Camotes Islands Cebu
One of the least travelled to islands of Cebu, the Camotes Islands make a fantastic holiday option when you travel to the Philippines. Being off the main tourist spots in Cebu, the Camotes have remained a perfect idyllic tropical getaway. I have been coming here off and on for the last 5 years or so. As many other tourist spots in Cebu have been rapidly developing, I’ve found the Camotes the lagging behind the islands around Cebu in new forms of tourist infrastructure. Personally I think that’s a good thing, I like the way the Camotes has this laidback rustic feel to the place. Not a lot has changed from the first time I came, a few more resorts have been built, but generally it’s pretty much the same as I first remember when I originally came to the islands. Mobile coverage is as crap as it’s always been! Some areas are ok, other areas have no coverage at all! A number of the roads are not fully sealed, and when it rains, some of these roads become muddy, making it a bit of a nightmare to use. I’ve actually come off my bike due to the slippery mud; thankfully I wasn’t going fast and just bruised my shin. I met another guy who did have a nasty spill on his bike with some huge bruises along his side. A few days later another motorbike rider with two other passengers on the back hit a dog, 2 of them ended up in hospital. It just goes to show you need to be careful. That’s not to say the Camotes is not developing, there are plans to start building a new Monte Cristo Resort Casino (complete with 60 ocean front condos) later this year.
For further reading on the Camotes Islands please visit our main page of BeyondCebu. It also covers the resorts in more details with extended video and photos.
Getting from Cebu to the Camotes
The only consistent way of getting to the Camotes over the years has been via the northern port town of Danao in Cebu. Getting from Cebu City to Danao takes a little over an hour by bus and less than that by taxi. You can also catch a V-hire van from SM Shopping Mall going to Danao. There you can board one of the ferries going to the Camotes. It’s also possible at staying overnight near the pier and getting up early the next morning to catch the first boat out. Danao has some decent resorts to stay at, thought the resorts in Danao arn’t blessed with any great beaches to speak of, they do have some nice swimming pools to relax by. The better resorts in Danao include Elsalvador Beach Resort Danao, Sunshine Shin Beach Resort Danao and Coco Palms Resort Danao, check on the links to get more details on the resorts including video and photos.
Schedules of the ferries from Danao to the Camotes:
As with always for latest times/prices always check directly with the companies direct as they are subject to change with time.
Super Shuttle Ferries
They have a daily service that departs Danao at 1 pm. Their Facebook page seems to be updated more regularly than their actual webpage http://www.facebook.com/pages/Super-Shuttle-Ferry-Super-Shuttle-Roro-Shuttle-Fast-Ferry/148071318593482
Jomalia Shipping Corp.
Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jomalia-Shipping-Corporation/179072295462797
Prices: 180 P for economy and 200 P for air conditioning.
(+5 pesos terminal fee)
Danao – Consuelo (Camotes Islands):
05:30am / 08:30am / 10:00am / 12:00nn / 05:30pm / 09:30pm
Consuelo – Danao:
04:00am / 05:30am / 09:00am / 12:00nn / 02:00pm / 04:00pm
Mandaue to Camotes
The boat from Mandaue (to the Camotes) was at time of writing on dry dock and getting some repairs done. It used to run daily below.
Ouano, Mandaue 5am 3 hours (mob 63 919537 2573)
Fast craft to Camotes
From Cebu City there has been fast craft that operates to the Camotes but over the years this has been very sporadic. I’m not sure if this run makes enough money and they cancelled the route. The first time I went to Camotes many years ago was on the fast craft from Cebu. A few years later it wasn’t running anymore, then 2012 it started up again and ran from February until mid-year, then stopped. This year it doesn’t seem to be operating again. All I can say is, if you’re planning to go to the Camotes don’t rely on this service operating and keep a check out schedules in the local papers.
Camotes Island Resorts.
Most of the resorts in the Camotes are pretty much low key affairs, rooms come with basic facilities. Most of the resorts don’t have TV, and if they do, it’s local channels, Madgodlong Paradise Resort is the only one which has limited satellite channels.
Video guide to the resorts in the Camotes Island
List of Resorts in the Camotes
Definitely the best resort in the Camotes is Mangodlong Paradise Resort. Beds are comfy, modern and at this time, is the most luxurious resort you’re going to find on the Camotes. The resort comes with an infinity swimming pool, restaurant and beach front, although the beach man made it still looks pretty good. The resort is classified as a 3 star property.
Bano Beach Resort (or BBR) -. Another newish resort, it overlooks the ocean and Mangodlong Rock Resort. BBR has 8 rooms and a nice little swimming pool and restaurant. Owners are relatives of Mangodlong Rock so you are permitted to swim at their resort’s beach area.
Vall Hall Resort – A beautiful cliff top resort. The rooms while simple are reasonable enough, it’s the views from the cliff top that make this resort. Vall Hall Resorts has no beach, but the warm tropical waters around the cliff base are great for a refreshing swim or if you’re game, a plunge from the elevated water slide! The resort has friendly staff and a restaurant that serves up nothing spectacular, it’s reasonable enough.
Santiago Bay Resort is one of the largest and oldest resorts in the Camotes situated on a hilltop overlooking Santiago Bay, arguably the best views on the island. Their simple rooms come with fan or air conditioning, the more expensive rooms having the better views. A few years back they upgraded the resort with a nice swimming pool that shares some of the magnificent views. Its sister resort is Mangodlong Rock Resort around 15 minute drive away.
Payag Beach House Resort – Located right on Santiago Bay, you literately have to walk out of your room a few footsteps and you are on the beach. The rooms are small, basic and simple, some with common bathroom; they have a couple of family rooms as well.
Palanas Beach Resort – The closest you can get to living like Robinson Crusoe. Half a dozen or so rooms on this secluded beach, no restaurant, no facilities basically you, the beach and some palm trees! Palanas Resort is run under the same management of BBR and you can pre organise food with them. Enjoy paradise!
My Little Island Hotel. This resort is located on an isolated hilltop on Poro Island. Being on top of a hill it has some wonderful views looking out to the sea. The resort has decent rooms, and a great swimming pool. The only downer with this hotel is it’s so far away from everything and it doesn’t have a beach, hence the pool
Masamayor’s Beach Resort – Located a couple hundred meters away from Santiago Bay Beach offering simple motel style building with a restaurant on top. There is a house at the back that also has some rooms.
Mangodlong Rock Resort – Run under same management as Santiago Bay Resort that used to be the only resort in this area and now how become a little crowded with 3 resorts almost on top of each other. The rooms are aging but are decent. The more expensive rooms face out onto the beach while the cheaper rooms are located a few hundred meters away. Has a little beach front.
Keshe Beach Resort – Is made up of 2 bungalows (one small and one larger) and if you looking to get away from it all this resort may be for you! Bare to the bones, no facilities only the beauty of Mother Nature and the beautiful beach of Bakhaw (one of the Camotes hidden gems) in front of you. it’s one way to enjoy paradise! Organise food with the caretaker – sit back and relax!
Flying Fish Resort – Another Isolated Resort which I had a bit of trouble trying to find riding a bike around the island. The time I was there, the resort was empty of any guests. The rooms were actually quite good, clean and modern. You have the option of renting rooms in the top floor of the house or more standard room types in the main building. No beach here, but the resort has their own house reef for diving/snorkelling.
Borromeo Beach Resort – located close to Keshe Beach Resort on the beautiful Bakhaw Beach. More of a beach house that you can rent rooms from. The house comes with numerous rooms and has kitchen and dining area. Probably more suited for big groups or families wishing to rent the whole house.
Bellavistamare Beach Resort – A smaller resort on the Camotes, right next door to Santiago Bay Resort and having some amazing views overlooking the bay. Rooms are pretty simple and basic, with some having fan and others aircon.
Sunset Vista Resort – Located on the north eastern part of Pacijan Island, Sunset Vista has basic rooms either fan or air conditioned rooms with a nice garden area overlooking the ocean. The Resort has a small restaurant, it has no beach only rocks, although you are still able to swim. The staff are friendly and helpful. The only resort in the area and is walking distance from a small village.
Nonoc Beach House – newly opened in 2012, Nonoc offers 2 houses that are for rent. One of the houses can hold up to maximum 8 people and has 1 bedroom, bathroom and kitchen. The 2nd house can hold up to a maximum of 10 people and has 2 bedrooms. For more information call/txt +63 947 796 2529 or visit their Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/CamotesBeachHouse
Camotes Islands tourist spots
For the holiday maker there are many tourist spots in the Camotes worth visiting. One of the best spots to start is with Santiago Bay, one of the most beautiful beaches on the islands. It’s a bay blessed with a magnificent white sand beach, that at even at high tide is shallow and just amazing to swim at, If you want to stay here there are a number of resorts Payag Resort, Santiago Bay Resort, Masamayor’s Beach Resort and Bellavistamare Beach Resort (see above in Camotes Resorts for more info).
Another Beautiful Camotes Beach is Bakhaw Beach located near the town of Esperanza on Pacijan Island. The beach is a hidden little gem in the Camotes Islands, while Santiago Bay has been attraction the main tourist crowd; Bakhaw Beach has quietly attracting a more savvier tourist. To stay in this area, you have 2 choices; Keshe Resort and Borromeo Beach House Resort (see above under Camotes Resorts for more details).
The other beach worth checking out is on Tulang Island just north of Pacijan Island. It’s easy to organise one of the public boats to take you across to the island, it’s only a few minute ride. It’s so close, you could even swim it if you’re fit enough! The island has a lovely little stretch of white sand. On the northern side of Tulang there is also a great dive site for any budding scuba divers. Flying Fish Resort offers dive tours of this spot.
There are 2 caves worth visiting on the Camotes, one on Pacijan Island; Timubo Cave (entry 15 Peso) a small cave with a pool of water that you can swim in. The other, Bukilat Cave (entry 10 Peso) on Poro Island, located near the town of MacArthur, again only a small cave with a pool at water. Timubo Cave is darker and uses lights, while Bukilat has an opening in the roof that allows natural light into the cave.
Lake Danao Park (also known as Green Lake Park) entry is 20 pesos, the lake is biggest on the island and a great place to relax, kayak, hire a sakanaw (lake boat that holds many people) or have a picnic.
Buko Rock – is a lovely little spot by the ocean, a rocky area that has some places to relax and have a picnic or go swimming/snorkelling.
Panganuron Falls is a little waterfall (so much so it can dry up during the summer) is a 30 minute walk (1.6km) along a badly maintained (overgrown!) trail, at places I couldn’t even see the trail so I tended just to follow along near the river. Eventually I go there, and while it’s pretty enough, I wouldn’t say it’s a “must see”.
Overall the Camotes Islands are a great place to get away from the world. It’s a destination if you’re looking for a holiday without all the luxuries of the world and get back to nature. It has some beautiful beaches to explore, some diving and a fantastic place to get away from the crowds. I love hiring a bike and exploring the islands, for me a 3 or 4 days is enough, after that I do start to get bored.
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*prices show are subject to change without notice.