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Ways to Experience Taal Volcano
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All reviews day trip horse ride walk up red lava nice view per person boat driver entrance fee by foot tagaytay ridge hit golf balls hour drive face mask metro manila lots of water enjoy the view buko juice
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Reviewed October 23, 2017 via mobile

While the view of the crater is cool (I don’t think it’s truly worth the journey/cost...) the treatment, condition and clear abuse of the horses that are used and sold to you to trek up to the crater is heartbreaking. The horses have sores on their backs, you can clearly see their hips/ribs and they are so skinny and obviously malnourished, they are worked to the bone (many we saw were so sweaty, tired and we saw diarrhea on the trail).
I couldn’t really enjoy this as I saw so many tourists exploiting these poor animals and buying into the treks on the horses up to the crater.
The tours/ticket people at the entrance when you get off the boat (and the boat sales people before you even set off on the lake) will tell you you have to take a horse up to the crater as it’s so far/hard. It really isn’t. My 70 year old parents did the trek easily in 30 degree Celsius heat.... use the exercise and take your time to walk up.....and if you have a chance to, bring some food for some of the horses you see on your way!!!!! You can buy drinks at numerous spots up to the crater too! Please don’t support the maltreatment of these animals.

3  Thank sarahmarc2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 18, 2017

Inside one of the smallest and still active volcano of the planet.A small crater with a small lake located inside another big crater now a big lake. Two ports to visit the volcano, one located at the south and one at the east.
The one at the south is the best for the view and for the trail more easy and intrigated but do not permit "officially" to reach the crater.The one at the east is the officially one to go inside the crater. Reached the crater is possible to admire the energy inside out planet emerge to the surface with the phenomena of fumaroles. The minerals contained in the fumaroles color the rocks around the jet.There are points on the shore of the inner lake where the water reaches the level of boiling.Unfortunately the impact of tourism on the environment is not kept in control and in fact along the path and in the places of rest is full of heap of plastic

Thank Angelo O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 15, 2017 via mobile

No doubt it is a great sight to visit, views are breathtaking. However it was very sad to see how the poor horses were treated. They were really small, but still made to carry two people at a time (tourist + guide), up along a steep and uneven path. Poor horses were not only sweaty and breathing heavily, but many of them were actually injured, with wounds on the feet and diarrhea. There was a tiny young horse going down and the tourist on top was rather big, so the horse was really struggling but the guides were just laughing and beating it and shouting at it to maintain balance. In fact it is very possible (and, judging by the worried faces of many tourists, for many even more pleasant) to walk up and down. 500 pesos a person, it is a massive business, they lied to us that horses only go up twice a week, which was an obvious lie. We asked them to bring water to a very tired horse, and we really had to insist a lot before they brought it a bucket from the lake that 5m away. It was an awful display of animal abuse and spoiled what would have otherwise been a great excursion.

2  Thank _Da83Di_
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 4, 2017

its incredible and amazing view i like it and i visited 3 times and never u can 4get it and very nice climbing and its very nice to ride a horse

Thank mhdawonia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 1, 2017

Travelling to the Taal Volcano and hiking to the crater rim is an accessible day trip from Manila. It is spectacular and because of that it very much a "Tourist Trap". Not that I want to say that this necessarily a bad thing, but I have done many hikes from Manila and most of them are under-serviced for tourists: Taal is certainly not that!

The experience below is of our "DIY tour", not from one of the packaged tours that operate from Manila. Decide whether you want to negotiate the various stages, or just go with a package.

In simple terms, there are four parts to getting the experience:

1. The Boat trip across the lake to the island. There are many companies offering to take your group across to the island, in powered narrow boats with outriggers.
You will see signs and people waving placards as soon as you get to Tagaytay and start heading down the Tagaytag-Talisay Road. It can be daunting to work out whether they are legitimate or not. But it appears that there is a cartel operating where they all agree on the price (2000P) for a boat load (1 to 7 people). So it may not matter who you opt to go with. We were "helped" to make our choice by a rider on a motorcycle who made an offer and led us to Soriano Resort who had a fleet of a dozen or so boats.
Now the challenge is that they don't offer sharing within the boat, on the premise that the boatman will wait for your party to return from your hike and they don't want to be waiting for disparate groups on different timings. So if you are a single traveller you need to be aware.

The boat takes about 20 minutes each way across the lake. Ask the boatman to take you past the fish farms near the island which are worth a look: each pen holds over a hundred thousand telapia which take six months to mature to saleable size.

2. The "entrance fees".
There appears to be a P100 per head entrance fee to the island. This was conveniently charged by the boat operator who should have given us a ticket so that the booth (200m up the path to the crater) could see that we have paid. We didn't have one but the booth operator called the boatman and we passed.
There is also a P50 "boat parking fee".

3. The hike/ride options.

The trail up climbs a couple of hundred metres (vertical) from the lake shore to the crater rim. There is limited scrubby cover for shade, and sections of the trail are exposed to the sun or rain. We opted to hike the trail, and it took us about 45 minutes and the non-hikers were well tired at the top. The trail is both hot and dusty, made more so by the volcanic activity under your feet (at one point we walked directly over steaming earth). Taking a light umbrella both for the sun and rain is a good idea; we went up in searing heat and then down in a heavy downpour!

The tourist offer is to take you up on horseback, for P500 per person. Most tourists seem to opt for this but I'm very happy that we decided to hike. The going is steep in places and many of the tourists on horseback looked uncomfortable or just plain terrified! But they were certainly quicker going up (and Much quicker coming down) than we on foot. But hiking on foot gives you time to stop and take photos and admire the views.

Also on offer is a guide for P500. Take up the offer if you want, but the trail is easy to follow (just follow the hoofmarks and regular deposits of horse manure :-)).

There are three vendors along the way offering drinks and snacks.

4. The Optional Extras

At the crater rim there are a number of vendors offering drinks, coconuts and souvenirs. The drinks are not unexpectedly at tourist prices (P100 for a softdrink or coconut) so take plenty of water yourself if you are on a budget. Toilets are available at the rim, P20/P50 for entrance (you can work out the differential services) which covers the attendant and they are clean.

You can also take a short side trip to see the "Red lava" outcrop which is the most recent volcanic deposit and from this point a different (and some say better) vista can be seen.

Both at the lakeside and at the crater rim are photographers who will take any chance to snap your group and then appear with a 6x4" print of your happy moment, with our without frame. Not bad quality but of course they will apply pressure to make the sale: P350 including frame was the starting point but you can bargain.

Back on the "mainland" there are any number of restaurants along the Tagaytay ridge with nice views over the lake and island. We ate at Jaytee's which does a good selection of Filipino food if you wanted to try some local dishes. They take credit card and we ate well for P1700 for four.

6  Thank Andrew_NZ120
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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