With interesting coastal towns named after saints and enticing islands near the West Philippine Sea, there’s no doubt that city dwellers love to go to Zambales. Unlike other tourist spots near Manila, the province doesn’t have many noisy bars, high-end resort amenities, and fine dining restaurants. But its stillness and quiet charm are enough to attract tourists who have come for a chill trip at the best beach in Zambales. 

And although the province offers stillness, Zambales beach also gives an adrenaline rush in the form of its towering waves perfect for surfing. Zambales is where #wanderlust posts on Instagram are made of.

Zambales Tourism Guidelines 2022

As of March 20, 2022, QR Coded Travelers Pass (QTP) from the Zambales Visitor Information and Travel Assistance (VisITA) System is no longer required when traveling to Zambales.

  • A vaccination card is a must for fully vaccinated travelers.
  • For unvaccinated or partially vaccinated travelers: RT-PCR taken within 72 hours or a rapid antigen test taken within 24 hours or upon arrival
  • Booking confirmation from DOT Accredited Accommodations
  • Valid ID

10 Must-Visit Beaches in Zambales

  • Camara Island – It features rocky hills, huge chunks of rock formations, boulders of rock and a sand beach. 
  • Subic Beach – A gray-sand beach perfect for a quick getaway.
  • Potipot Island – A popular Zambales beach where you can kayak and snorkel.
  • Magalawa Island – Magalawa is a favorite of backpackers and those who are more into DIY adventures.
  • Talisayen Cove – An uncrowded cove with a white-sand beach perfect for relaxing.
  • Liwliwa Beach – A surfer’s haven.
  • Nagsasa Cove – It has a natural viewpoint on a hill and a postcard-worthy inlet.
  • Capones Island – This bone-shaped island is a traveler’s favorite because of its stunning white sand and water with different hues of blue as it gets deeper.
  • Anawangin Cove – The most famous in Zambales, a result of MT. Pinatubo eruption.
  • Bacala Sandbar – The main attraction of this Zambales beach is the old stilt house.

So, if you’re itching to have a quick beach fix, check out this list and find out which is the best beach in Zambales!

9. Camara Island

camara island zambales beach

If you want to go on a snorkeling trip, swimming, or just have a photoshoot, Camara Island is the perfect place for that! It features rocky hills, huge chunks of rock formations, boulders of rock and a sand beach. It also boasts a sandbar that only shows up every low tide or after the rainy season. Camara Island is just 10-15 minutes away from Capones Island.

8. Subic Beach

subic beach zambales

From Manila, it will only take about three hours to reach The Subic Bay, that’s why it is one of the most visited beaches in Zambales. Subic beach caters to all kinds of travelers as there’s a wide range of choices, from budget-friendly to high-end resorts. Some are even theme parks and an inflatable island.

7. Potipot Island

potipot island zambales beach

One of the most popular beaches in Zambales is Potipot Island. It may be a small island but you’d definitely have enough (and more) of what you asked for a quick beach getaway. Some activities are also allowed like beach volleyball and snorkeling. You can also rent kayak in Potipot. It’s a good swimming spot but not for snorkeling as there are not much corals to see on this island. 

6. Magalawa Island

magalawa island zambales beach

Magalawa is a 56-hectare island in Zambales. It is now a rising star on social media because of its fine white sand and pristine sandbar. Magalawa is a favorite of backpackers and those who are more into DIY adventures. One interesting fact you should know about Magalawa is that it is called the Island of the Stars because of the abundance of starfish in its waters, according to locals.

5. Talisayen Cove

talisayen cove zambales beach

If you’re looking for a crowd less spot to enjoy the beach on your own, consider visiting Talisayen Cove. It’s one of the coves in Zambales that Mt. Pinatubo eruption made like the Anawangin and Nagsasa Coves. When you get there, you’ll see no other structures aside from a viewing deck, nipa huts, and a private rest house. Nature lovers will enjoy its crystal-clear waters, rock formations, and a lush mountain. You can go trekking or hiking to the mountain. Every corner is perfect for your #feedgoals! 

4. Liwliwa Beach

liwliwa zambales beach

Liwliwa is a soul-searcher and a surfer’s favorite. Unlike other beaches, Liwliwa offers a combination of tranquility and fun vibe. It is also a surfer’s haven because of its great waves, only with lesser people. And if you’re a first-timer, this San Felipe Zambales beach is a great place to start learning to surf!

3. Nagsasa Cove

nagsasa cove zambales beach

Nagsasa Cove, like Anawangin, is the result of Mt. Pinatubo eruption in 1991. It has Agoho trees and volcanic ashes that line the beach. 

It has all the good things Anawangin is famous, like the natural viewpoint on a hill and a postcard-worthy inlet. What sets it apart from Anawangin is that Nagsasa offers a more laid back atmosphere. 

2. Capones Island

capones island zambales beach
Photo credits to Erick Dantoc / Behold Philippines

This bone-shaped island is a traveler’s favorite because of its stunning white sand and water with different hues of blue as it gets deeper. What’s great about this Zambales beach is that every corner is very Instagrammable, especially the different shapes of stones like from an old era. You can also find the famous old Spanish Lighthouse built in 1980.

One fun thing to do in Capones Island is that you can picnic and have the island all to yourselves if you’re lucky. And the best part? If you want to go island hopping, other beaches are just a boat ride away! So don’t miss this San Antonio Zambales beach!

1. Anawangin Cove

anawangin cove zambales beach

Many tourists consider Anawangin Cove as the best beach in Zambales. And we can obviously see why. Its crescent shape, fine white sand beach, and secluded island vibe capture its visitors’ hearts. But it’s not actually the original look of Anawangin Cove. Mt. Pinatubo is responsible for how the cove looks as it is today. When it erupted in 1991, Mt. Pinatubo dumped tons of ash to the shore of San Antonio. What used to be a rocky coast became a piece of paradise and became every beach-lover’s haven. 

There are no hotels here. You can only sleep in the cove in a tent or by renting a cottage. There’s also no electricity and a low signal, giving you the right camping vibe. This San Antonio Zambales beach is worth visiting!

Related article: Anawangin Cove: A Complete Travel Guide | 2022 Guidelines

BONUS!

Bacala Sandbar

Photo credits to Lawrence Craft / Flickr

Bacala Sandbar is located at San Salvador Island. The main attraction of this Zambales beach is the old stilt house. It stands on the water so you will have to walk through the water with some fish (yes, cool huh?) to reach the house.

Have you decided which is the best beach in Zambales to visit?

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Frequently Asked Questions About Beach in Zambales

Q: Is Zambales open for tourists 2022?

A: Yes, Zambales is open to all tourists 2022.

Q: What is the best beach in Zambales?

A: There are many beaches in Zambales you can visit. These are:

  1. Camara Island – It features rocky hills, huge chunks of rock formations, boulders of rock and a sand beach.
  2. Subic Beach – A gray-sand beach perfect for a quick getaway.
  3. Potipot Island – A popular Zambales beach where you can kayak and snorkel.
  4. Magalawa Island – Magalawa is a favorite of backpackers and those who are more into DIY adventures.
  5. Talisayen Cove – An uncrowded cove with a white-sand beach perfect for relaxing.
  6. Liwliwa Beach – A surfer’s haven.
  7. Nagsasa Cove – It has a natural viewpoint on a hill and a postcard-worthy inlet.
  8. Capones Island – This bone-shaped island is a traveler’s favorite because of its stunning white sand and water with different hues of blue as it gets deeper.
  9. Anawangin Cove – The most famous in Zambales, a result of MT. Pinatubo eruption.
  10. Bacala Sandbar – The main attraction of this Zambales beach is the old stilt house.

Q: How to get to Zambales from Manila?

A: From Cubao, Pasay, or Manila, ride a bus bound for Iba, Zambales via Subic–Clark–Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx). If you’re going to San Narciso, get off at San Sebastian Church.

Q: How long is Zambales from Manila?

A: The travel time to Zambales form Manila usually takes around 3 to 4 hours depending on the traffic.

Q: What are the best things to do in Zambales?

A: Zambales is every traveler’s favorite when it comes to beach getaways and weekend trips. Here are some of the most fun things to do in Zambales:

  1. Surfing
  2. Camping
  3. Island-hopping
  4. Glamping
  5. Hiking
  6. Stargazing
  7. ATV Riding

Disclaimer: ZEN Rooms claims no credit for images featured on our blog site unless otherwise noted. All visual content is copyrighted to its respectful owners. We try to link back to original sources whenever possible. If you own the rights to any of the images, and do not wish them to appear on ZEN Rooms, please contact us and they will be promptly removed. We believe in providing proper attribution to the original author, artist or photographer.

When we talk about the best beaches in the Philippines, Boracay and Palawan first come to mind. While these are indeed beautiful, there are also beaches near Manila that are as stunning as the two and worth a visit. One of these is Magalawa Island in Zambales.

Just like the Philippines’ top beaches, Magalawa Island has fine white sand, crystal clear blue waters, and a lot of fun activities—only secluded, which makes it even better. And because of these, locals and tourists think that this could be the next Boracay!

This 56-hectare island is best known for its white fine sand and pristine sandbar. It is also called the Island of the Stars because of the abundance of starfish in its waters.

Here’s a quick Magalawa Island DIY Guide with all the things you should know to help you plan your trip.

Magalawa Island DIY Guide

Magalawa is a rising star on social media because of its stunning beauty that captivates its visitors. This island has become a favorite of quick vacationers and budget travelers because aside from being accessible (Manila to Magalawa Island is just 4 to 6 hours of travel time), it is also a budget-friendly destination.

The island is usually quiet so Magalawa is perfect for just relaxing. If you’re lucky, you can have the beach all to yourself. As this isn’t yet discovered by many, you can still enjoy its unspoiled beauty with less to no crowd. Weekdays are the best time to visit Magalawa Island Zambales.

Magalawa Island Location

Palauig, Zambales

Manila to Magalawa Island 

 

Magalawa Island location is very accessible! From Manila, take a Victory Liner bus bound for Sta. Cruz, Zambales and tell the driver or conductor to drop you off at Brgy. Pamolingan in Palauig. You can ride a bus from Caloocan, Cubao, Manila, or Pasay. Travel time is about 4 to 6 hours from Manila. Once you arrive, head to Luan Port, where boats are available to take you to Magalawa Island. 

If you’re taking a private vehicle, drive to Pangolinga in Palauig, Zambales. The fastest way to reach Paluaig is via the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and on to the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX). 

Where to stay in Magalawa Island 2020

 

There are only two resorts on the island—the Ruiz and Armada resorts. Ruiz resort is more affordable while the Armada resort is for those who have an extra budget. 

If you want a cheaper option, you can just pitch a tent in Magalawa Island. You can bring your own or rent one from the resort that costs about P200 – P300 per night only.

Things to do in Magalawa Island

 

Magalawa Island | Photo source: Wikimedia Commons/Ignacio Malapitan III

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons/Ignacio Malapitan III

For a more fun trip, here are 5 best things to do in Magalawa Island Zambales.

1. Snorkeling

Unlike other islands in Zambales, Magalawa has more underwater gems to boast of. Both resorts offer snorkeling as part of their day tour and overnight packages. If you opt not to avail of a package, snorkeling rates start at P100 per person. 

2. Camping

Make your trip more exciting by camping instead of staying in a hotel room. Experience the real island vibe by pitching a tent and enjoying a bonfire.

3. Walk on the island’s sandbar

One of the most famous spots on Magalawa Island is its sandbar. This is a must-see destination when visiting. Just a reminder, there is a rip current on the left side of the sandbar so be careful.

4. Island hopping

Zambales is home to many coves and islands so island hopping is a great activity when in the province. From Magalawa Island 2020, you can go to Potipot Island and Bacala Sandbar for as low as P200.

5. Kayaking

This is a fun activity not to miss in Magalawa Island. What’s great about this is that, kayaking here is cheaper compared to other islands in the Philippines!

Tips and Reminders

 

Bring your own drinking water.

There are only few stores on the island so expect the prices of goods to be expensive.

If you are camping, bring mosquito repellents.

If you find some starfish, don’t disturb or pick them up.

Electricity is only available from 6pm to 7am.

There’s a rip current beside the sandbar so you have to be very careful.

Disclaimer: ZEN Rooms claims no credit for images featured on our blog site unless otherwise noted. All visual content is copyrighted to its respectful owners. We try to link back to original sources whenever possible. If you own the rights to any of the images, and do not wish them to appear on ZEN Rooms, please contact us and they will be promptly removed. We believe in providing proper attribution to the original author, artist or photographer.