San Carlos Travel Guide

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  • #7042
    San C.
    Elite Squad
    2 points

    General Info

    San Carlos City is a second class component city in the province of Negros Occidental, Philippines. San Carlos City gained city status on July 1, 1960, per Republic Act 2643. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 129,981 people.


    Located along the coast of Tañon Strait, the city is located at the crossroads of four major cities in the Visayas: Cebu City, Bacolod City, Iloilo City and Dumaguete City. It has a 40 km coastline of which some parts are covered with mangroves. The city has a deep natural harbor protected from inclement weather by Refugio Island (also known as Sipaway Island). Due to these aspects, the Philippine Ports Authority has chosen the San Carlos City port from among other ports in the province for its expansion program in 1998 which include the reclamation of four hectares of sea to accommodate various port buildings, facilities and container vans, an extension on the east side for two RO-RO vessels and the extension of the length of the port to 242.5 meters.

    Amihan  – High Season
    September/October to May/June
    25-32°C (78-90°F)
    Hot and humid, Northeasterly to Easterly winds, little or no rainfall

    Philippines Summer
    April / May / June
    28 – 38 degrees C
    Hot and mostly dry
    Sometimes Easterly to southeasterly Trade winds

    Habagat – Low Season
    May/June to September/October
    25-32°C (78-90°F)
    Cool south-west wind, moderate to heavy rainfall

    Getting There

    By Land

    From Cebu, Ceres Bus Lines services the route between Cebu and San Carlos on an air-conditioned bus, for about P200, using the Lite ferries and FastCat.

    Land Travel Getting Around While in San Carlos and most places of interest within the city are accessible by foot, transportation around the city and the municipalities of the Province is very convenient, with many modes of transport available to visitors. San Carlos City The most convenient way to travel within the city is by pedicab, the omnipresent tricycles adapted for passengers.

    These are available anywhere in the city, and cost about 6 pesos for a ride under a kilometer, with an additional 1 peso per kilometer.

    The municipalities that are located near San Carlos may be accessed, jeepneys (the infamous mode of transport throughout the Philippines ) or by hired vans or buses.

    Neighboring municipalities can be accessed by land transport from their respective terminals, and the Ceres Bus Line Terminal services the entirety of the Province.

    From Bacolod, San Carlos City can be reached in about three hours via the coastal highway by private car and approximately three hours and a half by public utility vehicles.  It is about two hours from Bacolod via the Negros Translink highway.

    View Schedules

    By Sea

    From Cebu , the M/V Fastcraft 2 the local hydrofoil transportation company- provides the quickest service, about a 35 minutes trip via Toledo City. There are also two boats (M/V Lite Ferry II and M/V Melrivic 9) that runs 2 hour trips to and from San Carlos. FastCat travels Approximately 1 hour.

    View Schedules


    The currency is the Philippine Peso (PHP). Bill denominations are: 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 pesos. If possible, bring your cash in 500 PhP denominations as you will find that getting change for 1,000 PhP bills is at times difficult. ATM machines are scattered around the city.

    Foreign Currency is best exchanged at the banks or money changing stores. Only the larger restaurants and hotels accept credit cards including MasterCard, Visa and American Express, although a 5% surcharge on credit cards is standard. Personal checks are generally not accepted.


    San Carlos  is serviced by 3 of the country’s largest mobile providers SMART, GLOBE and SUN CELLULAR. They have good reception throughout the city and most areas in Negros provinces. Visitors can purchase a SIM card with a phone number for 65 PhP and then purchase loads (user minutes) in amounts as low as 10 pesos. Text messages are definitely the main form of local communication at a cost of 1 peso per text. (The Philippines is the text message capital of the world). Talk time is more expensive between 6 to 8 pesos per minute. International text messages are quite affordable (most countries 20 PhP).
    Landline calls are cheaper, and best for international calls. Some resorts also have international phone service, but generally at higher rates. Philippine country code is +63. San Carlos area code is (034).

    Many hotels also have WiFi internet connection, some restaurants have WiFi hotspots, and internet cafes are also scattered around the island. Getting online shouldn’t be a problem, although speeds are going to be slow and subject to interruption.
    The Post Office as well as the major courier service offices can be found in San Carlos City.


    Most areas in San Carlos are supplied with 220 volts and 110 volts, 60 cycles. A plug with 2 flat prongs is the norm, but pack a universal adaptor to be safe.


    Water is potable. Bottled mineral water is available in most supermarkets, groceries, hotels and restaurants.


    Upscale specialty restaurants as well as modest alfresco setups serve Negrense, Filipino continental and Oriental cuisines. American burger and pizza franchises and other fast food outlets can be found around the city.

    View Restaurants

    Night Life

    There are a number of bars with live entertainment, video, karaoke, game rooms and discos, many of with are found in Center Mall.

    View Night Life

    Getting Around

    Pedicabs are common mode of transport within the city. Buses and jeepneys provide service for intertown travel.


    Antiques, hand woven cloth like hablon, shellcraft, ceramic ware, woodcraft, leather goods, pottery, baskets and children’s garments are among the best buys.

    View Shopping

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