Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Remote Philippines: Siquijor Island Paradise

Finding the perfect beach is tricky. I have found many an empty beach that would have been perfect were it not for the fact that there were no sun loungers, fresh towels, masseurs and bartenders available to make it really enjoyable. And then I have found many a beach were all the infrastructure is there but the beach itself is overcrowded, and full of people trying to sell you stuff. The sort of thing I want - the perfect balance of empty and luxury - usually comes with a hefty price tag...

Unless you are in Siquijor! At under £50 per night for a standard double, Coco Grove Beach Resort has to be the best value private resort I have come across anywhere in the world. With restaurants, bars, pools, a spa, dive centre, spacious bungalows, and most importantly, a pristine beach. 

Coco Grove Beach Resort

Coconut, pineapple and mint shake (upon request!)
Sound too good to be true? Well there are a couple downsides to Coco Grove, the main one being that the food is not great unless you order fresh fish ahead and ask them to grill it simply with Filipino sides. 

The other is that, as with most of the Filipino beach resorts, you have to walk through quite a lot of low tide before you get to swimming depth and there are a few urchins lurking about. But this is easily sorted by a good pair of swimming shoes.

Other than that, it really is a dream. Everything is set up for you and the rooms are lovely and spacious. 

My room at Buri Garden I

There is also plenty to keep you busy: the full body massages are a dream, and I had my first ever scuba dive there. The instructor was lovely and took us 15 metres deep, where we saw a multitude of technicolored sea life including a rather scary looking sea snake. 

Tubod Marine Sanctuary Wildlife

We went out on a sail boat one day and motor biked around the island to different waterfalls and the fish foot spa underneath a famous old banyan tree. They also organise various trips to dive with whale sharks or swim with turtles around the Apo Island. 

Ugh... I wish I was back there already!