We will tell you about Samal Island hopping a perfect 2 days Samal Island itinerary as the first leg of our journey from Davao City going up to Cebu. Philippines is definitely an island gem, or should we say, a gem filled with thousands of amazing islands.
We loved snorkeling, diving and island hopping in Samal Island. There are also waterfalls, caves and you can spend the day in the resorts relaxing, eating and swimming.
SIM CARD AT MANILA AIRPORT
I wouldn’t recommend you to buy a sim card at Manila airport. If you wish comfort you can buy eSim online and if you aren’t in a hurry just go around phone shops in the city and compare prices to buy the cheapest sim card in Manila. Read here Philippines sim card for tourist and best Philippines eSim
WHERE TO STAY IN THE PHILIPPINES
You can get accommodation starting from 800-1000 PHP (less than $20 USD) for a room in a guesthouse. Can you imagine if you are two of you traveling in the Philippines, it will be $10 USD each.
BOOK YOUR TRAVEL INSURANCE
You can read Heymondo Vs Safetwing cheapest travel Insurance. You can get for $135 USD your Heymondo Travel Insurance with Heymondo discount code valid for 90 days. Read our full Heymondo Travel Insurance Review
You can get Safetywing Travel Insurance for Digital Nomads valid for 28 days Safetywing for $50 USD per month with kids until 10 years old included
SAMAL ISLAND HOPPING
GETTING TO SAMAL ISLAND FROM DAVAO CITY
If you are getting to Samal Island from Davao City. There are two options:
Option 1: Take 2 jeepneys from the city to Sta. Ana Wharf and from there, ride the Palboros boat to go to Kaputian, Samal. This is the cheapest option and it will cost around 20 PHP for the jeepneys and 60 PHP for a one-way boat.
Option 2: Take 2 jeepneys to Sasa Wharf and from there, ride the bus. The bus will go on board a vessel ship to Samal. We really love these local experiences in our travels. From Penaplata, you can ride the shared tricycle to Kaputian for 75 PHP each for around 20 kilometers. This can be an option if the weather is bad since the ferry takes only 5 minutes to get to Samal Island.
TRANSPORTATION AROUND SAMAL ISLAND
For those planning to go around the island instead of staying at the resort, there are actually a few transportation options for travelers here. The best way to go around would be to rent a motorbike or to ride a habal-habal, which is basically a motorcycle taxi.
For those traveling in big groups or with children can opt for renting a multicab, which has the structure similar to a jeepney but is much smaller.
ATMS AND CURRENCY IN SAMAL ISLAND
The country uses the Philippine Peso as its currency, where $1 USD = 53.55 PHP. Your dollars and euros can afford a lot of things in the Philippines and the island of Samal.
There are a few ATMs here so you don’t have to worry about withdrawing a lot of cash all at once but it’s always nice bringing cash in the Philippines. ATMs usually have a withdrawal fee of around 250 PHP for foreign cards per transaction, though, so keep that in mind. Click here to know the exact exhange rate!
SAMAL ISLAND ITINERARY TRAVEL BUDGET
Since Samal is a pretty small island, the cost of food, transportation, accommodation and entertainment come quite cheap compared to other locations. You can get good food for as low as $1-3 USD in local restaurants, while mid-range places offer meals at around 400-800 PHP ($7.50-15 USD) for lunch or dinner for two people.
For Samal Island Hopping expect to pay around 1000 PHP joining a group with lunch included. You can also do an inland Samal Island hopping renting a tricycle good enough for 3 people and the price is 900-1000 PHP.
For around 400-700 PHP you can book a room at a nice B&B or a small resort in Samal Island. Those looking for a mid-range hotel can find one at around 2,500 PHP (or $47 USD) while a luxury accommodation in Samal Island goes for more or less $56 USD. You can also find Airbnb around $15 USD per a room in Samal Island.
DAY 1 SAMAL ISLAND ITINERARY
You will be able to start this itinerary in Samal Island if you leave Davao City early morning or if you stay overnight in the island. Otherwise you will have to time to get on time for the activities.
For the first day in your itinerary in Samal Island you can do island hopping visiting Vanishing Island, Talicud Island. And even visiting Maxima Aqua Fun especially nice if you are traveling with kids. Or spending the day in a luxury resort like Pearl Farm Beach Resort.
For a day tour in Samal Island you can move on your own with a motorbike and hiring boats or you can rent a tricycle and island hopping for 1600 PHP good enough for 4 people. You can also get a car for 2500 PHP. Apart from this you will have to pay entrance fees.
If you’re visiting the wonderful island of Samal with the family, you will surely enjoy a getaway to Maxima AquaFun. It is one of the best things to do in Samal Island for big groups because of the super slide, banana boats, jet skis, snorkeling and diving gear you can enjoy.
The entrance fee is only 300 PHP for majority of the activities in the resort. You can take a boat that goes to Maxima Aquafun from Sta. Ana Wharf at 9 AM and heads back at 4 PM. A round trip tickets costs 150 PHP per person.
Another must-see in Samal Island is a unique area a few minutes from the coast of Tambo, Babak. Vanishing Island, as its name implies, goes underwater during high tide and resurfaces during low tide.
It has crystal clear waters that are perfect for snorkeling when the water gets deep and is also fun to walk around on and explore during low tide.
A boat to this stretch of sand costs around 250-300 PHP and usually comes with lunch and a 3-hour stay on the island.
The word “Talicud” literally means behind, as this paradise is located just behind Samal Island. Like many of the beaches in Samal Island, Talicud Island has beautiful stretches of sand and gorgeous waters. It also has a diverse marine life perfect for snorkeling and has protected sanctuaries to visit and explore.
There are several resorts in the island with entrance fees of around 75 PHP for a day trip and 50-150 PHP for an overnight stay in a tent. On the other hand, cottage rentals cost around 400-1,800 PHP and is ideal for larger groups.
CORAL GARDEN MARINE PARK
Coral Garden Marine Park is located in Talicud Island. Coral Garden Marine Park is a perfect place to visit during your island hopping in Talicud Island you will see beautiful corals and fishes. You can’t miss it in your Samal Island itinerary.
Wishing Island is worth it to visit in your Samal Island hopping when there is high tide since the low tide will not be so beautiful. Wishing Island docking fee is 200 PHP and you can go with the island hopping from Talicud Island.
PEARL FARM BEACH RESORT
If you’re into panoramic ocean views, gorgeous beach fronts and luxurious spaces, Pearl Farm Beach Resort is the place for you. This is the only 5-star resort in Mindanao and takes pride in its promotion of local culture and products.
The resort also offers plenty of thrilling water activities and tours. You can go for breakfast or lunch and spend the day in the resort.
DAY 2 SAMAL ISLAND ITINERARY
For the second day in your Samal Island itinerary you can do an Island tour visiting the main spots. To move around the island the best way is renting a motorbike. It can costs around 600-800 PHP for the whole day and even cheaper if you rent for a few days.
You can enjoy the beaches snorkeling and swimming in Kaputian Beach and you do a few activities. Hamiguit Falls and Monfort Bat Sanctuary can be the best ones to spend your day and refreshing from the heat.
MOVING AROUND THE ISLAND BY MOTORBIKE
Another great way to explore Samal Island is riding a motorbike. If you don’t know how to drive a motorcycle, you can always rent a habal-habal, the motorbike taxis of the Philippines.
SNORKELING AT KAPUTIAN BEACH
The waters in Samal is definitely super clear, even in the port area! We stayed in Kaputian beach we swam and snorkeled as much as we could. You can easily see fishes, corals and even starfishes in the crystal clear waters.
Sabang Cliff is located in Kaputian and it’s the perfect place if you like adventure. There are 3 possible places for jumping in the clear waters for your Samal Island itinerary.
BLUEBIRD VIEW DECK
Bluebird View Deck is also located in Kaputian area. If you want to get the best views of the island you can reach the top and take a look. Bluebird View Deck entrance fee is 10 PHP.
GIANT CLAM SANCTUARY
Giant Clam Sanctuary is located around Kaputian beach and it’s a great place for snorkeling too around the area. Giant Clam Sanctuary entrance fee is 100 PHP. Make sure you are bringing your snorkeling gear if not you will be able to rent there for 100 PHP extra.
WATCH THE SUNSET
Our favorite time of the day is whenever we get to watch the sunset with a beer in our hands. It´s a special moment that you feel at home wherever you are in the world.
Hagimit Falls waters are so beautiful and perfect to spend the whole day relaxing on the cottages. You can even pitch your own tent and stay overnight!
Hagimit Falls entrance fee is 60 PHP. You better come visit before everyone discovers this hidden gem in the Penaplata area.
MONFORT BAT SANCTUARY
Wondering how far your 100 PHP will take you in Samal Island? You can pay for the entrance and visit Monfort Bat Sanctuary with as little as that. The place is surprisingly breathtaking because it is home to the biggest colony of Rousette fruit bats in the world!
There are more than 2.5 million bats living in the cave that has 5 different entrances to explore. Nature lovers will surely appreciate this spectacular sight.
MORE DAYS SAMAL ISLAND ITINERARY AND SAMAL ISLAND HOPPING
If you decide to stay longer than 2 days in Samal Island. You will have a few options to continue your Samal Ilsand Itinerary like Mount Puting Bato and Spelunking Baga Cave in Talicud Island.
MOUNT PUTING BATO
With a trail that’s manageable even by beginners, travelers from all over will enjoy hiking Mount Puting Bato. This is actually the highest peak in Samal at 1,755 feet above sea level so you will get wonderful views of the island and other neighboring provinces from here.
Mount Puting Bato is also an excellent training ground for those who want to climb Mount Apo, the Philippines’ tallest mountain.
SPELUNKING BAGA CAVE
Located in Talicud Island is a huge cave that visitors explore not just for its beauty but for the legend that surrounds it. Baga Cave is involved in many stories of local folkore because of its huge chambers and seemingly endless depths.
After all, the cave got its name from the Filipino word for “lungs,” as the chamber is shaped like the capillaries of the organ. The longest trek in this cave lasts 4 hours but you can always decide how long you’ll stay.
WHERE TO STAY IN SAMAL ISLAND DAVAO
PEARL FARM BEACH RESORT
If you’re into panoramic ocean views, gorgeous beach fronts and luxurious spaces, Pearl Farm Beach Resort is the place for you. This is the only 5-star resort in Mindanao and takes pride in its promotion of local culture and products. The resort also offers plenty of thrilling water activities and tours. It has a spa for relaxation and a lounge for movie nights. The rooms are spacious and have enchanting decor.
Those looking for budget hotels in the island will find a B&B that goes for as low as 600 PHP. Mid-range resorts typically cost around 2,500-3,750 PHP while other luxury spots can be afforded at 5,500 and above.
LA VIDA ORCHARD SAMAL BED AND BREAKFAST
From it’s beautiful garden to its shared lounge, you will surely love the simplicity of your stay here. They have air-conditioned rooms paired with private bathrooms, and free Wifi. If you have children with you, they would surely enjoy the children’s playground. You could reserve your basic double room for only $40 USD.
La Vida Orchard Samal Bed and Breakfast can be found at Barangay Catagman, Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte, Samal. Click here to book your stay!
KARA KUBOTEL BEACH RESORT
Yes, you saw that right!. This place is at the Sunset Beach. Kubotel may be derived from Kubo, Filipino Traditional Homes, and Hotel. For that reason, it may be simple because the rooms are kind of traditional. Don’t worry, you’ll still enjoy yourself waking up at the beach after your free breakfast. Just so you know, the breeze that these homes give are unbeatable. The rooms cost only for about $10 USD.
Kara Kubotel Beach Resort is at Sunset Beach. Circumferential Road, Babak, Samal Island, Babak District, Samal. Click here to book your accommodation.
KALIPAY SA BAYBAY
Rated highly by visitors, this place boasts its value. Every room has its own air-condition and a private bathroom. They also have a kitchen and a bar. If you’re feeling a little bit bored, you could also play billiards at the resort. All of this for only $45 USD.
Kalipay sa Baybay can be found at Kaputian, Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte, Pangubatan. Click here to book your accommodation.
Hope it’s useful this Samal Island itinerary for your next Samal Island hopping. Let us know in the comments below if we are missing something.
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