Cebu is well known for a lot of things including white sandy beaches, diving sites, diverse marine animals, amazing food and friendly locals. With all the sites Cebu offers, most travelers and tourists immediately go straight to the famous tourist spots of the island. However, not many know the crazy fun things Mactan has to offer.
Home to Cebu’s Mactan Airport, you’ll be in for a surprise when you find out what Mactan has to offer. So let’s dive in, shall we?
But first things first, do you have travel insurance? This is something you should have but wish you never want to use. Accidents can happen anytime and having travel insurance can save you a lot of money in case something goes wrong during your travels! Never travel without one. Get a free quote here.
How To Get There
To get to Mactan, you have two options: by sea or by air. By air, you can book flights from Manila to Mactan Aiport on Cebu Pacific Air, Air Asia, Royal Air, or Philippine Airlines. By sea, you can book your ferry tickets at 2GO travel.
From Dumaguete, you can ride a Ceres bus heading to Cebu City. The bus will have to board a ferry before going to Cebu City. From here, you can ride a taxi, bus or jeep to get you to Mactan.
Travel Tip: Check schedules and availability of buses, ferries, taxis or flights to book online with 12Go Asia.
Important Things To Know About Mactan
But before we delve into the top things to do in Mactan, here’s a few stuff you should know before your trip.
Currency in Mactan: The main currency used in Mactan is Philippine Peso.
ATMs on the Island: Mactan has several ATMs so you don’t have to worry. But be sure to bring enough cash, just in case.
Languages Spoken: Cebuano/Bisaya, Tagalog, English
Festivals on the island:
- Kadaugan sa Mactan (every April) – A celebration of how Lapu Lapu defeated Magellan.
Best time to visit: Best months to visit would be November to May to avoid the typhoon season (June to October).
Getting Around: Jeepneys, buses, and tricycles are the most common form of transportation within Mactan.
Tipping in Mactan: Tipping is not customary but feel free to tip if you enjoyed the service.
Top Things To Do In Mactan
Go Island Hopping and Snorkeling
I bet you didn’t know you could go island hopping to the nearby islands in Mactan, Cebu. I’d highly recommend you try it. For a full day, you can choose three islands to visit. Snorkel in marine sanctuaries, eat fresh seafood, visit white sandy beaches, you name it. The islands near Mactan are amazing!
This article can help you decide which islands to visit.
Related Article: Mactan Island Hopping: 2019 Travel Guide
Learn to Free Dive
Want to try free diving? Freedive HQ in Mactan offers freediving courses for beginners and those who want to upgrade their skills. With warm waters and diverse marine life, you’re sure to have tons of fun learning!
Go Scuba Diving
You will find most Mactan dive sites along the eastern coast. Scuba diving here is pretty affordable. You will also find all sorts of sea creatures. This article can help you set your expectations if you’re planning to go scuba diving.
Go on a Historical Tour
In 1521, Magellan, a Portuguese explorer, and navigator found Cebu. He sealed a blood compact with the chief of Cebu but was later on killed by Lapu Lapu, the chief of Mactan Island. From then, Mactan became the site of the very first stand of Filipinos against Spanish colonizers.
Today, you can find a statue of Lapu Lapu to honor the hero who stood against the Spaniards. There’s also a large obelisk monument created as a dedication to Magellan who brought Christianity to the country.
Love to eat? So do we! If you want to discover the best cuisines Mactan has to offer, we recommend the following restaurants:
- Lantaw Native Floating Restaurant – They offer delicious authentic Filipino cuisine, and has a stunning sunset view
- Manna SuTuKil Food House – SuTuKil is a dining experience you can’t miss in Mactan. Choose from all kinds of seafood and decide on how you want it cooked.
- Rico’s Lechon – For the best lechon in town, eat here.
- Entoy’s Bakasihan – Into exotic foods? Taste saltwater eel here.
Buy Handcrafted Local Guitars
Mactan is home to high-quality local-made guitars. Ukuleles, basses, acoustics, and electrics are just some of what you can find here. It’s one of the best places to buy a guitar as a souvenir, gift for your loved ones or for yourself. This is a paradise for music lovers looking to buy a guitar.
The best guitar factories to visit are Alegre Guitars, Ferangeli Guitar Handcrafter, New Susing’s Guitar, Guitar Master, and Jerry’s Guitars. Having a hard time deciding which one to go to? This article compares these local guitar shops.
Have Fun at JPark Island Resort and Water Park
For the best water slides in Mactan, head to JPark Island Resort and Water Park. This 5-star resort offers a river ride, fountains, slides, private beach, swimming pool, and water sports. You can also find bars and restaurants inside. If you want to stay for the night, you can book a room here.
Love adventure? You’re gonna love parasailing in Mactan Island. You can find several parasailing packages offered by resorts in Mactan.
Take Photos at the Cebu Happy World Museum
Compared to other museums, Cebu Happy World Museum will make you take lots of pictures. Plus, you can touch the displays! You’ll find here several puzzling artworks. Each one is an optical illusion that seems to jump out of the 3D paintings.
Cebu Happy World Museum is open daily from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM. Check out promos and more mind-boggling photos from their Facebook Page.
Check Out 1000 Roses Cafe
Looking for IG worthy destinations? 1000 roses cafe should be on your list. You’ll find here artificial LED roses that you can take a photo of. This is a great place to visit if you’re planning to eat at Lantaw Native Floating Restaurant as it’s just a few meters away from here. If not, don’t bother coming here. It’s not worth the long drive from the city.
Experience a Luxurious Vacation at these Awesome Resorts
Pamper yourself and relax at these top-rated beach resorts in Mactan. Each of these features private white sandy beaches, top of the line amenities, pools, water sports and so much more!
Want to experience it for yourself? Here are the top resorts we’d recommend you to book!
- Mövenpick Hotel Mactan Island Resort
- Abaca Boutique Resort
- Plantation Bay Resort and Spa
- Costabella Tropical Beach Resort
- Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa
- Crimson Resort & Spa
- Jpark Island Resort & Waterpark Cebu
Where to Stay in Mactan
- B Hive Homestay – Check Prices and Availability
- OTravel Hostel – Check Prices and Availability
- Murals Mactan – Check Prices and Availability
- Little Norway Guesthouse – Check Prices and Availability
- Cozy Inn Mactan – Check Prices and Availability
- Soderberg – Check Prices and Availability
- Amaris Bed and Breakfast – Check Prices and Availability
- Eloisa Royal Suites – Check Prices and Availability
- Appleton Boutique Hotel Cebu – Check Prices and Availability
- Goldberry Suites and Hotel – Check Prices and Availability
- Cebu Dulcinea Hotel and Suites – Check Prices and Availability
- Mövenpick Hotel Mactan Island Resort – Check Prices and Availability
- Abaca Boutique Resort – Check Prices and Availability
- Plantation Bay Resort and Spa – Check Prices and Availability
- Costabella Tropical Beach Resort – Check Prices and Availability
- Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa – Check Prices and Availability
- Crimson Resort & Spa – Check Prices and Availability
- Jpark Island Resort & Waterpark Cebu – Check Prices and Availability
Aside from hotels and resorts, you can also opt to stay at an Airbnb.
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. Don’t bring home the sand or any seashell. Leave them where they belong. Missing seashells can have potential detrimental environmental impacts.
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 Mactan
- Eco-friendly Reusable Water Bottle
- Light Rain Jacket (especially from June to November)
- T-shirts, a Nice top, and a Long-sleeved Shirt
- Aqua Shoes
- Day Bag
- Dry Bag
- Power Adapter
- Universal Waterproof Phone Case
- Packing Cubes
- Microfiber Towel
- Travel Insurance
- Money Belt
- Sneakers, Hiking Shoes (if you’re planning to hike) 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
You might also like…
- 30 Crazy Fun Things To Do In Cebu, Philippines
- Moalboal Island Hopping Travel Guide: A Snorkeling Paradise
- 7 Can’t-miss Cebu Waterfalls to Visit
- Bantayan Island, Cebu: 2019 Ultimate Travel Guide
- Mactan Island Hopping: 2019 Travel Guide
- Kalanggaman Island: Budget Travel Guide and Travel Tips
- Malapascua Island: A Travel Guide For Non-Divers
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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.