Batanes Travel Guide

Overview of Batanes

With an area of about 230 square kilometers, the island-province of Batanes is the smallest in the Philippines and was formed when Mount Iraya erupted around 325 BC. The West Philippine Sea, the Pacific Ocean, the Bashi Channel, and the Balintang Channel form its northern, eastern, western, and southern borders, respectively. Its capital city, Basco, is located around 190 kilometers south of Taiwan and 280 kilometers north of Aparri, Cagayan, or about 860 kilometers north of Manila. 

The ancient Ivatans—known as the "True Insulares"—were boat builders and seafarers who lived in small tribal settlements and subsisted on fishing, hunting, horticulture, and the cultivation of root crops.

Where to Go


The provincial capital, Basco, offers a mix of cultural and natural attractions. Visit the Basco Lighthouse for panoramic views, the Dipnaysupuan Japanese Tunnel for historical insights, and the Provincial Capitol for a glimpse into local governance.

Sabtang Island

Accessible by boat from Basco, Sabtang Island is famous for its well-preserved stone houses in the traditional Ivatan style. Chavayan Village and the Sabtang Lighthouse are must-visit sites.

Itbayat Island

Known for its rugged terrain and limestone landscapes, Itbayat Island is more remote and less visited. The Ivana Port serves as the jump-off point for boats to Itbayat.

Valugan Boulder Beach

Located near Basco, Valugan Boulder Beach is characterized by large boulders created by Mount Iraya's volcanic activity. It's a picturesque spot for taking in the natural beauty of Batanes.

Rakuh a Payaman (Marlboro Country)

This expansive pastureland in Uyugan offers stunning views of rolling hills and the West Philippine Sea. It's a great spot for a relaxing picnic.


Visit the San Carlos Borromeo Church in Mahatao, known for its quaint architecture. The nearby Mahatao Tayid Lighthouse provides picturesque views of the coastline.

Honesty Coffee Shop

Located in Ivana, this unique coffee shop operates on a trust system. Visitors can pick their coffee, snacks, and souvenirs and leave the payment in a designated box.

House of Dakay

One of the oldest stone houses in Batanes, the House of Dakay in Ivana is a UNESCO Heritage site and offers a glimpse into traditional Ivatan architecture.

What to Do

Nature Trekking and Hiking

Explore the rolling hills and lush landscapes by taking nature treks or hikes. Popular trails include those leading to Rakuh a Payaman (Marlboro Country) and Mt. Iraya.

Visit Traditional Ivatan Houses

Experience the unique architecture of traditional Ivatan stone houses. Many of these well-preserved houses can be found in villages like Chavayan in Sabtang and the House of Dakay in Ivana.

Island Hopping

Explore the nearby islands of Sabtang and Itbayat by taking boat trips. Each island has its own distinct charm, with picturesque landscapes and cultural attractions.

Cultural Immersion

Engage with the local Ivatan community to gain insights into their culture and way of life. Visit local markets, attend cultural events, and interact with friendly locals.

Lighthouse Tours

Batanes is dotted with picturesque lighthouses offering panoramic views. Don't miss the Basco Lighthouse, Tayid Lighthouse in Mahatao, and the Naidi Hills lighthouse.

Relax at the Beaches

Enjoy the tranquility of the beaches in Batanes, such as Valugan Boulder Beach and Chadpidan Boulder Beach. These beaches offer unique landscapes with large boulders and volcanic rocks.

Try Local Cuisine

Sample local Ivatan cuisine, including dishes like uvud balls (banana trunk pith) and coconut crab. Don't forget to try the traditional Ivatan breakfast called "vakul" and the savory "uved balls."

Bird Watching

Batanes is a haven for bird watchers. Head to the Vayang Rolling Hills or other vantage points to observe various bird species, especially during migration seasons.

Photography Tours

Capture the breathtaking scenery of Batanes with a photography tour. The province offers a myriad of picturesque landscapes, from rolling hills to dramatic cliffs.

Enjoy Sunset Views

Experience the beauty of Batanes by watching the sunset from scenic spots like Basco Lighthouse or Vayang Rolling Hills. The golden hour enhances the already stunning landscapes.

When is the Best Time to Visit Batanes

The best time to visit Batanes is during the dry season, which typically spans from November to April. This period is characterised by more stable weather conditions, with milder temperatures and less rainfall. The months of December to February are considered the peak dry season, offering clear skies and pleasant weather for outdoor activities, sightseeing, and trekking.

The wet season in Batanes usually occurs from May to October. During these months, the province experiences increased rainfall and occasional typhoons. While the lush greenery and vibrant landscapes can be visually appealing, travellers should be aware of the possibility of travel disruptions due to heavy rain.

How to Get to Batanes

By Air

The most common and convenient way to reach Batanes is by air. Basco, the capital of Batanes, is served by Basco Airport (BSO), and flights are available from major airports in the Philippines, such as Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) in Manila and Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (CRK) in Clark.

Philippine Airlines and SkyJet Airways typically operate flights to Basco.

By Sea

While Batanes is primarily accessible by air, there are occasional ferry services from the ports of Aparri and Tuguegarao in Cagayan province.

How to Get Around

By Taxi / Ride-Sharing Services

Getting around Batanes is primarily facilitated by tricycles, bicycles, and rental motorcycles or vans, as traditional taxis and ride-sharing services like Uber or Grab are not commonly available.

Tricycles are a popular mode for short-distance travel within towns, providing an affordable and convenient option. Bicycles offer a leisurely way to explore local areas, while renting motorcycles or vans provides more flexibility for longer journeys and island hopping.

By Car / Motorcycle

Exploring Batanes by car or motorcycle is a viable option for visitors seeking more independence and flexibility. Several rental agencies offer cars and motorcycles for self-drive adventures.

Renting a car is suitable for those who prefer a more comfortable and enclosed mode of transportation, while motorcycles are perfect for navigating the narrow roads and enjoying the scenic landscapes.

What to Eat

Local Food

Indulge in the rich local food of Batanes by savoring delicacies at notable restaurants in the area, such as Cafe Du Tukon, Harbour Cafe, and Noods.

Fresh Seafood

Along the coastal towns and beachside areas, travellers can find numerous seafood restaurants and eateries offering a wide array of ocean-fresh delights, such as Batanes Octagon Bed and Dine, Harbour Cafe, and Johnny's Grill.

Western Food

In Batanes, several restaurants offer a delectable array of Western cuisine, providing a delightful contrast to the local flavours. Establishments like Casa Napoli Pizza, Harbour Cafe and Batanes Octagon Bed and Dine.

What to Buy

When exploring Batanes, consider bringing home unique local products that reflect the province's rich culture and natural beauty. Look for intricately handwoven items made from the sturdy vakul, a traditional Ivatan headgear. Abaca-based products such as bags, hats, and mats showcase the craftsmanship of local artisans. Delight your taste buds with Batanes' distinct flavours by purchasing traditional snacks like "taro chips" and "luvud balls" made from banana trunk pith. Explore the vibrant local markets for handmade crafts, woven goods, and souvenirs that contribute to the preservation of Batanes' unique heritage.

Where to Stay

In Batanes, travellers will find a variety of accommodation options to suit different preferences and budgets. Basco, the provincial capital, offers a range of hotels, inns, and guesthouses. Popular choices include Fundacion Pacita Batanes Nature Lodge, Shanedel's Inn and Café, and Batanes Seaside Lodge & Restaurant.

For those seeking a more immersive experience, traditional Ivatan stone houses converted into homesteads provide an authentic cultural stay. It's recommended to book accommodations in advance, especially during peak seasons, and to explore options in different towns like Ivana, Mahatao, and Sabtang for a well-rounded Batanes experience.

What to Bring

  • Bring sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses to shield yourself from the sun's rays.
  • Comfortable sandals or flip-flops are ideal for beach outings, while a pair of sturdy walking shoes may be useful for hiking or exploring.
  • If visiting during the wet season, a compact umbrella and a lightweight rain jacket can come in handy.
  • Stay hydrated by carrying a reusable water bottle, particularly if you're engaging in outdoor activities.
  • Ensure your electronic devices stay charged by bringing the necessary travel adapters.
  • While there are ATMs in urban areas, having some local currency can be useful, especially in more remote locations.

What to Wear

For your journey to Batanes, it is advised to pack lightweight and comfortable attire, taking into account the tropical climate. Choose breathable materials such as cotton and linen to remain cool in the heat.

Bring swimwear for beach outings, and consider modest clothing when visiting religious sites. Comfortable sandals or flip-flops are suitable for casual outings, while a pair of sturdy walking shoes may be useful if you plan to explore nature reserves or hike.

Things to Note

  • Stay hydrated, especially in the warm weather, and use sunscreen to protect against the sun. Consider bringing insect repellent, particularly if you plan to explore nature reserves.
  • The local currency is the Philippine Peso (PHP). While ATMs are available in urban areas, it's advisable to have some local currency on hand, especially in more remote locations.
  • Keep a list of important contacts, including the local emergency numbers, contact information for your accommodation, and the nearest embassy or consulate.
  • Filipino and English are widely spoken, but learning a few basic Filipino phrases can enhance your travel experience and interactions with locals.

Book your flights and hotel today and start planning your Batanes escapade today! Click Here!