Bohol is a captivating destination which holds an array of attractions, not to be experienced anywhere else in the Philippines. It offers the most well-rounded experience between beach relaxation and exciting adventures. If this is your first visit, this Bohol Travel Guide will give you all the essential information on what you need to know before you travel, what awesome things to see and do, how to get there, etc. Let’s begin shall we?
Bohol Travel Guide: Top 5 Tourist Spots in Bohol
Bohol offers world class attractions both in-water and outside. The best way to get the most out of your stay is to combine countryside tour with island-hopping excursion, and then spend the last day relaxing on the beach. This will allow you to fully discover the many faces of this island which makes it so special. In this Bohol Travel Guide, I included the top 5 tourist spots in Bohol that I personally recommend to anyone visiting for the first time.
1. Beach Hopping in Panglao Island
There’s no doubt that Bohol boasts some of the best beaches in the Philippines, if not the world. In Panglao Island alone, you can find Alona Beach, which is arguably the most famous beach in the island. Here you can find many beachfront resorts, restaurants and bars.
Another famous beach in the island is Dumaluan Beach, where you’ll find some of the most popular beach resorts like South Palms, Bohol Beach Club and Dumaluan Beach Resort. Unlike Alona Beach, Dumaluan Beach has fewer tourists and is quieter at night. While you’re in Dumaluan, you can continue walking towards Libaong Beach, which is not that touristy.
If you’re looking for less touristy beaches in Panglao Island, Doljo Beach located on the northeast coast of the island might be for you. It features the longest stretch of white sand in Panglao and offers one of the best sunset views in the island.
2. Stand-Up Paddle Boarding in Loboc River
If you love adventure, I highly recommend Stand-Up Paddle boarding in Loboc River. You can avail a 1-hour Loboc River SUP Tour with SUP Tours Philippines, which is the first SUP school in the country. SUP tour rate is 800 pesos per person and includes SUPs, paddles, guide and refreshments after the tour. Most resorts along the river also offer SUP tours so no need to make prior arrangements.
3. See the Tarsiers at Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary
One of the best experiences I had in Bohol was an encounter with a sleeping tarsier in Corella, Bohol. Founded by the Philippine Tarsier Foundation in 1996, the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary provides a natural habitat for these endangered primates. Unlike the sep up in Loboc Tarsier Conservation Area, where they are held captive in small enclosures, the tarsiers here can roam around a big forested sanctuary. Thus, tourists are only allowed in the designated pathway (Tarsier Trail) where you can look for the tarsiers in their natural habitat.
Note: Most tours in Bohol offers a visit to the Loboc Tarsier Conservation Area. This is not the place you would want to visit if you care about wildlife. Make sure to request Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary instead. They will probably ask for additional fee because the location is far from Tagbilaran and Loboc.
4. See the Chocolate Hills
Chocolate Hills is one of the top tourist attractions in the Philippines. They are arguably one of the top reasons why travelers want to go to Bohol. When I first traveled to the island, it was one of the first destinations that I visited. It did not disappoint so I would recommend it to anyone traveling to Bohol for the first time.
To get a stunning panoramic view, you can visit the Chocolate Hills Complex Viewpoint in the town of Carmen, the main viewing destination in Bohol. You can also take a trip to Sagbayan Peak, a 5-hectare mountain resort located in the town of Sigbayan. It’s farther than the viewing point in Carmen but it’s less touristy so it may be worth the drive.
5. Snorkelling and Freediving in Panglao Island
Bohol Marine Triangle is one of the richest marine biodiversity hotspots in the world. It includes the threes islands, Panglao, Balicasag and Pamilacan, home to hundreds of coral species and marine animals such as whale sharks, sea turtles, manta rays, and many more.
For freedivers and scuba divers, Napaling Dive Point should be included in your itinerary. For non-swimmers and snorkelers, Balicasag Island is one of the best places to see sea turtles.
Bohol Travel Guide: Things to Know Before You Go
Best Time to Visit Bohol
The best time to visit Bohol is from January to March for the ideal weather and fewer crowds. However, visitors can still enjoy the beauty of Bohol at other times of the year, depending on their preferences and tolerance for heat and rainfall.
How to get to Bohol
Bohol is an hour and a half away from Manila by plane. There are flights coming in from dozens of different places, including Manila, Cebu, Davao and many more. With so many available flights, it is very easy to find a cheap one, with regular prices ranging between 1,000 and 3,000 pesos.
Alternatively, you could catch a ferry from various islands in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Oceanjet Ferry, one of the most reputable ferry operators in the Philippines, caters to passengers from Cebu to Bohol (Tagbilaran) and vice versa. For as low as 890 pesos, you can book your Cebu to Bohol ferry ticket via Klook and get instant confirmation. Your seat is guaranteed upon booking!
How to get around Bohol
In order for you to make the most of your time in Bohol, I highly recommend renting out a motorcycle and start exploring as early as you can. Additionally, there are others ways to get around the island such as hiring a tricycle or a private car for a day. Also, if you are solo traveling, find other tourists to join the tour so you can split up the cost.
You may avail a private car charter via Klook for a hassle-free tour. For as low as 2,800 pesos (1-3 pax) for a 4-hour tour or 3,200 pesos (1-3 pax) for an 8-hour tour, you will have the freedom to see as many attractions as you want. For bigger groups (4-10 pax), the 4-hour tour costs 3,200 pesos while the 8-hour tour costs 4,100 pesos.
Where to stay in Bohol
Being one of the most popular tourist spots in the country, Bohol has literally hundreds of different places to choose from. These range from budget-friendly to high-end luxury, and you can easily find your preferred mode of accommodation with a simple Google search.
Peak season is between March and May, so booking in advance is advised to get better deals. If you prefer to stay near the beach, I recommend beachfront resorts in Panglao such as Modala Beach Resort, Hennan Tawala Resort, Mithi Resort and Spa, and South Palms Resort. If you prefer to stay in mainland, I recommend Water to Forest Ecolodge in Loboc.
Top 10 Restaurants in Panglao, Bohol
Whether you’re in the mood for a romantic dinner, healthy eats, or traditional Filipino cuisine, these top 10 restaurants in Panglao, Bohol are sure to satisfy your taste buds.
- Garlic ‘n lemon bistro – This restaurant is known for its Mediterranean-inspired dishes, including its signature garlic shrimp and lemon chicken.
- Luna Rossa Vegetarian Italian Restaurant – A great option for vegetarian and vegan travelers, Luna Rossa serves up authentic Italian dishes made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
- Giuseppe Pizzeria and Sicilian Roast – A great option for pizza lovers, Giuseppe Pizzeria serves up authentic Italian-style pizza and other Italian dishes in a casual, laid-back setting.
- Shaka Bohol – A popular spot for healthy eaters and surfers, Shaka serves up a range of smoothie bowls, salads, and wraps made with fresh, organic ingredients.
- Mangaon Ta Restaurant at Modala Beach Resort – This beachfront restaurant is known for its delicious Filipino dishes, including grilled seafood, adobo, and lechon.
- Vanilla Sky Restaurant – With stunning ocean views, Vanilla Sky is a romantic and upscale dining option serving up fresh seafood, grilled meats, and other international dishes.
- Bohol Bee Farm Restaurant – A must-visit for foodies, the Bohol Bee Farm serves up farm-to-table dishes made with organic ingredients, including its famous homemade ice cream.
- Saffron – This restaurant offers a fine dining experience with its fusion of Mediterranean and Asian cuisine, paired with an extensive wine selection.
- Bougainvillea Spanish Restaurant – For those craving Spanish cuisine, Bougainvillea serves up tapas, paella, and other traditional Spanish dishes in a cozy, intimate atmosphere.
- Sisa Bistro – Located in a restored heritage house, Sisa Bistro offers a unique dining experience with its fusion of Filipino and European cuisine.
Bohol Travel Guide: Sample 4D/3N Itinerary
Day 1: Bohol Countryside Tour
If you are the explorer type who likes DIY trips, it is certainly possible to do this tour on your own. You can rent a motorbike pretty much anywhere in Panglao, or head to Tagbilaran and rent a car or a van for the whole day. You can also book a Bohol Countryside Tour via Klook.
- Early flight to Bohol–Panglao International Airport (TAG)
- Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary (Corella)
- Chocolate Hills View deck**
- Man-made forest
- Loboc River stand-up paddle boarding (SUP)
- Check in resort in Panglao at around 4 PM
In Carmen, where you will find the Chocolate Hills, it is possible to go down closer to the hills by ATV tour. It’ll just mean the rest of your itinerary will be a bit more cramped.
Day 2: Freediving in Napaling Dive Point
Freediving in Napaling Reef in Panglao, Bohol is an unforgettable experience that allows you to explore the underwater world and witness the beauty of the coral reefs and marine life in their natural habitat. Located just off the coast of Panglao Island, Napaling Reef is known for its crystal-clear waters, stunning coral formations, and diverse marine ecosystem.
Day 3: Bohol island hopping tour
- Pickup from resort at 6 AM
- Dolphin watching near Balicasag Island
- Continue to Balicasag Marine Sanctuary
- Snorkel with sea turtles at Balicasag Island
- Move to the 2nd snorkeling spot in Balicasag Island, which has stunning coral reefs and fish
- Virgin Island
- Back to resort around 1 PM to freshen up
- Spend the rest of the afternoon at Alona Beach or Dumaluan Beach
Day 4: Chill at the beach
Spend your last day in Bohol to relax and recharge your batteries. Bohol has some of the nicest beaches you’ll ever see, and you can also rent a motorbike and spend a full day going between different beaches. The main beach is of course Alona, but Dumaluan is just as nice.
How about you? Have you been to Bohol? What can you add in this itinerary? Let’s chat down below!