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   CARAMOAN: "PHILIPPINES' SECRET PARADISE"
 
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Caramoan (or also known as the Caramoan Peninsula) is a group of islands isolated from the rest of the Camarines Sur, Philippines. It is the perfect island hopping get-away where you can do a lot of adventures like snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, limestone cliff / rock climbing, caving or just wading and swimming thru its fine white sand beaches.

Caramoan is unknown to commercial tourism because of its remoteness. You’ll first experience a bumpy ride and at least 1.5 hours boating from Sabang beach before you can reach it. Thus, its natural beauty was hidden and only few adventurers go there to experience what this place has to offer. Although in recent years, Caramoan was already being visited by some foreign and locals, it was still not as jammed-packed as the Boracay Island, until “Koh-Lanta Caramoan 2008”, a French version of the reality show “Survivor”, had Caramoan Islands particularly the Gota Beach as their shooting location. That was an opportunity that led to its recognition as a Philippine island destination that actually and constantly draws a high percentage of visitors every year until today.

Not only because “Koh-Lanta Caramoan” was shoot there which made it a worthy target for a vacation, it is primarily because of its tropical island beaches, crystal clear ocean waters perfect for swimming trips, vigorous coral reefs for snorkeling and scuba diving, picturesque rock formations and simply for its distinct quiet charm. Righteously, it deserves to be acknowledged not only in the Philippines but by the rest of the world.

Caramoan Islands is more on island hopping adventure which means crossing an island to another island thru a boat. It will be much safe and fun going there during dry season especially the summer months. Since the Bicol Region is a pathway of storms, northeast monsoon prevails from October to January causing dangerous sea waves so still the best and safest time to go there is from February to early June. Also, the best time to go to Caramoan Islands is when there is no on-going shooting for “Survivor”. Some of the best islands are usually close to public whenever there is one although you can still island hop in some islands that is open. 

 
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MUST-SEE IN CARAMOAN
 
Caramoan Islands is one of the National Parks of the Philippines and has been listed as one of the best destination in the world by Top Resa 2008, the biggest travel and tradeshow tourism forum in France. It will not be included in the list if it has nothing special to offer. We gathered the best places and tourist attractions you can see when you visit the Caramoan Islands.
 

Gota Beach: Gota beach is the primary attraction of Caramoan. This is the main setting of “Koh Lanta Caramoan”. Located 5kilometers away from the town proper, Gota beach is the jump-off point for island hopping to Matukad and Lahuy Islands.

Gota Beach is composed of two caves, the Big Gota and Little Gota. Big Gota is the most popular since it is the nearest to the town. Not the least as its name, Little Gota is proud of its powdery white sand comparable to Boracay Island. Upon arriving at Gota Beach, you will see a large rock which is a mark that you’re already at the Gota Beach. They call it Explorer’s Rock.

 
Lahuy Island: Lahuy is a dog bone like and the largest island in the northern part of the Caramoan Peninsula which is surrounded by smaller islets. It is 10 kilometer long and 3.5 kilometer wide. Its single fine white sand shore is the longest among the islands of Caramoan and the entire Camarines Sur. Even before the start of WWII, Barangay Gota in Lahuy Island was already known as a gold-mining community, and Caramoan was before referred as Guta de Leche by the Dutch traders who operated the gold mining plant. When the Spanish came, its name changed to “Carahan” derived from the sea turtles commonly seen on its shores. Nipa Beach and Bugtong beach are also a part of Lahuy Island. Nipa beach has long and wide shoreline which is adjoining with Bugtong Beach which distinctly has black freckled rock formation.
 
Matukad Island: Matukad is one of the small islands in Caramoan. Its shores are covered with fine white sand and walled with spectacular limestone cliffs. It has a lush tropical forest where you can find a small hidden lake at its center.
 
Tayak Lagoon and Tayak Beach (Malarad group of Islands): Tayak beach is a coral pebbled beach located in Malarad Island. It can only be accessed by boats during high tides since the broad coral formation prevents any boats from entering it during low tides. As for Tayak Lagoon, it is a hidden salt body of water located in the center about 100meters from the Tayak Beach. One can swim underneath the Tayak beach rocks to access the lagoon. It has a vast coral garden great for snorkeling trips.
 
Sabitang Laya Island (Bagi-eng Beach): Sabitang Laya in Lucsuhin group of Island is a triangular island bounded by a long fine white shoreline. The long stretch of the beach can reach up to 2 kilometers if combined. Like the other island, it is ideal for swimmers, beach combers and snorkelers. It is also has tall and large cliffs perfect for rock climbing and repelling adventures. It was claimed to be the “Survivors” favorite shooting location among the other islands of Caramoan.
 
Cotivas Island: Cotivas Island is a must-have on your list of itinerary. Experience the feeling of being lost in a paradise. Cotivas Island is like a dessert of fine white sandbars during low tides. It is as if you’re in a paradise of endless skies, with a backdrop of a green tropical island and clear ocean waters gently rushing to your feet. Indeed a perfect place for day dreaming and relaxation.
 
Culapnit Cave:  Culapnit Cave in Sitio Bariw is a great place for spelunking and repelling because of its tall rock formations, stalactites and stalagmites. It is a home for thousands of bats giving life to it. In fact, its name “Culapnit” or “Kulapnit” is the local term for “bat”. They are the provider of Guano Manure, a primary ingredient of fertilizers and gunpowder.
 
Our Lady of Peace Grotto (Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary);  Built in 1989, Mother of Peace Grotto (The Marian Image) of Caramoan is the biggest in the Philippines. Towering at the peak of Caglago Mountain in Barangay Tabgon, it has a total of 530 steps from the foot of the mountain so get your legs and feet ready for a stairway climbing adventure. Tiring it may seem you can get a worthy 180º fascinating view of the islands and Tabgon Bay.
 
Hunongan Beach:  Hunongan Beach is situated at the right side of Gota Beach and is set at the foot of the lush green hills and limestone cliffs. There’s an on-going government project there that constructs a new seaside hotel resort which is a leap in modernization that will surely attracts more tourists and visitors.
 
Tinago Island: Tinago Island offers 3 small hidden beaches inside it walled with spectacular rock formations covered with lush green tropical vegetation. It is truly a post-card perfect landscape. Tinago Island got its name from the word “Tinago” which means “hidden” in English word.
 

CWC (CamSur Watersports Complex): CamSur Watersports Complex is a water park for wakeboarding, kneeboarding, wakeskating and water-skiing/ cable-skiing adventures. Located within the Provincial Capitol Complex of Camarines Sur at Cadlan, Pili.

CWC is a 20-30 minute ride from Naga Airport. It is not “just” a park. CWC is specially designed for all levels of wake boarders whether you’re a beginner or a pro. It is a world-class watersports complex that can facilitate all you’re wakeboarding needs. CWC has a 6-point cable ski system, with side-restaurants, sand bars, spas, wakeboarding shops and grand stands to hold guests. You can also enjoy your water sports even at night because it is equipped with proper lightings and spotlights.

 
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