Plan your getaway to Zambales, a quick beach destination from Manila. Check out the top attractions and must-try activities in this guide.
Zambales is just 3-4 hours away from busy Metro Manila but it offers a myriad of fun activities and attractions perfect for families, couples, and group of friends.
Nestled in the Central Luzon region in the Philippines, you can choose from fun Zambales activities like chilling on sandy beaches, enjoying an intimate camping experience, riding the waves, trekking to a volcano, jumping in an inflatable playground, and more.
Zambales also has historical attractions. The province is the ancestral home of the Philippine’s beloved President, Ramon Magsaysay, who came from Castillejos. You can also visit the legendary Capones Island, which unravels a rich history and spectacular rocky view.
If you’re planning a trip to Zambales, don’t forget to add these tourist spots and take note of the exciting things to do.
Anawangin Cove is one of the most popular camping spots in Zambales. The sheltered bay boasts and ash-colored beach due to the Mt. Pinatubo volcanic eruption.
This is a go-to place for first-time and experienced campers alike. Make sure that you bring everything you need going here like food, cooking materials, toiletries, and camp essentials.
Similar to Anawangin Cove, Nagsasa Cove is also carpeted with ash-colored sand and surrounded by pine-like Agoho trees. It has all the good things Anawangin is known for, but this one has a more relaxed atmosphere.
Hike up the hill to enjoy the breathtaking view. From there, you should see the aqua blue water encircled with nature’s greenery in all its glory.
The island is legendary for its lighthouse which was built in 1890, with Filipino’s bare hands. The famous landmark sits atop the sharp cliff. The tower is perfect for photoshoots since it displays an inviting cinematic scene.
Crystal Beach Resort offers a heavenly stay where nature and comfort is wrapped into one. It is conveniently located in San Narciso, Zambales. It’s a favorite hangout place for thrill-seekers, especially for surfing enthusiasts and beginners who yearn to ride big waves near the metro.
The resort offers a variety of lodging options, from air-conditioned rooms to glamping tents. Their rooms should be lauded for how it embraces its native roots for it exhibits primitive Nipa hut design elements.
They’re also a pet-friendly resort! So feel free to bring your furry friend/s with you for your trip to Zambales.
Photo by Inflatable Island
Get ready to get wet at this floating theme park found in Subic Bay, Zambales. Inflatable Island has grown even massive since it opened in 2017.
It now stretches to the size of 10 whole basketball courts combined side by side. Being a one-of-a-kind attraction that’s just crazy fun, it’s now become a favorite Zambales tourist spot.
Inflatable Island is essentially a big playground set above the open sea in Subic built for kids and kids-at-heart. From shaky bridges to the crowd favorite Tarzan swing, you’ll never run out of obstacles here. The biggest attraction yet? The gigantic unicorn that is just cuteness overload!
And when you feel tired or in need of a break, you can plop down at the island’s pink or yellow bean bags. If you prefer to lay rest completely, they have a Sunflower Lounge area complete with pillows and a comfy mattress.
Mt. Pinatubo is one of the top attractions in Central Luzon, covering not just Zambales but Pampanga and Tarlac as well. This active volcano can be explored by trekking and by riding 4x4 vehicles along its bumpy lahar roads.
The trek and 4x4 ride will be worth it once you get to the crater lake, with its water varying in colors depending on the season, from blue-green to a deep blue.
Nagsasa, Anawangin, and Talisayen all come from one fabric, sprinkled by the same volcanic ash. This humble cove in Zambales is the lesser-known stepsister of Nagsasa and Anawangin Cove, and often gets overlooked.
What sets Talisayen apart from its stepsisters is its peaceful, quiet, and more laidback atmosphere. This is one of the reasons why it appeals to a different type of travelers, often to those who are more into making their own trail and adventures.
Other than swimming and sunbathing, this cove serves as an excellent spot for stargazing. While there, challenge your friends to spot the brightest stars and constellations. It’s a fun way to spend the night!
Camara Island is just 10-20 minutes off Pundaquit. It’s a rocky spot with a short stretch of sand that serves as a fantastic backdrop for taking pictures.
Overnight camping here is prohibited, and drinking isn’t allowed. Since it’s a relatively small island, the most exciting activity you can do here is snorkeling. The island is perfect as the first stop to your island-hopping tour in Zambales.
Photo by El Kabayo Stables
El Kabayo is arguably the best place to learn and go horseback riding in the country. The establishment is tucked in Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Zambales and is home to healthy and friendly horses.
The ranch is simply captivating with its well-kept lawns, huge ground space, and country-style building. The stables are supervised by Wildlife In Need, a non-government organization that specializes in animal care and welfare.
All proceeds acquired from the riding activities go straight to the care and well-being of the beautiful horses. You can avail of horseback riding lessons and a guided ride through the lush forest of El Kabayo falls.
Whether you’re keen for equestrian or simply want to hang out with horses, feel free to escape on horseback in El Kabayo Stables.
Zambales is home to the Philippine Carabao Mango. Pick and savor on some sweet mangoes at Rosa Farms. It’s a 12.5-hectare mango orchard situated along the National Highway in San Marcelino-San Antonio Boundary, Zambales.
The mangoes, the herb garden, the swing, the country store, and the café - there’s so much goodness offered here. The farm has a “Pick & Pay” program, which lets guests pick mangoes straight from the trees. It’s perfect for mango-hungry kids and adults!
Go on a side trip and experience Zambales’ historical side with the beloved former Philippine President, Ramon Magsaysay’s ancestral house, in the town of Castillejos. The house was restored and converted into a museum back in 1990.
The National Historical Institute reconstructed and renovated it in 1999 after it was severely destroyed by the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in 1991.
The modest yet charming two-level structure contains memorabilia and some personal remembrance about the former president, such as pictures and medals.
You should pay a quick trip here to find more about why Ramon Magsaysay was well admired and respected by the people.
Established in 2000, Botolan Wildlife Farm is a highly rated wildlife sanctuary sitting in the heart of Botolan, Zambales. It’s a family-run sanctuary established in 2000, and is all funded and maintained by the generous family.
The animal ranch stretches to a 55,000-sqm area. The place serves as a habitat for a wide range of exotic animals and plants around the world.
You’ll find rare species of animals there, like the Brahminy Kite (a now endangered bird), adorable owls, colorful birds, the Philippines’ Brown Deer, and a Siberian tiger among others.
You should visit and have a look at their exquisite garden and a variety of beautiful animals when you have free time.
You’ll never have to worry about falling short of things to do in Zambales. From island-hopping camping, horseriding, and mango-picking, Zambales assures you’ll have the best of adventures.
Whether you’re planning for a quick getaway with friends, family, your significant other, or by yourself, this coastal province will never disappoint. It might even surprise you in the most unsuspecting ways.
Call your travel buddies and start planning your much-needed vacation here in Zambales. Look into Zambales tours and activities that you can include in your itinerary. It’s high time that you pay attention to this true gem of a paradise in the Philippines.