Bantayan Island: The Ultimate Guide to Traveling the Paradise of North Cebu

Bantayan Island: The Ultimate Guide to Traveling the Paradise of North Cebu
bantayan island cebu
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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. 

Everything You Need to Know Before Traveling to Bantayan Island Cebu

bantayan in 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.

Best places to visit in Bantayan Island

  • Virgin Island
  • Paradise Beach
  • Ogtong Cave
  • Kota Beach
  • Obo-ob Mangrove Eco Park

Fun Things to Do in Bantayan Island

  • Island hopping
  • Snorkeling
  • Skydiving 
  • Food tripping

Where to Eat in Bantayan Island

  • Big Jel’s
  • MJ Square
  • HR Music Bar & Native Restaurant

Bantayan Island Resorts

Tips When Traveling to Bantayan

How to go to Bantayan Island

Read this Bantayan Island blog to guide you through your tropical adventure!

Best places to visit in Bantayan Island

1. Virgin Island

virgin island in bantayan 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

paradise beach bantayan island

Photo credits to Harold Cueco

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

ogtong cave cebu

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

kota beach bantayan island

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

mangrove forest bantayan island cebu

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 the place 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

skydiving in cebu
Photo credits to Skydive Greater CEBU

1. Island-hopping

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.

2. Snorkeling

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. 

3. Skydiving 

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

cheesy baked scallops

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

  1. Arjaymay Apartelle
    Address: Pooc Santa Fe Bantayan, Cebu
    Price from PHP 1200/night
    Book now
  2. Kota Beach
    Address: F. Duarte St, Santa Fe, Cebu
    Price from PHP 2300/night
  3. Anika Island Resort
    Address: F. Roska Street, Bayan ng Santa Fe
    Price from PHP 2000/night

Tips When Traveling to Bantayan

  1. Always wear sunscreen.
  2. Wear clothes that dry easily because you’ll get wet in most of the places you’ll visit.
  3. Book in advance especially when you’re traveling during peak season.
  4. While the travel expenses in Bantayan Island are already cheap, you can still haggle to save more.
  5. 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 opt for 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.


Frequently Asked Questions About Bantayan Island

Q: What are the best places to visit in Bantayan Island?

A: There are so many beautiful places to visit in Bantayan Island. These are:

  1. Virgin Island
  2. Paradise Beach
  3. Ogtong Cave
  4. Kota Beach
  5. Obo-ob Mangrove Eco Park
  6. Sugar Beach
  7. 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: 

  1. Island hopping
  2. Snorkeling
  3. Skydiving 
  4. Food tripping

Q: How many days do you need in Bantayan?

A: Three to four days are enough to enjoy Bantayan Island at its finest. 

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 the adventure-seekers. Malapascua is a great diving spot.

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