Bantayan Island Travel Guide
Bantayan Island, located off the north-western tip of Cebu island, Philippines, is a popular vacation destination for Cebu residents.
Bantayan Island has several beach resorts, mostly mid-range with prices averaging from 1000-2000 per room. The sand is quite fine and the beaches are beautiful especially along the Santa Fe stretch, though the waters are not the clearest. But definitely they are among the better beaches in Cebu province.
How to go to Bantayan Island
· Private car – From Cebu City, it’s a pleasant 2 to 2 ½ hour drive to Hagnaya port along the Cebu north coastal road. The road is paved all the way, with idyllic countryside scenery. At Hagnaya port, take the Ro-Ro vessel (e.g. Island Shipping, 1hour ride) transporting your vehicle to Santa Fe, Bantayan port. Roundtrip fare including port taxes for a regular car or SUV is around P1400. Best time to travel is on a sunny day, if it’s raining or windy, the ferry ride can be quite rough.
· Public bus – Several buses in the Cebu North Bus Station service the Cebu City – Hagnaya route. See Cebu Bus Guide (coming soon). Upon reaching Hagnaya, take the ferry boat to Bantayan island. In line with tourism promotions, free trips for passengers are being offered (only at certain times). · Boat – Overnight ferry from Cebu City port (Pier 1) departs for Santa Fe, Bantayan twice a week. See our Shipping Guide
Bantayan Island Beach Resorts
Santa Fe Beach – Several resorts line up along Santa Fe beach, which is near the port. The better picks are probably the ones farther away from the port.
· St Bernard Beach Resort
· Joy Beach Resort
· Hoyohoy Villas
· Marlin Beach Resort
· Kota Beach
· Budyong Beach Resort
· Yoonek Beach Resort
· Sugar Beach Resort
· Ogtong Cave
· Sta.Fe Beach Resort
· Exotic Island Dive Resort
Food in Bantayan Island
Most beach resorts in Bantayan Island provide their own food. If you want more options, there are a few restaurants in the town center (at the back of Santa Fe beach):
· D’Jungle Restaurant & Grill – a popular restaurant formerly called White Sands which was located on the beach. It was damaged by the typhoon and transferred to another location. It offers all-you-can eat Filipino/Mongolian cuisine for around P300 pax.
· Balikbayan Restaurant – serves pizza, pasta, and others (meal costs around P100-P200 per person). The waiting time is also quite long.
· Blue Ice – serves pizza
For cheaper options, you can find several chicken barbecue stalls which also sell liempo (pork belly) at the Bantayan town market. You can also buy puso (rice wrapped in weaved coconut leaves). If you want fresh seafood, you can usually buy from local fishermen or at the Bantayan market and ask the resort to cook them for you.
Things to do in Bantayan Island
Aside from typical beach activities such as eating, sleeping, swimming, relaxing, walking along the beach and water sports, there are a few other options when in Bantayan island:
· Explore Madridejos town – If you have a vehicle, drive to Madridejos town (around 30minutes drive along paved roads from Bantayan town center. There is a park with long pier and lookout where you can see the lighthouse. On a cloudy/windy day, there are big waves on the shore. The scenery is beautiful & dramatic
· Explore Bantayan island via bicycle or motorbike – Rent a bike/motorbike from the Santa Fe town center (at the back of the beach) for a whole day and drive around town. Make sure to get the cellphone number of the owner in case you get a flat tire.
· Swim in a freshwater cave – Go to Ogtong Cave Resort, pay an entrance fee to swim in the cave. It can get too crowded on a holiday though.
· Take a trip to nearby Virgin Island, which is privately owned. It’s around 30 minutes from Bantayan mainland. Banca trip costs from 800-1000, entrance fee is around P300, and you can buy fresh seafood and ask the boatmen/locals to cook for you.
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