One of the best things to do in Dumaguete is to explore Balinsasayao Twin Lakes Natural Park. The twin crater lakes known as Balinsasayao and Danao, rising 1000 meters above sea level, are the prominent features within the national park located on the western side of Mount Guintabon.
I have put together this complete guide of Lake Balinsasayao including how to get there, how much it costs, and what to expect when you arrive.
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WHERE IS LAKE BALINSASAYAO?
Balinsasayao Twin Lakes National Park is located just 14.5 km from Dumaguete in a village known as Sibulan. Lake Balinsasayao is one of the best Dumaguete tourist spots not to be missed.
BALINSASAYAO TWIN LAKES TOUR
The best way to visit Twin Lakes is to book a full-day tour to see the highlights of Dumaguete.
The Twin Lakes Natural Park and Dumaguete City Tour is the most top-rated tour with great reviews and hundreds of bookings.
This comprehensive tour includes a visit to Balinsasayao Twin lakes and also a tour of the must-see highlights in Dumaguete City such as Rizal Boulevard, Sansrival cafe, Silliman University, and more!
All this for less than $35 USD.
HOW TO GET HERE DIY
If you choose not to do a tour and want to visit DIY, you can rent a motorbike in Dumaguete for 500 – 800 pesos per day or rent a car for 1500 – 2000 pesos per day, and make your own way to this location.
The journey time from Dumaguete to Twin Lakes Natural Park takes approximately 1-hour.
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OPENING HOURS & ENTRANCE FEE
Balinsasayao Twin Lakes Natural Park is open Monday to Sunday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Lake Balinsasayao entrance fee is 50 pesos for local Filipino’s and 100 pesos for tourists.
WHAT TO EXPECT AT LAKE BALINSASAYAO
The twin lakes of Balinsasayao and Danao have formed from a volcanic eruption some 10,000 years ago and the 90 meter deep craters over time have filled up with water from rain and stream deposits, resulting in the two lakes, separated by a narrow mountain ridge.
Hundreds of species of forest trees, fruit-bearing, and flower plants dominate the vegetation around the lakes. On top of this, Twin Lakes Dumaguete is a famed spot for bird watching enthusiasts, playing home to many different species of bird, the most popular being the Flaming Sunbird.
Flaming Sun Bird at Balinsasayao Twin Lakes Natural Park
There are two main viewing platforms at Twin Lakes Dumaguete, the first is located next to the main car park/restaurant that overlooks Balinsasayao, the larger lake of the two.
The second viewing platform is a 1km hike around the edge of Lake Balinsasayao towards the narrow mountain ridge and this is where you’ll find a 3-tiered watchtower that overlooks the Twin Lakes.
If you prefer not to hike and want to take a paddle boat ride with a local, it’s possible to rent the boat for 250 pesos per hour. Alternatively, you can rent a kayak for 100 pesos and paddle out onto the lake yourself.
Across the lake, you can discover the Olayan Waterfall and rock pools which were the highlight of my adventure to Balinsasayao Twin Lakes.
You will have to take the boat or kayak to get to the falls and then it is a short 10-minute hike through the jungle before you reach the Olayan Falls.
My friends and I swam in the shallow rockpool beneath the falls which we had all to ourselves.
Must Read → 3 Weeks Philippines Itinerary
Hiking to the Twin Lakes Dumaguete viewpoint
The view from the top
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
There is a strict No Drone Zone at Lake Balinsasayao. Recently, there was an incident that involved a native bird attacking someone’s drone mid-flight and resulted in the bird being killed and the drone crashing into the lake.
Unfortunately, you cannot swim in the Balinsasayao Twin Lakes as the water from the lakes sources the town of Dumaguete and it needs to stay as clean as possible. There are also volcanic components in the lake which are not very good for your skin.
The motto at Balinsasayao Twin Lakes is ‘Take nothing but pictures, kill nothing but time, leave nothing but footprints’.
WHERE TO STAY IN DUMAGUETE
Dumaguete has hundreds of accommodations to choose from, so I have narrowed it down to a few of the best places to stay to fit the needs of budget backpackers, luxury travelers, and everyone in between.
See the list of accommodations below that I personally recommend:
LUXURY: ATLANTIS DIVE RESORT
MID RANGE: SIERRA HOTEL
BUDGET: OPTIMUM PENSION HOUSE
Another option for accommodation in Dumaguete is to stay at an Airbnb, which generally has some great deals!
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LONELY PLANET PHILIPPINES
One of the best books to take on your trip is the Lonely Planet Philippines Guide!
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I hope you enjoyed reading this article and if you have any questions about Balinsasayao Lake, please leave me a comment below this post and I will get back to you as soon as I can.