HOW TO GET TO SAMAL ISLAND (From Manila, Davao City, and Cagayan de Oro)

Samal Island in Davao del Norte is a popular tropical getaway destination for locals and visitors alike. The island has plenty of attractions to keep you busy for a day or so. There are beaches and nearby islands that let you get your much-needed dose of vitamin sea. Talicud Island provides a welcome escape to the hustle and bustle of city life. Go swimming, sunbathe or just enjoy a relaxing day out.

Cool off by jumping into the emerald waters of Hagimit Falls. This destination is picturesque with its rock formations and multiple pools. Find a spot and take a dip with friends or family during your visit. The park area is big enough for large groups of visitors who want to enjoy nature. The Monfort Bat Sanctuary is another popular attraction on the island. This sanctuary is home to thousands of bats that make their daily hunt for food at night. If you visit during the day, you will see them in their caves hanging upside down, sleeping.

Take the short hike up Mt. Puting Bato to get beautiful bird’s eye views of the island. The leisurely walk and fresh air will re-energize your body. Kaputian Beach is a popular local hangout place because of its proximity to the port. You can spend the night here, have a picnic, play volleyball or Frisbee, swim or just bum around. Maxima Aquafun Resort is a fun destination that has a long waterslide that will leave you momentarily breathless before you hit the water below. You can also rent equipment here for water sports.

Canibad Beach may be difficult to reach, but the trip is worth it as it doesn’t get as crowded as Kaputian Beach. Relax and unwind here, swim in the warm waters, work on your tan, have a snack and a cold drink with friends, and pass the time in the beach’s laidback atmosphere.

Samal Island is an accessible place to visit because of its nearness to Davao City. Here are different ways to reach this destination.


How to Get to Samal

From Manila

There are direct flights from Manila to Davao City, the jump-off point to Samal Island. Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and AirAsia have regular flights to Davao. Look for tickets months or at least weeks before your intended trip. Wait for promo fares to get the cheapest possible price for airfare.

  • VIA SANTA ANA WHARF. Once in Davao City, you can choose the ferry departing from either Sasa Wharf or Santa Ana Wharf. You’ll need to ride two jeeps from the city center to reach Santa Ana Wharf; the fare will cost approximately P20. Once at the port, board a boat bound for Samal, the fare is around P60 and may take 45 minutes.
  • VIA SASA WHARF. You’ll also need two jeep rides to reach Sasa Wharf which will cost around P15 to P20. Once there you can board a bus traveling to Kaputian for around P60. The bus will also be on the ferry to other destinations on the island. Alternatively, you can just walk-in and pay around P10 to board the ferry. You can then rent a habal-habal or tricycle to explore the island.

From Davao City

Davao City is a bustling urban jungle with plenty to do for visitors. You can go to the Philippine Eagle Center to see one of the biggest birds in the world. Walk around People’s Park to see local artwork and momentarily leave the hustle and bustle of the big city. Eden Nature Park is another green space to consider visiting. It has cool mountain air and trails that cut through forests for a refreshing day out. Other places of interest include the Crocodile Park and Roxas Avenue Night Market just to name a few. Davao is also a possible jump-off point for multi-day treks to Mt. Apo – the highest peak in the Philippines.

If you’re traveling to Samal Island from Davao City, you can depart from Santa Ana Wharf or Sasa Wharf. Depending on which part of the city you are coming from, you might have to take two jeepney rides to reach either wharf. This will cost you about P20. The fare from Sta. Ana Wharf to Samal is around P60, while the fare from Sasa Wharf may cost as little as P10.

From Cagayan de Oro

Cagayan de Oro is a possible gateway to Samal Island but is quite far. The fastest way to reach the island is by plane to Davao City. There are direct flights from CDO to Davao City operated by Cebu Pacific. The flight takes around an hour one way. From the airport, you can get a taxi or public transportation to Sasa or Santa Ana Wharf. The fare to the island is around P10 from Sasa and P60 from Santa Ana.

Alternatively, you can travel by land to reach Davao City before going by ferry to Samal. Rural Transit Bus plies the CDO to Davao route. Fares are around P540 for air-conditioned buses and approximately P400 for non-AC ones. The trip may take up to 10 hours depending on road condition, weather, and traffic.


Where to Stay

There are plenty of resorts on Samal Island, especially near popular beaches such as Kaputian Beach and Canibad Beach. Here are the highly recommended resorts on the Island Garden City of Samal by Agoda users (as of January 2019).

Photo was provided by the resort via Agoda.

For more options, search here: Samal Resorts


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