Samal Island Travel Guide 2023: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. mhyre

    gudpm!can i asked how much po ang fare kung multicab type na sasakyan isakay sa barge,and how many km,po from babak to hagimit…thnx

  2. kaye

    if i’ll be leaving from davao city gaano po kalau and pde po ba mag bus papunta samal? how much will it cost me..pls suggest also other means to get there sa beautiful beach.

    1. premitibo

      from davao, mga 10 mins. siguro n ferry boat. pwede din bus.. mura lang pamasahe, d abuting ng 50php. davao-samal lng yan ha..pag dating mo sa island, syempre iba n ung rates ng fare nila lalo na pg medyo malayo sa dock ang pupuntahan mo. hope in anyway this will help you.

  3. jean

    SAmal has natural ambiance to help you more relax with YOUR loving someone.

  4. I’m planning to go to Samal. And, this post would be very helpful.

  5. annie in the sky with diamonds

    hi,,,i want to see samal island as well…dying to see actually..

  6. Samal island is really beautiful…siyempre…taga samal gud ko!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Samal islands is the best for outdoor recreation adventure…

  8. […] Samal Island […]

  9. angela

    i leave there.dyan ako ipinanganak kya lang dito ako nag-aral sa cebu…maganda talaga dyan sa lugar namin. gusto ko nang umuwi……

  10. wow, thanks for the feedback dinabaw, it seems that a lot of developments are happening in Samal.

  11. dinabaw

    gorgeous ang Dream Resort tabi ng Kembali coast but di pa bukas ang resort anyway maraming susulputan na mga bago na resorts i was amazed how beautiful Bluejaz Resort tabi lang ng Paradise anyway Bali-Bali resort is very beatuiful!

  12. neo

    i love hagimit falls, canibad island cove, aundanao fish sanctuary & coral reef, they are unexplored, I called them…the virgin beauty of samal island (ehem!!) lami kaayo diri sa isla bai!

  13. I’ve heard of the new resort Samal Dream, and they say it is worth visiting, they have mini zoo, a nipa tower and other interesting amenities but they don’t have a website yet. 🙁

  14. san

    For me, Pearlfarm & Malipano Island pa lang ang pinakamagandang resort na napuntahan ko sa Samal Island. Somebody told me that there’s a new resort called Samal Dream, do you know their website? Thanks a lot.

  15. Hi erna, I’m glad you enjoyed the place, the habal-habal ride was indeed a fun ride, next time you go there, ask the habal-habal driver to take you to Tambang Falls at Tagbaobo Falls.

  16. erna

    Never been to Bat Cave, i love to but no more time
    we just came back from Fernandez Beach in Penaplata & Hamigit Falls in Cawag, bugnaw kaayo ang tubig didto enjoy kami nagpicnic at nagsakay ug bahal-habal, un motor na tatlo ang sakay nakakatakot pero masarap ang experience namo!!! Sayang pabalik na kami ng Cebu next week, were in Tagum now. Meron pa palang Tambang Falls at Tagbaobo Falls in Samal, where’s that? Nobody tells us about this when we were there. So many places to visit, so little time!!!!!

  17. @marlene, thanks for the correction, yeah, i don’t like the smell of guanos in the bat cave, yay, naalala ko na naman yung smell and nag-i-stick sya sa pang amoy for quite long…

  18. marlene

    its malipano island not malipuno hehe!!… ung tapat ng pearlfarm, also manage by pearlfarm.

    lakwatsero, napuntahan mo lahat yan?
    believe naman ako sa ‘yo…
    you really stand by your name huh!!!

    ummpp.. mabaho sa bat cave.. ryt?
    mas maganda mag island hopping, rent a boat then go place to place..

  19. @estan tinuod bitaw! 😛

  20. okay kaayo sa bat cave ba.

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