Known as the surfing capital of the Northern Philippines, San Juan, La Union needs no introduction. From July to October and November to March, resorts and hotels are normally fully booked by tourists and beach-goers who are hoping to catch some waves. But make no mistake—there are still lots of other things that you can do here even when it’s not surfing season.
If you’re on the hunt for good food, a cool place to chill, and the most IG-worthy spots (hey, no shame in that!), here’s a list of the must-visit hangouts to give you more reasons to visit San Juan, La Union.
1. Aloha Sweets & Treats
Location: Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union (beside Fatwave Surf Resort)
This quaint little ice cream parlor along MacArthur Highway is easy to miss, but trust us when we say that this place is worth hunting down. After all, a summer getaway is never complete without a delectable serving of ice creamy goodness. Whether you go for their bestselling combos or create your own, you can never go wrong with a scoop or two!
2. El Union Coffee
Location: Kilometre 274 MacArthur Highway, Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union
If you think El Union is nothing more than a hipster coffee shop, then you’re dead wrong. Not to downplay their badass brewing and roasting skills, but people don’t just go here to get their coffee fix. They have a killer grilled cheese sandwich and really foodstagram-worthy s’mores and cookie skillets for when you suddenly crave something sweet after riding waves.
3. Flotsam and Jetsam Hostel
Location: Surf Town, San Juan, La Union
You don’t have to stay here overnight to experience Flotsam and Jetsam. It’s a nice, quiet place to relax and read a book during the day. At night, it transforms into a cool hangout where you and your friends can chill and grab some drinks. Other than booze though, you might also want to try and order their brick-oven pizza—you’ll thank us after!
4. Surf Shack
Location: 293 National Highway, Brgy. Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union
Every corner of this place is IG-worthy, we tell you! But other than fulfilling your millennial needs, Surf Shack will not disappoint in the food department. They serve really good eats, from smoky buffalo wings to al dente pasta. (I always come back for their Princess Miliana's Heaven Pasta—it’s a personal fave!) It’s the best place to satisfy your cravings, indulge in good music, and have healthy conversations right after hitting the beach.
Have other recommendations? Leave a comment below!
Photos by Mark Clemente