Last updated on May 3rd, 2019 at 08:45 pm
Guimaras Island is considered as one of the most visited exotic places in the Philippines. It’s located southwest of Panay Island and northwest of Negros Island, Guimaras has dry and wet seasons. We will write about our favorite Guimaras tourist spots, Guimaras Island tour, where to stay in Guimaras Island, and our Guimaras itinerary in this full Guimaras Island travel guide.
Hiligaynon is the native dialect in Guimaras but the locals can write and speak English and Filipino very well. Guimaras is mangoes province and we loved it! Guimaras mangoes are among the sweetest in the world. If you want to you try the best mangoes in the island, visit Oro Verde Mango Plantation, where more than thousands of trees are rooted in the land’s rich soil and produce these famous fruits.
Read here how to get to Guimaras Island!
Guimaras Island Travel Guide
How to get to Guimaras Island
How to get to Guimaras Island from Iloilo City
There are ferries from IloIlo wharf going to Jordan (its capital) and Buenavista in Guimaras Island. The boat ride will take 15 minutes and costs as cheap as 15 PHP during day time and 22 PHP at night. If you are staying in Iloilo City, there are jeepneys, taxis and tricycles going to the wharf.
Read here all the things to do in Iloilo City!
How to get to Guimaras from Bacolod
You have to ride a jeepney to Libertad Market from Central Market, which is 8.50 PHP per person. From Libertad Market, you have to walk to SaveMore where jeepneys leave to Pulupandan. The journey takes almost an hour and it costs 30 PHP to the ferry port. The ferry going to Sibunag in Guimaras leaves early in the morning, before 8 am. The ferry going to San Lorenzo leaves at 11 am, so take note of the schedule since there is only one boat leaving daily. The boat takes an hour and it costs 100 PHP for an adult and 50 PHP for a 6 years old if you are traveling with a kid like we did going from Bacolod to Guimaras Island.
We had a hard time riding this boat and the water was coming inside since it’s so windy getting to San Lorenzo in Guimaras Island. Maybe it’s better if you choose the other route coming from Iloilo City. Just expect a difficult ride if you ride the boat. It’s limited to 55 people but they also add motorbikes, sacks and we think is overloaded based on what we saw aside from getting dizzy during the ride.
Maybe if you take the boat leaving at 8 am the water isn’t so waivy but we didn’t have this experience!
Read here Things to do in Bacolod City!
Click here to know prices and schedule to book your bus/boat tickets online with 12Go Asia.
Best time to visit Guimaras Island
Guimaras is located in Visayas region. The best time to visit Guimaras island is from December to May, which is the dry season and it’s also the best time to visit Guimaras tourist spots and the have Guimaras Island tours. The remaining months vary from light rains to thunderstorms, so it’s always best to plan your trip along those dry months.
Hot to get Wifi in Guimaras Island
Wifi connection can be challenging in Guimaras Island. Connecting to the internet will be an issue when visiting Guimaras Island. There are a few places to get Wifi and data connection will work but you will rarely get 4G and you will be in 3G most of the time especially in Alubihod Beach where we stayed in Guimaras Island.
Given this fact, if you need to catch up with online work in Guimaras Island, make sure you use Smart and Globe sim cards. The latter offers an unlimited texting plus 1 GB internet surfing package for as low as 1.31 USD for an entire week. Read here to know the best Filipino sim for tourist.
Transportation around Guimaras Island
There are jeepneys to move around Guimaras in the main routes. When you leave and you get to Guimaras Island you will find jeepneys to move around but maybe you need to wait. Prices of the jeepney rides go from 15-50 PHP depending on the distance. Jeepneys from San Lorenzo port to San Miguel costs 50 PHP each for a 40-minute ride. If you want more comfort and avoid the waiting time, you can ride tricycles instead to move around Guimaras Island. There is almost no traffic around Guimaras Island.
There are places like Alubihod Beach where jeepneys will not go to. You will have to ride a tricycle which charges 20 PHP per person for a 2-kilometer ride. Expect to pay more if you are alone in the tricycle.
For Guimaras Island tour, prices are 600 PHP for the first hour and 200 PHP extra per hour during the whole duration of your Guimaras island tour. It can be done for 3-4 hours or you can take more time if you decide to relax in Natago Beach, Ave Maria, Turtle Island or if you want to have the experience of having lunch in a floating cottage.
Daily Budget to visit Guimaras Island
A full meal in Guimaras Island can go for as low as 80 PHP per person in a local carinderia while a bottle of beer can be bought for around 50-65 PHP. Restaurant food can be bought for around 200-300 PHP per person. Pretty cheap, right?
Those who are looking for budget hotels in Guimaras and can find one on a promo for around 1500-2500 PHP. That’s only $25-38 USD! For those who want a more luxurious stay, you can check in at very nice hotels at around $50-120 USD. You can also try AirBnB in Guimaras since there are a few options to stay at.
Guimaras Tourist Spots and Where to Go in Guimaras Island
Guimaras Island Tour
The Guimaras Island tour starts at Alubihod Beach. They charge per hour: 600 PHP for the first hour and additional 200 PHP every hour. We recommend you to do Guimaras Island Tour for 3-4 hours and it would be enough to enjoy and relax. It will cost around 1000-1200 PHP for an amazing island hopping in Guimaras.
We advice you to ask to wait for the low tide because it can be too windy in the afternoon. So it’s better if you start early in the morning to go to the farther spots, and in the afternoon, be closer to the starting point of the Island hopping in Guimaras just in case it’s too wavy like it was when we were there.
1. Natago Beach
The first and the farthest stop is Natago Beach in the Guimaras Island Tour. There is an entrance fee of 50 PHP per person. Natago Beach is an ideal place to swim since the water there is so calm. There are sellers if you want to buy coconuts, fish and you can even rent snorkeling gear if you want to try snorkeling around Natago Beach. There’s a couple of point of views where you can take nice pictures!
2. Ave Maria Island
It’s a quiet Sand bar with a Groto where the Virgin Maria isn’t anymore. But it’s one of the best places for pictures since you can see Turtle Island in the front, rock formations and the sand bar and clear water around. It’s also a good place for a swim.
3. Turtle Island
It’s a white sand beach with clear water just in front of Ave Maria. You can even go swimming or even walking if it is low tide between each other like we did!
4. Baras Cave
It’s not allowed to swim in Baras Cave, but the boatmen will go inside riding the boat and you can see the caves’ interior and the clear water inside. You can even take pictures around the rocks but make sure you don’t swim. It’s very close to Natago Beach and also on the way to Ave Maria and Turtle Island in your Guimaras Island Tour.
5. Fairy Castle
This white Rock called Fairy Castle is a sightseeing spot. However, the boatmen will not stop to go down since it’s not allowed, so you have to see it from the boat. The boatmen will take enough time to get close to the Fairy Castle so you can take a picture and see it.
Same with the Fairy Castle, it’s a sightseeing spot in your Island hopping in Guimaras. You will go close enough to take a picture but you can’t go down from the boat for swimming or to explore around.
7. Tatlong Pulo
It’s a private beach where you can swim and relax! Do some snorkeling, sunbathing, and the usual stuff you do when you go to a beautiful beach.There are also additional stops in the Guimaras Island Tour. You can visit floating cottage or restaurant for lunch in the middle of your Island hopping in Guimaras. They charge extra 200 PHP for this. Just make sure it’s not too windy when you go there!
More Guimaras Tourist Spots – Where to Go in Guimaras Island
8. Guisi Lighthouse
Image from Eugene | Flickr
Did you know that the Guisi Light House has been in Guisi beach since the 18th century? It’s actually the second oldest lighthouse in the Philippines. You can reach the lighthouse by doing a 10-minute trek and when you reach it, you will have the perfect views of the Guisi Beach and Guimaras Strait.
9. Balaan Bukid (Holy Mountain)
Image from Jasper Toledo | Flickr
Balaan Bukid is one of the mountains in Guimaras with a huge cross on top. It’s a place of pilgrimage for Catholics in Guimaras especially during the Holy Week where there’s a lot of people, from tourists to vendors and families enjoying the mountain.
10. National Mango Research and Development Center
Since mangoes in Guimaras are the best in the world, they have to develop ways on preserving and improving their quality. Because of that, the government built National Mango Research and Development Center which tourists can visit to learn more about the mango production in Guimaras.
11. San Lorenzo Wind Farm (Guimaras Windmills)
It is the first wind farm in Visayas and a famous attraction for tourists who would love taking pictures with the windmills. It also provides electricity for the whole province.
12. Taklong Island
Image from Croc Kanlaon | Flickr
Taklong Island is one of the places where you can watch the marine life in Guimaras closely. You can go snorkeling and diving here as it has very clear blue waters so you’ll be able to easily see different fishes and corals underwater.
13. Navalas Church
Image from Wilfredo | Flickr
Navalas Church is the oldest Catholic church in Guimaras which was built in 1880. It’s famous to tourists because it’s the only heritage church in the island. It has a great architecture design that stands tall until now despite of over a century of history.
14. Trappist Monastery
This monastery is a place run by monks. It is a very peaceful place so you can reflect, light a candle and pray here, as well as buy some items and souvenirs made by the monks from their shop.
15. Museu de Guimaras
It is located beside the Provincial Capitol and it houses different art pieces, artifacts, and other historical things that are all part of the history of Guimaras Island.
16. Camp Alfredo Adventure Park
Camp Alfredo Adventure Park is a place you must visit if you love both thrilling adventures and nature. Located in Ravina, Sibunag, you can do a lot of activities here like forest zip line, hanging forest bridge and even swimming in this chlorine-free pool.
17. Smallest Plaza
Indeed, it deserves the name “Smallest Plaza” because it is the Guinness Book of Records’ Smallest Plaza, ha! Locals in Guimaras Island are very proud for that title. There’s even a small statue of Dr. Jose Rizal (Filipino hero) in the Smallest Plaza.
18. Roca Encantada
Roca Encantada, also called the Enchanted Rock, is a Heritage House in Guimaras Island. You have to pay an entrance fee of 50 PHP but can only stay outside the house to take pictures. It is famous because of the nice architectural design and its history.
Where to eat in Guimaras Island
This may sound odd but you have to taste their Mango Pizza and Mango Beef Bulalo. After all, mangoes are the most famous food in nearby Guimaras Island so this is one of the best food you’ll ever taste in the Philippines. I guarantee it will become one of your favorites! Have you ever tried Mango Pizza? For us, it was also the first time and it didn’t disappoint us! When you are wondering where to eat in Guimaras Island, it’s a must The Pitstop restaurant.
Inasal is Bacolod’s pride and Guimaras Island is so close to Bacolod, so it’s easy to try with a similar taste in Bacolod’s. This unique version of charcoal grilled chicken was originated in Bacolod and is cooked with a marinade of calamansi, coconut vinegar, pepper and annato. All these herbs and spices give inasal its unique flavor that people from all over the world fall in love with. Prices of orders are around 100 PHP chicken and rice!
Local Carinderias in Guimaras
If you go on a budget and you like to eat local, there are carinderias in Guimaras and prices start from 40-60 PHP per dish plus additional 15 PHP per cup of rice. Most of the dishes are fish since you are in an island! Check out our order of longanisa and caldereta in Guimaras.
If you’ve ever heard of bulalo, it would be easy enough for you to imagine what cansi is, the Ilonggo version of said Filipino dish. For those who think those two words were made up, bulalo and cansi are basically dishes cooked with the same main ingredient: beef shank. However, the shank isn’t necessarily the highlight of cansi. The star is actually the bone marrow, which can be eaten by using the wrong end of your spoon/fork to scoop the marrow from the bone. Even shaking the bone downwards to let the marrow fall out might do the trick! Prices for order is around 350 PHP and it’s a complete soup full of meat that can be shared between a few people.
There are oysters available in Guimaras since it’s too close to the sea. The prices is 60 PHP for a dish and the order is quite big.It’s really delicious for a cheap price!
This seafood fish famous all over the Philippines is said to be comparable to ceviche. In essence, though, kinilaw (literally “eaten raw”) refers to the process of using vinegar’s acidity to cook meat or fish. It is more commonly used with fish and is served with other souring ingredients like green mangoes. It is then seasoned with pepper, chili and onions. It does well as an appetizer but is more ideally served with beer as pulutan (finger food). With the abundance of fresh fish in Guimaras Island, kinilaw isn’t hard to find.
Apart from the ones mentioned above, there are plenty of other seafood available in Guimaras Island like shrimp and talaba (oysters). One famous variant of fish found in the region is danggit, or salted and dried rabbitfish. It’s crunchy and salty, perfect to dip in vinegar, eat with hot rice and fried egg in the morning. Yum!
Where to Stay in Guimaras Island
We chose to stay in Alubihod Beach since the beach is so beautiful and the Guimaras Island tour was starting from this area in Guimaras Island. The prices are little bit more expensive than other areas in the Philippines. If you go on a budget, the cheapest room that you can find around Alubihod Beach will be around 1500 PHP.
We stayed at Jannah Glycel Beach House where they have their own private beach. They have Wifi connection in the reception and the restaurant but not in the rooms. They organize Guimaras Island tours and prices are the same in the other resorts in Alubihod Beach.
There are more options to stay at in Guimaras Island like Raymen Beach Resort if you want to stay in Alubihod Beach as we did. They also have their own private beach and they organize Guimaras Island tour. Prices of the rooms start from 1800 PHP.
Click here to know prices and schedule to book your bus/boat tickets online with 12Go Asia.
Festivals in Guimaras Island
Manggahan Festival is celebrated in May during 22th to 26th of May in the 5 Municipalities of Guimaras Island: Jordan, Buenavista, San Lorenzo, Nueva Valencia and Sibuang. They celebrate the harvest of Mangga (mangoes in English). There are shows, dances and performances during these dates in Guimaras Island.
Did we miss any Guimaras tourist spots? Let us know in the comments if you have suggestions so we can improve our Guimaras itinerary for your next trip. Feel free to share with your friends and family going to Guimaras Island and you will help us a lot.
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