Why walk when you can ride? Take the Taal Volcano tour by horseback uphill through the hardened black lava to theTaal Volcano crater rim.
Well, okay, officially the hike is rated as “easy” BUT… Because this is a semi-active volcano (you will see stream rising from rock formations during your hike) it can get a little warm of your trek during warm to hot days. On the day we went, it was HOT. At every rest-stop we passed there were hikers resting, covered in sweat. We did it the easy way (by horseback). Taking the Taal Volcano Tour by horseback is definitely worth it. Watch the video to see the difference.
Taal Volcano is often described as ‘an island within a lake within an island within a lake’ because of its rather interesting geological formation. It is said to be the world’s smallest active volcano and the second most active volcano in the Philippines, with 33 eruptions recorded. The most recent significant activity was the eruption in 1965, which caused a pyroclastic surge that devastated villages on the lake shore and killed around 100 people. From then until 1977 the volcano erupted several times but caused little damage.
Taal Lake is a freshwater lake in southwestern Luzon, Philippines, occupying a volcanic crater with a maximum width of 24 km, at less than 10 feet (3m) above sea level and it provides stunning views and is a habitat for many endemic species. It has an area of 244 square km and is the country’s third largest lake. Within the lake rises Volcano Island 98 feet, which itself contains another small crater (Yellow Lake) and where the volcano’s historical eruptions took place. Taal Lake lies within a national park and is a major tourist attraction.
Crosswinds Resort where we were staying, offers Taal Volcano Trekking Tours but we booked the tour in advance with Taal Volcano Crater Tour and Brian Malvataan, the owner, managed the transportation for us.I found out that it was cheaper to book a tour in advance and we did it with him. He discussed their services and the prices upfront with no hidden fees. He suggested the best time to start the trek is early in the morning between 6-9 am to avoid heat and rough waves in the afternoon. So we woke up early to catch up the available hotel’s shuttle service that can bring us to the gate of the Crosswinds community.
After waiting for about 15 minutes, we saw our trike services fetching us. Yes, trikes – short for a tricycle. If you don’t have a car, one option that you can consider to go to Taal Lake rides a tricycle. It cost ₱600 back and forth. It may sound expensive but I think it’s worth it because driving to the zigzag road going down to this town is not easy. After 20 minutes, we arrived at Precious Boat Station.
Upon arriving Bryan welcomed and accommodate us. I loved the small orientation he gave to us before the activity begins. For ₱1,500 per person, you will get a round-trip boat ride, a tour guide, a horse ride (₱500 fee is optional for horseback riding) especially if you’re not keen to do the hike plus the terminal and entrance fees to Taal Volcano. With the complementary of buli hats, face masks, life jackets, bottled water, and buko juice and lots of information regarding the different trails when trekking to Taal Volcano. With Brian, there are various trails you can choose from, whether you are a beginner hiker or want a more relaxed trek, or if you’re in the area for more advanced photography and videography.
After the orientation, we signed up for the waiver pay for the package tour before he sends us on our way to the boat driver. The boat drivers were friendly and even took a picture of us. Having life-jackets on the boat ride, and guides waiting for us definitely made us be able to focus on the trip and not our safety. Once we reached the shore of the lake, we board an outrigger boat for the 30 minute trip across the small village lake to Taal Volcano island
Upon arriving on the island you can either attempt to hike the mountain yourself or you can pay ₱500 per person they have a horse with a guide take you up. You’ll realize why this tour is kinda costly afterwards. We took the horse and, I named my horse “Ohyayaya” because when I first saw her, she’s appealing and naughty – didn’t know she was preggy…
The native female horses are fantastic and really strong and the jockey-guides are all helpful and attentive but be careful because some of them will ask you for a handout and pout if you refuse.
The sun is rising higher and sweat pours from my body. There is no shade and the horses kick up dust as they race by in both directions. And sometimes, you can smell some horse poop all along the track. I feel my skin burning and my leg muscles doing the same. With horseback riding, the trek is easy-moderate but surely it breaks a sweat. The biggest factor of this trek is heat and humidity and please make sure you are well protected from the sun and bring water to keep yourself hydrated.
When climbing Taal Volcano, take short breaks if you need to. The surroundings are sure to keep you motivated to reach the top. The higher you climb, the closer you get to witness the breathtaking views across the island and Taal Lake’s pristine waters.
Once you reach Taal Crater’s view deck, get ready for your jaw to drop. Seeing the crater lake is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, a sheer testament to nature’s design. You have the choice of paying for the Red Lava for ₱50. It’s just three minutes walking distance from the Taal Volcano viewing point. If you are interested in taking good pictures, this place is much better than the main point of view for another view angle.
The lake has this greenish-blue colour and seemingly orange red-coloured rock. But don’t worry, it’s safe to swim in the water as the sulphur content is very low. Some say bathing in the crater even cures skin diseases! Surprisingly, the water is not hot but it’s advised not to stay in for too long.
If you’re feeling thirsty, there are enterprising local vendors in the area selling cold refreshments such as soft drinks and halo-halo. Enjoy every sip of your drink as you gaze at the picturesque scenery.
First tip, the obvious one – check the weather first. Wear comfortable outfit. Preferably, clothes that will protect you from the sun (leggings, long sleeves, rubber shoes, cap or hat, sunglasses and etc). Yes, I know you noticed my outfit. I prefer to wear denim short and sleeveless at that time because it was summer when we did that tour. Bringing a mask is optional because the route becomes dusty due to the ashes from the volcano. I’m pretty sure you don’t want to inhale that.
We recommend you to bring a light backpack. But Gary chooses a waterproof dry bag sack instead. First, it keeps our belonging clean, dry and most importantly it is recommended for outdoor activities like camping, hiking and mountaineering. Just make sure you’re wearing comfortable clothes or maybe check the weather first! We highly recommend you to bring water, cap, sunblock and some snacks. If you aren’t bringing water and snacks and you get too hungry at any part of the trek, it won’t be a problem since there are local vendors during the way. You will find vendors every ten minutes of walking distance. Prices will be a little bit more expensive – twice the market price. But you can enjoy cold water and coconut if you are very thirsty. So, better to eat a heavy meal a couple of hours before going on a tour. You need energy for trekking or horseback riding. Bring a wide lens camera to capture the whole volcano crater. Preferably DSLR, GoPro and Drone.
Going down is a bit more forgiving since it was less sunny and we were properly re-hydrated and rested. We enjoyed our trekking with Taal Volcano horseback riding. It is indeed an accomplishment for us. The view is exceptional and the smoke coming out from volcano on some part of the trail is really astonishing! Soon, as we got back to the boat station, we were given fresh coconuts which I think is a nice touch to the service. You can also freshen up before heading to your next destination. I recommended Bryan. Here are the contact details of our tour guide.
TIP: Book the tour and the accommodation in advance, especially if you go on the weekend! We personally recommend you to get in touch with Bryan Malvataan and his service with Taal Volcano Crater Tour Package is fantastic. His rates are by far the most affordable of all the tours in the area. He will accommodate you and let you know the information you need about the area.
Precious Boat Station,
325 Sitio Gulod, Brgy. Banga, Talisay, Batangas
+6309208490951 / +639172032792
First of all, you need to ride a few transportations if you are coming from Manila to reach the starting point for hiking Taal Volcano. Since we were staying in Crosswind Suites in Tagaytay, our travel tour service fetch us – include in our tour. For this trip, we went to Precious Boat Station.
You can get to Tagaytay by bus from Manila. The bus is around ₱400 ($4) for a two-hour journey. There are a few bus stations where you can get the bus: Buendia, Pasay and Cubao. The two hours bus time are still relative to the traffic in Manila. If you go to Taal first thing in the morning, you will find much less traffic than travelling in peak hours.
The bus will stop in La Rotonda in Tagaytay. If you are heading to Taal Volcano, you will need to ride a jeepney to Olivares. And from Olivares, you have to get another jeepney stopping at People’s Park. And from People’s Park, there is no more jeepney option. You will need to get a tricycle (7 km ride for ₱400 – yes, much dearer coming from Manila but worth it for the tour) until Talisay Bay, where you can ride a boat to the crater lake Volcano.
You can ride a boat from Precious Boat Station around 30 minutes to start hiking Taal Volcano. You have two choices try to hire a boat there or you can book in advance. Prices for the boat are starting ₱1,500-2,500 ($40-70).
Where To Stay in Tagaytay
Taal is the best adventure that you can do while in Tagaytay, but there are definitely other things that you can do. There are many places to stay in Tagaytay either for shorter family vacations and celebrations or for longer trips. Our choice was Crosswind Suits -it’s the perfect place for relaxing and it’s located in a very quiet area. here are some other places where you can stay in Tagaytay.