Cebu Island Travel Guide

Aerial View of Malapascua Island

Cebu Island Travel Guide

The island of Cebu is home to the Queen City of the South. But, beyond being a bustling metropolis, Cebu offers a whole lot more to both its local and foreign visitors. Whether you are looking for adventures in the city, mountain or the sea, there is always something in Cebu that will cater to what you want and need.

Whale Shark Interaction in Oslob Cebu by Janey
Whale Shark Interaction in Oslob Cebu by Janey

How to Get There

By Air

Cebu has one major international and domestic hub, the Mactan-Cebu International Airport. It caters flights to and from Manila, Puerto Princesa, Kalibo, Boracay, Clark, Siargao, Zamboanga, Bacolod, Iloilo, Davao, Cotabato, Cagayan de Oro, Camiguin, Tacloban, General Santos and several international cities.

By Sea

The Cebu City port is among the busiest in the country. It has regular ferry schedules to and from Manila, Butuan, Davao, Zamboanga and Cagayan de Oro. It also has smaller fast ferries that bring people to and from the nearby islands such as Bohol and Siquijor.

Where to Stay in Cebu

Waterfront Lahug

Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino is a four-star hotel in Cebu City. It is a top accommodation of choice for many business travelers. It has two garden pools, ten function rooms including the Pacific Grand Ballroom, a gaming area called Club Waterfront and a casino called Casino Filipino.

Address: Salinas Drive, Cebu City

Henry Hotel Cebu

Henry Hotel Cebu
Henry Hotel Cebu

If you want somewhere funky and artsy to stay in, try Henry Hotel in Cebu. The hotel comes with an industrial finish and features vintage-chic furnishings and open plan bathrooms. Rates come with free breakfast and access to amenities such as an outdoor pool, comic-themed restaurant, reading room and many others.

Address: Paseo Saturnino, Cebu City

Tr3ats Guesthouse

Backpackers will love that Cebu now has an inn especially made for them. Just six minutes away from the nearest bus stop, Treats come with colorful private and dorm rooms to suit your style and needs. Dorm rooms come in mixed-sex and female-only variations and guests share a common bathroom.

Address: V. Rama Avenue, Cebu City

Marco Polo Plaza Hotel

Marco Polo Plaza Hotel
Marco Polo Plaza Hotel

Marco Polo Plaza Hotel provides among the best views of the city as it sits on top of a hill. Regular rooms come with WiFi, flat screen TVs, minibars and a mountain or sea view. Upgraded rooms have private lounge access, refreshments and cocktails. Suite rooms have either a sitting area or a living room.

Address: Nivel Hills, Cebu Veterans Drive, Cebu City

Cuarto Hotel Cebu

Cuarto Hotel is a top choice for travelers on a mid-range budget. Don’t let its facade fool you because its interiors provide quite a homey feel. Room rates start at P2750 a night and this already includes complimentary buffet breakfast for two.

Address: J. Llorente Street, Capitol Site, Cebu City

Where to Eat

Larsian Barbecue

A visit to Cebu is never complete without checking out this famous barbecue complex right in the heart of the city. This food park is basically a line-up of several numbers of barbecue stalls with tables in the middle. You can choose which stall to buy from but they offer basically the same tastes.

Address: Fuente Osmeña, Cebu City

Rico’s Lechon

ricos lechon
Ricos Lechon (via Hey, Miss Adventures!

The pioneer of spicy lechon in the country, Rico’s Lechon is a must-visit when coming to Cebu. Their lechon is characterized by tender meat and golden red crunchy skin that will leave you wanting for more. They now have a restaurant near the airport so you can drop by as soon as you arrive or right before you leave — don’t forget to bring home pasalubong!

Address: Mactan Promenade, Lapu-Lapu City

Lantaw Floating Native Restaurant

Lantaw started out as a floating restaurant although it has already branched out in several stategic locations in the island, including one that is overlooking the city. It serves several seafood dishes as well as local Cebuano food.

Address: Cordova, Cebu

STK Ta Bay!

If seafood is your choice of diet, head over to STK Ta Bay. Among the top chef recommendations include crispy pork, crispy eel and crispy bacasi although there are still quite a lot of dishes that you can try here. The restaurant is also a mini museum that has an impressive collection of antiques, showcasing Cebu’s and the family’s history.

Address: Orchid Street, Capitol Site, Cebu City

Popular Attractions

Basilica del Santo Niño

Basilica del Santo Niño

The oldest church in the country, the Sto. Niño Church was built on the spot where the image of the Child Jesus was said to have been found by Miguel Lopez de Legaspi. This was the same statue that was given by Ferdinand Magellan to Queen Juana, wife of Rajah Humabon, after they were baptized into Christianity in 1521.

Kawasan Falls

People used to visit Kawasan Falls in a normal fashion — ride a bus, head to the falls, swim — but now, they have become more interested in experiencing the place in a totally different way. Canyoneering in Kawasan Falls is very popular among local and foreign tourists and involves jumping, climbing, swimming and crawling among rocks and water. A must if you love adrenaline-pumping activities!


If you love to experience the marine life of Cebu, head over to another southern town, Moalboal. This town is best known for its huge, white sandy beaches where you can camp or laze around the entire day. Or you can also go snorkelling or even go diving in the nearby Pescador Island.

Bantayan Island

Bantayan Island Travel Guide
Source: Bantayan Island Travel Guide

Another popular destination to visit when in Cebu is in Bantayan Island. The island is also known for its white sand beaches, laidback vibe and cheap seafood. It is also being used as the jump-off point to popular diving areas including Malapascua Island.

Cebu Island Travel Guide
Aerial View of Malapascua Island – Cebu Island Travel Guide

Sky Experience Adventure

For those who do not have much time to spare, a visit to the center of Cebu City is often enough. Where to? What about going on a walk, a mini coaster ride or even a zip line ride at the 37th floor (or higher) of a building? Crown Regency Towers, where the Sky Experience Adventure can be found, also offers a few other activities for those who are not so much into thrill-seeking rides.
  1. John says

    I have been to Cebu ages ago but I did not know you can have whale shark interaction. I’ll definitely do this next time I visit.

  2. […] in Visayas, Cebu was once a Spanish Colony and thus showcases an extensive architecture reminiscent of the Spanish […]

  3. […] list as voted by Conde Nast readers. CN Traveler named their top three islands which are Boracay, Cebu and Palawan who are all deserving to be on the top three […]

  4. […] Cebu is one of the top tourist destinations in the country, receiving more than 4 million travelers from different parts of the world every year. Cebu offers not just great beaches and historical sites but its culinary and party scenes are also legendary. […]

  5. […] (Cebu City, Philippines) – The Mactan Cebu International Airport Terminal 2 is a world-class facility in Cebu, Philippines. The towering structure made of mostly timber wood and crushed mother of pearl isn’t only about the appearance but most importantly their service to their passengers which they take seriously. The airport houses a lot of amenities that can give comfort to all their travellers and have state-of-the-art facilities that can help ensure safe baggage handling and on time schedules. It became a gateway connecting the Cebu to the Southern parts of the Philippines. […]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: