Before images of Bantayan Island began dominating our news feeds, the island was Cebu’s best kept secret. The paradise is tucked away on the northern end of the province and requires quite a number of air, land, and water transfers to get there.
If you’re up for a worthy adventure of bumpy roads and potentially choppy waters, the view alone will wash away all the exhaustion.
Check out this guide to the beautiful island of Bantayan.
Bantayan island is composed of three towns: Bantayan (the largest municipality), Madridejos, and Sante Fe.
The highlight of your Bantayan Island experience will be in Santa Fe’s Sugar Beach and Alice Beach.
White sand, crystal clear waters, and the therapeutic sound of nature, are just some of the things you can expect the moment you step into the island. Imagine Boracay in the early ‘90’s only with finer sand and more places to explore.
Despite the growing number of tourists, the sleepy fishing town has managed to maintain its laid-back atmosphere, which is hard to find in other mainstream destinations.
Since a trip to Bantayan Island requires an hour-long boat ride, it’s best to avoid visits during the rainy season (June to October).
If you want to avoid the crowds, the off-season from November to February is a great time to visit. Peak-season is during the summer months from March to May, particularly during Holy Week.
From the Mactan Cebu International Airport, you can take a 30-minute cab ride to the terminal.
Once there, look for the bus going to Hagnaya. Travel time to Hagnaya could take up to four hours, so it’s highly recommended to choose the air conditioned bus (PHP160).
From the Hagnaya Port, take the next ferry heading to Sante Fe (PHP170). There are two companies that can take passengers to the Sante Fe port; Island Shipping and Super Shuttle Ferry. Travel time is approximately one hour.
*Take note: Buses to Hagnaya are available all day but the last ferry to Bantayan leaves at 5PM sharp. Make sure to schedule your trips accordingly.
Though laying by the ocean under a shaded palm tree sounds like a good enough activity to fill your day, there are many activities and tourist spots in Bantayan Island worth exploring.
What’s best is most of them are accessible via tricycle or motorbike, and will only take you about half a day to accomplish.
One jump will set you back PHP19,000 with an additional PHP1,000 for a beach landing.
Ever since its sudden rise to fame locals and expats alike have decided to open a number of inns, resorts, guest houses and hotels all over Bantayan Island. So if you’re planning to stay a night or two, you won’t have a problem looking for a place. Here are our top picks:
With the breathtaking ocean ahead, there’s nothing more satisfying than a feast of seafood. Luckily, you won’t have a hard time finding the freshest catch, and someone to whip up a meal for you, in Bantayan Island.
For the best selection, head over to the market and shop for your favorites right before breakfast. After shopping, you can have your hotel cook your food just the way you like it. Boatmen and locals can also fire up a grill for you.
If you’re not up for some shopping, there are a couple of local gems to choose from:
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