Apo Island

Apo Island is one of the top diving and snorkeling destinations in the Philippines. This world- famous island located a few kilometers off the southern tip of Negros Oriental, never fails to amaze divers with its rich community-protected marine life.


apo island philippines dive site

Sometimes mistaken as Apo Reef, Apo Island is located 30 kilometers south of Dumaguete City, the capital of Negros Oriental. Apo Reef, on the other hand, is located between Mindoro and Palawan.

The community

Apo Island is small community under the municipality of Dauin, Negros Oriental. It has a land area of 12 hectares with a population of around 1,000. Electricity in the island is only available for three hours, from 7 to 10 in the evening. The townsfolk use rain water as their tap water. WiFi access is also very limited.

apo island

What to do in Apo Island

If you love adventure and marine life, you will definitely love going to Apo Island. Here are things you can do and see in the island.

Scuba Diving

Apo Island is known for its spectacular scuba diving sites found all over the island. It is one of the best sites for scuba diving. Here are the famous diving sites in Apo Island.

  • Apo Island Marine Sanctuary and Protected Seascape (Currently under rehabilitation, diving and snorkeling is prohibited at the moment). Located at the southwest part of the island, the protected Marine Sanctuary is one dive site you should not miss. It is a home to a lot of clown fish, along with turtles and giant clams. It is a home to many fish species, including manta rays, black and white snappers, angelfish, and flounder.
  • Coconut Point. Coconut point is located at the northwest part of the island that features different varieties of soft corals. It is famous for its schools of jacks, as well as barracudas, white tip reef sharks, and Vlaming Unicornfish. Because of the strong current in this area, only advanced divers can dive at Coconut Point.
  • Chapel’s Point. At the western side of the island is Chapel’s point. Here you will find interesting marine life sightings of various species of corals, sponges, and gorgonian sea fans. Fish species found here include tuna, black and white snappers, and barracuda.
  • Rock Point. Rock point is at the southern tip of Apo Island. Water can be rough here, but marine life is also rich and spectacular with rock formations and corals in the area. You can find black and white tip sharks here in Rock Point, as well as moray eels, Picasso triggerfish, and black and white snappers.
  • Mamsa Point. Mamsa Point is found at the eastern side of Apo Island. You will find varieties of jacks in the area, where the diving site got its name from. Mamsa is the local term for jacks. Aside from jacks, you will also see different types of groupers, lionfish, scorpion fish, as well as black and white tip reef sharks.


Aside from diving, you can also enjoy snorkeling in Apo Island. You get to encounter different species of marine animals and see beautiful corals. You can even swim with the turtles in shallow water, which you can find the southwest part of the island.

It is also a delightful experience to go snorkeling in the protected marine sanctuary of Apo Island and around the rock formations, too.

Trekking and Hiking

You can also go trekking and hiking in the small island of Apo. Famous trails include the eco trail and the trail going to the lighthouse. Just don’t forget to wear walking or running shoes since the trails could get steep and slippery. Protect yourself from the harmful rays of the sun by wearing sunglasses, hats, and putting on sunblock.

How to get to Apo Island

Now that you know the interesting things to do and see in Apo Island Philippines, you may want to ask how to go to Apo Island.

With Sea Explorers

Sea Explorers Dive Center in Dauin makes several day trips to Apo Island. Up to 3 dives per day are possible and snorkelers are welcome to join the trip on our large outrigger boats. It is a 30 minute boat ride from Dauin and departure time is usually around 8:30am. For more information contact cebu@sea-explorers.com

On your own

Here are ways to get to Apo Island from different starting points in the Philippines.

From Manila, take a plane going to Dumaguete City, then follow the instructions from Dumaguete to Apo Island below. If you are planning on a side trip to Apo Island from Cebu, there is also access from Cebu to Apo Island.

From Cebu City, you can take a plane, a boat, or a fast craft going to Dumaguete City. You can also ride a bus from the South Bus Terminal that takes you to the southern tip of Cebu – to the port of Liloan in the Municipality of Santander. Travel time is between 3-4 hours.

From the port of Liloan, a 30-minute ferry boat ride will take you to to Dumaguete or more accurately Sibulan, which is the town north of Dumaguete. It is also where the Dumaguete Airport is located.

You can also bring your vehicles to Dumaguete, as the ferry also transports cars and buses.

Alternately, you can look for Apo Island Cebu tour.

From Dumaguete, take a bus going to Bayawan. Let the driver know you are getting off Malatapay Market in the town of Zamboanguita. Follow the road market until you reach the shore where boatmen await to take you to Apo Island.

The banca ride going to Apo Island takes about 45 minutes and costs between 1,500-2,500 pesos, depending on the size of the boat. This rate is already two-way. The boatmen will be waiting for you between 3-4pm, which is best time to go back to Dumaguete; otherwise, the waters will be rough.

If you are staying at a hotel in Dumaguete, you can also have your transportation arranged from Dumaguete to Apo Island. You can also look for Apo Island tour packages that include transportation.

Other tips

  • The trip from Mapatapay to Apo Island could get wet, so make sure you protect your valuables from the sea water. You also need to walk on the water to embark on the boat, so make sure you wear slippers any suitable alternative.
  • Upon arrival at Apo Island, prepare to pay an entrance fee at the registration office. This is said to be a marine sanctuary fee that will help maintain and protect the island.
  • Please remember that you are prohibited from taking and bringing shells, coral pieces, and stones from Apo Island. You can instead buy shirts sold by the locals as souvenirs.
  • Although there are restaurants that serve good food, as well as local eateries in the island, we recommend you to bring some food and snacks with you.

If you want to know more about Apo island or interested in Apo island tour, inquire now!