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Bantayan Island Travel Tips and Guide

Bantayan Island Travel Tips

Bantayan Islands in Cebu is one of the many stunning islands in the Philippines that is yet to be fully commercialized. Unlike popular destinations such as Boracay and El Nido, Bantayan Islands is still (relatively) under the radar when it comes to exotic islands to visit in the Philippines.

And for selfish reasons, I hope it stays under the radar. Bantayan Island is an unspoiled tropical paradise that rivals the very best in the Philippines. Imagine secluded white sand beaches, calm aquamarine waters amidst the glistening sun, hidden caves that make you go whoaaa, narrow dirt roads lined up with tall coconut palm trees, and a whole lot more.

It’s hard to believe that Bantayan suffered the most violent typhoon ever recorded in history just five years ago. From the pictures and videos online, the destruction of Typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Typhoon Yolanda) was chilling and unimaginable. It speaks volumes on the efforts of the volunteers from all over the world and resilience of the locals to bring back Bantayan Island what it was once.

How to Get to Bantayan Island

Bantayan Island is located in the Visayas region on the northwest tip of the island of Cebu, about an hour flight from the main capital of Manila. The closest airport to Bantayan Island is in Cebu City. Once you arrive, take a bus (or a private taxi) to Hagnaya Ferry Terminal, which is about a three-hour bus ride, or an approximate two-hour taxi ride. The bus fare costs approximately 160 PHP while a private taxi costs 2500 PHP from Cebu to Hagnaya.

Note that the private taxi from Hagnaya Ferry Terminal back to Cebu City is offered at a smaller rate for 1500 PHP. Once you arrive at Hagnaya, take a 45-minute ferry to Bantayan. Keep in mind that the last ferry that leaves Hagnaya is around 5:30pm. For any reason you arrive later than this time, you may arrange a private boat that can take you from Hagnaya to Bantayan.


Where to Stay in Bantayan Island

One of my favorite places I’ve stayed so far in the Philippines is Hoyohoy Resorts in Bantayan Island. The resort has 8 mini villas that felt more like an estate.

The room itself is very comfortable with a lot of character. I think my favorite part is the shower, set out in the open just outside the bathroom. It made our visit feel even more exotic!


hoyohoy resorts bantayan island travel tips and guide

hoyohoy resorts bantayan island travel tips and guide

hoyohoy resorts bantayan island travel tips and guide



The Vibe

Bantayan Island doesn’t share (yet) the international fame that Boracay and Palawan enjoys. So as you’d expect, there is no mass tourism, no crowd, no traffic.

The island itself is still very undeveloped, which is a great thing. There aren’t many places left in the world that’s remained its true authentic self without commercialism ruining it.

I was surprise, however, by the number of older white men who seem to have retired on the island. Every night when we went out to dinner, we see the same bunch hanging out and having drinks with their buddies… and Filipina wives.



bantayan island philippines travel tips

Getting Around

Just like my trip to Siargao, the most efficient way of getting around the island is renting a scooter, which you can negotiate for around 300 PHP a day. If driving a scooter is not your thing, there are plenty of tricycles that can take you around.

Santa Fe is the main town that caters to the tourists. Much of the action in the island happens here. The town has pretty good selection of restaurants, bars, market, and… an ATM.


bantayan island philippines travel tips and guide


Hello fellow trotters! My name is Mick Salas, Filipino-American travel blogger based in Chicago. I was born in the Philippines, grew up in Chicago, studied in San Diego, and worked for a French organization for six years. And now I’m traveling full-time!

Read more about my my most memorable travel experiences, favorite destinations, and other fun travel facts here!

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