With countless beautiful Zambales tourist spots to see, enticing islands near the West Philippine Sea, delicious treats not to miss, and a good mix of chill and thrilling activities, Zambales has become a go-to destination for weekend travelers. 

Just two to three hours away from Manila, you can already enjoy a getaway you’ve been wanting for so long. 

Top 13 Zambales Tourist Spots

From wildlife farms and historic places to pristine beaches and magnificent coves, Zambales surely does not disappoint! Here are our top 13 picks of the best places to visit in Zambales. 

What’s inside this blog?

If you’re planning to visit Zambales anytime soon, make sure to read this guide carefully to help you plan an awesome itinerary. 

13. Botolan Wildlife Farm

deers at botolan wildlife farm

Photo credits to BOTOLAN Zambales- Yours To Discover

If you think Zambales is just surfing and beaches, you’re wrong. While it’s famous for island getaways, there are also other cool places to visit. One of the best Botolan Zambales tourist spots is the Botolan Wildlife Farm. It is a family-run ranch established in 2000. This 55,000 sqm. Zambales tourist spot serves as a habitat for a wide range of exotic animals and plants around the world. No need to fly to Africa to experience a safari trip.

The Botolan Wildlife Farm in Zambales is open daily from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm

12. Ina Poon Bato Chapel

facade of Zambales Ina Poon Bato Chapel

Photo source: Wikipedia

According to historical and mystical sayings, the Aetas had been worshiping a wooden statue set on a rock in the 17th century when Spain began its colonization of the country. The image was soon associated with the Virgin Mary, prompting the Catholic Church to dub the image as Ina Poon Bato (Mother of the Lord Rock).

While the chapel was destroyed by the 1991 Mt. Pinatubo eruption, the image of Ina Poon Bato survived and was later transferred to a nearby chapel. Devotees are always flocking the chapel for miracles or as a sign of gratefulness for answered prayers.

There’s also a fiesta (Fiesta Póon Bato) held every January 23-24 in honor of Ina Poon Bato. Thousands of devotees gather to that event. One thing you should look forward to this fiesta is the cultural dance of the Aetas. 

11. Fort Paynauen Zambales Philippines

Zambales Fort Paynauen

Photo credits to BOTOLAN Zambales- Yours To Discover

If you’re looking for historic places to visit in Zambales, make sure to visit Fort Paynauen. This historic fortress was once the most formidable Spanish garrison in Central Luzon during the first century of the Spanish regime in the Philippines. Fort Paynauen served as a prison not only for the rebellious natives of Zambales but also for Spanish officials who angered the Spanish Governor-General or Archbishop of Manila. 

10. Mt. Pinatubo

stunning view of Zambales Mt. Pinatubo

Stand in awe once you see Mt. Pinatubo, often called the “beautiful disaster”. To see its magnificent crystal clear waters of Crater Lake, you will have to ride the 4×4 or an ATV. The ride will be a rocky one but once you see the view, all the bumps you’ve gone through are worth it! What makes this trip even better is that you can interact with one of the oldest indigenous tribes in the Philippines, the Aetas, and experience their culture. If there’s one thing Zambales is known for aside from its beaches, it’s Mt. Pinatubo.

9. Camara Island

Zambales Camara Island

Another great Zambales tourist destination is Camara Island. If you want to go on a snorkeling trip, swimming, or just have a photoshoot for the ‘gram, 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 Bay

tourists at Zambales Subic Bay

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 the province. Subic bay 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. Make sure to include this Subic Zambales tourist spot in your itinerary for an awesome getaway. 

7. Potipot Island

kayaks at Zambales Potipot Island

One of the most popular Zambales tourist spots is Potipot Island. It may be a small island but you’d definitely have enough (and more) of what you asked for, for a quick beach getaway. Rent a kayak to explore the island to make your trip more fun. 

6. Magalawa Island

aerial view of Zambales Magalawa Island

Often dubbed as the next Boracay, Magalawa Island 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 one of the most favorite Zambales tourist spots of backpackers and those who are more into DIY adventures. One interesting fact you should know about Magalawa Island is that it is called the Island of the Stars because of the abundance of starfish in the area, according to locals. 

5. Talisayen Cove

Zambales Talisayen Cove

Photo credits to Doods Dumaguing / Flickr

If you want to enjoy a beach on your own, consider visiting Talisayen Cove. It’s one of the coves that resulted from Mt. Pinatubo eruption, 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

tourists at liwliwa beach zambales

Liwliwa is a soul-searcher and a surfer’s favorite. Unlike other beaches, Liwliwa offers a combination of tranquility and fun vibe. The waves here are perfect for surfing and the best part about it is that you don’t have to compete with other people to get a good spot because there are fewer tourists here. But it’s not only about surfing, Liwliwa Beach also offers a great view of the sunset. How about a drink or two at the beach with your significant other? 

3. Nagsasa Cove

stunning view of nagsasa cove zambales

Nagsasa Cove, like Anawangin, is the result of Mt. Pinatubo eruption in 1991. It has Agoho trees and volcanic ashes that line the beach. Nagsasa Cove has all the good things Anawangin is famous for, 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. Make sure to visit Nagsasa Cove as it’s one of the best Zambales tourist attractions.

2. Capones Island

empty capones island zambales
This Capones Island photo was taken from The Girl Behind the Pen

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. Every corner in Capones Island is very Instagrammable. The different shapes of rocks and old-era stairs as your background make up a great photo for the ‘gram! You can also find the famous old Spanish Lighthouse built in 1980.

One fun thing to do in Capones Island is that you can have a picnic and enjoy the island all to yourself 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 beach!

1. Anawangin Cove

stunning view of anawangin cove zambales

Many tourists consider Anawangin Cove as the best Zambales tourist spot. And it’s easy to 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 on a tent or by renting a cottage. There’s also no electricity and low signal, that makes your trip to Anawangin Cove perfect—no distractions.

How to go to Zambales

Traveling to Zambales Philippines from Manila is not too complicated. If you’re commuting, ride a Victory Liner bus from Cubao, Pasay, or Caloocan bound for Iba, Zambales Philippines. Tell the driver or conductor where you’re headed and they’ll drop you off at the nearest area to your destination. From there, you can just ride a tricycle to your preferred Zambales tourist spot or the nearest jump off point.

Best time to visit Zambales

The best time to visit Zambales province is during the dry season (November to May). If you’re traveling for surfing, late May to October is the best time to catch the waves in San Narciso in Zambales Island. To be sure, just monitor the weather through the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) before traveling.

COVID-19 Travel Update

According to Zambales Tourism, leisure travels are prohibited only from March 26 until April 4, 2021. Those who are planning to enter Zambales must register and apply for an S-PaSS and get your travel coordination permit (TCP). For more details and travel updates about Zambales tourism, check this page.

Frequently Asked Questions About Zambales Tourist Spots

Q: What is there to do on Zambales day tour?
A: There are many things to do in Zambales. You can go island hopping, camping, and surfing! The best Zambales tourist spots to do these things are Liwliwa Beach, Anawangin Cove, Capones Island, and Nagsasa Cove.

Q: What is Zambales famous for?
A: Zambales is famous for its beaches and coves. The most popular activities here are surfing and camping. This province gives a good mix of chill and thrill adventure to cater to all types of travelers.

Q: What region is Zambales located in?
A: Zambales province is located in the Central Luzon region or Region III.

Q: How many hours does it take to get to Zambales?
A: Traveling to where Zambales is situated is easy. It usually takes about three to four hours of travel time from Manila to get to Zambales. But if the traffic is heavy, expect to have a longer road trip.

Q: How do I commute to Zambales?
A: Ride a Victory Liner bus from Cubao, Pasay, or Caloocan bound for Iba, Zambales. Tell the driver or conductor where you’re headed and they’ll drop you off at the nearest area to your destination. From there, you can just ride a tricycle to your destination.

Q: What is Mango Festival in Zambales?
A: Zambales is known for its sweet mangoes. In fact, the Sweet Elena carabao mango variety grown here was cited in the Guinness Book of World Records world’s sweetest in 1995. This paved the way for the yearly celebration called the “Dinamulag Festival,” to celebrate the bountiful harvest of other mango varieties known also for their large sizes.

Zambales is more than just a mining province. As you discover its popular and hidden gems, you’ll be surprised to know that Zambaes has so much to offer.

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