Following my post on The road to Survivor Island, here are my thoughts on the whole trip:
When I reached Caramoan, it was almost dark. I took a tricycle and drove to a cute little town called Paniman, where you take the boats for island hopping tours. It did not have pretty white sand beaches. I was honestly disappointed but I brushed it off and carried on, looking for a place to stay and somewhere to have dinner. There weren’t that many options for either so that made me disappointed even more (probably because it was off-season). My first day/night wasn’t that great but I was very excited for the island hopping trip the next day!
I took the “short trip” around the small, nearby islands where Survivor shows shot some of their clips for their activities. They were quite pretty and I finally found soft, white sand! It felt nice to find a pretty beach where you can also swim in.
This wasn’t the case for many beaches. The waters were murky/muddy, extremely strong current, or just simply not inviting. They make for pretty pictures, though. In the picture below, I was slowly sinking through the muddy bed! Kept screaming to take the photo quickly.
Overall, the short trip was worth it. There were nice and pretty beaches and I got to personally witness set locations for the show Survivor.
On the second day, I took the “long trip”, which took about 2 hours to reach the group of islands. I was disappointed again and this time there was no “saving grace” to the experience. None of the islands were good; none of them you could swim in (at all) and they looked just like any other beach. Yes, I’ve seen quite a lot of beaches and my standards may be different but if I came all this way and went through hell, I’d like to enjoy my time. I couldn’t even take pictures cause I was very unhappy. I stayed literally 5 minutes in one island to see if I wanted to stay.
Given the situation, I knew the only way I could enjoy the rest of the day was to go back to a couple of the islands from the short trip. I did and I enjoyed the rest of my day there. I guess that was the only way I could think of to enjoy my last day in Caramoan.
Would I recommend Caramoan? Yes, but only with the mindset to see more places in the country and witness it yourself; to have an adventure. It’s not the kind of place I’d promote to people as a “must-visit”. I don’t find it as breathtaking an experience compared to, let’s say, El Nido or Siquijor. It’s worth going once and make sure you’re mentally prepared for everything. The trip alone going there is quite the ride of your life and I don’t quite find it worth the trip if I could find better beaches/places that don’t take up so much time and energy just getting there.
I stayed at Residencia de Salvacion, where prices were affordable, the place was clean, and it is far enough from the main little town so you can enjoy the beach view/vibe. I ate ALL the time at Island View Lodge since it seemed to be the only place open aside from the small karenderias around. I also stayed here during my first night because I was too tired to look for another place.