When the sweltering heat of Manila’s scorching summer sun gets too rabid and unbearable, urbanites flock up north to the breezy summer capital of the Philippines—Baguio City. This city sits perched in the middle of the Cordillera mountain range and is known for its lower temperatures, lush pine trees, sweet strawberries, hair-raising ghost stories, and more laidback vibe.
What’s awesome about Baguio City is that it gives you an experience that combines luxury and locality. You can cozy up in your lavish hotel’s indoor fireplace with a cup of cocoa soaking in the gorgeous mountain views in between rounds of golf. On the flip side, you can set out to the city and eat sumptuous Benguet delicacies, see the local tourist spots, watch Ifugao tribesmen indigenous arts and crafts, and scavenge the night markets for cute clothes that cost a dollar or two.
Baguio is always packed with guests and travelers who want to beat the heat of the tropical country it calls home, so the city center is ridden with hotels and lodges. Airbnbs are also a popular choice for accommodations and can make you feel at home in this strange but welcoming city on a mountain.
In this Airbnb guide to Baguio:
Before you start daydreaming about the Cordillera mountains’ cold rush of air and Baguio’s popular hot cocoa—better known as tsokolate de batirol—the first thing you need to pin down is how to go to Baguio.
In Manila, there are a bunch of bus operators that have daily trips going to and from Baguio City, such as Victory Liner and Genesis Transport. These trips usually take off from Cubao and get to Baguio City anywhere between four and six hours. Because it’s such a popular destination, some bus lines have trips that leave at every hour of the day.
If you want a more comfortable road trip, you can opt for a deluxe point-to-point bus. JoyBus offers wider legroom and brings aboard fewer people on each trip, so it never feels stuffy or packed with too many travelers.
Once you’re in the city, it’s easy to hail cabs to bring you around. Here are some tourist spots you won’t want to miss:
- Biking and boating at Burnham Park
- Shopping at the nighttime flea markets near Session Road
- Horseback riding at Wright Park
- Checking out a national artist’s paintings and bulol statues at BenCab Museum
- Go ghost hunting at the Old Diplomat Hotel
Where should I stay in Baguio?
Baguio isn’t that huge of a city, but there are specific areas that are more upbeat or lowkey, and where you should stay depends on your preferences. If you want to be at the center of all the action, where most restaurants are just a stone’s throw away, you can book a place near Session Road (1). If you want to stay in the town proper but want to see more pine trees, find a place near Burnham Park (2). If you want to be in less crowded areas but still have access to famous tourist spots, look for something near Leonard Wood (3) or by the Mines View area (4). Check out the more upscale Camp John Hay (5) for luxury forest lodges, hiking trails, golf courses, and more pine trees than you can count.
This busy street is lined with restaurants, hostels, karaoke bars, and everything you need to make the most out of your stay in the city. It goes in an odd but charming downward slope, so morning and evening walks are interesting here. Session Road is where the city comes alive at night, thanks to flea markets called ukay-ukay and bands making music left and right. It’s the perfect place to stay if you’re a night owl.
This park is pretty much the “Central Park” of the city. It has a beautiful lagoon in the center, where lovers and families love to go boating on the weekends. There are also areas where you can rent a bike and ride around to explore the park and bask in the smell of pines. Needless to say, it would be a dream to rent out a condo for a few days and look outside your window to see the beautiful park glistening below.
This area isn’t exactly at the heart of the city proper, but it’s a good couple of miles away to feel more serene and less crowded. There are still a lot of iconic restaurants in this area where you can enjoy hot chocolate, strawberry cakes and desserts, and dishes the people of Benguet love. It’s also home to the intriguing and notorious Teacher’s Camp, a place said to have many ghost sightings because of its rich history during the wartime.
This area is located at the extreme northeast of the city and is known for its gorgeous views of the Cordillera mountain range. Mines View Park is just one area people flock to see beautiful sunsets and shop for Baguio delicacies to bring home to their families. While definitely the quietest area on this list, you can’t go wrong with this spot because there are still many tourist attractions nearby, such as Wright Park and the Good Shepherd Convent, a last-minute pit stop where people buy snacks for the road going back down to Manila.
Camp John Hay
If you have more expensive taste and want to experience the coziest accommodations, book a place at Camp John Hay. This iconic area used to be a military base of US troops during the war, but is now open to the public. It boasts of golf courses, deluxe lodges, exclusive country clubs, and spacious woods with more pine trees than you can imagine. If you’re into fitness, you’ll love taking strolls inside the camp, especially since it’s famous for its eco-trails for afternoon jogs. It’s the perfect place to experience foggy mornings, lavish meals, and outdoor adventures all in one.
Best Airbnbs in Baguio
Here are some of the top-rated vacation rentals in Baguio:
Best Airbnb Baguio for Family
Large Condo, Three Bedrooms, Walking Distance to Park
This huge, comfy, and charming condo can accommodate up to 12 guests in three bedrooms. The master’s bedroom has a queen-size bed, and there are many single beds and pull-outs for the rest of the family. It has a fully-equipped kitchen where guests can cook and serve entire meals. It sits right in front of Burnham Park, so there are always family bonding activities to consider, like biking and picnicking.
Best Airbnb House
Heritage Home, Pine Tree Lawn, Bonfire Pit
If you’ve always wanted to live in a traditional American country home with rustic exteriors, a lawn full of pine trees, and a front porch to hang out at, you’ll fall head over heels with this house. The property is so charming that it’s been used as a shooting location for blockbuster films. There are two bedrooms, two private baths, a kitchen, and parking. Guests can also enjoy a bonfire pit to warm up during the extra cold nights. It’s walking distance from attractions like Teacher’s Camp and the Baguio Botanical Garden.
Best Airbnb Apartment
Condo with Balcony, Elevator
This Cedar Peak condo unit is cozy and homey, but with a modern vibe to its interiors. It has just one bedroom, but it’s crisp, clean, and has all the essentials you need to make this place your home in the City of Pines. It has cable TV and air conditioning to make your stay more comfortable. There’s a balcony where you can stand and feel the cool breeze and watch the city lights at night. It’s also very near the city center and Burnham Park.
Best Airbnb Budget Stay
Studio Away from Crowds, Mini Bonfire, Patio with A View
This affordable, secluded studio unit may be a bit further from the heart of the city, but you won’t miss out on the best things Baguio has to offer. This studio has a double bed for two and an extra mattress for a third guest. There’s also a kitchenette for cooking your meals. When it gets too cold, you can always go into the mini bonfire area to warm up or enjoy a cup of coffee at. The place also has a patio with gorgeous views of Benguet’s mountains.
Best Airbnb Luxury Stay
Luxe Glass Treehouse, Sky Views, Hanging Bridge
If you came to Baguio to feel at one with nature and experience the City of Pines in an authentic yet lavish and luxurious way, you’ll love this treehouse. It’s made of charming wooden floors and glass walls, so you can always look outside and admire the foliage of pine trees. There’s a hanging bridge you need to cross to get to the treehouse, giving this luxury stay a touch of adventure. You can also enjoy glorious sky and mountain views from the common timber deck
Is Airbnb cheaper than hotels in Baguio?
A night at a five-star luxury hotel or nature lodge in Baguio can cost the same as staying as guests for eight nights at a modern, well-kept Airbnb condo in the heart of the city. It’s a lot more cost-effective than splurging on a hotel, especially since you’ll be out exploring the city for most of the day anyway.
But if you really do want to come to Baguio for the grand, lavish experience of being waited on hand and foot while enjoying the most magnificent mountain views, you can always book a stay at one of the city’s more opulent accommodations. One of the poshest places to stay is The Manor at Camp John Hay. This hotel is known for its rustic, old-world, nature lodge look, scrumptious breakfast spread, spectacular gardens and sceneries, and warm, homey vibe.
Baguio is the perfect place to visit if you need a break from the hustle and bustle of Manila but are still an urbanite by heart that wants to experience a new city with picturesque mountain views and a unique cold morning breeze.
So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags, zip up those sweaters and cardigans, and get ready for the six-hour ride that will bring you atop beautiful, lush mountains and into the luxe yet cozy City of Pines.
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