Ferries depart from Bohol’s central port, Tagbilaran, multiple times a day, providing very flexible means to get to Dumaguete. It’s a short ride, and even more so, pleasant, as the cabins are air conditioned and always have bathrooms. Make sure to bring some filipino pesos with you, to give porters tips for carrying your luggage, or for overweight luggage fees.
Ah, beautiful Bohol. This island in the Philippines has long been sought by travelers looking to relax and unwind within some of the country's most uniquely undulating landscapes. Not only is Bohol renowned for its 'Chocolate Hills' but you'll also be treated to an absolutely sensational white sand shoreline, too. Snorkeling, scuba diving and dolphin watching tours are just some of the things to do on Bohol alongside kicking back and swaying in a hammock as the sun sets over the Cebu Strait.
However, all good things have to come to an end, eventually, and when it's time to bid Bohol a fond farewell your next destination, Dumaguete, on the island of Negros, is a deserving discovery.
There's only one way to get from Bohol to Dumaguete and that's by ferry. There are different ferry types, though, which gives travelers a choice of: Business, Open Air and Tourist class. Each of these options are air-conditioned and take a couple of hours to cover the 111 kilometer (69 mile) distance to Dumaguete from Bohol. Where ferries types do differ is within price and comfort. For instance, it costs around $17 for an upright seat on a Tourist Ferry but if you're opting for the more popular Business Ferry you can expect to pay around $26 for a more comfortable, reclining seat.
Basically, you're going to be able to get from Tagbilaran City Port Terminal to Dumaguete Port in two hours no matter which cabin class you prefer, and once you arrive you'll instantly be immersed in Dumaguete's laid-back student lifestyle. This is where college campuses combine with coastal promenades to present an intelligent and cultural experience for expectant explorers.
Arriving in Dumaguete during high season, which is from December to February, will require you to book ferry tickets and accommodation in advance. And the same goes for anyone traveling to Dumaguete from Bohol in October as this is festival season where seafront locations like Rizal Boulevard are awash with colorful costumes and upbeat live Filipino music.
There are three different types of ferries leaving from Bohol to Dumaguete: Open Air, Business and Tourist. No matter which one you travel on, the journey is going to take at least two hours. During this time you can expect to see blue skies and blue seas as you cross the Cebu Strait although, as this is a very popular channel for large container ships and smaller seafaring vessels, don't expect the view from your cabin window to be akin to a Philippines paradise screensaver. Basically, the voyage from Bohol to Dumaguete is practical rather than a pleasure cruise.
Depending on which class of ferry you opt for you might have soft-backed seats (Tourist Class) or even more comfortable, reclining seats (Business Class). All ferries making the two hour crossing are air-conditioned and have onboard bathroom facilities. Open Air Ferries, as you can imagine, have seating areas that are open to the elements. These types of ferries are the cheapest option and often favored by backpackers and island hoppers.
All ferries are direct to Dumaguete from Bohol and all depart the island in the morning. There are six daily ferry crossings in total with the earliest departing at 7.30am and the latest leaving just after midday. High season tends to fall from December to February. And there's also a festival season during October. At these times of year it's a good idea to book ferry tickets and accommodation in advance.
Taking a ferry
If you're planning to save your Philippine pesos when taking the ferry from Bohol to Dumaguete your best bet is to take the Open Air Ferry. It may not be air-conditioned but it will get you there in just the same amount of time as other ferries (2 hours) and will also provide practical seats and a refreshing sea breeze along the way. Open Air Ferry ticket prices start from as little as $18.
Tourist Ferries, on the other hand, do have air-conditioning as well as an outdoor upper deck so you can watch the waves across the Cebu Strait, and catch some sun at the same time. This is a fast and practical option for travelers and costs around the same price as an Open Air equivalent. Seats are upright, yet comfortable, and there's plenty of space to walk around as well as an onboard washroom.
The third and final type of ferry crossing to Dumaguete from Bohol is the Business Ferry. Although slightly more expensive than Tourist and Open Air Ferries (prices start from $26) you will have the luxury of a reclining seat. This can make all the difference when it comes to catching some zees during the crossing as well as creating comfortable conditions from where to curl up with a good book.
There are six ferry crossings in total from Bohol to Dumaguete all of which depart from as early as 7.30am to the latest which leaves at 12.15pm. Basically, it's much of a muchness in terms of price and comfort levels so just book a ride to suit your intended departure time and you won't go far wrong.
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