Davao is a great spot to visit in the Philippines, but it still remains relatively unknown among tourists meaning more reasonable prices, fewer crowds, and a more local and authentic experience.
However, just because it isn’t one of the top tourist destinations in the Philippines doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything to see and do. In fact, Davao has plenty going on. Looking for some inspiration? Here are the top things to do in Davao.
1. Jack’s Ridge
If you love scenic views, then head to Jack’s Ridge where you can get a stunning view of the city laid out in front of you. Today, it’s a popular place for people to take in the views, grab a meal at one of the two restaurants, or even stay overnight at a cottage. However, Jack’s Ridge also has an interesting history; it was used as the HQ for retreating Japanese forces in WWII. You can learn more about that at the Jack Ridge Monument.
2. Dahican Beach
Like most other areas in the Philippines, Davao has some great beaches. A favourite is Dahican Beach which is 7km long. Turquoise waters and warm, soft sand promise a fun and relaxing day. There are a couple of restaurants as well as beach shacks renting out boogie boards for those who want to play in the surf.
3. Crocodile Park
Have you ever seen a crocodile? If you want to, then Davao’s Crocodile Park is the place to go. There are literally thousands of crocodiles here, both salt water and fresh water species. The park offers educational tours and lectures as part of their conservation efforts. Crocodile Park is an interesting place to visit and one of the highlights of Davao.
4. The Philippine Eagle Centre
This conservation centre is dedicated to protecting the endangered eagle species. It’s an educational experience where you can see eagles flying, feeding and more. Every dollar goes towards the conservation project and education.
5. Davao Butterfly House
This scenic park-like area is a refuge for butterflies along with some other species including birds and fish. The best time to come is early morning before it gets too hot, this is when the butterflies are the most active.
6. People’s Park
A nice green space in the city, People’s Park is 4 acres of rainforest, ponds, trees, and some wildlife. Locals can often be found here exercising on the grass or many path trailing through the park. It’s a nice place to relax for a bit.
7. Eden Nature Park
This man-made park is located at the base of Mount Talomo and is a great place to come to escape the city. Over 100,000 trees, a wildlife sanctuary, and more makes it a popular spot to visit.
8. Magsaysay Park
A great park and place to grab a meal. Magsaysay park is best known for its fruit stands featuring durian. There is also a large open-air seafood restaurant with plenty of fresh seafood dishes, though Davao is best known for its tuna and swordfish. When the sunsets, more foot carts roll in turning the park into a night market type experience.
9. Kopiat Island
A great day trip destination, Kopiat island can be reached as part of a group day tour where you can visit a coconut farm, have lunch, and explore the beautiful small island. Or, you can rent a private boat to take you to Kopiat Island and spend the day exploring on your own. Camping is also available for a small fee.
10. Isla Reta
Another fun day trip is to head to Isla Reta. You’ll pay a small fee to use the resort grounds and amenities including picnic tables, outdoor grill, and volleyball courts. Soak up the sun on the sandy beach or relax under the shady trees. If you like, you can rent a room and spend the night.
11. Island Buenavista
If you have a group of friends, consider spending a night out at Islands Buenavista. This private island is available to rent overnight and comes with full staff, prepared meals, accommodation, and of course beautiful sandy beaches. It’s about as close as normal people can get to experiencing the celebrity lifestyle. Be sure to also check out our 101 Best Beaches in Philippines.
12.Maxima Aquafun Resort
A short boat ride from Davoa is Samal Island, home to Maxima Aquafun Resort. There are some fun rides including a 40m water slide, as well as water sports and activities including kayaking, and jet skiing. It’s a fun way to spend a day with friends.
13. BlueJaz Water Park
Perfect for families, BlueJaz Water Park is the perfect way to beat the heat for a day. There are a few waterslides, banana boats for rent, and a nice beach area to relax and swim.
14. China Town
You may be surprised to learn that Davao has a pretty large China Town and many of the shops and businesses are run by Chinese Filipinos who have stuck to their cultural roots. It’s a fun area to explore and grab a meal.
15. Mount Apo
One of the highest peaks in Southeast Asia, Mount Apo can be summited by a two-day hike from the months of March, April, and October. The mountain’s peak is 10,311 feet and there is a beautiful crater lake near the top.
16. Roxas Avenue Night Market
Join the locals at the Roxas Avenue Night Market and grab a meal from one of the food vendors. You will find veggies, seafood, soups, pork, and more.
17. Museo Dabawenyo
This museum tells the history and story of the island. Artwork, photos, antiques, and replicas are on display to teach visitors about the cultural heritage of the people who live here. Museo Dabawenyo is located in the old city court building and admission is free.
18. D’Bone Collector Museum
This museum holds the skeletons of more than 200 species, and is being added to on a regular basis. The highlight is the skeleton of a 41-foot sperm whale.
19. Philippine Japanese Historical Museum
WWII had a huge impact in the Philippines, including in Davao. This museum will enlighten visitors as to how Davao served as a retreat for the Japanese soldiers. It’s a unique perspective (that of the Japanese) that you won’t find elsewhere in the Philippines.
20. Davao Museum
Another great museum to visit is the Davao Museum. It’s filled with vintage maps and lots of artwork and hand-carved artifacts.
How to get to Davao
Davao has its own airport, the Francisco Bangoy International Airport, which sees daily flights from Manila and fairly regular flights from other cities in the Philippines. You can also take a ferry from Manila to Davao or travel by bus.
Davao may not be the best known destination in the Philippines, but what it lacks in popularity is makes up for in its authenticity. Davao is a great place to visit in the Philippines and has more than enough to see and do to keep you busy during your visit.