Santelmo Cove
Luzon,  Philippines,  Travels

Santelmo Cove: An Idyllic Summer Destination in the Philippines

We’re enjoying the last of the cool breeze right now and before we know it, it’s the summer time again. Most of us might be planning our reunion with the sand and the sea for our getaway. Though different attractions and provinces have finally opened up to welcome tourists from different regions, these are still not enough to hold the surge that would crowd it. Thus, if you’re also into places that you wish to enjoy and relax in all by yourselves, here’s an idyllic summer destination that you may want to visit soon. Meet Santelmo Cove!

Never will there be a photobomber in this cove

About Santelmo Cove

Santelmo Cove is one of the string of thirteen untouched and exclusive beaches Hamilo Coast. It is a mountain-bordered cove beach that opens up to Cutad Island and the South China sea. The people named it as such after spotting a ball of fire at the cove ages ago which is called “Santelmo” (derived from St. Elmo’s fire) in the Philippine myths.

Presently, the only way to enjoy and set foot in its fine white sand is through staying and booking a trip with Pico Sands Hotel. More often than not, only one or two small groups could go on a tour to the cove a day. Thus, having the beach and the cove all on your own could be guaranteed.

Our Santelmo Cove Experience

We got up early for a breakfast by the beach but it wasn’t the only thing that we’re all stoked about. After stuffing ourselves with some hearty breakfast, we hopped onto a cool small boat for an exciting 15-minute ride to Santelmo cove. The sun was up but ain’t harsh so the boatman let the Bimini top open. We definitely enjoyed a short but sweet cruise: soaking in a lot of healthy morning sun and the occasional saltwater splash on our skin.

We had the beach all to ourselves; to the four of us plus the staff who came with us. The stretch of white beach was inviting and so is its clear waters. Upon docking, we couldn’t help but bathe into its uncrowded beauty and sink our feet as we walk onto its fine sand.

Things to Do in Santelmo Cove

Trek to the View Deck

The view at Santelmo Cove's view deck
Karla Ramos (@karlaroundtheworld) of Hungry Travel Duo posing for the gram!

There’s no network signal at all (yet sporadic for Smart) which made us enjoy the place even more in disconnection. As we lazily rest on the beach beds, the wooden view deck perched on the low cliff at the end of the cove caught our attention. Letting no activity at Santelmo undone, we embarked on a five-minute uphill trek. We were grateful for our curiosity and enthusiasm that got us up there. Santelmo cove is more scenic and breathtaking in a bird’s eye view. We even chanced upon some reef sharks at the shallow bay. It was worthy and promising.

Diving or Snorkeling in Santelmo Cove, a Marine Sanctuary

Marine sanctuaries and protected areas are every diver’s paradise. That’s why booking for a SCUBA dive or taking your freediving or snorkeling gear with you is a must when visiting the cove as it is a declared marine sanctuary. During our visit, we spotted a school of Jackfish, mackerel, giant clams, giant batfish and more. According to kuya Jojo, one of the senior boatmen of Pico Sands, the shallow bay serves as a nursery to the baby blacktip reef sharks. Further, the cove’s beach has been a nesting area for Olive Ridley turtles, too. Apart from fishes, you can also find a myriad of corals in its reef. Among the most fascinating that I’ve seen is the vast foliose coral at more or less 8 meters deep.

We didn’t get a chance to swim with the sharks but we did find one which swam swiftly at our sight. We also found a few as we were up in the view deck.

Since the area is a protected marine sanctuary, fishing is strictly prohibited.

You may also want to read: Best Dive Sites in Batangas

Private Lunch at Santelmo

After a fascinating yet famishing swim and dive, we went ashore just in time for lunch. Jerry and Joan, the staff who came with us, had set up a fancy lunch at the table under the coconut trees by the beach. They served us our packed meal, still looking and tasting fresh. We feasted on some stir-fried noodles, ensalada, grilled chicken and fish, shrimps and fruits.

Paddle boarding

We were all drawn to the beach beds and mats after a satisfying meal for some siesta. However, knowing that we only had a limited time at the cove, we then resorted to taking photos and playing in the sand and the sea. We even carried the paddleboard that is free for guests’ use to the water and enjoyed our remaining time. When it was up, we all hopped aboard our boat and sailed back to Pico beach.

fun at the paddleboard
Tina, Karla and I having fun in the waters with the paddleboard!

Swimming in its Clear Waters

The clear waters of the beach was so inviting that we went on a dip at midday. The sand extends up to few meters off the shore making it shallow; hence, safe for kids or those who couldn’t swim.

Just when we think that we can’t survive a day or half of it in a place with no signal at all; hence, no social media updates, Santelmo Cove would tell you otherwise. It is gifted with plenty of things that we all could use to amaze and busy ourselves with like trekking, swimming, paddle boarding, snorkeling, eating, sight seeing, taking pictures and most of all, relaxing.

The Break Free Experience: Booking and Reservation

Visiting the cove is part of the Break Free package that you can also avail at Pico Sands Hotel. It is a three-day getaway package that lets you experience the luxury of Pico Sands Hotel’s services and the best of Hamilo Coast. Again, take note that the cove is exclusive to Pico Sands Hotel guests only.

Other places to visit in Batangas:

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.

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