26 February 2024

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Discovering Bohol, Philippines: A Tropical Paradise of Beauty and Adventure

The island of Bohol, Philippines, is one of a compassionate, with exciting landscapes like the ‘Chocolate Hills,’ and wild tarsiers, the world’s smallest primate. Bohol isn’t as well-known as islands like Coron or El Nido in Palawan, but it’s still worth a visit.

There is a lot to see and do on the island of Bohol. You may go island hopping to enjoy white sand beaches, diving, and scuba diving, or you can take a driving tour of the countryside to view waterfalls, rice terraces, cathedrals, and, of course, the Philippine tarsiers.

It’s quite simple to get to Bohol Island from Cebu or Manila, and you can even visit Bohol on a day trip from Cebu and return the same day, however the island has enough activities to keep you occupied for at least a few days if you have time to stay longer.

This Bohol Philippines travel guide will tell you how to get there, where to stay, what to do on the island, and anything else you need to know before you go!

Where Is the Island of Bohol Located?

Bohol Island is located in the Philippines’ Central Visayas region, approximately south of Cebu. As the crow flies, it’s around 30 km from Cebu City.

You may fly there from a major city or take a ferry from one of the near islands.

How to Travel to Bohol in the Philippines

Travelling from Manila to Bohol

You may fly to Bohol from Manila on AirAsia, Cebu Pacific, or Philippine Airlines. The flight is nonstop and takes around 1.5 hours.

The Bohol international airport (code: TAG) is located in Panglao, which is also the ideal region for travellers to stay. There are several flights on this route every day, and the costs are incredibly affordable – sometimes as little as 1,700 pesos ($30 USD) for a one-way ticket!

If you had an option, I would choose Philippine carriers since they provide the greatest service, but the other carriers are also acceptable.

From Cebu to Bohol

You may reach to Bohol by fast ferry from Cebu using Oceanjet or Supercat. The boats are safe and quite pleasant, and the trip takes around 2 hours. Keep in mind that ferries may be cancelled if there is severe weather.

The Cebu ferry terminal is located in the city centre and is easily accessible via taxi. There are several boat departures every day, so you may pick the date and time that best matches your schedule.

A one-way ticket costs only 900 pesos ($16 USD), and there is a minor terminal charge to pay as well. However, booking your tickets in advance will save you time at the ferry station and ensure your seat on the boat.

There are also day excursions to Bohol from Cebu that include hotel transfers, ferry tickets, and visits to several of the island’s main attractions. If you’re short on time and want a fast way to explore some of the key sites in Bohol, this is an ideal choice.

Coming in Other Places

You may also reach Bohol by ferry from neighbouring Philippine islands such as Siquijor, Dumaguete, or Camiguin.

Finally, direct flights to Bohol are available from Davao (DVO) or El Nido (ENI) in the Philippines, as well as Seoul-Incheon (ICN) in South Korea.

Skyscanner is a great place to look for cheap flights to the Philippines.

How to Get Around on Bohol Island

Travelling across the island of Bohol is best done by vehicle, motorbike, or tuk-tuk (motorised tricycle).

Motorbikes are the most affordable form of transportation, and you can simply rent one from your hotel in Bohol or from one of the island’s motorbike rental businesses.

Tricycles are an intermediate mode of transportation. They’re a little safer and more comfortable than motorcycles, but they’re still quite inexpensive. You may either wave down a tricycle taxi on the road or request one from your hotel.

The most expensive mode of transportation in Bohol is by car, however it may be quite affordable if shared with a group of friends. It’s also the most secure and pleasant method to go about the island. This is the best method for long-distance travel.

Klook offers private vehicle charter for Bohol, allowing you to rent a local driver and a car or van for up to 8 hours of island travel. Airport transfers by automobile are also available for Panglao and other locations of Bohol.

Last but not least, taking a group trip is another option for getting about Bohol. Klook offers relatively affordable Bohol countryside excursions and island hopping trips, especially if you’re travelling alone. I just paid $10 USD for the countryside trip!

One thing to keep in mind is that, while the excursions are enjoyable, they only show you the most popular tourist attractions in Bohol.

I still think the excursions are worthwhile, but if you truly want to appreciate the beauty of Bohol, rent a motorbike or hire a private driver and travel to a remote location, such as the Cadapdapan rice terraces and Can-umantad Falls. Even the drive out there is beautiful and rewarding!

Things to Do in Bohol, Philippines

Chocolate Hills

The Chocolate Hills are one of the most recognisable views in Bohol, Philippines! More than 1,000 of these cone-shaped hills dot the island’s interior, making it one of Southeast Asia’s most unique landscapes.

The hills are dark in the dry season (January to May), but I love the green colour during the rainy season (June to December). In any case, this is one of the top things to do on Bohol Island.

There’s a platform you may climb for panoramic views of the hills, and they also have tourist activities like 4-wheeling (ATVs) and zip lines. The Chocolate Hills are located in central Bohol, roughly a 1.5-hour drive from Panglao.

Philippine Tarsiers

Bohol is recognised for being the home of the Philippine tarsiers. These small, bug-eyed creatures are the world’s tiniest primates.

In Bohol, there are two primary areas to visit tarsiers: the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary and the Bohol Tarsier Conservation Area. The sanctuary has higher recommendations, but you must travel there on your own because tours normally go to the other one.

It was disappointing to see groups of loud visitors disrespecting the conservation area and disregarding the instructions to stay quiet. Tarsiers are nocturnal animals, so please try not to disturb them too much, and remember to turn off your camera’s flash.

The Loboc River

Another popular stop on the Bohol countryside trip is the Loboc River. This one includes a gorgeous boat tour down the river, a buffet supper, and a Filipino traditional dance.

When I observed the throng and the huge queue to board the boats, I was scared it would be a meaningless tourist trap, but the boat excursion was really rather nice.

The cost of the lunch was 850 pesos, but everything was fresh and delicious, and I returned for seconds and thirds.

The tropical view along the river improves as you travel downstream, with high mountains and palm palms bordering the riverbank. Overall, it was a pleasant experience and a memorable memory from my visit to Bohol, Philippines!

The beach in Alona

Alona Beach is Bohol’s most popular tourist destination, with several hotels, bars, restaurants, massage parlours, and souvenir stores.

You may relax on the beach or participate in watersports, and it’s also a great place to see the dawn or sunset. The hawkers might be unpleasant, but if you ignore them, they will leave you alone. Alona isn’t as remarkable as some of the other excellent beaches in the Philippines, but it’s definitely worth a visit!

Dumaluan Beach

Dumaluan Beach is a quieter, more peaceful alternative to Alona. It’s cleaner and less developed, and fewer people know about it. There is also an admission charge to the beach, which keeps some of the tourists at bay.

Check out the South Palms Resort or the Bohol Beach Club for wonderful locations to stay in Dumaluan. These are stunning hotels, if a little costly.

Balicasag Island

The major location for the Bohol island hopping trips is Balicasag Island. It’s a circle-shaped island located southwest of Bohol.

We spent 2.5 hours roaming the island, soaking up the sun on the beach, and snorkelling at the reef, where you can swim alongside sea turtles. This is a great island to visit on a day trip from Bohol, Philippines!

Balicasag is a full island with many boats on the coast, but if you explore about, you can discover some peaceful locations. There are also restaurants, restrooms, and other basic amenities. Balicasag is a one-hour boat journey from Alona Beach.

Virgin Islands

Virgin Island is a natural sandbar that is generally the second destination on Bohol island hopping trips. It’s only a 30-minute boat journey from Alona Beach or Balicasag Island, making it accessible, though you must go at low tide to view the sandbar.

I must admit that the name is quite deceptive. This is hardly a ‘virgin’ island because there are boats all over it every day, and I’ve seen far prettier sandbars in the Philippines. This one also has a lot of seaweed, which might detract from the beach view.

Despite these drawbacks, I believe Virgin Island is still worth a visit, but don’t anticipate anything spectacular. We remained for approximately 30 minutes, which was sufficient. If you’re lucky, you might spot some starfish in the shallow water.

Pahangog Falls

Pahangog Falls is a beautiful turquoise waterfall located in the southern portion of the island of Bohol, roughly a 1.5 hour drive from the Panglao tourist area.

This waterfall, also known as the Dimiao Twin Falls, is my pick for the most magnificent waterfall in Bohol. The water has a beautiful turquoise colour and is ideal for swimming to cool off.

Pahangog doesn’t require a guide, although it can be useful. The trip to the falls takes around 15-30 minutes depending on your pace, but it’s a little slower returning back because it’s hilly.

If you feel tired, there are friendly drink merchants above and below the hill. We spotted some garbage, but not a lot. Overall, this waterfall is a lovely hidden gem that the big Bohol tours do not see!

Cadapdapan Rice Terraces

The rice terraces of Cadapdapan are the most magnificent on the island of Bohol. These are almost as beautiful as some of the rice terraces in Bali!

The only issue is the distance. It’s at least a 2.5-hour journey from Panglao to the Cadapdapan rice terraces, and there aren’t any group trips that go there currently, so you’ll have to drive yourself or hire a private driver (and fees will apply due to distance).

However, this is one of the nicest places to see in Bohol, and it would be unfortunate to miss it. It’s extremely beautiful at daybreak or while photographing with a drone.

Falls Can-umantad

Can-umantad is Bohol’s highest waterfall, located at a short distance from the Cadapdapan rice terraces.

In reality, a walkway leading down from the terraces goes to it. Eleuterio’s Restaurant is the ideal area to park your car or bike. You can observe the rice terraces from here and then walk down to the waterfall in approximately 15 minutes.

can-umantad Falls is a lovely two-step cascade with a turquoise pool where you may swim beneath the waterfall. There are also little drink stalls where you can get fresh coconut juice and other refreshments. It’s one of Bohol’s greatest waterfalls!

Pamilacan Island

Pamilacan is another lovely tiny island south of Bohol. This one, like Balicasag island, has a white sand beach with a round form, although Pamilacan is quieter and less crowded.

Pamilacan Island has fewer trips than Balicasag, so finding a boat to share may be more difficult. GetYourGuide, on the other hand, offers a highly rated Pamilacan trip that includes dolphin viewing, lunch, and snorkelling with sea turtles. I took this trip and had a nice time. The boat voyage from Panglao or mainland Bohol to Pamilacan takes about an hour.

Things To Do In Bohol, Philippines

Here’s a map showing some of the top things to do in Bohol Philippines that you can use to plan your own vacation to the island.

You may get additional information about each site by clicking on the icons, but bear in mind that some of the positions are approximate.

Best Beaches in Bohol

Bohol has a lot of beautiful white sand beaches. Alona Beach is the most popular, and it’s a wonderful one, but it’s also very crowded and commercialised, with a lot of tourist hotels and restaurants.

Dumaluan Beach, a 15-minute drive from Alona, is a somewhat smaller crowd option with magnificent landscape. The beach has an entry fee, however it is clean and pleasant.

Anda White Beach is another nice one, located on the extreme eastern side of Bohol, around 3 hours from Panglao and Tagbilaran. It’s a less popular location, but you can travel there by van or bus from Tagbilaran’s Dao station.

How Long Should You Stay in Bohol, Philippines?

The attractions of Bohol can be seen in only two or three days, however you could easily stay longer. Three days is usually plenty for most people.

My first impression of Bohol was that there wasn’t much to do, but after going out and seeing more of the countryside, I realised that this island is very gorgeous.

If you adore the Philippines, you might spend weeks simply touring the island of Bohol. When you step off the usual road, there is a lot to see and do.

Bohol Travel Itinerary

Here’s what your trip plan may look like if you spend three days in Bohol:

Day 1: A trip of the countryside. Spend the entire day visiting the most renowned sites in Bohol Philippines, such as the Chocolate Hills and the Tarsiers, before taking a boat tour and buffet supper on the Loboc River.

Day 2: consists of island hopping. Visit Balicasag island, visit the beach, and go snorkelling before heading to Virgin Island’s sandbar.

Day 3: Relax on Alona or Dumaluan beaches or visit some of the more remote wonders on Bohol island, such as the Cadapdapan rice terraces and Can-umantad waterfall.

When is the best time to visit Bohol, Philippines?

In terms of weather, the ideal time to visit Bohol is during the dry season (January to May), when it is less rainy and more sunny. However, these months are also busy with visitors, so there is a bit of a trade-off.

During the rainy season (June to December), Bohol has more rain and clouds, however the majority of the rain falls in the evenings or at night. I visited Bohol during the rainy season, and it had no effect on my trip.

Of course, there are no assurances that you will have pleasant weather in any season, but Bohol appears to be blessed with favourable weather more frequently than not! In conclusion, there is, in my opinion, no poor time to visit Bohol.

Best Tour Packages in Bohol

I used Klook for day trips in Bohol. They provide extremely affordable Bohol countryside excursions and island hopping tours, as well as private vehicle charters, ferries, and airport transfers in Bohol.

We’ve used Klook for a variety of excursions and activities all around the world, and they’re fantastic. Strongly recommended!

Other Bohol Island Tips

Where to Stay: South Palms Resort is a high-end on the beach hotel. The Amihan Resort in Alona Beach is a mid-range option. Greenspace is a good option for a low-cost meal.

Where to Eat: There are several nice restaurants in Bohol that appeal to a variety of preferences. Lamoy Restaurant (Asian), Paprika (beachfront), Mahalo Restaurant, and A Tavola are a few suggestions.

Mosquitoes: I spotted a few mosquitoes in Panglao and Bohol, but they weren’t a big problem. According to the Philippine Department of Health, the province of Bohol is malaria-free, and prophylaxis is not recommended. However, there is a risk of dengue fever, so using bug repellent when out and about is still a good idea.

Cell Service: On much of the island, I got decent service and internet speeds with Globe.

WiFi: The internet situation in Bohol is constantly improving, and you can now access fast WiFi in many of the least budget hotels and hostels.

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