The pristine Virgin Island is a popular Bantayan Island tourist spot thanks to its stunning white sand beaches and crystal clear waters. With activities to enjoy all over the island – from snorkeling and swimming to cliff jumping and coastal walks – Virgin Island Bantayan is a must-visit destination to add to your Northern Cebu itinerary.
We’ve put together this handy guide to the 6 best things to do on Virgin Island Bantayan – as well as how to get there, how much it costs and what to expect – so that you can make the most out of your visit.
Best time to visit Virgin Island Bantayan
The best time to visit Virgin Island Bantayan is during Habagat Season between the months of November – April when the weather is good and the water is clear. In saying that, we visited during Amihan Season and whilst the weather wasn’t ideal, the water was still beautiful.
Keep in mind Bantayan Island’s peak season is from April – May as this is the dry/summer period, so if you’re not a fan of too many tourists you might want to avoid this time.
How to get to Virgin Island Bantayan
Virgin Island sits just off the coast of Bantayan Island, in the municipality of Santa Fe. You can arrange a trip through your accommodation, or head to the port in Santa Fe where tour providers will offer their services.
What to bring to Virgin Island Bantayan
Virgin Island Bantayan tour & entrance fee
Boat rental for up to 5 hours at Virgin Island Bantayan is 1000 PHP, which can be split amongst your group if there are a few of you.
Once you arrive at Virgin Island you’ll need to pay an additional 250 PHP entrance fee for the first two guests, and 200 PHP for every other guest in your group after that. It’s a little convoluted, but in summary, the more the merrier.
Arriving at Virgin Island Bantayan
After a 30-minute pump boat ride, we pulled up to the remarkable shallows of Virgin Island Bantayan. The first thing we noticed was how vibrant and clear the water was and we couldn’t wait to jump in. We were also incredibly luck to have the entire island to ourselves, but this isn’t usually the case – you should expect boatloads of tourists!
1. Enjoy the pristine beach
You can’t visit Virgin Island Bantayan without spending some time soaking up the sun on the powdery soft sand and cooling off in the turquoise blue water. There are multiple beaches around the island, but the docking area is the largest beach with crystal clear shallows to wade in.
2. Take photos in the shell garden
As you arrive at Virgin Island you’ll be welcomed by shell displays in the form of curtains, wind chimes and garden bed decorations. You’ll see most of the shells are scallop shells, as Bantayan Island is renowned for its fresh seafood and scallops in particular.
3. Have fresh seafood for lunch
Like we said, seafood is a big thing in Bantayan. There’s a restaurant on Virgin Island serving up local dishes with a big emphasis on fresh caught seafood. We ordered grilled fish and pancit and enjoyed our meal in a picnic hut on the beach. It was bliss!
4. Walk through the cactus garden
Similar to the love lock bridges around the world, Virgin Island Bantayan has a cactus garden where young couples have come to declare their undying love on the arms of cacti. Whilst we personally don’t recommend defacing nature, it’s an interesting spot to walk through and wonder how many of these couples have stood the test of time.
5. Go cliff diving
For those of you looking for more of an adrenaline rush than beach bumming and gardens, you’re in luck. Virgin Island Bantayan is an awesome spot for cliff diving, with platforms built up on the rocks. When we visited in 2020 they were constructing a brand new cliff diving platform that towered over the existing bamboo structures. As always, make sure you check the depth before sending it off the cliff.
6. Go snorkeling
The underwater world around Virgin Island Bantayan is absolutely thriving, with a number of marine sanctuaries put in place prohibiting fishing. Bring your mask and snorkel (or rent a pair) and swim with an abundance of fish and vibrant coral. You’ll have to swim out from the shore until you reach the reef, or you can ask your boat captain to stop and let you snorkel off shore.