Explore the natural wonders of Bohol, home to the natural wonder called the Chocolate Hills. Find out the best time to go, how to go, where to stay, and what are other tourist spots and activities you shouldn't miss.
Bohol is one of the most popular and tourist-friendly destinations in the Philippines. This island province in the Central Visayas region attracts visitors from all over the world because of its stunning and diverse attractions, with the Chocolate Hills as its most famous tourist spot.
The Chocolate Hills in Bohol is a one of a kind geological formation of grass-covered hills that turn brown during the dry season. Bohol is also known as the home of one of the world’s smallest primates, the tarsiers.
The province has a rich history and is home to churches dating back to the early years of Spanish colonization. For adventure-lovers, it offers a host of adrenaline-packed activities. But the white sand beaches, world-class dive sites and generally laid-back provincial atmosphere of Panglao Island are what give Bohol its unique charm.
Bohol is composed of one main island and 75 minor surrounding smaller islands, so it can be quite overwhelming to decide where to start. This Bohol travel guide will help you navigate the island province and choose the best Bohol tourist spots to visit.
Starting November 15, 2020, travelers from the Philippines can once again discover Bohol’s countryside attractions and beaches. But with the threat of COVID-19 pandemic, the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has announced a set of guidelines and tourist requirements to comply before you make your trip to the home of the Chocolate Hills.
Bohol is open to residents and domestic tourists starting November 15, 2020 as long as they have a valid negative RT-PCR test or Saliva RT-PCR test from the Philippine Red Cross result taken not earlier than 72 hours prior date of travel and fulfill the necessary requirements of the province. Senior citizens and minors are allowed to enter Bohol as per E.O. 53.
Domestic tourists can only enter Bohol via the Bohol-Panglao International Airport (BPIA) or other ports of entry like Tagbilaran City Port.
Here are the requirements that you need to prepare before going to Bohol:
Confirmed hotel booking
All tourists must have confirmed hotel booking in Panglao and Dauis. The accommodation must have a Certificate of Authority to Operate (CAO) from the Department of Tourism (DOT) or the Ultimate Bohol Experience (UBE) seal from Bohol’s Provincial Government.
Secure a negative RT-PCR test result
The IATF has mandated a test-before-travel requirement. All domestic tourists must get a negative RT-PCR test result done within three days (72 hours) prior to the date of travel. Check out the list of accredited laboratories here. Saliva RT-PCR Test from the Philippine Red Cross is now also accepted.
Travelers who are staying for more than 5 days must have another RT-PCR test on the fifth day of their trip.
In case of booking cancellations or last-minute changes to flight schedules, tourists may also opt to have their swab test upon arrival in Bohol at their own expense. In such case, tourists will be required to fill up a signed undertaking stating that they are willing to undergo strict hotel quarantine while waiting for the result of their test.
Locals may attend conventions, exhibitions, and events such as a wedding or a birthday as long as they agree to be quarantined for 5 days and have another negative RT-PCR result.
Tourists must pre-register at Bohol’s tourist registration portal at tourism.bohol.gov.ph.The necessary information will be sent to you via email.
A personal QR Code will be assigned to each tourist. This will serve as the visitor’s electronic ID which will be scanned at the entrance and exits of the establishments and where the necessary information such as accommodation and tour bookings will be documented. Walk-in tourists are not allowed.
Book with DOT-accredited tour operators only
Trips outside of the accommodation is only allowed if tourists have pre-arranged trips with DOT-accredited and UBE certified travel agencies or tour operators only. Do-it-Yourself (DIY) or day tours are no longer allowed.
Download TRAZE app
All tourists entering Bohol must have the TRAZE app for contact tracing which contains the traveler's basic profile.
Observe strict quarantine
Tourists must follow strict quarantine requirements until their travel date. This includes wearing a mask and face shield, sanitizing hands regularly, and observing social distancing.
Once you're in Bohol, make sure you follow these safety requirements:
Minimum health standards: Mask and face shield
All residents and domestic tourists must wear face masks, face shields, wash hands regularly and practice proper social distancing especially in public establishments. This is to help reduce the risk of community transmission of COVID-19 disease.
Upon arrival in Bohol, tourists should be picked up by the transport service of their accommodation or by a pre-booked transport service from an accredited operator and should be immediately transferred to the pre-booked accommodation. Stopovers from port/airport to accommodation and meeting friends, relatives, acquaintances outside of the tourist bubble are not allowed.
Both drivers and passengers must follow the “no face shield, no mask, no ride” policy, This includes public transportation in Bohol like buses, jeepneys, tricycles, and many more. These protection measures are highly essential, especially at provincial borders to limit the spread of COVID-19 disease.
There are restaurants and food establishments in Bohol that offer dine-in services. Guests are expected to comply with dining procedures such as the usage of face masks, face shields and proper social distancing.
Restaurants and food establishments must strictly implement all health and safety protocols as stated in the national and local government regulations.
Don't miss the opportunity to enjoy the tourist spots of Bohol, which includes countryside attractions, beaches and other tourist spots like the iconic Chocolate Hills and Tarsier Sanctuary.
Visitor QR Code
All travelers must present their QR code at the entrance before leisurely exploring these tourist attractions.
Residents and domestic tourists can only join tours organized by DOT-accredited and UBE certified tour operators. DIY tours are not allowed.
Wearing a face mask, face shield, and observing proper social distancing in these tourist spots strictly needs to be followed.
If you are going to Bohol for sightseeing and water activities, it's essential to take note of the climate, weather, and temperature before booking your plane tickets. In this section, you'll be able to know the best time of the year to visit Bohol.
Like most regions in the Philippines, the temperature in Bohol varies so little throughout the year. Bohol is hot all year-round. However, the chances of rainfall fluctuate throughout the year.
So you will want to take note and avoid the months with high chances of precipitation, especially if you’re going to make the most out of the beaches and the water activities in Bohol. Additionally, knowing when peak seasons are will help you gauge the amount of crowd you can expect in Bohol tourist spots.
The dry season in Bohol starts in December and ends in May, with April having the least chance of rainfall. Understandably, these months are the peak season; they are the ideal time to visit Bohol for hot-weather activities such as swimming, diving, snorkeling, and sightseeing.
Summer is also the best time to see the Chocolate Hills in their iconic chocolate brown color. Naturally, most travelers prefer visiting Bohol during these months. Which means you can expect to see crowds at Bohol beaches and attractions.
The Holy Week falls within the best time range to visit Bohol in terms of weather. Thus, many local visitors flock Bohol's beaches during the months of March to April.
Aside from the warm sunny weather, the Holy Week is considered a holiday in the Philippines. You can expect large crowds during this time, a great opportunity to meet and mingle with locals.
If you want to experience the Bohol during the Holy Week, plan a trip from March to April. If you prefer less crowd while still making the best out of the dry season, you can plan your trip in January, February, and May.
Every year, Bohol celebrates the Sandugo Festival in Tagbilaran City. The festival commemorates the historic blood compact (Sandugo) between Datu Sikatuna of Bohol and Spanish Conquistador, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. It is a month-long festival that involves beauty pageants and street dancing competitions.
If you plan to visit during this time, you will be treated to an immersive cultural experience. As with other Philippine festivals, you can expect the celebration to be vibrant and extravagant. Expect crowded streets and heavy traffic around Tagbilaran City during this festival.
The temperature in Bohol varies very little throughout the year. However, Bohol experiences significant variations in monthly rainfall. The wet season starts from June to November, with June and October receiving the most rain. Whereas, the dry season in Bohol begins in January and ends on May 30, with April having the least chance of rainfall.
To witness the Chocolate Hills in their iconic chocolate brown color, you’ll want to come during the dry months of January through May. Understandably, these months are the peak season, so be ready to compete with the Holy Week crowd.
Here's an overview of the average monthly Bohol temperature and rainfall:
Source: Weather Spark
When visiting Bohol expect a tropical climate. So dress in casual breathable clothes, especially during the dry months. If you're in the malls or outdoors at night, especially during the holiday season or rainy season, it's best to bring a light jacket with you to keep you warm.
Bohol is the prime tourist destination for local and foreign travelers. It is accessible from major cities of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao are the primary island groups of the Philippine archipelago.
Major jump-offs in Luzon include the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, and Clark International Airport in Angeles City, Pampanga. On the other hand, Davao International Airport in Davao City is the primary jump-off in Mindanao.
Aside from air travel, you also have the option to travel by sea. You can reach Bohol via fast craft from Cebu, Dumaguete, Siquijor, and Camiguin.
Photo from Philippine Airlines
The Bohol-Panglao International Airport services the whole Bohol Province. This airport opened last November 2018. It replaced the old airport that used to be in Tagbilaran City, the capital of Bohol Province.
Bohol-Panglao Airport is dubbed as the “Green Gateway to the World” and the first “Eco-airport in the Philippines” because of its environment-friendly equipment and facilities.
Hence, you might want to book your accommodations in Panglao island itself or start your Bohol adventure in the tourist spots in Panglao for your convenience. If you booked a hotel in Tagbilaran, there is a regular air-conditioned bus from the airport to Island City Mall in Tagbilaran City.
At the moment, Bohol is only connected to domestic destinations. If you are coming from outside of the Philippines, you will have to fly to Luzon or Mindanao to catch a plane to Bohol.
From Luzon or Mindanao in the Philippines to Bohol
Traveling by air is the most convenient and hassle-free way to reach Bohol. If you’re coming from Luzon, you can fly directly from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila to the Bohol-Panglao International Airport.
Another Luzon jump-off option you have is to travel from Clark International Airport in Angeles City. The trip will take about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific have daily flights from Pampanga to Bohol.
If you're in Mindanao, you can fly to Bohol directly from the Davao International Airport. It will take just about an hour. Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and Air Asia have daily flights from Davao to Bohol.
Aside from going to Bohol from Luzon and Mindanao, you can also opt to fly to Cebu first and explore the Queen City of the South's tourist spots. From there, you can hop on a fast-craft to Bohol at the Cebu Port which will be discussed below.
From Outside of the Philippines to Bohol
As mentioned, Bohol is currently only connected to domestic destinations. If you’re coming from outside of the Philippines, you will have to fly to Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Airport.
NAIA is connected to several international destinations in North East and Southeast Asia, Middle East, Oceania, North America, and Europe. From the Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport, you can fly directly to the New Bohol International Airport in Panglao Island, Bohol.
Another way to reach Bohol is by traveling by sea. While this route may take longer, you will get to experience a different kind of adventure. Several ferries can take you to Bohol from Cebu, Dumaguete, Siquijor, Cagayan de Oro, and Camiguin.
OceanJet, Trans-Asia Shipping Lines, and Super Shuttle Ferry are the leading ferry companies that travel to Bohol from various locations in Visayas and Mindanao.
OceanJet has daily trips to Bohol from Cebu, Dumaguete, and Siquijor. Trans-Asia Shipping Lines, Cokaliong Shipping Lines, and Lite Ferries have weekly trips to Bohol from Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao. Super Shuttle Ferry also has daily trips from Camiguin to Bohol.
From Cebu by Ferry
If you’ll be coming from Cebu, the fastest way to reach Bohol is via fast craft. You will reach Tagbilaran Port after two hours. OceanJet has several trips from Bohol to Cebu every day.
You can also take the slow ferry to get to Tagbilaran. Lite Ferries have daily trips to Tagbilaran. While a slow ferry is cheaper than the fast craft, it will take you four hours to reach Bohol.
There are five major passenger ports in Cebu; Pier 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. Take note that OceanJet and Lite Ferries operate at Pier 1. You can purchase your tickets at the ferry terminal, but it is more advisable to buy them in advance.
From Dumaguete by Ferry
If you're coming from Dumaguete City, you can travel to Bohol by fast ferry. The trip to Bohol from Dumaguete will only take two hours. There are limited options when you're going to Bohol from Dumaguete.
OceanJet has two visits to Tagbilaran every day. If you're traveling during peak season, be sure to book your tickets in advance as they usually sell out quickly.
From Siquijor by Ferry
If you're in Siquijor, you can travel to Bohol by fast ferry. The trip will only take approximately one hour and a half. Similar to Dumaguete, you'll have limited options when traveling from Siquijor to Bohol.
OceanJet has one fast ferry trip from Larena, Siquijor to Tagbilaran Bohol every day. If you're going to Bohol during peak season, be sure to book your tickets in advance as they usually sell out quickly.
From Camiguin by Ferry
If you’re in Camiguin, you can travel to Bohol via the Roll On, Roll Off (RoRo) vessel. A RoRo is a vessel commonly used to transport wheeled vehicles such as buses across the sea to various island provinces in the Philippines.
Super Shuttle only offers one daily RoRo trip from Balbagon Pier in Mambajao, Camiguin to Jagna Pier in Bohol. The trip will take approximately four hours. Jagna is at two hours away from Tagbilaran City, and one hour and a half from Panglao Island.
From Davao via Cagayan de Oro or Butuan by Ferry
No ferries are plying Davao to Bohol. However, you can head to Nasipit Port in Butuan or to Cagayan de Oro Port where you can take a ferry to Bohol. The trip from Butuan to Bohol can take five to seven hours, depending on the shipping line. While the journey from Cagayan to Bohol takes five hours.’
Lite Ferry offers two trips from Cagayan de Oro to Jagna every day. Trans-Asia Shipping Lines has three trips to Jagna every week. On the other hand, Cokaliong Shipping lines only have one trip to Jagna every week.
Lite Ferries offer four trips from Nasipit to Jagna every week. The trip typically takes 7 hours. On the other hand, Cokaliong Shipping Lines has one trip from Nasipit to Jagna every week. The journey takes 5 hours.
Take note that the drive from Davao City to Nasipit is six hours, whereas the drive from Davao to Cagayan de Oro is five hours. These routes are a long way to get to Bohol. You can always fly directly from Davao to Bohol. But if you fancy a road trip through Mindanao, then this route can be quite an experience.
There are various ways to get around Bohol. The primary public transportation in Bohol includes jeepney, tricycles, buses, motorbikes, vans for hire, and car rentals. There are no car booking apps such as Grab in Bohol.
Take note that once you arrive at the Bohol-Panglao International Airport, taxis will be your only transportation option. Jeepneys and tricycles are not allowed in the airport complex. So unless you have pre-arranged transportation to fetch you and take you to your accommodations, you’ll have to take a taxi.
However, if you’re coming to Bohol by sea, you’re in luck. You can find plenty of tricycles and some taxis around the Tagbilaran Port. Tricycles can bring you to most locations within Tagbilaran City and neighboring towns.
You will need to hop on a jeepney, a bus, a van for hire (popularly called V-Hire), or motorbikes for hire ( known as habal-habal) to get to distant towns.
Another essential thing first-time travelers to Bohol need to know are the main transportation terminals around the island. Take note of these areas where you can board the transportation options when getting around Bohol.
City Square Mall
If you're traveling within Tagbilaran or to nearby towns, head to the City Square Mall. It is where you will find public transport for short distances destinations such as Lila, Baclayon, Cortes, Corella, and Loboc. If you’re heading to the historic Baclayon Church or Loboc River, you can catch a ride at City Square Mall in Tagbilaran City.
Island City Mall- Dao Integrated Bus and Jeepney Terminal
Most public transportation departs from Dao Integrated Bus and Jeepney Terminal, which is located near the Island City Mall in Tagbilaran City. It is where you'll find buses bound for interior towns such as Anda, Jagna, Ubay, Carmen, and Danao, among others. You can also find jeepneys/multicab here that go to Panglao Island.
If you traveled to Bohol by ferry and don't want to spend a lot on a taxi to your hotel in Panglao, you can catch a tricycle to Island City Mall. You can buy supplies at the mall and hop on a jeepney to Panglao at the nearby terminal. This way you can cut your taxi costs.
If you’re planning to explore the beautiful beaches of Anda or check out the iconic Chocolate Hills in Carmen, you can also catch a bus at the Integrated Bus Terminal. You can also find a bus here to take you to Danao where the Danao Adventure Park is.
Depending on where you're staying and your budget for commuting, it's essential to take note of these following types of transportation for a more convenient getaway.
Van or Car Rental
If you prefer to get around Bohol on a private vehicle, you can rent a car in Bohol. There are several car and van rental companies in Bohol. You can hire a private car or van with a driver for your trip.
It is more convenient, especially when you're traveling with a group and doing countryside tours of Bohol. There are also car rentals in Bohol that allow you to drive the vehicle yourself
If your destination is outside of Tagbilaran City, you will have to get on a bus at the Tagbilaran Bus Terminal near Island City Mall. On the other hand, if you’re coming from outside Tagbilaran City, take note that buses do not pass through the city center. They will only take you as far as the Integrated Jeep and Bus Terminal. From there you can take a tricycle or jeepney to your destination.
Buses can take you to towns such as Anda, Jagna, Ubay, Carmen, Danao, and Panglao island. Unlike jeepney, buses have conductors whom you will be giving your fare to. Tell the conductor your destination when you hand in your payment.
Several small independent bus companies are servicing Bohol. Buses traveling to significant towns, follow regular schedules, whereas buses going to smaller interior towns only a few trips per day.
Jeepneys or jeeps are the most popular means of public transportation in the Philippines along major and some small roads. Jeepneys can accommodate up to 20 passengers, depending on the size of the jeepney. Jeepneys have specific routes that can take you around the Bohol.
Jeepneys routes in Bohol are not numbered; instead, their signages will indicate specific points and roads within Tagbilaran City. Provincial jeepneys, on the other hand, will indicate the town name. Most routes converge at Island City Mall and Integrated Bus, also Jeepney Terminal. Some routes also covered at the Tagbilaran City Square Mall.
You can hail a jeepney from any major roads. However, jeepneys do not have a fixed schedule, and waiting for a jeepney may take up to 30 minutes. Additionally, jeepneys frequently stop to drop or pick up passengers, which can extend your travel time.
When riding a jeepney, take note that payments are handed to the driver during the ride. If you’re seated at the far end of the jeepney, politely ask other passengers to pass it to the driver for you.
Be sure to say “Palihug” (Please) as you hand them your fare. Likewise, if you happen to be the one sitting close to the driver, offer the same courtesy to passengers at the far end by passing along their fare to the driver.
When you're about 5-10 meters away from your stop, locals will say, "Para po!" (Please stop), to notify the driver to slow down and stop at the nearest unloading station.
Motorized tricycles, or simply tricycles, are the local form of the auto-rickshaw similar to Thailand’s tuk-tuk. These public utility vehicles ply a set route in inner roads. Built-in a variety of styles that differ from city to city, these are usually made locally by building a sidecar affixed to a motorcycle. These can accommodate 2-4 passengers only.
You can hail a tricycle from any part of the city. But you can also find tricycles lined up in front of Island City Mall. You can hire a tricycle like a taxi or charter it for day tours around Bohol. This type of arrangement is tagged as a "special trip," and so will cost you considerably more.
V-Hire is short for "van for hire." V-Hires are air-conditioned mini-vans that can carry 12-15 people to routes across the major towns in Bohol. They are a more comfortable and faster option than buses. They also typically cost twice the price of a bus ticket.
V-Hires have designated stops, where they can drop or pick-up passengers. V-Hires have terminals in Carmen, Tubigon, Guindulman, Ubay, Talibon, and Trinidad. In Tagbilaran City, you can find V-Hires at the Integrated Jeep and Bus Terminal.
If you're a solo backpacker or in a hurry, you can hire local motorcycle drivers to give you a lift. These motorcycles for hire are locally known as habal-habal. It is often the only way to reach interior towns if you have missed the bus.
Habal-Habal is also a good option if you don't want to spend too much on a taxi or you don't want to wait for a jeepney. Fair warning, habal-habal drivers tend to drive fast over rough roads. If the speed of the driver is starting to alarm you, politely ask the driver to slow down a little.
Only a few taxi companies operate in Bohol. You can usually find taxis outside the seaport and near malls. Taxi drivers will generally turn on the meter when traveling within Tagbilaran City. However, if you’re going outside the city limit, the driver may ask for more since he will have to drive back to the city to pick up his next passenger.
Most accommodations in Bohol range from luxury, mid-range, and budget-friendly. Depending on your preference, here are some of the best accommodations in all budget types. Check them out and take your pick based on your budget and itinerary.
Depending on your budget and preference, it's essential to research Bohol hotels and other types of accommodations before your visit. Here are some of the usual accommodations in Bohol. Be sure to check if this accommodates the number of people you are traveling with. If you're looking for cheap hotels in Bohol, vacation rentals, or luxury accommodations, you won’t be disappointed.
Beach Resorts and Hotels
Whether you're staying for work or leisure, there are various hotels and resorts in Bohol, ranging from budget to luxury. Luxury accommodations in Bohol offer amenities such as swimming pool and spa.
The best Bohol resorts are usually found in the beachfront of Panglao Island or Anda Bohol. Make sure to follow the check-in procedure to avoid getting an extra charge.
Budget Hotels and Inns
If you prefer to allocate more of your budget on exploring Bohol’s tourist attractions, then book a budget hotel. You can find a handful of budget hotels in Bohol that offer dorm-type rooms and private rooms with basic amenities.
When deciding on which budget accommodation, assess if it is located near the attractions on your Bohol itinerary to avoid overspending on transportation.
If you're looking for privacy, renting a private house in Bohol will work best. There are several vacation rentals throughout Panglao Island, Tagbilaran City, and Anda. It's better if you're in a group so you can share the expenses.
Location is a significant factor when booking your hotel in Bohol. Bohol has a range of accommodations catering to different types of travelers. There are luxury resorts as well as budget accommodations concentrated mostly in Panglao Island, Anda, and the capital Tagbilaran City.
Panglao Island is the top beach destination in Bohol. It is located southwest of mainland Bohol and east and south of Cebu. The Panglao is connected to Bohol's main island by the Suarez Bridge and Gov. Borja Bridge.
The New Bohol International Airport is in Panglao Island, so booking your hotel in Panglao would be very convenient. There are several attractions in Panglao Island itself.
Panglao has a land area of 91.12 square kilometers (35.18 sq mi). It comprises two municipalities: Dauis and Panglao. The famous Alona Beach and Dumaluan Beach are located in the municipality of Panglao.
Another fascinating attraction on the island is the Hinagdanan Cave in Dauis. Additionally, Balicasag Island and Pamalican, both popular island-hopping destinations, are close to Panglao Island.
Alona Beach is the most famous and commercialized beach in Panglao. Alona Beach boasts white sand and azure water. It’s beachfront is lined with coconuts, shops, and beach resorts. You can find several hotels and restaurants in Alona Beach.
Aside from swimming, there are lots of water activities you can do in Alona Beach. You can go snorkeling, scuba-diving, island hopping, dolphin watching, and kitesurfing.
The Alona House Reef is a popular diving site thanks to the variety of colorful sea creatures such as the lionfish, clownfish, and frogfish, that call it home.
Balicasag and Virgin Island are also near Alona Beach. You can go on a Balicasag island tour to get a chance to see the breeding of sea turtles.
Virgin Island is an unspoiled sandbar that’s perfect for Instagram-worthy photos. You can also catch a glimpse of dolphins when island-hopping from Alona Beach.
Dumaluan Beach is an excellent alternative to Alona Beach. It has the same powdery white sand and crystal clear water but has fewer visitors. The sunset in Dumaluan is stunning as well.
Dumaluan also has its fair share of beach resorts and hotels. The best part is, the accommodations in Dumaluan cost less than those in Alona Beach.
Anda is two hours away from Tagbilaran City and Panglao Island. This town is an excellent option if you want to go off-the-beaten-path. There are several budget accommodations here. Although it is a bit farther from the city center, you may want to check-in at a hotel here instead.
Anda is blessed with beautiful beaches, cerulean waters, diving spots, and cave pools. Anda's Quinale Beach boasts sprawling coconut-fringed beach fronts with hardly any travelers.
Anda is also an excellent jump-off point for diving. Anda has pristine reefs, caves, caverns, and coral gardens that are teeming with vibrant marine life.
Tagbilaran City is the capital of the Province of Bohol. If you’re traveling to Bohol via ferry, you will arrive at the Tagbilaran City Seaport. There is no shortage of hotels in Tagbilaran. Booking your accommodation in Tagbilaran is a good option if you plan to dedicate more time exploring the inland Bohol tourist spots.
Tagbilaran is the jump-off point to Chocolate Hills, Loboc River, the Philippine Tarsier Conservation Area, and the historical and heritage sites in Bohol. Tagbilaran is also not that far from Panglao Island if you want to go swimming or island-hopping.
Depending on your budget and preference, it's essential to take note of the following: location, price, and service. While it's okay to stay in a cheaper place, one should consider the number of people that will be staying.
If you're in a group, it might be better to rent a private house or stay at hotels in Bohol that offer family rooms. Here are some of the popular accommodations in Bohol:
Bohol is home to several 4-star and 5-star beach resorts and hotels that offer world-class facilities and services. The majority of these are located near Alona Beach. Here are some top-rated Bohol resorts and hotels that you can choose from:
Henann Resort Alona Beach, Bohol
Photo from Henann Resort Alona Beach, Bohol
Henann Resort is Bohol’s premier beachfront accommodation. The resort occupies 7 hectares of tropical grounds along Alona Beach. Henann offers island-style rooms equipped with free Wi-Fi, flat-screens, and minifridges.
Photo from Henann Resort Alona Beach, Bohol
If you want to upgrade your room, you will get pool access. Henann suites include Nespresso machines, and separate living room and dining rooms. Some suites even have sea views.
The resort offers free breakfast for its guests. They also have a fine-dining restaurant, a buffet, and several bars by the poolside. Other amenities include outdoor pools, a private beach area, a gym, and a spa.
The Bellevue Resort
Photo from The Bellevue Resort
The Bellevue Hotel is a five-star resort in Bohol. It is also an ASEAN Green Hotel awardee. Bellevue Hotel is located on Dolijo Beach overlooking the Cebu Strait. They offer elegant private rooms with free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs, plus iPod docks and minibars.
Photo from The Bellevue Resort
You can go for an upgraded room if you want a balcony and a beach view. The Bellevue hotel also has suites with an outdoor whirlpool tub.
Photo from The Bellevue Resort
The resort has an international restaurant that offers open-air dining, as well as a seafood restaurant with a thatched roof and beach views. Other amenities include a bar, an infinity pool, a spa, and a gym, water sports facilities, a game room, and a playroom.
Amorita Resort is a secluded luxury resort located on a limestone cliff on the southern edge of Bohol’s Panglao Island. This tranquil seaside retreat combines world-class service with signature Filipino hospitality and is a favorite of expats and European visitors because of its quiet luxury and intimacy.
Not willing to splurge for high-end amenities but still want a comfortable hotel to stay in Bohol? No worries! You can find several accommodations that offer excellent service and facilities without burning a hole through your wallet. Check out these top-rated mid-range hotels in Bohol.
Dumaluan Beach Resort
Dumaluan Beach Resort is a three-star hotel in Panglao Island. This resort is an excellent value for money. If you want to get accommodation by beachfront, Dumaluan Beach Resort is a great option.
The Dumuluan beach is just as scenic as Alona Beach, but the accommodation in Dumaluan Beach Resort costs way less than Alona's Hennan Resort.
Dumaluan Beach Resort offers suites, private rooms, and family rooms with air-conditioning and cable TV. Their private bathrooms also have a hot and cold shower.
The best features of the Dumaluan Resort are its private beach, outdoor pool, restaurant, and coffee shop. Their restaurant serves sumptuous international and Filipino cuisine.
Bohol South Beach Hotel
Bohol South Beach Hotel is an excellent choice if you’re looking for mid-range accommodation. This hotel is also conveniently located near Alona Beach and the Philippine Tarsier Foundation.
Photo from Bohol South Beach Hotel
Bohol South Beach Hotel offers private rooms with wi-fi, a flat-screen TV, a mini-fridge, and a coffee maker. You get a sitting room, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a beautiful beach view if you upgrade your room. You can opt for room service, or go to their restaurant which has direct beach access.
Photo from Bohol South Beach Hotel
This 3.5-star hotel that boasts a roof-top bar and an infinity pool. They also have other recreational facilities such as a private beach, spa, and massage. You also have the option of express check-in and check-out.
If you’re backpacking or traveling on a tight budget, then budget-friendly accommodations are perfect for you. You can find top-rated low-cost accommodations in Bohol that has all the basic amenities plus a warm and welcoming staff. Here are some budget-friendly hotels and resorts you can choose from.
TR3ATS Guest House
Photo from TR3ATS Guest House
TR3ATS Guest House is a great budget accommodation in Bohol. It is in Tagbilaran City; only 2-kilometers away from the Tagbilaran Seaport, and a 10-minute walk to the National Museum of Tagbilaran.
This white low-rise guesthouse offers rooms with basic accommodations and free Wi-Fi. Their private rooms have bathrooms and flat-screen TVs.
They also offer mixed and female-only dorms with bunk beds and shared bathrooms that can accommodate up to 6 people. Other amenities include a relaxed cafe and a garden with a lagoon-style pool.
Panglao Island Inn
Panglao Island Inn is walking distance from the famous Alona Beach. This homey inn is another excellent budget-friendly option considering its proximity to the beach and other Panglao tourist spots like the Hinagdanan Cave.
Panglao Island Inn is a great choice, especially if you’re traveling with your family or your group of friends since they offer dorm-type rooms and family rooms. Their rooms are air-conditioned, and they also have free wi-fi in their communal area.
Panglao Island Inn’s other amenities include a 24-hour front desk, free parking, garden area, and a smoking area.
Bohol offers various fascinating attractions and experiences. You can see most of the main landmarks and tourist spots by availing of packaged Bohol countryside tours, usually inclusive of transportation costs and entrance fees.
The countryside tours usually include visits to historical sites and churches such as the Compact Blood Site and the Baclayon Church. Bohol itinerary also consists of the tarsier sanctuary, Loboc River Cruise, Bilar Man-made Forest, Hanging Bridge, Chocolate Hills, and Butterfly Garden.
Bohol is mainly associated with the Chocolate Hills, a unique geological formation of grass-covered hills that turn brown during the dry season. It is one of the country's most iconic landmarks and is featured in the local currency.
Two hills have been developed into resorts for tourism, containing viewing decks. The Chocolate Hills Complex located in Carmen, Bohol is roughly 55 kilometers from Tagbilaran.
There’s also a viewing deck located at Sagbayan Peak, about 18 kilometers away from Carmen. Both tourist spots in Bohol offer stunning views of the surrounding hills.
Panglao Island located southwest of the main island of Bohol contains most of the high-end resorts and excellent restaurants. The most famous spot here is Alona Beach, notable for its white sand and clear water.
This island is connected by bridges to the rest of Bohol and includes several other smaller islands including Gak-ang, Pontod, and Balicasag which are famous for island-hopping tours.
Another exciting geological feature found on Panglao Island is Hinagdanan Cave, a naturally lighted cavern with a deep lagoon with an underground water source.
For first-timers in Bohol, one of the main attractions worth seeing are the Philippine tarsiers, cute animals with big, round eyes that feed primarily on insects. Tarsiers are nocturnal, so during the day, they’re mostly hiding or sleeping.
The Philippine tarsier is a species of tarsier endemic to the Philippines. It is found in the southeastern part of the Philippines, particularly on the islands of Bohol, Samar, Leyte, and Mindanao.
There are two main sites to see tarsiers up close in Bohol: the Tarsier Sanctuary and the Tarsier Conservation Area. Tarsier Sanctuary is situated in a forest in Corella. On the other hand, the Tarsier Conservation Area is a six-hectare woodland area located in Barangay Upper Bonbon, Loboc town.
Take note that tarsiers are very sensitive to loud noises and lights, so travelers should not use flash when taking photos. Visitors are not allowed to touch the animals.
The Loboc River is another major tourist attraction in Bohol. Located in the town of Carmen, the river takes a westerly course for a distance of about 1.5 kilometers (1 mi) then flows due south into the Mindanao or the Bohol Sea.
The Loboc River Cruise is a must-try when you’re in Bohol. It involves an hour-long cruise on floating huts with buffet meals while being serenaded by local folk singers. The clean and green river flanked by coconut trees provides a very scenic and peaceful backdrop for river cruises.
If you want to explore the Loboc River differently, Stand-Up Paddleboarding or SUP is a new attraction being offered in the area.
The Bilar Man-Made Forest, stretching in a two-kilometer stretch of densely planted Mahogany trees located on the border of Loboc and Bilar towns, is another popular spot.
It is often a side-trip for travelers going to the Chocolate Hills from Loboc. The forest creates a scenic tunnel of trees over the road which makes it accessible for photo ops among travelers.
Bohol is also well-known for its beautiful heritage churches. Notable churches include the St. Joseph Cathedral in Tagbilaran City, Church of the Immaculate Conception in Baclayon, Santa Monica Church in Albuquerque, San Nicolas de Tolentino Church in Dimiao, Holy Trinity Church in Loay and Church of Our Lady of the Assumption in Dauis.
Unfortunately, some structures were damaged by the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck the island province in 2013, and are still in the process of being reconstructed.
The town of Anda boasts of several beautiful white beaches and other natural attractions. Located on the far eastern side of the province of Bohol about 100 kilometers from the capital along the coast, Anda offers a more tranquil and isolated getaway and less commercial accommodations.
You can expect the same beautiful white sand beaches ideal for pure relaxation. The main beach area at the Poblacion is about 1.5 km long, but there are other beaches along the coast.
For those who have more time to spare, island-hopping tours are highly recommended. Pamilacan and Balicasag are usually the top-recommended spots to visit when it comes to Bohol travel.
Pamilacan Island is a small island that has become a favorite among divers and snorkelers. It’s a great place to go snorkeling, dolphin-watching, and whale-watching. Balicasag Island, on the other hand, is where travelers head to watch sea turtles.
There are a host of other water-based attractions to do during island-hopping tours including swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, and kitesurfing.
Photo from Danao Adventure Park
For those who prefer to explore the land-based attractions on their own, motorcycle rentals are ubiquitous in Bohol. For avid cyclists, you can opt to explore the Bohol countryside by bicycle.
Some shops offer mountain bike rentals so you can explore on your own. Other tour operators offer guided mountain bike tours with prices that vary depending on the length of the tour.
Photo from the Philippine Department of Tourism
As one of the country’s top tourist destinations, Bohol is a great place for foodies to discover tasty, homegrown dishes. If you’re craving seafood, you won’t be disappointed!
Being an island, you can expect the freshest seafood in Bohol like in this oyster and seafood buffet tour. Aside from that, other unique dining experiences await you in Bohol! Here are some culinary adventures you shouldn’t miss while in Bohol.
Bohol Cuisine is quite similar to that of Cebu and other neighboring Visayan provinces. However, Bohol is famous for its local delicacies such as the Peanut Kisses and Kalamay.
Peanut Kisses is a peanut delicacy inspired by the Hershey's Kisses. This sweet and crunchy snack is made of high-quality peanuts and egg-white. Peanut Kisses are also shaped like Bohol’s Chocolate Hills.
This treat is a must-try if you’re in Bohol. It is also an excellent snack to take home as a pasalubong (anything brought home from a place one traveled to).
On the other hand, Kalamay is a sticky sweet delicacy made of coconut milk, brown sugar, and glutinous rice. Kalamay is exceptionally sticky and runny when it is warm. It is typically packaged inside an empty polished coconut shell. It works great as a filling for bread, although it is also excellent on its own.
There are a lot of restaurants in Bohol that serve distinctly Visayan cuisine. Aside from sweet delicacies, Bohol is home to restaurants that serve not only great food but also a great experience. Here’s a list of the restaurants you can include in your itinerary.
Bohol Bee Farm
Photo from the Philippine Department of Tourism
One of the best places to try is the Bohol Bee Farm, an organic farm that offers a great spot for healthy lunches and light meals in a rustic setting. Be sure to try their farm-fresh salads and soups, stir-fried organic veggies, or seafood.
Photo from Shaka Bohol
If you’re looking for a vegetarian restaurant in Panglao, head on to Shaka Bohol. This eatery is a veritable vegetarian’s paradise. They serve delectable and filling vegan burgers, fries, pancakes, tacos, and many more. They are also famous for their selection of smoothie bowls that are made from fresh island fruits.
Shaka also serves cocktails and craft beer from Cebruery, a Visayan brewery famous for their artisanal ales and lagers. If you’re a craft beer enthusiast, you might want to try their Chocolate Hills Porter!
For those who want a fine-dining experience with a view, Tarsier Paprika at Donatela Hotel (formerly Tarsier Botanika) in Panglao is the right choice. The resto-bar sits on top of a cliff blends international flavors garnished with fresh local ingredients and garden herbs.
Gerarda’s Family Restaurant
Are you craving for authentic home-cooked Filipino cuisine? Gerarda’s in Bohol is sure to satisfy your craving. This well-loved family-owned restaurant in Tagbilaran City is a converted ancestral house that boasts of antiques and elegant classic Filipino furnishings.
More than it’s elegant interior and homey ambiance, Gerarda’s prides themselves for their sumptuous Filipino meals in generous servings and reasonable prices.
Their best-selling dishes include Dinakdakan, Beef Kare-Kare, and crispy tadyang (ribs). Aside from Filipino food, they also have vegetarian-friendly and vegan options.
Buzz Cafe is a popular Alona Beach restaurant. It is managed by the Bohol Bee farm and conveniently located along Alona Beach. This beachfront establishment serves the same fare as the Bohol Bee Farm, but with a different view.
Be sure to try Buzz Cafe’s famous homemade ice creams served in cassava cones. They usually come in unique flavors like malunggay, honey, spicy ginger, pandan, dragon fruit, and lots more.
Before you start planning your Bohol trip, take note of these essential practical travel and safety tips for a hassle-free and convenient trip to this beautiful island province. These tips are especially useful if it's your first time in Bohol. Don't worry; Bohol is quite safe; even for first-timers.
Major establishments in Bohol accept credit cards. There are also ATMs and money changers at the city center in Tagbilaran City. You will find the best rates at the money changers in Island City Mall, and in the street between Rose Pharmacy and the Jollibee Restaurant.
However, it is still better to bring enough Philippine Peso (PHP) with you, and smaller bills in 20, 50, and 100 denominations for a faster transaction.
Additionally, always carry loose change and bills in small denominations. They will come in handy when you are riding public transportation, or when they have to buy food and small items from vendors.
The majority of Bohol locals can speak Cebuano and Tagalog. Most locals also understand English well, so don't be afraid to ask questions or directions. Say hi/hello first when approaching them to establish a friendly tone. Who knows? You might earn a new friend in the process.
If it's your first time in Bohol, you might want to focus on the more popular attractions. The packaged countryside and Panglao Island tours are the most popular because they highlight the most breathtaking landscapes in the province. Most visitors spend at least three days, two nights to visit Bohol. But you can extend it up to 5 days. Here’s a sample itinerary that you can take inspiration from:
08:00 am - Arrival at Tagbilaran Airport
08:30 am - Check-in at hotel
09:00 am - Start of Countryside Tour: Tagbilaran, Baclayon, Albur
11:30 am - Loboc River Cruise with lunch
06:00 pm - Dinner at Tarsier Paprika
05:30 am - Depart for the islands
04:00 pm - Back at the resort or lounge by Alona Beach
05:30 pm - Firefly watching tour
08:30 pm - Dinner and drinks at Shaka Bohol
06:00 am - Inland tour of Panglao Island
10:00 am - Early lunch at Bohol Bee Farm
11:00 nn - Explore Anda Beach
06:00 pm - Back at the resort in Panglao Island
08:00 pm - Dinner at Alona Beach
05:00 am - Early breakfast
06:00 am - Danao Adventure Park tour
04:00 pm - Back to the hotel to freshen up
06:00 pm - Dinner at Gerarda’s in Tagbilaran
07:00 am - Breakfast at Buzz Cafe
12:00 nn - Check-out of hotel
02:00 pm - Flight
Start Planning Your Bohol Trip!
Whether you’re a history buff, a beach-lover, a nature-lover, or an adrenaline-junkie, Bohol has something for you. The humble island province of Bohol is endowed with unique natural wonders you can’t find anywhere else in the country.
A first-time traveler and returning visitor, you’re sure to find something to keep you fulfilled in Bohol. Be sure to bookmark this Bohol travel guide to help you maximize your trip to this stunning island province. Check out Bohol tours and activities that you can book and add to your itinerary.