Planning to Visit Cebu? Here’s THE Travel Guide.
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Cebu, Philippines

This 1700 square mile island province is a tourism and economic center of the Philippines. Cebu City is not only the oldest in the Philippines but was once the nation’s capital and home to the first Spanish colony in the region. Today people visit Cebu from around the world for fun, sun, and adventure. Let’s visit Cebu!

Visiting Cebu? You Should Probably Do This:

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Swim With The Whalesharks!

At the southern tip of Cebu, the sleepy fishing village of Oslob has become THE place to swim with the largest fish in the world. For about $20 you’ll get up close and personal with the gentle giants. Remember, touching the magnificent creatures is not permitted and DO NOT wear sunscreen!

How About Some Canyoneering!?

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Near the town of Badian, in southern Cebu, you’ll find the famous Kawasan Falls. Get your adrenaline fix by cliff jumping from +30ft heights; take a relaxing swim in crystal blue waters, and enjoy the stunning waterfalls.

Let’s Go Island Hopping!

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The best departure for island hopping in Cebu would be Hilton Port, near Lapu-Lapu on Mactan Island. Although there are several tour operators that are happy to cram you onto a boat with 20 strangers, we started chatting with one of the locals and negotiated a whole day on a private boat with lunch included. Ask around Hilton Port for Captian Allen, you will not be disappointed!

There’s Always Time To Celebrate!

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There is no lack of celebrations and festivals in Cebu. Whether a patron saint celebration, a town anniversary, harvest season, or just because, the Filipinos know how to fiesta year round. At least 40 significant festivals take place throughout the year all over the island; check this calendar to see the events taking place during your visit.

Getting to Cebu
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You will likely be flying into the capital city of Manila then transferring to Mactan-Cebu International Airport. Thanks to discount carriers like Cebu Pacific and Air Asia, you’ll find very reasonable flights from neighboring countries for around $50 using our favorite flight search site, Skyscanner.

Cebu Flight Deals

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The ferry to Cebu from Manila is only $22 but takes 22 hours. A plane ride from Manila for just $17 in an hour wins every time.

Getting around in Cebu

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Find the yellow Cares buses at the Cebu South Bus Terminal. The trip to Oslob is 3 hours for about $2.50 and the ride to Moalboal is about 4 hours for about $3.


Taxis are generally available in the larger cities of Mactan and Cebu City and are very affordable, clean, and convenient. We recommend asking the driver how much before getting in, and always make sure they use the meter. In the smaller towns and beach villages of Cebu, you can rent a car with a driver for a half day for roughly $45.

Where To Stay in Cebu

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There is a wide range of hotels in Cebu, mostly near the larger cities. High-end hotels like Plantation Bay Resort and Spa on Mactan Island or Oslob Lagunde Beach Villa in Oslob run about $180 a night, while reasonably priced hotels like Marcosas Cottages Resort in Moalboal or Seafari Resort in Oslob go for about $45 a night. We recommend shopping when searching for hotels in Cebu.

Cebu Hotel Deals


With just 22 hostels available on the island, you should plan in advance to find one that suits your needs. Prices generally range from $5-$10 a night for a dorm room, while private rooms cost a bit more at about $15-$35 per night. Hostelworld is our recommended resource when searching for hostels on Cebu.

Cebu Hostel Deals

Where To Stay in Cebu: AIRBNB

We love Airbnb! From private rooms to entire homes, there are plenty of choices when visiting Cebu. If you’re a first-timer with Airbnb, use this coupon and enjoy $35 off of your stay.


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Choosing a neighborhood is an important part of trip planning that should not be overlooked! Although Cebu is a small island, there are 44 municipalities, each subdivided into unique neighborhoods, so you should do your research when choosing where to stay. Here are some of the best towns to consider for your stay in Cebu.


Located about 62 miles from the airport, this quiet little beach town is a diver’s paradise. Famous for the beautiful Panagsama Beach and White Beach, this town is just a 30-minute ride to Kawasan Falls. With its laidback vibe, this town has plenty to offer for a very relaxing getaway.

Mactan–Cebu International Airport to Moalboal:
The transfer to Moalboal via Taxi($50) or Bus($2.33) takes roughly three hours.

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About 82 miles from the airport, on the southern tip of Cebu, you’ll find the fishing village of Oslob. Oslob is most famous for its sharks and Tumalog Falls. While you’ll find many more tourists here than in Moalboal, it has all the character and charm a beach village should.

Mactan–Cebu International Airport to Oslob:
The transfer to Oslob via Taxi($60) or Bus($3.11) takes roughly three to four hours.


Located just 19 miles from the airport, this is our recommended neighborhood when visiting Cebu. While you certainly can’t beat the location in reference to the airport, this historic resort city is the perfect home base to explore all of Cebu. Lapu-Lapu is home to the Battle of Mactan site where Magellan died, is the best waypoint for island hopping, and has one of the best Italian restaurants outside of Italy: Giuseppe Pizzeria.

Mactan–Cebu International Airport to Lapu-Lapu:
The transfer to Lapu-Lapu via Taxi($2.75) takes roughly twenty minutes.

Cebu Travel Tips

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Cebu Travel Tips: Money

The Philippines national currency is the Peso and is currently exchanging at 49.82PHP to $1USD. Credit cards are accepted at some places but you should always have plenty of cash on hand. ATM machines are sparsely available and are sometimes out of cash, so if you find one, use it.

Cebu Travel Tips: Tipping

A general rule in the Philippines is that while appreciated, tipping isn’t necessary. For good service, tip your bartender or restaurant server 5% to 10% and tip your taxi driver by rounding up.

Cebu Travel Tips: Insurance

Traveling through Cebu is exciting and safe, but you never know when some good travel insurance could come in handy. World Nomads offers the best coverage in the business, is affordable, and is quick to act should something go wrong. For more info, check out our recent World Nomads blog post.

If planning to visit Cebu, you might want to check out our Cebu resource page.

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2 Responses to “Planning to Visit Cebu? Here’s THE Travel Guide.”

  1. Erin

    Hubby and I are going to Cebu in Nov. Really looking forward to it. We’re staying on Mactan Island. Do you recommend getting a scooter for getting around locally?

    • Josh Sedivy

      Hi Erin, Mactan Island is relatively small and we would either walk or grab a cab, although scooters or Jeepney’s would also be options.


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