Camping at Soloviento, Lake Caliraya
In a past post, I highlighted two family-friendly places to camp near Metro Manila. Here’s another one in the South we just went to: Soloviento at Lake Caliraya in Laguna Province.
Lake Caliraya was man-made in the 1930s for power generation purposes and popularized in the 1960s for recreation purposes (resorts, golf courses, wind and kite-surfing, kayaking, SUP and fishing). Soloviento is a family-owned resort on the shores of Lake Caliraya that is secluded, quiet and beautiful. Lake Caliraya looks like it could be in North America with the abundance of pine trees that were planted there in the past. Year-round cooler weather and a strong breeze add to the feeling.
I heard about Soloviento through word-of-mouth. Families I know who have been there love it as a nature getaway. Accommodations, food and facilities are simple but sufficient, allowing for maximum enjoyment of the gorgeous backdrop that Lake Caliraya is.
Soloviento is 2.5-3 hours from Metro Manila. Once you exit SLEX at Calamba, it’s all provincial roads and national highways, which can make the trip long. Soloviento themselves recommend passing Los Banos by 7:30am to miss the daily traffic there.
Here is the website of Soloviento with driving directions.
Once you park at Soloviento, you take a zipline raft across the small inlet (so consolidate your packing!) and belongings (and kids!) are portered on the other end by golf cart. Note that there is a 100 peso parking/night fee and 100 peso porter fee.
See all the details on Soloviento website here. You can:
1) Rent the 4 person rooms at Soloviento, there are 4 of them (shared bathrooms).
2) Rent a darling camper that sleeps 4 (shared bathrooms). My friend stayed in one of these and she said the beds were comfortable and the fan effective!
3) Rent or bring your own tent and pitch it on the shore of the lake. This is what we did, and we paid 350 per person 8 and up, and 175 per person 7 and below. There is also a consumable 700 pesos per person meal fee, which we easily used as we ended up eating 4 meals plus 1 merienda there. We were able to pitch our tent in a shaded, flat spot close to the water. We used the shared bathrooms behind the eating area and they are clean, spacious, and tiled, and have proper showers with water heaters. These bathrooms are the cleanest of the campsites we have been to. We did, however, go with just one other family, and no other guests at Soloviento (during the week in April) and so hardly anybody else was using the facilities. It was definitely an ideal time to go and is probably what made our time at Soloviento so memorable- that we had it all to ourselves. At night the temperatures were about 24C and our 15C sleeping bags were sufficient. There were strong winds that tested our tent’s ability to not break at bedtime, but all was well. The winds did keep us up for a good 45 min before we felt like we could sleep in peace. If in the evening you feel like the wind is strong, opt to rent a camper instead for peace of mind (or at least pitch your tent further inland where the breeze isn’t as strong).
You can’t bring in food to Soloviento. The kitchen has meals and snacks available from 7am to 10pm. For a group of 10, we ordered our food an hour in advance. Price is about 200 pesos per meal per person, excluding drinks. They have Filipino breakfasts and pancake/french toast. They have Filipino ulams and pastas/pizzas. For the pizza, tell them in advance because they need to warm up the oven. Our favorites were the Pinoy dishes: tortang talong, adobong kangkong, pork sinigang, chicken inasal and halo halo. Kids enjoyed their pasta too (pomodoro, pesto and Italian bolognese). French fries and garlic bread are yummy. The only thing we didn’t enjoy were the grilled cheese sandwiches. Water dispensers are available at the eating area for all.
“Relax, you’re on lake time” says a sign at the Soloviento kitchen. We enjoyed the abundant swings and hammocks, the swimming area and hanging out in the eating area (playing board games). There are kayaks and SUPs for rent. The kids just had fun jumping off the dock many many times, and playing at the beach - red silty clay that is characteristic of Lake Caliraya. In the evening, you can request a bonfire for a fee. The sunset was gorgeous over Soloviento, and even more amazing was the star-gazing at night. The sky felt dome-shaped above us with tons of stars and distinct constellations that the kids could point out. That may have been the most magical part for us. Though, in the morning, because it was raining, we also had a magnificent showing of a rainbow!
Nature play at it’s finest (literally). The kids loved playing with the fine clay (aka mud) on the bottom and shores of Lake Caliraya. Left: a mini habitat for snails, tadpoles and clams. Right: a study of the gradual change in textures of clay from the shoreline to 2 meters into the lake.
I hope you take your family to Soloviento and enjoy it!