Bantayan Island: The Ultimate Guide to Traveling the Paradise of North Cebu
In far north of Cebu lies an island that most travelers call a paradise. Fine white sand beaches, clear waters, freshest seafood—these things spell Bantayan Island. This place guarantees the ultimate island life, minus the crowd you often see in Boracay or Palawan.
So if ever you’re planning to travel there (we hope you do ‘cause you’ll miss a lot when you don’t!), we’ve created this Bantayan Island travel guide to help you discover the island’s wonders that will definitely make your jaw drop.
About Bantayan Island
Bantayan Island is popular for its pristine beaches located in Cebu. But aside from being a beach destination, it also takes pride in its rich marine life and the fresh seafood they offer: danggit (dried fish.
What’s inside this blog?
- Best places to visit in Bantayan Island
- Fun Things to Do in Bantayan Island
- Where to Eat in Bantayan Island
- Bantayan Island Resorts
- Tips When Traveling to Bantayan
- How to Get There
- COVID-19 Travel Update
- Frequently Asked Questions About Bantayan Island Cebu
From the best spots to awesome things to do in Bantayan, we got you covered! Here’s everything you need to know before you visit the paradise of north Cebu. Read this Bantayan Island blog to guide you through your tropical adventure!
Best places to visit in Bantayan Island
Whether you’re traveling to relax or to release the adrenaline rush, Bantayan Island description has everything for every traveler. From Virgin Island Bantayan to Ogtong Cave and more, here are the best places to visit in Bantayan Cebu.
1. Virgin Island
Virgin Island is one of the top attractions in Bantayan. The sand is fine and white as powder and the water is so clear that you don’t need to free dive to see corals and fishes! Virgin Island Bantayan is perfect for travelers who want to just chill and relax. The island also has Bantayan huts that you can rent for a price while the hammocks scattered all over the island are free. In case you get thirsty or hungry, there is a local restaurant bar in the area.
2. Paradise Beach
Photo credits to Harold Cueco via Unsplash
If you want to escape the crowd and enjoy a calm beach day, consider visiting Paradise Beach. It is a secluded stretch in Santa Fe Bantayan Island where you can enjoy the beach all to yourself if you’re lucky. There’s a fee of PHP 50 per person to enter Paradise Beach Bantayan.
If you want to explore more beaches in Sta Fe Bantayan, you might want to check out Alice Beach, Maricaban Beach, and Sugar Beach Bantayan.
3. Ogtong Cave
Located at the Santa Fe Beach Club Resort, you’ll find a small and striking cave. The water is crystal clear, cold, and so blue perfect for a quick dip. Make sure to include Ogtong Cave to your Bantayan Island Cebu itinerary.
4. Kota Beach
Photo credits to Kota Beach
Are you single? Brokenhearted? Then this beach in Santa Fe might just be the place to mend your broken heart. Kota Beach Bantayan is popular not just because it was the setting of the movie Camp Sawi (Camp for the Brokenhearted), but also because of its undoubtedly captivating features like its fine white sand beach, turquoise waters, and the amazing sandbar!
5. Obo-ob Mangrove Eco Park
If you want a break from the beach, head to Obo-ob Mangrove Eco Park where you’ll see hundreds (or even thousands) of mangroves everywhere you look. You can explore this Bantayan Island tourist spot through kayaking, boating or just by walking at the bamboo paths built all over the place. Aside from boating, you can also feed the fishes in the area.
Fun Things to Do in Bantayan Island
What’s a Bantayan getaway without island-hopping? The beaches are what make Bantayan a must-visit. This is where you’ll find some of the most pristine beaches in the Philippines! Make sure to visit Virgin Island, Kota Beach, Paradise Beach, and Sugar Beach.
Cebu is known for its rich marine life and Bantayan is one of the best places to see it! If you’re not into freediving, snorkeling is enough to appreciate Bantayan Island’s majestic underwater world.
If you’re craving for some adrenaline rush and so done with the beach bumming, then go skydiving at Skydive Cebu in Bantayan Island. They offer tandem skydiving, which is great if you want to experience the thrill for the first time. The whole activity takes about 2 hours and costs around PHP 15,000 to PHP 18,000.
4. Food tripping
While Cebu is known for its famous crispy lechon (roasted pig), it also takes pride in their seafood offering! Can you believe that you can enjoy an eat-all-you-can seafood for as low as PHP 200? You can indulge yourself in the fresh catch from scallops to oysters. At Bantayan, you’ll surely have a gastronomic delight.
Where to Eat in Bantayan
1. Big Jel’s
If there’s one place in the Philippines that serves the freshest seafood, it’s Cebu! Feast on and fill your tummies with Cheesy Baked Scallops that are freshly caught from the sea. Here’s a tip, you can eat delicious cheesy baked scallops all you can at Big Jel’s Restuarant in Bantayan at a very affordable price. You can also buy a 100-kilo of scallops for just PHP75 to PHP100!
2. MJ Square
If you and your travel buddies can’t decide what to eat, head to MJ Square where food stalls are lined up. The place offers different cuisines from American and Italian to Filipino. Plus, everything is so affordable!
3. HR Music Bar & Native Restaurant
HR Native Restaurant is just a few meters away from MJ Square. This restaurant has a wide array of offerings on their menu— from seafood, pork, beef, vegetables, pizzas, sandwiches, cold drinks and cocktails.
Bantayan Island Resorts
Since Bantayan Island Cebu is already booming because of its pristine beaches and stunning islands, there are lots of beautiful Bantayan Island Resorts you can stay at. From luxury to affordable hotels, here are some of the Bantayan Island Resorts you can check out.
- Arjaymay Apartelle
Address: Pooc Santa Fe Bantayan, Cebu
Price from PHP 1200/night
- Kota Beach
Address: F. Duarte St, Santa Fe, Cebu
Price from PHP 2300/night
- Anika Island Resort
Address: F. Roska Street, Bayan ng Santa Fe
Price from PHP 2000/night
- Ogtong Cave Resort
Address: F. Duarte St., Brgy. Poblacion, Santa Fe, Bantayan Island
Price from PHP 2600/night
- Marlin Beach Resort
Address: F. Roska Street, Santa Fe, Bantayan Island, Cebu
Price from PHP 1700/night
- Yooneek Beach Resort
Address: Saagundo Street, Santa Fe, Bantayan Island Cebu
Price from PHP 1500/night
- Beach Placid
Address: F. Roska Street, Santa Fe Bantayan Island, Cebu
Price from PHP 1700/night
- Santa Fe Beach Club
Address: F. Roska Street, Sta Fe Bantayan Island, Cebu
Price from PHP 1800/night
- Jelly’s Haven Bantayan
Address: C. Batiancila Street, Sta Fe Bantayan Island, Cebu
Price from PHP 5200/night
- Maia’s Beach Resort
Address: Basawon, Sulangan, Bantayan Cebu
Price from PHP 1900/night
Tips When Traveling to Bantayan
Here are some of the travel tips that might come in handy for when you visit Bantayan in Cebu.
- Always wear sunscreen.
- Wear clothes that dry easily because you’ll get wet in most of the places you’ll visit in Bantayan.
- Book in advance especially when you’re traveling during peak season.
- While the travel expenses in Bantayan Island are already cheap, you can still haggle to save more.
- Always ask locals the right fare for transportation before renting a motorcycle or tricycle for tours.
How to go to Bantayan Island
To reach Bantayan, book a flight to Cebu and take a bus from the North Bus Terminal heading to Hagnaya Port Cebu. upon arrival at Hagnaya Port, ride a ferry going to Bantayan Island. The travel time from Cebu to Bantayan Island is approximately 4 hours.
If you have budget, you can try the Air Juan that will drop you off directly to Bantayan.
Bantayan truly is a paradise that any traveler can’t resist. Its wonders leave its visitors in awe. Bantayan does not disappoint. And just a warning, when the time comes that you’d have to leave, it’ll be too hard to say goodbye to this place as it will already hold a special place in your heart.
COVID-19 Travel Update
As of writing, Cebu is now open to tourists from other areas in the country. Prior to your travel, you must book ahead in the province’s online tourism portal, and present their pre-booked reservations if they’re staying in hotels and resorts. You can check out Cebu Tourism Office’s Facebook Page for more updates and the travel requirements.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bantayan Island
Q: What are the best places to visit in Bantayan Island?
A: From Santa Fe Bantayan to Virgin Island Bantayan, there are so many beautiful places to visit in Bantayan Island. These are:
- Virgin Island
- Paradise Beach
- Ogtong Cave
- Kota Beach
- Obo-ob Mangrove Eco Park
- Sugar Beach
- Maricaban Beach
Q: What to do in Bantayan Island?
A: Bantayan is more than just the beaches. You can do a lot of things on the island like:
- Island hopping
- Food tripping
Q: How many days do you need in Bantayan?
A: Bantayan Island is a bit big to explore in one day. For you to make the most of your trip, three to four days are enough to enjoy Bantayan Island at its finest.
Q: Where to eat in Bantayan Island?
A: If you’re looking for the best places to eat in Bantayan Island, we’ve listed our top picks below:
- Big Jel’s
- MJ Square
- HR Music Bar & Native Restaurant
- Coucou Bar Hotel & Restaurant Bantayan Island
- TapaMaster Bantayan Island
- Bantayan Burrito Company
- Cupcake Island Cakery
- Hellas Taverna
Q: How many hours travel from Cebu to Bantayan Island?
A: Travel from Cebu to Bantayan Island takes around 4 hours. It’s pretty easy on how to get to Bantayan Island. From Cebu, you just have to ride a bus to Hagnaya Port. Upon arrival, ride a ferry bound for Bantayan.
Q: Which is better, Bantayan or Malapascua?
A: Bantayan is perfect for travelers who want an ultimate relaxation experience because of its quiet and uncrowded beaches while Malapascua is perfect for adventure-seekers. Malapascua is a great diving spot.
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