Are you up for a great adventure in Bicol? Try Mayon SkyDrive ATV adventure and go on various trails and terrain while admiring the beauty of Mayon Volcano.
The most recommended activity in Albay is definitely the all-terrain vehicle (ATV) activities. You should never leave this side of Bicol without trying to run those powerful machines over rivers, boulders, and forests with Mayon Volcano as the backdrop.
Why you should try the Mayon ATV experience
The ATV experience in Albay is a bit pricey and is considered a tour on its own. Not to mention, riding an all-terrain vehicle can be a bit intimidating for families who have kids or an elderly with them. But I guarantee you that this activity is not limited to groups of friends or young couples. Here are just some reasons why:
Experience some action. No doubt, this is the most action-packed you’ll ever get in Albay. Most of the Albay tourist spots mainly involve sight-seeing or swimming activities. The most adventurous you can get would be ziplining, but even that is “meh”! The Mayon ATV adventure allows you to get an adrenaline rush without going too far from Legazpi City.
Try it with anyone. What’s great about the ATV experience is that everyone can enjoy it. The youngest rider of Mayon SkyDrive is in fact, 8-years-old. Many older, even self-proclaimed non-adventurous people (like my mom!) can easily operate and maneuver the ATV. If you have more physically-challenged companions, you can always ride in tandem.
Pick your own trail. Various trails can take you close to Mayon and enjoy the features of its surrounding areas. Geographically, there’s lahar, winding rivers, patches of pine forests, grasslands with carabaos, and trails that will take you left, right, up, and down! Just imagine how huge a chunk of land from the crater was eaten up by the volcano’s eruptions!
See Mayon up close. The entire Bicol region is blessed with Mayon Volcano’s omnipresence. Usually, you’ll stare in awe of it around various Albay attractions such as Lignon Hill, Daraga Church, and more. But the ATV adventure allows you to go deeper into the trails that lead to its perfect slopes. It’s an interactive way to discover more about the volcano.
Get a good exercise! You may be sitting the entire time, but your arm and back muscles will be at work just maneuvering the ATV. That’s why I recommend to save the Mayon SkyDrive experience for last and get ready to feel positively sore the next day.
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Mayon SkyDrive ATV Adventure Trail Choices
You cannot explore all the ATV trails around Mayon Volcano in just a day. Most tour operators will allow you to pick from various trails such as the Black Lava and Green Lava. I’m recommending Mayon SkyDrive primarily because they make their own trails that no other tour operators offer. Here are just some of the trails you can choose from:
Mayon SkyDrive Combo Trail (PHP 999). This is a highly recommended 5-in-1 route that passes through not just one, but six trails! You’ll experience various terrains in this adventure, going around the Forest Trail, Snake Trail, the exclusive SkyDrive trail, Cagsawa Trail, Grassland, and Short Trail. What’s great about Mayon SkyDrive is that they blaze and buy their own trails that you will not try with other ATV adventure providers.
If you have to go on just one ATV ride, I suggest you go for the Mayon SkyDrive combo. Here is a summary of the trails included in the ride:
- SkyDrive Trail (if taken alone, PHP 350). Man-made, short, and exclusive trail for Mayon SkyDrive riders. It features farm fields and muddy water canals for those who want to get down and dirty quickly!
- Grassland (PHP 400). An open trail with river crossing and Mayon Volcano view at its finest.
- Snake Trail (PHP 599). Long, winding, rocky, and muddy 2-kilometer trail great for short but Instagrammable adventures.
- Forest Trail (PHP 699). If you like forests and trees like I do, you’ll surely enjoy this trail filled with pretty pine trees with hilly terrain topped off by a view of Mayon. Less sun exposure, too.
- Cagsawa Trail (PHP 799). A greater challenge in the form of a 3.4-kilometer trail involving extreme river routes, rocks, and pine trees. What’s best is that it circles around the famous Cagsawa Ruins.
Black Lava Trail (PHP 1,850). It’s a 22-kilometer long trail adventure that ends at the mini-mountain of black lava rocks. You’ll need to do an easy 10-minute hike to get to the top. There’s a helipad with a great view of Mayon Volcano contrasting with the volcanic rocks hurled several kilometers away from the trailer.
Green Lava Trail (PHP 1,500). This 15-kilometer long trail has an overlooking view of Misibis Bay, Lignon Hill, Albay Gulf, Legazpi City, and Camalig Municipality. Compared to Black Lava, this trail has more greeneries and overlooking view with a moderate amount of challenge.
Review of Mayon SkyDrive experience
Pre-ride briefing. Before embarking on your ATV adventure, there will be a test run for 3-5 minutes at the Mayon SkyDrive premises. Your guide will teach you how to accelerate, break, and turn and use the ignition and throttle of your vehicle for the trip. You’ll also have to go around a practice course before moving on to your chosen trail, allowing you to move up hills, rocky surfaces, and water.
Strength required. Maneuvering the ATV requires a certain degree of arm muscle strength. This may be a challenge to older people and little kids. Some of the trails can be bone-jarring and exciting, depending on your appetite for adventure. You can always choose instead to ride in tandem and substitute with your partner when you feel tired.
Our experience. Since we did both Black Trail and Combo Trail, it took us more than 3 hours with drizzles and heavy rain. My arms and thumb, in particular, got tired because of pressing the accelerator. Big rocks and maneuvering on narrow ditches make me feel afraid that I might turn turtle, but I underestimate the power of an ATV. It never did happen, and the ache was worth it.
Tour guides. Mayon SkyDrive’s tour guides are highly knowledgeable of great spots for photographs. They’re also very courteous funny, and great companions during the rocky roads. They volunteer to take videos and pictures as you race through rivers with Mayon Volcano on the backdrop. I hope you tip them generously, considering they can tour up to 6 trails in a day. It’s no easy work!
A final word: Do not focus so much on the ATV, but on the sights ahead!
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Tips for your Albay ATV Adventure
- Best time to visit. Albay is one of those rare destinations in the Philippines that you can have fun with rain or shine. Just be sure you bring extra Vitamin C in case you’re drenched under the rain during the activity.
- Where to eat and chill. Going on an Albay food trip is one of the best things you can do on this side of Bicol. In particular, there’s a stall selling Sili Shake in the Cagsawa Ruins area. Outside of the Mayon Skydrive office, there are karinderias selling Bicolano food.
- What to wear. Wear light clothes, but with coverage to protect your skin from the sun (try The HeadWare). Caps, umbrellas, scarves, and sunglasses come in handy for open trails. Sandals are advisable if you don’t want to soak your socks and rubber shoes during river crossing! *Get 20% discount from Tribu using promo code: fyr*tribu
- Where to stay. I highly recommend Lotus Blu Hotel because of its accessibility, reasonable price, and overall great service and rooms. You can ride outside the hotel going to Cagsawa Park.
- What to bring. Again, sun protection through clothes and sunblock are essential! Don’t forget to bring water since the trail could be long and tiring. Cameras (especially drones!) are great since your tour guides are most likely experts in action photography.
- How long the Mayon Skydrive ATV adventure lasts. Give half a day for your Mayon ATV adventure. Get ready to sleep your head off the entire afternoon too and feel sore the next day, so it’s best to make this last on your itinerary.
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