Summer is over but that doesn’t mean we’ve stopped beach breaks and island hopping. This is Cebu we’re talking about. Nothing is better than being less than an hour drive away from white sand beaches and breathtaking resorts.

The best way not to waste an island hopping trip is to leave early in the morning. We usually meet around 8 or 9 in the morning to avoid the crowd – especially on weekends. This means longer time on the boat with my friends Mr. Sea Breeze and Ms. Shining Sun. We take our favorite island hopping boat.

But where should we go? Let’s take a peek at the different islands you can explore when you kick off your Island Hopping from Mactan.

HILUTUNGAN ISLAND

HILUTUNGAN ISLAND

This is usually our first stop and, in our case, it’s always a long one. The island which is also known for its Fish Sanctuary is a haven for those who want to go diving, snorkeling and fish feeding. The wide varieties of fish along with their vibrant colours never fail to amaze me. Would you believe it? I found Nemo here!

If you want to try fish feeding, then don’t forget to bring bread or biscuits. I love fish feeding because it’s like getting a free fish spa and a dose of laughter from all the tickles.

Pandanon-Getafe

PANDANON ISLAND

Pandanon Island is a popular visit for the island hopping folks. Technically part of Bohol, it takes a bit longer to get there from Mactan (roughly two hours). You’ll know when you are close when you see the big white house in the middle of the sea. The highlight of the beach is the long stretch of white sand with a good number of cottages. This place is ideal for relaxing with friends, having lunch and grabbing a drink or two!

Nalusuan Island, Cebu

NALUSUAN ISLAND

This privately owned island is actually a resort. The rooms are basically a few cottages on stilts. This allows for jumping off the balcony straight to the sea water. I’ve never stayed overnight, but it’s a good place to visit for an island hopping trip.

What I like most about Nalusuan is that it offers a little bit of everything. You can enjoy very good snorkeling and swimming or you can visit their restaurant and try the delicious food. I actually found the island very relaxing.  However, the entrance fee could be a little pricey for those on a tight budget.  Landing fee is Php 200 and as far as I can recall, we also paid for individual entrance fees.

Wish You Were Here

CAOHAGAN ISLAND 

For many first timers, the name of the island is a quite catchy! A lot of my friends remember this island more than the others because of its name. It means….

In Caohagan, there’s a very nice sandy beach, but during low tide it is difficult to swim because it stretches out quite far. Many people stop here because there are cottages available and you can order fresh seafood which they will cook for you.

Take note that during low tide, the boats have to dock in the other side of the island. You may have to walk a bit, but it will be worth it.

Sunset

OLANGO ISLAND

Olango Island has good snorkeling and swimming, but what sets this island apart from the others is the bird sanctuary. The island is one of the best-known flyways in the world for migrating birds. You can experience a little “birding” and may be lucky enough to spot Chinese egrets, Eastern Curlews, Black-tailed Godwits and Red Knots. Obviously, I don’t know much about these birds, but I have Wikipedia to thank for the details.

Friendly Tips for Island Hopping

  • Make sure you choose a good, reliable and sturdy boat.
  • Leave early in the morning. As mentioned, 8 or 9 am would be perfect so you can avoid the crowd and still enjoy the rest of the day.
  • For me, Hilutungan Island is the best snorkeling and diving spot.
  • You can bring raw meat and fish. Ask the boatman if they can grill it for you on an island (if allowed).
  • Always put on a Sunblock!
  • Waterproof cameras are always a good idea.
  • For Instagram’s sake, girls always opt to wear a two piece. But if you really want to enjoy the islands by swimming, snorkeling and diving, then a comfortable swimsuit is better.  (Been there, done that!)
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