Aerial view of Malapascua Island

Cebu to Bohol 4D3N Itinerary: Tourist Spots & Activities, How to Get Around

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Bantayan Island and Chocolate Hills

When planning a vacation to tour the Philippines, international travelers can enter the country via Cebu where a variety of tourist sites and experiences await you. Cebu is an island province located in the Central Visayas Region of the Philippines and is a popular gateway to the country aside from the capital city of Manila. It is widely known for islands, beaches, resorts, diving spots, outdoor adventures, and romantic spots, perfect for couples on their honeymoon in the Philippines.

Cebu is also popular due to its accessibility. It is home to one of the country’s busiest international airports, the Mactan-Cebu International Airport. This top tourist destination also offers a variety of vacation packages for couples and Philippine tour packages

If you are visiting Cebu during your vacation in the Philippines, consider going for a Cebu- Bohol tour itinerary. You can easily take a Cebu to Bohol ferry ride and enjoy Bohol's luxury resorts, beaches, diving spots, and iconic attractions like the Chocolate Hills and Loboc River. 

There are many 4d3n Cebu Bohol Tour packages available to tourists. However, you may also choose to create and follow your own Cebu to Bohol itinerary.

This article serves as your ultimate guide to a 4D3N (4 days and 3 nights) Cebu to Bohol itinerary. This guide discusses a comprehensive itinerary that includes information on the best places to go, things to, where to stay, and how to go from Cebu to Bohol and back.

Day 1: Cebu City & Mactan Island Day Tour

The gateway to the Cebu Island province is the Mactan International Airport on Mactan Island. Mactan Island connects to the main island of Cebu via modern bridges. 

You can take public transport (bus or taxi) to reach your hotel from Mactan International Airport. You can also pre-arrange

Cebu car rentals before your arrival.

On the first day of your Cebu and Bohol tour, focus on visiting the main historical and scenic spots on Mactan Island and Cebu City.  

Here are the top attractions you can include in your Cebu itinerary:  

Temple of Leah

Temple of Leah's facade

The Temple of Leah sits on top of the hill in Busay town, Cebu. People refer to this massive structure as the Taj Mahal of Cebu because it was built in the loving memory of Leah Albino Adarna, the wife of wealthy businessman Adarna. The Temple of Leah features grand Roman architecture and is a product of love. Instead of a mausoleum, the building serves as a space to house the treasures of the late Leah Adarna. 

Mactan Shrine

The Lapu-Lapu monument at the Mactan Shrine

A typical Cebu tour package includes a visit to Mactan Shrine. This important historical site is located on Mactan Island and serves as a reminder of the 1521 Battle of Mactan between the native Visayan folks and the Spanish contingent. The shrine houses the Lapu Lapu Shrine, the Magellan Shrine, and other paintings and plaques that feature the battle. 

Sirao Garden

Colorful blooms in Sirao Flower Garden

Sirao Garden is usually a highly-anticipated stop for any excellent Cebu City tour. The stunning garden sits in the mountainous area of Lahug, Cebu City. It comprises about 8,000-square-meters of land filled with colorful varieties of flowers. One widely popular variety is the vibrant Celosia. 

Magellan’s Cross

Magellan's Cross

Magellan’s Cross is the most prominent historical attraction in Cebu City. During the 1500s, the explorer Ferdinand Magellan planted the large wooden cross found at the site to mark his arrival in Cebu on behalf of the Spanish empire. This cross also marks the birth of Christianity in the country. It is now enclosed within a stone kiosk on Plaza Sugbo.  

Cebu Taoist Temple

Cebu Taoist Temple

The Taoist Temple in Cebu was originally constructed to become a place of prayer and teachings of the Chinese philosopher Lao-Tse. However, the temple soon became a top tourist site because of its captivating architecture and sweeping views of Cebu City. 

Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House

Interior of the Yap-San Diego House

Photo by Department of Tourism

This Chinese ancestral house is located in Parian, Cebu City, and is considered the oldest of its kind in the country. It was built between the late 1600s and early 1700, during the Spanish colonial era. One of the outstanding features of this ancestral house is its blend of coral stones and wood composition.  

Basilica Minore Del Sto. Niño de Cebu

Basilica Minore del Santo Nino Cebu

Constructed in 1565, the Basilica del Santo Niño is the first Catholic Church built in the Philippines. However, it burned down twice, and the church appearance you see today is mostly from the renovation made in 1739. This basilica is a declared National Landmark and home to the Santo Niño - a small statue of Jesus Christ that was a gift from Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1521. 

Alegre Guitar Factory

Guitars made in Alegre Guitar Factory

Photo by Alegre Guitar Factory

Cebu is home to world-class guitar makers and factories. Alegre Guitar Factory is the most visited guitar factory in Cebu. Located in Lapu-Lapu City, the factory offers guests vast displays of guitars and a look at their guitar-making process. 

On the first day of your Cebu Bohol tour itinerary, make sure to stop by one or more best Cebu restaurants. Cebu City is known for its Lechon - a roasted pig specialty dish. Hence trying out Lechon is one of the top things to do in Cebu.

Since the first day is all about exploring the top Cebu City attractions, make sure to find accommodation at a convenient spot in the city. After all, Cebu City is home to some of the best 5-star hotels in the Philippines

Here are some luxury hotels in Cebu to consider if you want to pamper yourself. 

However, you may prefer to stay on Mactan, the small adjacent island connected to Cebu City. Mactan is home to some of the top beach resorts in the Philippines

Top Mactan Resorts:

Day 2: Cebu Province Day Tour: North or South 

Cebu is a large island province, so it can take several weeks to explore all of it. If you have a day to spare, decide which part of the province you would like to experience. Hence, you can dedicate Day 2 of your Cebu and Bohol tour to exploring either North Cebu or South Cebu.

North Cebu is ideal for beach lovers and divers, while South Cebu is best for outdoor adventure enthusiasts. 

North Cebu: Top Attractions and Activities

Two of the top North Cebu attractions are islands located off the northern coast of Cebu Island. 

Since you only have a day to spend in this region, you must choose which of these two destinations you would like to visit. 

Bantayan Island

Kota Beach on Bantayan Island

Bantayan Island is known for its powdery white beaches and charming fishing towns. Its best attractions include Paradise Beach, Ogtong Cave, and Virgin Island.

To reach Bantayan, you can take a bus from the CebuNorth Bus Terminal and head to Hagnaya Port (about 110 kilometers from the terminal). From Hagnaya Port, you need to take a one-hour ferry ride to Bantayan Island. Ferry travel time is about an hour. 

Malapascua Island

A Thresher Shark diving in Monad Shoal, Malapascua

Visitors come to Malapascua Island mainly to dive as its surrounding waters are rich with marine life. Malapascua is also the only place in the world where one can spot thresher sharks all year round. 

To reach Malapascua from Cebu City, you need to head to New Maya Port, which is about 137 kilometers away from the city. From the port, take a boat to Malapascua. Travel time is about 30 minutes to 1 hour. 

South Cebu: Top Attractions & Activities

South Cebu is known for its outdoor attractions and activities. These places and experiences encourage tourists to come and do day tours from Cebu without hesitation. 

Realistically, one day is not enough to explore all the South Cebu attractions mentioned below. Therefore, choose to visit attractions from the list that are close to each other so you can maximize your time. 

Kawasan Falls and Canyoneering

Canyoneering in Kawasan Falls

Kawasan Falls is arguably the most beautiful waterfall on Cebu Island. This set of falls lies in Badian, about 18 kilometers from Moalboal. Kawasan has become famous for its clear turquoise water, which is not a common feature in waterfalls across the country. Kawasan Falls has also become a famous spot for canyoneering activities because of its lush surroundings, characterized by ravines, canyons, and rivers. 

Oslob Whale Shark Watching

A whale shark swims in Oslob

The town of Oslob on the southern tip of Cebu Island is widely known as the whale shark watching hub. Tourists usually book a boat tour and snorkel close to the whale sharks. The population of whale sharks in Oslob is used to swim about 150 feet from shore. 

Moalboal Sardine Run

Diver swims near sardines in Moalboal

The Sardine Run takes place off the shore of Panagsama Beach in Moalboal. This natural phenomenon occurs all year round and involves thousands of sardines swimming together in shallow waters to feed on planktons. Tourists who want to witness this phenomenon either dive or snorkel about 20 to 30 meters from the shore. 

Osmena Peak

Hikers on a trail in Osmena Peak

Standing at 1,013 meters above sea level, Osmena Peak is the highest peak in Cebu province. It is called Cebu’s 'Vegetable Basket' because of the numerous vegetable farms in the area. Osmeña Peak is in Mantalongon, Dalaguete. It is a popular destination among hikers who enjoy its rugged hills and gorgeous views. 

Sumilon Island

Aerial view of Sumilon Island

Sumilon is the gorgeous sandbar island off the coast of Oslob. To reach this island, you need to take a short boat ride from Oslob. Once here, you can spend the day relaxing, sunbathing, swimming in clear water, and snorkeling in the nearby marine sanctuary. The Bluewater Resort is the only resort operating on this island sandbar. 

Tumalog Falls

Locals at Tumalog Falls

Tumalog Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls on Cebu Island. Tumalog's unusual sheer size and clear water are the reasons why hundreds of tourists visit this spot. 

You can find this Tumalog Falls within a forested area in Barangay Natalio Bacalso, Oslob. 

If you feel more like going on a relaxing island adventure in South Cebu, consider booking a day tour on Zaragosa Island, home to the Badian Island Wellness Resort

After visiting chosen attractions in North Cebu or South Cebu, the usual routine is to travel back to Cebu City to stay for the night and rest up. 

The next day, you need to wake up early for your trip to Bohol. 

Day 3: Bohol Countryside Tour 

If you are availing of a package tour to Cebu and Bohol with airfare, then you don’t have to worry about making additional transport arrangements. 

However, if you’re doing your Cebu-Bohol adventure on your own, you need to plan your commute carefully. From Cebu City, you can take a fast ferry ride to reach Bohol. Fast ferry companies operate at Cebu Port. Ferry travel time from Cebu to Bohol is about 1.5 to 2 hours. The ferries can stop at either Tubigon or Tagbilaran.

There are also several Cebu Bohol travel and tours packages to choose from. One of the more popular ones for first-time visitors is the  Bohol Countryside Tour as it highlights the top attractions and experiences on the island. Here are the tourist sites you can’t miss:

 

 

Chocolate Hills

The Chocolate Hills on Bohol Island

A Bohol Cebu tour is not complete without visiting the Chocolate Hills. These incredible geological formations are a national treasure and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The site is made of more than 1200 hills spread across an area of 20 square miles (50 square kilometers). The hills are covered with green grass, which turns brown during the dry season. The brown hue is the reason why it’s called Chocolate Hills. 

Check out this guide on how to go to Chocolate Hills. However, if you can’t arrange transport on your own, you can also opt to go with a Chocolate Hills tour.

 

 

Tarsier Sanctuary

Tariser in the Tarsier Sanctuary

Located on a road of the same name, the Tarsier Sanctuary was established to protect the small nocturnal primates called tarsiers. Most Bohol tours include a stop to this sanctuary, which is a large forest where tarsiers can live free from human poaching and abuse. Visitors are welcome to take a tour through a sanctuary with a trained guide. 

 

 

Loboc River Cruise 

A boat sails along Loboc River

Loboc River is one of the cleanest and most picturesque rivers in the Philippines. It is the main stop of most 4d3n Cebu Bohol tour packages. The main tourist activity here is cruising on a boat while enjoying a local buffet lunch. Loboc River Cruise boats are more like floating restaurants that offer a unique experience and entertainment like cultural shows or choir singing.  

 

 

Bilar Man-Made Forest

Tourists bike in Bilar Man-Made Forest

If you plan on visiting Chocolate Hills, consider going through the spectacular Bilar Man-Made Forest. This forest is only about 20 kilometers from the Chocolate Hills Complex. It features a two-kilometer road surrounded by dense red and white mahogany trees.  

 

 

Baclayon Church

Baclayon Church Ruins

Baclayon (La Purísima Concepción de la Virgen Maria Parish Church ) is a historical-cultural treasure and one of the oldest Catholic churches in the Philippines. Located in Baclayon Municipality, this church was built in 1596 during the Spanish colonial period. Baclayon possesses a gorgeous interior, marked by a gold-plated altar and precious religious artifacts and relics. 

Blood Compact

Blood Compact statue in Bohol

The Bohol Blood Compact Site lies in Barangay Bool, Tagbilaran City. This is the place where the blood compact (locally called Sandugo) between Spain’s Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and Bohol’s Rajah Sikatuna took place in 1565. The blood compact is regarded as the First Treaty of Friendship between the Filipinos and the Spanish people. 

After visiting these top attractions, you will need to spend the night at a Bohol resort or hotel. Fortunately, there is a wide range of accommodation options to choose from. 

Check out this list of top luxury hotels in Bohol. Here are the other top-rated Bohol beach resorts:

Treat yourself to wonderful local dishes at some of the best Bohol restaurants like Shaka Bohol, Tarsier Paprika, and Bohol Bee Farm Tour and Restaurant.

Day 4: Bohol Beach or Island Hopping Day Tour & Departure to Cebu 

Aerial view of Alona Beach

After breakfast at your Bohol resort, you may spend the early part of the day relaxing on Alona Beach, the most popular sandy spot in Bohol. You can also go for a quick Bohol island hopping tour to nearby islands like Balicasag Island diving, Pamilacan Island, and Virgin Island. Here are other ideas for things to do in Bohol

 

 

You can head back to Cebu from Bohol using the ferry again. If you have some time to spare, consider buying souvenirs before officially ending your Bohol to Cebu trip and catching a flight home. 

Aerial view of Malapascua Island

If you decide to stay a little longer, there are more places worth seeing on your Bohol Cebu tour. 

You can head to diving spots in Mactan or explore other Bohol outdoor attractions like Danao Adventure park and Hinagdanan Cave. Panglao Island Tour, Firefly Watching Bohol, and Bohol sightseeing tours are some Bohol activities worth considering. 

 

 

Check out our Bohol tourist spots and Cebu tourist spots articles to discover more attractions that you can add to your Cebu Bohol budget trip. You may also read this comprehensive Bohol travel guide or look into Cebu Bohol travel and tours packages that offer unique experiences. 

Finally, make sure to review the latest Cebu travel requirements and Bohol travel requirements to ensure a safe and smooth-sailing trip.