Travelling to Lake Taal & Taal Volcano and Tagaytay
You can easily travel to Tagaytay by bus and use local transport including jeepneys and rickshaws to commute in the local area. I highly recommend booking a car from Manila for a day trip. This will save you plenty of time and you can stop over for a nice location to take pictures and change your itinerary based on your places of interest.
I booked a car with an excellent driver from Manila. Carlos (contact: 09056940134 ) is a seasoned traveller and very well aware of many interesting places of interest. You can negotiate a day trip cost which can be anything from 4500-6000 pesos depending on the number of hours and passengers etc.
Views of Lake Taal from Picnic Grove Area
TIP: I travelled with Carlos from Manila, Angeles City and Subic Bay area and found booking the car the best way to travel for day trips around Manila. Renting a car can be an expensive option in Manila and driving a challenge that you would want to avoid at all costs.
We started early at around 5 am to beat the city traffic. The trip took us around 1.5 hours to Picnic Grove area of Tagaytay.
First stop in Tagaytay: Picnic Grove Area
Tagaytay is a hilly area with massive lake Taal around the active Taal Volcano. The city of Tagaytay is perched on top of the hill commanding amazing views of the lake.
Picnic Grove are is a popular tourist area offering great views of Lake Taal. There are a couple of nice local cafes and sitting area. The facilities are rudimentary, however, for most visitors, it will be a starting point for a trip to Lake Taal, as you will be approached by a number of touts suggesting a tour of Lake Taal.
You can negotiate a price with the tout as he will take you to one of many hotels located along the Lake area. The resorts have wooden shacks and cottages as well as the 4-star resorts.
Second Stop: Lake Taal Boating Trip
Local resorts can charge about 300 Pesos for using their facility to relax or enjoy meals before boarding on the boat. The boat costs around 2000-2500 Pesos which will take you to the Taal Island. You can hire horses or trek up to to the top of the active volcano.
Lake Taal Tagaytay Luzon
The Lake Taal has a number of Talapia Farms and tours is quite enjoyable where you can enjoy some great scenic views of Lake area. The tall buildings in the city of Tagaytay are visible from the Lake Taal Area. Taal Volcano is popular for a day hike. You can rent a horse on the Island and the trek to the top of the mountain takes around 45 minutes. Alternatively, you can hike to the top. A package tour can be organized by the resort located along the beach which works with a number of boat operators who can take groups to the Island and back.
The Taal hike difficulty level is medium and a return hike should take around 2.5 hours. The trail length is around 1.7 km. It is best to do the hike early in the morning as the day time temperature can very high. The summit of the mountains commands a great view of the circumference of the peak.
The drive from Picnic Grove to Lake Taal area is quite scenic. This area is named as "Santorini of Philippines". There are a number of high-end resorts as well as expensive celebrity bungalows along the road. Lake Taal area is a popular hangout with rich and famous in the Philippines.
Views of Tagaytay from Lake Taal
I enjoyed breakfast in a Bamboo hut along the lake before boarding a beautifully coloured boat for a one hour tour. A trip to the top of Lake Taal can be hectic. if you have a couple of days to yourself, you can plan one day trip to Taal Volcano area. I decided to enjoy the boat tour and head on to explore some local five-star resorts to understand various accommodation options available in this area.
Where to stay in Lake Taal Area?
Club Balai Isabel is a great location if you are planning a weekend excursion to this area with your family. Private apartments and rooms are available for large groups. This is a very well maintained property and a great place to stay for the weekend. Kids attractions include an inflatable island and water sports in Lake Taal. Club Balai organizes their own tours to lake Taal and Taal Volcano. Staying at this amazing location you can enjoy a great view of the look or simply soak on the outdoor pool overlooking the volcanic craters.
Club Balai Isabel Outdoor Pool facing Lake Taal
Third Stop in Tagaytay: The Pink Sisters
Pink Sisters Cathedral is located Tagaytay city surrounded by pine trees. The stone structure with a green roof is a sanctuary of peace and an amazing place to reflect and meditate and connect with God. There are some very nice hotels located adjacent to the chapel for people who plan to spend some quality time in this place of worship.
Pink Sisters Chapel Tagaytay