Samal Island Travel Guide:The Island Garden City


Beautiful and exotic, the Island Garden City of Samal or IGaCoS, a part of the Metropolitan Davao area, is a great destination if you are looking for tranquility, great adventures and extreme challenges with nature.

Samal is an island paradise located in Davao Gulf, just a stone throw away from Davao City. The island is blessed with beautiful coast with white sand beaches, abundant marine life, magnificent rock formations, and flourishing flora and fauna. It is home to the famous Pearl Farm Beach Resort, which was once literally a pearl farm.

Babusanta Beach

A guided tour of the island will let you discover its inland treasures – rivers, waterfalls, heritage houses, and the world renowned cave that hosts the world’s biggest colony of fruit bats. Local and foreign scientists say that the cave (one of the 70 caves in the island) is home to millions of Geoffrey’s Rousette Fruit Bat. But the beauty of the island is not just its white and unspoiled beaches or its diverse natural attractions but its warm and lovely people as well. All these make this island a potential world-class eco tourism destination in this part of the Philippines.

Bat Cave, home to millions of Geoffrey’s Rousette Fruit Bat

How to Get to Samal Island

Davao City is the jump-off point for Samal Island. Davao is accessible via air or land/water travel from major cities in the country and the South East Asia.

Philippine Airlines, Air Asia Philippines and Cebu Pacific fly to Davao from Manila, Clark, Cebu, Bacolod, Iloilo, Zamboanga, Cagayan de Oro, Dumaguete, Tacloban, Tagbilaran, Caticlan, Puerto Princesa and Siargao. Meanwhile, Silk Air and Cebu Pacific connect the city to Singapore while Air Asia links it to Kuala Lumpur.

From Davao City, boats and ferries are available at Sta. Ana Wharf and Km. 11 Wharf in Sasa.

Towering coconut trees of Talikud Island

Where to Stay in Samal Island

There are more than 30 commercial resorts scattered along the 116-kilometer of shoreline of Samal. Famous for high-end tourists is the Pearl Farm Beach Resort while Paradise Island Resorts is popular for most general tourists for to its affordability, accessibility and amenities.

Alternatively, you may opt to stay in Davao City if you are planning to spend just a day in Samal Island.

Top-Rated / Highly Recommended Accommodations in Samal

Chemas By The Sea Chema’s by the Sea
Samal Island
Starts at 2,500 PHP
Paradise Island Park and Beach ResortParadise Island Park & Beach Resort
Samal Island
Starts at 2,000 PHP

Top-Rated / Highly Recommended Accommodations in Davao City

Tinhat Boutique Hotel and RestaurantTinhat Boutique Hotel and Restaurant
Poblacion, Davao City
Starts at 1,000 PHP
First Pacific Inn DavaoFirst Pacific Inn Davao
Poblacion, Davao City
Starts at 800 PHP
One of the mini caves in Talikud Island

Activities in Samal Island

The island has it all, choose from variety of activities that this island paradise offers.

  • Water sports: jetski, kayaking, banana boat ride
  • Snorkeling, scuba diving and free diving
  • Swimming and beach hopping
  • See the pawikan and dugong Santuaries
  • Visit Monfort Bat Cave in Babak District, home to 1.8 million Geoffrey’s Rousette fruit bat
  • Spelunking in Simbahan Dako Cave, Kimoko Cave, Mangongaong Cave and other caves in Talicud Island, Kaputian District and Babak District
  • Chase the island’s waterfalls – Hagimit Falls, Tambang Falls and Tagbaobo Falls
  • Island hopping  – Samal Island, Talikud Island, Malipano Island and Ligid Island
  • Camping
  • Go white water rafting in Davao River
  • Spend a day in Eden Nature Park
  • Explore the other attractions of Davao City and neighboring areas
Finding nemo in Samal waters


  • Dive shops in Santa Ana Wharf (Carabao Dive Center, Wind and Wave, Coral Dive, ProDive) offer day tour in Samal Island for as low as P800 per person, food not included
  • Samal is still the cheapest place to dive in the Philippines, rate starts at P750 per dive (gear and dive master included), Intro Dive is as low as P850 per dive while Open Water Certification starts at P12,5000
  • Mobile signal is available in the island
  • Best months to go is from April to August
Go white water rafting in Davao River

Sample Samal-Davao Itinerary

Samal – Davao 3D/2N Itinerary

Day 1:
– Arrival in Davao / Transfer to Samal
– Island and Beach Hopping: Isla Reta, Babu Santa Beach, Kaputian Beach or Pearl Farm Beach Resort

Day 2:
– Island Tour: Monfort Bat Cave, Tagbaobo Falls, Hagimit Falls, Beach
– Proceed to Davao City
– Dinner at

Day 3
– White water rafting
– Depart Davao


  1. Hi lakwatsero! Super love your blog!
    Where is the most beautiful place in the Philippines in your opinion? Thanks!

  2. […] strip of white sand beach in the west side of Samal‘s Talicud Island is a favorite stopover not only for scuba divers on surface intervals but […]

Comments are closed.