As soon as you step off that boat to Bantayan Island, you’ll just know that it will be the ultimate getaway. Just a few hours away from Cebu, this glistening island is where you dip your toes for some sun and relaxation. It’s a breathtaking sight — shimmering crystal-clear waters, white sand, and the peaceful ocean breeze. You won’t do anything here but sit back and relax!
Bantayan Island has its small airport but it only services Air Juan that offers chartered seaplanes. Most people come in via Cebu City and make their way to Hagnaya Port via bus. It’s important to note that the travel time is around three hours to get to the city and the port.
Bantayan is a sleepy island. It’s quiet so it’s easy to say that going around is a matter of just strolling around the plaza. Tricycles and motorbikes are the fastest options to get around and can easily be hailed. Jeeps go around in loops too so catching one that would take you to historical and scenic spots would be pretty easy.
Bantayan Island is the ultimate getaway if this is what you’re after for a trip! It has a lot to offer travelers that just want a peaceful and quiet trip. In the town proper, you’ll find churches like Sts. Peter and Paul Church of Bantayan that has been around since 1580. It’s the oldest parish church in the area. And like most places occupied and influenced by the Spaniards, you’ll find a string of traditional homes you can admire nearby. Tours are available for some locations.
Kota Park was a fort during the Spanish era. It was later on transformed into a park, but the former structures of the area have been kept. The best thing about this is you can go around while riding a bike for a more leisurely and scenic way.
Beaches are everywhere on this small island. The famous ones are Paradise Beach, Alice Beach, Maricaban Beach, and Sugar Beach. These are all near each other. Water activities will fill your days such as kitesurfing, snorkeling, and free diving. If you’re up for a splurge, then you can also skydive on the island. Kota Beach is also popular because of its long sandbar that tourists always love.
Island hopping to nearby spots is also a must. Just ask your front desk and they will be able to take you on a tour to Virgin Island, Hilantagaan Island, and Kinatarkan Island. If you want a change of scenery, swimming in the cold waters of Ogtong Cave Pool will help you beat the heat. When you arrive, you’ll find a staircase that descends to the cave pool. You’ll be shocked to see how crystal clear the water is here and it truly is a must for first-timers on the island.
You won’t run out of fresh seafood wherever you go on the island. The best part? They’re all so affordable. You’ll be able to get the freshest catch from people around the island and just have it prepared by your guide. You’ll also find a wide array of options in MJ Square.
Chef Panyang has the widest selection of meals and they even have a buffet option. Bantayan Burrito Company is for Mexican cuisine lovers and as a bonus, they have vegan options. Tapa Master in the same area serves an all-day breakfast that’s perfect to start your day with or recover after a night of drinking.
Like most island resorts in the Philippines, you’ll find places to drink it but don’t expect a big club scene. Most spots are laid back bar scenes with music and people go there to unwind and chatter. Bavarian Beer Garden and Randy’s Grill are local favorites because of the good food and alcohol that they serve.
Rock music will be blaring at Blue Ice Bar in Santa Fe so if you’re up for the latest rock hits or some classics, this is the place for you. If you prefer a quieter spot that’s a good place to relax with friends then Caffe del Mar will serenade you while you enjoy a good night out.
A spot to stay in on the island will vary. If you want to be near amenities and go around the town proper, then staying in Santa Fe will be your best option. It’s a small town so everything will be close by like transportation and groceries in case you need to stock up.
A ton of beachside resorts are available for you as well. Budget-friendly locations are nearby, but if you want to have a few days of luxury then you’ll have a lot of options too.