Ah Samal Island, what would Davao do without you. You’ve brought so much vigor and character to the entire Davao Region that it’s been long overdue for you to be featured on this blog.
Now, I’ve extensively blogged about other Samal spots (Pearl Farm Beach Resort and Isla Reta) a while back, so it’s gonna be different this time around. This blog post will be a rundown of all the Samal beach resorts and tourist spots Kaye and I have visited in the last 5 years and will be accordingly updated. So, to quote the Beast Incarnate, Brock Lesnar: “Let’s do this?!?!”.
1. Paradise Island Park & Beach Resort
Perhaps the most popular beach destination this side of Southern Mindanao, this beach resort has been visited by thousands of locals and tourists in the last two decades alike mainly due to its short distance from Davao City. Be transported from the busy streets of Davao to the relaxing beachfront in just 15 short minutes of bangka ride.
Among all the beach resorts in Samal, I would say that Paradise Island is the most family friendly. The beach is very much accessible so no worries on bringing kids and elderly members of the family. They have a pretty wide restaurant area with plenty of tables and chairs to accommodate many guests. They also have a BYOB area (adjacent from the restaurant area) which accommodates groups of guests who brought food (baon) with them. The beach has fairly powdery white sand and a well-maintained beach suitable for swimming for people of all ages. Just beware of small jellyfish during the cold months; from October to December.
Another plus the resort offers is the mini-aviary. Paradise Island has a decent collection of exotic birds which makes for a relaxing and informative stroll along the premises of the resort, especially for the kids.
Paradise Island’s restaurant has a wide array of food choices available for breakfast, lunch, merienda and dinner. The resort also offers room accommodations for couples and families at reasonable prices (around Php2,500-Php3,000 overnight). They also have dorm type rooms for big groups such as company outings and retreats.
All in all, if you want to have a relaxing day while not being too much far away from home, Paradise Island should be the perfect quickie for you this summer. 😉
Paradise Island Park and Beach Resort
Caliclic, Babak, Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte
(082) 233 0251
2. Villa Amparo Garden Beach Resort
Villa Amparo is one of the more secluded beach resorts in Samal Island. Located at Brgy. Camudmud, Babak, one must hire a capable tricycle, habal-habal or multicab in order to reach the place. Travel time from Babak port is roughly 30-40 minutes.
Since the place is quite far from downtown Babak, tourists are encouraged to stay overnight to make the most of the long trip to Villa Amparo. Since we went here as a group of 10, we availed of their Family Room. Click here for the list of their amenities and rates.
Though not covered in white sand, the beach is still fine for swimming, preferably during high tide. You can also rent their kayak and inflatable playground if you have kids on board.
If you want some peace and quiet and get rid of the city noises for a day, check out Villa Amparo as this resort will truly provide that much-needed seclusion and relaxation your busy body needs.
Villa Amparo Garden Beach Resort
Camudmud, Babak, Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte
(082) 284 0692
3. Bluewaters Samal Resort
Blue Waters in Samal is also one of the nearer resorts from Davao City. Using the Pearl Farm Marina in Davao City as their jump-off point for the boat ride, travel time goes from around 15-20 minutes. The beach is just two strips away from Paradise Island and adjacent to Costa Marina. What sets Blue Waters from Paradise Island and Costa Marina is their infinity pool.
The resort’s beachfront is smaller compared to Paradise Island but is still well maintained and good for swimming. Though there are parts on the other side of the beach wherein big rocks and corals are present so it’s advised to bring you trusty aqua shoes, if you have.
If you don’t have aqua shoes, you’ll just be all right swimming in their (deep) infinity pool. I found it much relaxing to swim in the pool rather than in the beach to be honest.
As much as it is relaxing seeing the beach under the hot sun, the view of Davao’s city lights at night and Mt. Apo’s glorious mountain range in the early morning is also very much relaxing.
Blue Waters Resort
Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte
(082) 303 2618
4. Babu Santa Beach Resort
Babu Santa, along with #5 to #7, are actually spots we visited during our island hopping last summer of 2014. Babu Santa in Talicud Island is famous for being the lunch stopover for most island hopping tours. There are plenty of tables for big groups. There are also grilling equipment, albeit limited in number, for those who prefer DIY ihaw-ihaw.
We did not stay here for much longer other than eat lunch so we did not do much swimming. Though if you’re planning to stay overnight, you can bring your tents along as there is more than enough space for camping in the area.
Babu Santa Beach Resort
Talikud Island, Island Garden City of Samal, Davao City, 8119
0919 239 8308
5. Coral Garden
One of the more popular diving sites in Samal Island is the Coral Garden and much deservedly so. Coral Garden is home to a wide range of sea creatures, from coral reefs to different kinds of fish. The waters are also crystal clear which makes for a more enticing dive.
As per usual, we whipped out our diving essentials: aqua shoes, goggles, snorkeling equipment and of course, Kaye’s underwater camera. We literally took a dive on this one.
The rich marine life of Coral Garden did not fail to amaze us. The perfect weather sure did wonders for our underwater photos. If you currently don’t own a GoPro or any underwater camera, a visit to Coral Garden would definitely beg you to buy one.
6. Starfish Island
Starfish Island is another spot around Samal, and true to its name, the place has an abundance of starfish lying around the shallow seabed. There’s nothing much do here though apart from some swimming and having selfies with the starfish.
7. Isla Reta 2
2 years ago, Kaye and I visited Isla Reta and were impressed with its clean and clear waters and pristine sand. During our island hopping last year, we were quite surprised to learn that Isla Reta has a little-known sibling in the name of Isla Reta 2.
The place still maintain the pristine white sand we raved about back in Isla Reta 1. While the waters in Isla Reta 2 is not comparable as to it’s more popular sibling, the place offers a different kind of charm by being more photogenic of the two.
Do keep in mind that Isla Reta 1 and Isla Reta 2, though relatively near each other is not entirely connected. You have to board a small boat at the least to navigate both spots.
8. Chema’s by the Sea
Chema’s by the Sea is one of the more posh resorts in Samal Island. Having been here for quite a few of times, its laid back and private grounds coupled with its rustic rooms and well-manicured beachfront remain their major selling points versus other resorts in the area.
Chema’s by the Sea, in my opinion, possesses the best white sand beachfront in the entire island of Samal. Yes, it’s not entirely natural, but the owners managed to beautifully craft their beachfront to stand out from its competitors. They also have a salt-water infinity pool for those who are afraid to get tanned and a restaurant for those who are not avid swimmers. The place is good for families, barkada trips and couples.
Of course, this kind of luxe offering from Chema’s comes at a price. Overnight room rates range from Php4k-10k, depending on the number of persons. If you’re planning to have day tours, prepare to shell out Php250.00 entrance fee, Php200.00 for the boat ride (one-way only) and Php500.00 cottage fee. Don’t forget to call management first to book your visit. For more info, visit their website HERE or their official Facebook page.
If you’re tired of the busy/more commercialized beach resorts or want some peace and tranquility to relax and unwind, Chema’s by the Sea is the one for you.
9. Precious Garden
Precious Garden is one of the lesser known resorts in Samal Island. Though I wonder why the place isn’t really famous because the place, in my opinion, offers some things that are unique compared to other resorts Samal has to offer.
To keep up with its name, the place does resemble one big garden. From the different kinds of plants and flowers near the rooms and the restaurant area, to the landscaping and various statues scattered all over, there is a feeling of cheerfulness that emanates from every corner of the resort.
One thing that Precious Garden is very proud of is their brick-oven pizza. Some Samal tourists even go out of their itineraries to visit their resto to try their delectable offerings. You’d be glad to know that their pizza did live up to our expectations. We recommend trying both the thin crust and thick crust variations for the complete Precious Garden pizza experience. Best eaten straight out of the oven!
Hotel Precious Garden of Samal
Sitio Libudan, Brgy Miranda, Babak, Davao City, Davao del Sur
+63 919 978 9086 & +63 917 308 92 72
10. Vanishing Island
There’s not much to do when at the island. You can do some swimming and wander around the mangroves that inhabit the island. The waters there are very clean and fresh though, so the swimming experience here is better than in Precious Garden’s beach. Of course, taking hundreds of pictures ain’t bad either.
THIS POST WILL BE UPDATED ACCORDINGLY.