Bohol is an island that is definitely in the list of must-visit places in the Philippines. It’s a small island yet packed with natural beauty and adventurous things to do. Panglao Island is located in Bohol and it is where most of the world-class resorts are located. Bohol’s international airport is also located here. Most tourists arrive in Panglao so here’s hoping this ultimate travel guide to Panglao Island, Bohol will help your Philippines Travel planning.
Related Read: 31 Best Things to do in Bohol, Philippines
Travel Guide to Panglao Island
The Philippines has more than seven thousand islands and one of the most visited ones is the island of Bohol. Many tourists stay in Panglao Island to relax and enjoy the beachside offering of Bohol. There are also many awesome things to do in Panglao island. So, what are the things to do in Panglao, where to stay and everything you need to enjoy your stay? Read our Travel Guide to Panglao Island.
How to get to Panglao Island
Panglao Island is accessible by a bridge from the city of Tagbilaran. There are 2 popular ways tourists arrive in Bohol; by air and by ferry.
Manila to Panglao Island, Bohol by Air
Bohol has a new airport which is situated in Panglao Island. It is called Bohol-Panglao International Airport and you can fly there from Manila with Airasia, Cebu Pacific or Philippine Airlines. You can also book your flights through Skyscanner.
Manila/Cebu to Bohol by Ferry
There are fast ferries from Cebu City to Bohol and back every day. You can leave from Cebu at 6am and go back to Cebu the same day too. It is better to book your Cebu to Bohol ferry tickets in advance so you don’t have to queue when you get to Cebu city Pier 1.
Oslob, Cebu to Panglao by Ferry
There is a direct ferry from Oslob Cebu to Panglao Island. This ferry takes 1.5 hours and will also let you enjoy the Whale Watching activity in Oslob. Ferry tickets cost 1,000 PHP. Check here to book the tickets.
Related Read: Best Ways to Get from Cebu to Bohol
The Cebu to Bohol trip usually takes 2 hours and costs about 500 pesos per way. If you have your own transportation, you can take your car on board the Fastcat ferry from Cebu City to Tubigon. The ferry leaves from Cebu Pier 3 and when you arrive in Tubigon you will find that you can easily go to the Chocolate Hills from there.
How to Travel from Tagbilaran City to Panglao Island
By tricycle from Tagbilaran to Panglao:
- You can flag down any tricycle in the city and negotiate for at least 200 – 300 pesos direct to your hotel in Panglao. It’s an enjoyable ride if you don’t have lots of baggage.
By minivan/taxi from Tagbilaran to Panglao:
- This would cost around 500-600 pesos, cheaper if you’re with a group. From Tagbilaran pier, there are taxis or hotel transfer vans that can bring you to your accommodation in Panglao. Best thing to do is check if your hotel in Panglao has a shuttle bus to take you to your hotel in Panglao.
Cheapest Way to get from Tagbilaran to Panglao
From Tagbilaran ferry pier, get out of the main area away from the touts then get a local tricycle to Dao bus terminal for 20 pesos. From there, take the Southern Star Bus which is bound for Panglao Airport and Alona Beach for 50 pesos. The journey takes less than an hour. The buses have timings and are air-conditioned so you will be able to have a comfortable journey.
How to Get from Panglao Airport to Alona Beach
The best way to get from Panglao Airport to Alona Beach is by taking the Southern Star airport bus which departs from outside the airport. This bus will wait for every flight arrivals so you’re sure to catch it outside by getting out of the main building and asking for the bus stop. This will only cost you around 50 pesos.
You can also take private minivans/taxi from the airport which will cost you around 500 pesos but this is a good option if you are with friends and family and have big luggages. You can easily arrange this before you arrive by booking online.
Best Beaches in Panglao Island, Bohol
Although Panglao Island is rather small, there are many beach options that one may visit depending on what kind of activities you are looking for. This ultimate guide to Panglao Island, Bohol won’t be complete if we don’t list down the best beaches in Panglao Island.
Related Read: Top 20 Best Places to Visit in the Philippines in 2021
Below is a map of Panglao Island, some places aren’t shown but I suggest to explore the island on a motorbike and you will be able to find what you are looking for.
- Alona Beach – is the most popular beach in Panglao Island with many resorts, hotels, restaurants and bars.
- Kalipayan Beach Bay – located further on the end of Alona Beach, this is an area which you can just access by walking over a small path
- Dumaluan Beach – this beach has a longer stretch of white sand however only a small part is open to the public. The rest is shared by few resorts such as Bohol Beach Club, South Palms and Dumaluan resort.
- Bikini Beach – If you’re looking for a place to spend a quiet day on the beach, this is where you should go. The beach is a bit rocky but it is still good for swimming and snorkeling. You can go there by car or motorcycle too.
- Doljo Beach – With the recently developed Moadto Strip Mall , Doljo beach has become quiet popular. By visiting there, you can also rent a hut and swim. Visit on weekdays as this area gets popular with locals on weekends.
- Momo Beach – is an area of about 500 meters with less hotels and resorts. It’s a good area to visit away from tourists.
- Panglao Beach – you can find Mithi Beach Resort on this strip of beach
- Bagobo beach: you can find this in Libaong area, Bagobo beach features very fine white sand and is lined with tall coconut palm trees.
Where to Stay in Panglao, Island
There’s a range of options for tourists to choose from in Panglao. From backpacker hostels to luxurious resorts, here are some of our recommendations.
Panglao Backpacker Hostels and Hotels
Check our own list of 7 cheap hotels and hostels in Panglao Island, Bohol
Moon Fools Hostel
It offers eco-friendly dormitory type with soundproof rooms and 5 minutes by foot to Alona Beach. About 7 kms away is the Doljo Beach. Dormitories are available in 8-bed and 6-bed mixed dormitory rooms. There are 8-bed female and 10-bed male dormitory rooms starting at 525 pesos per night. Private Double Rooms are also available at 1,200 pesos per night. Check photos and rates here
Lennon’s Place Hostel
Located 500 meters from Alona Beach, the hostel has sun terrace and views of the garden. This charming and traditionally built backpacker’s hostel offers great customer service. Accommodations are available at a 7-bed co-ed dormitory starting at 450 pesos per night and private nipa hut starting at 1,100 pesos per night. Check photos and rates here
Greenfields Tourist Inn
A great place with an outdoor pool, with great staff and good breakfast situated at Tawala. Rooms are all air-conditioned with pool view, private bathroom, and shower, bidets, toiletries and towels, flat screen TV with breakfast included. Double room with terrace and a twin room with pool view rates start at 1,500 per night. The family room can accommodate 8 persons and rate starts at 8,000 pesos per night. Check photos and rates here
This accommodation offers a more rustic and nature friendly vibe with amazing staff and owners. With only 7 rooms available, you’ll feel more like a house guest with the kind of hospitality you’ll get from them. Each room features warm, vibrant, and rustic ambiance. Check photos and rates rates here.
Panglao Beach Front Hotels and Resorts
Bohol Beach Club Resort
The best thing about Bohol Beach Club is that it has its own private beach and you will get the best service with privacy. With their recent renovation, you will find that this resort won’t disappoint with its well appointed grounds, pool and beach area. Plus you’ll get to be pampered in a way that a beach front resort needs to provide. Check their rates and photos here.
Escape to this hotel when you prefer amazing views of the ocean while sipping your drinks by the pool. Although not literally a beach front, I chose this hotel for its view. This resort is situated on the edge of a cliff with access to the beach which is great for snorkeling. It may not be Alona beach area, but it has the charm of privacy and view in one. Check their photos and rates here.
Panglao Island Luxury Hotels and Resorts
Most of the villas or “Balai” have private swimming pools. The most expensive “balai”, the family villa with private pool is at P88, 000 per night and goes up to P105,000 during peak season. The highlight of the resort is the infinity swimming pool which definitely blends with the sea at its bluest. Click for more information and rates.
Hennan Resort is considered the biggest beach resort in Panglao Island, Bohol. It is located along the shores of Alona Beach with 3 swimming pools and 120-meter beach front. This resort is perfect for a family getaway as there are many activities for everyone to enjoy. They have suites and pool villas with a more exclusive setting having its own private plunge pool and veranda. Click for more information and rates.
Check out our list of top 10 Best Bohol Luxury Resort to check out more luxury resorts in Bohol.
Where to Eat in Panglao Island
Best Restaurants in Panglao Island
- Bohol Bee Farm Restaurant – organic, ethic, homemade, delicious and affordable. This is where you should have your first dinner in Panglao.
- Vanilla Sky Restaurant – real and authentic Italian restaurant – must try seafood pasta and pizza
- Bougainvillea Spanish Restaurant and Wine Bar – Opened by chefs with passion for traveling, they offer homemade sangria and don’t forget to try their Paella Valenciana
- A Tavola – Authentic Italian restaurant with amazing pizza, pasta and with great location along Alona area.
- Luna Rossa Vegetarian Italian Restaurant – gluten free pasta and vegetarian friendly, awesome food. What more can I say?
- Pilya! Basta Cuisine – delicious Filipino food! Try their adobo ribs and other grilled servings
Best Cafes in Panglao Island
- Shaka Bohol – fresh fruits and ingredient, good for breakfast and coffee
- Ocean Lounge Cafe and Bar – located along the beach of Moadto Strip mall, you’ll get the chill vibe and delicious treats there
- Gavroche – serves French, European dishes and good for brunch
- Ubeco – This Asian fusion café offers amazing food at affordable prices
- Mist – This newly opened rustic and Instagram worthy café also serves delicious and amazing dishes and pastries.
Best Area to Drink in Panglao
- Alona Beach – Alona beach has the most number of bars and restaurants in Panglao and you’ll surely find whatever you’re looking for
- Moadto Strip Mall – awesome views at night and you can either just bring your own drink and sit on the sand. You can dine at Ocean Lounge or get a sundowner at Lotus Storm too.
- Bamboo Place – The open and rustic setting of Bamboo reminds you of a beach bar with its own resident DJ too. Get a drink and mingle away with locals and expats here.
What to do in Panglao Island
Although Panglao is a small island, there are many activities that one can enjoy when you stay there.
The islands of Balicasag and Isola de Francisco will be your destinations for island hopping. Go further to Pamilacan Island for dolphin watching or even catch whales if you’re lucky. You can arrange this tour with your hotel or arrange it yourself in Alona Beach. Prices usually starts at 1,500 pesos to 2,500 pesos depending on how many people are in the group and how good you are at haggling. You can also book online for a cheap and shared tour.
Walk along the 1 km stretch of Alona Beach, the most famous in the island. When Alona becomes too crowded for your taste, you can hire or rent a motorbike and bask in these other stunning beaches like Doljo beach, Bolod, Dumaluan, Danao and Bagobo Beach.
Snorkeling/Scuba or Free Diving
Panglao is rich in marine biodiversity and there are a couple of diving sites to choose from. Most divers prefer Alona Beach as their starting point. Highlight of most dive spots in Panglao is the Balicasag Island – a distant island rich with marine life. I’ve done my PADI open water scuba certificate with Mario Dive Shop and they really made me feel safe and secure with their dive masters and instructors. You can check them out here.
You can also do some free diving activities together with a non-profit organisation located in Panglao. You can check them out at Blue Freedom Apnea Free Diving.
Related Read: Awesome Things to Do in Panglao Island, Bohol
Sample Travel Itinerary in Panglao Island
(3 days/2 nights)
DAY 1: Arrive early for the Chocolate Hills tour (6 – 7 hours) Lunch at the floating restaurant while on a river cruise Dinner at Moadto Strip Mall
DAY 2: Island Hopping to Balicasag/Whale watching to Pamilacan Island Come back and explore Alona Beach (dinner and drinks)
DAY 3: Kite surfing/Beach hopping/Visit Hinagdanan Cave and transfer out to ferry pier/airport
There are other options/activities to choose from the list we have and you can read them here. Awesome Things to Do in Panglao Island
Related Read: How to Plan Your Trip to the Philippines: The Best Guide
Budget for 3 days/ 2 nights Trip
- Backpacker budget: At least 10K pesos/$200 with accommodation, food, activities (2pax)
- Mid-Range Budget: At least 15K pesos (mid-range accommodation with food ( night outs), activities and other extra expenses
- Luxury Budget: Spend as much as you want!
Travel Guide to Panglao Island
- If you have more time to spend in Bohol, you can rent a motorbike to explore the areas in Panglao and further into the middle part of the island. All roads are paved if you want to drive to the Chocolate Hills on a motorbike.
- If you don’t have enough time, you can combine a Bohol Countryside tour to the Chocolate Hills and Panglao Island tour in a day. You can book this online or at your hotel desk.
Have you ever been to Bohol? What do you think of the island? Let us know if you need anything else.
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Angie is a travel consultant and blogger who has started by writing her travel memoirs on her blog and then got published on international travel sites. She’s now focused on creating in-depth travel itinerary and articles about planning trips to the Philippines.