The Camotes Islands are a group of islands located in the central part of the Philippines known as the Visayas. The islands are situated in the northern part of Cebu. If you’re looking for a beautiful tropical island, that’s a bit off the radar, then the Camotes is one of those hidden gems.
While the Philippines best known tourist spots Boracay and Palawan has been attracting all the attention of late, the Camotes has quietly be gaining a reputation as a wonderful place to holiday in. Especially if you looking to escape from the tourist crowds. Even in Cebu, it’s one of the less touristy spots to visit and that’s what gives the islands their own special charm. If you are looking for something less crowded, peaceful and a bit rustic this might be the place for you.
I’ve been coming to Camotes for years and I love the peaceful simple island life. The mobile coverage and Wi-Fi on the island is just terrible, so it makes an ideal place to zone yourself out from world, if only for a short break and get back to nature. While the Camotes Islands are not going for everybody’s taste, it’s a place you’ll take a step back, tune out and enjoy paradise!
Where to Stay on the Camotes
There are a number of resorts dotted around the Camotes. Generally the accommodation is fairly low key and simple. There are 2 main areas to stay. One around the beautiful Santiago Bay. Here you will find a number of decent resorts. The most popular and largest in this area being Santiago Bay Garden and Resort. It sits on top a hill with arguably the best views on the islands. There are a number or smaller resorts along the beach which offer some pretty simple rooms. They are all within walking distance, so you can see what suites you the best. The other area to stay is at Mangodlong, Here there are 4 resorts, with Mangodlong Paradise Beach Resort the pick of the bunch here. It’s got some of the best rooms on the island and an amazing infinity swimming pool to kick back and enjoy this piece of paradise.
How to get to the Camotes Islands
From Cebu City you can catch a fast craft to the Camotes which will take around 1 and ½ hours. The other option is to catch a taxi or bus up to the northern town of Danao and catch one of the ferries across. For more information I’ve gone into a lot more details in the video.
When to go
I find the best time to travel is around April as this is the dry season. Although it is hottest time of year with temperatures in the low to mid 30s (Celsius), the weather is a lot calmer and the waters look gorgeous (see video). Keep in mind if Easter falls in April it will get crowded as the predominantly Catholic Filipinos head out of the city to the islands for the religious holiday.
Top Tourist Spots in the Camotes.
So here is my list of the top things to see and do in the Camotes Islands.
One of the most popular and beautiful beaches in the Camotes, Santiago Bay is a calm and shallow beach. It’s a wonderful gorgeous spot and a perfect way to enjoy some of the best the Camotes has to offer. As I mentioned before it has the greatest number of accommodation and most people who come to holiday in the islands stay here. There are also a number of restaurants by the beach serving up simple but affordable food.
This little rocky area is a lovely spot to visit. Located at the bottom of a cliff, you can if you wish dive off into the ocean from its platform. There a number of places to sit by and enjoy the sea breezes. Go for a swim or just snorkel around the rocky area.
One of the smaller islands of the Camotes, Tulang makes for a gorgeous place to visit with its stunning waters and white sandy beach. If you want to stay overnight there are some locals that rent tents out. Again I’ve put more details on the video.
This peaceful and serene freshwater lake is one of the largest in the Visayas. Take a kayak around the lake and soak up this lovely piece of nature.
Another stunning beach on the Camotes, Bakhaw is a magnificent place to visit. The waters are so inviting and the colours just look incredible. There are a couple of small resorts to stay here as well. Please check the video for more details.
Holy Crystal Cave
While there are a number of caves worth visiting on the Camotes, this is most interesting cave. The eccentric caretaker also makes it all the while better. He’s a deeply religious and passion man. Inside you’ll not only find bones of human over 5 thousand years old but some sparkling “crystal” formations.
Tropical countries are synonymous with waterfalls and the Camotes are no exception. Busay Falls makes for a lovely place to visit. Although this time I visited, the falls were starting to dry up due to it being the dry season
One of the least travelled to islands on the Camotes. Even myself, having been to the Camotes Islands for years, this was the first time I actually made the trip over to Ponson Island. And Boy, it was worth it! The island is a fantastic place to visit, not only that I nearly had the beach to myself with basically no tourists. If you want to spend a little longer on the island there was one family run resort on the beach, although the rooms were a little run down. The beach – gorgeous!
Another waterfall worth visiting is Panganuran Falls. It’s not the easiest falls to find though, as the direction sign was no longer up along the road. I had been here before so I knew where to go. If it’s your first time you may need a local guide. Or hopefully they will put the sign back up! The actual trail to the falls isn’t the best either, as you can see in the video. When you do eventually get to the falls, it is worth it (for me anyhow!). There is no tourist infrastructure here only you and nature!
Another cave worth visiting is Timubo. While not quite as interesting as the Crystal Cave, this cave has a cavern with pool of water. A great to escape from the tropical heat.
The Camotes Islands offers the tourist a more laid back, rustic type of holiday. If you enjoy the simpler things in life in a beautiful tropical setting. These islands maybe the ideal holiday destination for you. As I have mentioned previously I have been travelling to these islands for years and each time I discover something new to see or do. So if you’re planning a holiday in the Philippines keep the Camotes Islands in mind. You may be pleasantly surprised!
You can check my other videos on places around Cebu Philippines on my YouTube channel. I do hotel reviews and guides in this wonderful part of the Philippines.
This post was written by Robert Brand. Follow Robert on YouTube.