Bantayan Island CEBU: Travel Guide + Sample Itinerary

Bantayan Island cebu

Bantayan Island, Cebu Philippines

You know the saying, “Unplanned trips are the best because planned trips never happen“? Yes…that’s true….most of the time. I am happy that finally, I was able to travel with my friend outside our hometown Samar. A last-minute decision to spend the long weekend on the beautiful Bantayan Island.

Here’s a complete travel guide to Bantayan Island, Cebu! Also included is a sample 3 days itinerary on the Island.

Bantayan Island, Cebu

Bantayan Island is an island in the northern part of Cebu province. It’s divided into 3 municipalities: BantayanMadridejos, and Santa Fe. Though most of the tourist spots are in Santa Fe.

How to get to Bantayan Island
  • From Manila – Take a domestic flight to Mactan Airport in Cebu. Check here for the cheapest fare available using 12Go Asia.
  • Once you arrived at Cebu Mactan airport, take a MyBus going to the North Bus Terminal. Schedules are 7 am to 11 am (departs every 30 min) and 11 am to 9:30 pm (departs every 20 min). Fare is P25 per person. You can also get a Grab or taxi. The fare is P300.
  • From the North Bus Terminal, ride a bus to Hagnaya Port (3-4 hours, P245 per person).
  • From Hagnaya Port, ride a ferry to Sta. Fe Port in Bantayan Island (1.5-2 hours, P325 per person that includes terminal fee). You can also bring your car if you want. The rate per vehicle is available below.

Since we are from Samar, we took a ferry from Maginoo Port in Calbayog bound for Cebu City on a Thursday night at 7 pm. We arrived Friday at 8:00 am at Pier 1, Cebu. The fare is P1200 for the economy. They also have a Tourist for P1400, Cabin for P1620, and Suite Room for P3600.

Upon arrival at Sta. Fe Port, we walk towards the tourism office and pay the ecological fee (P30 fee per person). Do not lose the receipt because you will present it during island hopping. Unless you want to pay again.

How to get around Bantayan Island

From Santa Fe port, there are tricycles waiting and offering to take us to our accommodation. The fare we paid is P50 each from the port to our accommodation at OYO 659 Myrna’s Pension House. The driver even offered us a land tour for P600, but we declined and asked if he knows where we can rent a motorcycle instead. We were able to rent one for P300 per day with two helmets. That is what we used as our transportation in exploring the island.

Contact 09302956221 for motorcycle rental or land tour.

Where to Stay on Bantayan Island

Sta. Fe is basically the tourism hotspot as most beach resorts are located here. Based on experience, I would advise you to look for accommodation within Santa Fe most preferably near MJ Square or Kota Beach. If you have the extra budget you can check out these top accommodations in Bantayan, most of them are beachside.

AccommodationAGODA Ratings
Anika Island Resort8.7
Santa Fe Beach Club8.8
Amihan Beach Cabanas Resort9.0
La Playa Estrella Beach Resort8.4
Anahaw Seaside Inn9.3
Carl‘s Island Inn9.4

For those who are on a budget like us. Here are my recommendations.

AccommodationAGODA Ratings
Stevrena Accommodations standard cottage 7.2
Indai Aquasports and Resort9.2
Genna’s Tourist Inn Santa Fe(Studio room )9.2
Anaya Beach Resort7.7
WJV INN Sta. Fe Bantayan 
Garden Cabana9.3
Adelaida Pensionne Hotel8.5
OYO 659 Myrna’s Pension House – This is where we stayed.8.7

Looking for other resorts? Click here to book discounted resorts on Bantayan Island.

Things to do on Bantayan Island

The best way to explore Bantayan Island is through a Land Tour and Island Hopping Tour. Once you arrive at the port, there are tricycle drivers offering you a land tour and/or island hopping tour. Resorts can also connect you with their recommended local tour operators.

Land TourIsland Hopping Tour
Tricycle tour: P600 (good up to 3pax). Adding the optional stops (Kota Park, church, and others) may require an additional fee. The driver serves as your guide. A tour can take anywhere from 3 to 5 hours, depending on your pace.

For DIY Land Tour, motorcycles and bicycles are available in most resorts and hotels.
Motorcycle rental: P300-350 per day
Bicycles: P150 per day

The cons of renting your own motorcycle or bike are you can explore the island at your own place and visit other attractions without paying more. But if you don’t know how to drive one, I recommend getting a tricycle tour instead as it’s more comfortable and there is little difference in price. (Also, you’ll be helping the local drivers on the island.)
Boat rental: P1000 good up to 2 pax, additional P100 per pax
Virgin Island: Entrance fee is P500 for first 2 pax, an additional fee per pax
Lifevest is provided. Snorkel sets are free, but make sure to advise your boat operator in advance if you will require one as sometimes they do not bring them.

Places to visit on Bantayan Island – Land Tour

Here are the places you can visit:

Omagieca Obo-ob Mangrove Garden – Camp Sawi

OMAGIECA is a community project located in Brgy. Obo-ob that aims to protect the mangroves in the area. It features 100 hectares of mangrove forest. This eco-tourism park aims to let visitors know the importance of mangroves in the ecosystem. Mangroves protect shorelines from damaging storms, hurricane winds, waves, and floods. Mangroves also help prevent erosion by stabilizing sediments with their tangled root systems. They maintain water quality and clarity, filtering pollutants and trapping sediments originating from land. It also provides essential habitat for thousands of species.

The best time to visit here is during high tide. The entrance fee is P60 per person. I have a separate blog on this that you can read – CAMP SAWI to CAMP WAGI – Omagieca Obo-ob Mangrove Garden, Bantayan Island Cebu.

Sandira Paradise Beach

It’s a long strip of white, mostly powdery sand with shallow, calm waters. The entrance fee is P70 per person. I have a separate blog on this that you can read – Sandira Beach – A Paradise Beach in Bantayan Island, CEBU.

German Ruins

This is a popular Instagram spot on Bantayan Island. The Ruins are actually just the remains of a German expat’s house which was destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda in 2013. There is also a cliff-jumping spot here. A stair leads to a small beach cove below. No entrance fee here.

Ogtong Cave

Ogtong Cave is a small cavern with a natural freshwater turquoise blue pool. It is privately owned by the resort – Ogtong Cave Resort, quite small but it’s worth visiting if you’re looking for a unique Bantayan Island tourist spot. The entrance fee here is P225 with access to their pool and beachside. I have a separate blog on this that you can read – OGTONG CAVE in Bantayan Island, Cebu

Kota Beach

I like to just chill and relax on this beach. They have restaurants and resorts in this area. There are also vendors who will approach you selling cooked scallops for a cheaper price – P20 per bag with vinegar sauce. Make sure you try those.

Island hopping on Bantayan Island

It’s best if you travel in a group if you decide to go on an Island Hopping tour so you could divide the cost of the boat rental. Otherwise, you will shoulder it all if you travel solo. A great idea is to join other group. The two main Island you will visit is Virgin Island and Hilatagaan Island. Additional fee will be asked if you will add the Blue Lagoon on this tour.

Virgin Island

Virgin Island is a private island resort with stunning white sand beaches and crystal clear waters.  This small island is surrounded by colorful coral reefs that are home to various species of fish and sea creatures, making it a popular spot for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts.

Hilantagaan Island

Hilantagaan Island is a residential island. This is where Island hopping tour stops for snorkeling activities.

3 Days Itinerary on Bantayan Island

Here’s our 3-day itinerary in Bantayan Island. While there are people who visit Bantayan Island for a day tour, I recommend at least 2-3 days or longer so you can enjoy it better. I also suggest leaving Cebu City as early as possible since the island is a few hours away.

Day 1Travel from Cebu City to Bantayan Island
Check-in at the accommodation
Kota Beach until sunset
Dinner at MJ Square
Day 27 AM – 11 AM Land tour
Obo-Ob Mangrove Garden
The Ruins
Sandira Beach
Ogtong Cave
12 PM – 4 PM Island hopping
Virgin Island
Hilantagaan Island
Day 3Sunrise at Kota Beach
12PM Check out of accommodation
Bantayan Island Expenses:
Expenses for 2Per Pax
2 Nights Bantayan Accommodation₱2,200.00₱1,100.00
Fery Calbayog, Samar to Cebu₱1,250.00
Dinner₱100.00
Day 1
Breakfast (only cofee for me)₱25.00
Taxi to North Bus Terminal₱85.00₱42.50
Bus to Hagnaya Port₱245.00
Fery to Bantayan Island + Terminal Fee₱325.00
Tricycle to Hotel₱125.00₱62.50
Tricycle Rent (P300 per day + P100 gas)₱400.00₱200.00
Lunch₱185.00₱92.50
Dinner @ Coco Bar₱930.00₱465.00
Day 2
Breakfast₱80.00
Camp Sawi – Mangrove Garden Entrance Fee₱60.00
The Ruins
Paradise Beach₱70.00
Ogtong Cave₱225.00
Lunch @ Santa Fe Beach Club₱200.00
Island Hopping (Optional)₱2,000.00₱1,000.00
Dinner₱100.00₱50.00
Day 3
Breakfast₱100.00
Tricycle to Port₱100.00
Ferry to Hagnaya Port₱325.00
Bus to Cebu₱245.00
Taxi to Peir 1₱100.00₱50.00
Ferry to Calbayog Samar₱1,250.00
Terminal Fee₱30.00

TOTAL EXPENSES – P7,745.50

Overall, this is a great place to visit in Cebu especially if you want to chill, de-stress, and unwind. It’s a bit far from Cebu City, but once here you can choose to pamper yourself with a beach view, snorkeling, and swim in clear water.

WHAT ARE THE THINGS TO PACK IN BANTAYAN ISLAND

You might want to continue reading: CAMP SAWI to CAMP WAGI – Omagieca Obo-ob Mangrove Garden, Bantayan Island Cebu

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