After living in Dumaguete for a year, we lost count of the amount of times people asked us “have you been to Kookoo’s Nest?”. Believe it or not, we didn’t end up visiting until our very last week in Dumaguete, and all we can say is, we wish we’d have gone sooner.
Different people will tell you different things – it’s a beach, it’s a restaurant, it’s a resort! It is, in fact, all of these things. It’s also the perfect day trip from Dumaguete City, not too far but completely cut off from the rest of the world. After spending a day at Kookoo’s Nest we can see why it’s such a well-renowned spot.
HOW TO GET TO KOOKOO’S NEST SIATON
Kookoo’s Nest is around an hour from Dumaguete City, in the coastal town of Siaton, however Google Maps says it’s in Zamboanguita. There’s no direct public transport to Kookoo’s Nest, so you’re far better off having your own vehicle. A scooter or car will make it without any difficulty.
Something to keep in mind before heading to Kookoo’s Nest is the stairs. This place is not accessible for wheelchairs, walkers, or anyone with any type of difficulty going up or down steep stairs. There is no other way to get from the car park to the property. It’s not a very long climb, but it is steep going back up so expect to break a sweat.
WHAT TO BRING TO KOOKOO’S NEST SIATON
Prepare for your trip to Kookoo’s Nest with our must have travel essentials.
Waterproof backpack & phone case: Earth Pak 35L or 55L Heavy Duty Backpack, IPX8 Waterproof Phone Case Included (click for price)
Quick dry microfiber travel towel: Wise Owl Outfitters Camping Travel Towel (click for price)
Insulated water bottle: Hydro Flask Vacuum Insulated Water Bottle (click for price)
Snorkel, mask & fins: Cressi Adjustable Mask, Fin & Snorkel Set with Carry Bag (click for price)
If you’re interested in photography and/or videography this is the gear we can’t live without:
To see our complete camera gear read this post here.
WHAT TO EXPECT AT KOOKOO’S NEST SIATON
Kookoo’s Nest is an eco-lodge made up of six bamboo cottages, a restaurant and library space. We didn’t stay the night, but we did have lunch at the beachside restaurant. There’s heavy use of bamboo, which has been locally and ethically sourced, and all the staff are from the local village. It’s a beautiful little hideaway for an overnight retreat or even just lunch.
Since Kookoo’s Nest is owned by British expats, we couldn’t look past the fish and chips on the menu. The hand-cut fries and crispy battered fish were cooked to perfection and the serving sizes were good for the Philippines. Our friends had the fruit crepe and gave it a thumbs up, and if they have the calamansi pie on the menu you should definitely order a slice (or two!).
After lunch we went for a walk along the beachfront, weaving through the boulders scattered throughout the rugged landscape. There’s a bamboo jetty that we dived off and snorkelled around (we forgot the GoPro, oops!) and a few other guests rented kayaks if that’s more your speed. All in all, our visit to Kookoo’s Nest was fun and relaxing and made for the perfect escape away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
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WHERE TO STAY NEAR DUMAGUETE
Most people who visit Negros Oriental are told to stay in Dumaguete, but what they really mean by that is stay around Dumaguete. True, Dumaguete City has plenty of tourist inns and budget hotels, but it’s the surrounding towns of Dauin and Zamboanguita that offer the best spots to stay. There’s not a whole lot to do in the city itself, so when you stay in the nearby municipalities there’s plenty of nature to explore whilst still being nice and close to Dumaguete City. Check out our top picks for accommodation near Dumaguete City.
LUXURY: Atmosphere Resorts & Spa, Dauin
Atmosphere Resorts & Spa in Dauin is the resort to stay at if you’ve got a big budget and fancy the finer things in life. Atmosphere has hosted its fair share of local celebrities and deep pocketed divers looking for the best beachfront luxury in Dauin. Read our full review of Atmosphere Resorts & Spa here.
MIDSCALE: Mike’s Dauin Dive Resort, Dauin
If you want to stay by the ocean without breaking the bank, Mike’s Dauin Dive Resort in Dauin is a comfortable midscale accommodation option perfect for diving enthusiasts. If you’ve never dived before, you can get your certification at Mike’s, and divers of all skill sets can enjoy the abundance of macro diving opportunities in and around Dauin.
BUDGET: Bongo Bongo Divers, Dauin
Bongo Bongo Divers is one of the most popular hostels in Dauin for backpackers looking for cheap accommodation in a convenient location. The rooms are simple, without any glitz and glam, but the vibe is fun and welcoming. They have a variety of room styles to choose from, ranging from couples rooms to AC or fan only dorms.
AIRBNB: Villa Amani, Zamboanguita
Villa Amani in Zamboanguita is the perfect holiday home for small families or groups of friends looking for privacy that a traditional resort or hotel can’t offer. The main house sleeps 4 with additional space for 2 in the guest house, or you can book the guest house separately if it’s just the 2 of you and you’re on a budget. The property has a swimming pool, an unbeatable view of Apo Island and kayaks to use whenever you want. Read our full review of Villa Amani here.
MORE NEGROS ORIENTAL GUIDES:
Sulfur Lagoon, Amlan
Pasalan Falls, Amlan
Pulangbato Falls, Valencia
Upper Pulangbato Falls, Valencia
Lake Balinsasayao & Danao Twin Lakes, Sibulan
Casaroro Falls, Valencia
Swimming with Apo Island Turtles, Dauin
Original Casaroro Falls, Valencia
Tottyn Falls, Valencia