Our comprehensive Zamboanga travel guide featuring must-visit tourist spots, hotels, restaurants and more.

Zamboanga City is one of the Philippines’ emerging tourist destinations. Located at the tip of Zamboanga Peninsula, the city is considered to be one of the most progressive cities in Mindanao. It is populary known as “Asia’s Latin City” because of its Spanish-influenced Chavacano dialect – dating back to the Spanish era in the 1600’s. Today, the City of Zamboanga continues to attract visitors who want to experience the city’s dialect, Spanish-inspired dishes offered in many restaurants, vibrant and colorful vintas, gorgeous beaches, and many other historical and natural tourist spots. 

Zamboanga travel guide


The best time to visit Zamboanga City is in the month of October during the Zamboanga Hermosa Festival. Some of the festival’s highlights are: Regatta de Zamboanga, Mascota de Zamboanga, Zamboanga Hermosa Street Dance Competition and a lot more!



Zamboanga City is pretty much accessible from major cities in the Philippines. Daily flights to and from Manila, Cebu, and Davao are available. 
Ferry services from Manila, Cebu and even Sandakan, Malaysia are available on a weekly basis.
Zamboanga City can also be reached overland. Buses from Cagayan de Oro City, Dipolog, Pagadian, and Ozamis have multiple daily trips to Zamboanga City. [Read: Zamboanga City Provincial Bus Route Schedule]


The most common transportation out of Zamboanga Airport is by jeepney or tricycle. If you know where you are going, just get out of the main gate and take a jeepney from there and if you prefer to take a tricycle, drivers normally ask for a fixed / contracted rate.


The most common modes of transportation within the city are jeepneys and tricycles. You can also rent a van if you are in a group so you can easily move in and out of the city.

ZAMBOANGA CITY HOTELS : Where to Stay in Zamboanga?

Recommended hotels to stay in Zamboanga City. Please click the name of the hotel below to check the rates and availability.


  1. Marcian Business Hotel – This property is near the airport. Perfect choice if you are attending a conference or an expo at Palacio del Sur.
  2. Garden Orchid Hotel – This hotel is also close to the airport. Nice hotel!
  3. Grand Astoria Hotel
  4. Ever O Business Hotel
  5. City Inn Hotel
  6. Winzelle Suites
  7. Casa Canelar Pension – This pension house is close to the barter market. Relatively cheap but comfortable to stay. 

ZAMBOANGA CITY TOURIST SPOTS (Best Things to Do and Top Tourist Attractions)

The Great Sta. Cruz Island

The Great Sta. Cruz Island is probably the most popular tourist spot in Zamboanga City. It is situated just about 20 minutes by boat from Paseo del Mar. It’s a protected area, home to the famous Pink Sand Beach of Zamboanga.

Entrance fee is only Php20 but you will have to rent a boat to cross the island. Boat fare is Php1,000 good for up to 10 passengers. Terminal fee is Php5.

The Great Sta, Cruz Island Lagoon

If you visit the Great Sta. Cruz Island, make sure you also explore the Great Sta. Cruz lagoon. It’s best to explore during high tide so you’ll be able to appreciate its beauty more.

Paseo del Mar

Paseo del Mar is one of the best places to chill in Zamboanga City. You can catch the best sunset in this park as well as sample some of the best food in the city. A must-try is the knickerbocker and the tempura sold in one of the food stalls inside Paseo del Mar.

Rio Hondo

Rio Hondo is the ground zero of the Zamboanga siege happened in 2013. It is home to a huge Muslim population in the city.


Yakan Weaving Village

Yakan Weaving Village is one of the must-visit places in the region. It is located in Upper Calarian in Zamboanga City. A group of Yakan weavers showcases their amazing craftsmanship in making colorful and intricate patterns using pineapple and abaca fibers.


Zamboanga City Hall

Zamboanga City Hall is not just a seat of local power but also an attractions to many locals and visitors due to its picturesque facade. During Christmas season, it is well-lighted which make it even more attractive during the night.


Freedom Park / Helmet Park Zamboanga

The Freedom Park also known as the Helmet Park is the memorial and the final resting place of slain Mayor of Zamboanga City, Cesar C. Climaco. 

Merloquet Falls

Merloquet Falls is one of Zamboanga City’s hidden and unspoiled natural attractions located at Sitio Merloquet, Barangay Sibulao in the east coast of the city. 

Merloquet Falls | Photo by: @jepepips

Once Islas

Once Islas is a new eco-cultural tourism attraction in Zamboanga City which opened to the public in July 2018. It’s located within the boundaries of Barangays Panubigan and Dita, about an hour away from the city proper. As the name suggests, it’s a group off 11 beautiful islands waiting to be explored. 


Pasonanca Park

Pasonanca Park is a public park in Zamboanga City located about 7kms from the city proper. Some of the attractions inside the park are: Butterfly Park in La Jardin Maria Clara Lobregat, Zamboanga City Museum, Pasonanca teepees and tree house. 



ZSCMST Bird Sanctuary

Zamboanga State College of Marine Science and Technology (ZSCMST) Bird Sanctuary is a protected sanctuary in Zamboanga City home to some local and migratory birds.


Fort Pilar

The Real Fuerza de Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Zaragoza (Royal Fort of Our Lady of the Pillar of Zaragoza), populary known as Fort Pilar is a military defense fortress located in the heart of Zamboanga City. It is now regional museum of the National Museum of the Philippines. In its eastern wall is a Marian Shrine dedicated to Our Lady of the Pillar, the patroness of Zamboanga City.



RESTAURANTS IN ZAMBOANGA : Where to Eat in Zamboanga

Dennis Coffee Garden

Address: San Jose Road, Zamboanga City also a branch inside KCC Mall Zamboanga
Opening Hours:  9:00 AM – 11:00 PM, call (062) 957 1131 for reservations.
Must-Try Food: Sulu Coffee, Tausug dishes like Beef Kulma, Chicken Pianggang, Utak Utak and Tiulah Itum. Also try their freshly cooked native pastries like Daral, Panggih-Panggih, Wadjit and more. There’s so much to try. This is obviously my favorite restaurant in Zamboanga City.


Alavar Seafood Restaurant

Address: Don Alfaro St., Zamboanga City
Opening Hours: Open all day, call (062) 992 4533 for reservations
Must-Try Food: Curacha in Alavar Sauce and baked imbao 


Barcode Restaurant Zamboanga

Address: Riza St., Zamboanga City
Opening Hours: Opens at 10AM to 10PM, Call 0926 353 6349 for reservations.
Must-Try Food: Tausug food – Tiula Itum, Beef Kulma and Chicken Piyanggang


Hai San Seafood Market and Restaurant

Address: #60 SAN JOSE ROAD, Zamboanga City
Opening Hours:  10:30 AM – 2:30 PM, 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM, call 9915506 for reservations.
Must-Try Food: Fresh seafood cooked according to your liking.


Country Chicken Restaurant

Address: KM 4 Pasonanca Road, Pasonanca, Zamboanga City
Opening Hours: 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM, call (062) 991 1852 for reservations.
Must-Try Food: Seafood Paella and their home-made ice cream for dessert


Andy’s Satti

Address: C. Atilano St., Tetuan, Zamboanga City
Opening Hours: Varies everday betwwen 5:00 AM – 1:00 PM 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM. Best to go there for breakfast.
Must-Try Food: Satti


Hacienda del Palmeras Hotel & Restaurant

Address: Pasonanca Road, Barangay Sta. Maria, Zamboanga City
Opening Hours: 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM, call (062) 991 3284 for reservations.
Must-Try Food: The famous Knickerbocker


Bay Tal Mal Restaurant

Address: Mayor Jaldon St. Canelar, Zamboanga City
Opening Hours: 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM, call 0915 016 0448 for reservations. 
Must-Try Food: Latal – a platter of Moro dishes 


La Vista del Mar Restaurant

Address: Labuan-Limpapa National Road, Zamboanga City
Opening Hours: Open for lunch and dinner
Must-Try Food: Curacha with their own special sauce and ensadala de chamba



The most famous place to buy pasalubong in Zamboanga is at Canelar Barter Trade Center. You can buy local products as well as Malaysian goods which are not available in the local supermarket.



Day 1 Zamboanga Travel Guide Itinerary – Zamboanga Walking Tour (Fort Pilar to Zamboanga City Hall), Lunch in Barcode, dinner somewhere in Fort Pilar or try the Curacha of  Alavar Restaurant. If you arrive in Zamboanga early, you can also visit Pasonanca Park on the first day and have dinner at Country Chicken.

Day 2 Zamboanga Travel Guide Itinerary – Wake up early and try Andy’s Satti. Head your way to Sta. Cruz Island and sepnd a day in the island. Go back to the mainland, wait for the amazing sunset at Paseo del Mar. Dinner at Dennis Coffee Garden.

Day 3 Zamboanga Travel Guide Itinerary – Take a bus to Merloquet Falls early in the morning. Go back to the city and visit the Yakan weaving village or spend a day at Once Islas.

Day 4 Zamboanga Travel Guide Itinerary – Leave Zamboanga City or do a side trip to Basilan, Tawi-Tawi or Sulu.


If you want a hassle-free tour of Zamboanga City and even nearby towns, we highly recommend you book a tour with iTravel Tourist Lane. They will arrange all necessary logistics to make your Zamboanga City experience smooth and easy and more enjoyable. You may email them at info@itraveltouristlane.com.


We hope you find this Zamboanga Travel Guide useful. Thank you for reading. 
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