Camotes Island is a picturesque – and in our opinion, wholly underrated – island off the east coast of Cebu. Whilst a popular weekend destination for Cebu City residents, Camotes Island has stayed off the radar of foreign and even most domestic tourists. We personally think it has a lot to offer, which is why we’ve rounded up the 9 best Camotes Island tourist spots to check off your list if you’re planning a visit to this beautiful island.
Camotes Island is actually comprised of four separate islands – the main three which are Pacijan, Poro and Ponson, as well as Tulang Diot, a tiny island off the northern tip of Pacijan. Pacijan and Poro islands are connected by a causeway, so it’s easy to travel between the two on land. Ponson is separated from the others, and for this reason we didn’t get to explore it as we stuck to the two that were easy to go between.
Best time to visit Camotes Island Cebu
Camotes Islands is a popular weekend destination for mainland Cebu, so we recommend avoiding weekends and public holidays for a much quieter island. You’ll also want to aim for the dry season from November – April.
How to get to Camotes Island Cebu
The most common and convenient way to get to Camotes Island is by fast craft from Mactan, Cebu. There are ferries twice daily, and it only takes 1.5 hours to reach Consuelo port on Pacijan Island. If you would like to bring your own vehicle to Camotes Island, then you can catch the roro ferry from Danao, which is only about an hour north of Cebu City.
What to bring to Camotes Island Cebu
9 Best Camotes Island Tourist Spots
1. Camotes Island Caves
One of the best things about Camotes Island Cebu is its density of caves. There are at least eight caves that are known about, and likely many more yet to be discovered. These caves are major Camotes Island tourist spots, and we’ve been lucky enough to visit five out of eight.
The most popular – and biggest – of these caves is Bukilat Cave, an enormous subterranean cavern with a natural body of water at its base. Bukilat Cave gets all the limelight because of how large it is, but the other caves are also very interesting with some even better to swim in.
Our personal favourite is Amazing Island Cave, a deep hole of insanely blue water and the perfect spot to practice your freediving. To check out all the caves on Camotes, read our ultimate guide to the 5 best Camotes Island caves here.
Bukilat Cave, Camotes Island
Amazing Island Cave, Camotes Island
2. Santiago White Beach
The Camotes Island coastline is ringed with stunning beaches, the most famous of which is Santiago White Beach, also known as Santiago Bay. This beautiful cove stretches out for hundreds of metres, and when the tide is high it makes for the perfect spot to wade in crystal clear, shallow water.
If you like to keep active at the beach, you can join a game of beach volleyball or rent a kayak from the beach vendors. And, if you stay until sunset you can watch the sky turn golden as you enjoy some fresh grilled seafood and maybe even a bit of karaoke if your heart desires.
To make the most of your visit to Santiago White Beach, we recommend spending a night or two at Santiago Bay Garden & Resort. Not only is it the premier resort on Camotes Island, but it has a killer view overlooking Santiago White Beach.
3. Bakhaw Beach
If you fancy a more secluded and quieter beach, then Bakhaw Beach is probably more your style. It’s one of the most underrated Camotes Island tourist spots, but definitely our favourite beach on the island. A mostly undeveloped coastline of coconut trees runs along the length of powder-soft white sand and turquoise waters.
There are no facilities at Bakhaw Beach, so you might want to pack a picnic lunch and some water. The road also isn’t very well developed so if you’re driving a car you’ll have to park it at a nearby house and walk the rest of the way through what we presume is private property. As it’s so quiet, you likely won’t run into any other tourists, but be prepared to share this paradise with the locals.
4. Tulang Diot Island
The tiny island of Tulang Diot Island is one of the best Camotes Island tourist spots thanks to its amazing white sandy beach and azure blue water. Separated from Pacijan Island by a narrow channel of water, you’ll need to hire a boat to take you across to Tulang Diot Island. It’s only a 5 – 10 minute trip from Tulang Dako Beach on the mainland to Tulang Diot Beach on the islet.
The facilities on the island are very minimal, but that’s all part of its charm. There’s a small community that call Tulang Diot Island home, but aside from that there is very little on the island. Once there, you can find a spot on the beach and enjoy the pristine conditions for snorkelling and beach bumming. If you plan on spending the day there, there’s not much in the way of food so be sure to pack a lunch or stock up on snacks at a sari-sari store on the island.
40 PHP boat fare – roundtrip
10 PHP environmental fee
5. Buho Rock Resort
Buho Rock Resort is more than just accommodation, it’s one of the most popular Camotes Island tourist spots for thrill seekers. The resort itself isn’t the attraction, it’s the adjacent rock connected by bridge which draws in the crowd.
Buho Rock Resort has been developed as a cliff diving destination, with multiple platforms of varying heights for adrenaline junkies. You can try your hand at diving into the vibrant blue sea, or find a seat at a picnic table and watch the action unfold. Keep in mind it’s best to visit Buho Rock Resort during high tide if you’re planning to jump.
Fortunately, if you’re wanting to explore the rockpools below but don’t have the desire to send it off a cliff, you can take a staircase down to the bottom and check out the surrounding rock pools.
Entrance Fee: When we visited it was under construction so there was no entrance fee but be prepared to pay around 20 PHP if it has reopened.
6. Lake Danao
Lake Danao is another must-visit Camotes Island tourist spot to add to your itinerary. This serene lake is in the northern part of Pacijan Island, about 15 minutes from San Francisco Port. Affectionately known by locals as Lovers Lake, Lake Danao has a reputation for being a popular date destination for young couples.
The best way to enjoy Lake Danao is by boat, kayak, or other types of interesting floatation devices available for hire at several rentals along the shore. If you’re looking for more of a thrill, there’s also a zipline from one side of the lake to the other. After working up a sweat, you can fuel up on food at the restaurant, serving up classic Filipino dishes.
100 PHP entrance fee
150 PHP 30-minute boat rental
7. Busay Falls
What’s a travel guide without a waterfall! Busay Falls is a small but beautiful cascade on Poro Island in Camotes. One of only two waterfalls in Camotes – Panganuron Falls being the other – Busay Falls is a popular destination for both locals and tourists.
You’ll only be able to take your motorbike or car so far, and then you’ll be required to hike around 10 minutes to Busay Falls. The hike isn’t terribly challenging, but it does require two river crossings so be sure to wear shoes that you don’t mind getting wet.
Whilst not a very big waterfall, the water at Busay Falls is a beautiful Gatorade blue like many of the other waterfalls in Cebu, making it an awesome spot to have a refreshing dip. At the top of the first waterfall is a cave with another tier and swimming hole inside, which you can potentially climb beyond, but we never made it that far.
8. AGORA Market & San Francisco Bay Walk
Your trip to Camotes Island in Cebu wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the AGORA Market along the San Francisco Baywalk, one of the top Camotes Island tourist spots. Located immediately before the causeway from Pacijan to Poro Island, here you’ll find an array of delicious street food, fresh produce, dried fish and even toys.
It’s best to visit AGORA Market in the early evening once the weather has cooled down. You can take a stroll along the baywalk before grabbing a bite to eat at a multitude of vendors, selling everything from burgers and barbecue to pungko-pungko and lechon.
9. Century Old Tree
Last up on our list of Camotes Island tourist spots is the Century Old Tree in Tudela on Poro Island. As its name suggests, this 100+ year old Acacia tree is a sight to behold, with sprawling branches and widespread roots.
At some point, the local government constructed a basketball court beside the tree, but after years of neglect, the court looks almost as old as the tree itself! The whole scene gives off very post-apocalyptic vibes and is an awesome spot to snap a photo whilst this majestic tree still stands.