Bantayan Island, Cebu Itinerary: 2 days beach

Powder white sand! It's like Boracay 10 or 15 years ago.
Beach | Bantayan Island: Santa Fe
Santa Fe, Bantayan Island, Cebu
Hours to island (from Cebu City): 4-5 hours
Specs: White sand beach, snorkeling, laid back community; 0 MASL (beach)


Things to consider:
· There are plenty of beach resorts in Santa Fe to choose from. Some even have campsites for backpackers. So far, I’ve only tired staying at Santa Fe Beach club (near the pier) and Sugar Beach (on the Western side of Santa Fe). Don’t hesitate to ask me questions about my stay there.
· Most beach resorts are owned or partially-owned by foreigners (Koreans, French, etc.)
· Clean sand and clear water. Shallow beach with calm waves (low tide on mornings, windy in the afternoon)
· It is best to book hotel accommodation ahead of time, especially during peak season (holidays or summer: March-June)
. I recommend having your lunch (first meal in the island) at the beach resort you’re staying at to save time and to have an idea if their food is good (otherwise, you’ll have to look for another place to eat dinner).
. Watch out for food peddlers for a taste of local food and snacks such as crabs, seashells, bananas and rice cakes.
· Ogtong cave entrance fee is P50-P100. But if you are checked in at a Santa Fe Beach Club-operated resort, it is free (including transfers).
· The bus ride from Cebu North terminal to Hagnaya takes 2.5-3 hours.
. Recommended bus line: Ceres Bus
· Non-airconditioned buses are more common than airconditioned ones.
· Stuff your bag with snacks because you’ll be spending plenty of time on the road/boat.
. The waves tend to be a little rough during the afternoon (around 3PM-5PM)
. Once the barge/ferry reaches Hagnaya, get up and be among the first people to get off. Just take my my word for it: sprint towards the first bus you see and save seats for you and your companions as bus seats go easily. If you miss the bus, you might have to wait hours for the next one or be forced to rent a taxi (expensive!) to go back to Cebu City.

. Best use this itinerary as a filler to your even bigger Cebu itinerary (Cebu City, Malapascua, Moalboal, Camotes, etc.).
. Other airlines aside from Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific fly to Cebu City, like Zest Air, Sea Air, PAL express, Air Philippines. Check their websites to see their flight schedules.
. The flight schedules sampled above may change in time. I suggest that you check their websites and adjust the itinerary to fit your schedule.
· Taking private car will reduce travel time by about 20 mins. Park your car (at your own risk) at Hagnaya port for a fee.
. You may also bring your car to the island since the ferries traveling to and from Banatayan Island are Ro-Ro boats (roll-on-roll-off).
· Food and drinks are sold on some of the bigger barges/ferries
· It is best to buy a return ferry ticket ahead of time, preferably just after arriving on the island, to make sure you have sure seats on your way back.
· You may hire a tri-sikad/tricycle in Santa Fe to take you around the town. It costs about P20-50 per person, depending on how far your destination is.
. You may opt to visit Virgin island or go snorkeling on your afternoon free time.
. If you know how to ride, then go ahead and rent a motorbike. You will be able to go around the whole island, stopping by small towns and tourist attractions in just 4-6 hours. Here is my suggested itinerary.
· You can choose to stay in Cebu city for another night or two –for a tour of the city- before flying back for Manila
. Book a room in Cebu City here (Yes, that's my affiliate link).
· Malapascua Island is another 2-hour bus ride and boat from Hagnaya port- That's bus to Maya port, then boat to Malapascua Island.

Budget around P1610 (P3810*) per pax
Budget estimate for 2 people:
4000 promo fare roundtrip airfare from Manila (price ranges from P288-P3500 per person)*
400 airport terminal fee (P200 per person)*
115 approx. taxi fare to North bus terminal
200 bus North terminal to Hagnaya port (~P80-P110 per person)
600 roundtrip boat fare to and fro Bantayan island (~P280-P300 per person)
700 cottage/room accommodation for 2 (~P700-P1000++)
200 bus Hagnaya port to North terminal
100 approx. taxi fare from city to airport (or hotel)
1000 food share
300 misc (port terminal fees, trike fees and tips, etc.)
*Estimated budget if you are coming from Manila

** Check website below for list of beach resorts
DETAILED guide to Bantayan Island by Pjames here.

.trisikad or tricycle – 3 wheeled passenger bicycle or motorcycle
.siesta – afternoon nap
.bayan/mercado – market, small town business center
.merienda – afternoon snack

Hagnaya Shipping Schedule

Santa Fe Beach Club (Low tide on the beach)

Entrance to Ogtong Cave (That’s my friend, Raich!)

Itinerary and expenses updated on: Jan 25, 2009
Updated budget estimate: October 14, 2008
Itinerary and expenses recorded on October 31, 2007

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