February 22, 2017

Travel Guide: Cuatro Islas in Leyte

*Foreword: I am from Leyte particularly in Ormoc City and I have been to almost all beautiful places in my province. So, I am writing this to give you relevant information as you plan your visit to Cuatro Islas anytime soon. Enjoy! :)

Cuatro Islas is now fast becoming a major travel destination in Leyte, Philippines! Although places like Tacloban and Kalanggaman Island are more famous to international and local tourists, Cuatro Islas showcases the beauty of the southwestern part of Leyte.

Read my comprehensive travel guide and adventures to Kalanggaman Island here: 

Cuatro Islas literally means "four islands" and it is located off the coast of the municipalities of Inopacan and Hindang in the province of Leyte. Himokilan Island belongs to Hindang while Mahaba Island, Apid Island, and Digyo Island belong to Inopacan. These islands are breathtaking and beautiful, so perfect for beach-bumming, swimming, snorkeling, and picnics!

The four islands in sight.

So what are you waiting for? Plan your Leyte adventures now and explore Cuatro Islas! 

How to book your Cuatro Islas tour?

You can contact the local tourism staff at (053) 565-0200, (053) 565-0311, (+63) 998-986-4865, (+63) 910-364-9464, and (+63) 948-623-1860. (Note: In our case, we went there during the summer on a Sunday and we were there very early. We just went to the booth and booked immediately our island-hopping tour.) Once there, tourists are accommodated immediately and it is first-come, first-serve basis.

When you arrive in Inopacan, go directly to the pier area just behind the Municipal Hall. There is a booth there at the baywalk area which is the location of the jump-off point to the island. At the booth, you can then make your booking, register your names, and pay the fees.

How much are the fees?

> Round trip boat rental for island hopping and overnight stay is P2,500 for 10 pax / P3,500 for 11-22 pax / P5,000 for 23 pax and above.
> Round trip boat rental for one island only is P2,000 for 10 pax / P3,000 for 11-22 pax / P4,500 for 23 pax and above. (Note: For one island only, choose Digyo Island.)
> Maintenance fee is P50.
> You can rent tents at the island for P200. But you can bring your own tents.
> You can also rent tables and mats at the island for P50 each, chairs are P10 each. To save, bring your own mats and portable table and chairs.
> Space rent for tents is P50.
> Closed cottage is P500.
> Open cottage is P300.

When is the best time to go to Cuatro Islas?

The best time is during the summer season from March-May. You can still visit the island whole year round but you need to avoid the rainy seasons, northeast monsoons (amihan), and southwest monsoons (habagat). I also recommend that you go there during weekdays to avoid a large crowd
at the beach during weekends and holidays.

How to get to Cuatro Islas?

From Manila: > You can take daily flights from Manila to Tacloban or Manila to Cebu.

From Tacloban: > You can take a van from Tacloban to Inopacan preferably Van-Van's or Duptours at their van terminal at downtown Tacloban. (Note: When you are at the city already, just get a tricycle that will bring you to the van terminal. Minimum fare is P8.) Tacloban to Inopacan fare is more or less P200. Travel time is approximately 3 hours. (Note: It is best that you get the first morning trip at around 5-6AM.)

From Cebu: > You can take the boat from Cebu to Ormoc. Trips are at 11AM and 10PM. Get your tickets at Pier 1 and Pier 3. Fare is P400-500. Arrival time in Ormoc is at 5PM and 4AM.
> You can also take the fastcraft from Cebu to Ormoc. There are many trips throughout the day. Get your tickets at Pier 1. Fare is P500-700. Travel time is 2-3 hours.

From Ormoc: > You can take the van from Ormoc to Maasin via Inopacan at the van terminal near the pier area. The first trip is at around 5-6AM. Fare is around P150. Travel time is 2-3 hours.

(Note: Always remember to tell the driver to drop you off at the Inopacan Municipal Hall, just behind it is the baywalk where the jump-off to Cuatro Islas is located.)

From Inopacan:
> You can take the boat assigned to you by the Tourism staff. Travel time to the first island (probably Mahaba Island) is 30 minutes. You will then be transported to Apid Island and last is Digyo Island.

Himokilan Island

Mahaba Island

Apid Island

Digyo Island

How to get back to Tacloban, Ormoc, or Cebu from Inopacan?

To Tacloban:
> Take the van at the terminal. If there are no direct trips from Inopacan to Tacloban, take the Inopacan to Ormoc trip and then Ormoc to Tacloban. (Note: There are many van trips from Ormoc to Tacloban throughout the day until 8PM.)

To Ormoc: 
> Take the van at the terminal. (Note: You can take the van that comes from Maasin via Inopacan to Ormoc.)

To Cebu: 
> Take the van to Ormoc at the terminal. In Ormoc, take the boat or fastcraft back to Cebu.

What to do in Cuatro Islas?

1. Go beach-bumming, swimming, and snorkeling. Paly at the beach and enjoy the sandbar!
2. Take a stroll around the islands especially at Digyo Island.
3. Take a lot of pictures. Fly your drone if you have one.
4. Go camping. Bring your tents, mats, sleeping bags, portable stove, and food.
5. Watch the sunset. Be romantic if someone you love is with you.
6. Enjoy your time with your family and friends.
7. Have a quiet time for yourself. Reflect on God's creative power and goodness to you.

Sunset at Digyo Island.

More tips!
> Island-hopping starts at 6AM. Be there early.
> Day tour trips end in the afternoon. It is better to go back to the mainland by 12NN to 2PM because of the strong winds and waves usually (but not always) in the afternoon.
> Overnight trips also start in the morning. Overnight trips are good for 24 hours so you still have the morning of the next day to enjoy the island. It is better to go back to the mainland at 7-8AM.
> You can choose the time of your pick-up at the island.
> The boatmen are nice. So be nice to them too.
> You can bring food and water in the island.
> There are restrooms and bathrooms in the island.
> There are stores in the island where you can buy food and drinks.
> Charge all your gadgets before going to the island and bring your powerbanks.
> Don't throw your garbage anywhere. You will be given two garbage bags to segregate your waste.
> Put all your things and gadgets in a dry bag. (As for me, I prefer having the Hull & Stern Adventure Bag, the world's most traveled dry bag. It was really dependable and so perfect for my adventures. Try it for yourself too! You can check out their dry bags at www.hullstern.com and www.facebook.com/hull.stern.)

Important note: When you avail of the island-hopping tour at Inopacan, there are actually 3 islands that will explored- Mahaba Island, Apid Island, and Digyo Island. The fourth island, Himokilan Island, belongs to Hindang. If you really want to visit the island, you need to negotiate for a special fee to go there. The fee is usually at P300-500.

Important note: Among the four islands, only two are the best for stopovers- the Mahaba Island and Digyo Island. Himokilan Island and Apid Island have communities who are living there. Digyo Island is the best island for overnight camping.

Friendship goals at Digyo Island.

I hope this travel guide is helpful as you plan your trip to Cuatro Islas!

You can also read my previous posts about Leyte:

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