Coco Grove Hotel , Siquijor Island Philippines
COCO GROVE HOTEL
Siqijour Island is a tiny island off Dumaguete in the Philippines. We caught the Oceanjet ferry from Bohol which went via dumaguet and all up the trip took 2.5-3 hours and cost around $45 AUD for us 5 in tourist class seats.
To most Filipinos, the island is a mysterious island shrouded by witchcraft and healers and some are hesitant in travelling here for that reason. But to most its a beautiful , safe island with incredible waterfalls, fringed with palm trees and incredible sealife.
We stayed at Coco Grove Hotel which is the most popular on the island, and was recommended to me by Mumpacktravel – Evie, who stayed here earlier in the year.
My first impression when we arrived at the hotel, which took around 25mins from the seaport , was , Yep this is my kind of place!!. You are greeted by large wooden gates at the entrance to the resort and driven into a jungle paradise. The resort is owned by Australians who have lived in Siquijor for 15 years, and it is obvious that they have put a lot of work into this making this resort what it is today. Walls, poles and bungalows around the resort are made out of shells and coral rocks, and it has such a natural feel with timber chairs and cobble stone paths. It gives off such an island feel -which is exactly what we wanted when we booked here.
Our room was called Coco Villa 1, and was a 2 storey loft room with a beautiful balcony overlooking the pool. The upstairs had the two single beds for the older kids, and downstairs was a bathroom with the most amazing claw freestanding bath, large queen size bed, and another toilet. It was very roomy for our large family and we just loved the décor! The room cost around $200 a night AUD which was for the bigger room, standard rooms average around $100 a night.
The main selling point for me at this resort is the protected marine sanctuary on the beach. Not many resorts have such incredible snorkelling right there and normally you would have to catch a boat out to enjoy something so beautiful. The kayaks are free to hire, which is also something that you don’t normally find at resorts – you can kayak out to the pontoon, tie it up and snorkel from there. The area is contained by a rope boundary area and we just made sure the kids were aware of staying in that area. The shallows had a lot of sea urchins so dive boots/ water shoes are a must if you are going to wade out in the shallows. There are hundreds of starfish, bright blue ones, orange spotted ones, in both the shallows and out deep. My 2 year old loved sitting on the kayak with me spotting starfish in the crystal clear glass like water. He could even see nemos and all sorts of fish as clear as day just sitting in the kayak. My daughter would spend hours snorkelling here, and the best thing is that she felt totally safe – back in Australia when you see a large school of fish your first thought tends to be ..whats chasing that big school of fish ! there’s no man eating sharks to worry about in the Philippines, nor was there any jellyfish or any of the other nasties our water tends to have. By the last day she was duck diving down deep with her snorkel and picking up starfish, pointing out clams and sea cucumbers and googling other fish she saw later. We had overcast and sometimes drizzling weather but it didn’t impact our time at all, the weather was still warm and the water a beautiful temperature so we didn’t care if we were snorkelling in the rain! There is no kids club here but with everything else on offer we wouldn't have used it anyway 🙂
The restaurants here are very relaxed and great prices. There are 3 main restaurants, all have a fairly similar menu and the food is amazing. Prices are around $5-$6 for kids meals and $10-$12 for mains. Cocktails are around $6 and beers $2. The resort hosts some theme nights like sunset dinner bbqs where they have fire dancing shows and singers etc, or buffets with other entertainment. The service here was fantastic and the staff made a point of trying to remember everyones names which I find a nice personal touch.
The driver Hendrich from Coco Grove was a great guide for our day trip around the Island and spoke great English. Theres nothing worse than having a tour guide who doesn’t speak good English when your visiting a new place and want to learn as much as you can!
When a typhoon was hanging around and all the ferries in and out of the island got cancelled – the hotel organised us and other guests a charter flight off the island so we could make our connecting flights. Staff from the Coco Grove waited with us at the tiny airport until we had all departed and landed safely which we found a fantastic service – especially since we were all very nervous about flying in a tiny plane ! The staff at reception organised for me to meet with the manager Joy which was great to find out a little more about the resort.
We just felt so happy at this resort – we spent our days kayaking, snorkelling, collecting shells and relaxing by the pool. It is the perfect resort for lazing around and exploring the coral reefs. We loved it so much we plan on going back later in the year. If you plan on visiting the Philippines I cant recommend this property and Siquijor Island enough.