Northern Loop

If you've hired a tricycle for this route, you may do this in a loop, figure-eight or other winding pattern. Either way, you'll take in the Basco Lighthouse just north of Basco; it's possible to climb it for stellar views of the coast. Further north, a new road leads to a short walking path up the crest of one of the Vayang Rolling Hills, where Itbayat and Dinem Islands are visible on the horizon on clear days.

Retrace your steps to Basco and head southeast up to the Tukon Chapel, an appealing stone church built by the Abad family. Further uphill it is PAGASA Weather Station, a giant golfball-like weather station with great 360-degree views; it's also reachable via a 1½-hour walk or a tough 30-minute bike ride from Basco. You'll see Fundacion Pacita, a magnificent stone house perched on a bluff, about 500m down the hill from here. The beautiful hotel is closed to outside visitors unless you dine at the restaurant. Further east, towards Valugan Boulder Beach, are the Dipnaysupuan Tunnels, built deep into the rock face by the occupying Japanese during WWII using forced local labour; you can explore the tunnels with a torch.

On the east coast, Valugan Boulder Beach is strewn with exercise-ball-sized boulders. Fishing at this sacred port is only allowed from March to May so that the fish populations can be maintained.

Southern Loop

The island’s main road, National Hwy, hugs the twists and turns of the coastline south of Basco.

Just south of Mahatao, with its cluster of traditional houses, you’ll find White Beach, a cove that’s generally considered safe for swimming. Continuing south you’ll pass through Ivana, the jumping-off point for Sabtang Island and home to the 1877 Unesco-listed House of Dakay, the oldest stone house in the Batanes. Right near the pier is the Honesty Coffee Shop, a great little place where you drop your money in the box and help yourself to drinks. The road flattens out on the way to southernmost Uyugan, where there are a few traditional houses.

The road then turns north, passing a sweeping, wide bay and the Songsong ruins of stone houses demolished by a tidal wave. Passing through Itbud and Imnajbu, the road climbs to green, rolling pastureland populated by undomesticated carabao and cattle. This is Racuh Apayaman, better known as Marlboro Country. From here there are fantastic views of Batan’s eastern coastline and Mt Iraya. You'll then reach an intersection, where the left fork leads to Mahatao (3km) and the right to the dorado-fishing village of Diura (1.5km). At Diura, pay P50 to register and then take the 20-minute walk to the refreshing Spring of Youth.