Luzon,  Philippines,  Travel Guides,  Travels

Batanes Travel Guide 2024 (Budget + Itinerary)

Traveling to Batanes is like stepping into my dream and having it brushed onto reality — each stroke of nature’s palette meticulously creating a living canvas. Indeed, it took me a lot of pinching before I came into my senses and believed myself that I have finally traveled to one of my top dream destinations in the Philippines. If you’ve always wished to visit this paradise in the northernmost region of the Philippines, here’s an ultimate Batanes Travel Guide to help you plan out your most awaited trip!

What You Need to Know About Batanes

Tayid lighthouse, South Batan

Batanes is located at the country’s northernmost point, where the West Philippine Sea and the Pacific Ocean meet. It consists of a total of eleven islands, including Mavulis Island, Misanga Island, Ditarem Island, Ali Island, Siayan Island, Dinem Island, Dequey Island, Vuhos Island, as well as the three largest, with Batan, Sabtang and Itbayat Island being the only ones inhabited and mostly visited by tourists. Its capital is Basco located at the northern part of Batan Island. While regarded as the provincial capital, Basco is a relatively small town, falling short of city status, yet serving as the primary hub for education, business and commerce in Batanes. Despite being the smallest province in the Philippines, Batanes and its people has so much to offer.

The Ivatans

The people of Batanes are called Ivatans. They speak an Austronesian language called Ivatan that shares few linguistic affinities to the languages [like Ilocano and Ybanag] spoken in the northern part of mainland Luzon. The prevailing traits common among the Ivatans that really fascinated us are their tranquil nature but with gregariousness and of course, cooperation. This is evident in their enduring tradition of volunteerism (Bayanihan), which remains readily apparent even in the present day. We’ve known as well of Ivatans as the cultural group who lives in quaint stone houses, wears Vakul (head dress for women) and Kanayi (vest) with salakot made from Philippine date palms they call as vuyavuy. They use these to shield them from the heat of the sun and the rain.

Best Time to Visit

Batanes is not known as the Home of the Winds for nothing. Topographically and geographically speaking, its islands are cradled by an open sea, both the West Philippine and the Pacific, characterized by a rugged coastline and rolling hills which make the province exposed to prevailing winds and weather patterns. This is what makes the weather in the island quite bizarre. The day may start with a bit of rain showers or an overcast sky and next thing you know, the sun is up in a clear blue sky in a few — or the other way around.

Of course, the dry season (February to May) in the country is the best time to travel everywhere especially in Batanes. The rolling hills during these times, consequently, are more of a golden brown than the lush green. The chances of flights and sea travel cancellations are less but expect tourists more than usual around. However, expect the rates to be higher as it is also considered as a Peak season in Batanes.

It is mostly during the Southwest Monsoon (Habagat) season in the country (June to October) and the first few weeks of the Northeast Monsoon (Amihan) when rainfalls are frequent in the province. However, this is also the season with the cheapest flights to Basco. The good weather on this season is a hit or miss.

Basco lighthouse at Naidi Hills, Basco, Batanes

Currency

Most establishments are on a cash only basis but a few would already accept G-Cash. Take note that there are no foreign exchange and there are only two banks/ ATMs (PNB and Landbank) available as of the moment in Batan Island particularly in Basco. Hence, it is advisable to bring enough cash in Philippine Peso when traveling to and around Batanes.

Internet and Network Signal

Globe and Smart network offer reliable cellular coverage in Basco town proper. However, the reception may be sporadic to none even in most areas of Basco and the whole of Batan Island. Hence, expect to be disconnected most of the time from the internet and data connection during your Batanes trip. If you need to be connected once in a while, you may want to check into accommodations that offer internet connection.

A panoramic view of Basco town below Mt. Iraya from Basco lighthouse. Can you spot the cell site towers?

Places to Visit in Batanes

There are basically six municipalities in all of the three islands that tourists could visit when traveling to Batanes. In Batan Island, the tourists can visit the municipality of Basco in North Batan while Ivana, Mahatao and Uyugan in South. Sabtang and Itbayat Island on the other hand only has one municipality respectively. This Batanes Travel Guide lists down the top points of interests in the aforementioned municipalities and islands:

North Batan

  1. Mt. Carmel Chapel (Tukon Church)
  2. PAGASA Tukon Radar Station with Liveng (Hedgerows) Viewing
  3. Fundacion Pacita (Cafe de Tukon)
  4. Didawud Idjang (Fortress) Viewing
  5. Dipnaysuhuan World War II Japanese Tunnel
  6. Valugan Boulder Beach
  7. Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church(Basco Cathedral)
  8. Vayang Rolling Hills
  9. Basco Lighthouse at Naidi Hills

Read More: North Batan Tour: What to Expect

South Batan

  1. Chawa View Deck
  2. Mahatao Shelter Port (Mahatahatao Fortress)
  3. San Carlos Borromeo Church
  4. Maywang A Libru Du Batanes (Blank Book Archive)
  5. Tayid Lighthouse
  6. Racuh-A-Payamanan (Marlboro Country or Hills)
  7. Alapad Rock Formation and Hill
  8. National Museum of Batanes
  9. Prelature Shrine and Parish of Our Lady of Miraculous Medal
  10. Honesty Coffee Shop and Store
  11. House of Dakay
  12. Tuhel Spanish Bridge
  13. Maydangeb White Beach
  14. Hohmoron Blue Lagoon
  15. Diura Beach and Fishing Village
  16. Ranum ni Kumalakal (Spring of Youth)

Read More: South Batan Tour: Top 16 Places to Visit in Batanes

Sabtang Island

  1. Morong Beach, Ahaw Natural Rock Formation & Nakabuang Cave
  2. Savidug Village
  3. Chamantad-Tinyan (Tiñan) Viewpoint
  4. Chavayan Village
  5. Sabtang Lighthouse
  6. San Vicente Ferrer Church

Read more: Sabtang Island, Batanes: Top 6 Places to Visit for a Day Tour

Itbayat Island

  1. Torongan Cave
  2. Torongan Cliff/ Hills
  3. Stone boat-shaped burial markers
  4. Yawran Village
  5. Old PAGASA Station
  6. Itbayat Port
  7. Kavaywan Lake
  8. Mauyen Port and Cliff
  9. Secret Arc
  10. Mt. Karaboboan Highest Port
  11. Paganaman Port
  12. Chinapoliran Port
  13. Itbayat Lighthouse
  14. Rapang Cliff and Hills

Getting to, Around and Away

How to Get There

From Manila to Basco

One of the few ways to get to Batanes is by flight from Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Currently, only Philippine Airlines offers direct flight from these airports to Basco Airport in Batanes. Philippine Airlines has one flight daily from Manila. The flight may take an hour and a half from Manila to Basco Airport.

From Cagayan (Tuguegarao City or Calayan) to Basco

Sky Pasada has one regular flight daily from Tuguegarao City, Cagayan to Basco. They also fly up to three times a week from Calayan island to Basco. As of 2023, the rate is at around Php 6,000.00 per way with additional charges on baggage exceeding 5Kg from Tuguegarao City. For further details and booking, you may call them at +63 919 592 6854 (Main Office), +63 918 535 3501 (Tuguegarao City office), +63 999 438 6153 (Basco Office) and +63 946 877 3338 (Calayan Office).

Getting Around by Land

The tourist tricycles in San Vicente Port, Sabtang Island
The cogon-roofed tourist tricycles in San Vicente Port, Sabtang Island
  • Bicycle. One of the cheapest and most sustainable way to explore the island. However, see to it that you’ll be physically and mentally prepared for Batanes’s terrain coupled with ascents and descents. Bike rental rates range from Php 250.00 an hour to Php 300.00 a day.
  • Motorcycle. After your guided tours, you may explore Batan island either on a self-drive motorcycle or with a driver (habal-habal). Take note though that their LGU is very strict on motorcycle rentals. Only those with license can go around on a self-drive motorbike. Rental rates range from Php 500.00 to Php 1,000.00 per day excluding the gas.
  • Tricycle. One of the cheapest and probably the best way to go around Batan island is to rent a Cogon-roofed tourist tricycle. You may opt to take one on your tour and it can accommodate up to two tourists. For a point-to-point trip around Basco on a tricycle, on the other hand, the fare ranges from Php 20.00 to Php 30.00.
  • Private van. One of the most convenient ways to go around is to take a private van. Tour operators would often take their guests around on a van.
  • Jeep. There are PUJs from Basco to Ivana, Mahatao and Uyugan v.v. but trips are very limited. It’s usually full as well as this is the only public land transportation available in the island.

Getting Around by Air and Sea

The faluwas at Mahatao Shelter Port
  • Boat. There are boats locally known as faluwa traveling to and from Sabtang and Itbayat islands from Basco. Boats to Sabtang island sail from the Municipality of Ivana once a day at around 6:00 to 7:00 in the morning for an hour or less depending on the waves. The sea travel from Basco to Itbayat Island may take 3 to 5 hours and expect it to be a rough ride. The faluwa sailing to Itbayat usually departs at 6:00 AM.
  • Plane. To get to Itbayat for less than 30 minutes, you may take the charter plane with Aero Speed Air Transport Services from Basco Airport to this island. However, it has to be full or else, the traveling passengers would have to shoulder the rest of the unoccupied seats. For inquiries and booking, you may reach them at aerospeedair@gmail.com.

Where to Eat in Batanes

Since tourists are mostly staying in Basco, this Batanes travel guide lists down the restaurants and cafe where one can visit and eat into in the town:

  1. Casa Napoli – Authentic Italian pasta and brick-oven pizza. We consider this as one of the best places to eat in Batanes!
  2. Allegro Cafe (Kookowa Chicken Inasal) – Liempo and Tuna Barbecue and Chicken Inasal with unlimited rice
  3. Beehan – a local restaurant serving Filipino food and authentic Ivatan dishes; one of the few restaurants in Basco with free Wi-Fi
  4. Jino’s Pizza – offers home-made pizza
  5. Korner Hauz Cafe – A cafe serving delightful snacks and beverage; accepts Gcash as a mode of payment
  6. Noods Ramen House – The only Japanese restaurant in Basco
  7. Pension Ivatan – Serves fresh seafood
  8. Harbor Cafe – Serves local food with a stunning view of the Basco port and the Pacific Ocean
  9. Tukon Cafe – The cafe at the famous Fundacion Pacita
  10. Bingabong Minimart – The only 24-hour shop in Basco. Perfect for your late night cravings especially for some Korean snacks
  11. Wo-Wa Snack Bar – Offers snacks and easy-prepared meals
  12. Cacagana – Serves a good deal of burgers and more
  13. Yellow Kubo – Best known for sisig dishes

While there are only few restaurants in Batanes, take note that you may also opt to ask the staff from your hometel or homestay to cook food for you, too. In this way, you may be able to get a taste of Batanes’s local food.

Where to Stay in Batanes

Photo from Fundacion Pacita

Hotels

Lodging, Homestays/ Hometels

Tips When Visiting Batanes

  1. The LGU Tourism Office strictly prohibits DIY tours in the province ever since they reopened during the pandemic. Tourism officers or staff usually welcome the visitors by the airport’s arrival gate and would know if they have booked from DOT accredited tour operators or not. If it’s the latter, they would then assist the tourist in booking.
  2. If you wish to get a good view of Batanes from the plane, book a window seat on the right side of the plane.
  3. Wear modestly especially in churches and Spring of Youth. Might as well bring a shawl.
  4. Explore Abad Street. It’s where you’ll find the quaint eateries, storefronts and old houses, too.
  5. Take note that the sea travel may be bumpy. If you usually get seasick, might as well take and pop a pill before the trip.
  6. If you decide to bring and fly your drones, please coordinate with your tour guides first. Prior to all your tours, make sure that you’ll secure a DENR permit first amounting to Php 1,000.00 (as of September 2023). Take note that the drone Permit from Batan Island is different from Sabtang Island.
  7. Wear comfortable footwear. You’ll be walking a lot in those tours.
  8. Use sun protection. Wear sunscreen or bring hat or umbrella with you especially if it’s a sunny day. Umbrellas may be of use as well just in case the weather unexpectedly changes.
  9. Bring drinking water in a reusable bottle.
  10. Bring cash. Most establishments are on a cash only basis transactions.

Sample Batanes Itinerary

5 Days 4 Nights Sample Batanes Itinerary: Exploring Batan and Sabtang Island

First: Arrival with North Batan Tour

  • 6:00 AM – Departure from Manila via NAIA
  • 7:50 AM – Arrival at Basco Airport (picked up by the Airport service)
  • 8:30 AM – Early check in at the hometel, breakfast, rest and freshen up
  • 11:30 AM – Lunch
  • 1:00 PM – North Batan Tour
    • Mt. Carmel Chapel (Tukon Church)
    • PAGASA Tukon Radar Station with Liveng (Hedgerows) Viewing
    • Fundacion Pacita (Cafe de Tukon)
    • Didawud Idjang (Fortress) Viewing
    • Dipnaysuhuan World War II Japanese Tunnel
    • Valugan Boulder Beach
    • Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church(Basco Cathedral)
    • Vayang Rolling Hills
    • Basco Lighthouse at Naidi Hills
  • 6:30 PM – Dinner
  • 8:00 PM – Back to hometel

Second Day: South Batan Tour

  • 5:30 AM – Wake up and prepare
  • 6:30 AM – Breakfast
  • 7:00 AM – Start of South Batan Tour
    • Chawa View Deck
    • Mahatao Shelter Port (Mahatahatao Fortress)
    • San Carlos Borromeo Church
    • Maywang A Libru Du Batanes (Blank Book Archive)
    • Tayid Lighthouse
    • Racuh-A-Payamanan (Marlboro Country or Hills)
  • 12:00 NN – Lunch near Racuh-A-Payaman
  • 1:00 PM – Resume Tour
    • Alapad Rock Formation and Hill
    • National Museum of Batanes
    • Prelature Shrine and Parish of Our Lady of Miraculous Medal
    • Honesty Coffee Shop and Store
    • House of Dakay
    • Tuhel Spanish Bridge
    • Maydangeb White Beach
    • Hohmoron Blue Lagoon
  • 7:00 PM – Dinner in Basco
  • 8:00 PM – Back to Accommodation

Third Day: Sabtang Island Tour

  • 4:00 AM – Wake up and prepare
  • 4:30 AM – Breakfast
  • 5:30 AM – Depart for Ivana Port
  • 6:00 AM – Arrival at Ivana Port
  • 6:30 AM – Depart for Sabtang Island
  • 7:30 AM – Start of Sabtang Island Day Tour
    • Morong Beach, Ahaw Natural Rock Formation & Nakabuang Cave
    • Savidug Village
    • Chamantad-Tinyan (Tiñan) Viewpoint
    • Chavayan Village
    • Sabtang Lighthouse
    • San Vicente Ferrer Church
  • 10:30 AM – Lunch
  • 11:00 AM – Back to San Vicente Port for Basco
  • 11:30 AM – Depart for Basco
  • 12:00 NN – Arrival at Ivana Port
  • 1:30 PM – Diura Beach and Fishing Village
  • 3:00 PM – Ranum ni Kumalakal (Spring of Youth)

Note: Diura Beach and Fishing Village and Ranum ni Kumalakal (popularly known as the Spring of Youth) are not included in Sabtang Island Day tour. If you still have the energy to, you may opt to go there upon your return to Batan island as these are both situated in south Batan, too. If you’ll be staying for 5 days, you may also opt to return on your fourth day instead as the scene is best in the morning in these places.

Fourth Day: Free Day

  • 4:30 AM – Rise and Shine
  • 5:00 AM – Watch the sunrise either at Vayang Rolling Hills or at Valugan Boulder Beach
  • 7:00 AM – Breakfast
  • 8:00 AM onwards – you may either go to Diura Beach and Spring of the Youth at the South or explore around Basco town proper especially Abad Street and buy souvenirs.
  • 12:00 NN – Lunch
  • 5:00 PM – Watch the sunset either at Basco Port or at Naidi Hills
  • 6:30 PM – Dinner
  • 8:00 PM – Back to hometel
  • 9:00 PM – Pack up

Fifth Day: Home Bound

  • 5:30 AM – Wake up, shower and final packing
  • 6:30 AM – Breakfast
  • 7:30 AM – Depart for Basco Airport
  • 8:10 AM – Fly back to Manila
  • 9:30 AM – ETA Manila

Note: This 5 Days 4 Nights Sample Batanes Itinerary can be compressed into a 4 Days 3 Nights one especially if you’ll visit the Diura Fishing Village and Spring of Youth after your Sabtang Island Tour.

7 Days 6 Nights Batanes Sample Itinerary with Itbayat Island Tour

First Day: Arrival and North Batan Tour
Second Day: South Batan Tour
Third Day: Sabtang Island Tour

Fourth Day: Depart for Itbayat Island

  • 4:30 AM – Wake up and Breakfast
  • 5:30 AM – Depart for Basco Port
  • 6:00 AM – Depart from Basco Port to Itbayat Island
  • 10:00 AM – Arrival at Itbayat Island and Registration at the Tourism Office
  • 10:30 AM – Check in to accommodation and rest
  • 11:00 AM – Start of Itbayat Tour
    • Tachimus Port
    • Torongan Cave
    • Torongan Cliff/ Hills
    • Stone boat-shaped burial markers
  • 12:30 NN – Lunch
  • 1:30 PM – Tour continuation
    • Yawran village
    • Old PAGASA Station
    • Itbayat Port
    • Kavaywan Lake
    • Mauyen Port and Cliff
    • Secret Arc
    • Mt. Karaboboan Highest Port
    • Paganaman Port
    • Chinapoliran Port
    • Itbayat Lighthouse
  • 7:00 PM – Dinner
  • 8:00 PM – Back to accommodation

Fifth Day: Itbayat Island’s Rapang Cliff Tour and Back to Batan Island

  • 3:00 AM – Call time
  • 3:30 AM – Rapang Cliff Hiking Tour
    • Rapang Hiking
    • Rapang Cliff and Hills
    • Rapang Rock Garden
    • Stone Bell
  • 6:30 AM – Back to accommodation for breakfast, washing and packing up
  • 9:00 AM – Back to Itbayat Port for Batan Island

Sixth Day: Free Day
Seventh Day: Home Bound

Sample Budget for Batanes

Important Rates

We booked all our tours in Batanes at Naidi Hills Tour Services since the LGU does not allow DIY trips in the island province. Take note that they do not have a standard rate for a specific tour (i.e. North Batan, South Batan, etc). It is always dependent on the number of guests. Below are their standard Batanes Tour Rates for 5 days and 4 nights (excluding the fees for Diura Fishing Village and Spring of Youth):

1 person – ₱11,500
2 persons – ₱6,800 per person
3 persons – ₱7,500 per person
4 persons – ₱5,999 per person
5 persons – ₱5,500 per person

These rates include the following:

  • North Batan Tour
  • South Batan Tour
  • Sabtang Island Tour
  • Accredited Tour Guide
  • Lunch during tours
  • Airport Transfers
  • All Land Transfers
  • Round trip Boat Transfers
  • Port Fees
  • Registration Fees
  • Entrance Fees
  • Environmental Fee
  • Municipal Fees
  • All other Government Fees

Note: For the 7 Days 6 Nights trip with Itbayat Island tour, the rate would be at Php 11,999.00 for a group of 4 persons.

The cogon-roofed Tourist Tricycle of Naidi Hills Tour Services

Sample Budget for 5 Days 4 Nights for a Group of 4

  • Batan and Sabtang Island Tours – Php 5,999.00
  • 5 Days Accommodation (Baletin Hometel) – Php 13,500.00 / 4 = Php 3,375.00/ head
  • Tricycle rental for Diura Fishing Village and Spring of Youth – Php 600.00/ head
  • Entrance and Swimming Fee in Spring of Youth – Php 100.00
  • Food for 5 days – Php 1,500.00 (since breakfast is included in the accommodation and lunch is included in tour fees)

Total: Php 11,674.00 per person (without flight tickets)

Sample Budget for 7 Days 6 Nights for a Group of 4

  • Batan, Sabtang and Itbayat Island Tours – Php 11,999.00
  • 5 Days Accommodation (Baletin Hometel) – Php 13,500.00 / 4 = Php 5,000.00/ head
  • Tricycle rental for Diura Fishing Village and Spring of Youth – Php 600.00/ head
  • Entrance and Swimming Fee in Spring of Youth – Php 100.00
  • Food for 7 days – Php 2,000.00 ((since breakfast is included in the accommodation and lunch is included in tour fees)

Total: Php 19,699.99 per person (without flight tickets)

Batanes Travel Guide, In a Nutshell

This Batanes Travel Guide isn’t even a budget travel guide. The statement “Traveling to Batanes isn’t cheap” contains a certain level of truth. Batanes, being a remote and relatively isolated destination in the Philippines, tends to be more expensive to visit compared to other popular tourist spots in the country. Despite the costs, the experience and the unique beauty that Batanes offers make the expense worthwhile. You’d surely be rewarded with stunning landscapes, pristine beaches, rolling hills, cultural richness, and a sense of tranquility that are hard to find in many other places. The expense of traveling to Batanes is justified by the extraordinary and unforgettable experiences it offers. So, while it may not be a budget destination, many people consider the investment in a trip to Batanes to be a valuable and enriching one.

Explore more of Northern Luzon, Philippines:

Anne Elizabeth Gumiran, also known as Queenie, is a 20-something, full-time public school teacher, a part-time travel blogger and a freediver. She started putting her stories of adventures and misadventures into words and pictures in 2017 and continues to do so as she shares her advocacy, Sustainable Traveling.

2 Comments

  • Rale

    Hi Ms. Anne! This is my first time here in your blog. Just wanna say thank you. Thank you so much for this detailed travel blog about Batanes. Your blog gave me much more perspective and insights what to expect and how much to save in order to fulfill the dream to visit that dream destination. This is such a fun and interesting read. Have a safe and fulfilling travel always!

    • Anne Elizabeth Gumiran

      Hello, Rale! Thank you so much for your kind words! I also appreciate you for being here and reading my Batanes blog. Batanes is more than these stories and photos and I hope you’d be able to visit it the soonest. May you always be safe, too! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *