Located at the heart of Bicol, Camarines Sur is one of Luzon’s current tourist hotspots with its varying water sports and the world-famous Caramoan Islands. The abundance of white sand beaches, waterfalls, and mountains make Camarines Sur a great vacation spot for nature adventure junkies.
Surrounded by vast coastal waters and islands, Camarines Sur is known for its agricultural industry but it is also becoming well-known for its growing tourism industry. Both locals and foreigners are flocking to the province to get a glimpse of its stunning islands and beaches and to try their famous water sports. The province spans a large area and has cities like Pili, Naga, and Iriga. The friendly locals speak different Bikolano dialects depending on which part of the region they’re in but they can also understand Tagalog and English.
If you’re coming from Manila, the easiest way to get to Camarines Sur is by booking a domestic flight to Naga City. Once you’re in Naga City, you can easily access buses, jeepneys, tricycles, and taxis to get to your destination in the province.
Ferries usually sail offshore to coastal communities. If you’re coming from Visayas or Mindanao, you can opt to ride a ferry going to Masbate and another ferry going to Bulan. Once you’re in Bulan, you can ride a bus going to Naga City.
Bus lines like Philtranco and DLTB have routes going to Naga City from Manila. The travel time usually takes around 7 to 9 hours depending on the route. One of the cheaper ways to get to Camarines Sur is by train. The Philippine National Railways offers a 14 hour trip to Naga from Manila.
There are many transport methods that can be accessed while you’re in the province. If you want to get to other towns and cities, the best way would be through buses or vans. But if you just want to move around the city, tricycles and jeepneys are your best bet.
One of Camarines Sur’s top tourist spots is the Caramoan Islands. If you like island hopping, try visiting all the islands, which include Minalahos Island, Cagbalinad Island, Lahos Island, Matukad Island, Paniman Beach, Gota Beach, and Mt. Caglago. Aside from the Caramoan Islands, other beaches you can check out are Sabang Beach and Sagnay Beach.
Churches like Our Lady of Penafrancia Church, St. Michael the Archangel Parish, Bombon Parish, and Cathedral of Naga are also top tourist attractions, especially during easter week when Catholics set out for their Visita Iglesia.
Another top tourist attraction is in Camarines Sur is Lake Buhi, which is famous for being home to Sinarapan, one of the world’s smallest commercially harvested fish.
To get the full Camarines Sur experience, take a step out of your comfort zone and try watersports like wakeboarding and water-skiing at the Camsur Watersports Complex. If you prefer other outdoor activities, you can also try trekking at Mt. Isarog National Park.
Haciendas de Naga is also another outdoor adventure destination where you can enjoy outdoor activities like zipline and wall-climbing.
A trip to one of Naga’s well known hot spring resorts, Panicauson Hot Spring Resort and Nature Adventure Park could be a nice change from the beach. Aside from hot springs, you can also try visiting waterfall destinations like Malabsay Falls, Itbog Twin Falls, Nalalata Falls, and Hugsad Falls.
A trip to Camarines Sur can’t be complete without trying their famous Sili Ice Cream at 1st Colonial Grill. You can also head over to Geewan to get your fill of authentic Bicolano dishes.
Other classic restaurants to try while you’re in the province include Baracuda, Casa Soriano Family Heirloom Cuisine, Bob Marlin Restaurant and Grill, Chef Doy’s, Green Earth, and Woodstone Kitchen. If you’re looking for a cup of coffee or something sweet, some cafes and dessert shops you can check out are Don Rodolfo’s Cafe, Red Platter, and Baker’s Plaza, which is one of the best bakeries in the Bicol region.
Nightlife in the province is mostly centered in the Naga City area. There are a bunch of resto bars, clubs, grills, bars, and karaoke places in the area where you can go to have a couple of drinks, sing, dance, and have some fun. You can choose from a bunch of well-known places like Highway Grill, Honex, Back Draft Resto Bar, The Vibe Premiere Club, Krypton Grill, Bora Hut, Bar@20, Bistro Roberto, Music Box, Island Punch, Sandis Cafe Bar and Restaurant, PBar Resto, Cheers Alley Restobar, Kinamon Resto and Bar, and Blue Grill.
There are numerous hotels in Camarines City with great amenities, comfortable rooms, and good service. Some of these include hotels such as Avenue Plaza Hotel, Villa Caceres Hotel, Naga Regent Hotel, and Naga Manor Hotel. If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, you can head to places like Naga Land Hotel, Starmark Hotel, Moraville Hotel, Casita Mia Bed and Breakfast, Crown Hotel, and CBD Plaza Hotel.
If you prefer to stay somewhere with easy access to a pool or the beach, try booking a room at Tugawe Cove Resort, Giddy’s Place Padi Dive Resort, or Elysia Beach Resort.
If you’re going to be trying out water activities aside from going to the waterfalls and the beaches, make sure to bring a set of clothing that will last you through your stay.
Make sure to follow safety instructions when trying water activities or outdoor activities like wakeboarding, wall-climbing, and ziplining.
Be adventurous and try out the delicious spicy local delicacies.