We want to write this blog post with all Batanes travel tips and the things to know before visiting Batanes that may give you a little bit knowledge before your trip.
Batanes is an archipelago province which is far from the biggest mainland in the Philippines. Rules are a little bit different than in other parts of the country.
SIM CARD AT MANILA AIRPORT
I wouldn’t recommend you to buy a sim card at Manila airport. If you wish comfort you can buy eSim online and if you aren’t in a hurry just go around phone shops in the city and compare prices to buy the cheapest sim card in Manila. Read here Philippines sim card for tourist and best Philippines eSim
WHERE TO STAY IN THE PHILIPPINES
You can get accommodation starting from 800-1000 PHP (less than $20 USD) for a room in a guesthouse. Can you imagine if you are two of you traveling in the Philippines, it will be $10 USD each.
BOOK YOUR TRAVEL INSURANCE
You can read Heymondo Vs Safetwing cheapest travel Insurance. You can get for $135 USD your Heymondo Travel Insurance with Heymondo discount code valid for 90 days. Read our full Heymondo Travel Insurance Review
You can get Safetywing Travel Insurance for Digital Nomads valid for 28 days Safetywing for $50 USD per month with kids until 10 years old included
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE VISITING BATANES
1. THERE ARE ONLY 2 ATMS IN BASCO, BATANES
There are two banks which have ATMs in Basco: PNB and Landbank. There are no ATMs in Itbayat and Sabtang islands, so if you can bring cash before heading there, it will make things easier. Both ATMs are located in city center and everybody knows about them. There are even signs pointing to each ATM in Basco, so you will not get lost.
2. FLIGHTS FROM MANILA AND CLARK AND TUGUEGARAO
There are flights with Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, Sky Pasada and Sky Jet bound to Batanes. Just look for the best price and schedule for you. Prices are around 4000-5000 PHP for a one-way ticket in average. If you find a good promo especially buying in advance, you can book for plane tickets with lower prices. Take note that it can also be above this price range if you have fixed dates.
Most of the promo fares are only a couple of days during the week. In our case, from Clark, it was Friday and Saturday to go to Batanes and it was the best price we could get. Thursday and Friday is when to come back in our home in Angeles City, Pampanga.
3. INTERNET CONNECTION IN BATANES
There is no wifi connection in Batanes one of the most important things to know before visiting Batanes if you work online. In a few hotels, they charge for a wifi connection for 150 PHP per hour. If you don’t want to pay for that, you can also use your mobile data. Smart and Globe with LTE is available around Basco and also in Sabtang (around the port area and town).
Based from our experiences, both companies were working properly but if we have to choose one, the more reliable network is Smart. Around Troy’s Lodge area, we found the best connection in town close to Abad street.
4. ONE PETROL STATION
There is only one petrol station in Batanes and it’s located in Basco, close to city town. Can you imagine this, ha! It’s only one petrol station for Batan, Sabtang and Itbayat. Prices here are expensive compared with those in other places in the Philippines.
5. GUEST HOUSES ARE HUMBLE
Most of the homestays in Batanes are on a budget and you will not find many luxurious places. But no worries, you will find everything that you need for your stay in Batanes.
6. ALMOST NO NIGHTLIFE
As early as 8 pm, you will find almost no people around the street and at 9 pm everything is super quiet. Just go to sleep early and be ready for your tour next day.
7. THERE ARE NO EXCHANGE OFFICE FOR FOREIGN CURRENCY
We recommend you to bring cash to Batanes because aside from there are only 2 ATMs here, there’s nowhere you can exchange your money in. Make sure you bring Philippine Pesos since we didn’t see any exchange office in Batanes, not even in the airport. The most important of the things to know before visiting Batanes!
8. IT’S VERY CLOSE TO TAIWAN
Batanes is the northernmost province in the Philippines. That is why you can only reach it through an airplane and other countries such as Taiwan, is very close to it.
9. ONLY 17 000 PEOPLE IS THEIR POPULATION
Based from what Rachel and I read, Batanes is not only the smallest province but also the province with the smallest population. There are only around 17000 people living here. 15000 people live in Batan, the main island of Batanes, and more than 1000 people live in Sabtang. This is why they say that people in Batanes know each other.
MORE THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE VISITING BATANES
10. THERE IS NO CRIME RATE
In fact, it is one of the safest places in the world. You shouldn’t worry about taking pictures outdoors, exploring, and trying local food. You can 100% trust locals who will tell you great stories about Batanes.
11. YOU HAVE TO BE AN IVATAN TO BUY LAND AND PROPERTIES
If you are planning to open a homestay, restaurant or a tour company, you should know that only locals from Batanes are allowed to own properties and businesses in Batanes island.
12. LANGUAGES SPOKEN IN BATANES
There are actually 3 main dialects in Batanes – northern (Ivatan, spoken in Basco), Itbayaten (in Itbayat), and southern (in Sabtang). No worries if you can’t understand their dialects because most of them understand English.
13. WAKING UP EARLY MORNING
As there is almost no nightlife, things start early morning. Plan your day with a tour to visit other islands. Time is gold in Batanes, there’s nothing to waste here! There are many things you can do and you have to make the most out of your time.
14. PRICES ARE EXPENSIVE
Necessities are expensive in Batanes, apart from the airfare which isn’t the cheapest. It costs around 4000 PHP for a one-way ticket to flight to Batanes.
A meal is 350 PHP in a restaurant. Almost all of the meals have fixed prices. You can find 60 PHP per dish in a carinderia and rice for 25 PHP. You can find street food such as fish barbecue for 40-60 PHP depending on the season. Prices in Batanes are much higher than the rest of the country, but the food is so delicious and we really loved fresh fish in Batanes.
For accommodation, the cheapest you can find in Bascos is 700-900 PHP. If you want more comfort, prices will be around 2000 PHP. If you go to Sabtang, you can find accommodation for around 300-500 PHP per room in a local Homestay. Also in Itbayat, prices will be 300-500 PHP for a Homestay.
Prices for a tricycle ride around the town are around 50 PHP and little bit more expensive if you are going outside the center of Basco. If you want to rent a tricycle for a tour, prices are 1000 PHP for North tour, 1500 PHP for South tour and 1000 PHP for touring around Sabtang.
15. WEATHER IN BATANES
The best time to visit Batanes is in Summer, which is around March to June. It’s a time where rainfalls are minimal and you’ll experience sunny days in Batanes. You wouldn’t have a problem to explore from places to places if you’ll visit during summer.
You can also visit from December to February where the weather is nice and cold, if you prefe that. Weather is so unpredictable in Batanes, so click here to know more about the weather in Batanes!
16. WEATHER CAN CHANGE FROM SUNNY TO RAINY OR COLD TO HOT INSTANTLY!
In the same day, you can experience a rainy, hot, little bit cold and sunny weather. You may encounter at least 4 types of weather in the same day in Batanes. So be ready with your raincoat, sunblock, and make sure you bring extra clothes just in case it gets cold.
If you do a hike, you can be sweating, but on the way to the next tourist spot it can be rainy, cold and windy in the tricycle. Just make sure to be prepared always!
17. FOOD IS SO DELICIOUS
Before our trip in Batanes, we weren’t expecting any special about the food we’re going to eat. We were just worried about the tourist spots to visit, our itinerary, where to stay and we forgot about Ivatan food. But once we got to Batanes, we started researching and trying all the local food that we could. Our favorite dishes were flying fish, uvud balls and the different colors of the rice.
18. WOULD YOU VISIT AGAIN BATANES?
Yeah! It was one of our best experiences traveling as a couple. The landscapes were stunning. The life in Batanes was so simple and quiet. We loved the food there, plus the experiences we had- talking about their culture. When you travel in Batanes, you will continuously learn because everyday, you’ll find out about new things.
Hope all these things to know before visiting Batanes are helpful and let us know in the comments below if we are missing more of them! If you would love to visit Batanes, share this blog post with your friends and invite them for a memorable trip to Batanes!
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About the Author: Ruben, co-founder of Gamintraveler.com since 2014, is a seasoned traveler from Spain who has explored over 100 countries since 2009. Known for his extensive travel adventures across South America, Europe, the US, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and Africa, Ruben combines his passion for adventurous yet sustainable living with his love for cycling, highlighted by his remarkable 5-month bicycle journey from Spain to Norway. He currently resides in Spain, where he continues to share his travel experiences alongside his partner, Rachel, and their son, Han.