Bohol Philippines Island Travel Guide & How To Visit

by David & Intan

The island of Bohol Philippines is a unique one, with exotic landscapes like the ‘Chocolate Hills,’ and wild tarsiers, the world’s smallest primate. Bohol may not be quite as popular as islands like Coron or El Nido Palawan, but it’s still worth a visit.

There are lots of good things to see and do in Bohol island. You can go island hopping to enjoy some white sand beaches, snorkeling, and scuba diving, or you can do a driving tour of the countryside to see waterfalls, rice terraces, churches, and of course the Philippine tarsiers.

It’s relatively easy to get to Bohol Island from Cebu or Manila, and you can even visit Bohol on a day trip from Cebu and go back in the same day, although there are enough activities on the island to keep you busy for at least a few days if you have time to stay longer.

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


 

Where Is Bohol Island Located?

Bohol island is located in the Central Visayas of the Philippines, just south of Cebu. It’s about 30 kilometers from Cebu city as the crow flies.

You can get there by flying from a big city, or taking a ferry from one of the nearby islands.

Bohol Philippines Island Travel Guide Balicasag Drone

Drone pic of Balicasag Island — one of the most popular places in Bohol Philippines!


 

How To Get To Bohol Philippines

• From Manila To Bohol

From Manila, you can fly to Bohol with AirAsia, Cebu Pacific, or Philippine Airlines. The flight is non-stop and only takes about 1.5 hours.

The Bohol international airport is located in Panglao (code: TAG), which also happens to be the best area for tourists to stay. There are a bunch of flights on this route every day, and the prices are very reasonable — sometimes as low as 1,700 pesos ($30 USD) for a one way ticket!

If you have a choice, I would go with Philippine Airlines because they have the best service, but the other airlines are fine too.

Shop Now: Flights To Bohol

 

• From Cebu To Bohol

From Cebu, you can get to Bohol by fast ferry with Oceanjet or Supercat. The boats are safe and relatively comfortable, and the journey takes about 2 hours. Keep in mind, the ferries may be canceled if there’s stormy weather.

The Cebu ferry terminal is a short distance from the Cebu city center, and it’s easy to get there with a taxi. There are lots of ferry departures every day, so you can choose the date and time that fits your schedule best.

Prices are a very affordable 900 pesos ($16 USD) for a one way ticket, and there’s a small terminal fee to pay as well. It’s a good idea to book your tickets in advance though, so you can save time at the ferry terminal and guarantee your spot on the boat.

There are even day tours to Bohol from Cebu that include hotel transfers, ferry tickets, and a visit to many of the top sights on Bohol island. This can be a good option if you’re short on time and want an easy way to see some of the main highlights of Bohol.

Book Now: Bohol Ferry / Tour From Cebu

 

• From Other Places

You can also get to Bohol by ferry from other nearby islands in the Philippines like Siquijor, Dumaguete, or Camiguin.

Last, but not least, there are direct flights to Bohol from Davao (DVO) or El Nido (ENI) in the Philippines, or from Seoul–Incheon (ICN) in South Korea.

You can shop for flights to the Philippines at Skyscanner.

Bohol Philippines Island Travel Guide Chocolate Hills

The famous Chocolate Hills of Bohol Philippines!

Bohol Philippines Island Travel Guide Balicasag Drone

Blue and turquoise waters at Balicasag Island


 

How To Get To Get Around Bohol Island

The best way to get around Bohol island is by car, motorbike, or tuk-tuk (motorized tricycle).

Motorbike is the cheapest transport, and you can easily rent a bike from your hotel in Bohol or from one of the motorbike rental shops on the island.

Tricycles are an intermediate option. They’re a bit safer and more comfortable than motorbikes, but still pretty cheap. You can flag down a trike taxi on the road, or ask your hotel to call one for you.

Car is the most expensive way to get around Bohol, but it can still be very economical if you share it with a group of friends. It’s also the safest and most comfortable way to explore the island. For long distance trips, this is the way to go.

Klook has a private car charter for Bohol so you can hire a local driver with a car or van for up to 8 hours of touring all over the island. They also have airport transfers by car for Panglao and other areas of Bohol.

Loboc River Cruise Bohol Philippines Island Travel Guide

Tropical scenery on the Loboc river cruise

Bohol Philippines Island Travel Guide Tarsier

Philippine Tarsier

Last, but not least, another way to get around in Bohol is by joining a group tour. Klook has Bohol countryside tours and island hopping tours that are very reasonably priced, especially if you’re a solo traveler. I did the countryside tour for only $10 USD!

One thing to keep in mind is that even though the tours are nice, you don’t really see the true countryside of Bohol, just the most popular tourist sights.

I still think the tours are worth doing, but if you really want to see the beauty of Bohol you should rent a motorbike or hire a private driver and go to something more remote like the Cadapdapan rice terraces and Can-umantad Falls. Even the drive out there is incredibly scenic and worthwhile!
 

Best Things To Do In Bohol Philippines

• Chocolate Hills

The Chocolate Hills are one of the most iconic sights in Bohol Philippines! There are more than 1,000 of these cone-shaped hills spread out in the interior of the island, and it has to be one of Southeast Asia’s most unusual landscapes.

You can see the brown color of the hills in the dry season (January to May), but I actually prefer the green color during the rainy season months (June to December). Either way, this is one of the best things to do in Bohol island.

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

Book Now: Bohol Countryside Tour

Bohol Philippines Island Travel Guide Chocolate Hills

Panoramic view of the Chocolate Hills

Bohol Philippines Island Travel Guide Chocolate Hills

Chocolate Hills


 

• Philippine Tarsiers

Bohol is famous for being home to the Philippine tarsiers. These little bug-eyed animals are the world’s smallest primates.

There are two main places to see tarsiers in Bohol: the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary or the Bohol Tarsier Conservation Area. The sanctuary gets better reviews, but you have to visit it independently since the tours usually go to the other one.

At the conservation area, it was disappointing to see crowds of noisy tourists being disrespectful and ignoring the signs to keep quiet. Tarsiers are nocturnal animals, so please try not to disturb them too much, and remember to disable the flash on your camera.

Bohol Philippines Island Travel Guide Tarsier

Philippine Tarsier


 

• Loboc River

The Loboc River is another popular spot to visit on the Bohol countryside tour. For this one, you’ll hop on a scenic boat cruise along the river, enjoying a buffet meal and a Filipino cultural dance.

When I saw the crowds and the long line to get into the boats, I was worried this might turn out to be a pointless tourist trap, but the boat cruise was actually pretty enjoyable. The meal was a bit pricey, at 850 pesos, but all of the food was fresh and good, and I came back for seconds and thirds.

The tropical scenery along the river gets better as you go, with steep mountains and palm trees lining the riverside. Overall, it was a nice experience and a fun memory from my trip to Bohol Philippines!

Book Now: Bohol Countryside Tour

Loboc River Cruise

Loboc river cruise


 

• Alona Beach

Alona Beach is Bohol’s main tourist beach, with lots of hotels, bars, restaurants, massage places, and souvenir shops.

You can relax on the beach or do watersports, and it’s also a nice beach for seeing the sunrise or sunset. The hawkers can be a bit annoying, but if you ignore them they’ll go away.

I wouldn’t say Alona is a very special beach compared to some of the other great beaches in the Philippines, but it’s certainly worth a visit!

Sand Castle Alona Beach

Funny sand castle at Alona Beach


 

• Dumaluan Beach

Dumaluan Beach is the nicer, more quiet alternative to Alona. It’s cleaner and less developed, and not as many people know about it. There’s also an entrance fee to go to the beach, so that keeps some of the crowds away.

For nice places to stay at Dumaluan, check out the South Palms Resort or Bohol Beach Club. These are really beautiful hotels, although they’re on the pricey side.

South Palms Resort

Dumaluan Beach (South Palms Resort)


 

• Balicasag Island

Balicasag Island is the main destination for the Bohol island hopping tours. It’s a circle shaped island that’s located not too far southwest of Bohol.

We stayed 2.5 hours wandering the island, soaking up sun on the beach, and snorkeling at the reef, where you can swim with sea turtles. This is a fun island to visit on a day trip from Bohol Philippines!

Balicasag is a busy island with lots of boats on the beach, but you can find quiet areas if you look around. There are also restaurants, bathrooms, and other basic accommodation. It’s a 1 hour boat ride to Balicasag from Alona beach.

Book Now: Bohol Island Hopping Tour

Bohol Philippines Island Travel Guide Balicasag Drone

Drone pic of Balicasag Island

Balicasag Island Beach Bohol Philippines Island Travel Guide

The beach at Balicasag Island


 

• Virgin Island

Virgin Island is a natural sandbar and it’s usually the second place you stop on Bohol island hopping tours. It’s only a 30 minute boat ride from Alona beach or Balicasag island, so it’s easy to reach, although you have to go at low tide to see the sandbar.

I have to say the name is a bit misleading. This is not really a ‘virgin’ island since there are boats all over it every day, and I’ve seen much nicer sandbars in the Philippines. This one also has lots of seaweed which tends to spoil the beach view a little bit.

In spite of these things, Virgin Island is still worth a visit in my opinion, but don’t expect anything too amazing. We stayed there for about 30 minutes, which was enough. If you’re lucky, you might see some starfishes lurking in the shallow water here.

Book Now: Bohol Island Hopping Tour

Virgin Island Sandbar

Virgin Island

Virgin Island Sandbar

Sandbar at Virgin Island


 

• Pahangog Falls

Pahangog Falls is a nice turquoise waterfall in the southern part of Bohol island, about a 1.5 hour drive from the Panglao tourist area.

Also known as the Dimiao Twin Falls, this spot probably wins the award for the most beautiful waterfall in Bohol, in my opinion. The water is bright turquoise and it’s good for swimming if you want to cool off.

A guide isn’t needed for Pahangog, but can be helpful. From the parking area, it takes about 15-30 minutes to hike to the falls depending on your pace, although it’s a bit slower going back because it’s uphill.

If you get exhausted, there are friendly drink sellers above and below the hill. We saw a little bit of trash, but not too much. All in all, this waterfall is a nice hidden gem that the main Bohol tours don’t visit!

Pahangog Falls Bohol Philippines Island Travel Guide

Pahangog Falls — turquoise pool and waterfall!


 

• Cadapdapan Rice Terraces

There are rice terraces all over Bohol island, but the most spectacular ones to see would probably be the terraces at Cadapdapan. These are almost as nice as some of the rice terraces in Bali!

The only drawback is the distance. From Panglao, it’s at least a 2.5 hour drive to the Cadapdapan rice terraces, and there aren’t group tours that go here yet, so you have to drive yourself or hire a private driver (and surcharges will apply because of the distance).

However, this is one of the best spots in Bohol Philippines, and it would be a shame to miss it. It’s especially nice if you come at sunrise or take pictures with a drone.

Bohol Philippines Island Travel Guide Cadapdapan Rice Terraces

The Cadapdapan rice terraces are far from town, but it’s such a wonderful natural landscape!


 

• Can-umantad Falls

Can-umantad is the tallest waterfall in Bohol, and it’s only a short distance away from the Cadapdapan rice terraces.

In fact, you can access it by a path that leads down from the terraces. The best place to park your car or bike is at Eleuterio’s Restaurant. From here, you can see the rice terraces and then hike down to the waterfall in about 15 minutes.

Can-umantad Falls is a nice 2-step cascade with a turquoise pool where you can swim below the waterfall, and there are little drink stands where you can buy fresh coconut juice and other refreshments. It’s one of Bohol’s best waterfalls!

Canumantad Falls Can-umantad

Can-umantad Falls is the biggest waterfall in Bohol Philippines


 

• Pamilacan Island

Pamilacan is another nice little island south of Bohol. This one has a white sand beach and a circular shape like Balicasag island, but Pamilacan is quieter and less crowded.

Compared to Balicasag, not as many tours go to Pamilacan island, so it may be a bit harder to find a boat to share. However, GetYourGuide has a high-rated Pamilacan tour that includes dolphin watching, lunch, and snorkeling with sea turtles.

I used this tour myself and had a good experience. The boat ride to Pamilacan only takes about 1 hour from Panglao or mainland Bohol.

Book Now: Pamilacan Island Tour

 

Map Of Things To Do In Bohol Philippines

Here’s a map of some of the best things to do in Bohol Philippines, which you can use to plan your own trip on the island.

You can click on the icons for more information about each place, but keep in mind some of the locations may be approximate.


 

Best Beaches In Bohol

There are a bunch of nice white sand beaches in Bohol. The most popular is Alona Beach, and it’s a good one, but it’s also pretty busy and commercialized, with lots of tourist hotels and restaurants.

For a slightly less busy alternative with beautiful scenery, check out Dumaluan Beach, which is just a 15 minute drive from Alona. There’s an entrance fee for the beach, but it’s clean and nice.

Another good one is Anda White Beach, which is on the far eastern side of Bohol, about 3 hours from Panglao and Tagbilaran. It’s a less touristy area, but you can get there by van or bus from the Dao terminal in Tagbilaran.

Alona Beach

A secluded corner of Alona Beach


 

How Long To Stay In Bohol Philippines

You can see the highlights of Bohol in just 2 or 3 days, although you could easily stay longer. For most people, 3 days is probably enough.

My first impression of Bohol was that there might not be a whole lot to do, but after branching out and seeing more of the countryside, I realized this island really is beautiful.

If you enjoy the Philippines, then you could spend weeks just exploring Bohol. There are a lot of things to see and do when you get off the beaten path.
 

Bohol Travel Itinerary

If you spend 3 days in Bohol, here’s what your travel itinerary could look like:

  • Day 1. Countryside tour. Spend the whole day seeing the most iconic places in Bohol Philippines, such as the Chocolate Hills and the tarsiers, then do a boat cruise and buffet dinner on the Loboc river.
  • Day 2. Island hopping. Visit Balicasag island, see the beach and do some snorkeling, and then check out the sandbar at Virgin island.
  • Day 3. Spend the day relaxing on Alona beach or Dumaluan beach, or go see some of the more distant sights on Bohol island, like the Cadapdapan rice terraces and Can-umantad falls.

Read More: Bohol Itinerary

Loboc River Cruise

Jungle views on the Loboc river cruise


 

Best Time To Visit Bohol Philippines

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

During the wet season (June to December), Bohol has more rain and clouds, but the bulk of the rain is often in the evenings or at night. I traveled to Bohol in the rainy season and it didn’t really affect my trip at all.

Of course, there are no guarantees you’ll have nice weather in either season, but Bohol seems to be blessed with good weather more often than not! In conclusion, there’s really no bad time to visit Bohol in my opinion.
 

Best Bohol Tour Packages

For day tours in Bohol, I used Klook. They have high-rated Bohol countryside tours and island hopping tours with very reasonable prices, and they also offer private car charters, ferries, and airport transfers in Bohol.

We’ve used Klook for lots of tours and activities around the world, and they’re great. Highly recommended!

Virgin Island Sandbar

Virgin Island sandbar


 

Other Tips For Bohol Island

  • Where To Stay. For a high-end beachfront hotel, check out South Palms Resort. For midrange, there’s the Amihan Resort at Alona Beach. For something budget friendly, check out Greenspace.
  • Where To Eat. There are lots of good restaurants in Bohol catering to different tastes. A few recommendations would be Lamoy Restaurant (Asian), Paprika (beachfront), Mahalo Restaurant, and A Tavola.
  • Mosquitoes. I saw a few mosquitoes in Panglao and Bohol, but generally they weren’t much of an issue. According to the Philippine Department of Health, Bohol is a malaria-free province, and prophylaxis is not advised here. However, there’s some risk of dengue fever, so it’s still a good idea to wear mosquito repellant when you’re out and about.
  • Cell Service. I had good reception and data speeds with Globe on much of the island.
  • WiFi. The internet situation in Bohol is improving rapidly, and nowadays you can find fast WiFi even at many of the cheapest budget hotels and hostels.

 

More Philippines Travel Guides

Thanks for looking! I hope you enjoyed this travel guide for Bohol island in the Philippines.

Don’t forget to check out my complete Philippines Travel Guide before you go!
 

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