The Chocolate Hills are a geological formation of as many as 1,776 conical hills in Bohol, spread over 50 sq km across the towns of Carmen, Batuan, and Sagbayan. The hills are covered in green grass that turns brown during the dry season of February to June, transforming them into rows of seemingly chocolate-covered mounds. One can view the hills spanning far into the horizon from the elevated overlook decks in Carmen and Sagbayan.
To reach the Chocolate Hills, you must travel to the province of Bohol first. It is accessible by air if you are coming from Manila, Clark, or Davao, landing at the Bohol-Panglao Airport.
Upon arrival, you will then head to Dao Integrated Bus Terminal in Tagbilaran City, and ride a bus or van to the town of Carmen, where the Chocolate Hills Viewpoint Complex is situated. Another option to see the famous hills is at Sagbayan Peak, a mountain resort and park located in the town of Sagbayan. You can also ride a bus or van to get here from the Dao Integrated Bus Terminal.
If you are traveling by sea to Bohol, there are trips coming from Cebu, Dumaguete, Siquijor, Camiguin, and Cagayan de Oro, docking at the Tagbilaran City Seaport. From here, you can take a tricycle to Dao Integrated Bus Terminal and do the same process as mentioned above.
Entrance fee at the Chocolate Hills Viewpoint Complex is 50 Php. Visitors then need to climb up around 200+ steps to reach the viewing deck, which is mounted on two actual chocolate hills, offering a 360-degree view of the magnificent hill formations. The complex also houses a restaurant and souvenir shop, as well as a conference room and activity area. Buildings with rooms for tourists who wish to stay overnight have also been built in the complex.
Those who prefer to view the Chocolate Hills at Sagbayan Peak will pay an entrance fee, which already covers entry to the private resort’s restaurant, butterfly park, playground, and of course, the viewing deck.
The Chocolate Hills are named such because of their signature chocolate brown color, owing to the dried vegetation covering the hills, which can be best seen during the months of January to May. And as with the rest of the Philippines, Bohol enjoys both dry and wet seasons.
While considered the peak season of travel, visiting the area during the dry months of November until May also lessens the chance of experiencing cancelled flights and tours due to bad weather, which usually happens during the wet months of June until October. Not to say that the hills won’t look as majestic during these months, because their color turns into vibrant green.
Aside from the Chocolate Hills, other Bohol attractions and activities such as snorkeling, diving, and waterfall-hopping are also best enjoyed during the dry and hot months.
The best time to see the Chocolate Hills are during sunrise and sunset, especially if you are viewing them from the complex in Carmen.