Six Things You Should Know When Planning A Trip To Surftown

San Juan, La Union is a great place to unwind.

Since it’s summer, travel is high on the to-do list of many now that COVID-19 seems to be slowing down. Expect Batangas, Boracay, and Palawan to be full of people.

If you prefer to spend your vacations far from the madding crowd, why not go to La Union instead? Or, to be more specific, the municipality of San Juan in La Union?

San Juan, aka “Surftown,” is the northern Philippines’ surfing capital. That said, surfing’s not the only thing you can do there. Here’s what you should know when planning a trip to Surftown!


San Juan and its beaches are great for everyone. Whether you’re with family, friends, or flying solo, you’re welcome here. Surftown is open to all, as long as you adhere to IATF guidelines relating to the ongoing pandemic.


Surftown is a beautiful place with a stunning coastline and a vibrant community. Surfing fans come from all over to catch the waves. If you want to learn how to surf, there’s definitely an instructor or three ready to help!

Not into swimming? You can still have fun on the shore. At sundown, several pop-up street food stands come to life. Beer and other refreshments are also available at various seafront establishments.

Looking to connect with nature and contribute to sustainability? Watch Project CURMA (Coastal Underwater Resource Management Actions) release baby turtles. You can also join the clean-up sessions sponsored by co-working space Clean Beach.

Catching waves, escaping the Metro, and soul-searching are a few of the reasons to head for San Juan. 


No time like the present! Weekdays are, of course, a better choice than weekends. But whatever day of the week you go, it will definitely be worth it.

Coming from Manila, prepare for a trip that’s around five hours long at least. Leaving late at night, around 10:00 PM to 11:00 PM, is a good idea. There’s bound to be less traffic and it’s a cooler ride. Best of all, chances are you’ll arrive in San Juan with enough time to watch the sunrise over the West Philippine Sea.


Aside from Airbnb, there are many accommodations in Surftown! A good place to start is The DATO Hostel. It opened early this year and offers everything from bedspaces to barkada rooms.

There’s also The DATO Hostel 2, which is almost a beachfront property. It comes with free breakfast and cocktails!

Other choices include Charlie’s Hangar, Funky Quarters, The Circle Hostel, and more.


San Juan is chock-full of treats for the tummy, from seafood to other cuisines! The plethora of choices include 8AM Cafe & Pastry, located at KM 277 Tavern By The Sea. You must try their vegan Snickers. It also has the best-kept caffeine secrets of Surftown, like espresso-based drinks. Not into that? Ask about their all-natural hibiscus drink!

There’s also something for everyone when it comes to entertainment! Lakbai Musika has live acoustic music nightly. Those who want to knock back cocktails and dance will love Kermit.


As the country recovers from the pandemic, restrictions have eased quite a bit. It’s now possible to take a bus from Cubao, Quezon City, or Avenida, Manila to San Fernando, La Union! From there, all you have to do is ride a tricycle.

Coming from Metro Manila, driving to La Union shouldn’t take more than five to six hours.

READ Yes, You Can Surf at La Union again

Before heading out, check the updated IATF guidelines! The latest update says vaxxed tourists don’t need negative antigen test results.

The key requirements are:

  • Booking confirmation from a DOT-accredited establishment
  • COVID-19 vaccination card
  • Government-issued ID (Passport, Driver’s License, etc)
  • NAPANAM QR pass

It’s best to keep an eye on the Facebook and Instagram pages of the provincial government of La Union.

Now, for the final step: HAVE FUN!

Featured Image Macky Arquilla


Get Hundreds of Discounts & Vouchers

Grab ₱100,000 worth of vouchers on food, home essentials, fashion finds and more!

Lush Sleep Body Lotion


Get weekly updates on new articles and deals.