Cebu – Queen City of the South, land of waterfalls, home of Gatorade blue water. This stunning island has become a must-visit destination for tourists coming to the Philippines, thanks to its ease of access and incredible sights.
We’ve been fortunate enough to be based in Cebu for the better part of 4 years, and in that time we’ve seen firsthand the magic this province has to offer. With our expert knowledge, we’ve rounded up the 28 best tourist spots in Cebu you need to add to your Cebu Itinerary.
Best time to visit Cebu Tourist Spots
Cebu is a fantastic destination year-round, but to make the most of your trip, you should aim for the dry season between December – May, especially if you plan on spending a lot of time adventuring outdoors.
Another awesome time to visit Cebu is during Sinology Festival, held on the third Sunday of January every year. It’s the cultural highlight of the province and something that should be seen if you have the chance.
How to get to Cebu, Philippines
The great thing about Cebu is that is has an international airport, so many tourists fly directly into Cebu to start their travels around the Philippines. There are also dozens of daily flights from Manila to Cebu.
What to bring to Cebu, Philippines
South Cebu Tourist Spots
1. Kawasan Falls Canyoneering
It doesn’t get much more iconic than Kawasan Falls, Cebu’s crown jewel. This stunning blue waterfall, nicknamed the Gatorade Factory, is not only one of the best tourist spots in Cebu, but in all of the Philippines.
Kawasan Falls – Cebu Tourist Spots
Most tourists choose to do the Badian canyoneering experience, which is a fun and challenging river course, ending at the famous Kawasan Falls. Having done the canyoneering course multiple times ourselves, it’s by far our favourite Cebu tourist spot, even though it has become very popular.
After several hours jumping, climbing and swimming downriver, there’s no better feeling than taking a rest as you enjoy the magical view of Kawasan Falls.
2. Oslob Whale Sharks
The Oslob Whale Shark experience is one of the most epic things to do in Cebu, as in on the bucket lists of many avid travellers. These majestic, gentle giants can be found just metres off the coast of Oslob, year-round.
Oslob Whale Sharks – Cebu Tourist Spots
As with many wildlife tourism encounters, the Oslob Whale Shark experience is not without controversy – specifically, the practice of feeding the sharks to ensure tourists see them daily. We recommend doing your research first before making an informed decision that you’re happy with.
You can learn more about the Oslob Whale Shark experience in this guide.
3. Sumilon Island
Also in Oslob is the stunning Sumilon Island, an incredible private island resort complete with a white sandbar. Available for both overnights and day-trips, Sumilon Island is one of the best Cebu tourist spots.
Sumilon Island – Cebu Tourist Spots
Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort is a luxury accommodation on the island, but even if you’re not staying at the resort, you can pay for day access to use the facilities and enjoy a delicious lunch. If you just want to visit the sandbar and swim in the pristine water, public boats offer trips daily from Oslob.
4. Tumalog Falls
Tumalog Falls is a gentle curtain waterfall, usually included with Oslob Whale Shark tour itineraries. What it lacks in force it makes up for in sheer beauty, so much so that its magical scenery inspired the Avatar movie.
After an early start at the Whale Sharks, nothing beats standing under the gentle cascade of Tumalog Falls or wading in the milky blue water at its base.
Tumalog Falls – Cebu Tourist Spots
5. Moalboal Sardine Run
The Moalboal Sardine Run is one of the most surreal experiences in Cebu. Located just off the coast of the main strip in Moalboal, you’ll find millions of sardines dancing around under the surface.
This incredible encounter is not only a must-visit Cebu tourist spot, but also completely free if you know where to look. In our guide to the Moalboal sardine run, we explain how you can find this underwater phenomenon without hiring a guide.
Moalboal Sardine Run – Cebu Tourist Spots
6. Scuba Diving at Pescador Island
Not far from the Moalboal sardine run is Pescador Island, a diving site famous for its thriving underwater world. Scuba divers, free divers and even snorkellers can enjoy an array of vibrant coral, fish and other sea creatures.
Pescador Island – Cebu Tourist Spots
7. Snorkelling at Turtle Bay
Turtle Bay is one of the most underrated tourist spots in Cebu, despite it being the best snorkelling we’ve done in the Philippines. Photos don’t do it justice, but this reef is alive and well with the most vibrant coral, and teeming with marine life.
You can snorkel across the top of the reef and marvel at the fish and other creatures, or swim out to the drop and hopefully see a turtle or two!
8. Aguinid Falls
If you’re up for an adventure, then Aguinid Falls is a guaranteed good time. Rather than a downriver course like Badian canyoneering, Aguinid Falls takes you up eight levels of insane sights, from crazy rock formations to milky blue lagoons.
Aguinid Falls – Cebu Tourist Spots
Not for the faint of heart, Aguinid Falls can be quite challenging at times with torrents of water splashing into your face as you haul yourself up and over rock formations. This insane adventure is what makes Aguinid Falls one of the best Cebu tourist spots.
9. Dao Falls
As the old adage goes, it’s not the destination, it’s the journey (or something like that), which is how we feel about Dao Falls. Don’t get us wrong, the waterfall is beautiful, but it’s hard to beat the narrow, winding canyon filled with insanely blue water.
Dao Falls – Cebu Tourist Spots
After the most picturesque trek upriver, you’ll eventually reach Dao Falls. This multi-level cascade plummets the cliff face, which looks like someone’s taken a big scoop out of the rocks. It really is a sight to behold.
10. Osmena Peak
Osmena Peak is the highest point on the island of Cebu, so it’s little wonder it’s recognised as one of the must-visit Cebu tourist spots. The best thing about Osmena Peak is that you can reach it after a very short hike, but for this reason you should also expect to share it with many other tourists.
Osmena Peak – Cebu Tourist Spots
The view from the top is something out of a fairytale, with rolling hills of limestone, tiny cottages and rows of cabbage plantations. You can also see out to the coastline and the Tañon Strait further in the distance.
11. Casino Peak
Located right next to Osmena Peak is the lesser-known Casino Peak, and our personal favourite. A slightly more challenging hike, Casino Peak has been left totally untouched, with sprawling views of the surrounding countryside and cone-shaped hills.
Casino Peak – Cebu Tourist Spots
Casino Peak itself is a jagged limestone spine, where the most daring can climb along its narrow ridge. For those who prefer safer ground, there’s plenty of wider spots to sit and enjoy the view.
Casino Peak – Cebu Tourist Spots
12. Wonderfalls Canyoneering
The only thing we like more than a good pun is a good waterfall, and Wonderfalls in Alegria is both! This epic canyoneering adventure is far more lowkey than Badian, but just as thrilling, if not more so.
Wonderfalls Canyoneering – Cebu Tourist Spots
Expect an hours-long adventure jumping, swimming and climbing down the most unbelievable canyon, a canopy of tropical trees above and the most pristine, blue water below. Wonderfalls canyoneering is a physically demanding adrenaline rush, but well worth every second.
13. Cancalanog Falls
Less of a waterfall and more of a lagoon, Cancalanog Falls has some of the bluest water you’ll ever see. Even on a cloudy day, this striking blue swimming hole will take your breath away.
Cancalanog Falls – Cebu Tourist Spots
With its small waterfall, multiple diving and cliff jumping platforms and course of bamboo bridges, Cancalanog Falls is a popular Cebu tourist spot for locals, and one where you can easily spend a few hours at.
14. Mantayupan Falls
The majestic Mantayupan Falls takes the crown for the tallest waterfall in Cebu, and that reason alone makes it a must-visit Cebu tourist spot. A powerful stream plummets from XX metres, and a large swimming area means you can take a dip and enjoy the view of this roaring waterfall.
Mantayupan Falls – Cebu Tourist Spots
15. Paragliding in Oslob
Calling all thrill seekers! Paragliding in Oslob is a unique way to see and experience Cebu from the sky. Taking off from a grassy hill, prepare to glide over the countryside as you take in the captivating view of the Oslob coastline stretching into the distance. As terrifying as it was at first, it was an experience we’ll never forget.
Oslob Paragliding – Cebu Tourist Spots
16. Bojo River & Hermit’s Cove
Bojo River is so much more than just a tourist destination, it’s an ecological wonderland, rich in diverse flora and fauna. Upon arriving, you’ll wander along the bamboo boardwalk and through the nippa palms. Then you can then take a guided tour downriver on a kayak, as your local guide explains the important role the mangroves play in the ecosystem.
Bojo River – Cebu Tourist Spots
Just left of the mouth of Bojo River is Hermit’s Cove, a small but beautiful beach where many locals come for picnics on the sand. Aside from beach bumming, the marine life is thriving if you swim out far enough, so don’t forget your mask and snorkel.
Hermit’s Cove – Cebu Tourist Spots
17. Basdaku White Beach Moalboal
If you’re looking for a beach to enjoy sunset down south, look no further than White Beach Moalboal. White Beach, often referred to as Basdaku Beach, is a long stretch of white sand, where tourists gather daily to hang out, swim in the warm waters and watch the sun go down. Expect a lot of vendors on this beach selling souvenirs, as well as several bars, resorts and even beachfront massages.
White Beach Moalboal – Cebu Tourist Spots
White Beach Moalboal – Cebu Tourist Spots
Cebu City Tourist Spots
18. Tops Cebu Lookout
A visit to Tops Cebu is a must if you really want to feel like you’re on top of the world (get it?!) With panoramic views overlooking the sprawling metropolis that is Cebu City, there’s no better place to spend sunset in the city. Get there early to secure a prime seat, watch as the sun goes down and the lights go on and stay for dinner with a view.
Tops Cebu Lookout – Tourist Spot Cebu
Tops Cebu Lookout – Cebu Tourist Spots
19. Budlaan Falls
The great thing about Cebu, island of waterfalls, is that you don’t have to travel far out of the city to experience a waterfall. Budlaan Falls is just 25 minutes out of the chaos of downtown, but you’ll feel like you’re in another world.
Budlaan Falls – Cebu Tourist Spots
Super popular with the locals, you should expect some crowds at Budlaan Falls, but don’t let that deter you. It’s still a fantastic Cebu tourist spot, with two huge cascades, multiple swimming holes to freshen up and plenty of space for a picnic.
20. 10000 Roses
There’s more to Cebu than waterfalls and hiking! 10 000 Roses on Mactan Island is a unique and mesmerising art installation. Each night the space lights up with 10 000 white LED roses, making it the perfect date night destination.
10000 Roses Cebu – Cebu Tourist Spots
21. Mactan Island Hopping – Tourist Spots in Cebu
You might recognise Mactan Island by the international airport, but the surrounding islands off Mactan also offer up some pretty incredible sights. We booked a tour that took us to XX and XX islands, where we explored the small island communities and their amazing coral reefs. Nothing beats spending the day out on the water, hopping from island to island and cooling off in the crystal-clear sea.
Mactan Island Hopping – Tourist Spots In Cebu
22. Magellan’s Cross & Basilica del Santo Niño
Magellen’s Cross marks the landing of the Spanish and Portugese explorers in Cebu on March 15, 1521 and the introduction of Christianity in the Philippines. The original cross was planted by Ferdinand Magellen and is supposedly encased in the larger cross that you can see today.
Magellan’s Cross – Cebu Tourist Spots
The cathedral in which Magellen’s Cross is located – Sto. Nino Basilica – is another structure of cultural significance. Completed in 1739, the church is a focal point for Catholicism in Cebu and an important part of the country’s history.
23. Sinulog Festival – Tourist Spot Cebu
Every year, on the third Sunday in January, Cebu comes alive for its biggest annual celebration, Sinulog Festival. The city honours Sto. Nino by parading through the streets, dressing up in extravagant costumes and partying from sunup to sundown.
Sinulog Festival – Cebu Tourist Spots
But Sinulog is more than just a multi-day rave, it’s the most significant religious and cultural day specific to Cebu, drawing in millions to pay their respects during multiple services at Sto. Nino Basilica. So, if you happen to be in Cebu during this time, this is an occasion not to be missed.
24. Food Trip – Tourist Spots Cebu
Every region in the Philippines boasts its own culinary specialty, and Cebu just happens to be the home of lechon – the greatest dish in all the Philippines! Our favourite place to get Cebu’s famous lechon belly is Belly Buster, just writing about it makes our mouths water.
For a complete foodie trip in Cebu, you can’t miss out on Pungko Pungko at Fuente, a very local street food experience, as well as Siomay sa Tisa, home of the Philippines’ best siomay (dim sum). To get a taste of all these dishes and so much more, schedule in a trip to Sugbo Mercado one evening and enjoy the array of food stalls.
Food Trip – Cebu Tourist Spots
North Cebu Tourist Spots
25. Danasan Eco Adventure Park & Waterfall
The Danasan Eco Park and waterfall is one of the most adrenaline-pumping Cebu tourist spots, where you can experience a mega swing, ziplining, ATV riding, wakeboarding and so much more.
Danasan Eco Park – Cebu Tourist Spots
Just beyond the eco-park, you’ll also find Danasan Falls, a huge cascading waterfall that’s so off the beaten track, that you’ll need a tractor to reach it. Despite the challenging journey, it’s so worth the trouble and a destination you won’t regret.
Danasan Falls – Cebu Tourist Spots
26. Bantayan Island – Cebu Tourists Spots
Bantayan Island is one of the most popular Cebu tourist spots off the mainland, known for its pristine beaches and laidback lifestyle. Located several hours north of Cebu City, most travellers will spend at least a night or two on Bantayan to make the trip worthwhile.
Bantayan Island – Cebu Tourist Spots
Aside from sparkling beaches, Bantayan Island also has mangrove forests, winding lagoons and endless palm tree roads to explore on barefoot bicycle. If you’re looking for a relaxing and quiet getaway to clear your mind and escape the bustle of the city, Bantayan Island is the place to go.
27. Malapascua Island
Made famous for its Thresher Sharks sightings, Malapascua Island is a haven for scuba divers. It is one of the few places in the world where the elusive Thresher Shark can be seen, almost daily, coming up from impossible depths to be cleaned by smaller fish along the Monad Shoal. Aside from diving, Malapascua Island is a peaceful place where you won’t find any cars, where the beaches are pristine, and the community is welcoming.
Malapascua Island – Cebu Tourist Spots
28. Camotes Island
Camotes Island is actually a group of four small islands, just off the coast of Danao north of Cebu City. An underrated paradise, Camotes Island is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Cebu, making it one of the best Cebu tourist spots in our opinion.
Camotes Island – Tourist Spot Cebu
Aside from beach bumming, Camotes Island is known for its abundance of underground caves filled with impossibly clear water. From the enormous Bukilat Cave to the small but epic Amazing Island Cave, Camotes Island offers so much below the surface.
Where to stay in Cebu
Considering the south is home to so many of the best Cebu tourist spots, there’s no better place to base yourself during your time on the island. To help plan your trip we’ve put together a guide to the 14 best beach resorts in South Cebu.
Visit Dumaguete, Negros Oriental
Just across the Tañon Strait is the island of Negros, a mere 30 minutes by ferry from South Cebu. Continue your Philippines adventure in Dumaguete, Negros Oriental, with our guide to the 26 Best Dumaguete Tourist spots.