The Visayas is an island group in central Philippines that’s rich in heritage and natural wonders. It consists of seven main islands, namely Cebu, Bohol, Leyte, Samar, Negros, Masbate, and Panay. While you’ll probably need months or even years to explore these Visayan islands in their entirety, you can certainly experience many of their highlights by going on an island hopping tour.
Sampling a bit of what each island has to offer through an island hopping tour is also a great choice for different types of travelers, whether you prefer a trip filled with exciting activities or a more laid-back one. From swimming with underwater wildlife to dining and lounging by the beach, there are plenty of ways you can have an amazing island hopping tour in the Visayas.
A Couple of Pro-Tips for Travelers
Pick Cebu as Your Jumping-off Point
Whether you’re coming from Metro Manila or from any other region of the country, it’s a good idea to start your Visayas island hopping tour in Cebu. It’s the main gateway to the island group, so from here, it’s quite easy to board buses, ferries, and flights to other locations that are considered the region’s highlight tourist attractions. The province is also home to a wide variety of accommodation options, whether you’re staying in the Cebu Metropolitan Area or in other places outside the metro.
Choose Accommodations Near Aviation or Transportation Hubs
If possible, try to book one of the hotels in Cebu that’s near the pier or airport. Doing so will make your trip more convenient since you won’t have to spend a lot of time traveling when it’s time to board your next flight or trip out of the city.
Suggested Activities for Your Island Hopping Tour in the Visayas
Given the abundance of beautiful locations you can go to—and the exciting activities you can engage in—when you visit the Visayas, you might find it challenging to pick the best places to see and the best things to do. To help you out, here are some ideas for your next Visayas island hopping adventure:
See the Marine Life around Pescador Island
While in Cebu, make sure to visit Pescador Island and take the opportunity to see its beautiful marine life. The island’s name itself is derived from pescador, which is Spanish for “fisherman.” This is because historically, fishermen have made a living off the abundant sea life that dwells in the coral reefs surrounding the island. This rich marine life is also one of the reasons why the island is popular among divers.
As a diving spot, Pescador Island is famous for its sardine runs. This seasonal migration event is when you’ll get the chance to swim with huge schools of sardines. Additionally, when you head to the southwest side of the island, you can find a beautiful soft coral garden where you might spot some sea turtles.
In addition to the island’s rich marine life, you can also explore the magnificent underwater cave called The Cathedral. It’s aptly named given its unique cavernous structure. It has a vertical swim-through where the sunlight shines, which lets you explore the surroundings with clarity. The Cathedral also provides divers with a heavenly view of the surface, thus, making it a favorite subject of many underwater photographers.
Visit the Tarsiers in Bohol
When you go to Bohol, another one of the island group’s most popular tourist destinations, make it a point to see one of the smallest primates in the world, the tarsier. These adorable creatures are endemic to the area and are listed as an endangered species with only an estimated 1,000 individuals existing in the wild.
To observe the nocturnal creatures up close, visit the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary. There, you’ll see the tarsiers clinging to low branches or the trunks of slim trees. Despite their tiny size, you can’t miss the tarsier due to their beautiful big round eyes.
Experience Panglao Island
If you’re looking for sandy white beaches in Bohol, Panglao Island is the best place to go to. It’s also home to great dive spots, amazing restaurants, awesome nightlife, and comfortable accommodations at various price points, making the area perfect for all types of travelers. That being said, the most popular establishments can be found near Alona Beach because you’ll also get the chance to enjoy the long stretch of white-sand beach and the surrounding crystal-clear waters.
Aside from working on your tan by the beach, you can try out different exciting water activities like parasailing or riding the banana boat. Whatever you prefer, you’ll definitely have an enjoyable time on Panglao Island.
Delight Your Appetite with Fresh Seafood and Other Delicacies
Once you get tired from all the excitement of your trip, remember to take a break and enjoy the best dishes the islands can offer. In most cases, these popular culinary fare features the region’s freshest seafood. Whether you’re in Bohol, Cebu, or another island, you’ll find plenty of places to sample some of the best eats in the Visayas. And this isn’t just limited to restaurants in resorts or local cafes; there are also many nondescript dining spots by the beach that serve scrumptious dishes, from local favorites to delicious international fare.
One pro tip: if you’re on a tour, ask your travel agent beforehand if there will be meals included. Many local tours include a multi-dish feast as part of the tour, which means you can eat while you enjoy the different sights your destination offers.
Next time you visit the Visayas, consider these amazing ideas for your island hopping tour. They’re perfect for all types of travelers, especially those who enjoy immaculate white-sand beaches, close encounters with wildlife, and delicious food. Whether you prefer to be a solo explorer or travel with your friends or loved ones, you’ll have a great time there for sure.
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