Ferries depart from various Cebu ports, multiple times a day, providing very flexible means to get to Camotes. 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.
As the oldest city in the country and the birthplace of Christianity in the Far East, Cebu is a place well-deserving of a spot on your Philippines itinerary. After a day or two in this buzzing city, however, you might be up for a change of pace. There’s no better way to do that then to take a trip from Cebu to Camotes Islands.
Just like many other tourist destinations in the Philippines, the Camotes Islands lie pretty close to Cebu. You could say that this is what makes the old city so important these days. It’s a hugely important hub for getting around the country.
Cebu lies around 45 miles from Camotes. To get there, you’ll need to hop on one of the direct ferry lines. Thankfully, with as many as four ferries leaving from various departure points in Cebu every day, you’ll have plenty of flexibility when planning your outing.
Even better, there are no stopovers and no detours – just a straight trip to your destination. The journey from Cebu to Camotes takes just 1.5 hours, so if you get an early start, you’ll have plenty of time to explore the islands.
For the longest time, Cebu City was known as the beacon of Christianity in Southeast Asia. That’s because Ferdinand Magellan – the first person to circumnavigate the globe – introduced it here 500 years ago! If you’re a history buff, make sure you check out the iconic Cross of Magellan before you leave town.
After that, it’s off to one of the ports on the waterfront of Cebu. If you’re hopping on a ferry to the Camotes Islands straight from Cebu airport, the closest ferry port is the Cebu-Mactan Ferry Terminal on Mactan island.
If you’d prefer to take a ferry from the city proper, Cebu Pier 1 is right on the waterfront. If you’re arriving from the airport, you’ll need to take a 20 minute cab ride from Mactan Island to get here. The island lies right across town, so keep an eye out for your ferry as you cross the bridge!
Leaving the city in your wake, you’ll pass Mactan Island and the scenic green coast of Magellan Bay. As the ferry takes you northeast, it won’t take long until the mesmerizing Camotes Islands come into view.
Depending on which port you’re going to, you’ll either head along the western side of Pacijan Island, or come up along its southern side until you reach Poro Island. Either way, you’ll be in for some truly spectacular vistas.
The western side of Pacijan Island is dotted with stunning white sand beaches and resorts. The slightly wilder southern side boasts an incredible marine sanctuary called Santiago Bay. You’ll want to have your camera at the ready for this one – your Instagram will thank you for it!
The islands are about a lot more than just nice beaches, mind you. From mysterious caves to waterfalls and historic churches, there’s no shortage of things to see and do around here.
One of the attractions you definitely want to check out is Bukilat Cave, a secluded natural cave renowned for its streaming natural light coming from its roof opening. There’s also Buho Rock, a rock formation known for its romantic sunsets. Then there’s Lake Danao, Santiago Bay Beach, the list goes on…
Taking a ferry
Getting from Cebu to the Camotes is pretty straightforward. All you need to do is pick your ferry and enjoy the ride. There are two ferry operators leaving Cebu: Oceanjet and Jomalia. Both offer daily departures, with all options taking around 90 minutes to reach their destination.
Oceanjet offers rides from Cebu to the Camotes via the Open Air Ferry, Tourist Ferry or Business Ferry. All three ferries leave from Cebu Pier 1 in Cebu City, and dock at Poro Port on Poro Island. Departure times are typically early in the morning and early in the afternoon.
One thing you want to keep in mind with Oceanjet ferries is that there’s a 15 kg bag per passenger limit. If you exceed it, you’ll need to pay an extra fee of 10 PHP per kilo. Porters may also charge 50-100 PHP to carry luggage on board.
All three Oceanjet ferries offer clean seating areas. Unlike the Open Air Ferry, the Tourist and Business options boast cabins equipped with air conditioning. A step up from the other two, Oceanjet’s Business ferry offers more comfortable reclining seats. The price isn’t that hefty: the Open Air and Tourist options are around $13, while the Business Ferry will take you aboard for $21.
The ride might take just 1.5 hours, but it’s good to know that all options have toilets on board.
Last but not least, there’s Jomalia’s High Speed Ferry. This is the most popular ferry operating from Cebu to the Camotes. It leaves from the Cebu-Mactan Ferry Terminal on Mactan, and arrives at the Camotes Consuelo Wharf on Pacijan Island. The departures are at 8:00 am and at noon every day.
Jomalia’s luggage policy allows you to bring two bags. There are indoor and open-air seats, with A/C operating in the inner cabins. These ferries have toilets as well, and you’ll be pleased to know that the staff speaks English in case you need anything else.
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