Bantayan Island Cebu Best Travel Tips and Guides

We’re sharing here the best Bantayan Island Cebu travel guides and tips. What are the best resorts and hotels to check in Bantayan island, how to go to Bantayan island, and the places you must visit while you’re in the island.

Why you should visit Bantayan Island?

  • Bantayan island is one of the most beautiful islands in the Philippines because of its crystal blue waters, white powdery sands, amazing sandbars and virgin islands.
  • It’s not too crowded there like many other famous beaches in the country.
  • The oldest Catholic Parish Church in the Visayan Region (St. Peter and St. Paul Parish), is located in Bantayan Island Cebu
  • Lots of activities to do like snorkeling, island hopping, jet skiing, kayaking, SUPing, scuba diving and other water activities
  • Sky Diving and Aerial Tour Sight Seeing are also what make the island in your bucket list

Why it’s called Bantayan Island?

I’ve asked locals about the history of Bantayan and I’ve got two answers:

One, it was believed that the first people who came and discovered the island found a little boy who used to guard and protect the island. They believed it was Sto. Niño. Sto Niño is the patron saint of Cebu. Guarding and protecting in our dialect means “bantayan.”

Second, the word Bantayan came from the locals who used to guard the island from invaders. They would shout “Bantayan! Bantayan!” when they see invaders coming closer.

How to go to Bantayan Island?

Bantayan Island is located in the northern part of Cebu so I will share here the most common route originating from Mactan International Airport. The port in Bantayan is in Santa Fe. It is where most of the beach resorts are located.

There are 2 ways to reach Bantayan island:

Via bus and ferry

Bus (3 ½ hours) + Ferry (1 ½ hour). From Cebu MIA, take a taxi to go to the North Bus Terminal. At the terminal, ride a yellow Ceres Bus going to Hagnaya Port. In Hagnaya Port, take a ferry going to Santa Fe, Bantayan Island. Cost: P125 (regular bus) + 167 (ferry)

Via plane

Southern Air Flight Services, Inc. serves flights from Sante Fe Airport to Cebu Airport and to any destination in the Philippines. This is very expensive, starts at P15,000 for 3 persons. Note that you have to contact their company if you’re interested with their service.

Bantayan Island Travel Tips

Know the schedule for the bus and ferry to save most of your time considering your hotel check in time as well. Remember that the trip from Bantayan alone takes around 5 hours from Cebu MIA. We posted the bus and ferry schedules below for your guidance for both arriving and departing Bantayan.

The color of the beach in Bantayan is amazing and beautiful starting from 10am until 4pm. I’m telling you this because I know you love taking photos and videos. The sandbars look perfect, too during those times.

I suggest that you take the bus ride to Hagnaya Port as early as 7am so that you will avoid traffic on the way. This will make your trip comfy and faster. You’ll likely arrive in Santa Fe after lunch and just in time for your hotel check in. If you don’t have hotel yet, ride the bus as early as 6am.

Book a beach front room because nothing is beautiful as waking up in the morning seeing a fantastic beach view.

Your Roadmap Visiting Bantayan Island:

Bantayan Island Ferry and Bus Schedule

It is important to know the schedule of trips especially for the ferry. Remember, the last trip of the ferry.

bantayan island ferry schedule

Ceres buses from the North Bus Terminal are always available so no worries.

Bantayan Island Best Resorts and Hotels

There are no 5-star hotels yet in Bantayan Island so do not expect a 5-star service and accommodation. However, there are resorts that serve well with nice amenities. I have listed the resorts I recommend below. I also recommend resort hopping, like going to another resort for lunch to see their beach front and amenities.

Room rates are around 2,500/night or 3,500 on some beach front rooms. The closer to the beach, the pricey it gets. I checked in for 4 days at Budyong Beach Resort since it has the perfect view for me and it is next to Kota Beach and Marlin’s Beach. Staying in a beach front Cabana is priceless for me.

  • Anika Beach Resort – if you’re looking for great amenities, yummy foods and shallow beach
  • Marlin Beach – if you’re looking for a nice view while relaxing or eating
  • Budyong Beach – if you’re looking for a perfect beach view with sandbars
  • Kota Beach – if you’re looking for a nice beach front villa and gorgeous view with sandbars
anika beach bantayan island
marlin beach bantayan island
Stunning view at Marlin Beach Resort
budyong beach bantayan island
Perfect place to stay in Budyong Beach Resort
kota beach villas bantayan island
Nice villa of Kota beach Resort

Bantayan Island Resorts Map

I was actually searching about this map but never found it online so I got it from Bantayan myself. I like to share it here because I know it will guide and help you.

bantayan island resorts map

The Best Places you must Visit in Bantayan Island:

  • Amazing beaches of Santa Fe
  • Sandbars at Kota Beach, Budyong Beach, Anika Beach
  • Ogtong Cave
  • Virgin Island
  • Sts. Peter and Paul Parish
  • Bantayan Island Nature Park and Resort
  • Island hopping – Virgin Island, Hilantagan Island, Kinatarkan Island
  • Tristans’ Pizza
sts peter and paul parish bantayan
Sts. Peter and Paul Parish
bantayan island nature park resort
Nature Park and Resort
bantayan island cave
Ogtong Cave
virgin island bantayan
Virgin Island
tristan's pizza bantayan
Tristan’s Pizza

Bantayan Island Entrance Fees and other Fees:

  • Terminal Fees P5 per person
  • 3-wheeler bike service – P20/person
  • Habal-habal (motorcycle rent) – P150/day
  • Island hopping – P1500/boat service
  • Virgin Island Entrance Fee – P500/2 persons, P100 extra person
  • Virgin Island Cottages – P300, P500, P800, P1000 depending on sizes
  • Snorkeling Gear Rental Fee – P100/day
  • Bantayan Island Nature Park and Resort entrance fee – P200/person
  • Sky Diving – P18,000 per person (includes 1 tandem skydive, photos, raw videos and certificate)
bantayan island cebu travel tips guides

Follow Bantayan Island Facebook page for more pictures and videos

About Fehl Dungo

Licensed Career Service Professional, tech investor, founder of Philpad, and published author of a poetry book at Barnes&Noble.

22 thoughts on “Bantayan Island Cebu Best Travel Tips and Guides”

  1. Yay! This blog is really helpful. Thank you for all the info’s and tips. Me and my friends are excited for our trip in Bantayan next month. Can’t wait to see more of your blog exploring in The Philippines.

    Reply
  2. hi maam good day. i would like to ask kung ano po oras ng last trip or first trip going to hagnaya port from north bus terminal by ceres bus? i will expect a reply po. thank you.

    Reply
    • Resort hopping is allowed and it’s free. When you’re in Budyong, just walk few steps to the left and you’re in Kota Beach na. Then walk a few meters away to the left again, you’re in Marlin’s na 🙂

      Reply
  3. Hello, me and my team are planning to go to bantayan on june 10-12.
    Can somebody suggest a budget friendly accommodation? For approximately 14-16 persons.
    We also plan to do island tour

    Reply
  4. Sta. Fe beaches are very nice…With long white sand bar that surrounds the island. You can do snorkelling and sightseeing..And if you really want to see all
    the sandbars i recommend that you do sand bar hopping i can facilitate on the transportation (motorized banca) if you are interested.

    Reply
  5. Hi good day! We are planning to visit this August. Is it ok to visit there on that month, is it too wavey in traveling from Hagnaya to Sta. Fe. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Yes, August is fine as long as there are no typhoons. It’s always a smooth trip and not wavy. Nevertheless, the Coastguard won’t allow trips if it’s dangerous

      Reply
  6. Hello. May I ask what is the latest bus trip from cebu to hagnaya port? Samw as with the ferry from hagnaya to bantayan? Thanks. Would appreciate much for your reply. Godbless

    Reply
    • You can find Ceres Buses at the North Bus Terminal as early as 6am. I recommend riding bus from the North Terminal as early as 6 or 7 am to catch the Ferry scheduled to leave Hagnaya at lunch.

      The Ferry Trip Schedules for Hagnaya Port and Sante Fe, Bantayan are listed above in the article (see the pic). Just take note of the Ferry schedules because the buses are easy to find

      Reply
  7. On Mactan Island which is just across the bridge from Cebu City there is a great place called Cordova Home Village, the prices are good and the place is very clean and up to date. you can visit their website and inquire about pricing and room type. They have free Airport pickup from the Cebu International Airport, actually the Airport is on Mactan Island so it is an easy trip to the Cordova Home Village. They have basic rooms and also with kitchens and 1 bedroom and 2 bedrooms. Just inquire via e-mail at their website. Just a note the Sacred Heart Apartel on Bantayan is not a fancy place it is just a room with aircon. I stay at both places when I go to Cebu and Bantayan.

    Reply
  8. Bantayan Island is a great place to visit/vacation. There are many low priced budget places to stay (just basic room for p400 a night with aircon) – Sacred Heart Apartel in the town of Bantayan is one that I can recommend. It is on the right side of the road going to the Bantayan Town Square from Santa Fe. If you like more upscale places then Otong Cave resort and many others offer finer accommodations at a much higher price. Rent a motorcycle and explore everything from the south to the north. Be careful riding motorcycles and observe all safety measures for a great time exploring Bantayan Island. I know this because I own beach property on Bantayan Island and will retire there soon 🙂 Very friendly and honest people everywhere on the island.

    Reply
    • Thank you for sharing about cheap rooms with aircon. My sister and I will be in Bantayan on April and we want to explore the place more this time

      Reply
  9. I’d stay away from Agoda they do not honor any refunds or adjustments they just give you the run around if there are any issues. You will never get any satisfaction from them. I have personally experienced their lack of customer service.

    Reply
  10. At the north shore of Bantayan island in the town of Madridejos there is Kota Fort built long ago as a lookout for the marauding Moros. Also at the north shore there is Kota park with a nice beach and a long pier with a lookout at the end of the pier. Madridejos is a great place to visit and it is less crowed and much more peaceful and scenic than the main tourist spot of Santa Fe.

    Reply
  11. Do not bother visiting Virgin Island. It is restricted to the beach landing area only, and there are extra charges. Nothing special there there to see anyway. Money is better spent to organise a barbecue and fun on Bantayan beach for the local children

    Not really necessary to book any accommodation ahead of arriving. Some places of course will not be to your liking. There are plenty of vacancies dotted around for the same price or less than as advertised on websites.

    Reply
  12. Thank you so much for all the info’s u have posted here. its a great help for us because we are visiting bantayan by next sat. but we are arriving in cebu on friday june 19,do u have any idea where is the cheapest hotel or transient in cebu city that we can stay by friday? pls help. thanks

    Reply

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