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Beaches and Islands

Home to idyllic islands and stunning beaches, the Philippines is the ideal destination for beach bums and sunseekers.

Bantayan Island: Tips for Your Memorable Vacation

Bantayan Island: Tips for Your Memorable Vacation

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In the northwest of Cebu lies the island of Bantayan. Despite the impressive beaches found in this island, the tourist development here is still in its infancy. 

The island boasts what you would picture out as a tropical paradise - lush palm trees, stretches of powdery white sand, crystal clear waters, freshest seafood, and easygoing vibe. The best thing is you get to enjoy all these minus the usual crowd you would expect in touristy areas in the Philippines like Boracay and Palawan.
Bantayan attraction incredible white sand beach and clear waters of Bantayan Island Cebu Philippines

Journey to Bantayan

The small island northwest of Cebu is easy and cheap to reach. Once you are in Cebu, take the bus from the North Bus Terminal in Mandaue City to the port of Hagnaya. This trip costs about 225 pesos. Air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned buses leave here regularly and can get very crowded during the trip. The trip takes about four hours on average.

From the port, you take the ferry to Bantayan, which takes about 90 minutes and costs 180 pesos. The port there belongs to the small town of Santa Fe and you’ll need to pay the port terminal fee , which costs 10 pesos.

Once you leave the boat, you can take a tricycle to get to your accommodation. If it is in Santa Fe, the trip should not cost more than 50 pesos.

Beaches around Santa Fe

Santa Fe is the main tourist destination in Bantayan. This is where you can find the fine, pristine white sand beach and stroll around other remarkable attractions just within the area. Fortunately, visitor numbers are limited. Instead of large hotel complexes, there are mainly nice resorts on the beach. 

Due to the manageable number of tourists, Santa Fe beach is also pretty empty, so you can often have it all to yourself. A perfect destination for pure relaxation.
Again, Bantayan's coasts are simply gorgeous - long, white beaches and crystal clear water. However, don’t be surprised if you see many boats on one or the other corner on the beach. On the other hand, there are hardly any beach vendors who could annoy you.
where to stay in Bantayan Island relaxing accommodation in Bantayan with impressive landscape

Hotels on Bantayan

Usually, it is no problem to book a room on site. However, if you want to book the right accommodation in advance, you will find numerous hotels and guesthouses on Agoda. The choice of booking is still quite small compared to other top tourists spots in the Philippines.

If you are a budget-traveler, you don’t need to stay in those expensive hotels. Some of the well-known price-friendly accommodations in the island include the Stevrena Cottages, Bantayan Cottages, and the Nordic Inn. 

Don’t be shy to ask around. The people of Sta. Fe are very welcoming. You can ask where you can find a room under P500. The locals will give you their suggestions and in some instances may even take you there.

Restaurants and Cafés on Bantayan

There is a good selection of restaurants in downtown Santa Fez, especially on Batobalonos Street. You can choose between Filipino, Greek, Mexican, American and Italian food. 

In addition to restaurants, there are other places to eat, such as a coffee store, a juice bar, a French bakery, several bars, and even a Bavarian beer garden. There are also a few small supermarkets where you can get the most necessary things. And, don’t worry, it is relatively cheap here.

Withdraw money on Bantayan

Recently, more ATMs and banks have been added in the island, so gone are the days when there is only one cash machine (ATM) on the whole island. There are also a few money exchange offices, but it is best to do this already in Cebu.

sailboat on stunning white sand and clear waters of Bantayan Island Cebu

Getting Around on the island of Bantayan

Bantayan is a small island and you can easily go to one place or another by foot. Like other places in the Philippines, the typical means of transportation here is also the Tricycle, which costs 10 pesos per way, which is still very cheap. In more tourist places the prices are a bit higher. You can also rent a scooter or motorbike, which costs 300-350 pesos per day and explore the island.

Activities on Bantayan Island

Aside from enjoying the beautiful beaches on the island, there are other attractions in Bantayan that will truly make your vacation memorable. You can visit Ogtong Cave in Sta. Fe Beach Club and appreciate nature more at the Mangrove Eco Park. There are also old churches and heritage houses in Bantayan. And, oh, did we mention that Bantayan Island is also one of the best places to catch breathtaking sunrise/sunset views?

Moreover, a nice excursion is to explore the island by scooter. Island hopping to Malapascua or Virgin Island, where there are beautiful snorkeling spots, is also very popular. Skydiving is also offered. However, the supply is currently still limited because the demand is not yet so great. Bantayan is more something for recreation.  

Local travelers also come to the island to take a short vacation and enjoy singing karaoke. This can sometimes be very loud - but that's what the Filipinos are known for. :)
 beach view laidback island white sandy beach palm trees and beach chairs ultimate relaxation in Bantayan Island

Summing it Up!

If you want to have a relaxing vacation with a great beach, away from the crowd, you can’t go wrong when you visit the island of Bantayan.

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