Hike to Taal Volcano, Tagaytay | What to Do

Hike to Taal Volcano, Tagaytay | What to Do & Some Helpful Tips

Tagaytay tourists love to admire the view of the volcano island called as ‘Taal’. Most of them are contented by simply admiring it from the ridge or highlands of Tagaytay, while some (but not a lot) of them would choose to cross the water and hike to take a closer look at its ‘crater lake’.

I was one of the latter. Now I’ve been to Tagaytay numerous times already and have never set foot on the volcano, until June this year. I was touring Jonas into these parts at that time, and I thought, why not treat the both of us to an adventure so that we could both check ‘Hike to Taal Volcano’ off of our bucket lists? Right? And so we did!

What To Do First, you have to go to Tagaytay.
(Well hello, I am Captain Obvious!)

It can take you approximately 1 hour to reach Tagaytay from Manila (provided there’s not much traffic). Now there are several ways that you can do this…

  1. By Car
    (I prefer this route since it usually brings less traffic) Go to the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), and from there, take the Eton Greenfield exit. Afterwards, just follow the signs that lead you to Sta. Rosa, and then eventually to Tagaytay.
  2. By Bus
    Costing at around Php 120.00, a lot of bus companies offer rides to Tagaytay. It is said that it’s best to choose those who are marked as “Mendez-Tagaytay-Nasugbu” or just ask the operators as to what Tagaytay bus would pass through SLEX and not through Cavite/Aguinaldo Highway. To best avoid traffic, go in the early morning. (My friends in DLSU said they once used the buses in Taft Terminal Station or in Cubao or in Araneta Center; just ask around if in doubt).
  3. By Foot
    Good luck. You crazy mofo, here’s Google Maps to help you.

Cheap Hotels in Tagaytay

Second, once you reach Tagaytay, go to Talisay Bay.
You can hire a tricycle that can take you to Talisay, and then take you back to the Tagaytay City proper. There are also jeepneys in Tagaytay that regularly go to Talisay and back; you can check out the jeepney terminal near the Tagaytay Rotonda and ask them.

If you’re driving a car, from Tagaytay Rotonda, turn left to Tagaytay-Calamba road and slow down your driving so you can catch the sign that would say “Talisay – Laurel” or “Ligaya Drive” because you will turn right on this road. Please drive carefully when taking this route since the road is narrow, winding, and steep.

Third, hire a boat to take you to Taal Volcano Island.
This is where I give you a travel tip! I had a pleasant experience with Angelo (who you can contact at: +63 9197280514) who manages a boat rental service in Talisay Bay. It’s best if you text him first before going to that area so that he can meet you up at the Ligaya Drive and then lead you to where his boats are. We managed to get a deal of Php 1,000 from him (originally Php 1,500) that includes a round trip boat ride. This was a good deal because others asked us to pay them Php 2,500 to 3,000. Yikes.

Angelo's Boat Talisay Tagaytay

Now since you’re dealing with water, be prepared to be splashed here and there. But it’s not really so bad especially if you’re going out to the lake in a clear day.

Taal Volcano

FUN FACT: This ‘cone’ is NOT Taal Volcano. This is just one of its small craters called as ‘Binintiang Malaki’. The actual/biggest crater mouth that has a lake in it, will be the place we’ll be hiking to, called as the Volcano Island.

Now here’s the cool part. It is said that “Taal has an island within a lake, that is also on an island within a lake, that is on an island” which basically means that: on the Philippine Island of Luzon is Taal which has the Volcano Island within the crater lake called as Taal Lake, and within this Volcano Island is yet another lake called as the Main Crater Lake — aaand this even has an island within it named as Vulcan Point Island. (That’s some lake-ception and island-ception thing going on, for sure).

When You’re There …You will see a lot of Koreans that for a moment, you might start thinking that your purpose there is to SEE and OBSERVE them in that island.

Kidding aside, once you reach the island which is Taal Volcano, you will see houses all around you, which means there are people living in this volcano island. And. That. Is. Crazy. Because Taal Volcano is still regarded as a ‘permanent danger zone’ by PHILVOCS (the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology).

Taal Volcano is the 2nd most active volcano in the Philippines with 33 historical eruptions. The most recent one happened last 1977, and sure, it’s ages ago, BUT it has been showing lots of signs of unrest ever since 1991.

Anyhow, I hope the people here remain vigilant or just set roots elsewhere — preferably in a place that won’t surprise them with an eruption…

Taal Volcano Lake

Going up the crater lake is easy. The path is straight and you’ll see a lot of people walking to and fro anyways, so you really won’t get lost. No need to get a guide. You have two (2) options on how you can go up:

  1. Go by foot
  2. Go by horse

The horse will cost you Php 500 per pax that comes along with a guide, and since we were such ‘first-time tourists’ there and since it was also really hot, we thought, why not try a horse? Especially since Jonas hasn’t rode a horse yet in his life…

Horseback Riding Taal Volcano

But… meh, it wasn’t a good decision to take a horse :P
Jonas’ first-timer comment: “Hurts my ass so bad, and it’s also uncomfortable to sit on it…” :))

I’ve rode a horse before for numerous times already due to trips to Baguio with my family and friends.. and well, I can still remember how it did hurt my ass, how it hurt my womanly parts (lol) and my stomach too — especially when the horse tries to run and gallop around.

Now, what is another reason as to why we hoped we didn’t take a horse? Well, because most of the time, we just pity these horses that look like they haven’t been fed for days. :( They were small and scrawny! That’s why at times, I would envision my horse breaking his bones from my weight, so I decided to get off.

Additionally, if you have issues with ‘personal space’, be aware that the horse guides would often hop on to the horse too while you’re riding it: sometimes they will tell you when they’re about to do it, but sometimes (or most of the time) they don’t. And then when you reach the top, the vendors there will keep pestering you in buying food for your guides and guilt-tripping you about how they’re tired and are feeling very hot from the heat.

Anyways,I advice that you just don’t take the horse nor the guide, and go on your own. And just some helpful reminders:

  • Be aware that the trail can get really stinky. You’d expect it because these horses are everywhere, so naturally, their dung is everywhere as well.
  • The trail can get really dusty too. Due to loose volcanic ash, so it’s best that you bring something that covers your mouth and nose; like surgical masks (you’ll see the Koreans wearing this too)
  • And it can get really hot too, so bring water. Heat not only from the sun, but also because it’s still an active volcano, so the ground is ‘warm’ and steam vents from rocks (here and there) can be seen, which adds to the very humid atmosphere.

Tagaytay VolcanoThis steam coming out from underneath the rocks/ground smelled like rotten eggs; and apparently,
it is caused by sulfur dioxide that is escaping out of the cracks on the ground called fumeroles.

It will take you around 30 minutes to reach the top, and when you reach there, like I said, the vendors will harass you before you can even reach the spot where you can get a good view of the lake. :|

And puh-lease, do me a favor and ignore the vendor who would ask you if you want to take a swing of a golf club in order to throw a golf ball into the lake… Like seriously woman, what are you doing to the environment? :(

Nonetheless, once you manage to evade them, there you will finally see the ‘vulcan point’ that has a lake in it. (Imagine, like I said previously, this is like lakeception because Taal Volcano has a lake in its crater and is within a lake, wherein it is an island that is a volcano. Aaaah, that should have hurt your brain a little bit.)

And of course, it was a GREAT view!

Lake Tagaytay Volcano

You will see in this photo that the ‘edges’ of the lake seemed a bit orange-y or reddish, right?

Well that’s mainly because the rocks that are there by the lake have been affected by the hot water, while some yellow ones are mostly made up of iron salts. If you are one of those hikers that could manage to get really close to this lake crater, then you are lucky (and crazy!)

I’ve been told that the rocks are like in the hues of ‘autumn’ and look really lovely. Occasionally, small geysers will also form on the ground AND MELT YOUR SKIN OFF WITHIN A DISTANCE (lol, not really).

We took our swell time at this peak though, because we really needed to rest and cool ourselves off from the heat… And at times, we tried to take more pictures of the lake and us!

Aileen Adalid - TagaytayThis is what happens when it’s hot. I tend to look angrily at the camera. YAY.

Taal Volcano Crater Taal Volcano

Now, it’s time to go down! Here’s a view of how the trail looks like (hiking down) and also some other pictures of our surroundings because they’re such great views too!

Taal Volcano Trail Tagaytay Taal Volcano TrailA view from the top, going down…

Binintiang Malaki TagaytayAgain, this is ‘Binintiang Malaki’ (back view) one of Taal Volcano’s craters. It’s commonly mistaken as Taal Volcano itself.

Mt. Maculot TagaytayIn the distance is Mt. Maculot

We then met up with Angelo again so that he can lead us back to his boat/bangka and take us back to Talisay Bay. Overall: it was a swift and hassle-free ‘deal’ with Angelo and I would recommend him to you guys!

Again, here are directions on how you can go back to Tagaytay Rotonda and then eventually to Manila:

  1. By Car
    Just simply go back to the way you came from, which will then eventually lead you to Tagaytay-Calamba Road, and then eventually Tagaytay Rotonda (Jonas and I were driving a car at that time). To go back to Manila, simply follow the signs that say “Manila”, this will eventually lead you back into SLEX.
  2. By Bus
    I actually don’t know how you can go back to Tagaytay Rotonda from Talisay Bay since I don’t know where the jeepneys/tricylces are stationed at (so it’s really best if you have a deal with a tricycle driver). Once you are at the rotonda, just go to Olivarez Plaza or the Tagaytay Bus Stop near the rotonda, and take a bus there that goes back to Manila.

There! I hope I helped you guys out; if you have any further questions, please feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll try my best to help!

Taal Volcano

Now about our experience, I can say that it was still great! Save for the hagglers, the heat, the dirt, and the smell, it was still worth it to see the crater lake; besides, it would be a shame to say that you’ve been to Tagaytay (for numerous times) without really witnessing Taal Volcano up close and actually landing there to see the volcano island yourself.

But of course, be aware that Taal is still an active volcano, so keep safe, and enjoy! :)

How about you?

  • Have you ever been to Tagaytay? Did you hike to Taal Volcano?
  • If not, do you think you’ll do it?
  • What do you love about Tagaytay?

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  1. Your post is very helpful. I just have questions. I am planning to go there on December and I have elderly with me who cannot handle long hiking. Is kind a flat or you really have to climb up? Also does the guide walk with you all the way? I appreciate your response.

    1. You do have to walk a bit up for some time. It's not too tough since I see some old people hiking up there before; but anyhow, they can always ride the horses if they're not really into walking uphill :) (And yes, the guide goes with you if you get a horse rental. Rest assured, the trail is very clear and there's only one path -- you can actually walk it by yourselves or just follow the others who are in horses). Hope that helps!

  2. Hi! I was wondering, if you do have a contact number of Angelo? We are planning to hike this coming long weekend. :)

    1. Hey Vheb, the last contact number I know for Angelo is written on this post. I don't know though if he changed numbers already, unfortunately.

  3. Great guide Aileen, thank you. We took the boat from Angelo (through our driver) and got charged 3000PHP including return boat ride, guide taking us up, environmental fee and docking.
    We didn't take the horses but boy was it hot! Consider ourselves fit but took us about 50mins on the way up. Didn't help doing it in the midday sun!
    Great views though!!

    1. I'm happy to hear that it went great!!

  4. Hi Aileen, I would like to ask if it is possible to bring my bike to the volcano via boat? I'm planning to do a bike + hike adventure to Tagaytay + Taal Volcano. TIA. :)

    1. Hey Georwyn, the trail up to the mountain will be rugged -- nevertheless, I don't think I've ever heard of anyone going up by bike there (it's either by walking or horse, and it's not really a long hike up so bringing your bike might be a bit pointless). Nevertheless, if you really want to, I advise asking relevant authorities in Taal if such is allowed. Hope that helps!

  5. Hi! Thank you so much for this post! Do you know what would be the best time to go there?

    1. Any time should be fine; maybe best to avoid monsoon season since it can tend to be rainy much like the rest of the Philippines. Enjoy!

  6. Thanks so much for your blog. Even though it's almost three years ago, it helped us a lot in our Taal Volcano Trekking today. Cheers! (:

    1. I'm very happy to hear that! If you ever have a new contact, do share as I'm not sure if my contact is still there haha.

  7. hi! just wondering if the boat rental of 1000 is per head? how many persons can ride the boat?


    1. We paid that for the whole boat. As this is an old post, I'm not sure how much he charges now. Please kindly inquire with him :)

  8. thanks for the tips..well be going there next month for the first time and kinda tight in a budget.I really thought that a tour guide is really necessary for the trek..its also a big amount.thanks for the tips,Aileen

    1. This has been an old post of mine, but I'm glad to be of help! Enjoy!

      1. Hello! I was wondering if you would know if the price for the boat hasn't changed yet, you think we can still get it 1k? Thanks

        1. Hey Tsinita, I haven't been back to Tagaytay in years :( Sorry. Feel free to call him and verify :)

  9. Nice Pics! I want to go next time.

    1. Thanks! You should drop by soon :)

  10. I haven't been back there in years. The last time was on a college fieldtrip! I want to plan a day trip there though, with some hiking on the side!

    1. Same for me, it was only this year that I've been back to Tagaytay. But it sure is always fun! :) You should definitely try hiking there.


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