Did you know there are several islands near Mactan island? Yup! And you can even visit each one via Mactan island hopping tours!
I recently learned about Mactan island hopping and added it to our 2 weeks Cebu-Siquijor-Dumaguete trip. Because of its proximity to the airport, most travelers do the Mactan island hopping on their last day in Cebu. But for us? We did it on our first day! Woohooo. Because why not?
If you’re planning a trip to Mactan, the island hopping trip is a must-try! Here’s everything you need to know to plan the perfect Mactan island hopping itinerary.
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Where to book the Mactan island hopping tour?
For your Mactan island hopping tour, we recommend Endez Island Hopping Mactan Cebu. We met the owner himself during the trip. He was very friendly and accommodating.
Budget Tip: Upon learning that we had a blog, he offered to provide you guys with a freebie when booking. To claim, simply mention WANDERERA and get a maximum of 3 free usage of snorkeling gears for your island hopping experience! With this, you can save P300 (since snorkeling gears are rented at P100 each)!
Endez Island Hopping Mactan Cebu offers several packages for the Mactan island hopping trip.
Just choose three islands from this list: Caohagan, Hilutungan, Sulpa, Nalusuan, Olango, Pandanon, & Cabul-an
- For 15 persons – P4,500 (that’s P300 per person)
- For 20 persons – P5,000 (that’s P225 per person)
- For 25 persons – P5,500 (that’s P220 per person)
For our trip, there was only Ryk and I. We had the big boat all to ourselves for only P3,500! We loved it since other Mactan island hopping tours usually provide small boats for 2 persons.
Usually, the tour consists of three islands but during our trip, we challenged ourselves to go to all islands. (Spoiler: We failed since we had to race against the low tide and some islands are really far.)
Note: The Mactan island hopping tour is a whole day activity. You’ll start at 8:00 AM and end at 4:00 PM.
How To Book
Here’s how to book a Mactan island hopping tour with Endez:
- Contact them on Facebook and let them know how many persons are in the group and when you’re planning to travel.
- Mention the code WANDERERA to get free usage for up to 3 snorkeling gears! Wooot! Woot! You can also opt to bring your own snorkeling gear.
- Pay the downpayment to reserve the boat. You’ll be asked to pay P1,000 via BPI. The rest of the payment will be paid during the trip itself.
And that’s it!
- Life Vests
- Grillers – if you want to cook on the boat
- Snorkeling Gears – rental is at P100 each
Budget Tip: Bring your own food. Most of the restaurants in the islands are expensive. However, if you’re lucky, you’ll come across fishermen who sell their fresh catch for the day. We saw some at Pandanon Island.
Contact Numbers: Smart: 09474674684 | Sun: 09257348292 | PLDT: 349-2220
Mactan Island Hopping: Islands To Visit
Anyways, let’s get to know each island so you can choose properly which islands you want to visit.
Included in one of your choices in the Mactan Island Hopping trip is Pandanon Island. But what you might not know is that this island is already a part of Bohol. It’s the farthest island among the seven listed above and the most beautiful! The sand is nearly white and the surrounding waters are turquoise blue!
Because of its distance, you’ll usually be required to pay an additional P1,000 to get here. But it’s worth it! This was our first stop and the best one for me.
You can opt to camp for the night. Just let your boatmen know. I’d totally recommend doing that especially if you love camping by the beach.
There are several cottages on the island which you can rent. Upon getting down, you’ll find local fishermen selling seafood, mostly ones with shells such as oysters, scallops, crabs and more. Don’t worry about the cooking, they’ll usually cook it for you once you buy some.
We bought oysters for P300 and scallops for P300!
My next favorite island is Caohagan island. Most tourists love coming here for the seafood. This is where we saw fresh crabs and lobsters that are huge! But their prices are at a tourist rate, too. We asked how much the lobster was and the big one is priced at P3,500! Too expensive.
But hey, this is where you could get your hands on the freshest seafood. The crabs and lobsters we saw were still alive and moving.
Apart from the seafood, the waters around the island are really shallow. It’s the perfect place to swim especially if you have kids with you. The waters are only waist deep – around 2 to 3 meters.
Nalusuan island’s signature is probably its long bridge over the clear blue waters. When I first searched for Nalusuan island, almost every photo was taken by this bridge.
Having its own marine sanctuary, Nalusuan island is a favorite among snorkelers and divers. But I have to warn you, it’s pretty expensive.
If you want to stay overnight on the island, they have rooms and suites which you can rent for around P4,000+ per night.
Be sure to book beforehand as the resort usually gets fully booked.
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to go to Olango island because of the low tide. But this place has a wildlife sanctuary where you can see migratory birds around November to February.
Our guide told us that San Vicente Marine Sanctuary is the best snorkeling spot when going on the Mactan island hopping tour. Not only that, but it’s the cheapest marine sanctuary that you can access during the trip. The entrance fee is only at P50 each.
If you want to stay overnight and explore the island, you can choose from the following accommodations:
- Casa Blanca By The Sea – Check Latest Price & Availability
- Talima Beach Villas & Dive Resort – Check Latest Price & Availability
- Triponia’s Seaside Homestay – Payag – Check Latest Price & Availability
- Sagastrand Beach Resort – Check Latest Price & Availability
Also known as Gilutongan island, Hilotongan island, or Lutungan island, Hilutungan island is another snorkeler’s and diver’s paradise. Its surrounding waters are teeming with marine life. This is where we snorkeled.
While snorkeling, one of our boat guides brought rice with him and started feeding the fishes. One by one the fishes came and we got this awesome photo.
For an overnight trip, you can book Island And Sun Beach Resort.
This small island offers aquamarine waters perfect for snorkeling and swimming. Sulpa island is privately owned so you’ll have to pay the entrance fee.
If you want to stay for the night, camping is allowed. There are also cottages on the island if you want to dock and eat lunch here.
By the time we reached Cabul-an, there was a dark cloud over the island and it was starting to drizzle. We didn’t enjoy it as much as we would have. The beach looks nice, though. You’ll also see here the ruins of a resort.
According to our boatmen who were locals of the island, the resort got destroyed when strong typhoons hit the island. Not only that but apparently years ago the island had a beautiful sandbar – even more beautiful than Kalanggaman.
But then, the local government sold the sand to several resorts around Cebu. Just visiting the island makes you imagine what it would have looked like. Where the sandbar once was, only rocks were left.
So which islands are you planning to visit?
After Island Hopping
After your island hopping, you can request freshwater from the boat for you to use if you want to shower. There’s an onboard restroom so you can change and freshen up there.
And for dinner, I’d recommend you go check out Lantaw Floating Restaurant. Their lechon and seafood are super yummy! And the view during sunset is the perfect way to cap off the day. Plus, the 10,000 roses cafe is just a few meters from here.
Where to Stay in Mactan
Since you’ll be starting the trip early, I’d recommend booking a place to stay at Mactan.
Budget: Jiji’s Hostel
Midrange: 8 Newtown C2-17B Spacious Studio
Luxury: Abaca Boutique Resort
You can also look for other accommodations on Airbnb.
Budget Tip: Here’s a P2,200 ($44) Airbnb travel credit card for you to use on your trip when you sign up here.
What to Pack for Mactan
- Eco-friendly Reusable Water Bottle
- Light Rain Jacket (especially from June to November)
- Aqua Shoes
- Day Bag
- Power Adapter
- Universal Waterproof Phone Case
- Packing Cubes
- Microfiber Towel
- Travel Insurance
- Money Belt
- sneakers, and some flats
- reusable straw and reusable bag (no to single-use plastic!)
Related Article: The Only Travel Packing List You’ll Ever Need (Trust Me)
Our Camera Gear
- Mirrorless Camera: Fujifilm XT3
- Lenses: Fujifilm Fujinon kit lens (18-55mm) | Fujinon 35mm f2 | Fujinon 50mm f2
- Drone: DJI Mavic Pro 2
- GoPro: GoPro Hero Black 7
- Power Bank: Romoss Powerbank
- Camera Backpack: Case Logic Camera and Laptop Backpack
- Monopod: Ifootage Cobra 2 a180
- Mic: Rode VideoMicro
- Gimbal: Zhiyun Weebill-S
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- Malapascua Island: A Travel Guide For Non-Divers
- Bantayan Island 2019 Travel Guide: All You Need To Know
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Johanes is a digital nomad and a web content writer who loves to go on spontaneous travels. She also likes to go camp under the stars and play with her dog and cats.