best islands in cebu

10 Best Islands in Cebu 2024

CEBU INSIDER has selected 15 of the most beautiful islands in Cebu that we think should be on your itinerary. Check it out!
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Over 167 islands in Cebu have been discovered—some are popular tourist destinations, and some are uninhabited.

Mainland Cebu is a long narrow island stretching 225 kilometers from Daanbantayan in the north to Santander in the south. Mainland Cebu has so many neighboring islands that are still part of the province, including major settlements of Mactan Island, Bantayan Island, Olango Island, and the Camotes Islands.

On this list, CEBU INSIDER has selected 10 of the most beautiful islands in Cebu that we think should be on your itinerary.

1. Sumilon Island

Sumilon Island is the first marine protected area (MPA) in the Philippines established in 1974, which means some parts of its surrounding water are restricted to human activity for preservation reasons. This 24-hectare coral island off the coast of mainland Oslob hosts its lone commercial entity Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort, a 4-star eco-luxury vacation resort.

The island features four major dive sites, a shifting sandbar, a few beaches, a natural lagoon, caves, trails, a modern lighthouse, and a 19th-century watchtower. As a protected zone, entry to the island is limited. To ensure your slot, get the day pass available from Bluewater Sumilon.

sumilon island - best islands in cebu
Sumilon Island in Oslob, Cebu from different perspectives

2. Bantayan Island

Bantayan Island is one of the must-visit tourist spots in North Cebu known for its expansive white sand beaches. The island may be the perfect destination for rest and relaxation, but it is also a haven for all kinds of adventures such as skydiving, island hopping, kitesurfing, and cliff-diving.

Getting ready for your trip to Bantayan Island? Read these useful guides:

bantayan island - best islands in cebu
Bantayan Island in Cebu from different perspectives

3. Pescador Island

Situated in the Tañon Strait just a few kilometers off Moalboal’s famous Panagsama Beach, Pescador Island has a rich marine ecosystem that attracts recreational divers from around the world. Even a simple freediving and snorkeling activity opens up an incredible experience, get up close with a school of sardines, turtles, nudibranchs, lionfish, and many more. There are also occasional visits from hammerhead sharks and white-tip sharks. If you like a private tour that will pick you up from the city or airport, check out Pescador Island Hopping Private Tour!

Heading to Moalboal? Read these useful guides:

pescador island - best islands in cebu
Underwater and aerial shots of Pescador Island in Moalboal, Cebu

4. Malapascua Island

Malapascua is one of the best islands in Cebu when it comes to diving. It has several world-class dive sites that recreational divers from around the world come to see and one of them is the Monad Shoal where the rare thresher sharks are found any time of the year, no other place like it in the world. Non-divers may also enjoy the number of white sand beaches in Malapascua Island.

Going to Malapascua Island? Read these practical guides:

malapascua island - best islands in cebu
Malapascua Island from different perspectives

5. Capitancillo Island

Capitancillo Island is a marine protected area situated 6.1 kilometers from the shores of Bogo City. This 6-hectare uninhabited coral islet features three dive sites: the Ormoc Shoal, the Nuñez Shoal, and the southwest wall of Capitancillo.

Capitancillo was named after American Navy Captain Cillo who reached the islet during WWII. On the island is a lighthouse built in the 1900s and some concrete benches, the remains of some structures, limestone cliffs, and some coconut trees. Snorkeling, kayaking, diving, and overnight camping are some activities you can do on the island.

capitancillo island - best islands in cebu
An aerial view of Capitancillo Island in Bogo City, Cebu

6. Virgin Island

Also known as Sillon Island, this island in the Visayan Sea off the coast of Bantayan Island boasts crystal-clear blue water and a fine white sand beach. Virgin Island is the main highlight of Bantayan island hopping tours.

You can spend an entire day here playing beach volleyball, chilling on the hammocks, jumping off cliffs, snorkeling, standup paddleboarding, or kayaking. Ask your hotel’s front desk about Virgin Island tours, or go directly to Santa Fe Tourism Office to arrange an accredited boat transfer.

virgin island best beaches in cebu
Aerial shots of the main beach of Virgin Island in Santa Fe, Cebu

7. Pacijan Island

Pacijan Island is one of the islands that make up the Camotes Islands. Consuelo Port, the main port in Pacijan Island, is usually the entry point for tourists. Pacijan Island is also the main attraction where popular tourist spots in Camotes Islands are located, including Lake Danao, Santiago Bay Beach, Bakhaw Beach, Heaven Cave, and Paraiso Cave.

Visiting Camotes Island soon? Read these useful guides:

pacijan island - best islands in cebu
Pacijan Island from different perspectives

8. Tulang Diot Island

Tulang Diot is the only islet in the Camotes Islands group accessible via Tulang Dako Beach in Pacijan Island. This islet has one of the best beaches in Cebu popular among town locals and is very accessible to tourists.

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Aerial shots of Tulang Island in Cebu

9. Mactan Island

Mactan Island is home to the most luxurious hotels in Cebu. It’s a popular place among city dwellers and vacationers who want to have a quick getaway from the city. Mactan Island does not have the best beaches, at least not on par with those in Bantayan Island. Still, it’s worth visiting if you want a family-friendly adventure away from the city.

mactan island
Mactan Island from different perspectives

10. Carnaza Island

Situated in the Visayan Sea about 30 kilometers away from the northernmost tip of Cebu is the 173.5-hectare secluded Carnaza Island. This turtle-shaped island is surrounded by white sand beaches, thick mangrove forests, and verdant greeneries. Because it’s quite secluded from mainland Cebu, Carnaza Island remains one of the most idyllic islands in Cebu.

Carnaza Island is one of the best places to visit in Cebu if you want to avoid the usual touristy areas. Some of the most notable tourist attractions in Carnaza Island are Skull Cove, Ka Elena Beach, and Carnaza Eco-Park.

carnaza island - best islands in cebu
Carnaza Island from different perspectives

Things to Do in Cebu

That’s all for the best islands in Cebu! We hope this gives you something to look forward to when exploring Cebu.

 Got questions? Drop them in the comments and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

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Mario Manlupig
Mario Manlupig

Mario is the Founder of CEBU INSIDER. In March 2018, he left his full-time job at the Philippines' biggest TV network and became a digital nomad, traveling all over the country until the pandemic happened. He now calls Cebu City his home.

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