What does it take to be one with nature? How does one disconnect from the hustle and bustle of urban life? While partying all night under the city lights might not be such a bad idea, there is nothing wrong with seeking a thrilling adventure. Cebu island hopping is one way to do this. See what Cebu has to offer as we share with you the top 6 islands to visit to feed your adventurous spirit on your stay here in Cebu.
Note: Prices are in Philippine Peso (PH) and are updated October 2018.
If there is one place in Cebu that should peak the interests of backpackers and tourists alike, it would most definitely be Bantayan Island. It is a three-hour bus ride, then a one-hour boat ride from Cebu City and is situated at the northernmost part of the province. This tops the list as the most visited island in Cebu as it possesses rich and serene waters on its white sands even comparable to that of Boracay. There are countless activities that can be done on this island; from beach bumming to caving and skydiving, there is something for everybody. On top of all that, the party scene is as exciting as it gets, making this place nothing less than extraordinary. This place is undoubtedly a little piece of heaven here on earth for all types of adventurers.
How to get to Bantayan Island from mainland Cebu:
Take a bus from North Bus Terminal from Cebu City which is a 4-hour bus ride to Hagnaya Port and then a 1-hour boat ride to the island.
This beaut might be the perfect place for travelers whose hearts are dying for adventure and diving. Although referred to by locals as an unspoiled piece of islet in the north, it thrives on the set of adventures it offers for travelers, making the four-hour bus ride from the city proper so worth it. Malapascua Island is the ultimate haven for backpackers as it boasts white sand beaches with easy dive site access. One can plunge into the deep waters and witness the grandeur of the thresher sharks that come every early morning. There is a 15-meter cliff for the adrenaline junkies and an idyllic lighthouse for a 360-degree view of the entire island for the mushy ones.
How to get to Malapascua Island from mainland Cebu:
Ride a bus from North Bus Terminal, which will take you 4 hours from Cebu City to Maya Port. Then, you’ll get on a 45-minute boat ride to the island. Both transportation would cost P300-P400 per person.
The island of Mactan is the starting point of tourists and backpackers as it is where the Cebu International Airport is situated. The island is located just a few kilometers away from Cebu City. It is divided into two municipalities, Lapu-Lapu City and Cordova. Mactan has a fast growing economy because it is where successful industrial factories were invested, which created a lot of employment opportunities for Cebuanos. The island’s business is booming where International hotels and resorts are found. These resorts have become famous tourist destinations for local and foreign travelers. Mactan Island is also rich in marine sanctuaries and coral reefs as resorts are offering island tours where travelers can jump off from one adventure point to another.
How to get to Mactan Island from mainland Cebu:
Mactan Island is just 30 to 45 minutes from Cebu City. You can take a taxi or jeepney ride to explore and get you around the island. You can also rent a private car and make a complete one-day tour of the whole island.
Olango Island Group is located just five kilometers away from Mactan Island in Cebu. It comprises six islets where you can enjoy a wide variety of adventures such as camping, snorkeling, water sports, and scuba diving. Olango is also a wildlife sanctuary as migratory birds flock to the island from Northern China and Japan during the winter season. The island is considered the most extensive coral reefs in the Visayas region. One islet has been developed by locals and environmentalists to preserve and support the beautiful marine life under the sea. Moreover, this magnificent island group has tranquil beach resorts, a mangrove forest, rocky shoreline, and seagrass beds.
How to get to Olango Island from mainland Cebu:
Olango Island is located just 20 minutes away from Mactan Island. You will take a 30-45 minute boat ride from Cebu City to Mactan Island and then a 20-minute boat ride to reach your destination island. The boat ride costs P20 per person.
Camotes is a small paradise island located between the islands of Cebu and Leyte. It is a two-hour boat ride from Danao port, north of Cebu. This island has white-sand beaches and a unique rock formation where backpackers can enjoy cliff jumping and underground caving. If you want to swim and explore a water pool inside a cave, then this island is for you. There are four majestic underground caves that you can check out. What’s more interesting is that each beach or caving destination only charges a “donation-based” entrance fee, which goes to the locals and maintenance costs.
How to get to Camotes Island from mainland Cebu:
Heading to Danao Port is 1.5 hours from Cebu City. It will take another 2 hours heading to the island by fast craft boat with a fare of at least P500 per head. You can also go to Cebu City Pier 1 and take a fast craft ride to the island that takes about an hour and a half. The fare from Pier 1 fast craft is P500 for tourist class and P800 for business class.
Sumilon is probably the most visited island on the Southeast part of Cebu. The highlight of every traveler’s adventure is swimming with one of the most majestic creatures on earth, the whale shark, or locally known as the butanding. Aside from that, there are 4 major dive sites famous for their spectacular reefs and coral formation with vast tropical marine species. To top it all off, the island has a sandbar that stretches for days to fill up your Gram.
How to get to Sumilon Island from mainland Cebu:
Sumilon Island is a 3-hour bus ride from Cebu City. Take a bus from South Terminal going to Oslob and another 15-20 minute boat ride to the island.
If these Islands aren’t on your bucket list yet, you should list them up! There’s more to see and experience outside Cebu and finding the best nearby island wraps up your whole trip!
Where to Stay in Cebu
Looking for an amazing hostel to create the best memories for your Cebu adventure? Opening its doors on November 10th is Mad Monkey Hostel Cebu. This party hostel is just a few minutes away from the best tourist spots around the city. Backpackers and travelers from all over the world are welcome to stay for an affordable and relaxing accommodation. Amenities include a restaurant, bar, infinity pool and sun deck with an awesome city view. The heart-warming and friendly staff will surely assist all your needs when staying at Mad Monkey Cebu City.
More Information About Cebu Island Hopping:
Did you love this article about Cebu island hopping? Do you want to learn more about the beautiful places in and around Cebu? Then check out these articles that we’ve rounded up!
- Cebu Trip Guide for First-Timers by Marcos Detourista from DeTourista
- Travel Guide: Olango Island in Cebu by Pam Baroro
- 2018 Camotes Islands Travel Guide, Itinerary, Tourist Spots, Tour Packages by Marel Floreen Baluyos
- South Cebu Adventure: Day Tour in Sumilon Bluewater Island Resort by Mike Raquel