La Union Surfing – Travel Guide
If one day you find yourself overcome with an ache for travel, there is always one place you can go to with a promise of a good start when the weekend is through – San Juan, La Union.
ABOUT SAN JUAN, LA UNION
La Union is a province in the Ilocos Region, the business and financial center. It is situated in the North of the main island of Luzon and is on the west coast.
Two of the most popular destinations in La Union are San Fernando (the capital city) and San Juan (the surfing capital of the Northern Philippines).
San Juan, a second class municipality is famous for its waves that can reach up to 8 to 10 feet on a good swell. It made a name in the tourism industry as it continues to attract tourists and surfers around the world.
BEST TIME TO VISIT LA UNION FOR SURFING
Surfing is what put the province back on the tourism map. While most destinations in the Philippines come to life during summer (March-May), San Juan has two surfing seasons: July to September (South Swell) and October to March (North Swell)
South Swell is brought by the southwest monsoon, known as the habagat winds to locals. Please take note that this is also a rainy season.
North Swell happens when the northeast trade winds (locally known as the amihan winds) bring consistent swells to the coastline.
April to June are transition months and the chances of swell will be low.
LA UNION SURFING SPOTS
There are a lot of surf spots in La Union that caters to various skill levels. Some of the most popular are as follows:
- The Beach Break is perfect for beginners. This is where you can find a lot of local surf instructors to inquire about lessons and board rentals.
- The Point or Monaliza Point is everyone’s favorite. Best for experienced surfers as it breaks over sharp and rocky reef that can be difficult to navigate.
- The Bowl is also best for experienced surfers as it offers steeper drops than other surfing sites.
- Darigayos Site, they say, has the most consistent break around.
Of you want to break away from the mainstream, other towns also have waves for surfing. Nearby, cities in Tabok, Bacnotan, Cabaroan and south of San Fernando right down to Bauang also boast a good swell depending on time of year.
LA UNION SURFING RATES
Surfboard rental costs PhP200 (4USD) for 1 hour. Add PhP200 more if you will be needing a surfing instructor who will teach you the basics of surfing.
If you prefer hassle-free vacation, there are travel agencies like Sole Adventours that offer surfing packages for a minimum of Php1,800 (USD36) per person depending on hotel accommodation. The package includes 1.5 hour of surfing with a trained instructor.
HOW TO GET TO LA UNION FROM METRO MANILA
There are flights from Manila to San Fernando. San Fernando is the capital of La Union Province.
The flight will take you about 50 minutes.
BY PRIVATE TRANSPORTATION
The road trip from Manila to La Union used to take 5-6 hours. Now, with the newly constructed TPLEX or Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway, travel time was lessened down to 4 hours. For groups, you can rent a private van service from our travel partner, Sole Adventours.
BY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION – BUS
- Hop on any of the North-Bound buses (to La Union or Ilocos) located in Quezon City and expect a travel time of about 5-6 hours.
- You have a choice of getting down in San Fernando City and from there, take a tricycle ride to San Juan City for P50-100/trip that will take 15 minutes OR if you are taking advantage of a package offered by Sole Adventours, you can notify the bus conductor to drop you straight in Kahuna Resort in San Juan, La Union to avoid delay.
- All buses run every hour except during the wee hours of the morning from 2AM-4AM. All buses are air-conditioned and have a rate of PhP400 – PhP500 (USD8-USD10) per person. You can set aside a safe budget of Php1,000 (around USD20) for a round trip fare between Manila and La Union.
Bus companies enroute to La Union are as follows:
Partas – (+632) 725 7303 / (+632) 725 1740
Genesis – (+632) 421 1413 / (+632) 853 3115
Farinas – (+632) 731 4507 / (+632) 731 4375
Viron – (+632) 741 6588
WHERE TO STAY IN LA UNION
There are plenty of accommodations dotting the beach all around La Union, in San Juan especially. You will never run out of options. Check out: Where to Stay in San Juan, La Union to see the list of possible options.
If you want to explore the province more, check out: OTHER PLACES TO SEE AND THINGS TO DO IN LA UNION.
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