A day trip to the Magpupungko Rock Pools is easily one of the most popular activities near Siargao. These tidal pools are located off the shore of Magpupungko Beach and offer visitors the perfect mix of adventure and relaxation. Thrill-seekers will be able to spend the day cliff-jumping or snorkeling, while more relaxed travelers can chill out on the beach under the shade of swaying palm trees.
If you are planning a trip to the Magpupungko Rock Pools, you should come around low tide. This is when the rocks are exposed, and the water is clear and shallow. It’s also important to remember to bring water shoes, as you’ll be walking over sharp and often slippery rocks.
How to Get to Magpupungko
If you’re staying in Siargao, it’s relatively easy to make your way to Magpupungko. From General Luna, the pools are just 45 minutes to one-hour away by moped. The easiest way to get there is to rent a scooter. The roads in Siargao are in pretty good shape, and you can rent a scooter for just a few dollars a day, which is an excellent option if you’re on a budget.
However, you can also join a group tour if you don’t want to mess with the hassle of driving yourself. Most tours will take you to Magpupungko in a car or shared van. Keep in mind that tours are generally more expensive since they include transportation and a guide.
Best time to visit Magpupungko Rock Pools
The best time to visit Magpupungko is during low tide. It’s best to plan your trip right to have the best experience at Magpupungko. Check the tide tables and plan to head to Magpupungo so you arrive about an hour before the low tide and have 2-3 hours of great conditions.
The drive on a scooter takes about 45 minutes, but there are several sights along the way, so if you plan on stopping, give yourself an extra hour. The Palm viewpoint was a good place to pull off the road, and I found myself frequently stopping along the ride to take photos.
The Magpupungko Rock Pools are tidal pools, and the tide fluctuates about one meter (3ft) between high and low tide. Also, depending on the moon cycle, the highs and lows can be even more drastic, especially near the full moon.
Most people will make it seem like it’s not worth going when it’s not low tide, but if I had the choice between visiting at not optimal times or not at all – I would still go. It may be a little harder to walk out to the pools, and you may have some waves come across the pools, but it’s still a fun place in Siargao worth checking out even if your timing is bad.
There are times when the tides are too high or rough that the pools will temporarily be closed. If this happens, there is also a beautiful beach and a bunch of food vendors to grab a snack to wait out the high tides.
Another thing to note about tides is that on most days, the tide cycles between high and low take about 5-7 hours from the lowest point to the highest point. So, there are 2-3 hours on either side of the low tide, where the conditions will still be pretty good.
On my last visit, I thought I had it timed right, but when I arrived, it started to downpour, so I grabbed a snack and a fresh coconut under one of the small shelters near the rock pools. Once the rain stopped, the tides were already coming in. It didn’t hinder my visit, but the water was above my ankles on the pool’s rocks. Sitting on the rock edge surrounding the pool wasn’t as calm and peaceful as it would have been at low tide, but it was still one of my favorite day trips in Siargao.
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What Tours go to Magpupungko
Siargao Land Tour
Explore some of Siargao’s most picturesque spots with a full-day tour of Magpupungko Island. These tours can either be booked privately or with a group. Either way, you’ll have a packed itinerary full of white-sand beaches, blue lagoons, and lush mangrove forests.
Most land tours of Siargao stop at Magpupungko Rock Pools for a few hours during low tide. Other destinations vary depending on the type of tour but may stop at Tayangban Cave, Cloud 9 Beach, and the Del Carmen Mangroves along the way.
Sugba Lagoon and Magpupungko Tour
If you’re short on time, then a short half-day tour of both Magpupungko and Sugba Lagoon may be your best option. You’ll start off with a short boat ride from Del Carmen, where you’ll navigate through dense mangrove forests to reach Sugba Lagoon. You’ll spend the morning kayaking, swimming, or cliff jumping here.
From Sugba Lagoon, you’ll make your way to the Magpupungko Rock Pools just in time to see the pools during low tide. This tour also includes a traditional Filipino lunch on the beach.
Things to do at the Magpupungko Rock Pools in Siargao
1. Cliff Jumping
Since the Magpupungko Rock Pools are surrounded by giant rock formations, it’s the perfect setting for an afternoon of cliff jumping. Despite going at low tide, you shouldn’t worry about touching the bottom of the water. The water is over 10 feet deep in the areas where you’re allowed to jump. Don’t forget to bring a pair of waterproof shoes – the rocks leading up to the cliffs can be very sharp and slippery.
The shallow, warm waters of the Magpupungko Rock Pools are practically made for snorkeling. Protected by the pull of the current, the water is very calm and teeming with an abundance of underwater life. You might spot a few tropical fish tucked away in the different nooks of the pools. If you forgot your snorkel gear, don’t worry; several shacks rent out masks and flippers.
3. Beachside Lunch
After a few hours of swimming and snorkeling, you’ll want to relax at one of the many restaurants lining the beach. Whether you’re interested in an ice-cold beer or a plate of traditional Filipino food, you won’t go hungry (or thirsty) during your visit to the Magpupungko Rock Pools.
4. Beautiful Beach
In addition to the Rock Pools, also on-site and included in the admission is access to a very nice beach. It’s a nice deep beach, and even some giant rock formations offshore punked into the sea in front of the sand.
Don’t forget your insurance! You never know when you’ll need it. We suggest getting travel insurance with Safety Wing. Which coverage includes medical, trip interruption, lost luggage, and more. Often rates are as low as $12 a week.
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