Cebu is easily one of my favorite travel destinations in the Philippines. This island is home to an amazing variety of travel-worthy places to see & experience. I always find good reasons to go and come back, especially because of Cebu’s wide flight/ferry network.

Cebu has it all! Gorgeous beaches, island hopping, modern city sights, big festivals, majestic waterfalls, hiking spots, heritage sites, delicious local cuisine and more.

If you have the chance to fly in/out/around the country via Cebu. Go for it! Make sure to spend a couple of days on exploring the city and different places around the island.

Traveling to Cebu for the first time? This detailed travel guide will make it easy for you to plan a trip, save money, and maximize your time.

Scroll down to read must-know travel tips before you go, followed by a sample itinerary + budget breakdown , recommended hotels/places to stay , things to do/places to visit and lots of extra travel tips.

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How to get to Cebu — By plane, Cebu can be reached on a one hour flight from Manila. Cebu Airport is a major international gateway and transport hub in the Philippines. It serves direct flights to popular domestic destinations including Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Clark, Palawan, Boracay, Kalibo, Iloilo & more. As well as major cities in Asia. Travel time from Cebu Airport to Downtown Cebu is around 30 minutes (or more during rush hours). Click below to see online prices on airport and city transfers.

Cebu Airport & city transfers

Book your hotel early — Grab rock-bottom rates and avoid fully-booked rooms by booking online as soon as you know you’re going. Click below to compare discounts and read reviews by other travelers.

Cheapest ratesBest hotel reviews

Check prices online and pre-book discounts — Save money by checking discounts on tours & airport/hotel transfers. Booking before you leave also saves you time & avoids the hassles of bringing large amounts of cash during your actual trip.

See top discounts

Spend 3 days or more — While it’s possible to explore the highlights of the city in a day, consider planning at least 3 days to tour the city and a bit of the province. Go for 5 days for a more relaxed trip. Travel longer if you want to explore nearby islands & provinces.

Discover Cebu Province — See beautiful nature spots and heritage churches outside the city. There are a lot of beaches, islands, churches, waterfalls and other attractions in North and South Cebu Province.

Getting around Cebu — There are a lot of transport and tour options available whether you want to go with a private tour or a do-it-yourself trip. You can even go full local and try the jeepney/bus commute to get around. Or, stick with packaged tours that can offer a hassle-free experience. Grab ride-hailing app is popular in Cebu.

See more blogs & travel guides

Cebu Travel Guide Blog

Cebu Itinerary

Here’s a suggested itinerary that you can follow on your travel to Metro Cebu (Cebu City & Mactan). Scroll down for the budget and list of expenses. Followed by extra travel tips & top spots to visit/things to do in Cebu.

Day 1: Cebu City tour

TimeActivity

Flight to Cebu

0730 am

ETA Cebu-Mactan International Airport

0800 am

Cebu Airport to Hotel transfer

0830 am

Hotel check-in

See ratesCompare prices

0900 am

Start Cebu Downtown tour — Magellan’s Cross, Fort San Pedro, Basilica de Santo Niño, Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral & more.

1100 am

Crown Regency Observatory, Sky Walk, Edge Coaster, Tower Zip

1200 nn

Lunch at Casa Verde, Zubuchon

0200 pm

Taoist Temple

0300 pm

Sirao Garden / Sirao Peak / Celosia Flower Farm

0400 pm

Tops Skyline Garden

0500 pm

Temple Of Leah

0700 pm

Dinner at Larsian

Day 2: Mactan tour

TimeActivity

Start Mactan day trip

0800 am

Hotel to Mactan transfer

0900 am

Lapu-Lapu Monument & Magellan Shrine

1000 am

Mactan beaches / island hopping — Pick a resort that offers day tour packages if you are not booking a room in a beachfront resort on the island. I’ve posted some options on the extra tips below. You can also book an island hopping tour in case you want to see more beaches & do some  snorkeling nearby.

0300 pm

Transport to Hilton Port/Angasil Port — Go by taxi or Punta Engaño jeep. Hilton Port is located beside Movenpick Resort, formerly Hilton Hotel. Meanwhile, Angasil Port is located near Mactan Newtown.

0400 pm

Mactan to Santa Rosa Port, Olango Island ferry — Remember to ask the schedule of the last trip back to Mactan.

Transport to Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary

Sunset at Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary observation deck

0600 pm

Transport to Santa Rosa Port & Ferry to Mactan

Transport to SuTuKil & dinner

Day 3: Continue Cebu city tour

TimeActivity
8 am

Continue Cebu downtown tour — Casa Gorordo, Yap-San Diego Ancestral House, Heritage Monument of Cebu, Museo Sugbo.

10 am

Transport to Tabo-an Market & pasalubong shopping

For trips outside of Cebu City & Mactan, simply modify the itinerary above to suit your schedule. For example, if you want to go to Bohol or do the Kawasan Falls Canyoneering / Osmeña Peak trek / Oslob whale watching, you can extend more days to your trip or move the Cebu City and/or Mactan tour on your last day.

Cebu Budget

Your travel expenses will largely depend on your traveling style and how much you plan to spend on activities, accommodations & food. To help you set your own budget, here are budget estimates if you follow the 3 days and 2 nights (3D2N) itinerary posted above. Make sure to review all discounts & online booking prices.

Prices below are ‘per person’, calculated based on a group of 3 people sharing the travel expenses.

Transport expenses breakdown
PHP 333Cebu Airport to Hotel transfer— To Downtown Cebu City. P500 one-way taxi fare x 2 (round trip) = PHP 1000 / 3 pax.
PHP 1,133Cebu car charter — P2,900 per day rate of car charter + P500 surcharge for uphill spots = P3,400 / 3 people. Not including fuel fees & parking fees.Book online
PHP 150Cebu City-Mactan shrine transfer — P300 one-way taxi fare  x 2 (round trip) = PHP 600 / 4 pax.
PHP 80Olango Island tricycle — PHP 120 one-way rate per tricycle x 2 (round trip) = PHP 240 / 3 pax.
PHP 30Mactan-Olango ferry — PHP 15 one-way fare per person + return trip.
Activities/attraction costs breakdown
PHP 50Fort San Pedro — Entrance fee per person.
PHP 50Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral — Museum entrance fee per person. No admission fees if visiting the church only.
PHP 30Sirao Flower Farm — Entrance fee per person.
PHP 100Tops Skyline Garden — Entrance fee per person.
PHP 50Temple Of Leah entrance fee — Entrance fee per person.
PHP 30Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary— Entrance fee per person.
PHP 50Casa Gorordo — Entrance fee per person.
PHP 50Yap-San Diego Ancestral House— Entrance fee per person.
PHP 30Museo Sugbo — Entrance fee per person.
PHP 550Crown Regency — Admission to Observatory + 1 Sky Experience Adventure Ride
Budget Trip – Backpacker expenses
PHP 1,726Transport — Shared expenses per group of 4. Airport transfers, car charter (day 1), Cebu-Mactan transfers (day 2), Olango Island transport. Excluding transport within Downtown Cebu City.
PHP 800Accommodations — 2 nights in budget hotel/hostel.
PHP 2,000Food — Full meals x 3 days
PHP 4,526Sub-total — Excluding attractions/activities & flights. Including accommodations, food & transport.
PHP 1,157Activities — Admission tickets/entrance fees on selected activities above.
PHP 5,683Total — Including all expenses above for 3 days in Cebu. Excluding flights.

I’ve included backpacker budget estimates for food & accommodations to give you an idea of how cheaply you can do the trip. If you have money to splurge on hotels, food, and luxuries, simply use the expenses posted to calculate your own budget.

Where to Stay in Metro Cebu

Many of the top tourist attractions in Cebu City are located within the Downtown district. Stay here along with the areas near Fuente Osmeña Circle, Capitol Site, and Sergio Osmeña Boulevard if you want a convenient base to explore the city. These places are also close to ferry terminals and South Bus Terminal, perfect for Bohol or South Cebu-bound travelers. In case you want to explore more of the newer districts of Cebu, stay at Lahug, Archbishop Reyes Avenue or Banilad.

Want a room near the beach? You can find a lot of top-class resorts and hotels in Mactan Island. Travel time to Downtown, Cebu City only takes 30 minutes to over 1 hour depending on the traffic flow.

Check discountsSee rates

Click below to compare rates on Metro Cebu hotels within your budget.

Best Luxury Hotels in Cebu — Splurge at the best 5-star and 4-star hotels in Cebu.See rates & reviews
Promo rates on 4-Star & 5-Star Cebu hotels — Grab discounts on luxury rooms available for booking today.See discounts
Under PHP 4,000Recommended 3-Star Cebu hotels & mid-range accommodations — Great-value rooms for couples or when traveling with family & friends.See rates & reviews
Under PHP 2,000Best Cebu budget hotels — For travelers looking for decent yet affordable accommodations.See rates & reviews
Under PHP 1,000Best Cebu hostels & budget hotels — affordable places to stay for backpackers/solo travelers.See rates & reviews
From PHP 400Cheapest places to stay in CebuSee rates & reviews

Top-rated places to stay in Metro Cebu

The Henry Hotel Cebu

Splurge / Banilad

See discounts

Radisson Blu Cebu

Splurge / Near SM City Cebu

See discounts

Mandarin Plaza Hotel

Mid-Range / Near Ayala Center Cebu

See discounts

Harolds Hotel

Mid-Range / Lahug

See discounts

Sampaguita Suites

Budget / Downtown Cebu

See discounts

Pillows Hotel

Budget / Capitol Site

See discounts

Tropical Hostel

Budget Backpacker / Mabolo, Cebu City

See discounts

Food District Hostel

Budget Backpacker / Lahug, Cebu City

See discounts

Where to book

Book your room through these trusted booking sites. I use them frequently to grab rock-bottom prices & enjoy convenient bookings. Click below to confirm the lowest prices:

Booking.comAgoda

Book sooner rather than later if you already have your dates set. Cheaper-priced rooms and hotels with high reviews tend to get fully booked faster, especially during busy days like weekends, holidays & peak tourist seasons.

Cebu Travel Tips Before You Go

How to get to Cebu

Cebu Airport to Cebu City

How to get around Cebu?

Cebu City to South Cebu

Cebu City to North Cebu

Cebu to Bohol

Mactan beach resort day packages

How to book cheap flights to Cebu?

Should I book my Cebu hotel online?

Pre-book your Cebu tours & attraction tickets online

How to get to Cebu

Cebu-Mactan International Airport is the primary gateway to Cebu. Located 1 hour south of Manila, it serves direct domestic flights from nearly all major airports in the Philippines and international flights from many destinations in Southeast Asia and East Asia. Airlines include Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, AirAsia, Cathay Pacific, China Eastern Airlines, EVA Air, Korean Air, SilkAir, Tiger Air & more.

In addition, Cebu seaports also serve a wide ferry network to Manila and cities/islands in Visayas and Mindanao regions.

Cebu Airport to Cebu City

Cebu-Mactan International Airport, located on Mactan Island, is connected to mainland Cebu and Cebu City by bridges. Travel time to the Downtown Cebu takes around 30 minutes or over 1 hour depending on the traffic flow. Taxi fare is usually PHP 400 to PHP 500 per way.

Cebu Airport private transfer

Check price online

Cebu Airport to Cebu City by airport shuttle/multicab/jeepney

MyBus Shuttle offers convenient and affordable transfers to/from Parkmall, SM City Cebu, SM Seaside City and up to Talisay City. Fares start at P20 per person, per way.

By public transport, ride the yellow MI-05a multicab and drop off at M.L. Quezon National Highway near Marina Mall. The fare is PHP 8. Travel time should take less than 10 minutes. Best to tell the driver to drop you off where you can ride a jeep to SM City Cebu.

From Marina Mall, Keep a lookout for jeepney signboards with “SM” on it. The fare is PHP 14. Travel time is 20 minutes or more depending on traffic. To get to Colon from the jeepney terminal in SM, ride a jeepney with “Labangon” on the signboard.

If you are headed to the airport, you can find the yellow airport multicabs near the Island Souvenir shop at Marina Mall.

How to get around Cebu?

Use Grab for short rides within Metro Cebu or to/from the airport. Remember, taking the jeepney and local buses are cheaper but consume a lot more time. Use local transport if you are not in a hurry.

The best way to maximize your trip is to charter a car/taxi for your sightseeing tour. Typical rates for a car w/ driver, for up to 4 people should be around PHP 3,000 to 5,000 per car per day. Van/shuttles that can seat up to 10 or more people cost from PHP 4,000+ per shuttle per day.

Cebu private car charter

Check price online

Cebu Airport to Cebu City by ferry

This is the scenic route between Mactan and Cebu City. It’s one of the cheap thrills in Cebu that I always look forward to enjoying when I’m not in a hurry.

From Cebu Airport, ride the yellow airport multicab all the way to Opon Public Market. Tell the driver that you’re headed to Muelle Osmeña wharf so he can drop you off nearby and give you some directions. The fare is P10. Travel time is around 15 minutes. From Opon Public Market, walk towards the Virgen dela Regla National Shrine (church). You can find Muelle Osmeña wharf just behind the church.

Ride the Cebu-Mactan ferry, which arrives at Pier 3, Cebu City. The fare is P14. The crossing takes around 15 minutes. From Pier 3, you can easily find jeepneys to Colon area or hail a taxi to your hotel.

Downtown Cebu to Sirao / Busay

Headed to the Sirao flower garden, Temple of Leah, TOPS and Taoist Temple? A cheap option to get there is to ride a habal-habal or motorcycle taxi from JY Mall. One-way fare from JY Square Mall to Temple of Leah should cost PHP 50 to PHP 75. Charter rate for all 4 sites should cost PHP 1,000 including waiting time.

Take note that way up is quite steep and the habal-habal might not be the safest way to go. I highly recommend the taxi or car charter instead, especially if you are traveling in a group.

JY Square Mall is located at Salinas Drive, Cebu City. To get there by jeepney, you can ride the “04L” route from University of San Carlos main campus along Panthaleon del Rosario Street (near Elizabeth Mall or E-Mall / Osmeña Street).

Cebu City to South Cebu

Head to the South Bus Terminal for buses to Southern Cebu Province and Dumaguete. Including Oslob, Dalaguete (Osmeña Peak), Moalboal & Badian (Kawasan Falls). The South Bus Terminal is located along Natalio B. Bacalso Avenue, beside Elizabeth Mall or E-Mall.

Better yet, get a car charter or shared shuttle transfer (with hotel pick-up) to maximize your time.

Cebu City to Oslob shuttle van

Check price online

Cebu City to Badian & Kawasan Falls shuttle van

Check price online

Cebu City to North Cebu

Buses to Northern Cebu Province depart from the North Bus Terminal. Transit here if you are headed to Bantayan (via Hagnaya Port), Malapascua (via Maya Port), Toledo or Bacolod (via Toledo/San Carlos).

Cebu City to Hagnaya Port shuttle van (for Bantayan Island)

Check price online

Cebu City to Maya Port shuttle van (for Malapascua Island and Kalanggaman Island)

Check price online

Cebu City to Danao shuttle van (for Camotes Island)

Check price online

Cebu to Bohol

Most ferries to Bohol depart from Pier 1 in Cebu City. Travel time by fastcraft (fast ferry) to Tagbilaran pier is 2 hours. You can also ride the 1 hour and 30 minutes fastcraft ferry to Tubigon pier and travel to Chocolate Hills, Tagbilaran or Panglao by land.

Cebu-Bohol ferry ticket

Check price online

Mactan beach resort day packages

Many beachfront resorts in Mactan Island offer day tour packages for travelers who want to enjoy the beach or pool but are not staying as a guest overnight.

Here’s a list of popular Mactan beach resort and their day use rates. Contact the resort directly to confirm current rates.

Mövenpick Hotel Mactan Island Cebu

From PHP 2,000 per adult. Inclusive of:

Free use of the swimming pool, beach, game room and gym.

Rates for weekday (PHP2,000 nett) and weekend (PHP2,500 nett) include lunch buffet at The Sails, and premium rate (PHP2,800 nett) include 15-course Balearic dinner at Ibiza Beach Club.

One (1) scoop of Mövenpick ice cream at the Lobby lounge.

A 15% discount at Spa del Mar and on all water sports activities
Guests who wish to extend their stay can also enjoy a 50% discount on themed dinner buffet at The Sails restaurant (valid on the same date of stay) and a special rate of PHP 1,500 nett per person for Deluxe Twin Room from 10.00 am to 6.00 pm (subject to availability)

Check room rates

Plantation Bay Resort & Spa

From PHP 2,000 per adult. Inclusive of:

Lunch and choice of drink

Lagoons and swimming pools

Wall climbing at selected hours

30-minute use of bicycles

15-minute use of non-motorized aqua sports facilities (nips floater or kayak)

Foosball, air hockey, and table tennis

Shower and changing facilities

Check room rates

Solea Mactan Cebu Resort

From PHP 1,800 per adult. Inclusive of:

Lunch buffet on weekends. P500 worth of consumable food on weekdays.

Entrance fee

Use of the pool facilities with complimentary use of sunbeds

Free use of public shower room

Check room rates

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

From PHP 900 per adult. P500 worth of consumable food on weekdays. PHP 1,200.00 on weekends with lunch buffet.

Check room rates

Maribago Blue Water Beach Resort

From PHP 2,000 per person on weekdays or PHP 2,500 on weekends. Inclusive of lunch buffet & 1 drink.

Check room rates

Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark

From PHP 2,500 per person inclusive of lunch buffet. Formerly Imperial Palace Resort and Water Park.

Check room rates

Crimson Resort and Spa

From PHP 2,000 per person. Inclusive of lunch buffet.

Check room rates

Be Resort Mactan

From PHP 999 per person. Inclusive of set lunch.

Check room rates

How to book cheap flights to Cebu?

If you are flying to within the next 2-3 months, the general rule to spend less on flights is by booking sooner rather than later. In case you are booking well ahead of your trip, keep a lookout for airline promo fares & seat sales.

The easy way to find cheap flights that you can book right now is to use flight search engines. These sites compare prices on different airlines to show you the cheapest prices. Check multiple flight search engines listed below:

MomondoSkyscannerWego

Always check promo fares before booking. Visit the airlines’ official website, mobile app, Facebook, Twitter & other social media accounts for updates.

You can also check the latest promo alerts posted here on Detourista. Click below to start:

Subscribe to the email alerts to save time from checking many websites frequently.

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Get FREE promo updates sent to your email. Don’t miss the next promo!

To learn more, visit the guide on how to book cheap flights.

Should I book my Cebu hotel online?

Pre-book your Cebu tours & attraction tickets online

I often book online to enjoy discounts and cashless convenience during my actual trip. Always check prices of tours and attraction tickets on these booking sites:

Klook

Prices are often cheaper than booking on-site. Huge discounts on many activities.

Maximize your trip! Avoid wasting time queueing at ticket booths & shopping for tours.

Get a good idea what to expect. Knowing all the inclusions/non-inclusions & reading user reviews is very helpful to make an informed decision.

Earn rewards points for every booking.

Pay in your home currency. Worry less about bringing cash/exchanging currencies.

If you’re booking tours and you’ve already finalized your travel dates, book early, especially if you are traveling with family/friends to lock-in those open slots for everyone in your group.

Extra travel discounts!

Click below to view the latest promo codes. Enjoy extra savings on top of existing discounts:

Places to Visit in Cebu + Things To Do

Check out these top tourist spots, best places to visit & things to do in Cebu.

1. Tour Downtown Cebu

5. See Metro Cebu Highlands

2. Enjoy Mactan’s beaches & islands

3. Adventure in South Cebu

4. Visit North Cebu islands & beaches

6. Shopping in Cebu

7. Taste Cebu food

1. Tour Downtown Cebu

Cebu is the first Spanish settlement, oldest city, and the first capital of the Philippines. Visit surviving Spanish-colonial heritage sites, most of which can be found within the downtown area and can be easily explored on foot. Don’t miss the triangular Fort San Pedro, Basilica Minore del Santo Niño church, Magellan’s Cross, Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral and old houses that have been turned into museums.

5. See Metro Cebu Highlands

Take a short drive from the center to the highlands of Metro Cebu. Here, you can enjoy sweeping overlooking views and cool spots to visit including the Tops Skyline Garden, Temple Of Leah, Taoist Temple & flower farms/gardens in Sirao. There are also many restaurants, cafes and hotels with a view in this area.

Top Cebu tour packages & discounts

2. Enjoy Mactan’s beaches & islands

Mactan’s beaches are one the best things about Cebu. It’s a mere bridge crossing away from the city or a 15-minute drive from the airport! Mactan Island is lined with many white sand beaches and luxury resorts worth the splurge. From here, you can go island hopping to more beaches, islands and snorkeling spots nearby.

Top Mactan tour packages & discounts

See discountsSee discounts

3. Adventure in South Cebu

There is no shortage of destinations to go outside the capital city. Cebu’s southern towns are famous for its adventure-filled spots & scenic beaches. Go canyoneering at Kawasan Falls, hike to Osmeña Peak, see the whale sharks in Oslob, experience the sardine run & beaches in Moalboal. Almost every town is also home to well-preserved Spanish-colonial churches and heritage sites.

Top South Cebu tour packages & discounts

4. Visit North Cebu islands & beaches

North Cebu is home to many of the province’s most beautiful islands, beaches, and diving spots. Don’t miss Bantayan Island, Malapascua Island and Camotes Islands.

6. Shopping in Cebu

Some of the Philippines’ and Asia’s biggest shopping malls can be found in Cebu including SM Seaside City Cebu, Ayala Center Cebu, Robinsons Galleria Cebu and SM City Cebu. For a more local feed, shop at Taboan Public Market for pasalubong/souvenirs.

7. Taste Cebu food

Don’t leave without trying food in Cebu. The most popular dish for tourists is Lechon (roasted suckling pig). You can taste the best at CnT Lechon, Zubuchon, Alejo’s and Carcar Public Market. Aside from lechon, bring home dried mangoes, otap, danggit (dried fish) & other Cebu delicacies as pasalubong.

Where to go near Cebu

8. Bohol

9. Kalanggaman Island

10. Negros & Siquijor

11. Central and South Philippines

8. Bohol

Ferry crossing to Bohol only takes 2 hours from the heart of Cebu City. Here, you can find the famous Chocolate Hills, Tarsiers & White Sand Beaches of Panglao Island.

Top Bohol tour packages & discounts

9. Kalanggaman Island

Top Kalanggaman Island tour packages & discounts

10. Negros & Siquijor

Venture to Dumaguete, which is less than an hour away by ferry from Santander, the southernmost town of Cebu Province. From here, you can jump-off to the mystical island of Siquijor, swim with sea turtles in Apo Island and explore the natural spots of Negros Island.

11. Central and South Philippines

Cebu offers direct ferry and flight links to other major destinations in the Philippines. Including, Palawan, Boracay, Davao, Surigao/Siargao, Iloilo, Bacolod, Leyte, Samar, Davao, General Santos, Cagayan de Oro, Camiguin & Zamboanga.

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