.
6. Visit Mangyan Village
Located at Talipanan which is a few minutes away from White Beach harbors the Mangyan Village. Mangyans are the indigenous groups found in Mindoro who used to be coastal dwellers that heavily traded with Chinese but moved inland and in mountains to avoid the influx of foreign settlers particularly the Spaniards. The village at the foot of Mt. Malasimbo is a pretty popular tourist destination. It is where handcrafted products of the Mangyans are displayed and is sold. The Mangyan kids are also a fun bunch to be with. They are all smiling and always laughing.
7. Tukaran Waterfalls
Unlike Tamaraw falls, Takuran falls is a 30 minutes trail from the road located in the village of Calsapa, 45 minutes south of Puerto Galera. From Puerto Galera you can either ride a jeepney or hire a van that can take you directly to the trailhead. It’s also called Hidden Paradise because, well, it’s quite hidden. It is a series of gentle cascades and turquoise-toned swimming holes with refreshing water to cool you down on a hot summer day. There will be a mandatory guide that you have to pay 300 PHP if you’re with a group or if you’re alone. Please be reminded to wear a proper footwear as the trail to the falls involves river crossing. But if you don’t want to walk, you can opt to ride a Carabao-pulled ride for 450 PHP.
Food to try in Puerto Galera
Puerto Galera is just next to the sea, and one of their livelihood is to go fishing or harvest sea foods. It guarantees that the foods you might eat on the nearby restaurant is fresh and was just caught since it doesn’t need to be delivered far.
Most restaurants surrounding the area would have this in their menu. Tourists visiting Puerto Galera loves fresh seafood on their table and grilled squid is an obvious favorite! It’s a dish wherein diced onions, tomatoes, salt and pepper is inserted inside the squid before it will be grilled. It is best served with soy sauce with calamansi to add to the flavor of the grilled squid. You can eat it itself or eat it with rice.
This is a simple dish that is famous in Coco Point Hotel and Restaurant. It’s just a straight up tilapia fish cooked in coconut milk. It is creamy and delicious, the coconut milk complimented the tilapia’s taste. It’s quite a unique dish with a new and different taste for most of the foreigners, maybe that’s why they liked it.
Another sea food dish you’ll surely love. This is a dish that is equally tasty and delicious. Mussels or tahong in tagalog, is the common name used for members of several families of bivalve molluscs, from saltwater and freshwater habitats. These groups have in common a shell whose outline is elongated and asymmetrical. It will be boiled and cleaned first, then it will be baked while still on its shell with butter, pounded and minced garlic and grated cheese on top.
Festivals in Puerto Galera
There are a few festivals in Puerto Galera you might want to experience as you plan to travel and explore the place. These are the famous festivals in Puerto Galera. Check them out because you might time your visit where the festival is being held.
De Galera Festival
De Galera Festival showcases the rich historical, cultural heritage and the abundant natural resources of Puerto Galera. It is celebrated yearly every May 9 to May 12. Considered as one of the best tourism destinations in the country, Puerto Galera offers exciting tourism-activities which is capped by the celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima.
For 2 full days in March, Banana Festival is being celebrated yearly in Puerto Galera. There will be fun games and competitions during the festival. This includes the contest in cooking the best tasting banana dish with only other fruits as ingredients. The Banana Festival coincides with another local celebration in honor of Puerto Galera’s patron saint, St. Joseph so one can expect double the fun during this event. The Banana Festival is also highlighted by street dancing which the inhabitants prepare for a couple months before the actual celebration.
Malasimbo Music and Art Festival
For eight years now, Malasimbo Music and Art Festival has been making waves in social media as photos of different art works that are being showcased in the festival has been emerging. The location itself is unique, as it is being held at the amphitheater in Malasimbo in Puerto Galera. It is where top-notch musicians are invited to perform as well as artists, local and foreign, can showcase their works while the audience or guests can admire them together.
Where to Stay in Puerto Galera
We have been a few times in Puerto Galera because we honestly love the place and everytime we do, we go to different places every time: Sabang, Muelle Port, White Beach.
Featuring a garden and a terrace, Grace Hotel is located in Puerto Galera. With free WiFi, this 2-star hotel offers a shared lounge. Every room is equipped with a balcony with mountain views. At the hotel, the rooms come with a closet. Every room has a private bathroom with a shower. Guests at Grace Hotel can enjoy a continental breakfast. A room can cost 960 PHP or less than $20!
Set in Puerto Galera, 5-minute drive from Sabang Beach and 20-minute drive from White Beach, Dahilig Resort is a 3-star property that features an outdoor swimming pool, a garden and a terrace. A continental breakfast is served daily at the property. Guests can also enjoy a selection of Asian cuisine in the in-house restaurant. Hiking is among the activities that guests can enjoy near the resort. They have budget rooms that costs 750 PHP a night and double room with pool view for 2,100 PHP a night.
Nirvana Resort is located in Puerto Galera, near the town center. It offers an outdoor infinity pool and a restaurant. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the resort.
Rooms at Nirvana Resort are equipped with air conditioning and cable TV. Some rooms have a fridge and seating area.The resort can arrange island boat tours and water sports. Other facilities include a souvenir shop, library area and game room.
Nirvana Resort Bar and Restaurant serves Filipino, Oriental and international dishes. Located by the pool, it also overlooks the beach. Guests can order room service. Room costs 3,200 PHP a night.
Lalaguna Villas Luxury Dive Resort and Spa
The room at Lalaguna Villas Luxury Dove Resort and Spa are all air-conditioned and equipped with a flat-screen cable TV, a safety deposit box, and a wardrobe. The shared and private bathrooms come with a shower facility and free toiletries, while some units include a hot tub, a kitchen or kitchenette, and a terrace and/or a balcony with sea views.
A continental breakfast is available daily at the villa. Guests can enjoy a meal at the on-site restaurant, which serves a variety of Thai and American dishes and also offers Gluten-free and Dairy-free options.
Lalaguna Villas Luxury Dove Resort offers an outdoor swimming poo and fitness center, while diving, fishing, and other water sports facilities may be arranged at an additional cost. Rooms can costs about 4,200 PHP a night.
Beaches in Puerto Galera
In Sabang Beach there are many choices if you go to Puerto Galera for diving. Just check/compare prices and choose the one who is adapting more to your needs for diving or you can talk to them personally and negotiate. Usually, the price per person will play from 3,200 up to 3,900 PHP. You can enjoy a fun-filled time in Sabang Beach while you’re still on a budget because staying there is pretty low cost as there are many budget friendly accommodation. Here we spent amazing and luxury time in Lalaguna Villas, one of the most luxury resort in Sabang.
Among the four ports in Puerto Galera, Muelle Port is the main one serving ferries that comes in and out of the town. This port is near Sabang Beach and is the home for the Puerto Galera Yacht Club where sail boats and luxury yachts can safely come and go. The best time to watch these beautiful vessels is when the club hosts the annual All Souls Regatta, at the end of October. This race brings together small boats, dinghies, and big boats in a week-long event, in Puerto Galera.
If you like partying you should go to White Beach, there are many hostels and hotels for accommodation. Restaurants as well as bars are also all over the area. White Beach is pretty famous for its night life. Also, you can stay with locals as we did by using one of our favorite secret weapons for traveling: couchsurfing. The beach is really nice for staying during the day and also for watching the sunset. There are many things to do if you’ll visit like visiting the falls if you feel like hiking.
If you want to sign up for Airbnb, we give you $30 USD credit with your first booking!