Isabela Travel Guide

Overview of Isabela

Isabela is popularly known for its rich agriculture industry being hailed as the “Rice Bowl of the North” and the “Top Corn Producer in the Philippines”. Agriculture is also why Isabela is considered one of the most progressive provinces in the country, with vast natural resources and land territory. The province was named in recognition of "Her Royal Highness Queen Isabela II" of Spain.

Where to Go

Ilagan Sanctuary

This natural sanctuary is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers. Explore the lush greenery, spot diverse bird species, and take leisurely walks along the trails.

Magat Dam

Visit one of the largest dams in the Philippines, the Magat Dam, which provides irrigation, flood control, and hydroelectric power to the region. Enjoy scenic views of the reservoir and surrounding landscapes.


For adventurous travelers, Palanan offers opportunities for trekking, camping, and wildlife spotting. Explore the rugged terrain, pristine beaches, and dense forests in this remote municipality.

Sierra Madre Mountains

Embark on a trekking expedition to the Sierra Madre Mountains, which span across several provinces including Isabela. Discover hidden waterfalls, panoramic viewpoints, and diverse flora and fauna along the trails.

Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park

Explore the protected area of the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park, which covers a vast expanse of tropical rainforest and marine habitats. Engage in eco-tourism activities such as birdwatching, river cruising, and cultural immersion with indigenous communities.

Bonsai Forest

Visit the Bonsai Forest in Dinapigue, known for its unique dwarf trees and stunning landscapes. Take a leisurely stroll through the forest trails and marvel at the ancient trees sculpted by nature.

Fuyot Springs National Park

Relax and unwind in the natural hot springs of Fuyot Springs National Park. Enjoy a rejuvenating dip in the thermal pools surrounded by lush vegetation and tranquil surroundings.

Municipalities and Towns

Explore the charming towns and municipalities of Isabela, each offering its own unique attractions, cultural heritage, and local cuisine.

What to Do

Nature Exploration

Explore the province's natural wonders, including the lush forests, majestic mountains, and pristine beaches. Take a hike in the Sierra Madre Mountains or go birdwatching in the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park to discover the rich biodiversity of the region.

Water Activities

Enjoy water activities such as swimming, kayaking, and boating in the various rivers, lakes, and reservoirs scattered throughout Isabela. Visit the Magat Dam for scenic views and water-based recreation opportunities.

Cultural Immersion

Immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting traditional villages, attending festivals, and participating in cultural activities. Learn about the indigenous peoples of Isabela and their customs, traditions, and way of life.

Adventure Tourism

Embark on adrenaline-pumping adventures such as trekking, camping, and exploring in the rugged landscapes of Isabela. Explore caves, waterfalls, and hidden trails for an unforgettable outdoor experience.

Historical and Heritage Sites

Discover the province's rich history by visiting historical sites, heritage towns, and museums. Explore colonial-era churches, ancestral houses, and archaeological sites to learn about Isabela's past.

Food Tripping

Indulge in the local cuisine by sampling traditional dishes and delicacies such as pancit cabagan, tinuno, and longganisa. Visit local markets, eateries, and restaurants to taste authentic Isabela flavors.

Relaxation and Wellness

Unwind and recharge at the province's natural springs, hot springs, and resorts. Enjoy a relaxing soak in thermal pools, pamper yourself with spa treatments, or simply lounge by the beach for a rejuvenating retreat.

Agricultural Tourism

Explore Isabela's agricultural landscape by visiting farms, plantations, and agro-tourism sites. Learn about the province's thriving agriculture industry and get hands-on experience with farming activities such as fruit-picking and vegetable harvesting.

When is the Best Time to Visit Isabela

The dry season typically occurs from December to May, Isabela enjoys sunny weather with minimal rainfall. This period is ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking, sightseeing, and exploring nature reserves. The clear skies and dry conditions make it easier to navigate the province's attractions, including beaches, waterfalls, and historical sites.

The wet season from June to November offers a unique opportunity to experience Isabela's natural beauty in full bloom. Regardless of when you choose to visit, Isabela welcomes travellers year-round with its warm hospitality, rich culture, and diverse attractions waiting to be explored.

How to Get to Isabela

By Air

The most convenient way to reach Isabela is by flying into the nearest airport, which is Cauayan Airport (also known as Godofredo P. Ramos Airport). Several airlines operate flights to Cauayan Airport from Manila and other major cities in the Philippines. From the airport, travellers can take taxis, vans, or buses to their final destinations within Isabela.

Cauayan Airport serves as the main gateway to the province and provides easy access for travellers arriving by air.

By Sea

While Isabela is not directly accessible by sea due to its inland location, travellers can reach nearby ports and then continue their journey by land. Nearby provinces such as Cagayan and Aurora have seaports with regular ferry services connecting to other parts of the Philippines.

Travellers arriving by sea can disembark at these ports and then take buses, vans, or rental cars to reach Isabela.

By Car / Bus

Traveling to Isabela by land is another popular option, especially for those coming from nearby provinces or regions. Isabela is accessible via well-maintained highways and road networks, making it easy to reach by car or bus.

Travellers can also opt to drive their own vehicles or rent cars for more flexibility and convenience. From neighboring provinces, travelers can take buses, vans, or jeepneys to reach Isabela's various towns and municipalities.

How to Get Around

By Taxi / Ride-Sharing Services

In urban areas like the capital city of Ilagan, travellers can find taxis readily available for short-distance travel within the city. Ride-sharing services may also be available in some areas, providing an alternative option for getting around.

By Car / Motorcycle

Renting a car or motorcycle is a popular option for exploring Isabela, especially for those who want to venture off the beaten path and visit remote attractions.

What to Eat

Local Food

Experience the rich tastes of traditional Isabela cuisine, featuring comforting dishes such as Pancit Cabagan, a flavorful stir-fried noodle dish with meat and vegetables, and Tinuno, grilled freshwater fish infused with local spices.

Discover these culinary delights at renowned establishments like Mabel's Restaurant, Alimyon Kapehan, Belly Good Grill House, and The Lady Purple Restaurant.

Fresh Seafood

Being a coastal province, Isabela offers an abundance of fresh seafood delicacies for seafood lovers to enjoy. Restaurants like Cravenato Seafood Restaurant, Bamboo Seafood Grill & Restaurant and White Seafoods Restaurant.

Western Food

For those craving Western flavours, Isabela also offers a selection of restaurants and cafes serving classic Western dishes with a local twist. Establishments like Joveth's Isabela, Reynan's Kitchen and Don Pedros Restaurant Calao West.

Where to Stay

When seeking accommodations in Isabela, various options cater to different preferences and budgets. Travellers can choose from hotels and resorts in urban centers like Dreamwave Hotel Ilagan, Meaco Royal Hotel and The Blanket Hotel, providing convenient access to amenities and attractions, or opt for eco-lodges and guesthouses nestled amid the province's scenic landscapes.

For a unique experience, consider staying in homestays or farm stays such as Family Farm Stay, Clary's Resort and events and Mt. Claramuel Resorts, where travellers can immerse in local culture and hospitality. Whether you prefer luxury accommodations or rustic retreats, Isabela offers a range of options to ensure a comfortable and memorable stay during your visit.

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 Isabela, 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.

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