The Picturesque Paradise of Bantayan Island, Cebu

Bantayan Island, a gem nestled off the coast of Cebu City, is blessed with pristine white-sand beaches, crystal clear turquoise waters, and a laid-back island vibe. It is a perfect escape for those seeking tranquility and natural beauty. This island boasts powdery shores, breathtaking sunsets painting the sky in hues of orange and pink, and charming villages with friendly locals. It has been my favorite island in the Philippines so far. 

Photo at the cliff of Paradise (Sandira) Beach 

How to get to Bantayan Island:

Travel to Cebu City: Most travelers arrive in Cebu City first, as it's a major transportation hub in the Philippines. You can reach Cebu City by air via Mactan-Cebu International Airport or by sea via Cebu City's port.

Travel to Hagnaya Port (280 pesos via Ceres Bus; 300 pesos via UV Express): From Cebu City, you'll need to make your way to Hagnaya Port, which is around a 3 to 4-hour drive from the city center. You can take a bus, van, or hire a private car to get to Hagnaya Port.

Ferry to Bantayan Island (250 pesos + 20 pesos environmental fee): At Hagnaya Port, you'll find ferries that operate regular trips to Santa Fe Port on Bantayan Island. The ferry ride usually takes around 1 to 1.5 hours, depending on weather conditions.

Arrival at Bantayan Island: Upon arrival at Santa Fe Port, you'll step onto Bantayan Island. From there, you can take a tricycle or hire a motorbike to reach your accommodation if it's not within walking distance. We hired a motorbike for 300 pesos for 1 whole day.

It's recommended to check ferry schedules in advance, especially if you're traveling during peak seasons, to ensure smooth transportation to Bantayan Island. Additionally, consider booking your accommodations ahead of time, particularly during holidays and weekends, as Bantayan Island can get busy with tourists seeking its natural beauty and tranquility.

Crystal Clear Water from Sandira (Paradise Beach)

Things to do in Bantayan Island:

Bantayan Island offers different activities for travelers seeking adventure, relaxation, and cultural experiences. 

Since I have been to Bantayan Island already, I opted to chill in our beachfront hotel instead of doing a tour or island hopping. If it's your first time going to Bantayan Island, here are a few things that you can do:

  • Beach Hopping: Explore the island's stunning beaches including: Sugar Beach, Paradise Beach, and Kota Beach. Going to these beach is very relaxing as they have powdery white sands and crystal-clear waters.
  • Island Hopping: You can join boat tours to visit nearby islets such as Virgin Island, Hilantagaan Island, and Kinatarkan Island. They are secluded beaches where you can snorkel among the vibrant coral reefs, and enjoy picnics on shores
  • Snorkeling and Diving: Explore the underwater world of the island
  • Visit the natural beauty and cultural heritage: Attractions like Ogtong Cave, Bantayan Church, and Ob-Ob Mangrove Ecopark are the top that we've explored so far.
  • Cliff Jumping at The Ruins: Remember the famous movie "Camp Sawi"? This is the cliff where Bela Padilla and Sam Milby jumped. This is a must try for adventure seekers! Conquer your fear of height and jump that cliff!

There are many other things you can do in Bantayan Island like motorbiking, or sunset watching. But this island is definitely worth it!

Where to eat in Bantayan Island:

There are a variety of dining options in Bantayan whether you are looking for beachfront restaurants serving fresh seafood or the local eateries offering traditional Filipino dishes. Here are just a few of the many dining options in Bantayan Island:

  • CouCou Bar and Restaurant - 
  • 5R34+VMG, Batobalonos Street, Poblacion Santa Fe, Bantayan Island, 6047, Cebu, Santa Fe, Cebu 
  • Beach front dining
  • Mix of Filipino and international cuisine (seafood, grilled meats, and refreshing drinks)
  • HR Music Bar and Restaurant - 
  • Bantayan island, A. Batobalonos St, Santa Fe, 6047 Cebu
  • Near Kota Beach, has lively atmosphere with live music performances
  • Seafood platters, barbeque, and classic Filipino dishes as you enjoy the vibrant nightlife 

  • Where to stay in Bantayan Island:

    We stayed at Jelly's Haven Resort and they offer a nice beachfront accommodation and is known for its cozy atmosphere. The resort has easy access to the beach and other different attractions. It has nice and Instagrammable resort that you couldn't resist taking pictures of. Here are some of the unfiltered photos of the resort + beach view.

    Overall, Bantayan Island is indeed a peaceful place to stay if you want to have serenity and escape the bustling city of Manila.