Apo Island is as spectacular above the surface as it is below. This tiny island off the coast of Dauin, not far from Dumaguete in Negros Oriental is known the world over for its underwater beauty and turtle population, but above sea level there’s still plenty to be enjoyed. It’s a short hike to Rock Point View Deck at the southern tip of the island where you’ll be rewarded with the most incredible view. Our Apo Island travel guide will show you everything you need to know about getting to Rock Point View Deck and what to expect along the way.
GETTING TO APO ISLAND
Apo Island is about 8km off the coast of Dauin in Negros Oriental. If you’re staying in Dumaguete City, the first thing you’ll need to do is make your way to Malatapay Apo Seaport in Zamboanguita. It’s around 30 minutes if you have your own transport, which we recommend. You can rent a scooter for $8 USD a day or if you’re not comfortable driving a scooter, you can rent a car for $40.
Alternatively, you can take any public Ceres bus going south for around $1.20 USD, just tell the bus driver you’re going to Apo and he’ll drop you off on the road by the port. Once you’re at the market, head down to the beach and you’ll easily find the port. If you go on a Wednesday, you’ll pass through the famous Malatapay markets, an entirely crazy but authentic local experience you shouldn’t miss out on. From there, it will take around 45 minutes by pump boat to Apo Island.
READ: APO ISLAND GUIDE
HOW MUCH DOES APO ISLAND & ROCK DECK VIEW POINT COST?
You can either get a private or public boat from Malitapay port. A private boat costs about $60 for 4 passengers, $91 for 8 and $182 for 22. If you’re travelling with a large group, this is probably the best option. Otherwise, you can take a public boat for $6 but availability and trip time depends on when locals need to go back to the island. You’ll also have to pay a $2 entrance fee to access Apo Island if you’re a non-local, but Rock Point View Deck is free of charge.
OUR EXPERIENCE GOING TO ROCK POINT VIEW DECK
Once you’re on Apo Island, getting to the Rock Point View Deck is literally a walk in the park. You can follow Google Maps to Habagat Eco Trail or ask any local to point you in the right direction to the back side of the island. Not far past the lagoon, you’ll see a path splitting off on the right leading up the mountain, with a sign saying Rock Point View Deck. You’ll start the hike up concrete steps here. If you’re lucky, Sammy the dog will hike all the way to the top with you, and you might even get to see a Monitor Lizard like we did.
The hike starts off paved, but after a short little while turns to a cleared path with the occasional rock you have to climb over. It’s an easy hike and shouldn’t take you more than 20 minutes. It’s shaded the entire way, which was a welcome relief since we hiked at midday. Around half way there’s a break in the trees where you can overlook the backside of the island, which used to be the main turtle sanctuary before Typhoon Sendong hit in 2011 destroying most of the coral. This was our first glimpse of Apo Island’s stupidly blue water.
After a little more hiking you’ll eventually get to Rock Point View Deck, and we swear the second you catch a glimpse of the water, any sweat you shed will immediately be worth it. Apo Island is insane. It probably has the bluest water we’ve seen in the Philippines, plus we could see Negros Island to our right, as well as Mindanao in the distance. There’s also a little picnic table and some bench chairs to sit on and catch your breath while you enjoy the view and the breeze. If you have a drone, we absolutely recommend sending it up and capturing Apo Island in all her glory.
Apo Island is the perfect day trip from Dauin or Dumaguete, and Rock Point View Deck is a must visit while you’re on Apo. Your trip to Apo Island wouldn’t be complete though without swimming with the famous Apo Island Turtles that call these waters home.
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WHERE TO STAY NEAR APO ISLAND
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.
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.
MORE NEGROS ORIENTAL GUIDES:
Swimming with Turtles, Apo Island
Baslay Hot Spring & Waterfall, Dauin
Casaroro Falls, Valencia
Pulangbato Falls, Valencia
Tottyn Falls, Valencia
Original Casaroro Falls, Valencia
Palaypay Falls, Pamplona
Hidden Beach, Siaton