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?
- How to Get There
- COVID-19 Travel Update
- 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
- 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!
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 and does not disappoint. Just a warning, though, 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.
Whether you’re traveling to relax or to release the adrenaline rush, Bantayan Island description has everything for every traveler. From Virgin Island to Ogtong Cave and more, here are the best places to visit in this beautiful island in Cebu.
Best Places to Visit in Bantayan Island
1. Virgin Island
Virgin Island is one of the top attractions in in this tourist destination in the Cebu. 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 is perfect for travelers who want to chill and relax. The island also has 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 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, so make sure to include Ogtong Cave in your 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 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 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 resorts you can check out.
- 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.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bantayan Island
Q: What are the best places to visit in Bantayan Island?
A: From Santa Fe to Virgin Island , 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 the 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 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. 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, too.
Disclaimer: ZEN Rooms claims no credit for images featured on our blog site unless otherwise noted. All visual content is copyrighted to its respectful owners. We try to link back to original sources whenever possible. If you own the rights to any of the images, and do not wish them to appear on ZEN Rooms, please contact us and they will be promptly removed. We believe in providing proper attribution to the original author, artist or photographer.
Cebu is a melting pot for food, arts, culture, religion, and island life in the Philippines. The province does not disappoint its visitors with its amazingly beautiful Cebu tourist spots and fun activities to try. Cebu offers a unique travel experience as it is a place where the city and paradise meet.
If you’re planning to visit Cebu, we’re here to help you with your itinerary. We’ve listed the best places to visit in Cebu!
What’s inside this blog?
- Top 15 Places in Cebu to Visit
- Tourism of Cebu Guidelines 2021 | COVID-19 Updates
- Frequently Asked Questions About Cebu Tourist Spot
Top 15 Places in Cebu to Visit
From north to south, there are lots of stunning destinations that are worthy to be visited. Here are the most beautiful Cebu places you must visit.
- Oslob – The tourist spot in Cebu South where you can swim with whale sharks
- Bantayan Island – This North Cebu tourist spot is what a paradise is made of
- Malapascua Island – Another North Cebu tourist spot brimming with pristine beaches
- Kawasan Falls – One of the most popular tourist spots in Cebu South
- Simala Shrine – A prestigious castle-like church
- Pescador Island – Where you can swim with millions of sardines
- Sirao Flower Garden – The little Amsterdam of Cebu
- Taboan Public Market – The best place to find affordable danggit for pasalubong!
- Temple of Leah – Taj Mahal of Cebu
- Fort San Pedro – The oldest fort in the Philippines
- Magellan’s Cross – One of the most important historical markers in Cebu City
- Cebu Taoist Temple – This tourist spot in Cebu is a religious site where you can reflect
- Neri’s Ville Selfie Corner – A colorful tourist spot Cebu surrounded by flowers
- The Pyramid – A restaurant inspired by the Louvre Museum
- Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu – Where you can see the revered flemish statuette of the Santo Niño
- Casa Gorordo Museum – A house museum showcasing Cebuano lifestyle in 19th and early 20th centuries
- Sumilon Island – Home to pristine white sand beach and sandbar
- Camotes Island – A group of islands in Cebu known for cliff diving, caving, and its beaches
- Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House – One of the country’s oldest residential homes built around 1680 from wood and coral stone
- 10,000 Roses of Cebu – An insta-worthy cafe in Cordova, Cebu
Tourism of Cebu Guidelines 2022 | COVID-19 Updates
As of writing, tourist spots in Cebu are now open to travelers from other areas in the country. Prior to your trip, you must book ahead in the province’s online tourism portal, and present their pre-booked reservations if you’re staying in hotels and resorts. You can check out Cebu Tourism Office’s Facebook Page for more updates and travel requirements.
One of the best places to visit in Cebu is Oslob. Perhaps you’ve already heard about it because of what it offers to its visitors. People can watch the gentle giants also known as whale sharks or if you’re adventurous enough, you can also swim with them to get a closer encounter.
2. Bantayan Island
One of the most beautiful North Cebu tourist spots is Bantayan Island. It is a place where you can find calmness and serenity in spite of the numerous tourists who travel there every day. Once you step out of your boat and walk to Bantayan’s fine white sand, you’ll be welcomed by fresh air and crashing waves of its clear blue waters that become a perfect harmony letting you hear the sound of nature. Because of this, Bantayan is considered one of the most beautiful places in Cebu.
3. Malapascua Island
While the island’s name means “Bad Easter,” this tourist spot in Cebu is far from giving you a bad experience. Malapascua is a great destination for both divers and non-divers. You won’t get disappointed upon seeing its unspoiled white sand beaches, beautiful coral gardens, and rich marine life. That’s why it has caught the attention of travelers across the world and eventually gained the title of being one of the Philippines’ best diving spots.
4. Kawasan Falls
Kawasan Falls is one of the top Cebu South tourist spots. It is a three-stage cascade of clear turquoise water from the mountain springs of Mantalongon mountain range. Aside from its natural beauty, Kawasan Falls has also become famous because one of the most popular activities in Cebu is done here—Canyoneering.
The canyoneering adventure starts at Canlaob river downstream going to Kawasan Falls. There are local accredited guides who accompany all tourists and facilitate activities at this tourist attraction in Cebu such as walking, jumping, swimming, climbing, and abseiling through the streams.
5. Simala Shrine
Simala Church is a prestigious castle-like structure that tourists flock to. Home to the Monastery of the Holy Eucharist, people from all over the world visit this pristine church to witness traditions and religious gatherings. Many Catholic devotees include Simala Church to their list of must-visit tourist spots in Cebu.
6. Pescador Island
Pescador Island is in Tañon Strait in the southern part of the province. It is one of the best diving spots in Cebu. Its island reef is a sandy slope covered with soft coral from 5-10 meters. There is a wall covered with hard corals dropping down to about 130 ft. On that wall are tons of different species of colorful sea creatures including sharks.
Another main Cebu tourist attraction here is the Sardine Run. You can swim with millions of sardines and get amazed at how magnificent the experience is. Make sure to include Pescador Island to your list of Cebu tourist spots to visit.
7. Sirao Flower Garden
Sirao Flower Garden is one of the top Cebu attractions. You can find different kinds of flowers on the farm like Celosia— the most famous of them all. There’s an entrance fee of PHP20. Although the flowers are worth checking out, be prepared as the place can get crowded due to flocking tourists who wish to have a good photo at the farm, too.
8. Taboan Public Market
If you’re looking for a fish, you’ll find the ocean at Taboan Public Market in Bantayan Island that has become a famous tourist spot in Cebu. The market is famous to locals and tourists alike because there you’ll find the cheapest dried seafood like danggit (dried fish) and dried squid— some of the best-sellers. You can buy one kilo of dried fish around PHP100 but in Manila, it’s priced at PHP700-PHP1,000 per kilo. So if you want to score good pasalubong at a cheaper price, don’t miss the Taboan Public Market.
9. Temple of Leah
Dubbed as Cebu’s version of India’s Taj Mahal, the Temple of Leah has been attracting foreign and local tourists for its Greek-inspired architectural shrine. Unlike India’s Taj Mahal, the Temple of Leah is not a mausoleum but serves as home to the treasures and memorabilia of the late Leah Albino-Adarna, the grandmother of Filipina actress Ellen Adarna. Her husband, Teodorico Soriano Adarna, reportedly spent 80 million pesos to put up this temple as a symbol of his undying love for her. While there, you can also enjoy a scenic view of Cebu from the top as it is located on top of a hill in Busay in Cebu City. This Cebu City tourist spot is one of the famous and must-visit.
10. Fort San Pedro
Fort San Pedro is one of the most visited Cebu City tourist spots. Similar to Manila’s Fort Santiago, Fort San Pedro served as a military defense structure during the 17th century. Spanish conqueror Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, who founded the earliest settlement in Cebu, had the initiative to put up this. At Fort San Pedro, you’ll discover the history of Cebu, the Spanish government, and well-preserved Spanish artifacts. About 14 cannons can still be found in what has become a leisure park today. This is another Cebu City tourist spot you shouldn’t miss.
11. Magellan’s Cross
Within walking distance from the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño, you can find the famous Magellan’s Cross, one of the main Cebu attractions. While Filipinos consider Ferdinand Magellan a villain in Philippine history, this landmark is considered as one of the most important historical markers in Cebu City. That’s because it was established upon Magellan’s order to mark his arrival in the country. This also serves as a reminder of the birth of Christianity in the Philippines.
12. Cebu Taoist Temple
To complete your Cebu tourist spots itinerary, you should include the Cebu Taoist Temple especially if you’re looking for another religious site to visit. The temple was built to preserve the teachings of a Chinese philosopher, Lao-Tse. While it wasn’t built for tourism purposes, it became one of the most famous Cebu tourist spots because of its beautiful architecture. Visitors will get an overlooking view of the city from a balcony. The entrance of this tourist spot in Cebu even looks like the Great Wall of China.
13. Neri’s Ville Selfie Corner
Located in Barangay Lusaran, Cebu City, Neri’s Ville Selfie Corner has become one of the top places to visit in Cebu because of its Instagrammable spots that are a picture-perfect haven for everyone and will take your ultimate feed goals to the next level. It is dubbed by many as the “Little Bali (Indonesia) because of its lush greenery and Bali-feels spots and “Little New Zealand” because of its mini cottages inspired by the Hobbit House.
14. The Pyramid
If mountains and hills are not your styles, perhaps the Pyramid in IT Park in the city proper will fascinate you with its modern architecture. This destination in Cebu resembles Paris’ Louvre Museum, only The Pyramid is a Wine Bar and Restaurant. Every corner of The Pyramid is instagrammable that’s why it’s one of the most popular Cebu tourist spots, especially to millennials. The best time to go there is in the evening when the restaurant is fully illuminated so you can have a glamorous dinner.
15. Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu
Don’t be too surprised when you see a lot of picturesque churches in Cebu as it is home to beautiful religious sites because of its history with Christianity. One of these is the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño where you can see the revered flemish statuette of the Santo Niño. The image of the Santo Niño has remarkable value, especially to Catholics, as it was a baptismal gift by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan to Rajah Humabon and Queen Juana, who were the first locals to be baptized on the island. This Cebu tourist destination is definitely a must-see.
16. Casa Gorordo Museum
The Gorordo House was built in the 1850’s. Eventually, it was bought by Isidro Gorordo, a merchant from the Basque province of Vizcaya in Spain. Four generations of his family lived in this house, including Juan Gorordo, the first Filipino bishop of Cebu.
Inside the house, you’ll see elaborate antique furniture, period costumes, paintings and religious images, wood carvings, decorative art and household items, and tools for farming, kitchen and baking. When you visit this tourist spot in Cebu, it’ll surely make you travel back in time.
17. Sumilon Island
Sumilon Island is a small sandbar island located on the Southeastern tip of Cebu, just a short boat ride around from Oslob. Once you arrive at the tourist spot, you can explore water activities like snorkelling and diving. If you’d like to spend a night or two, you can check-in at Bluewater Island Resort — the one and only resort located on the tiny island.
18. Camotes Island
Camotes Island has become an increasingly popular summer tourist spot in Cebu due to its budget-friendly accommodations, great beaches, and natural wonders. The island consists of three smaller islands, so you know that you’ll never run out of beaches to go to and activities to do. Several resorts have also been established here, making looking for accommodation convenient.
On this island, you can get lost in their falls, caves and be in awe of their rock formations.
19. Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House
The Yap Sandiego Ancestral House was a wooden house built between 1675 and 1700 from wood and coral stone, with its design combining Spanish and Chinese architectural influences. Today, it’s a museum that sheds light on the Chinese settlements of the city.
It is said to be among the first Chinese houses built outside of the country. Inside, there’s a mass of antiquities, fine furniture, religious art and curios to browse. Play pretend and imagine what it’s like to live in the 1600s in this Cebu tourist spot.
20. 10,000 Roses of Cebu
If you want to spark curiosity on your Instagram page, this is the spot. This tourist spot in Cebu is an instagrammable cafe that features thousands of LED-powered roses, the first of its kind in the Philippines. The cafe/restaurant serves coffee, juices, pizzas, pasta, pastries, sandwiches, salads, and more. They have a viewing deck to spot the magical view of the flowers from above. It’s best to go here from late afternoon to sunset when the white roses are lit up.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cebu Tourist Spot
Q: What are the beautiful tourist spots in Cebu?
A: From pristine beaches to historical sites, Cebu has something for everyone. Here’s a list of the most beautiful tourist spots in Cebu.
- Bantayan Island
- Malapascua Island
- Kawasan Falls
- Simala Shrine
- Pescador Island
- Sirao Flower Garden
- Taboan Public Market
- Temple of Leah
- Fort San Pedro
- Magellan’s Cross
- Cebu Taoist Temple
- Neri’s Ville Selfie Corner
- The Pyramid
- Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu
Q: Why is Cebu the best tourist spot?
A: Cebu is brimming with wonders of nature such as the pristine white sand beaches, whale sharks and sardine run that you can swim with, breathtaking hills and mountains, historic sites, and of course, delicious food!
Q: Is Cebu safe for tourists?
A: Definitely! Cebu is a safe place in the Philippines to travel to. But like other areas in the world, it pays to always be mindful of your belongings.
Q: What is the famous food in Cebu?
A: Oh there is a lot! Foodies love visiting Cebu because of its delicious food. Some of those are:
- Carcar lechon
- Cheesy baked scallops
- Puso Rice
- Sutukil – “Sugba” (grill), “Tula” (stew), and “Kilawin”
Q: Is Cebu open for tourists?
A: Yes! Tourism in Cebu is now back. As of writing, tourist spots in Cebu are now open to travelers from other areas in the country. Prior to your trip, 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.
What makes Cebu City beautiful are its creative people who find ways to make it livable, alive, and living. It is, without a doubt, a place that every traveler must visit.
You can book budget hotels in Cebu that offer high-quality accommodation at an affordable price! Check out www.zenrooms.com.Disclaimer: ZEN Rooms claims no credit for images featured on our blog site unless otherwise noted. All visual content is copyrighted to its respectful owners. We try to link back to original sources whenever possible. If you own the rights to any of the images, and do not wish them to appear on ZEN Rooms, please contact us and they will be promptly removed. We believe in providing proper attribution to the original author, artist or photographer.