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Bantayan Island, Cebu: Ultimate Travel Guide

bantayan island
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Boasting of turquoise blue waters and white sand, Bantayan Island is one of the most frequently visited places in Cebu. It is one of the venues of the famous Filipino movie ‘Camp Sawi’.

If you’re looking for paradise, it’s just on Bantayan Island. So the next time there’s a piso fare, grab the chance and book your flight to Cebu.

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Important Information about Bantayan Island

Bantayan Island

Bantayan Island at a Glance

Bantayan Island is a must-visit if you love the sea, the beach, and the island life. The island has three different municipalities, Santa Fe, Madridejos, and Bantayan so don’t be confused when the locals will tell you “Ah, you’ll find that in Santa Fe not here in Bantayan”.

At first, I thought they were talking about the island, so I thought Santa Fe was another island, but then I learned that Bantayan is another municipality within Bantayan Island.

A few years back, Bantayan Island was just a fishing village. When people heard of the place, it became a go-to place for laid-back island life. Most often, people visiting Malapascua island would go to Bantayan island and vice versa.

Well, if you plan on doing a DIY trip. I suggest you check out both Malapascua island and Bantayan island.

Related Article: Malapascua Island: A Travel Guide For Non-Divers

Languages Spoken: Bantayanon, Tagalog, and English

ATMS on the island: There are only two ATMs on the island. Always have some cash with you before going to Bantayan Island because the ATMs run out of cash early during the day.

Transportation around Bantayan Island: There are only motorbikes, tricycles, and boats around Bantayan island to bring you from one place to another.

Best Time To Visit: The best time to visit is during the Habagat season (November to April) since the waters are clearer during these months. This is also the dry season.

Times to Avoid: Avoid traveling to Bantayan Island during the Holy Week as this is when most Filipinos go on a vacation.

Major Festivals in Bantayan Island:

  • Palawod Festival – June 29
  • Semana Santa (Holy Week) – the date varies every year but it’s usually around the last weeks of March or early weeks of April
  • Isda Festival – December 8
  • Kinhason Festival – January 15-16
Bantayan Island

How To Get There

Book a flight to Cebu. Upon arriving in Cebu City, take a bus from the North Bus Terminal heading to Hagnaya Port Cebu. Travel time is around three hours.

Then from Hagnaya port Cebu, ride a ferry to Bantayan Island.

Bantayan Island

Note: If you have the budget, you can book a ticket from Air Juan to go directly to Bantayan Island.

When going back to Cebu, there’s a bus waiting by the port heading directly to Cebu City. So buy a ticket for the ferry. Then ride the bus. The bus will take you inside the ferry and from here, you’ll have to get down and find a seat inside. Once you’re in Hagnaya port Cebu, you will then ride the bus to go to Cebu.

Travel Tip: Check schedules and availability of buses, ferries, taxis or flights to book online with 12Go Asia.

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Top Places to Visit

Here are must-see places that you should know when going to Bantayan Island.

Kota Beach

This place is a favorite among beach-goers.  During summer, it can get pretty crowded but it’s a place that you shouldn’t miss. I wrote a separate blog post about our stay here at Kota Beach Resort.

Bantayan Island

The Ruins and The Cliff Diving Site

Just after Ogtong Cave is the famous ruins. It’s the perfect spot for some sweet and romantic photoshoots. The blue waters below also make it great for a cliff dive.

Bantayan Island
Bantayan Island

Paradise Beach

To enter, you have to pay a fee. When we went to paradise beach, there was an ongoing construction near the main beach. What I loved about this place was the lush green garden just a few meters from the beach. When we went here, it was high tide, so there was only a small patch of sand to enjoy.

Bantayan Island

Mangrove Garden

The Ono-ob Mangrove garden is a place that promotes environmental conservation and awareness. There are bamboo walk paths built all over the place so be prepared to walk a lot.

Here, you can climb the bamboo tower for a great view of the garden, hop on a kayak, feed the fish, and try the delicious food from the in-house restaurant.

Bantayan Island

Ogtong Cave

This is a small cave that boasts a natural pool where you can dip all your worries away. Located within Santa Fe Beach Resort, you have to pay a fee to access Ogtong Cave as well as the resort’s amenities. If you only want to see the cave and nothing more, I personally don’t think it’s worth it to pay that much.

Top Things To Do

You’ll never run out of things to do and places to visit here on Bantayan Island. Here are our most recommended activities to do.

Island Hopping

Island hopping is a must-try! You can find a lot of boatmen offering island hopping tours around Bantayan Island or you can ask your accommodation and they’ll refer you to some boatmen. Here, you will be able to visit the Virgin Island and Hilantagaan Island. Virgin Island collects an entrance fee for visitors.

Bantayan Island

Land Tour

As for the land tour, many tricycle drivers offer this. They’ll bring you to the Paradise Beach, Mangroves Garden, The Ruins and Cliff Diving Site, Ogtong Cave and Kota Beach. If you want to check out Kota Park and the St. Peter and Paul Church, be prepared to pay extra since these places are very far from the main town.

Bantayan Island

Food Trip

MJ Square is the most popular place on Bantayan Island when it comes to food and restaurants. Here, you will find a lot of restaurants ranging from those offering eat-all-you-can seafood (which is seasonal), pastries, Filipino dishes, and a whole lot more.

Bantayan Island

Sky Diving

If you want to try sky diving, check out Skydive Greater Cebu. You’ll have to pay around P15,000 to P18,000 (300 USD to 360 USD).

If you’re planning a trip around other parts of Cebu, here’s a list of the other crazy fun things to do in Cebu.

Getting Around

The only way to get around is by tricycle, motorcycle, or bike. You can rent a bike for as low as P150 (3 USD) good for 24 hours and a motorcycle for around P300 (6 USD).

Bantayan Island

Where to Stay

We stayed for 3 days and 2 nights in Bantayan and opted for two different places to stay in.

Where We Stayed

Kandugyap House By The Sea

The first place is Kandugyap House By The Sea. I created a separate blog post on the Kandugyap House by the Sea if you want to check it out. I’d definitely recommend this place if you love to experience hogging a resort to yourself. There is only 3 accommodation in this resort so book fast.

When we went there, there was only us and another couple. There’s a swimming pool here, as well as a private beach area.


kandugyap house by the sea

Kota Beach Resort

For our second night, I reserved a room at Kota Beach Resort. If you’re on a budget, you can book the standard room which is what I booked.

The room couldn’t compare to what Kandugyap had to offer so I was a bit disappointed since their price is nearly the same. If you have a bit of cash to spare, definitely book the huts, especially the beachfront one. You won’t regret it. I was so mad at myself for not booking that one but oh well it was almost twice the price of the room we booked.

I have a separate blog post about our stay in Kota Beach Resort.


Related Article: Kota Beach Resort: Bantayan Island’s White Beach

Bantayan Island

Other Recommended Accommodations

Find Affordable Accommodations in Bantayan Island[

Here are other places I’d recommend to book:




Airbnb Bantayan

Aside from hotels and resorts, you can also opt to stay at an Airbnb.

Get your P2,200 ($44) Airbnb discount here!

Responsible Travel Tips

When traveling to one place, make sure you practice responsible tourism. Here are some tips to do so.

1. Respect the environment

Don’t litter. Please hold onto your trash until you find a garbage can.

Related: 16 Eco-Friendly Travel Products for the Earth-Loving You

2. Avoid single-use plastic

Bring your eco bag and refuse single-use plastic.

3. Shop local

Keep the traditional crafts alive and support local artisans. Buy from them. And try not to haggle, P20 may seem small to you but it can mean a lot to them.

4. Always ask permission

Be sure to ask for permission first when taking photos or videos especially when it comes to children

What to Pack for Bantayan Island

Related Article: The Only Travel Packing List You’ll Ever Need (Trust Me)

Our Camera Gear

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9 thoughts on “Bantayan Island, Cebu: Ultimate Travel Guide”

  1. Hi! Thank you so much for this blog. It helped me a lot in preparing for my family’s itinerary. May I know how many person can ride the 500 peso tricycle land tour?

  2. Jared dela Cruz

    Hi Johanes! This is an incredibly helpful and thorough post on Bantayan Island. It’s certainly one of the places on my travel bucket list. Plus, your pictures are incredible!

    I’m also a blogger, though only a novice, and aspiring to travel the world one day. I’ve only recently started my blog, but it’s not solely for travel. I’m also writing for personal finance and lifestyle articles.
    I’m working towards making blogging a living. I hope I can be as successful as you one day.

    Anyway, thank you for this amazing post. I’m hoping to see more of your adventures. More power!

  3. Your blog is very detailed and comprehensive. I like it. It’s very helpful. I’m actually planning to go there this January 24. Have you seen a double bike there? How much is the rent? I actually don’t know how to ride a bike on my own so I am relying with someone to do it for me. I will really appreciate if you can answer more. Thank you so much.

    1. Hi Cherie! I don’t think they have a double bike there. But they do have tricycles you can rent. It comes with a driver so he’ll also be your tour guide around the island 🙂

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