No matter when you go within the Philippines, you’ll be in for sun, sea and lots of boat trips, to get between the beautiful islands. The Philippines is a group of almost 8000 islands spread out in the Pacific Ocean and home to geographical wonders, from volcanoes to caves to waterfalls and the ‘chocolate hills’. Like many South-East Asian countries, the Philippines also has fantastic food, fascinating history and amazing beaches.
They say that ‘there are no bad beaches in the Philippines’, and with so many reef-fringed, tropical islands, it’s easy to see why. Many of its islands have been undergoing rehabilitation over the past few years to restore them to their natural, breathtaking beauty meaning now is the perfect time to visit. So, start with these 20 Philippines beaches for sand, sun and sea.
- Philippines Beaches
- 20 Beaches In The Philippines
- 1- El Nido, Palawan
- 2- Coron
- 3- White Beach, Boracay
- 4- Zamboanga, Great Santa Cruz Island
- 5- Paradise Beach, Bantayan Island
- 6- Salagdoong Beach, Siquijor Island
- 7- Alona Beach, Panglao
- 8- The Island Buenavista
- 9- Dumaluan Beach, Panglao
- 10- Caramoan, Camarines Sur
- 11- Canibad Beach Cove, Samal
- 12- Dahican Beach, Mati
- 13- Oslob Beach, Cebu
- 14- Nacpan Beach
- 15- Leyte, Canigao Island
- 16- White Island, Camiguin
- 17- Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte
- 18- Port Barton, Palawan
- 19- Pandan Beach, Araceli
- 20- Crystal Beach, Zambalas
- 20 Beaches In The Philippines
20 Beaches In The Philippines
1- El Nido, Palawan
El Nido is world-famous for having some of the Philippines’ most incredible beaches and the entire island features on this list because every single beach here is better than the next.
You can easily spend a week enjoying yourself and exploring El Nido, with activities ranging from cave exploration to diving, hiking and visiting lagoons.
It’s straightforward to get here too, by taking a direct flight from Manila, Cebu or Coron.
Coron is up there with Boracay and El Nido for being one of the most famous places in the Philippines.
The best way to experience the beaches here is to rent a kayak for a few hours and paddle between the islands.
Some of Coron’s top highlights include Malcapuya Beach, diving in Barracuda Lake and exploring the shipwrecks of Japanese boats hidden just offshore.
It is also popular due to the natural hot springs that accumulate along the shoreline around sunset, a hotspot for tourists to bring a few drinks and chill while the sun goes down.
3- White Beach, Boracay
Frequently cited as the jewel of Boracay – although White Beach makes up most of the island, this beach is one of the Philippines’ most famous and popular attractions.
Not that this detracts from the beauty of its soft white sand and impossibly blue ocean.
Although Boracay had a period of overcrowding, the government’s rehabilitation of the area has worked wonders meaning the area is as pristine and untouched as before.
You’ll need an official printed voucher from your hotel to get here.
It’s a system that helps limit the number of tourists and maintain the island’s habitat.
4- Zamboanga, Great Santa Cruz Island
If you’re searching for a unique beach, Zamboanga sits at the top of the list.
There are hundreds of white sand beaches worldwide, but have you ever been to a pink beach?
The colour is caused by crushed red coral that mixes with the sand, giving it an incredible (and Instagrammable!) pink hue.
Take in the contrast of the pink sand and the stunning blue waters while swimming or snorkelling, or even just relaxing for the day.
Make the most of it, though, as Zamboanga is limited to day trips to preserve the beach, and you cannot stay overnight.
5- Paradise Beach, Bantayan Island
Bantayan Island is often visited by honeymooners or anyone looking to escape the more touristy areas west of Cebu.
The island has virtually no shops, restaurants or amenities, so you’ll be free to sink your toes into the sand and enjoy the beach, which you’re likely to have all to yourself.
However, you can buy a few snacks and drinks at the tourist office on arrival, which you can enjoy in one of the cute picnic huts on the beach.
There’s a beautiful reef close to the shore, but you’ll have to bring your own snorkelling gear to explore it.
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6- Salagdoong Beach, Siquijor Island
Small and popular with locals on weekends, Salagdoong Beach is a little slice of paradise where you can unpack under a beach umbrella and relax for the day.
If that’s too boring, you’re in luck because Salagdoong also offers adrenaline-related activities, such as water-sliding and cliff-diving.
You can choose to throw yourself off either a 20ft or 35ft rock face, which is what the area is famous for.
Although a resort owns the beach, it opens daily to visitors who want to experience its beauty and the snorkelling and diving opportunities.
7- Alona Beach, Panglao
Alona Beach is named after a famous Philippine actress, so loved by locals that they named this spectacular location after her.
The beach is considered one of the best diving destinations in the world, and you’ll find plenty of places offering tours to see the tropical marine life.
On top of this, you’ll be able to watch the turtle hatching and spot some wild dolphins at the right time of year.
After exhausting yourself with all the activities on offer, you’ll find great nightlife and a range of international cuisines on offer on the beachfront so you can while away the evening with some good food and drink.
A slightly more upscale and exclusive option, the Island Buenavista is an entire island you can hire for you, your friends and family.
Group sizes must be a minimum of 10 people, but that’s only $74 a day and includes everything from transport, drinks, kayaking, snorkelling and meals – what a steal!
It’s even worth grabbing people you’ve just met to make this dream come true.
You’ll have a small palm-fringed island with 360 soft white beaches and a shallow reef to enjoy without a tourist in sight.
It’s truly a desert island paradise if there ever was one.
The Island Buenavista is at Babak Samal Katpunan Street, Buenavista Island, Island Garden City of Samal, 8119 Davao del Norte, Philippines.
9- Dumaluan Beach, Panglao
Some areas of Dumaluan Beach are open to the public however if you book a room at one of the resorts, you’ll be guaranteed exclusive access to this fantastic stretch of sand.
You’ll have all the usual amenities at your fingertips, including snorkelling, diving offshore, tasting excellent and fresh seafood, or sitting back in one of the beach bean bags or under a beach umbrella and relaxing for the day.
This also makes a great stopping off point for visiting the famous Bohol Chocolate Hills.
10- Caramoan, Camarines Sur
The Caramoan Islands is a little-visited remote group of islands on the southeastern tip of Luzon.
However, the opportunities here and endless, from island hopping to kayaking, diving to rock climbing and exploring lagoons and caves, the entire archipelago is stunning.
It is regularly used to film the TV show Survivor due to its remote location, but this also means that you’ll have the place all to yourself most of the time.
Although only a 45-minute flight from Manila, it is still a hidden gem and with only four places to stay, you’ll get an authentic desert island experience.
11- Canibad Beach Cove, Samal
Canibad Beach Cove is tricky to reach as it’s almost an hour on a dirt path by motorbike so it’s easy to understand why this beach is a ‘virgin’ beach, meaning it is virtually untouched.
Alternatively, you can hire a private charter to take you to the cove.
The journey may put off most people, but the reward is worth it.
Although resorts have started to pop up around the area and have introduced an entrance fee, you’ll still easily find a spot to yourself on the impossibly white sand and enjoy the sparkling ocean without crowds.
Bring your own towels and snorkelling gear, as you won’t find much other than sea and sand here.
12- Dahican Beach, Mati
Once a secret gem known only by locals, Dahican Beach is steadily being recognised as one of the best beaches in the Philippines.
Imagine a long stretch of golden sand, low-hanging palm trees and shallow water lapping at your feet.
It’s also known as the surfing and skimboarding capital of the south, and aside from seasoned pros and locals, it’s a great place to give surfing a go, even if you’re a beginner.
Your view of the ocean will be uninterrupted due to Dahican’s location facing outwards to the Pacific, with nothing for hundreds of miles, although if you’re lucky, you might spot a sea turtle or two.
13- Oslob Beach, Cebu
Cebu is name-dropped by anyone who’s visited the Philippines, and there is only one reason why (more if you count the perfect white sand and diamond water) – whale sharks.
These gentle giants can be found year-round off the shores of Oslob and people flock here from around the world to swim with them.
They aren’t dangerous, more like whales than sharks and can grow to 40 m long.
Whether you want to dive, snorkel or free swim with these amazing creatures you have a 99% chance of seeing them and it will be an unforgettable experience!
The beauty of Cebu is that above water, and you’ll also find stunning waterfalls, caves and ruins to explore.
14- Nacpan Beach
Nacpan beach is the beach you came on holiday for, with 4km of creamy white sand lined with swaying palm trees and clear sapphire waters, alongside a quaint fishing village.
It makes up one half of the country’s famous ‘twin beaches’, the other being Calitang beach which you can reach on foot from here.
After enjoying some watersports and fresh seafood, you can walk up a nearby hill which provides sweeping views over both beaches, and the sunsets are famous the world over.
This is a must-visit Philippines beach at only 45 minutes by scooter from El Nido.
15- Leyte, Canigao Island
This beach is known as ‘little Boracay’ so you already know it will be spectacular.
From its powdery white sand to the deep turquoise water, you’ll never want to leave as soon as you arrive.
The attraction of Leyte is that it is very small, and not many people visit, heading to Boracay instead, but if you make the trip, you’ll soon see why Leyte is the best.
Essentially a massive rock with a bit of beach, there is little development here except a few beach huts, so you’ll get a truly rustic experience.
The locals are passionate about keeping their beach in good condition, given the damage caused to some other islands due to tourism, so the beach is pristinely untouched.
16- White Island, Camiguin
White Island gets its name from its sparkling appearance, from the soft sand to the sun reflecting off the sparkling ocean.
The island is essentially a giant sandspit with no plants, trees or wildlife.
However, just across the water, you’ll have incredible views of the nearby Mt. Hibok-Hibok and Mt. Vulcan volcanoes.
The boat trip takes only 10 minutes from the nearest port, and although its main attraction is photo opportunities and relaxing, it is still a unique place to visit.
Since there is nothing on the island, bring a hat and sunscreen for protection.
17- Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte
Another island regularly billed as the ‘Boracay of the North’, Pagudpud on the northern end of Luzon, is an impossibly beautiful swathe of sand stretching in a huge crescent into the distance.
Visitors have not yet discovered it due to its isolated location, despite being voted Asia’s number 1 beach.
As it’s on the northern tip, the island gets exposed to strong winds, so it is well-known for its wind-surfing, drawing locals from nearby and adventurous visitors from afar.
You won’t find another soul here to disturb you, and the soft beach will be yours to experience as long as you like.
18- Port Barton, Palawan
Although it’s not as well-known as El Nido, Port Barton in San Vicente is just as breathtaking and far less crowded.
It’s filled with thatched beach huts that you can rent for a night or two and is surrounded by green hills covered in coconut palms.
Port Barton’s beach is an excellent introductory Philippines beach or one to finish off your trip and open your eyes to views of the ocean with lovely islands in the distance.
Offering incredibly fresh seafood, local hospitality and an array of island activities such as snorkelling and diving, you’ll feel instantly relaxed and refreshed, experiencing the best of what the beaches in the Philippines have to offer.
19- Pandan Beach, Araceli
Pandan’s beach’s clear and shallow waters stretch almost a quarter of a kilometre into the sea, enticing crowds of sunbathers to cool off in the ocean.
Still relatively undiscovered, if you make time for this beach, you can experience some fantastic snorkelling.
The coral here is a multicoloured tropical paradise, and you’ll get to see some unusual and unique marine life.
It is also famous for its fresh seafood.
The area of Araceli is well-known for the Philippines ‘ famous ‘Curacha Crab’, a giant crab found only in these waters that remains red even when cooked and is a delicious dish to try if you have the chance.
20- Crystal Beach, Zambalas
Although most people who arrive in the Philippines head straight out to the other islands, this beach close to Manila is the perfect place to go after a very long flight to get your first taste of what the country offers.
Although it’s very popular with the locals, they’ll welcome you to the beach, and after spending a while relaxing, you’ll find lots of local food outlets dotted along the edge of the sand.
It’s also a great little spot for surfing and water sports, but if you’re looking to get over your jetlag, book a stay here for the night and wake up to the soft sound of the ocean.