Samar Travel Guide

Overview of Samar

The Langon-Gobingob Caves in Calbiga are Asia's second-largest cave system, and Samar is also home to the renowned Sohoton Caves and Natural Bridge. Enjoy the excitement of a Torpedo Boat Ride on the Ulot River in Paranas while indulging in delectable Tenani cuisine. In Marabut, you may kayak on magnificent rock formations as well. The Caluwayan Palm Island Resort is a great place to spend the evening while listening to cicadas.

Learn about mangroves by exploring the 750 hectare Mangrove Forest Safari in Pinabacdao, the agricultural hub of Samar, or by dining at the San Juan by the Bay's floating cottages while taking in views of the San Juanico Bridge.Samar is a mecca for foodies. In Catbalogan City, sample the renowned tamales and a variety of dishes made with Pili. Visit Calbayog City's cuisine district for the mouthwatering Tinapa and Alimango (Mud Crabs). The Calbayog City Youth Orchestra's exceptional command performance is an additional draw.

Where to Go

Sohoton Natural Bridge National Park

Explore the stunning limestone formations, caves, and natural bridges in this national park. You can go spelunking, swimming, or simply enjoy the breathtaking scenery.

Calbiga Caves

Samar is known for its impressive caves, and Calbiga Caves is one of the most famous ones. It's a system of caves with various chambers and rock formations that will fascinate any visitor.

Lulugayan Falls

Located in Barangay Lulugayan in Calbiga, this picturesque waterfall is a must-visit for nature lovers. You can take a refreshing dip in the cool waters or simply relax amidst the lush surroundings.

Biri Island Rock Formations

Take a boat ride to Biri Island and marvel at the spectacular rock formations carved by nature over thousands of years. The most famous formation is the Magasang Rock, which stands majestically against the ocean.


If you're a beach enthusiast, Guiuan is the place to go. It offers pristine white sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a laid-back atmosphere perfect for relaxation and water activities like swimming, snorkeling, and diving.

Capul Island

Visit this small island known for its historic Spanish-era lighthouse, picturesque landscapes, and unspoiled beaches. You can also explore the ruins of Fort San Ignacio, a centuries-old Spanish fortress.

Balangiga Church

Explore the historical town of Balangiga and visit the Balangiga Church, also known as the Church of San Lorenzo de Martir. It's famous for its historic bells and its role in Philippine history.

Catbalogan City

Take a stroll around Catbalogan City, the capital of Samar, and explore its vibrant markets, historic landmarks, and cultural attractions like the St. Bartholomew Church and the Samar Archaeological Museum.

What to Do

Island Hopping

Samar is surrounded by beautiful islands, each offering unique landscapes and experiences. Arrange a boat tour and explore the hidden coves, pristine beaches, and vibrant marine life of the surrounding islands.

Waterfall Chasing

Samar is home to several majestic waterfalls waiting to be discovered. Go on a waterfall-hopping adventure and visit spots like Lulugayan Falls, Tarangban Falls, and Bangon-Bugtong Falls for refreshing swims and breathtaking scenery.

Cave Exploration

With its extensive cave systems, Samar is a paradise for caving enthusiasts. Explore the underground wonders of caves like Calbiga Caves, Langun-Gobingob Cave, and Sohoton Cave, where you can marvel at stalactites, stalagmites, and underground rivers.


Head to Guiuan or Calicoan Island on the eastern coast of Samar for some exciting surfing adventures. The region's consistent waves and uncrowded beaches make it a perfect destination for both beginners and experienced surfers.

Hiking and Trekking

Lace up your hiking boots and embark on a trekking adventure through Samar's lush forests and rugged terrain. Climb Mount Huraw for panoramic views of the island, or explore the trails of Samar Island Natural Park for encounters with diverse flora and fauna.

Bird Watching

Samar is home to a rich variety of bird species, making it a haven for birdwatchers. Visit protected areas like the Samar Island Natural Park and the San Vicente Protected Landscape to spot endemic and migratory birds in their natural habitats.

Beach Bumming and Snorkeling

Spend lazy days lounging on the white sand beaches of Samar and soak up the tropical sunshine. Snorkel or dive in the clear waters to discover colorful coral reefs, tropical fish, and other marine creatures.

Cultural Immersion

Immerse yourself in the local culture and traditions of Samar by participating in community activities, attending festivals, and interacting with the friendly locals. Learn about traditional crafts, cuisine, and music for a deeper appreciation of the island's heritage.

When is the Best Time to Visit Samar

The dry season typically spans from December to May, Samar enjoys sunny weather with minimal rainfall. This period is ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking, beach bumming, and island hopping. The clear skies and calm seas make it perfect for exploring the island's natural attractions, including waterfalls, caves, and pristine beaches.

The wet season in Samar occurs from June to November, characterised by frequent rainfall and occasional typhoons. While the wet season may not be as popular among tourists, it offers its own unique experiences. The lush landscapes come alive with vibrant greenery, and the waterfalls swell to their fullest.

How to Get to Samar

By Air

The most convenient way to reach Samar is by flying into the nearest airport, which is the Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport (also known as Tacloban Airport) in Tacloban City, Leyte. From Tacloban, you can take a domestic flight to the Calbayog Airport or the Guiuan Airport, both of which serve Samar. Major airlines such as Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific operate regular flights to Tacloban from Manila and other major cities in the Philippines.

By Sea

Another option for reaching Samar is by taking a ferry or RoRo (Roll-on/Roll-off) vessel from various ports in the Philippines. There are ferry routes that connect Samar to ports in nearby islands such as Leyte, Cebu, and Luzon. The main ferry ports in Samar include the Calbayog Port, Catbalogan Port, and Allen Port.

By Bus

If you prefer overland travel, you can reach Samar by taking a combination of bus and ferry rides from major cities in the Philippines. Several bus companies operate routes to Samar from cities such as Manila, Cebu, and Davao.

Traveling by bus and ferry allows you to experience the scenic countryside and interact with locals along the way, but it requires more time compared to air travel.

How to Get Around

By Taxi / Ride-Sharing Services

In urban centers like Catbalogan City and Tacloban City, you can find taxis readily available for short-distance travel within the cities. Tacloban City may also have ride-sharing services available, although availability can vary.

Taxis and ride-sharing services provide convenience and flexibility, especially for travellers who prefer not to drive or navigate public transportation systems.

By Car / Motorcycle

Renting a car or motorcycle is a popular option for exploring Samar, especially if you want to venture off the beaten path and visit remote attractions. Several car rental agencies operate in major cities like Tacloban and Catbalogan, offering a range of vehicles from compact cars to SUVs.

Motorcycle rentals may also be available in some areas, providing an affordable and adventurous way to get around. With your own vehicle, you can set your own itinerary, stop at scenic viewpoints, and explore hidden gems at your own pace.

What to Eat

Local Food

Explore the vibrant flavors of Samar's culinary offerings by enjoying delicious delicacies at local restaurants like Bahay Kubo, Mango Lounge, and Rawis Restaurant.

Fresh Seafood

Discover seafood dining establishments in Samar, such as Seafood Galley, Boat Side Grill & Restaurant, and Maya's Fastfood & Seafood Restaurant.

From succulent grilled fish to prawns and crabs prepared in various styles, these establishments capture the essence of Samar's bountiful marine resources.

Western Food

Numerous dining spots in Samar present an enticing selection of Western dishes, offering a delightful complement to the region's local flavors. Examples include Lucas Wharf Restaurant, Rutchel's Eatery, and Empoy's Resto.

What to Buy

When visiting Samar, consider purchasing local handicrafts and products that showcase the island's rich culture and natural resources. Look for intricately woven mats and baskets made by indigenous communities, as well as handmade pottery and ceramics crafted by local artisans. Samar is also known for its delicious delicacies, such as moron (a sticky rice cake wrapped in banana leaves), binagol (a sweet taro pudding), and coconut-based treats like binagre and kalamay. Additionally, buy organic products like honey, coconut oil, and herbal remedies sourced from Samar's abundant flora.

Where to Stay

When visiting Samar, you'll find a range of accommodations to suit your preferences and budget. In major cities like Catbalogan and Tacloban, you'll find hotels ranging from budget to upscale including SeaView Inn, La Vista Pensionne and GV Hotel, offering comfortable amenities and convenient access to dining and entertainment options.

For a more immersive experience, consider staying in eco-resorts or beachfront cottages along the coast such as RedDoorz @ Downtown Tacloban, JMCL Residences and Hotel XYZ, where you can wake up to stunning ocean views and enjoy activities like snorkeling, kayaking, and beachcombing. If you're looking for a unique stay, there are also guesthouses and homestays in rural communities, where you can experience genuine Filipino hospitality and learn about local culture firsthand.

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 Samar, 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 Samar vacation today! Click Here!