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Suppose you want to escape the daily grind from a busy week to a long weekend. If you’re with your family and friends or even traveling alone – like a nomad, Bantayan island Cebu is a perfect destination for you. Find out how to get to the island, options for getting around, things to do and see, and the best time to visit Bantayan island Cebu.

Learning About Bantayan Island Cebu

coconut tree in virgin island
Virgin Island

Bantayan Island is a picturesque tropical paradise situated in the northern portion of Cebu Province in the Philippines. It is a popular destination for tourists seeking a tranquil getaway, pristine beaches, and a laid-back atmosphere.

The island has three main towns: Bantayan, Madridejos, and Santa Fe. The most famous town for tourists is Santa Fe, which has the island’s best beaches, resorts, and restaurants. The town of Bantayan is the oldest on the island and is home to historic Spanish-era structures, including the Bantayan Church and the ruins of the Bantayan watchtower.

Before you continue, we have prepared a full round-up of the best Bantayan island tourist spots just for you.

What is Bantayan Island known for?

Bantayan Island is also famous for its delicious dried fish, which is a popular delicacy in the island. The island’s fishermen catch various types of fish, including ‘danggit’ (rabbitfish), ‘pusit’ (squid), and dilis (anchovy), which are then dried and preserved for consumption.

Danggit is the most popular dried fish on the island, known for its crispy texture and savory flavor. Locals and tourists alike enjoy eating ‘danggit’ with rice, vinegar, and tomato-onion dip. Pusit and ‘dilis’ are also popular dried fish on the island, and they are often used as toppings for salads, pasta dishes, and fried rice.

The island’s dried fish industry is an important source of livelihood for the locals. Many families on the island are involved in the fishing and drying process, which is typically done in open-air drying racks. The dried fish are then sold in local markets, as well as in specialty shops in nearby cities like Cebu.

How to Get to Bantayan Island

To get to Bantayan Island, you will need to travel to Cebu City in the Philippines, which is the nearest major city. From Cebu City, there are two main ways to reach Bantayan Island:

By Ferry: 

sta fe port bantayan cebu
Santa Fe Port Bantayan Island

The most common way to reach Bantayan Island is by ferry. You can take a bus or taxi from Cebu City to Hagnaya Port, which is located in the town of San Remigio. The bus ride takes about four hours, while a taxi ride takes approximately two hours. From Hagnaya Port, you can then take a RoRo ferry to Santa Fe Port on Bantayan Island. The ferry ride takes around an hour, and several trips are available throughout the day.

By Land and Ferry: 

Another way to get to Bantayan Island is by taking a bus or van directly from Cebu City to the town of Bantayan. The bus or van ride takes around four hours, and you will then need to take a ferry from Bantayan Port to Santa Fe Port on Bantayan Island. The RoRo ferry ride takes approximately 1.5 hours and costs Php170. You must pay PHP 30 for the green fee, which is levied against all tourists and non-residents when you arrive in Santa Fe.

By Air: 

For those who find the lengthy bus and boat rides to Bantayan Island unappealing, Air Juan now provides an alternative to significantly reduce travel time by flying directly to the island.

According to Air Juan, the direct flight from Mactan to Bantayan Island will take approximately 30 minutes. The airline plans to operate flights twice a week, on Monday and Thursday, using its 9-seater Cessna Caravan aircraft.

Please see the flight schedules below:

• Mactan–Cebu International Airport – Bantayan Airport

– ETD: 10:00AM

– ETA: 10:40AM

• Bantayan Airport – Mactan–Cebu International Airport

– ETD: 11:00AM

– ETA: 11:40AM

At the time of writing, the approximate one-way fare is P1,288 (23.61 USD), and the round-trip fare is P2,576 (47.22 USD). 

QUICK NOTE: Be aware that the price may fluctuate based on the season or any promotional offers available.

Best Time to Go to Bantayan Island

Virgin island Bantayan Cebu
Virgin Island Bantayan Cebu

The best time to visit the island is from November to May, which is the dry season in the Philippines. During this time, the weather is usually sunny and dry, making it perfect for beach activities and island hopping. The months of December to February are particularly pleasant, with cooler temperatures and lower humidity.

The rainy season in Bantayan Island runs from June to October, with the peak of the typhoon season occurring in September. During this time, the island may experience occasional heavy rains and strong winds, which can affect outdoor activities.

Visitors should also take note that Bantayan Island is a popular destination during Holy Week, particularly on Good Friday when tourists from all over the country flock to the island for its religious activities and beautiful beaches. If you’re planning to visit during this time, make sure to book your accommodations and transportation in advance.

5 Options for Getting Around Bantayan Island

Baigad Lagoon Bantayan island

Getting around Bantayan Island is relatively easy and affordable. Here are some common modes of transportation on the island:

1. Tricycles 

Tricycles are a common mode of transportation on Bantayan Island. They are small motorized vehicles that can accommodate up to three passengers. Tricycles are ideal for short distances, and the fare usually ranges from P10 to P50, depending on the distance.

2. Jeepney or Multicab

In Bantayan Island, the iconic Filipino jeepney and its smaller counterpart, the multi-cab, are popular modes of transportation, especially for travel between municipalities like Bantayan or Madridejos to Santa Fe and vice versa. Depending on the size of the vehicle, it can accommodate groups ranging from 10 to 18 people, with the driver making stops along the way to pick up additional passengers.

If you prefer a more private transportation option, you can hire the entire jeepney or multi-cab for your group to tour the entire island. Discussing your itinerary and negotiating the price with the driver beforehand is important. The cost of renting the vehicle for a day will vary depending on your agreement with the driver.

3. Motorcycles

Motorcycles, also known as habal-habal, are another popular mode of transportation on Bantayan Island. They are ideal for exploring the island’s remote areas and can be rented for around P400 to P500 daily. It’s important to note that helmets are required by law when riding motorcycles.

4. Bicycles

Bicycles can also be rented on the island for around P100 to P150 per day – that’s $2 – $3 in USD. Biking is an enjoyable way to explore the island at a leisurely pace and a great way to stay active while on vacation.

5. Private Car 

If you prefer more privacy and convenience, you can rent a private car for around P1,500 to P2,000 per day – that’s $28 – $37 in USD. Renting a car is ideal if you plan to visit multiple attractions or if you have a large group.

What to See and Do in Bantayan Island Cebu

Rock perfect for cliff diving
Cliff diving in Bantayan Island

With its natural beauty and iconic beaches, this Island offers visitors a wide range of activities. Here are some things to see and do in Bantayan Island:

Visit The Beaches 

Bantayan Island is famous for its stunning beaches with crystal-clear waters and powdery white sand. Some of the most popular beaches include Sugar Beach, Paradise Beach, and Kota Beach.

Island Hopping 

Explore the nearby islands and islets around Bantayan Island, such as Virgin Island, Hilantagaan Island, and Kinatarkan Island. Enjoy snorkeling and swimming in the crystal-clear waters, and relax on the beautiful beaches.

Visit Historical Sites 

Bantayan Island has a rich history, and visitors can explore some of the island’s historic landmarks, such as the Saint Peter and Paul Church, the Fort of Madridejos, and the Bantayan Municipal Hall.

Try the Local Cuisine 

Bantayan Island is known for its delicious seafood and other local delicacies, such as dried fish and bukayo (sweet coconut strips). Be sure to try some of the local dishes at the island’s restaurants and food stalls.

Attend Local Festivals 

Bantayan Island celebrates several festivals throughout the year, such as the Holy Week procession, the fiesta of Saint Peter and Paul, and the Bantayan Island Music Festival. These events showcase the island’s culture and traditions.

Scuba Diving 

Bantayan Island offers several scuba diving spots, such as the Virgin Island Marine Sanctuary and the Hilantagaan Island Marine Sanctuary. Explore the colorful coral reefs and underwater marine life.

Where to Stay in Bantayan Island

This island offers a variety of accommodations for visitors, ranging from budget-friendly options to more luxurious resorts. Here are some of the best places to stay in Bantayan Island:

Beachfront Resorts: 

Bantayan Island has a variety of beachfront resorts that offer stunning views of the ocean and easy access to the beach. Some popular beachfront resorts include Anika Island Resort, Sta. Fe Beach Club, and Hoyohoy Villas.

Budget-friendly accommodations: 

For those on a tight budget, Bantayan Island offers several affordable accommodations, such as guesthouses, backpacker hostels, and homestays. Some popular options include Bantayan Huts, Kota Beach Resort, and JJ’s Place.

Private Villas: 

Bantayan Island also has several private villas that offer more privacy and space. These villas often come with private pools and fully equipped kitchens. Some popular private villas include Beach Placid Resort, Ogtong Cave Resort, and Hoyohoy Villas.


For a unique experience, visitors can try glamping in Bantayan Island. Glamping options include tented camps with comfortable beds, private bathrooms, and other amenities. Some popular glamping options include Beach Placid Resort, Wasap Beach Camp, and Ogtong Cave Resort.

Bantayan Island has a wide range of accommodations to suit different budgets and preferences. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious beachfront resort or a budget-friendly guesthouse, there’s something for everyone in Bantayan Island.

What to Eat and Drink in Bantayan Island

Bantayan island is also famous for its delicious seafood and local delicacies. Here are some of the must-try foods and drinks in Bantayan Island:

Dried Fish 

Bantayan Island is famous for its dried fish, which are made from freshly caught fish that are sun-dried and preserved. This is a popular snack and souvenir among visitors.


Bantayan Island offers a variety of fresh seafood, including squid, shrimp, crabs, and different types of fish. These are often grilled or fried and served with rice and vegetables.

Buko Juice 

This refreshing drink is made from fresh coconut water and is a popular drink among visitors. It’s a great way to stay hydrated while enjoying the island’s hot weather.


This roasted pig dish is a popular Filipino food, and Bantayan Island offers its version of this delicacy. The lechon in Bantayan Island is known for its crispy skin and flavorful meat.


Chicharon or pork cracklings are a popular snack in Bantayan Island. It is made from deep-fried pork skin and is a crunchy and savory snack.


This is a sweet stew made from different root crops, fruits, and coconut milk. It’s a popular dessert in Bantayan Island, especially during the Holy Week.


Grilled meat skewers are popular street food in Bantayan Island, and visitors can enjoy different types of meat, such as chicken, pork, and beef.

Tips and Notes in Traveling Bantayan Island

If you’re planning to travel to Bantayan Island, here are some tips and notes to help make your trip more enjoyable:

Pack light: Bantayan Island is a relatively small island, and you’ll mostly be traveling on foot or by motorbike. It’s best to pack light to make it easier to move around.

Bring cash: Most establishments in Bantayan Island, especially in the more remote areas, only accept cash. It’s best to bring enough cash with you to cover your expenses during your stay.

Apply sunscreen: Bantayan Island can get really hot, so it’s essential to protect your skin from the sun. Apply sunscreen regularly, wear a hat or cap, and bring sunglasses.

Respect the local culture: Bantayan Island is a predominantly Catholic community, so it’s essential to respect the local culture and traditions. Dress modestly when visiting churches and other religious sites.

Stay hydrated: Make sure to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, especially when engaging in outdoor activities.

Book your accommodations and transportation in advance: Bantayan Island is a popular tourist destination, so it’s best to book your accommodations and transportation in advance, especially during peak season.

Be mindful of the environment: Bantayan Island is well known for its beautiful beaches and clear waters. Help preserve the environment by not littering and properly disposing of your trash.

Final Thoughts

If you’re planning to visit Bantayan Island, I can say that it is indeed a beautiful destination that offers a lot of things to see and do. From its pristine beaches to its rich culture and history, Bantayan Island has something for every type of traveler.

One of the things that I loved about the island is its laid-back and relaxed atmosphere. It’s the perfect place to unwind and disconnect from the stresses of city life. I also enjoyed exploring the island’s many attractions, such as its old churches, mangrove forests, and rock formations.

But what really stood out to me was the warmth and hospitality of the locals. They were always friendly and welcoming, whether you are a local or foreigner, making my stay on the island even more memorable. 

If you’re planning to visit Bantayan Island, I highly recommend going during the dry season from November to May and make sure to try out some of the island’s must-see and must-try attractions, such as the Virgin Island, Kota Park, and dried fish. And remember to take some time to relax and soak up the island’s beauty and charm.

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