Whatever your reason for visiting the Philippines, you have likely already dreamed about long days basking in the sun, splashing around in the warm water and part-taking in some epic island-hopping adventures. While it’s an easy job, below we will convince you why Cebu, Philippines, beaches are some of the best in the country.
Where is Cebu located in the Philippines?
First, it’s essential to understand that Cebu is a province in the Visayas region. The province consists of Cebu Island as well as the surrounding islands and islets. Cebu City is the capital of the province.
If you are looking at a map, this stunning area is southeast of the capital city of Manila. At the heart of the Visayas region, the long and narrow island of Cebu stretches 196 km (122 miles) from north to south and 32 km (20 miles) from east to west.
Now, let’s get into the exciting part—Cebu, Philippines’ best beaches.
Badian, Cebu Island
Perfect for relaxing after a visit to Kawasan Falls
Location: If you are traveling southwest from Cebu City to Badian, take a bus or shared minivan for approximately three hours. Then jump on a tricycle from Badian Town to Lambug Beach, which is only around four kilometers (2.5 miles) away.
Lambug beach is loved for its quintessential Philippines vibe close to the popular Kawasan Falls. Imagine coconut palm trees hanging over crystal clear water filled with starfish—that’s Lambug.
It’s a great choice if you want to spend a whole day at the beach—there are beach cottages to hire. However, you will need to pay a small entrance fee to visit this beach.
Situated just off the highway, the appeal of visiting this beach is its proximity to nearby attractions such as Kawasan Falls. You can also stay right on the beachfront at Matutinao Beach Resort.
Canyoneering tours depart from the resort, so spend the morning with an adrenaline rush followed by an afternoon relaxing in the sun.
Moalboal, Cebu Island
Fantastic for diving and seeing the unique sardine run
Location: Situated on the southwestern side of Cebu, it takes 2.5-3 hours to travel by minivan or bus from Cebu City to Moalboal.
If you are making a stop in Badian, your next destination should be Moalboal. It’s a marine lovers’ paradise!
This is a famous spot for diving due to its colorful coral and diverse marine life.
However, don’t come here if you want to see a sandy white beach. Most of it was washed away by a typhoon in 1984. So today, it’s mostly rocks with small patches of sand.
Pro tip: Can you imagine what it would be like to swim in a sardine run? Well, you can find out at Panagsama Beach, where schools of more than one million sardines are found swimming just off the shore. They live there year-round, but the best time to see them is from November to May.
Basdaku Beach (White Beach)
Unlike Panagsama Beach, Baskadu Beach has pearly white sand and is one of the best beaches in Cebu, Philippines.
It’s a great place to swim and sunbake. And it’s a fantastic spot for both parents and children to enjoy.
This is an island-hopping experience you shouldn’t miss. The good news is that it’s only a 15-30 minute boat ride from Moalboal, so you can easily do it in a day.
There aren’t sandy shores or piers, but people travel to Pescador Island to snorkel or scuba dive. The coral reefs surrounding the entire island are incredibly healthy, so there is a lot of marine life to see.
Alcoy, Cebu Island
Great place to snorkel and explore the lagoon
Location: On the southeast coast of Cebu Island. It will take you approximately 3.5 hours by bus to travel from Cebu City.
Tingko is a powdery-white, sandy beach stretching over a mile along a lagoon.
Be sure you rent a boat at low tide to check out the sand bar and coral island of Mabad-on Reef, which is just across from the beach. Keep your eyes peeled as the island disappears under the water during high tide.
You’ll be amazed by the underwater scenery as you’re surrounded by all sorts of colorful fish.
Pro tip: Depending on where you enter the beach, you may be asked to pay a small fee.
Tabuelan, Cebu Island
Great for those looking to escape the tourists
Location: On the main Island of Cebu, Maravilla Beach is 2-3 hours northwest of Cebu City.
A beautiful, sandy, white public beach that offers an escape from bustling city life and is also away from crowded tourist beaches. It’s a place where you will find friendly locals smiling and welcoming you.
At the entrance, there is an assortment of food and drink options.
Durhan White Beach
Besides the sparkling turquoise waters, the main draw of this beach is Durhan White Beach Resort. Imagine waking up in the morning, walking a few steps through fine white sand and dipping straight into the ocean. Sounds pretty good, hey?
The beachfront is well-maintained, and the clean ocean makes perfect swimming conditions for all ages.
Oslob, Cebu Island
Great for seeing whale sharks and exploring nearby islands
Location: From Cebu City to Oslob, it will take you three hours by a private car or a minivan. It is a small coastal town located at the southern tip of Cebu that continues to increase in popularity due to the whale sharks that visit the area.
Located just a short boat ride away from Oslob is Sumilon Island. Several boat operators transport tourists and locals daily, so it’s easy to plan a visit.
The island is situated on a massive sand bar with small patches of reef. So, it’s no surprise that the snorkeling and diving opportunities here are incredible. There is even a protected marine sanctuary.
It’s possible to stay overnight if you want to really enjoy your time exploring the island.
Aloguinsan, Cebu Island
First-class beach with budget-friendly accommodation
Location: Southwest of Cebu City is the municipality of Aloguinsan. Traveling by private vehicle will take you approximately two hours. However, public transport will take you closer to three hours.
The main attraction of this stunning beach is Hidden Beach Resort. However, if you are not staying there, you can also pay a small price to come for the day. The one-kilometer (0.62 mile) stretch of fine white sand has beautiful views of the neighboring Negros Island.
San Remigio, Cebu Island
Perfect for scuba divers and long walks along the beach
Location: San Remigio has the longest stretch of coastline of any municipality in Cebu. Situated on the northwest coast of Cebu Island, the area can be reached in 2-4 hours by bus.
San Remigio Beach
Two types of tourists flock to this area. The first are scuba divers attracted to this area due to the nearby marine sanctuaries. The other is tourists looking for resorts that are directly on the beachfront.
Regardless of your interests, you will fall in love with the fine white sand and crystal-clear water. Due to the long stretch of sand, it’s the perfect place for a romantic stroll along the beach.
Perfect for budget-friendly travelers
Location: This group of islands is situated northeast of Cebu Island. The easiest way to get there is to travel from Cebu City to Danao. From there, you will need to get on a ferry at the port, which takes two hours.
If you are looking for an under-the-radar budget-friendly destination, then Camotes Island is a wonderful choice.
The most famous beach is Santiago, also known as Santiago Bay.
Base yourself at one of the beach resorts nearby. The area is close to vendors who will take you island hopping, snorkeling and diving. The water is not only a dreamy aquamarine color but also shallow and calm. Perfect for families!
Pro tip: If you are looking for iconic beach images, stay around Santiago Bay for sunset. It’s as good as it gets.
Bakhaw Beach is a less touristy alternative.
It’s one of those picturesque, laid-back places where you could come with a group of friends, rent a cabin and grab some drinks while you watch the sunset. The palm trees along the beach are the perfect place to lie for an afternoon nap.
Tulang Diot Island is a tiny dot on a map that gives castaway vibes. And with a white, sandy beach and sparkling water, the preserved natural beauty of this location makes it so special.
There are no restaurants or hotels, but you will find a few small stores selling basic needs.
Perfect for families looking for upscale resorts
Location: From Cebu City to Mactan Island, it will take approximately one hour as Mactan Island is connected to Cebu by a bridge. It is also where Cebu-Mactan International Airport is located.
If you are looking for convenience without the hassle of traveling far from Cebu City, then the nearest beaches are on Mactan Island.
Keep in mind most beaches, including Galapagos Beach, are attached to upscale beach hotels offering all the amenities—swimming pools, restaurants, kid’s clubs and recreational activities.
Best for scuba divers
Location: At the northernmost tip of Cebu province. The travel time from Cebu City to Malapascua is approximately four hours by bus to New Maya Port. From there, the boat ride is 30-minutes.
Once you step foot onto Malapascua Island, you will be taken back by the incredibly stunning white sand and turquoise-colored ocean. While it’s a popular spot for tourists to visit, the island only has around 5,000 residents.
Any keen scuba diver will have heard of Malapascua, as it’s one of the prime locations to dive with the pelagic thresher sharks. However, if the idea of sharks terrifies you (you’re not alone!), don’t skip this island. You can still go beach hopping, wakeboarding and take a motorcycle tour.
Bounty Beach is not only the most famous on the island but is also one of the top beaches in Cebu. Most activities operate and depart from this beach town with bars, resorts, clubs and restaurants to entertain you. The beach is lined with palm trees, and there are hammocks for those who want peace and quiet.
Not only does Logon Beach have some spectacular sunrises, but it’s also the perfect place to unwind. It’s best to visit during high tide as the water goes out quite far during low tide. It’s an ideal spot to come to with young families as the water isn’t too deep.
In the less developed north of the island is Langob Beach. Picture your perfect beach with fine white sand and crystal blue water. That’s what you will find there!
Wondering where to stay? Accommodation options range from huts, bungalows, cottages and resorts located all over the island, especially near Bounty Beach.
Known for its pristine, clear water and powdery, white-sand beaches
Location: Just off the northwestern tip of Cebu Island. From Cebu City, you will need to travel by bus to Hagnaya Port which takes four hours. From Hagnaya Port to Bantayan Island, it will take you one hour by ferry.
Santa Fe Beach
Santa Fe is the main town where you will find the most tourist amenities.
As a comparison, it’s the Cebu version of the famous Boracay Island. Expect a relaxing and fun atmosphere with a gorgeous beachfront.
From Santa Fe, the best way to explore this island is by scooter. It allows you the flexibility to explore on your own.
Around the corner from Santa Fe is Kota Beach, where there is a private beach resort. It’s regarded as one of the top beaches on the island. Apart from swimming in the clear ocean, there is also a sand bar to enjoy.
As the beach faces east, the sunrises are incredible.
Make sure you check out Paradise beach, also known as Sandira. It is another beautiful beach on the island’s southeastern coastline, only 15 minutes by scooter from Santa Fe.
This spot is postcard perfect. Swim in the calm waters and sunbake while you lay on the powdery sandy shoreline. There are even a few beach caves to explore.
You will have to pay a small entrance fee. However, it’s worth it.
If you are looking for a day trip adventure, then be sure to head to Virgin Island. From Kota Beach, it’s a short 30-minute trip by boat.
While you will have to pay an entry fee when you get to the island, you can easily be entertained there for hours on end. From cliff jumping, snorkeling and basking in the sun, there is something for everyone.
Weather in Cebu
There are two main seasons in Cebu. The wet season runs from June to December, and the dry season occurs from January to May.
If you’re looking to travel outside the peak of the dry season but with optimal conditions, go in February and March. The average temperatures are 86°F (30°C). The chances of rain are also slim.
Avoid July through October, when typhoons are most likely to develop. You may experience some rainfall during the shoulder months of June and November, but on the plus side, hotels will be less expensive than during the dry season.
Keep in mind that throughout January, Philippinos celebrate the Sinulog festival, which brings in crowds. Cebu City will turn into a rainbow of color and noise. However, if you love experiencing cultural events, it’s the perfect time for a visit.
Packing list essentials for Cebu
You’ve got your essentials for your trip to the Cebu, Philippines beaches, but there are a few other items you mustn’t forget…
- Quick dry travel towel – compact and lightweight, perfect for traveling.
- Dry bag – perfect for island hopping adventures such as a day trip to Virgin Island.
- Waterproof smartphone case – you won’t regret bringing one of these, especially if you are planning island-hopping tours or taking a boat between islands. You’ll not only keep your phone safe from damage, but you can take some epic underwater photos too.
- Small first aid kit – if you are visiting some of the islands, such as Bantayan Island, where amenities aren’t readily available, it’s worth bringing some basic first-aid kit essentials.
- Portable charger – a lifesaver for long travel days! Thank us later.
- International travel adapter – whether it’s your phone or laptop, you will likely need to charge your gear daily.
Cebu, Philippines, beaches are incredible. Not only do you have plenty of options on the main island, but some epic islands, such as Malapascua, are within easy reach.
Besides being famous for white sandy beaches, Cebu is home to one of the country’s largest cities and is a bustling port. As a result, the province is known as the Queen City of the South.
The easiest way is to take a direct flight of one hour and 20 minutes. The other option is a lengthy 30-hour ferry.