Do you dream of taking a holiday in some exotic tropical island? If you’re never been to Cebu, or even heard of the place then it’s time to check out this amazing piece of paradise. Cebu is roughly located in the central part of the Philippines commonly known as the Visayas. In terms of tourism growth in Cebu is outpacing many popular Asian holiday destinations such Thailand as more people discover what this little tropical island has to offer.

Picture amazing white sand beaches surrounded by stunning tropical turquoise waters – without the crowds!  While not as cheap as Thailand it does offer great value by western standards.  The locals are some of the friendliest people you could ever meet and will always greet you with a warm loving smile.  Filipinos are fluent in English so you won’t have problems with language, in fact they love talking to overseas tourists.


Top 5 Tropical Islands of Cebu Philippines - Map of Cebu


How to get to Cebu

The easiest and most convenient is to fly directly into Cebu from Hong Kong. Low cost carriers such as Air Asia, Tiger, Jetstar Asia as well as the major carriers all fly into the capital Manila or Clark (in the north of the country).  From Manila there are many connecting domestic flights to Cebu.

Cebu has a number of surrounding islands, each with their unique attractions and beauty. If you plan on holidaying in Cebu, these are the top 5 must see islands!



Camotes Islands

Located a couple hours boat ride from the main island of Cebu, the Camotes Islands offers some real idyllic tropical island life, ideal for a few days to get away from the hustle and bustle of life.  The beautiful Santiago Bay and Bakhaw Beach offer some of the islands best beaches, perfect for swimming or just escaping the tropical heat.

If you’re bit adventurous why not hire a motorbike (around 10 bucks a day) and go exploring the islands. Highlights to see include the serene Lake Danao, the lovely Panganuron Falls and some of the islands caves. After a long day stay at one of the Camotes great beach resorts and take in the fresh ocean breezes as you kick back and enjoy paradise!


Top 5 Tropical Islands of Cebu Philippines - Camotes Islands


Malapascua Island

Malapascua is a tiny island but packs in a bit to suit any holiday maker. The island has become synonymous for the thresher shark. Divers come all over the world to Malapascua for the early morning dives that allow you to get you up and close with these incredible creatures. Not only that, divers are spoilt by the other fantastic diving opportunities around the island.  For non-divers, or if you just want to take a breather from the diving, Malapascua also offers some great snorkelling.

Island hopping day trips can be arranged to some beautiful nearby Islands where you can explore or relax. Don’t forget to arrange some fresh seafood that the crew can cook up a delicious barbeque lunch. For those wanting to do nothing, Malapascua’s beautiful tropical beaches are fantastic for lazing about on!  Bounty Beach, the main tourist drag is a perfect place after a long day to sit on the beach with a beer or cocktail and watch the sun set.


Top 5 Tropical Islands of Cebu Philippines - Malapascua


Bantayan Island

Bantayan is blessed with some picture perfect tropical beaches. These beaches are possibly some of the best in the country but yet to be discovered by mass tourism. Most of year you can pretty much enjoy having the beach to yourself.   The small town of Sta Fe is a sleepy laid back place so don’t expect noisy bars or partying to the wee hours of the night.

For adventure, you must check out the surrounding islands of Virgin and Kinatarkan, both having gorgeous white beaches surrounded by amazing aqua clear waters! They both make for excellent day trips. Bantayan is a place for someone looking for a laid back kind of holiday.


Top 5 Tropical Islands of Cebu Philippines - Tropical waters of Bantayan Island


Mactan Island

If your holiday is more about pampering and spoiling yourself then Mactan Island is for you. This is where you can find some of the finest 5 star luxury resorts in the Philippines.  Relax by the pool or beach with a refreshing cocktail, indulge in some of the best spas, try some of the action water spots (jet skiing, parasailing, scuba diving) or go island hopping to some nearby islands. Mactan is more developed and commercialised than the other islands, so you can do a bit of shopping, enjoy the nightlife or take a day tour of Cebu City.


Top 5 Tropical Islands of Cebu Philippines - Mactan Island - Plantation Resort Cebu



While not strictly part of Cebu, the island of Bohol is only a short boat ride to one of the Philippine’s most popular destination.  There are plenty of connecting boats and fast craft going to Bohol making it a lot easier to get to than some of Cebu’s other islands. Bohol has it all and is a great place to spend your holiday. For beach lovers, Bohol’s most famous strip of white sand Alona Beach is a beautiful little spot. Here you can find plenty of beach resorts to suit everyone’s budget.  The beach has dozens of restaurants and bars to choose from.

Take a day tour of Bohol and see the most iconic landmark – the Chocolate Hills. Visit the Tarsier the smallest primate in the world and enjoy a buffet lunch while cruising the Loboc River. Dive, go dolphin watching and island hopping, the options are endless.  Bohol truly offers everything a tourist could need from a tropical holiday.


Top 5 Tropical Islands of Cebu Philippines - Chocolate Hills in Bohol


About the Author – Rob is a fellow Aussie who has worked in travel for over 20 years and in the last few years has been travelling around Cebu in the Philippines. He wanted to promote this amazing underrated paradise in the Pacific and being a visual person, loves taking photos and videos of the places he visit.  He currently runs a blog on Beyond Cedu and you can follow him on Facebook or Twitter.


 Have you been to Cebu?  What did you think?