Bohol Travel Guide

Overview of Bohol

Bohol, one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Central Visayas region of the Philippines, is the location of the well-known Chocolate Hills. For history aficionados, beach lovers, and adrenaline seekers, the island province provides stunning locations. Bohol has 73 smaller islands surrounding one main island, so you'll have plenty of places to explore while you're here. You will undoubtedly appreciate every minute of your stay and like the variety Bohol has to offer.

Where to Go

Chocolate Hills

Perhaps the most iconic attraction in Bohol, the Chocolate Hills are a geological wonder consisting of thousands of cone-shaped hills spread across the landscape. During the dry season, the hills turn brown, resembling chocolate kisses, hence the name.

Tarsier Sanctuary

Bohol is home to the adorable and endangered Philippine tarsier, one of the world's smallest primates. Visit the Tarsier Sanctuary in Corella or the Tarsier Conservation Area in Loboc to observe these fascinating creatures in their natural habitat.

Panglao Island

Connected to Bohol by a bridge, Panglao Island is famous for its pristine white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters. Alona Beach is the most popular beach destination on Panglao, offering a range of water activities such as snorkeling, diving, and island hopping.

Loboc River Cruise

Enjoy a leisurely cruise along the scenic Loboc River, where you can dine on local cuisine while being entertained by live music and cultural performances. The cruise offers picturesque views of lush riverside vegetation and traditional villages.

Blood Compact Shrine

This historical site in Tagbilaran City commemorates the blood compact or Sandugo between Spanish explorer Miguel López de Legazpi and Datu Sikatuna, a chieftain of Bohol. The event symbolizes friendship and peace between the Spanish colonizers and the local inhabitants.

Hinagdanan Cave

Explore the fascinating underground world of Hinagdanan Cave, located in Dauis. Marvel at its impressive stalactites and stalagmites, and take a refreshing dip in the cave's natural pool.

Baclayon Church

Visit one of the oldest churches in the Philippines, the Baclayon Church, which dates back to the Spanish colonial period. The church features a beautiful baroque façade and houses a museum showcasing religious artifacts and cultural treasures.

Butterfly Conservatory

Get up close to a variety of colorful butterflies at the Bohol Butterfly Conservatory in Bilar. Explore the conservatory's gardens and learn about the life cycle of butterflies through informative exhibits and guided tours.

What to Do

Island Hopping

Explore the stunning islands and islets surrounding Bohol on a thrilling island-hopping adventure. Visit popular destinations like Balicasag Island, Virgin Island, and Pamilacan Island, where you can snorkel, swim in crystal-clear waters, and relax on pristine beaches.

Snorkeling and Diving

Discover the vibrant underwater world of Bohol by snorkeling or diving in its rich marine sanctuaries. Explore colorful coral reefs teeming with tropical fish, sea turtles, and other fascinating marine creatures. Alona Beach and Panglao Island are popular dive spots, offering a variety of dive sites suitable for divers of all levels.

Countryside Tours

Embark on a countryside tour to explore Bohol's scenic landscapes, historic landmarks, and cultural attractions. Visit the iconic Chocolate Hills, take a cruise along the Loboc River, and stop by the centuries-old Baclayon Church and Blood Compact Shrine. Don't miss the chance to witness the adorable Philippine tarsiers at the Tarsier Sanctuary.

Adventure Activities

Get your adrenaline pumping with a range of adventure activities available in Bohol. Go ziplining through lush forests at the Chocolate Hills Adventure Park, try paddleboarding or kayaking along the tranquil rivers, or go ATV riding through rugged terrain for an exhilarating experience.

River Cruises

Relax and unwind on a scenic river cruise along the Loboc or Abatan rivers. Enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, indulge in delicious local cuisine onboard, and be entertained by traditional music and dance performances.

Explore Waterfalls

Discover the natural beauty of Bohol's waterfalls by trekking through lush forests to reach hidden cascades. Visit popular waterfalls like Mag-aso Falls, Kawasan Falls, and Dimiao Twin Falls, where you can swim in refreshing natural pools and enjoy the serene surroundings.

Cultural Immersion

Immerse yourself in Bohol's vibrant culture and traditions by attending local festivals, visiting traditional villages, and participating in cultural workshops. Learn about traditional handicrafts such as basket weaving and pottery making, and interact with friendly locals to gain insight into their way of life.

Relax on Beaches

Unwind and soak up the sun on Bohol's beautiful beaches, including Alona Beach, Dumaluan Beach, and Anda Beach. Take leisurely walks along the shores, enjoy water sports such as kayaking and jet skiing, or simply lounge on the sand and watch the sunset over the horizon.

When is the Best Time to Visit Bohol

The best time to visit Bohol is during the dry season, which typically runs from November to April. During this period, the weather is generally sunny and dry, making it ideal for outdoor activities such as island hopping, snorkeling, and exploring the countryside. The months of December to February are particularly popular, offering comfortable temperatures and clear skies.

Bohol's wet season, from May to October, sees more rainfall and occasional typhoons, which can make outdoor plans a bit unpredictable. However, this time also transforms the landscape into lush greenery, offering a different kind of beauty to explore. While some activities like diving and snorkeling might be limited due to weather conditions, there are still plenty of indoor attractions and cultural experiences to enjoy. Overall, the dry season from November to April generally provides more stable weather for visitors to fully enjoy Bohol's attractions.

How to Get to Bohol

By Air

The most convenient way to reach Bohol is by flying into Bohol-Panglao International Airport (TAG). Several domestic airlines operate regular flights to Tagbilaran City, the capital of Bohol, from major cities in the Philippines such as Manila, Cebu, and Davao. The airport is located in Panglao Island, just a short drive from Tagbilaran City and other popular tourist destinations on the island.

By Sea

Bohol is accessible by ferry from various ports in the Philippines. The main ferry terminal in Bohol is located in Tagbilaran City, where ferries arrive from Cebu City and other nearby islands. The ferry journey from Cebu to Tagbilaran takes approximately 2 hours, with multiple ferry operators offering daily services. Additionally, there are also ferry connections to Bohol from other ports in the Visayas region, such as Dumaguete and Siquijor.

By Car / Bus

Travellers can also travel to Bohol by land transportation from neighboring provinces and cities in the Philippines. The island is connected to the mainland via the Bohol Strait Bridge, which links Bohol to the island of Panglao. From major cities like Manila and Cebu, travelers can take a bus or drive to ports such as Cebu City or Dumaguete, where they can board a ferry to Bohol.

How to Get Around

By Taxi / Ride-Sharing Services

In urban areas like Tagbilaran City and Panglao Island, taxis are readily available for short-distance travel within the city and its surrounding areas. Travellers can easily hail a taxi on the streets or find them at designated taxi stands. Additionally, ride-sharing services like Grab may operate in Bohol, providing another convenient option for getting around. These services offer the flexibility of scheduling rides via mobile apps and provide an alternative to traditional taxis.

By Car / Motorcycle

Renting a car or motorcycle is a popular option for travellers who prefer the freedom and flexibility to explore Bohol at their own pace. Several car rental agencies operate in Tagbilaran City and Panglao Island, offering a range of vehicles to suit different preferences and budgets. With a rented car or motorcycle, travellers can easily access various attractions and destinations within the island, including beaches, waterfalls, and historical sites.

What to Eat

Local Food

Travellers can explore the vibrant local food scene of Bohol by sampling delicious delicacies at popular eateries such as Bohol Bee Farm, The Original Snack Bar, Saffron Restaurant, and Lantaw Native Restaurant Bohol.

Fresh Seafood

Travellers exploring the coastal towns and beachfront locales of Bohol will discover a plethora of seafood restaurants and dining spots serving an extensive selection of freshly caught ocean delicacies. Notable establishments include JJ's Seafood Village, Seafood Kingdom, Paprika Restaurant, and Seafood Kingdom.

Western Food

Bohol boasts numerous dining venues showcasing a mouthwatering selection of Western dishes, offering a delightful departure from the local culinary scene. Notable establishments include Christina's Western Cuisine, Saffron Restaurant, Sea Breeze Cafe, and Lantaw Native Restaurant Bohol.

What to Buy

When in Bohol, consider purchasing local delicacies such as Peanut Kisses, a beloved treat made from ground peanuts and sugar, as a tasty souvenir to bring home. Handcrafted items like woven baskets and mats, often found in local markets, showcase the island's rich cultural heritage and make for unique keepsakes. Additionally, Bohol is known for its vibrant and colorful textiles, such as malongs and sarongs, which are perfect for adding a touch of Bohol's tropical flair to your wardrobe. Don't forget to pick up some handmade jewelry crafted by local artisans, featuring traditional designs and locally sourced materials, as a beautiful reminder of your time on the island.

Where to Stay

Bohol offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit every traveler's preferences and budget. In popular tourist areas like Panglao Island and Tagbilaran City, you'll find luxurious beachfront resorts, boutique hotels, budget-friendly guesthouses, and backpacker hostels. Resorts like Amorita Resort, South Palms Resort Panglao, and Henann Resort Alona Beach offer upscale amenities, stunning ocean views, and world-class service for a truly indulgent stay.

For those seeking a more intimate and immersive experience, consider staying at a boutique hotel or bed and breakfast in quaint towns like Anda or Loboc, where you can enjoy personalised service and local hospitality. Additionally, budget travellers can find affordable accommodation options such as guesthouses and hostels in popular tourist areas, offering comfortable rooms and basic amenities at wallet-friendly prices.

What to Bring

  • Bring sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses to shield yourself from the sun's rays.
  • Comfortable sandals or flip-flops are ideal for beach outings, while a pair of sturdy walking shoes may be useful for hiking or exploring.
  • If visiting during the wet season, a compact umbrella and a lightweight rain jacket can come in handy.
  • Stay hydrated by carrying a reusable water bottle, particularly if you're engaging in outdoor activities.
  • Ensure your electronic devices stay charged by bringing the necessary travel adapters.
  • While there are ATMs in urban areas, having some local currency can be useful, especially in more remote locations.

What to Wear

For your journey to Bohol, it is advised to pack lightweight and comfortable attire, taking into account the tropical climate. Choose breathable materials such as cotton and linen to remain cool in the heat.

Bring swimwear for beach outings, and consider modest clothing when visiting religious sites. Comfortable sandals or flip-flops are suitable for casual outings, while a pair of sturdy walking shoes may be useful if you plan to explore nature reserves or hike.

Things to Note

  • Stay hydrated, especially in the warm weather, and use sunscreen to protect against the sun. Consider bringing insect repellent, particularly if you plan to explore nature reserves.
  • The local currency is the Philippine Peso (PHP). While ATMs are available in urban areas, it's advisable to have some local currency on hand, especially in more remote locations.
  • Keep a list of important contacts, including the local emergency numbers, contact information for your accommodation, and the nearest embassy or consulate.
  • Filipino and English are widely spoken, but learning a few basic Filipino phrases can enhance your travel experience and interactions with locals.

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