Pros and Cons of Traveling to Bolinao, Pangasinan

When travelers head off to Pangasinan, Bolinao is often their second stop after Alaminos City. Located on the tip of a peninsula, Bolinao offers  travelers more opportunities to soak in the sun and sea before leaving Pangasinan. The region is littered with secluded caves, waterfalls, and idyllic coves waiting to be discovered. But, just like any other destination, there are things about Bolinao that could either delight or disappoint you. If Bolinao is your next stop, below are some useful tips and insights to help you make the most of your Pangasinan adventure.

Patar Beach, Bolinao

Patar Beach, Bolinao, Photography by Iza Sanchez

Getting There

Bolinao Pangasinan

PROS

Traveling to Bolinao is quite easy. Several bus lines ply the Manila-Bolinao route from terminals in Cubao and Pasay. There are hourly trips beginning at 6 a.m. through 11 p.m. Once you arrive in Bolinao just hop on a tricycle to the beach resorts. It takes roughly 20 to 25 minutes depending on the location of your hotel.

CONS

From Manila, it’s a long and tedious, 6-7 hour journey to Bolinao. If you’re not into road trips Bolinao is probably not your go-to destination. In addition, buses pick up passengers along the way which adds up to the travel time. Here’s a tip – Take an evening trip so that you can sleep through most of the journey. For further directions to Bolinao check out – How to Travel to Bolinao, Pangasinan – Backpacker Style. 

Bolinao Pangasinan

Photography by Iza Sanchez

Infrastructure

Photography by Iza Sanchez

PROS

Bolinao is a fairly established tourist attraction. There are many low-cost, mid-range, as well as luxury hotels to choose from. In addition, transportation to and from the town is plentiful. As for network signal, it isn’t so bad, although just like in many provinces, it’s poor in some areas.

CONS

Patar road is the only path to the resorts. Unfortunately, the road has intermittent gaps between paved and unpaved sections. According to a local, this is a result of the road project being awarded to multiple contractors on a per-kilometer basis. Apparently, the road ends wherever government funds ran out. With that in mind, it’s best to hold off on taking a trip to Bolinao in the rainy season since passage through Patar road could be difficult.

Bolinao Pangasinan

Photography by Iza Sanchez

About the Beach

Bolinao Pangasinan

Photography by Iza Sanchez

PROS

Patar Beach has very attractive, mocha-colored sands  and spectacular rock formations. It’s also not as touristy as commercial beaches close to big cities like Manila, so you can easily find a quiet spot to bask in the sun. A perfect vantage point to take in panoramic views of the beach is at the rock bridge of Treasures of Bolinao. You would have to pay a fee though to use the hotel’s facilities including the bridge.

BOLINAO, PANGASINAN

There is a river called Ilog Malino which runs alongside the beach. You can kayak through the river at Punta Riviera Resort. Kayak rentals cost ₱350 per hour. You can also go to Puerto Del Sol Resort to kayak. However, I recommend Punta Riviera because there you can view the point where the river merges with sea.

BOLINAO, PANGASINAN

Ilog Malino, Bolinao

Bolinao Pangasinan

Bolinao Pangasinan

Sea grass and weeds cover most of the shore of Patar Beach

CONS

The locals have labeled Patar Beach the Boracay of Pangasinan. However, if you’ve seen the likes of Puka Shell Beach in Boracay or Port Barton in Palawan, you might be in for a major disappointment. Yes, Patar Beach is not as strikingly beautiful as the white-sand beaches of Central Philippines, but it does have its own unique charm and is still worth a visit.

Abundant sea grass covers most of Patar’s shores which makes the beach look slightly unattractive, although this is a sign of a healthy marine ecosystem. Here’s a tip – wear slippers or surf shoes to avoid stepping on anything sharp, slimy, or alive with your bare feet.

Bolinao Pangasinan

Photography by Iza Sanchez 

No Snorkeling Sites

There aren’t any snorkeling sites in Patar Beach.  If you’d like to go snorkeling, take a side trip to Alaminos and  visit 100 Islands National Park. To help you decide whether you should swing by Alaminos, check out these photos of the beautiful coral reefs near Quezon Island. It’s just one hour away, so you might as well go.

Bolinao Pangasinan

About Accommodation

Bolinao Pangasinan Bolinao Pangasinan

PROS

A Wide Variety of Hotels

There are many hostels along the beach so you wouldn’t have to worry about booking in advance even during  the peak season. For budget travelers you can find places that offer fan rooms for as low as ₱800 per night. Check out Benjie’s Kubo and Ilog Malino Hotel.

Bolinao Pangasinan

CONS

No Websites

Many low-cost and mid-range hotels in the area do not have websites. It’s a far stretch from one end of Patar Beach to the other and if you don’t have a private vehicle, hopping from one hotel to another on a tricycle to check out each one could be very time consuming. It’s best to book your accommodations in advance with a hotel that has a website to save time and energy.

Patar Beach, Bolinao

SCL Paradise Beach Resort 

Bolinao Pangasinan

Treasures of Bolinao Beach Resort

There are at least three high-end resorts in the area. I got to see the room rates of two and found them quite pricey for a tourist spot like Bolinao. Treasures of Bolinao Beach Resort has the best location of all. Do take note that the beaches in front of any of these hotels are not exclusive to their guests. You can swim and sunbathe in any part of Patar Beach regardless of where you are booked. At Treasures of Bolinao and Punta Riviera visitors are welcome to rent kayaks and use some facilities like the infinity pool and other recreational areas for a fee.

Bolinao Pangasinan

BOLINAO, PANGASINAN

Halo-halo after kayaking at Punta Riviera Resort, superb!

BOLINAO, PANGASINAN

My home away from home at Bolinao was SCL Paradise Beach Resort. It was a mid-range hotel that charged ₱2000 per night for a standard room with the usual amenities. Considering the location I found them quite pricey. However, the hotel’s ambiance was nice and the wifi was good, and at that time I really needed the wifi for work.

The beach across SCL Paradise Resort does not have the wow factor. In fact, you might be disappointed at first glance. But when the sun is up and the sky is clear you’ll find it a lot more attractive. From there you can walk for 15 minutes to the nicer beachfront of Punta Riviera and Villa Soledad hotel.

Patar Beach, Bolinao

Beachfront at SCL Paradise Beach Resort 

Where to Eat

Bolinao

If you’re traveling solo, you will likely spend a huge chunk of your budget on food since there aren’t any cheap restaurants along the beach. I bought some chips, biscuits, and bread in town which was 30 minutes away from my hotel and lived on sandwiches for most of of my trip. I also ordered food from the hotel restaurant a few times, but it was expensive. Some hotels have an open kitchen where guests can cook. Inquire at your hotel if they have one and bring your own food provisions. This could help you save on food costs.

Bolinao Pangasinan

If Karaoke Bothers You

I spent an afternoon swimming and kayaking at Punta Riviera resort. Kayaking was fun. Unfortunately, the neighboring hotel called Villa Soledad had an open karaoke facility. If you’re staying at either Punta Riviera or Villa Soledad, you can expect loud and endless singing from other guests. If karaoke bothers you, pack some advil you might have a migraine or better yet, make sure you ask your hotel about this before you confirm your reservation.

One last tip, if you go to Bolinao in the summer, swim in the morning because by noon the water recedes several meters from the shore and you really couldn’t swim anymore unless your hotel has a pool.

bolinao, pangasinan

These boats can be rented for ₱500 for a 30-minute trip across the beach

bolinao (2)

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Bolinao Pangasinan

Bolinao Lighthouse, Photography by Iza Sanchez

Bolinao Pangasinan

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Iza Sanchez

Iza Sanchez is a freelance ESL Teacher, adventurer and moderator of Take The Travel. She writes about solo-backpacking, travel saving tips and other awesome travel resources.

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43 Responses

  1. Viva Tarroza says:

    Did you get a chance to see Puerto Del Sol Beach? Is the beach also full of sea grass & sea weeds!

  2. Paolo says:

    hello..i am thinking of checking out Patar Beach….are there a lot of very cheap accommodations to choose from? Thanks!

    • Iza says:

      Hey Paolo, there are quite a few resorts to choose from. Unfortunately, many of them don’t have websites or facebook pages. Also, please take note the hotels at Patar Beach are not close to each other, you’d need to ride a tricycle to get from one resort to another if you wanted to canvass rates. If you have a private vehicle it will be easier. Do check out Ilog Malino, they have kubos for rent, with toilets and beds, really basic but good enough. I think they range from 700 to 800 pesos a night.

    • clarence says:

      madaming cheap if beach front ng patar ang want nyo po puntahan…. kubo kubo (wid sala and decked beds good for 5 people) cost us only 2500

  3. Darwin says:

    Greetings! the photos that you have with Pink room, is that for the SLC resort? how many nights did you stay at the hotel? Thank you!

  4. Roxxane Tugade says:

    Hello where I can ask for accommodation/reservation. Can I have your contact #. We will be having our team building on May 7-8 this year.

  5. deb lb says:

    glad i stumbled on your blog. i was thinking one last summer trip or the family and this helps in our decision making. we are six and therefore dining options is always a factor.

  6. Ella says:

    Hi! Im just ‘bothered’ that you were ‘bothered’ by the presence of seagrasses in the area when it is actually a sign of a healthy coastal community. The seagrasses is home to many invertebrates and source of food for them. So when we see seagrass we should be happy. They’re even better than a long stretch of white sand devoid of a diversity. Just sharing my thoughts. Thanks. And yes thanks for sharing info on Bolinao.

  7. Jenn Gaupo says:

    Hi, we are planning to have our family outing in Villa Soledad this coming June. Did you recommend it or better punta Riviera? Btw, thank you for sharing your experience in Bolinao, this is a great help.

    • Iza Sanchez says:

      Hi Jenn, Villa Soledad was right across Punta Riviera. The hotel looked ok but I didn’t thoroughly check out their facilities. Punta Riviera on the other hand was very nice, quite posh and pricey though. You can check out their website to see if their rates are within your budget.

      The beach in front of these two hotels is beautiful and you can also kayak along the river parallel to the beach. During low tide though water recedes by several meters so you may want to spend as much time swimming before noon. Hope that helps.

  8. Mina says:

    Hello is benjie’s kubo or ilog malino hotel near patar beach?

    • Iza Sanchez says:

      Hey Mina,

      Yes, Benjie’s Kubo and Ilog Malino are along Patar Beach. I wasn’t able to visit that part of the beach though since it’s a very long coast.

  9. Sofia says:

    how about the signal reception there?

  10. Liza says:

    Thank you..this helps a lot

  11. Rurut says:

    Hi, have youtried going to Potipot Island in Zambales? which has a better road, going to Bolinao Pangasinan or to Potipot in Zambales?

    • Iza Sanchez says:

      Hi! I haven’t been to Potipot Island yet but I’d love to travel there in the future. Regarding road conditions, best to check the weather and avoid going when there’s a forecast of heavy rains. Good luck!

  12. Iain Booth says:

    Nice to get such an informative assessment. Something for everyone. Especially noted the non-stop karaoke. (The bane of life in the Philippines). I’ve been to most of the better known tourist beaches in the PH and it seems like this is one worth considering – even though I’d have to forego snorkelling and diving.

  13. Bambi Yu says:

    Undecided whether to chek in at Villa Soledad or Treasures of Bolinao. Which do u recommend?

  14. Leah Gan says:

    Hi. Your blog is a great help. Would like to ask if you’ve seen Veue cabins? Is it better than Punta Riviera?

    • Iza Sanchez says:

      Hi Leah,

      Sorry I haven’t seen Veue cabins. Punta Riviera is quite nice since it’s a beach front resort. I kayaked and swam there. It’s one of the pricey resorts though. Cheers!

      • hello Leah! this is Oliver Bondad. if you need help with your itineraries in Bolinao, NorthAir Travel and Tours can assist you. Regarding your question about the VEUE, its a minimalist resort, cozy, with infinity pool, whitesand beach front, and they charge P8000/day minimum of 2 days stay. for more infos add me up
        in FB

  15. Lhiz says:

    Hi. May rsort or cottage ba na malapit sa mga spots sa bolinao na owede pag iwanan ng gamit.. Para secure ung bag pag magswiswimming. We only plan to have the tour for a day. Kaya need ko malaman kung may pwede ba pagdepositan ng gamit. Like pag nasa beach or falls. Dalawa lng kmi at commute lng no private car. Thanks

  16. Mich says:

    Hi,

    I find your blog very helpful :).
    Would you know how I can to Punta Riviera Resort by public transport?

    Thank you

  17. Mole says:

    Nice article you have here. very helpful.
    How about the road? Is the road rough or is it ok to bring a car? ano po ang suggestion nyo? Thanks!!

  18. lein says:

    possible pa po ba ang Tent pitching?

    may pwede kayang lutuan lang at liguan?

  19. Xian Salta says:

    Hi..nice review you had there! Do you happen to know where a family of 5 can stay airconditioned and modest furniture wherein we can cook by our selves? That includes with cooking pots available…we plan to buy and cook since we heard that seafoods are affordable there

  20. Chris says:

    Hi! How much would be the accommodation for SCL Patar Beach Resort? Thanks!

  21. la_puente says:

    Just wanted to thank you for a highly entertaining and informative post. Hard to find such things online, really. Kudos 🙂

  22. Hi, my friends and I are planning to go to Bolinao this weekend. I would like to ask if it is easy to get a bus back to Manila even if you didn’t book for a ride prior to your trip? Thanks!

  23. james gunby says:

    I would also recommend a new eco resort in Bolinao called Birdland beach club. We stayed there and it’s a very unique and environmentally friendly resort. We used this new guide of bolinao http://www.bolinaohotels.wordpress.com or something to that effect.

  1. 7 May, 2017

    […] Pros and Cons of Traveling to Bolinao, Pangasinan […]

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