Apo island is a beautiful little volcanic island sitting only seven Kilometers off the coast of Negros Oriental and 662 Kilometers from Manila. This seventy-four hector island is told to be beautiful home for over 400 species of coral and 600 species of fish. We were blown away by the beauty that lies under the water when we first arrived on our Apo Island tour. We could quickly see why Apo island snorkeling was a must on our list of top things to do while we were in Dumaguete.
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Dumaguete to Apo island
Traveling around the Philippines from island to island can sometimes be difficult especially if you don’t visit the Philippines at the right time but getting to Apo island is most commonly accessed through Dumaguete. Located only 30 Kilometers south of Dumaguete you can easily ride a scooter to the port and join a group of people to split the boat fare. If you do not have a scooter that’s ok as well. You still have two more options. You can ask a trike to take you directly to Malatapay Port or you can head to the bus terminal in Dumaguete and board the bus heading Bayawan city. This ride is only 50 Php and takes around 30 minutes.
Once you arrive at Malatpay port you still have around 30 minutes by boat till you get to Apo island. You will be taking a traditional style Filipino boat called the paraw. They are small but don’t worry they’re safe. You can do one of two things, rent a private boat to take you there or wait for a group and join them on a public boat. A private boat cost 3,500 Php and a public boat cost between 2.500 Php and 3,500 Php split between everyone (minimum of 4 people maximum of 8 people). The private boats can leave whenever you are ready and the public ones can leave when you have occupied the seats with people. If you are looking to take an Apo Island budget trip Just to wait a little bit and more people will show up. When we first arrived we didn’t know this and were quite worried we wouldn’t get a group of people to join but no longer than 10 minutes after arriving more people started to show up.
Apo island to Malatapay Port
Once you are done with all your adventures and snorkeling around the island you can take a boat back to Malatapay Port. They give you two tickets when you get on board the boat for your Apo Island Day tour, one for the ride there and one for the ride back. The last boat heads from Apo island back to Malatapay around 4 pm. If you would like to stay longer you will have to hire a private boat to take you back or stay the night on the island.
Where to stay on Apo Island
Apo island accommodation can be a little bit more difficult to get than you think. With the island being so small they really only have two home stays there and you can’t book them online. The only option for booking them is by calling them directly. Below i will place the names and Phone numbers of the accommodations.
- Ronor’s Lodging +63 915 775 2422
- Mary’s Homestay +63 906 823 4932
- Liberty’s Lodge & Dive
If you want to spend more than one day on the island but want the comfort of a resort you can stay in Dumaguete and then just go to the port every morning. This does, however, limit you to how early you can get there but it provides you will a lot more comfort than the amenities on the island.
** If you don’t plan on staying the night and would like to see more islands nearby make sure to check out Siquijor. They have tons of stuff to do and beautiful waterfalls, it’s a great affordable day trip.**
Where to stay in Dumaguete
If you weren’t lucky enough to get an Apo island hotel or you wanted something a little different don’t worry. These two accommodations we are going to suggest are perfect for you especially if you are looking to do some Apo Island Diving.
AivyMaes Divers Paradise Resort Dauin is a perfect beachfront property that allows you 24-hour power with Air Conditioning and a dive center right outside your door. The accommodations are simple but if you are interested in Diving Philippines than look no further.
Mahi Mahi Dive Resort Another dive shop with a little more upscale accommodations gives you the luxury feel while keeping you close to nature and very close to Apo Island. This modern style property is perfect for a couples retreat and relaxation while not sacrificing any amenities.
Apo Island itinerary
With Apo island only being 72 hectors you can walk the whole island in under a day. We highly suggest that you get to the island as early as possible, leaving you enough time to explore and see everything you want to see. Although Snorkeling and marine life is the main attraction on your Apo island tour we suggest you save that for the afternoon. The days tend to be very hot in the Philippines so we will make sure you are snorkeling during peak heat. First things first, make sure you check out the two main attractions when you first arrive this will give you the cool mornings and fresh air to hike the peaks of the island and get the best views.
Rock Point view deck
This is one of the best views on the island but also has a very unstable rocky path to get up to the top. Make sure you dress accordingly.
Apo Island Lighthouse
Originally developed to warn ships of the shallow reef has not become an icon of Apo island and a must not miss while here.
The main reason you came to the island is to see the amazing marine life and beautiful coral reefs. It continues to attract 1000’s of people yearly and is one of the must-do attractions while in Dumaguete. Snorkeling Apo island and swimming with
Additional charges and optional charges
- Upon arriving you have to pay a 100 Php statutory fee. This is the fee they use to help maintain the island and help pay for the people watching all the people snorkeling Apo Island.
- Snorkeling comes with a charge as well. Most the time if you come to Apo island you would like to snorkel in the statuary. Well if you do that you will have to hire a guide. It will cost you 300 Php but this allows you guided access to the best spot. We highly suggest this. Not only do you help the local community out but inside the sanctuary is where all the turtles tend to stay.
- We didn’t have snorkel gear so it cost us 100 Php for snorkel and mask.
We hope this helps you plan your Apo Island tour and you have a great time! It’s a really beautiful island and the perfect stop for an adventurous day trip. If you are new to the Philippines make sure you check out all our post on the best things to see and do while you are here. We have everything from packing checklist to things you must not do and must not miss.