Travels and Festivals

Samal Island: Unveiling the Secrets of its Pristine Beaches

Samal Island

Samal Island is a tropical paradise just off Davao City’s coast in the Philippines. With its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush forests, it’s no wonder this island is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. In addition, the Samal boasts an array of exciting activities, such as snorkeling, diving, and island hopping. Consequently, it makes it a perfect destination for adventure seekers.

One of the highlights of Samal Island is its stunning marine biodiversity. Many dive locations are home to vibrant coral reefs, sea turtles, and fish species. In addition, visitors can explore the underwater world of Samal.

Samal Island is a tropical paradise with clear turquoise waters and white sand beaches. In addition, visitors can explore the island’s lush forests and hills, which offer stunning views of the coastline and surrounding islands. Samal Island is known for its delicious seafood and local delicacies, such as kinilaw and grilled tuna. Moreover, Samal Island is easily accessible by ferry from Davao City. 

Navigating your Way to Samal Island

Samal Island is in Davao del Norte, in the southern part of the Philippines. Furthermore, air and sea transportation allows travelers to access the island from Manila. Here are the clear instructions on how to reach Samal Island from Manila:

Samal Island

I. Take a flight from Manila to Davao City:

From Manila, several airlines operate flights to Davao City, including: 

  • Philippine Airlines
  • Cebu Pacific
  • AirAsia. 

Travel time: about 1 hour and 45 minutes.

II. Travel from Davao City to Sasa Wharf: 

Once you arrive at Davao City’s Francisco Bangoy International Airport, you can:

  • Take a taxi or a ride-hailing service to Sasa Wharf. 
  • The trip takes about 20 to 30 minutes, depending on traffic. 
  • Or else, you can take a jeepney from the airport to the city center and then transfer to another jeepney that goes to Sasa Wharf.

III. Take a ferry from Sasa Wharf to Samal Island: 

From Sasa Wharf, take a ferry to Samal Island. Several ferry operators serve this route: 

Samal Island
  • Island City Express
  • Davao Ferries
  • Samal Island Express. 

Travel time: 10 to 15 minutes; the ferry operates daily from 5:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

IV. Arrive at Samal Island: 

  • Take a tricycle or a habal-habal (motorcycle taxi) to your accommodation.
  • Alternatively, you can pre-arrange for a van or a car rental service to pick you up at the ferry terminal.

V. Check-in at your accommodation: 

Whether in a hotel, resort, or Airbnb, check-in and settle down first. It will allow you to freshen up and rest after your trip.

Samal Island’s Must-See Tourists Sites

The journey from Manila to Samal Island takes about 3 to 4 hours, depending on the flight schedule and traffic conditions.

Here are famous attractions on Samal Island, along with their addresses and directions on how to get there:

Hagimit Falls: 

  • Address: Barangay Cawag, Penaplata, Samal Island. 
  • To get there: Take a habal-habal (motorcycle) or a tricycle from the city center to Penaplata Public Market, and then take another habal-habal to the falls.

Monfort Bat Cave:

Samal Island
  • The cave is home to millions of bats.
  • Address: Barangay Tambo, Babak, Samal Island. 
  • To reach the Cave: From the city center, take a tricycle or habal-habal to the pier in Babak, and then take a boat to Monfort Bat Cave.
  • It’s home to one of the world’s largest colonies of fruit bats, with over 2.4 million bats roosting in a single cave system.

Isla Reta Beach: 

Samal Island
  • Address: Talicud Island, which is part of Samal Island. 
  • Ride a ferry from Sta. Ana Wharf in Davao City to Kaputian Wharf on Samal Island
  • Take another boat to Talicud Island.

Maxima Aqua Fun:

  • Address: Barangay Cawag, Penaplata, Samal Island. 
  • To reach there: take a habal-habal or tricycle from the city center to Penaplata Public Market
  • Take another habal-habal to the water park.
  • It is an adventure park featuring various water activities.

Kaputian Beach: 

  • Address: Barangay Kaputian, Samal Island
  • To get there: Take a ferry from Sta. Ana Wharf in Davao City to Kaputian Wharf on Samal Island
  •  Then take a tricycle or habal-habal to Kaputian Beach.

From Island Hopping to Snorkeling: Fun Things to do on Samal Island

Samal Island offers a wide range of fun-filled activities for both locals and tourists alike. Here are some exercises that will help you plan your summer vacation on the island:

I. Beach and Water Activities:

  • Island Hopping: Explore the beauty of Samal Island by hopping on a boat to visit its numerous neighboring islands and beaches.
  • Snorkeling and Scuba diving: Dive into the clear blue waters of Samal Island and explore its diverse marine life, coral reefs, and shipwrecks.
  • Jet Skiing: Enjoy the thrill of riding on the waves with a jet ski.
  • Parasailing: Get a bird’s eye view of Samal Island while being towed behind a speedboat with a parachute.
  • Banana boat ride: Hop on a banana-shaped inflatable raft and ride the waves with friends and family
  • Paddleboarding: Stand-up paddleboarding is a fun way to explore the island’s coastline while getting a workout at the same time.

II. Land-based Activities:

  • Hiking: Samal Island has several trails that lead to picturesque views of the island and its surroundings.
  • Mountain biking: Rent a mountain bike and ride through Samal Island’s scenic countryside.
  • Zipline: Fly over Samal Island’s lush forests on a zipline for an adrenaline rush.
  • ATV (all-terrain vehicle) riding: Explore the rugged terrain of Samal Island on an ATV ride.
  • Visiting cultural and historical sites: Learn about the island’s history and culture by visiting its historical landmarks and museums.

III. Relaxation and Leisure Activities:

  • Spa and wellness treatments: Samal Island has several resorts and spas that offer relaxing massages, facials, and other treatments.
  • Picnic on the beach: Pack a picnic basket and enjoy a meal with family and friends.
  • Beach volleyball: Have fun playing beach volleyball with friends and family on Samal Island’s beaches.
  • Hammock lounging: Relax in a hammock and read a book while enjoying the cool ocean breeze.

Exceptional Stay: From Luxurious, Budget-friendly to Homestays

I. High-end Accommodations:

A. Pearl Farm Resort:

  • Features: Pearl Farm Beach Resort is a 5-star resort with an impressive collection of native-inspired villas and cottages against stunning blue waters and lush greenery.
  • Amenities:  
    • an infinity pool
    • a private beach and spa,
    • Restaurants
    • Guests can also enjoy various water activities such as diving, snorkeling, and island hopping. 
  • Rates: Rooms start at PHP 10,000 (approximately USD 205) per night.

B. Hof Gorei Beach Resort: 

  • Address: Adecor, Kaputian District, Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte, Philippines.
  • Features: Hof Gorei Beach Resort is an exclusive beachfront resort that offers spacious and well-appointed villas with modern amenities.
  • Amenities:
    • swimming pool
    • private beach 
    • Guests can enjoy water activities such as snorkeling, diving, and island hopping. 
  • Rates: Rooms start at PHP 7,000 (approximately USD 143) per night.

C. Paradise Island Park and Beach Resort: 

  • Features: Paradise Island Park and Beach Resort is a 4-star resort with various rooms and suites, each with a distinct style and amenities. 
  • Amenities:
    • private beach 
    • swimming pool,
    • Spa Wellness  
  • Rates: Rooms start at PHP 3,600 (approximately USD 74) per night.

II. Budget-friendly Accommodations

A. Bluejaz Resort and Waterpark 

  • Amenities: Bluejaz Resort and Waterpark offer a variety of rooms and cottages, a swimming pool, and a water park. 
  • Services: The resort provides shuttle and laundry services.
  • Rates: Rooms start at PHP 2,800 (approximately USD 57) per night.

B. Chema’s by the Sea 

  • Amenities: Chema’s by the Sea offers comfortable rooms and cottages with modern amenities.
  • Rates: Rooms start at PHP 2,200 (approximately USD 45) per night.

C. Bali Bali Beach Resort 

  • Amenities: Bali Bali Beach Resort offers simple yet comfortable rooms and cottages, a swimming pool, and a private beach. 
  • Rates: Rooms start at PHP 2,000 (approximately USD 41) per night.

III. Homestays

A. Samal Native House 

Samal Island
  • Guests can also enjoy a barbecue or relax in the shared lounge area.
  • Rates: Rooms start at PHP 1,500 (approximately USD 31) per night.

B. Bluewaters Village Homestay

  • The homestay is near the beach and features a garden, a shared kitchen, and a terrace. 
  • Guests can also enjoy a barbecue or relax in the shared lounge area. 
  • Rates: Rooms start at PHP 1,200 (approximately USD 25) per night.

C. Love You Homestay 

Samal Island
  • The homestay is near the beach and features a garden, a shared kitchen, and a terrace. 
  • Guests can also enjoy a barbecue or relax in the shared lounge area. 
  • Rates: Rooms start at PHP 1,000 (approximately USD 20) per night.

Plan Your Perfect Getaway: Best Time to Visit the Island

a tropical climate with two distinct seasons:

  • Dry season 
  • Wet season

Dry season: 

  • It starts in November and lasts until April.
  • The best time to visit Samal Island is during the dry season, particularly from December to February, when the weather is usually sunny and dry, making it perfect for outdoor activities. 
  • The temperature during this season ranges from 25 to 31 degrees Celsius, with low humidity and cool breezes.
  • Note: Samal Island is a popular tourist destination, and prices increase during peak seasons.

Wet season: 

  • The wet season in Samal Island brings frequent rain showers, thunderstorms, and typhoons. 
  • The island’s lush greenery and waterfalls become more vibrant during this time. 
  • It’s essential to take note of weather forecasts and avoid traveling during storms or heavy rains.

Shoulder Season: (refers to the period between the high or peak season and the low season)

  • It starts in May and lasts until October.
  • Consider visiting during the shoulder season to avoid crowds and enjoy lower prices. 
  • The weather is still good, and you can enjoy the island’s beauty without the vast crowds.

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