north cebu travel guide

North Cebu Travel Guide 2024: Things to Do, Beaches, Itinerary, and More!

Our North Cebu Travel Guide 2023 highlights the top attractions, things to do, white sand beaches, how to get there, and itinerary up north. Check it out!
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In North Cebu, you will find many of the best white sand beaches in Cebu. But it definitely has more than just beaches. Our North Cebu Travel Guide 2023 highlights the top attractions, things to do, how to get there, and itinerary up north.

Top 5 Tourist Spots in Northern Cebu

When it comes to North Cebu, these tourists spots and destinations should be high on your list:

1. Bantayan Island

Bantayan Island is famous for its white sand beaches such as Kota Beach and Sandira Beach, two of the most visited tourist spots in Nothern Cebu. Located 139 kilometers away northwest of Cebu City, Bantayan Island is a must-visit for all beach lovers and adventure seekers.

To get to Bantayan Island, take a bus at North Cebu Bus Terminal bound for Hagnaya Port in San Remigio and then take a ferry to Santa Fe Port in Bantayan Island. Travel time is approximately 4-5 hours.

kota beach bantayan island
An aerial view of Kota Beach in Bantayan Island, Cebu (CEBU INSIDER PHOTO)

2. Malapascua Island

Malapascua Island is known for diving where rare thresher shark sightings happen every day. Located 116 kilometers northeast of Cebu City, Malapascua Island is home to many tourist spots in Northern Cebu, including several world-class dive sites where the marine ecosystem is rich and thriving.

To get to Malapascua Island, take a bus at South Cebu Bus Terminal bound for Maya Port in Daanbantayan and then take a boat to Malapascua Island. Travel time is approximately 4-5 hours.

langob beach best beaches in cebu
Crystal-clear blue water, white sand, and azure sky showing up at Langob Beach in Malapascua Island, Cebu (CEBU INSIDER PHOTO)

3. Camotes Islands

Camotes Islands is a group of islands consisting of Poro Island, Ponson Island, Pacijan Island, and Tulang Diot islet. Located 65 kilometers east of Cebu City, Camotes Islands is known for its many natural cave attractions that are filled with crystal clear blue water.

To get to Camotes Islands, take a ferry from Cebu Pier 1 to Port Port in Poro Island. Travel time is approximately 2 hours.

Getting ready for your trip to Camotes Islands? Read these useful guides:

mangodlong beach resort camotes islands best beaches in cebu
An aerial view of Mangodlong Beach Resort in San Francisco, Pacijan Island in Camotes

4. Virgin Island

Virgin Island is a must-visit tourist spot in Northern Cebu if you are already visiting Bantayan Island. Also known as Sillon Island, Virgin Island is home to crystal-clear blue waters and fine white sand, plus you can do a bunch of water activities like beach volleyball, cliff diving, snorkeling, paddle boarding, and kayaking.

To get to Virgin Island, charter a boat at Santa Fe Tourism Office to the island. Only accredited boats are allowed in the island.

virgin island best beaches in cebu
A drone view of Virgin Island (Photo courtesy of Raynard M. Ong Vaño)

5. Carnaza Island

On the northernmost part of Cebu in the town of Daanbantayan is a 429-acre turtle-shaped island 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 eco park, carnaza island, cebu
An aerial view of Carnaza Eco-Park in Carnaza Island, Cebu (Photo courtesy of Michael Sagonoy / Proud Bisaya Bai)

Top 5 Best Things to Do in North Cebu

You will never run out of activities up north. Here are some of the fun things to do in North Cebu to give you ideas:

1. Skydiving

If you’re looking for extreme adventures in Cebu, there’s nothing more extreme than jumping 15,000 feet above the air from an airplane. Skydiving is one of the unique things to do in Cebu, and you can do it in Bantayan Island only.

Guests are required to attend a 20-minute class first. Hand-held camera photos and videos are included in each skydive. Make sure to have at least a 4-gigabyte storage device and wear comfortable clothing and a good pair of shoes. For bookings, call Skydive Greater Cebu at (+63) 917 167 3226.

skydiving bantayan island outdoor activities in cebu
A tandem skydives 15,000 feet above the air in Santa Fe, Bantayan Island, Cebu

2. Scuba Diving

Scuba diving is one of the coolest adventure activities in Cebu. Malapascua Island, in particular, is famous for diving as it’s surrounded by several diving sites, with rare pelagic thresher sharks appearing 365 days a year. No other place on earth is known to have this consistent sighting of thresher sharks than Malapascua Island’s Monad Shoal.

Monad Shoal is also home to hammerhead sharks, eagle rays, manta rays, devil rays, barracudas, and wrasses, among many others. Other known diving sites in Malapascua Island are Gato Island, Kimud Shoal, Bugtong Bato, Lapus Lapus, and Dakit Dakit.

thresher shark malapascua island
A thresher shark spotted at Monad Shoal in Malapascua Island, Cebu (Photo courtesy of Klause Stiefel)

3. Cliff Diving

Cliff diving at Buho Rock Resort in Camotes Islands, one of the must-visit tourist spots in North Cebu, is one of the best outdoor activities in Cebu if you are traveling on a budget. For 20 PHP (~0.2 USD), you may jump off multiple cliffs that are 18-foot and 40-foot tall.

It’s the local kids’ favorite spot to hang out, so you will see them around most of the time. They can show you how to do it, or you can ask them to wait for you in the water in case you are not a good swimmer.

cliff-diving in camotes outdoor activities in cebu
The jumping spots at Buho Rock Resort in Camotes Islands, Cebu (CEBU INSIDER PHOTO)

4. Go on Safari Adventure

Cebu Safari and Adventure Park is the biggest of the few safari parks in the Philippines with an area of 170 hectares. Over 1,000 animals from 120 different species are coliving, including a white and an orange Bengal tiger, white lions, zebras, African antelopes, giraffes, sea eagles, hawks, and many more.

Cebu Safari and Adventure Park also has the best ATV ride in Cebu where you get to explore four different trails for each beginner, intermediate, and advance levels. Other outdoor activities you can do are sky biking, riding a giant swing, ziplining, and spelunking. Safari cabins and glamping are also available. Get your ticket at Cebu Safari and Adventure Park.

cebu safari and adventure park outdoor activities in cebu
Guests enjoy a safari adventure at Cebu Safari and Adventure Park in Carmen, Cebu

5. Go Camping Under Clear Blue Sky

Carnaza Island remains one of the most idyllic islands and one of the best places to visit in Cebu to avoid the usual tourist areas. Located on the northernmost part of Cebu in the town of Daanbantayan, this 429-acre turtle-shaped island is surrounded by white sand beaches, thick mangrove forests, and verdant greeneries.

Carnaza Eco-Park is the only hotel facility in the island. They have woodshed tents in front of the sea that you can rent, or you can also bring your own tent. At night, you can experience the vivid night sky like no other. Some of the most notable tourist attractions in Carnaza Island are Skull Cove, Ka Elena Beach, and Twin Beach.

carnaza eco park outdoor activities in cebu
The sun rises at Carnaza Eco-Park in Carnaza Island, Cebu (CEBU INSIDER PHOTO)

Top 5 White Sand Beaches in Northern Cebu

You don’t want to miss the best beaches in Cebu. Head over to these North Cebu beaches:

1. Virgin Island

Virgin Island has one of the best white sand beaches in Cebu and in the Philippines. The island’s crystal clear water and fine white sand beach are accessible through accredited tours or boat transfers from Santa Fe.

virgin island best beaches in cebu
Aerial shots of Virgin Island (CEBU INSIDER PHOTO)

2. Sandira Beach

Sandira Beach in Bantanyan Island is one of the most popular beaches in Bantayan Island which used to be part of the stretch of Paradise Beach. It’s a good place to watch the sunrise or sunset or enjoy snorkeling.

Sandira Beach, Bantayan Island
The wide shores of Sandira Beach in Santa Fe, Bantayan Island, Cebu (Photo by Mario Manlupig / CEBU INSIDER)

3. Bounty Beach

Bounty Beach in Malapascua Island welcomes you with its stretch of soft white sand and clear water. It extends farther on the right side of the island where you may lounge and enjoy the unobstructed view of the azure sky meeting the ocean.

bounty beach how to go to malapascua island
The sun shines bright at Bounty Beach (Photo by Mario Manlupig / CEBU INSIDER)

4. Tulang Diot Island

Tulang Diot in Camotes Islands has one of the nicest beaches in Cebu. It is a secluded islet that is popular among town locals.

tulang diot island in camotes islands
An aerial view of Tulang Diot Island (CEBU INSIDER PHOTO)

5. Maravilla Beach

Maravilla Beach in Tabuelan offers a quick beach getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. It is a popular public beach in Cebu among locals for its accessibility, just an hour’s drive northwest of Cebu City.

maravilla beach tabuelan best beaches in cebu
Maravilla Beach from above (CEBU INSIDER PHOTO)

North Cebu Itinerary and Budget

The best way to explore Cebu is to divide it into two parts: North Cebu and South Cebu. Because most of North Cebu’s tourist destinations are islands, it takes a little bit longer to explore this side of the island.

Read our North Cebu Itinerary for 8 days and 7 nights, plus a detailed breakdown of the schedule of activities and expenses to give you an idea. This itinerary includes Camotes Islands, Malapascua Island, Kalanggaman Island, Bantayan Island, Virgin Island, and Hilantagaan Island.

You may adjust the days and expenses based on the activities you want to do and the sights you want to see.

South Cebu Travel Guide

Continue the fun and head to South Cebu. Come visit our South Cebu Travel Guide!

If you have questions, drop them in the comments. I will 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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