Quiet and beautiful Camotes islands are made of three main islands: Pacijan, Poro, and Ponson. They are named after the camotes or sweet potatoes, which thrive abundantly on the islands there. Ponson is pretty remote with its inhabitants living a really basic life, it’s also hard to get there as there is no regular boat going there. The majority of the Camote Islands tourist spots are on Poro and Pacijan. Both islands are more developed but it’s still mostly villages, there’s no ATM there and frequent power outages. These two islands are rich in springs, waterfalls, and caves, Pacijan also offers some nice beaches. The islands are still really far from being a big tourist destination. Most people coming to visit are people from Cebu. The people are really nice and super welcoming. Read on to for your Camotes Island Itinerary and to learn all about Camotes Island tourist spots.
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Camotes Islands Tourist Spots
Poro Island tourist spots
Bukilat is a really nice cave, not really deep underground but really large, and with a big lake you can swim in and openings to the sky, creating a mystical atmosphere. In the 70s mass used to be held there. The water is coming from the sea, so if you go during low tide (in the morning) who won’t see much water, it’s better to go in the afternoon.
The water of the cave is believed by locals to have healing effects.
Busay falls in Tudela
These falls are amazing, the color of the water is just beautiful, you must add it to your Camotes Island itinerary. Try to go in the morning during the week so you’ll have more chances to be alone. It’s really refreshing, pools had been carved out of the rocks, but it still has a ”wild” touch. You can also jump off the cliff, but be careful it’s not really deep. It’s an easy trek, about 10 minutes through banana plantations from the parking lot.
The beach here is far from being amazing but its historical importance makes it worth a visit…
In Filipino colonization History, Mactan recalls an important battle that took place on April 27th, 1521, so prior to colonization. It marks the first victory of Filipino people over the Spaniards.
In March 1521, Magellan landed in Cebu, looking for a new way to get to Moluccas Islands. He “discovered” the Philippines. He befriended Cebu’s king who converted to Christianity and ordered the other chiefs to convert and help Magellan. One of the chiefs of Mactan island, close to Cebu, refused, so Magellan set toward the island with a troop of Spaniards to fight them. They were outnumbered and lost, Magellan was killed during this battle.
This is the official version but recent findings point to another site for the battle: Poro Island in Camotes, and most precisely in Mactan Beach. History students found documents stating that it took 2 hours for Magellan to get to Mactan Island, where it should have taken him only 30 minutes. Moreover a lot of Spanish artifacts have been found on Mactan Beach in Poro, unfortunately, they are now privately owned and you can only see them during special celebrations on Camotes.
Your Camotes Island itinerary wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Mactan Beach.
Poro church is about 150 years old, the facade is made of stones but the rest is made of wood. Worth a stop if you’re passing by.
Pacijan Island tourist spots:
Santiago is a nice and quiet beach, good for swimming, you’ll just have to walk a while to get deep into the water. There are two resorts bordering it and a couple of beach restaurants with affordable prices.
Lake Danao is a really nice place to relax, you can rent for 50 pesos per head a kayak or a paddle boat or take a boat ride for 700 pesos (good for 10 people). There’s not a lot of ways to access the lake, the easiest is to go to Green Lake park activity center. From there you can walk for some time along the lake. There’s also a nice tower deck where you can get a nice view of the lake.
Timubo cave was a really nice surprise for me, I wasn’t planning on visiting it, but passing by, I thought, why not? I’m so happy I stopped, this cave definitively has a magical touch. You have to go down for about 75 meters deep underground, there are steps all the way so it’s easy. Brass yourself because, as you go down, it gets more and more humid and hot. You’ll have to go through two small pools of water, and then you get to the bigger pool. It’s super nice, you can swim there and go farther into the cave, try to bring a headlamp because the light doesn’t go all the way to the end of the cave. It’s a bit deep in some parts but you can mostly walk everywhere.
Tulang Island is super nice, it’s a really small island with only a couple of people living on it, it’s mostly jungle and at the tip some white sand beaches. It is also a good spot for snorkeling. You can take a bangka for 20 pesos.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t go there because a typhoon was coming but you can easily see it from Pacijan, it’s really close.
Borromeo or Bakhaw Beach
This beach is one of my favorite Camotes Island tourist spots, it’s secluded and coming as close as it gets to a picture-perfect beach. The sand is white and thin and the water is crystal clear. Only down point is that it would need some cleaning, but it’s mostly seaweed and not trash, so it makes it ok.
The holy crystal cave is no longer operating, it’s under “new management” and was closed at the time of writing.
Camotes Islands Itinerary
Two full days are sufficient to explore both Poro and Pacijan and all the Camotes Island tourist spots, you can add a day if you want to relax at the beach. On the first day, you can explore Poro Island. In the morning visit the church then head to Mactan Beach. After lunch, go to Busay Fall and finish your day visiting Bukilat cave. The next day, explore Pacijan. Start at Santiago Bay, then head for Danao Lake, you can have lunch there. In the afternoon, visit Timubo Cave, next go to Tulang Island if the weather allows it, and finish the day watching the sunset at Bakkaw Beach.
Camotes Islands Itinerary: How to get around
The best way to explore the island is by motorbike, there’s almost no public transportation and it’s really hard to get information about it. When you get off the boat there are sometimes buses that are on it and that cross the island to drop passengers off. You can hitch a ride with them. Otherwise, you should be able to hire a motorbike, you should pay 100 pesos maximum to San Francisco. Bargain hard because they’ll charge more for tourists.
To rent a motorbike you can call Jims (09265015537) he’s a really nice and honest guy, or go in front of Isobella’s Inn in San Francisco. The price is 500 pesos for 24hours, they also usually can do half days. You’ll only find semi-automatic bikes for rent and helmets are hard to find. The roads are really good, some part may get muddy if it has been raining for a while though.
Camotes Islands Itinerary: Where to stay
There’s plenty of resorts there for about 1000 pesos, most of them are on Agoda, be careful with the “beachfront” especially on Poro Island, where it’s mostly cliffs and rocky beaches.
If you are on a budget you can stay in Alyanarah (300 pesos a night), in San Francisco, the main town. It’s a central location and from there it’s easy to rent a bike and explore the islands. The hotel is really basic and a bit noisy but the WiFi is super good.
How to get to Camotes Islands
From Cebu, you can take an express boat from the port for about 600 pesos or you can take a ferry in Danao for 200 pesos. To get to Danao from Cebu, take a jeepney (30 pesos) or an air-con van in front of SM mall.
There are also boats coming from Ormoc in Leyte.
Related articles to help you plan your trip to the Philippines:
- Best things to do in Cebu
- Philippines – Every you need to know before going
- Bantayan Island travel guide
- Oslob – Whale Sharks encounter