Beach Resorts in Camotes Island, Cebu
Cebu has always been a popular tourist destination because of its many tourist and natural attractions. However, development has significantly changed the nature of the tourist experience, which is not necessarily bad. Visitors can experience Cebu without inconvenience, and some of the best hotels can be found in Cebu. Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa in Lapu-Lapu City garnered the 51st spot in the Top 100 Hotels and Resorts in the World, and it was the only Philippine hotel to make the list. The hotel also ranked 3rd in the Top 25 Resorts in Asia. That said, it cannot be denied it is highly commercialized, which is not to everyone’s taste.
Fortunately, you can still find less developed places in Cebu for the itinerant nature-lover traveler, one of which is the Camotes group of Islands, about 34 nautical miles from Cebu City. Dubbed the “Lost Horizon of the South,” it is the place to be when in Cebu if you want to just lay back and relax. I was able to revisit the island recently for the Suroy Suroy Sugbo 2016 caravan and It was probably one of the best trips I had for this year.
The islands are well-known to local residents, and it got a boost in international recognition when US-based Conde Nast Traveler magazine mentioned it in its 2015 annual reader’s poll, primarily for its clean waters and beaches. The sand is not always white (depending on where you go), but it is extremely fine, which makes it a pleasure to walk and lie on. Locals pay a big part on maintaining its high state of preservation, making the Camotes Island a true nature destination.
To get to Camotes Island from Cebu City, you have to get to Danao port, about an hour’s drive away from Cebu City proper. There, you can catch a ferry to the Consuelo Port, which is in San Francisco, Pacijan Island where most of the beach resorts are located. You can take a habal-habal or multicab to any resort on the island, and should not cost more than PhP100. Here are some of the best Beach Resorts in Camotes Island.
- Aizawa Beach Resort (Consuelo) (check rates via Agoda)
- Bano Beach Resort (Mangodlong, Himensulan, San Francisco) (check rates via Agoda)
- Bellavistamare Beach Resort (Santiago Bay, San Francisco)
- Borromeo Beach Resort (Bakhaw, Barangay Esperanza, San Francisco)
- Buho Rock Resort (Poro)
- Flying Fish Resort (Poro)
- Greenlake Park Resort
- Harbor View Family Resort (San Francisco)
- Keshe Beach Resort (Bakhaw, Barangay Esperanza, San Francisco)
- My Little Island Hotel (Esperanza Poro)
- Masamayor’s Beach House & Resort (Brgy Santiago, San Francisco)
- Mangodlong Rock Beach Resort (Mangodlong, Himensulan, San Francisco)
- Santiago Bay Garden and Resort (San Francisco)
Many of the resorts offer adequate or basic accommodations (My Little Island Hotel offers the usual hotel amenities) at reasonable rates. Aside from enjoying the beach, you can also go scuba diving. In Poro, you can also indulge in cliff diving. You can also take a tour of of the islands by commissioning your habal-habal driver or local tour guide to visit Lake Danao, Bukilat Cave, Timubo Cave, and the San Francisco Baywalk for about PhP500. You will have a chance to practice your haggling skills, as the transportation and tour rates are not regulated.
However, you should know that there are no banking accommodations in the Camotes, and they do not accept credit cards. Everything you do is cash basis, so make sure you bring a good supply of ready money. The average cost of a room per night is about PhP1000, usually good for two people, and food is available in carinderias near most of the beaches.
Communications is also about iffy, but you might have some luck if you have a SMART Prepaid SIM. With prepaid kits going for as low as PhP20, it would be smart to get one.