Exquisitely dazzling from afar as the green forest and beige fine sands reflect the sunlight; an advent manifestation of why this island draws thousands of crowds every day despite being just an island without any support facilities and utilities. It promises nothing but an enjoyable experience and beautiful sights to see around. Cotivas is an island that belongs to the barangay of Guinahoan, Caramoan Camarines Sur, Philippines, south of Lahuy Island.
After visiting the main island of Guinahoan, you may proceed to the nearby islands for island hopping before wrapping up your day's activities.
Coming here entails boat rental because there is no regular trip from the mainland to cater to the needs of the tourists wanting the visit Cotivas.
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That's why coming here as a solo traveler is not economically advisable unless you are willing to pay the boat rental cost all by yourself. Or scout from the other guests of the hotel you are staying; if there are any of them going for island hopping, you can join them and share the rental cost.
For solo travelers, here are my suggestions of things to do before traveling to Caramoan:
Scout first a hotel, tourist inn, or any lodging facility that will cater to your needs according to what you intend to do during your stay in Caramoan.
If you want beachside accommodation, you need to verify with the hotel if they are on the beachside or not.
Ask the hotel to recommend a boat to rent for your island hopping—also a land transport service for your tour around the mainland of Caramoan.
Naga City is the take-off point to Caramoan, so ride the aircon van vehicles. Never try riding the ordinary bus; otherwise, be ready to suffer all the inconveniences to experience beyond your imagination. An aircon van will take you 3 hours ride from Naga City, which is convenient and enjoyable. While ordinary will end up 6 hours ride, like what I had experienced, it would make you never feel about returning to Caramoan.
The aircon vans to Caramoan are standing by at SM Naga City.
Tell the aircon van driver to drop you at the hotel you booked as a guest. They will bring you there.
Upon your arrival at the hotel, start discussing with the hotel staff your plans for renting a boat and door-to-door motorcycle services for hire to recommend the people they know are safe to ride with and responsible.
For the boat rental in the island hopping, somehow, they can help you join with another group staying in the same hotel; you can give your share for the rental if ever, and it will save you from spending the higher rental cost.
Anticipate that the accommodation rates in Caramoan make no difference and sometimes, to some extent, are higher than the hotel rates in Manila (standard hotel). The rate comparison I am after is based on the room size, facilities, and amenities. I booked a standard room in one of the tourist inns for P1500.00 per night plus taxes. But I was amazed when I realized that the room was almost half the size of the room in a standard hotel in Manila I stay in whenever I travel to Manila and need accommodation at the same rate. A small room just enough to fit a single bed, small bathroom, and without even a mirror and a shelf to put your stuff. Not all the hotels maybe are in the same terrible condition, but I am putting this on note based on my experience in that hotel.
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Name of the Place: Cotivas Island
Location: Barangay Gunahoan, Caramoan, Camarines Sur, Philippines
Distance from the Mainland: 20 Km Approx
Travel Time: 35 Min to 1 hr boat ride from Bikal Port of Caramoan during low
tide, and 1 to 1½ during high tide and rough sea period.
Sugary Fine Sandbar
Exhilarating sights around
Best Characteristics of the Place
Peaceful, with accommodating and friendly residents.
Activities You Can Do
No existing hotel or lodging, and no concrete support facility structures.
Mobile phone and internet signal; there are networks with good signals but there are also poor to no signals.
With an Electric Power supply
How To Get Here
Here are some quick facts that you need to know:
From the Town Proper to Bikal Port
Distance: 4.6 Km
Travel Time: 4 – 6 minutes
Public Transport Available: Tricycle, motorbike ride
Visiting Cotivas from the mainland of Caramoan has several points of take-off:
Bikal Port – The main port
Paniman Port – Alternative port
Tabgon Port – Alternative port
Unfortunately, there is no regular boat passenger trip coming to this point, so you need to rent a boat from Bikal Port.
From Bikal Boat Terminal to Cotivas Island
Main Port of take-off – Bikal boat terminal
Distance: 22 Km
Travel Time: 1 hour Minutes during low tide, and 1⅟2 hours or more during high tide
Boat Rental Cost
For the island-hopping boat rental, the price for the whole day ranges from P2000 to P2800.00
The boat's maximum capacity is 12 passengers
But, following the municipal tourism rules for safety, each boat is limited to 8 passengers, excluding the crew.
More than eight passengers, you need to rent two boats.
Passengers should all be provided with a life vest by the boat operators
You can arrange the boat rental at the Bikal port/boat terminal.
Other than Cotivas Island, there are other islands that you can visit on the same day of your visit to Cotivas; therefore I suggest doing island hopping to maximize the time and the cost of the boat rental.
Islands and Places To Visit
Manlawi Floating Cottages
Guinahoan Light House
The route and itinerary will depend on your arrangement with the boat operators.
Ideal Season for a Visit
Summer seasons are the ideal period to visit. The island is on the Pacific coast, and during the summer seasons, the sea is calm most of the time.
During rainy seasons, you need to avoid when there is low pressure coming or typhoon signals because the sea is rough. Although going to Cotivas the sea route is between and close to several islands along the way, extra precautions for safety should be considered first and foremost.
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Any queries, comments, or corrections, please feel free to write in the comment section below.