My tips for going up Mt.Pinatubo
- Take a change of clothes.
When you hike all the way up, you’re going to jump into the crater lake. You’ll need clean clothes for the ride back. There is also a full shower, that you can use at the spa town and even get a massage after the hike.
- Bring multiple bottles of water.
You’ll need it. There is no clean water going up to Pinatubo. There is one toilet stop along the hike, you can wash your hands in the stream, however you can’t drink the water. Water is cheap before you get on the hike, if you have to buy water at the top, you’re going to pay 6X the price.
- Bring extra money
Your entrance fee doesn’t cover the boat ride across the lake. If you came this far, paying 350 pesos to have some guy do this, is completely worth it
- Absolutely swim in the crater
The water is cold-ish, but once you sit on the shore, most of the shoreline is warm and bubbly. This is the strange part—when you step on the sand, especially near the shoreline, the sand is too hot you can’t stay in one place for 3 seconds but the water is cold. Blame the water temperature on mountain weather and the hot sand on the magma below. Quite a contradiction.
- Bring a good camera with video
The vistas are awesome, the scenery is stunning. Why come all this way and not get amazing pictures. It will also help to have a waterproof camera, since you’re going to be in the crater lake and in a little rowboat.
- Get there early (before 7am) – if you are a solo traveller.
I went by myself and I had to pay the entire 5000 PHP for the 4X4. For me, I’m not that price sensitive (thanks ACN), that’s almost 100$ Canadian but if you are by yourself, then you will need to hike along with a group. This is an awesome trip and you want to share the experience. Thankfully, my driver Hermie had never been along for the hike, so it was awesome sharing that experience with him
- Book your tour directly
Forget going through a tour company or your hotel. Get there and find someoe directly. You’ll feel better that the locals are getting the money. If you are a group of 5 and above, you just have to pay 1,500 php per head ( the includes the 4×4, entrance fee, guide fee, skyway toll fee and lunch—already a good deal). Make direct transactions with somebody in the site and not with a travel company.
- Ensure you have great sunglasses and sunblock
There is a lot of glare off the rocks and the water. No explanations necessary.
BUDGET SUMMARY : Per Person in a group of 5 or more
- 1,500 PHP : per head for lunch, entrance fee, 4×4 to set off point, guide fee and skyway toll
- 350 PHP : Crater boat ride
- 150 PHP : Diet Coke – if you don’t take your own
- 400 PHP : Massage in spa town
TOTAL = 2,400 php ~ $57 Canadian