Taal Volcano is located in Talisay, in the city of Tagaytay. When writing this, I was thinking about having Taal Volcano as a separate destination, but it’s one in the same as Tagaytay. Some people go to Taal Volcano and some don’t, but everyone goes to Tagaytay, which has some sensational views of Taal Volcano.

Taal volcano last erupted in 1977 and is the second most active volcano in the Philippines. The crater lake on volcano island is the largest lake on an island in the world, with the crater of the main lake measuring 2kms in width. Sound confusing? To put it simply, it’s a volcano within a volcano. When you first look at this unique volcano, at first you are confronted by a large lake, with an obvious looking volcano in the middle of it. However, the lake itself is actually also a volcanic crater!

The key tourist attraction is to go over to the volcano island in the middle of the lake and hike to its summit, so you can then look at the lake inside the crater of Volcano Island. Boats are readily available down on the shore of the lake to take you over to Volcano Island, and you will often have boatmen advertising their services as you enter Tagaytay. You do need to haggle, but you shouldn’t expect to pay for than P1,000 for the return boat ride to and from Volcano Island.

Once you cross the lake and reach Volcano Island, you will be confronted with locals offering to take you to the summit via horseback. Although you can walk, it is recommended to go via horse back for two main reasons: Firstly the trail up is very, very dusty due to the nature of the soil and the repeated wear and tear from the horses hooves and secondly; the money earned by these indigenous people for taking you on their horses is their only source of income.

The horses are guided up to the summit and don’t really break into a gallop so if you are not experienced riding horses, don’t worry too much. The ride up to the summit of the volcano is about 2kms and takes about 30-40 minutes. Once up there, you have a great view of the lake inside the crater of the island volcano, as well as 360 degree views of the main crater lake and the surrounding caldera and mountains. It really is a spectacular view. Being an active volcano, you will be able to see sulphur gas being released from various sections of the volcano on the way up, as well as on the crater itself. This really does bring about awe inspiring feelings.

There is water and various snacks available at the summit, so there is no real need to bring any food. However, be prepared to get very dusty and a bit wet from the boat ride, so come dressed and prepared to get dusty and wet. It also gets quite hot at the summit, so make sure you have a hat and sunblock, or wear long sleeved clothing. Running shoes or hiking boots are also recommended for the horse stirrups.

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Taal Volcano. The volcano that you go to the crater of isn’t the more visible one at the front, it’s the one the back which isn’t clearly visible from this photo.

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Preparing for the boat ride across the lake which is actually a volcanic crater.

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The crater lake of Volcano Island which as you can see, is an Island in a lake, on an island in a lake on an island. Sound confusing?

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Me at the top of the crater of Volcano Island which has had 33 historical eruptions and is the second most active volcano in the Philippines.

Costs:

Boat ride over to the volcano return cost P1,000 (6 pax), hire of a horse to take you to and from the summit P600 per person, per horse.

How to get there

Taal Volcano is located about 75kms from Makati and is approximately a 1.5 hour drive via SLEX via the Sta. Rosa exit. Once you reach Tagaytay-Calamba Rd, turn left and look for Ligaya Dve which will take you down to Sta. Maria where all the boats are. Or, you can take the offer of one of the many vendors you see offering their services.

From Makati, take a bus bound for Tagaytay and get off at the jeepney terminal before the rotunda in Tagaytay. Cost is approx. P300. From there, take a jeepney bound for People’s Park cost about P50. From there look for Ligaya Dve and take a tricycle down to Sta. Maria where all the boats are. Cost is about P20.

Dezza´s Tip

The water in the main lake can get quite choppy as the day goes on, so it is advisable to go as early in the day as possible (be on the boat by 8am). If you do leave early, then after your trip to the lake, you can head to Tagaytay for lunch at one of the many restaurants on the crater rim, and enjoy your lunch whilst overlooking the volcano island.

You can also avail of a tour package from a duly registered travel agency which will basically offer a door to door package.