Luxury Travel Blog

Top 5 Tropical Islands of Cebu Philippines

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?



  1. Bethaney - Flashpacker Family /

    We’re hoping to get to the Philippines at the end of this year. Where do you think is best for a family with a small child? We like calm, warm, shallow water. I was thinking Bohol would be the best place for us. Any other suggestions?

    • malapascua would be a better choice tho you have to travel far from the city to get there

  2. Jemma /

    Many of the best beaches in the Philippines are in Cebu. I really love the powdery white sand in Bantayan. Have you visited the Virgin Island in Bantayan? I miss my vacations in Camotes and Malapascula last summer!
    Jemma recently posted…Crocodile Park in Davao CityMy Profile

  3. Jonathan Belmonte (aka Johnwest) /

    Wow this is a great work man! Loved it! Well im planning to emigrate there one day for good, maybe early retirement and put a small business. But of course, i will be close to paradise!

  4. Philip /

    I flew into Cebu, and stayed on Malapascua Island in 2006. I received my open water diving certification there.

    It is gorgeous, but the diving suffers a bit because of a past of fishing with dynamite. I didn’t get to visit Monad Shoal for the Thresher Sharks.

  5. Looks terrible… not! I’ve been to the Philippines before but not these places! Gives me a good excuse to go!
    Anthony The Travel Tart recently posted…Hawaiian Islands Funny Travel Photos – Volcano Humour!My Profile

  6. is that plantation bay resort in Marigondon Mactan ?

    true Bohol is not part of Cebu, but to get to bohol you have to be in mactan Cebu first, and yes Bohol is a paradise too…

    i live in Mactan and familiar with the names of beach resorts here and by that i mean Familiar only haha never get inside of each resorts…

    • I normally fly into Cebu as my jump point for my travels to Bohol. At the end of the year, I plan to see some of its islands. I know they’re all beautiful that’s why I’m having a hrad time choosing as I only have 3days! Your vid helped a lot though – thanks!
      Catherine recently posted…Day Trip to Plitvice LakesMy Profile

    • Noel are you related to Dennis Tura. My wife is from Mactan and the diving there is the best I have ever experienced.

  7. Hey Rob!
    Great article!
    We are heading over to the Philippines in October and have been tossing up between Boracay, Cebu and Bohol!
    Thank you, your article made the decision even harder!!
    Sam recently posted…Six classic streets from famous European citiesMy Profile

  8. swetalana mohanty /

    Cebu is a nice places to visit with friends and family with v

  9. Philippines is where I wish to go next. I will save this post for future reference!
    Claudia recently posted…Things to do in Cuba: the ultimate guide for your trip to CubaMy Profile

  10. Jad Elhage /

    Great blog, congrats. I am contemplating a yearly visit to one of those or other islands. I would love to rent a one bedroom apartment, or bungalow for six months… Is there a way to make a connection with some agency through the internet to help me ?
    Would love to hear your response

  11. Philippine is a nature rich country, i wish go there for my next trip, is their climate same as Thailand? and i think i will not expect much tourists in there. Whats are the most crowded months in there?

  12. pls include sumilon Island, though it runs with private resort but the island is amazing.

  13. Jazzy Tan /

    I’ve been in Cebu for many times, but never in this beautiful islands you’ve mentioned.When I check the pics I never expected that those islands really looks good and its very tempting to dive in since summer is fast approaching. Maybe during my next visit in Cebu I’ll include it in my list of activities. Especially, Malapascua Island and Cebu Lechon a perfect grub after diving in those sparkling clean water.

    Thanks For this wonderful blog.:)

  14. Josh The Explorer /

    I would really love to visit Malapascua Island I really want to try diving… Cebu is such a beautiful tourist spot, thank you for the post!

  15. Jone /

    Hello, I’m planning to visit islands / or some of these, which you listed in this web site in the beginning of March (2017) (Camotes/Malapascua/Bantayan/Mactan/Bohol + Kalanggaman).

    How are the ferries travelling between these islands or do I need to go e.g. to Cebu every time, when I want to go to these islands? And how much time would be a suitable for spend to these islands?

    Thanks for the great tips!

    • Michael Wright
      Michael Wright /

      Hi Jone,

      This article was done for us by a guest writer. It’s best to contact him directly through the author box at the bottom of the post. He should be able to help you out 🙂
      Michael Wright recently posted…5 Most Peaceful Places Around the GlobeMy Profile

  16. Ady goh /

    Would love to visit all.the islands next year !
    Just left Boracay today!
    Beautiful and interesting place.
    But rather expensive !

  17. Jimmy /

    I went to Bohol and Panglao in Feb 2016 and rented a motorcycle and traveled all over for 10 days or so. I was on a hunt to find a place to retire in the next 2 years or so. Panglao is where I am leaning but but will make two more trips to the Philippines and check out other islands. Visayas is my main area to do this.

  18. Samuel /

    Hi I’m traveling to phillipines in January, I wanting to stay somewhere with beach huts was going to go to boracay but I am now thinking Cebu. What is the best island off Cebu to visit for 3 weeks for relaxation but not to quiet on an evening. Looking for somewhere that has good night life but not to roudy if u get what I mean. Many thanks

  19. Yes, I have been to Cebu, six times out of my seven times to the Philippines. It is a wonderful place. And Bohol is as nice as you say. The Filipinos are friendly and they have a festive spirit, For the very air is vibrant, especially as compared to the Unired States, so plan on visiting the Philippines soon. But do not go alone, and always be with people, for it is not safe alone. And remember, do not act as the typical American who thinks he knows everything and can push his way around. We are the guests, not the owners, so respect the people and their ways.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge