Need help with planning your trip to Puerto Galera? Here’s our DIY PUERTO GALERA TRAVEL GUIDE with tips on how to get there from Manila or Batangas Port, ferry schedules, and hotel and tour recommendations. We also added a sample PUERTO GALERA ITINERARY that you may use!
If one would condense my growth as a beach chaser into the life span of a butterfly, Puerto Galera would be somewhere in the caterpillar stage. Back when I was not yet capable of flying, when Boracay, Palawan and the Maldives filled my flights of fancy, I had my eyes on places that was a little bit more realistic. First, I wanted to just hit the beach, a nearby beach, any beach. Then, I wanted to go farther, ride a boat, and set foot in an island. I always had a destination in mind — Puerto Galera.
WHAT'S COVERED IN THIS GUIDE?
UNDERSTANDING PUERTO GALERA
Even before the colonial era, Puerto Galera has always been a busy port area because it is a good natural shelter for ships and boats. In 1570, the Spaniards arrived in Batangas and later crossed the Verde Island Passage to this coastal settlement. They named it Puerto Galera or Port of Galleons.
Today, Puerto Galera is a first class municipality in Oriental Mindoro, about 130 km south of Manila. Although occupying the northernmost tip of another island (Mindoro Island), it can be easily reached from Luzon. This accessibility from the capital and CALABARZON, the country’s most populous region, made it one of the most popular beach destination for decades.
Puerto Galera faces the Verde Island Passage, which is described by a 2007 Smithsonian Institute study as the “center of the center” of the world’s marine biodiversity citing the high concentration of marine species. In 1973, it was declared a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve.
Here are more useful bits about Puerto Galera.
- Location: Oriental Mindoro, Philippines.
- Languages: Iraya and Tagalog. But most residents, especially tourism workers, can communicate in English too.
- Currency: Philippine peso (PHP, ₱). PHP100 is around USD 1.90, EUR 1.69, SGD 2.57 (as of May 2019).
- Modes of payment: CASH, primarily. Some establishments accept credit cards, but bring cash to be safe.
WHERE TO STAY IN PUERTO GALERA
Puerto Galera’s jagged coastline is hemmed by over a dozen fair-sand-filled coves. Of all these beaches, these three are the most ideal places to stay for tourists:
- White Beach. Puerto Galera’s most popular beach. This is Galera’s answer to Boracay’s White Beach. (And yep, they bear the same name.) This is where most of the tourism action happens. You’ll find a wide array of lodging and dining options here. Nightlife is also here.
- Aninuan Beach. Located just next to White Beach but this is much more tamed and quiet. This is a good place to stay if you’re after a more relaxing stay but want easy access to White Beach.
- Sabang Beach. A little bit detached from the first two coves, but it also harbors lots of accommodations. This is a great base for divers because of the number of dive resorts.
TOP PUERTO GALERA RESORTS
Here are the top-rated resorts in Puerto Galera as scored by Agoda reviewers.
- Edgewater Dive & Spa Resort. Check Rates & Availability!
- Bamboo House Beach Lodge & Restaurant. Check Rates & Availability!
- Ara Beach Resort. Check Rates & Availability!
- Utopia Resort & Spa. Check Rates & Availability!
- Jalyns Resort Apartments & Restaurant. Check Rates & Availability!
- Veronica Inn. Check Rates & Availability!
- Sunset at Aninuan Beach Resort. Check Rates & Availability!
- Steps Garden Resort. Check Rates & Availability!
- Tribal Hills Mountain Resort. Check Rates & Availability!
Search for more Hotels!
HOW TO GET TO PUERTO GALERA
The cheapest and most usual way to reach Puerto Galera from Manila is via Batangas. From Batangas Pier, you will need to catch a ferry to either of the two ports in Puerto Galera. Balatero Port is closer to White Beach and Aninuan Beach, while Muelle Port is closer to Sabang.
- Head to a JAM Liner bus terminal. There’s one in Cubao and another in LRT Buendia area.
- Catch a bus bound for Batangas Pier. Some buses pass through and make several stops in Sto. Tomas and Tanauan. If you want a quick journey, board a bus with the CALABARZON sign. This means that the bus will be taking the STAR Tollway, which bypasses most towns and cities between SLEX and Batangas City. Travel time is 2-3 hours. Fare is P197 if you’re coming from Buendia or P207 from Cubao. See bus schedule in the next section below.
- Get off at Batangas Pier. You can also tell the conductor that you plan to go to Puerto Galera so he knows where to drop you off.
- Upon arrival at Batangas Pier, head straight to the ticket counters. You may be approached by touts saying that there are no public ferries to Puerto Galera that day. DON’T BELIEVE THEM. They’re just trying to get you to charter an expensive private boat. Walk straight to the ticketing counters.
- Purchase tickets to Puerto Galera. You may choose a roro or a fastcraft. You can find the schedule as of April 2019 here. Fare: P300.
- Pay the Batangas Pier terminal fee. P30 per person.
- Board your booked ferry. Travel time: 55-100 minutes, depending on the type of vessel.
- At Balatero or Muelle Port, pay the environmental fee. P50 per person. Balatero Pier also collects an additional P20 terminal fee.
- Ride a tricycle to your resort. If your resort is within short distance, fare is P200 per trip or P50 per person (if you’re a group).
MANILA TO BATANGAS BUS SCHEDULE
Here’s the schedule of Jam Liner buses as of May 2019.
BATANGAS PIER TO PUERTO GALERA SCHEDULE
You can board a roro, a semi-fastcraft, or a fastcraft to Muelle Port or Balatero Port.
There used to be outrigger boats that carry passengers straight to White Beach or Sabang Beach. But during our last trip to Puerto Galera, we didn’t see any outrigger boats to Puerto Galera. The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) had plans of phasing out wooden-hulled boats last year, but I’m not sure if they have implemented this already.
For the schedule of authorized ferries, you may refer to this: BATANGAS-PUERTO GALERA TIMETABLE.
HOW TO GET AROUND PUERTO GALERA
The jeepney is the cheapest mode of transportation in Puerto Galera. However, as in any other place in the country, jeepneys follow a fixed route and tentative schedules. If you want better control of your time, the tricycle is better.
For short distances, most tricycle drivers charge P150-200 per ride (good for 3 pax). If you’re a group, that’s fine, but it’s a pain on the pockets if you’re traveling solo. A friend said that this is the tourist rate and that it is much lower for locals. I don’t know what the local rate is. However, for budgeting purposes, you can assume that it’s P200 per trip so you won’t go under.
You can also charter a tricycle to take you on a tour and see inland attractions like Tamaraw Falls, Virgin Beach, Mangyan Village, Infinity Farm and others for P800 (good for 3 pax).
If you have a driver’s license and you know how to drive a motorcycle, you can rent one and explore the town freely on your own. Rates vary depending on the type of motorcycle and the shop, but the standard rate is P400 per day.
If you choose to travel on two wheels, take extra care. Always wear a helmet even if many of the locals you see don’t.
To get to some islands and other coves, chartering a boat is the way to go. Here are the boat rates for trips from Muelle Port as of May 2019. A boat can usually accommodate up to 6 pax.
- Sandbar: P200 one-way, P400 round trip
- Buri Beach: P200 one-way, P400 round trip
- San Antonio: P230 one-way, P460 round trip
- Fridays: P250 one-way, P500 round trip
- Coco Beach: P250 one-way, P500 round trip
- Big La Laguna: P300 one-way, P600 round trip
- Small La Laguna: P350 one-way, P700 round trip
- Coral Garden: P400 one-way, P800 round trip
- Sabang Beach: P400 one-way, P800 round trip
- Long Beach: P500 one-way, P1000 round trip
- Haligi Beach: P500 one-way, P1000 round trip
- Bayanan Beach: P500 one-way, P1000 round trip
- Tamaraw Beach: P700 one-way, P1400 round trip
- White Beach: P1000 one-way, P2000 round trip
- Talipanan Beach: P1200 one-way, P2400 round trip
You can also ask the boatman to tour you around. You may choose three destinations and they will show you around for around P2000.
Night rates are double the prices listed above.
THINGS TO DO IN PUERTO GALERA
Island Hopping Tour
Most island hopping tours will take you to the following attractions:
- Haligi Beach
- Bayanan Beach
- Sandbar (sometimes replaced by Maniknik Beach)
- Coral Garden (snorkeling site)
You can also replace a site with another. Check out the list of beaches in the previous section above (HOW TO GET AROUND: BY BOAT) and pick 3 from that list.
The boat tour costs P1800-P2000 per boat, good for 6-8 passengers. An additional P200 fee is collected per person for the smaller paddle boat that will take you to the snorkeling site.
If you want to make the most of your trip, you may visit the following sites:
- San Antonio Island’s underwater cave
- Giant clams site
- Coral garden
Prepare to pay an extra P600 per person to see all three additional attractions.
Another way to explore Puerto Galera is by joining a tricycle tour, which will take you to some natural attractions that are easily accessible by land. A tricycle tour usually makes a stop at the following:
- Tamaraw Falls
- Virgin Beach
- Mangyan Village
You will also be stopping at some lookout spots along the way.
The tour costs P800 per tricycle, maximum of 3 passengers. The price excludes entrance fees and other fees per site including the following:
- Tamaraw Falls swimming area fee: P30 per person
- Umbrella kiosk rental fee: P140
- Barbeque grill rental fee: P50
- Table rental fee: P30
- Tamaraw Falls table rental and cooking fee: P150 per table
- Virgin Beach entrance fee: P30 per person
If tricycle is not your preferred mode of transportation, you may also charter a multi-cab or jeepney for P2000+ per vehicle. This will allow you to see other attractions including:
- Lantuyan Water Curtain
- Infinity Farm
- Turukan Falls
- Hanging Bridge
Additional fees may apply.
Puerto Galera’s coast is lapped by the waves of the Verde Island Passage, which is described by a 2007 Smithsonian Institute study as the “center of the center” of the world’s marine biodiversity citing the high concentration of marine species.
Home to over 40 established dive sites, it is one of the top diving destinations in the country. If you haven’t tried scuba diving before, Puerto Galera is also an ideal place to discover your love for the deep. There’s a lot of dive shops and resorts here and rates vary. But Fun Dives start at P1500 per dive. You can also find PADI introductory courses for around P3500 (1-2 hours, 1 dive).
White Beach and Nightlife
White Beach is Puerto Galera’s answer to Boracay. It is the most popular stretch of sand in the area and the most commercialized. You’ll find plenty of activities to enjoy here even at night. On weekends and holidays, there’s no running short of bars, booze, live bands, and fire dancers.
If you want an adrenaline rush, try some of these water rides. Best enjoyed as part of a group. Here are the rates:
- Unicorn: P2,500, good for 10 pax
- King Cobra: P2,500, good for 10 pax
- Flying Saucer: P2,000, good for 6 pax
- Fly Fish: P1,500, goof for 3 pax
- Jetski: P2,000 per 15 minutes
SAMPLE PUERTO GALERA ITINERARY
Below is a sample overnight Puerto Galera itinerary with breakdown of expenses. This itinerary assumes you’re a group of 3, splitting some expenses and staying at a resort in White Beach or Aninuan Beach. Feel free to make necessary adjustments to match your schedule, needs, or preferences.
DAY 1 – ARRIVAL, ISLAND TOUR
05:00 am – Bus to Batangas Pier, P197
07:30 am – Arrival at Batangas Pier
07:45 am – Purchase ticket, P300
08:00 am – Pay terminal fee, P30
08:30 am – Board ferry to Puerto Galera
10:00 am – Arrival, Pay environmental fee, P50
10:15 am – Tricycle to resort, P50
10:30 am – Check in or drop bags
11:00 am – Lunch, P100
12:00 pm – Island hopping, P600 (P1800/3pax) + P600
05:30 pm – Back to resort, freshen up
06:30 pm – Tricycle to White Beach, P50
07:00 pm – Dinner, P200
08:00 pm – White Beach nightlife
10:00 pm – Back to resort, P50
DAY 2 – LAND TOUR, DEPARTURE
06:00 am – Land Tour, P267 (P800/3pax)
06:30 am – Drop by public market, buy food, P200
07:00 am – Continue land tour, Entrance fees: P60
10:30 am – Brunch at Tamaraw Falls, Grill: P50, Table: P30
12:00 pm – Check out
12:30 pm – Tricycle to Port, P50
12:40 pm – Buy ticket to Batangas, P300
12:50 pm – Pay terminal fee, P20; exit fee: P10
01:30 pm – Board ferry
03:00 pm – Arrival at Batangas pier
03:30 pm – Board bus to Manila, P197
If you spend P600 per night per person on accommodation, this itinerary will cost you around P4200 (USD 80, EUR 71, SGD 110) per person, with a small allowance for incidental expenses but excluding tips and shopping budget.
There are many ways to bring the cost down. If you’re part of a bigger group, you can dramatically reduce the tour expenses. This itinerary assumes you’re a group of 3 but a typical boat can accommodate 6 pax (some even 8 pax). You can also choose a cheaper room.