A more detailed, updated version of this article can be found here: Batanes Travel Guide

I spent only P6600 on my BATANES trip including airfare. Batanes isn’t really expensive, you just have to know your way around. Here’s how I did it.

What is it about Batanes really? Is it the elusiveness? After all, she’s the northernmost province in the country, even closer to Taiwan than Luzon. Is it the way she stands out? Not only is she the smallest and least populated, she is very in touch with her past and shows off the quirky sides to her personality. Is it the quietness? She may be surrounded by the most violent seas, but she enjoys virtually zero crime rate. Is it the physique? Everyone has heard of her natural beauty, the kind that effortlessly makes you feel insignificant.

It takes more than drive to get to Batanes. She’s distant and has one hell of a temper. You’ll be facing the biggest storms if your timing is not right. But if you know your way around her, it can be quite easy to get on her good side.

A word of caution: When the time comes that you have to leave Batanes, she will break your heart.

Batanes: Pure Beauty

How to Get to Batanes

The fastest way to reach Batanes is by air. However, the options are limited. Philippine Airlines and Skyjet Air fly to Basco, the capital town of the province. Travel time is 70-110 minutes, depending on your choice of airline.

You will be landing at Basco Airport. The town center is just a short walk away.

Year-Round Fares. Basco flights are notorious for being expensive. They can cost as much as your soul. Not really, but they can reach up to P15,000 or higher. Philippine Airlines’s average year-round fare is P7200 (roundtrip). Many travelers I know always point out that it is even cheaper to fly to Hong Kong and other ASEAN cities than Batanes. #Truth #NoLiesDetected

Just a moment ago, I did a mock booking with PAL and found out that the rates for a February 2015 travel costs P9500, roundtrip. (I found weekday promo roundtrip tickets for only P6500!) I tried booking the same dates with SkyJet, and the cost totaled P11,500.

Seat Sale/Promo Fares.  There’s hope! The key is to book early. Promo fares to Batanes are rare, but they exist. You just need to catch them when they’re up for grabs. How? Stalk Philippine Airlines. Like them on Facebook. Follow them on Twitter. Subscribe via email. This way, you’ll be the first to know when a big Basco sale is about to happen. Seat sales usually open at around midnight.  (For more information, read: How to Book Piso Fares.)

How much did it cost me to fly to Batanes? P1757, roundtrip. Yep! No kidding.

Breakdown of my Manila-Basco Fare. P288 SALE.
Breakdown of my Manila-Basco Fare. P288 SALE.

After months of waiting for a sale covering Basco, I was finally able to snag promo seats! It was a P288 base fare sale that amounted to P1757 with taxes and all.

Where to Stay in Batanes

Basco Town Proper has some really cheap inns and homestays that offer accommodations for as low as P150 per head. However, I have tried only Troy’s Lodge (homestay) and it was a pleasant experience. Some of my blogger friends also recommend Marfel’s Inn.

Troy’s Lodge
Rate: P700 per room (2-3 pax)
Contact No.: +63 938 976 2237
No wi-fi

Marfel’s Lodge
Rate: P700 per room (2 pax), P350/person for a single fan room
Contact No.: +63 908 893 1475
Wi-fi equipped

Both inns are located in the town proper of Basco and near the airport.

Where to Eat in Batanes

Basco

The well-known restaurants like Pension Ivatan and Shanedel’s in Basco all offer these authentic dishes. Prices usually range from P100-P200 per person, but the serving is big enough for two persons.

Lobsters, locally called payi, are ridiculously cheap in Batanes! Coconut crabs are also available but they are already a threatened species, so let’s spare the poor crab.

If you’re on a budget, you may try a carinderia where P50 can give you a good meal. In the town center, SDC Canteen is a popular choice although options are limited.

Sabtang

Paypanapanayan Canteen is the usual lunch stop in Sabtang. They offer lobsters and other seafood, vegetables, and bukayo for P350 per head. There are few other places near the port. Our guide took us to a small carinderia where we had the best meal of our trip. Unfortunately, for the life of me, I can’t remember the name of the place.

How to Get Around Batanes: Tours and Transportation

The faluwa that ferries passengers from Ivana to Sabtang, and the cogon-roofed tricycle.
The faluwa that ferries passengers from Ivana to Sabtang, and the cogon-roofed tricycle in Sabtang.

Here are the available transportation options:

Bicycle Rental. The bicycle is the cheapest way of going around the island, but make sure you have the stamina to match. The landscape is rugged and a bicycle ride can take you up and down the slopes of rolling hills a hundred times over. Not really a hundred, but you get the point.

  • Small bikes: P300/day
  • Mountain bikes: P500-P1000/day (depending on the type and how long you’re gonna use it).

Old ones are available for P25 per hour.

Bike!

Motorcycle Rental. For those who have a driver’s license and can drive a motorbike, then this is a good option. Rental costs P500-1000 per day. Gas is not yet included.

Tricycle Tours. If you’re a party of two or more, a good option is the tricycle. The good thing about this is that the driver already know where to go or have bits of local info about the place, making the tour more guided. The rate is usually P200 per hour. Given the time it takes to tour these zones, here are the estimated (and the usual) trike rates, good for two (2) persons:

  • North Batan: P1000
  • South Batan: P1500
  • Sabtang Island: P800

Our tricycle driver was:
Dale Veracruz, 0929 341 0941.

If you need a tour guide to further appreciate the history of the place, you may contact:
Ryan Cardona, 0998 988 5898

To get to Sabtang Island, you will need to board the faluwa at Ivana Port. Roundtrip tricycle transfers cost: P440.  The boat leaves some time between 6:00am to 7:00am and returns at 2:00pm. The driver will take you to the port in the early morning and will come to fetch you in the afternoon.

To get to Itbayat, you may travel by boat that leaves Basco at 6:00am. Travel time is 2.5 to 3.5 hours. Fare, P450.

You may also travel by plane. It takes only 10-12 minutes, but the cost is at P1800. For more information about traveling to and around Itbayat, read: Itbayat Travel Guide

Places to Visit

Batanes is a 10-piece archipelago, but only the three biggest islands are inhabited and are easily accessible to tourists. Basco, the capital, is in Batan Island, which is divided into four municipalities. However, for tourism purposes, Batan Island is divided into two: North and South.

Batan Island North (Basco)
For a description of tourist spots in Batan North, visit: 10 Incredible Places in Batan Island North

Valugan Beach

Chadpidan Beach

Basco Lighthouse at Naidi Hills

Vayang Rolling Hills

Tukon Church

PAGASA Weather Station

Dipnaysupuan Japanese Tunnel

Fundacion Pacita

Batan Island South (Mahatao, Ivana, Uyugan)
More information about the places listed below here: 12 Must-Visit Spots in Batan South

Marlboro Country

Diura Beach

Honesty Shop

Tayid Lighthouse

House of Dakay

Chawa Viewdeck

Homoron White Beach

Spanish Lagoon

Imnajbu Beach and Chapel

Alapad Pass

Songsong Ruins

Spanish Bridge

Mahatao Boat Shelter

Sabtang Island
More information about what to expect from a Sabtang Island Tour at: 6 Awesome Places in Sabtang

The iconic Mahayaw Arch
Morong Beach

Down to the cove!
Chamantad Cove and Tinyan Viewpoint

A stone house in Chavayan Village
Chavayan Village

A local woman wearing vakul on top of a hat.
Savidug Village

St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel
St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel

The Old Beaterio in Savidug
The Old Beaterio

A closer look
Sabtang Lighthouse

San Vicente Ferrer Church
San Vicente Ferrer Church

Itbayat Island

For what to expect in Itbayat, check out: Itbayat Travel Guide

More information about the amazing places to visit in Batanes:

Sample Itinerary

If will be spending only three full days in Batanes, here’s an ideal itinerary.

DAY 1: BATAN NORTH TOUR
06:00 am – ETD NAIA Terminal 3
07:45 am – ETA Basco Airport
08:10 am – Check in at lodge/inn
09:00 am – Start Batan Island NORTH Tour
02:00 pm – Late lunch
03:00 pm – Rest
05:00 pm – Sunset at Naidi Hills / Dinner at Bunker Cafe
07:00 pm – Back at inn

DAY 2: SABTANG ISLAND TOUR
05:30 am – Depart for Ivana Port
06:00 am – Arrive at Ivana Port
06:30 am – Boarding
07:20 am – Arrive at San Vicente Port, Sabtang
07:30 am – Start SABTANG TOUR
11:20 am – Lunch
01:00 pm – Back at Sabtang Port
02:00 pm – Boarding
02:40 pm – Arrive at Ivana Port
02:50 pm – Visit Honesty Shop and Ivana Church
03:10 pm – Leave for Basco
03:50 pm – Back at inn/lodge, rest
05:40 pm – Walk around town, watch sunset
07:00 pm – Dinner

DAY 3: BATAN SOUTH TOUR
07:00 am – Wakeup call
08:00 am – Start Batan SOUTH Tour
04:00 pm – End of tour, rest
07:00 pm – Dinner

DAY 4: DEPARTURE
06:00 am – Wake up
06:30 am – Check out
07:00 am – Walk to Airport
08:10 am – ETD Basco Airport
09:55 am – ETA NAIA Terminal 3

Budget Breakdown

Here’s a list of expenses that I made during my last trip to Batanes (4D3N) to give you a ballpark figure of how much budget to allot for this. This does not mean that you will be spending just as much on your trip because your spending habits may be different from mine. Note that we are a party of two.

  • P1050 – Troy Lodge (3 nights, divided by 2 pax)
  • P500 – North Tour (P1000/2 pax)
  • P750 – South Tour (P1500/2pax)
  • P400 – Sabtang Tour (P800/2 pax)
  • P220 – RT Basco-Ivana Port Tricycle (P440/2 pax)
  • P150 – RT Sabtang Island Boat Fare
  • P200 – Sabtang Environmental Fee
  • P1300 – Total Food expenses (Lunches, Dinners)
  • P4570 – TOTAL EXPENSES

Airfare and airport fees are not included above. But I spent only P1757 for the roundtrip ticket. So including the airfare and the terminal fees, I only spent a total of P6,600. Not bad for a dreamy Batanes trip!

You can still lower this cost in many ways. If you bike, it can bring down the cost of transportation significantly. You may also skip trying out some of the province’s native dishes for cheaper meals, although I discourage that. Any trip is just incomplete without digging into some local delicacies.

The number of people in the group also affects the overall cost, which means you might end up spending more if you’re traveling alone.

UPDATE! Starting 2017, tourists are charged P350 per person upon arrival at the airport. So make sure you include this in your computation.


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Yoshke Dimen
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[…] of a vacation in the Philippines … but on a budget? The Poor Traveler has an entertaining and comprehensive travel guide to Batanes, […]

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[…] of a vacation in the Philippines … but on a budget? The Poor Traveler has an entertaining and comprehensive travel guide to Batanes, […]

Gilbert Arjona

Nice akala ko sobrang mahal ang magtravel sa batanes now i know makakapunta din kmi dun soon

pai

when are the best months to travel to batanes? weather could be an issue…maybe seat sales are on months with bad weather? i hope not! i enjoyed reading this article. i am very much determined now to pursue my batanes trip!

hara

i really want to go in batanes. hirap ko lang matyempuhan ung promo fare ng pal going to basco… :(

Jas U

bookmarked! :) thanks for the information..

yoshke

No problem! Let’s all wait for the next seat sale! Hahaha

gloria

paano po ba mag process ng papers or what na kakailanganin papuntang batanes? what if more than a month gusto ko magstay saan pwede magstay ??

joyce

pinas lang naman ang batanes, di mo na kailangan mag asikaso ng papers.. kung gusto mo tumira dun for good pwede din naman kasi marami pwede rentahan dun na apartment na mura lang at madami dn naman pwede pasukan n trabaho dun kya d din uso namamalimos dun.

marie

like anong pwede na trabaho na pwede pasukan sa batanes? Pangalawa beses na ako bumalik sa batanes. Gusto ko tumira dun

You are so helpful!

thanks for sharing!

yoshke

And thanks for visiting our blog! :)

kclarin

this is most helpful. salamat!

yoshke

Salamat din sa pagbisita! :)

malory

yey! very helpful.. thanks! :)

yoshke

Thanks, Malory!

CzarinaMaye

I am still struggling to find that seat sale for Basco but thanks for sharing!! ;) Really helpful post for those who want to discover Batanes. ;)

Jonver

I feel ya! I really don’t know how Yoshke finds these seat sales!

yoshke

Haha, like PAL’s FB page. Then, choose “Get Notifications” so you would be the first to know when there’s a sale. Promo seats for destinations like Basco get sold out easily that when they launch at midnight, the seats are gone by dawn. :D

Len Driz

Same here! :) Hoping to visit Batanes this year..

Cye

Waahh!! When did you book? Baka next time merun uli!!! This is my dream destination!!!

yoshke

I booked around October if I remember correctly. The flight was scheduled in February. :)

Micamyx|Senyorita

What a comprehensive guide! Enjoyed my bday trip last May and I am hoping to visit Itbayat soon :D

yoshke

Sabay tayo sa Itbayat! Pag may time. Haha

marc

What month best travel to Batanes?

yoshke

December to May. :)

cj

hi yoshke! wanna know if 3 persons can fit in a tricycle for the tour? or is it only good for two?

thanks for this ultimate guide :)

yoshke

Two is the ideal number of passengers per tricycle. (That’s what I saw on the price list.)

But I have seen trikes carrying three pax so it is possible. But they might charge extra. :)

chelay

this is so nice!

kiko

do you think there’s a promo for the month of march?

Larah Keth Ansino

Place full of fun and adventure! Hope to book one of this days. Love love love!

Sica

This is nice. My fiance and I were initially planning to go to Bali for our honeymoon, pero mukhang mas gusto ko na rito. :)

Karen Ahappycook

Great post! Thanks for the information this helps me a lot in my planning!

shieryll16

Hello! What time did you travel to batanes?

gracey

travelling to batanes this coming nov. 26, 2014 reading your blog is such a big help thanks!

michelle

Hi, how much is your airfare?

michelle

Hi, i keep reading your blog and hoping that i could travel to Batanes with the same budget. But the available promo fare is still expensive.:(

Nita

complete! thanks!

Corine

Hi Yoshke! I was wondering if there are ferries that travels from somewhere in Ilocos to Batanes. Our group is planning to stay at vigan muna before we go to batanes eh.

Flor

when is the great time to visit batanes? by the way when din you travel having this kind of airfare promo (i mean the month of your travel)

Flor

thank you for this travel tip. it really gives me hope… :)

Arnel

We Got our ticket via sky jet at 7200 per head :) Not bad…

Mark

thanks for this very useful guide.. may i know how much did you you spend for this trip? or yung total budget mo na lang po… salamat…

localite

Cant u read po ba? Hello

dzaz

baka gusto nyang malaman yung total pag sinama yung pagkain, inumin..etc etc. Makahello naman.

Nick

There is a summary on the end of the article. *Facepalm

marian armada

Batanes is in my bucket list as must see. whats the best time of the year to visit this place.

nigameash

Awesome guide! I would love to visit and take guided tours of Philippines

cathy

wow! thanks! so detailed!

Samantha

Thank you for this guide! Batanes has always been one of the places that I would love to visit :)

phillippines traveler

WoW..! Awesome place it feels so relaxing. I’ll add this to my Bucket list for Next year…(:

yani

after reading this… i will definitely stalk PAL for promo fares. dream ko pumunta sa batanes, and your article is really a big help!

Kevin hart

The guide is usefull for many travellers to come.

Janine G. Gliban

Hello! When did you travel to Batanes? And was the ticket purchased online or via Travel Expo?

Wes

Hello! We’re selling Skyjet Travel Passes to and from Batanes for only 2,500 each. Check out: http://goo.gl/iQSKeb

Leonelle Ohao

2,500 all in?

Iren

What are the best months to go there?

jun

March to May (summer months) if you want a clear weather going there, going there in rainy seasons like June onwards is highly NOT recommended as Batanes is prone to typhoons

Chen Mencias

Did any of the people living in the villages where you went got some economic benefit from you? In as much as we want to save money on travel and find the cheapest way to visit such a high value destination, we also need to think of how we can contribute to the improvement of the lives of the people in the community. Traveling cheap may be good for the traveler but not making a dent to the destination, especially to those who matter most, the people living in the villages. Something to think about.

riona

hmm.. i think the ones who will benefit more with the ‘not traveling cheap’ will be the airline companies.. i mean, come to think about it as well, these high value destinations that you are talking about are not gaining anything from the transpo costs but the ‘tourism’. so even if we book the cheapest flights, it’s no big deal because what we contribute — for example — is the promotion of the tourist destination (so that more and more people would want to visit these wonderful places) and the things that could be bought/hired in that place as well, where those who matter most, as you’ve said, the people living in the villages, will be the one to benefit.. no offense meant but just sayin’..

Pissed at stupid.

Using the local tricycle driver as guide and pseudo tour operator helped one local resident. Eating in a local eatery helps a resident. That’s actually better than staying in a hotel run by a business group. Think about it.

Raina

The simple fact that you visited the place already contributes to their economy. You’re not cheating anyone by trying to travel cheaply. The biggest expense in a Batanes vacation is airfare and that goes to the airline and not to the economy of the destination.

Besides, Ivatans are simple people. They’re not POOR! They have everything they need in those islands and they are happy and satisfied people.

From what I noticed during my two trips, most of them don’t aim for a lot of money or richer lives. They like living simple and that’s more than enough. They have 0 crime rate, the best seafood selection, and great beaches, what else could they ask for? Personally, if only internet was faster there, I would not think twice to live there.

sexybebe

i wish i can find an airfare promo! my dad mentioned yesterday that he wants to visit Batanes. Hoping to make my old man’s dream come true (btw he is already 65 y/o)

Wes

Hello sexybebe! We’re selling Skyjet Travel Passes to and from Batanes for only 2,500 each. Check out: http://goo.gl/iQSKeb

NewTraveller

Round trip na ba yung 2500? May additional pa po ba yan?

Rave View

The link you provided us with cannot be found.

boni

so if the travel agent quote me for Php17,000 per head for full board this is too expensive for February trip?

Jean

Now I’m looking for accommodation and tour. They quote me for more than php 15000~20000 per head. I can’t imagine traveling like this blog.. I read several blogs, I think this is way too expensive.

jhay

Sino pupunta ng Batanes sa March 11, 2015? Solo traveler here

shin shin

ako..hehehe. . .

jhay

march 11 ka din ba magtatravel?

Lalaine Servañez Romero

me.. i want also to go, but mybe on april.. :)

rica

Chen Mencias added 2 new photos.
22 hrs ·

This is what we had been cooking for the last 2 months. Two unique Batanes community rituals will be opened to tourists for the first time. Be one of the 16 visitors who can participate. PM me to get the details of the newest product of Ecotourism Philippines. First group will be from Feb 28 to March 5, 2015. Second group will be from March 11 to 16, 2015. Hurry! 5 % discount will be given to the first 5 people who pay in full. Make sure you have a confirmed flight booking before you book this product

alexander

Hi im.planning to go batanes on march 20 to 23, 2015. im a solo traveller..looking for travel buddy..i will truly pursue this trip to batanes even alone…

alexander

I already made the booking with
PAL this morning..tuloy na talaga ako
.march 20 to 23, 2015

Vince Axl

Can you make it on August 2015? Looking for a travel buddy here.

sheila

we are planning to visit batanes on april. and uur blog helps-a lot.tnx.

trackback

What are the adventures you can do in Pampanga, Philippines?

There are a lot of things you can do in the Philippines. It depends on what you are into. If you want to go the beach, I suggest you go to Palawan. See link here: Provincial Government of Palawan. If you are into mountains/scenery, visit the Rice Terra…

riona

i’ve been looking for a ‘comprehensive guide’ to tour around batanes — i’ve read some — and your blog is the best one that i’ve read.. it’s very helpful since you’ve shared mostly what is needed and you even shared the budget that you had.. thanks a bunch! ^^,

Alice Devera Vasquez

i love batanes. it feels you are in heaven.try to go there.

Mar Lyn

my hubby and i have always wanted to be here… <3 hopingvsoon

Maria Catherine Canopin-Bacusmo Resuma-Leelian

one of my dream destinations…

Edwin Moore

Pretty interesting place, but the trip must be properly planned.