Bohol Travel Guide: More Than Just Pretty Beaches

by Nov 11, 2023Philippines, Travel

You can snorkel, dive, and lie on a beach on pretty much any island in the Philippines.


ONLY in Bohol can you get up close to one of the smallest and oh-so-cutest primates in the world, the tarsier monkey.

And that’s NOT all!

In Bohol, you can explore some of the oldest churches in the Philippines, kayak or paddleboard down jungle-clad rivers, spot turtles and dolphins in the wild, and catch a view of hills covered in chocolate.

Ok. I admit that the last one isn’t true,


Bohol does have over 1,776 unique-looking hills called the Chocolate Hills. And if you visit at the right time of the year (spring), they do sort of look chocolatey.

In this Bohol itinerary and travel guide, I’m going to share with you EXACTLY how to see all these amazing places. You’ll find out how to visit the sights without having to rely on a motorcycle or scooter.

I have also updated this post to reflect 2023 and 2024 prices and information. 

Bohol is one of my top 15 places to visit in the Philippines. You can click here to find out what my other favorite places to visit in the Philippines are as well.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate and a Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.  Please see this website's Disclosure for more info.

Bohol Essentials

Bohol is one of the 7,000 islands that make up the Philippines.

It’s located in the Western Visayas. Just a hop, skip, and jump from Cebu Island.

5 KEY Tourist Destinations in Bohol:

The island is quite large, but tourism is mostly focused on the southern and eastern coasts and interior of the island.

Here are the 5 KEY tourist destinations you should know about:

  1. Tagbilaran
  2. Panglao
  3. Loboc
  4. Anda
  5. Smaller Islands – Pamilacan, Balicasag, and Cabilao

Let’s take a closer look at each of them so that you know where to go and what each has to offer the traveler:

1. Tagbilaran

Tagbilaran is where the port is for ferries coming from and leaving to Cebu City and Siquijor

The only reason to book your hotel here is because it’s convenient. You can catch buses to other parts of Bohol.

Other than that,

Most travelers don’t stay here. It’s a  noisy and ugly town. The only reason is that it’s a convenient place to stay with its transportation connections to other parts of Bohol. And perhaps hotels and hostels are cheaper here than in other parts of the island.

I didn’t spend much time in Tagbilaran city.

2. Panglao

Most head to a smaller island called Panglao, which is connected to the mainland of Bohol by 2 bridges.

Panglao is the most touristy part of Bohol.

It’s got lots of hotels and a few nice beaches.

This is where I stayed when I was in Bohol.

3. Loboc

The other area that tourists visit is the interior to the northeast of Tagbilaran. This is where you’ll find the Chocolate Hills, the Tarsier Sanctuary, and several old churches.

The main city in this area is Loboc, which makes for a good tourist base. However, you can also stay in Panglao and do day trips to Loboc.

I visited Loboc on a group tour and I felt it was nice for a short visit. If you want to stay longer, get a place on the river where you can relax in a hammock and do some paddle boarding.

4. Anda

Another more off-the-beaten-path area of the country is Anda, which is on the eastern coast of the island. This area is harder to get to but less touristy and more low-key than Panglao.

You’ll find some great beaches with fine sand and crystal-clear water, cave pools, waterfalls, and rice terraces.

I did not make it here because I ran out of time and it wasn’t easy to get to. Don’t let that intimidate you. I’ll share with you how to get there in the How to Get Around Bohol Section of this post.

5. Smaller Islands Around Bohol

Bohol has a few off-shore islands worth exploring for their snorkeling and diving: Pamilacan, Balicasag, and Cabilao.

I stayed a few nights on Pamilican. You can read more about my experience in the Pamilican section of this Bohol travel guide.

PRO TIP: No one likes to think about insurance, but accidents do happen. I highly recommend getting travel insurance. During my travels over the past 2 years, I've been using SafetyWing for my insurance. They're very affordable for all ages, and digital nomads can use their insurance long-term.


You can EASILY get to Bohol from these Philippines destinations:

  • Manila – plane
  • Cebu City – ferry (2 hours)
  • Siquijor – ferry (2 hours)
  • Camiguin – ferry (4 hours)

I’ll tell you how to get to Bohol from each of those places:

1. Flights from Manila

By plane, you can fly non-stop from Manila to Bohol. Bohol’s airport is on Panglao. Check flights on 12Go or Skyscanner.

You can read about how to get to and from the airport in Manila in my post here.

2. Ferry from Cebu City to Bohol

Ferries leave from Pier 1 in Cebu City (Google Maps).

There are 3 ports in Bohol ferries arrive at:

These are 2 ferry companies that can get you from Cebu City to Tagbilaran in Bohol.

  • Ocean Jet – 2 hours – US$16 – $24 – depart hourly – 6 am – 6:30 pm
  • Lite Shipping – 4 hours – US$8 – $11 – 1 – 2 departures/daily

Buy your tickets online ahead of time to avoid long lines, sold-out tickets, and missing your departure. When I bought my ticket, the lines were VERY LONG!

These are 2 VERY GOOD websites for buying ferry and bus tickets:

SUPER IMPORTANT: Even if you buy your ticket online, you still MUST PAY the Ferry Terminal Fee of PHP25 and a checked baggage fee of PHP50-100 per bag when you get to the terminal.

I did NOT check my large backpack when I took the ferry to Bohol. Instead, I brought it on board with me and placed it near my seat. No one cared, but I had a feeling I wasn’t supposed to do that because I didn’t see anyone else on the ferry with their luggage.

Arrive at least 1 hour BEFORE your boat departs.

You can see the timetable for ferries to Bohol here.

White Beach in Bohol

3. Ferry from Siquijor to Bohol

You can also get to Tagbilaran, Bohol from Siquijor.

There are 2 – 3 departures per day depending on the day of the week (Check ferry schedule here):

  • Apekoptravel – departs from Larena Pier – 2 hours – 1:00 pm departure – US$13
  • Oceanjet – departs from Siquijor Pier  – 2 hours – 8:20 am departure – US$16 – $24
  • Lite Shipping – departs from Larena Pier – 3 hours – 7:00 pm – US$15

You can buy your tickets online ahead of time from this website:

You can read more about traveling in Siquijor in this easy-to-follow itinerary guide. 

4. From Camiguin to Bohol

You can travel between Camiguin and Bohol by ferry as well.

There are 1 – 2 departures per day depending on the day of the week. You can check the schedule here.

  • Super Shuttle Ferry – 9:30 am or 2:30 pm – 4 hours

The ferry arrives in Jagna, Bohol (Google Maps).

You can buy ferry tickets online ahead of time from these TRUSTED websites:

How to Get Around Bohol

Here’s the BAD NEWS about Bohol:

The public transportation system is STINKS! Public buses and jeepneys are infrequent, they’re hard to figure out, and they don’t target the cool tourist destinations.

Plus! It’s such a big island that it takes a long time to get to the different Bohol attractions.

But it’s NOT impossible!

Your Transportation Options Around Bohol:

  1. Rent a scooter or motorbike
  2. Rent a car
  3. Hire a car and driver
  4. Join a group tour
  5. Take public transport

1. Rent a Scooter or Motorbike

  • PHP500 – 550/day (US$9 – $10/day). Prices get cheaper the more days you rent.
  • Ask at your hotel or hostel for advice on renting or rent from a place near the port in Tagbilaran
  • Good for getting around Panglao and around Loboc area but the Anda area may be too far for a scooter
  • If you’ve NEVER ridden a scooter before, I think Bohol is NOT a good place to try it out for the first time. Panglao is flatter and might be more manageable, however. Still, don’t feel pressure that you need to rent one. 
  • PRO: Inexpensive and loads of freedom
  • CONS: accidents happen; roads in the interior of Bohol are narrow and hilly

2. Rent a Car

  • You can rent a car at the Panglao Airport in Bohol
  • Necessary to have a car to visit the Anda area
  • PROS: Amazing freedom; safer than zipping around on a scooter; travel farther than on a scooter
  • CONS: Can be expensive; roads are narrow and twisty
  • Check car rental prices on Klook

3. Charter a Private Car with Driver

  • US$50/4 hours or US$60/8 hours
  • RATING: 6/5 (731+ Reviews)
  • PROS: safer than zipping around on a scooter or driving yourself; relative freedom to go where you want
  • CONS: Can be expensive if traveling alone
  • Check care hire prices with Klook

4. Join an All-Day Group Tour of Bohol

  • Most tours are 8-9 hours long
  • Most tours visit the same places: Chocolate Hills, Tarsier Sanctuary, Baclayon, Loboc River Cruise, Hanging Bridge, and a few more minor places
  • Most tours do hotel pickup and dropoff
  • This is how I got around Bohol
  • PROS: Ideal for solo travelers; inexpensive
  • CONS: Can be very touristy; no control over your Bohol itinerary
  • Many different tour companies to choose from at a variety of price points

5. Public Transportation

It’s possible but challenging to get around by public transportation. It just requires patience and a sense of adventure.

Riding on a public bus can be the best way to meet regular Filipinos who are not working at your hotel or guiding you on a tour.

Here are your public transportation options:

  • Tricycle – 3-wheeled vehicle for 1 – 3 people
  • Jeepney
  • Public Bus
  • Taxi
  • Shared mini van

PRO TIP: The KEY to taking public transportation around Bohol is to know where the main bus terminal is in Tagbilaran – Dao Bus Terminal (aka – Integrated Bus Terminal). The Dao Bus Terminal is where buses leave from for other parts of Bohol.

Bohol Transportation Guide

PRO TIP: Here's a list of essential items to pack for all of your island-hopping tours while in the Philippines:

  • Dry bag - Your stuff will get wet while on island hopping tours so a dry bag is ESSENTIAL for the Philippines.
  • Waterproof bag or pouch for your cell phone especially for your visit to such places as the Big Lagoon and the Secret Lagoon in El Nido and island hopping in Port Barton.
  • Water shoes - It's important to have a pair because sometimes you'll need to be walking on rocks to get to your destination. You'll thank me later for bringing them.
  • Sunscreen - You buy sunscreen in the Philippines, too, but it's pricey (500 - 700 pesos depending on the store--shop around!)
  • Mask and snorkel -  I recommend bringing your own mask and snorkel. If you're new to snorkeling, start with the full face mask and snorkel. That's what I did.

Top Things to Do in Bohol

Bohol is so unlike other Philippines’ islands. In Bohol, there’s more to do than just beachy things like swimming, snorkeling, and suntanning. You’ve got the tarsier sanctuary, the Chocolate Hills, old churches, and jungle rivers.

1. Chocolate Hills

COST: PHP100 (US$1.76) | LOCATION: Google Maps

The main reason I visited Bohol was to see the Chocolate Hills, one of the Philippines’ UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

There are around 1,200 to 1,700 hills dotting the interior of Bohol.

In the spring when it’s dry from little rainfall, the hills are brown, like chocolate. But during the rest of the year, it rains and the hills turn green. Therefore, the hills are not as impressive. 

Go in the spring!

Chocolate Hills

To see the hill, most travelers go to the Chocolate Hills Viewing Complex. Here you and all the other tourists can experience a 360-degree panoramic view of the hills.

I won’t lie to you. It was a bit of a letdown for many reasons:

  • The Chocolate Hills were NOT brown like chocolate at all. They were green.
  • It’s very touristy.
  • I saw them at the wrong time of day. Maybe it’s better to see them in the early morning or late afternoon.

The park now has ATVs that you can rent to explore the Hills.

Easiest Way to Visit the Chocolate Hills:

Join a group tour that includes a stop at the Chocolate Hills. Here are 2 tours:

How to Get to the Chocolate Hills Independently:

First, go to the Dao Bus Station in Tagbilaran and take a bus heading to Carmen. Get off the bus when it gets to the Chocolate Hills Viewing Platform. Expect to pay around PHP80.

2. Chocolate Hills Adventure Park

COST: PHP80 Entrance + additional charges for each activity (ziplining is PHP750) BUY DISCOUNTED TICKETS ONLINE | OPEN: 8:30 – 5:30 every day | LOCATION: Google Maps

Bohols’ newest attraction is the Chocolate Hills Adventure Park. If you’re looking to have some thrills while visiting the Chocolate Hills, then this is it!

There’s ziplining, Tarzan swinging, hiking, horseback riding, and all kinds of other crazy things.

It’s ideal for those traveling with children or for those who want a unique way to see the Chocolate Hills.

The Adventure Park was not open yet when I visited, so I can’t say if it’s worth it or not.

For hassle-free entry and discounted tickets, you can buy your tickets in advance on line from Klook.

How to Get to the Adventure Park Independently:

First, go to the Dao Bus Station in Tagbilaran and take a bus heading to Carmen. Get off the bus when it gets to the Chocolate Hills Adventure Park. Expect to pay around PHP80.

3. Tarsier Sanctuary

The Tarsier Sanctuary was my favorite place in Bohol.

Tarsiers are one of the smallest primates in the world–about the size of the palm of your hand.

And they are utterly adorable!

Tarsiers are fascinating animals. They’re the only carnivorous primates, subsisting on insects, birds, and lizards for food.

Their distinguishing features are these 2 large bulging eyes that are bigger than the size of their brain and freakishly long thin and powerful fingers that help them jump from branch to branch.

Another cool thing that they can do is that they can actually twist their heads 360 degrees.

tarsier monkey in Bohol

Tarsiers are incredibly shy and do not do well in captivity. If held in zoos, they’ve been known to commit suicide by banging their head against something.

This tendency to kill themselves is one reason it’s hard to find them in captivity and also why you should be careful about where you go in Bohol to see these animals.

Where to See Tarsiers

There are 2 places in Bohol to see tarsiers:

  • Philippines Tarsier Sanctuary
  • Tarsier Conservation Area.
1. Philippines Tarsier Sanctuary

COST: PHP150 | OPEN: 8:30 am – 4:00 pm (every day) | LOCATION: Google Maps | CONTACT: Facebook

The Philippines Tarsier Sanctuary is a nonprofit organization that protects tarsiers in their natural habitat.

This is where you want to go to see tarsiers. They are not held in cages and are free to stay or leave the sanctuary whenever they want.

You walk around a small wooded area where tarsiers are clinging to trees. Wherever there’s a tree with a tarsier, a guide is standing next to it. You can look at the tarsier and take pictures, but you can’t touch them.

When I visited, there were 6 tarsiers in the area but only 5 were visible. Sometimes when you visit, they hide in the trees and avoid looking at you, so you don’t get to see them. And since they’re nocturnal, they’re not active during the visiting hours. Luckily, I was able to see their faces and I even got to see one tarsier jump from one tree to another.

2. Tarsier Conservation Area

The Tarsier Conservation Area is a for-profit business that holds tarsiers in captivity.

They are supposedly kept in cages at night and only taken out into the open during visiting hours. As I said before, they don’t do well in captivity. However, sometimes bus drivers will drop you off here rather than the Tarsier Sanctuary, and so you’re stuck seeing them here.


Easiest Way to See the Tarsiers

These tours stop at either the Tarsier Sanctuary or Tarsier Conservation Area.

  • Countryside Bohol Tour – US$11 – AMAZINGLY cheap! – Reviews for this tour have been FANTASTIC – 4.7/5 (1,000 Reviews; 10K booked) – CHECK TOUR PRICES HERE!
  • Abraham Tours – US$49 – RATINGS: 4.9/5 (26+ Reviews) – CHECK TOUR PRICES HERE!
  • Southwest Countryside Tour – This tour gets AMAZING reviews RATINGS: 4.8/10 (300+ Reviews) Check Tour Prices Here

Getting to the Tarsier Sanctuary Independently

First, go to the Dao Bus Terminal. Catch a bus going to Sikatuna on the Corella Route.

4. Relax on the Beaches of Bohol

Bohol doesn’t have the best beaches in the Philippines. The ones that are easy to get to are crowded and the sand isn’t that spectacular.

These two areas have the best beaches in Bohol:

  • Panglao
  • Anda

Panglao Beaches

Most people stay on Panglao Island. There are 3 beaches with good sand and water for swimming.

  • Alona Beach
  • White Beach
  • Dumaluan Beach

I recommend heading to White Beach and Dumaluan Beach.

The BEST way to get to these 3 beaches is by tricycle or jeepney.

Alona Beach

Cost: Free | Location: Google Maps

Alona Beach

Alona Beach is the busiest and most developed.

The beach and water are lined with bars, restaurants, and hotels. It’s crowded with middle-aged or old guys and their twenty-something girlfriends.

I suggest NOT bothering with this beach.

White Beach

Cost: Free | Location: Google Maps

White Beach in Bohol

White Beach is a better one to hang out on than Alona Beach.

It’s narrow, long, quiet, and uncrowded. Decent sand and crystal-clear water.

There are few hotels along the beach as well. It’s a 15-minute walk from Bohol Coco Farms.

Dumaluan Beach

Cost: Free via White Beach | Location: Google Maps

Dumaluan Beach

Dumaluan Beach is the most stunning beach on Panglao. It’s got gorgeous sand and crystal-clear water.

The beach is a bit hard to find. The best way to get to it is via White Beach. To get to Dumaluan Beach from the main paved road requires you to pay money to pass through a high-end resort.

Anda Beaches

Cost: free | Location: Google Maps

Anda Beach in Bohol

A great alternative to Panglao is the off-the-beaten-path beaches in Anda. They’ve got lovely white sand and are much quieter than Alona Beach.

Anda is 3 hours by bus from Tagbilaran, so if you want to visit for the day, you need a car. For those doing public transportation, you’ll need to stay overnight or book a tour. Klook has a tour of Anda that includes the rice terraces and waterfall.

Easiest Way to Visit Anda

If you’re short on time, you’re not staying in Anda, and/or you don’t drive a motorcycle or car, you can visit Anda on a tour. Here are some options for you:

  • 2-Day Bohol Tour – This tour is so JAMPACKED that it seems too good to be true!. Day 1 – Chocolate Hills, Tarsier Sanctuary, Cabagnow Cave Pool, and Anda; Day 2 –  rice terraces, and Can Umantad Falls. Stay overnight at hostel in Anda. Includes lunch, breakfast and entrance fees – CHECK TOUR PRICE HERE!
How to Get to Anda by Public Transportation

Take a bus from Dao Bus Terminal in Tagbilaran to Anda (3 hours); I was told to get off in Guindilman and take a jeepney to Anda – PHP155.

5. Island Hopping Tours

If by this point in your Philippines itinerary you’re not too sick of island-hopping tours, Bohol offers its own tours for you to try. 

I didn’t go on one when I was in Bohol. I’d been on so many already that I was tired of them.

However, I met other travelers who went on the tours and they raved about the snorkeling off Balicasag Island. The fish AND coral are supposedly stunning!

A typical island-hopping tour includes early morning dolphin watching, snorkeling at Balicasag Island (photo above), and a visit to Virgin Island (sand bar). The tours leave really early in the morning at 5:00 or 6:00 am and return at mid-day between 11:30 am and 12:30 pm.

How to Book an Island-Hopping Tour in Bohol

You can book a tour from your hotel or hostel or book one from a tout on Alona Beach.

  • Half-Day Virgin Island Tour – This tour includes a visit to Virgin Island sandbar and a fun chance to do some night swimming in the ocean! CHECK TOUR PRICE HERE!
  • Island-Hopping Tour with Southwest Tours – This tour includes dolphin watching, visits to Virgin Island and Balicasag, and lots of snorkeling! Chance to see sea turtles! CHECK TOUR PRICE HERE!

PRO TIP: Download these apps onto your phone for your trip to any country in Asia. They will make your life so much easier!

  • Grab: - Grab is the ride-sharing service that people use in Southeast Asia. It's a must-have for getting around Manila, Hanoi, Singapore etc. It's not so necessary on the smaller islands.
  • Klook - Klook is a tour-booking website used by lots of travelers in Asia. You're more likely to book with an honest tour company through Klook than through anyone else.
  • WhatsApp: What's App is the best service to use for getting in touch with other travelers, tour guides, and businesses in the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, etc.
  • I think is the best website to use for booking accommodations in Asia.
  • MAPS.ME & Google Maps: I have both of these apps on my phone. Sometimes MAPS.ME works better than Google Maps and vice versa. Make sure to download your maps to your phone before you start your adventure so you can view them offline. If you switch SIM cards, you might lose your downloaded maps.

6. Explore Remote Pamilacan Island

If you’re looking for a peaceful, nontouristy tropical island, then Pamilacan is for you. You can visit on a day trip or stay overnight.

I spent 3 nights on this tiny, remote island. During the day, about 10 day-trippers visited the island, but in the late afternoon and evening, they left and it was just me, a handful of other tourists staying overnight, and locals.

There’s a nice white sandy beach, crystal clear water, a coral garden with the most colorful coral I’ve ever seen, a place for snorkeling with turtles, and some great diving spots. In the morning, you can hire a boat to take you out to see the dolphins snacking on tuna.

a beach at dusk on Pamilacan Island

Just be aware that there’s no running water on the island and the internet is just about non-existent.

You can book accommodations on I stayed at Mary’s Place, and I am going to recommend that you DON’T stay there. They were incredibly stingy and unkind.

Instead, I recommend staying at Junior & Nemesia’s Cottages. They’re decent and they’ve got huts with sea views. A budget option is Shirley’s Cottages. For more luxury, you can stay at Liwayway sa Bohol Pamilacan Bed and Breakfast.

How to Take a Tour of Pamilacan:

  • Pamilacan Day Tour – This tour offers lots of free time to explore Pamilacan island or just relax on the beach. Dolphin watching, snorkeling with sea turtles, and lunch! RATING:8/5 – CHECK TOUR PRICE HERE!

How to Get to Pamilacan:

These are the ways you could get to Pamiliaan Island when I was in Bohol:

  • Fishing boats left from the Baclayon Pier to the island for PHP250 pesos (US$5). The boat left when it was full.
  • You could also get a boat from Alona Beach for PHP1,000 (US$20).

If your hotel arranges the boat ride for you, double-check the price. Some places have been known to charge you double. It takes 1-2 hours to get there depending on the weather.

7. Go Scuba Diving

The Philippines is one of the best places in Asia to dive, and many people visit the country just for this activity. Bohol has some of the best diving in the Visayas. It’s known for its stunning coral, wall dives, and reef sharks.

turtle off a coral reef in Bohol

Some popular diving places are Balicasag Marine Park, Pamilacan, and Cabilao Island. There are lots of dive shops in Alona. You can also reserve a spot with your hotel or hostel.

How to book a dive online before your trip?

You’ve never been scuba diving before?

Don’t worry!

In Bohol, you can go scuba diving without any previous experience and without a long course. These tours will give you a short training and then take you out on the ocean for one dive with assistance from instructors and guides.

But if you want to get full PADI Certification, you can also do that with one of these courses: 

  • Discover Scuba Diving – Includes a short introductory course and practice diving in a swimming pool before going out on the ocean for a real dive! RATING:7/5 – CHECK TOUR PRICE HERE!
  • PADI Open Water Diver course – Become PADI certified to dive in open water with this full PADI Open Water course – CHECK COURSE PRICE HERE!
  • PADI Scuba Diving Refreshing Course – This refresher course is ideal for those who haven’t dived in a while but are already PADI certified. Includes one dive! – CHECK COURSE PRICE HERE!
  • PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course – Get training in advanced open water techniques. Includes 5 open water dives! CHECK COURSE PRICE HERE!

8. Swim With Whale Sharks

Entrance Fee: PHP1,500 (foreigners) | TIME: early morning | LOCATION: Google Maps

a drone shot of a boat surrounded by 2 whale sharks

One of the most unique things to do on Bohol Island is to swim with whale sharks, or if you don’t want to swim, you can just watch them from a boat. Still, whether you’re in a boat or in the water, both are cool experiences!

The waters off the coast of Lila, Bohol is home to a large number of whale sharks. There are private businesses that can take you out in a boat to look at or snorkel with the huge but very tame whale sharks. Usually, you get about 30 minutes to interact with the sharks.

Unfortunately, this activity has gotten really popular in the past year and the area of the ocean people go to interact with the whales has become heavily congested—way too many tourists and boat tours! So you’ve been warned.

Also, invading the whale sharks’ space might not be the most ethical thing to do.

How to Join a Whale Shark Tour

  • Whale Sharks and Waterfalls Tour – This tour includes both snorkeling with whale sharks AND visiting Pahangog Twin Falls. The waterfall isn’t easy to get to so this tour is PERFECT for those who don’t have their own wheels. RATING: 5/5 – CHECK TOUR PRICE HERE!
  • Whale Sharks and Countryside Tour – This tour combines the whale sharks with the Chocolate Hills, Tarsier Sanctuary, and Loboc river cruise. RATING:4/5 – CHECK TOUR PRICE HERE!

9. Go Dolphin Watching

Every morning, the dolphins around Bohol have their breakfast of tuna, tuna, and more tuan. You can go out on a boat and chase down these dolphins and watch them jump and spin in the air as they try to eat as much as they can.

There are a  couple of ways to see the dolphins. Island Hopping Tours will usually include dolphin watching. You can also hire a boat to take you out in the morning to watch the dolphins eat and swim.

I hired a boat while I stayed on Pamilacan Island (PHP1,000 pesos (US$20). There were lots of dolphins out and about that day. We didn’t get too close to them but we did see them jump and twist in the air. A lot better than Seaworld.

How to Go Dolphin Watching:

  • Island-Hopping Tour with Southwest Tours – This tour includes dolphin watching, visits to Virgin Island and Balicasag, and lots of snorkeling! Chance to see sea turtles! CHECK TOUR PRICE HERE!

10. Enjoying Laidback Loboc

Loboc is a small, laidback city along the Loboc River. It’s got a population of a little over 17,000.

A lot of travelers use Loboc as a base for exploring the other interior sights of Bohol and for just relaxing along the Loboc River. I had planned to do this as well, but I enjoyed Panglao so much that I stayed longer there instead. So, I only visited Loboc on a day trip tour.

Loboc River

How to spend your time in Loboc? 

These are some of the most popular things to do in Loboc:

  • lie in a hammock beside the Loboc River
  • go standup-paddleboarding
  • go on a lunch or dinner river cruise
  • hike through the jungle.

I did the very popular river cruise, which I’m NOT going to recommend. You sit in a boat eating an expensive lunch buffet of Western/Filipino food while listening to live music and looking out at the river. The river is nice, but it’s nothing to write home about.

Standup Paddleboarding (SUP) on the Loboc River

A much better alternative to doing the touristy river cruise in Loboc is to go down the river by paddleboard. You can stand up or sit down on the board and paddle yourself lazily along the river.

  • SUP Tour of Loboc – They have BOTH a day AND night SUP tour that gets RAVE reviews – RATING: 4.7/5 – CHECK TOUR PRICE HERE!
Church in Loboc
Loboc experienced a serious earthquake in 2013 (7.2 magnitude). Over 200 people died and many buildings were destroyed or damaged. The main church was still being repaired and was still closed when I visited in 2020.

Joining a Tour of Loboc

Lots of Bohol day tours include a stop in Loboc. But they often just include the lunch on the river cruise that I mentioned earlier. Here are just a few popular and highly rated ones:

  • Southwest Tours – US$35 – $58 depending on group size – Reviews for this tour have been AMAZING – 4.8/5 (266+ reviews; 5k booked) – CHECK TOUR PRICES HERE!
  • Countryside Bohol Tour – US$11 – AMAZINGLY cheap! – Reviews for this tour have been FANTASTIC – 4.7/5 (1,000 Reviews; 10K booked) – CHECK TOUR PRICES HERE!
  • Abraham Tours – US$49 – Ask if they do SUP rather than river cruise – RATINGS: 4.9/5 (26+ Reviews) – CHECK TOUR PRICES HERE!

How to Get to Loboc with Public Transportation

30 pesos – Take a bus from the bus terminal in Tagbilaran to Loboc (45-60 minutes)

Check Out These Bohol Tours:

11. Go on a Firefly Adventure

Another fun and unique thing to do in Bohol is to travel in the dark along the Abatan River and mangroves seeing swarms of nature’s most wonderful and magical creatures–fireflies.

You can experience the fireflies in 2 ways:

The lazy way to experience the magic of the fireflies is by taking a boat cruise along the Abatan River. Check South Farm tour prices here.

I did the firefly kayaking tour with Kayakasia and it was AMAZING! We kayaked down the Abatan River at night. It was so dark that you could barely see in front of your face. We stopped at a few spots to see swarms of fireflies dancing in the dark. It was a fun and incredible experience!  I booked through my hostel on Panglao and only paid US$35. Their website lists the tour as US$50.

I was picked up by a van at 4:45 pm from my hostel where we were then driven all the way to Kayakasia’s office along the Abatan River.

There were about 12 of us from different countries.

If you don’t know how to kayak, you can go with a guide and he can do the steering. There was 1 kayak that had trouble steering straight, and they had to be rescued and transferred to a boat with a guide.

We kayaked down the Abatan River, whose banks were lined with mangroves, and stopped at 4 locations to view the fireflies. I expected them to be down at eye level, but actually, the fireflies were high up at the top of the mangrove trees.

There were only 4 to 6 places on the river with firefly clusters. There used to be over 30 but erosion had destroyed the fireflies’ habitat. In order for fireflies to survive, habitat conditions need to be perfect. They need the right species of trees placed in the right location with the right amount of wind.

At the end of the tour, we had a simple dinner at the Kayakasia offices.

12. Cross the Twin Hanging Bridges

COST: PHP35 (2020 price) | LOCATION: Google Maps

Most Bohol day tours stop on the side of the road for you to cross the Hanging Bridges. It takes 10 minutes to cross both bridges and take some photos.

However, if you’re on your own using public transportation, the bridge is NOT a must-see.

Hanging Bridge in Bohol

The Twin Hanging Bridges were built around World War II, and they were originally used by locals to carry their farm products and livestock across the Sevilla River.

There are supposedly more of these bamboo bridges around Bohol, but this is the only one that’s been converted into a tourist attraction.

There are two bridges. You take one to cross to the other side of the river and the other one on your return. The bridges are made of bamboo and they do swing a lot.

How to Get to the Twin Hanging Bridges by Public Transport

 To get to the Twin Hanging Bridges will require you to take a bus heading to the Chocolate Hills. Get dropped off on the side of the road and hike along another road for about 1.1 kilometers. 

13. Baclayon Church

ENTRANCE FEE: Church is FREE; museum is PHP50 (2020 price) | LOCATION: Google Maps

The Philippines is not known for its historic landmarks. Luckily for us history nerds, Bohol has two of the oldest buildings in the countryBaclayon Church and Loboc Church.

The church, whose official name is La Purisima Concepcion de la Virgin Maria Parish Church, was built in 1717 by native forced laborers using coral blocks from the sea. If you’re interested, check out In Our Image by Stanely Karnow for more about how locals were mistreated by the Catholic church under the Spanish.

Admission to the church is free. There’s a small, uninspiring museum filled with religious artifacts and furniture that charges PHP50. Check out the church, but skip the museum.

How to Get to the Baclayon Church by Public Transportation

First, go to the Dao Bus Terminal in Tagbilaran. Second, take a bus heading to Baclayon. 

You can also hire a tricycle to take you from Panglao to Tagbilaran. In 2020 it cost PHP300. I’m sure the price is higher now. 

14. Enjoy the Beautiful Waterfalls of Bohol

Bohol has a lot of beautiful waterfalls with amazing pools of water that you can swim in. They also don’t attract a ton of visitors and are not overly commercialized or developed. For one thing, they are hard to get to without your own vehicle. Plus, not many tours take visitors there. 

Dimiao Twin waterfalls in a mountain gorge in the tropical jungle

Here’s a list of some of the waterfalls around Bohol:

Tours to Take to See the Waterfalls

There aren’t that many tours that go to any of the waterfalls. Here is one that does Can Umantad Falls

  • 2-Day Bohol Tour – This tour is so JAMPACKED that it seems too good to be true! Day 1 – Chocolate Hills, Tarsier Sanctuary, Cabagnow Cave Pool, and Anda; Day 2 – Rice Terraces, and Can Umantad Falls. Stay overnight at a hostel in Anda. Includes lunch, breakfast and entrance fees – CHECK TOUR PRICE HERE!
  • Hidden Waterfalls Tours – This tour takes you to Ingkumhan Falls, Pahangog Falls, and Dam-Agan Falls – Check Tour Price Here!

15. Cadapdapan Rice Terraces in Candijay

While not as stunning as the rice terraces in Banaue, the ones in Bohol are still pretty beautiful and worth a visit.

rice terraces in Bohol


They are NOT easy to get to if you don’t have your own wheels.

According to a friend of mine, when you visit the Cadapdapan Rice Terraces in Candijay, you need to pay a PHP30 entrance fee. You’re then free to walk around the rice terraces.

The GOOD news…

is that Can-Umantad Falls is within walking distance.

Here are some tours through Klook that will take you to the rice terraces in Candijay:

What Tours to Take to See the Rice Terraces

  • 2-Day Bohol Tour – This tour is so JAMPACKED that it seems too good to be true! Day 1 – Chocolate Hills, Tarsier Sanctuary, Cabagnow Cave Pool, and Anda; Day 2 – Rice Terraces, and Can Umantad Falls. Stay overnight at a hostel in Anda. Includes lunch, breakfast, and entrance fees – CHECK TOUR PRICE HERE!

16. Explore the Hinagdanan Cave


On the island of Panglao is a limestone cave with a lagoon you can swim in and a ceiling hanging with stalactites.

The cave reminds me of the cenotes in Mexico with their sketchy entrances and stairs going down into a hole in the ground. And the water is clear, clean, and refreshingly cold like the water in a Mexican cenote.

a lagoon inside Hinagdanan Cave

You can swim in the lagoon. But the only problem is that the cave is small and it’s popular with tourists, so it can get crowded.

Life jackets are provided for free.

Take a tricycle to the Hinagdanan Cave instead of joining a tour so you can spend as much time as you want here.

17. Swim in Bohol’s Cave Pools

ENTRANCE FEE: PHP20 – 50 | LOCATION: Cabagnow; Tibaw; Combento

For those who make it to Anda, there are 3 cave pools that you can swim in: Cabagnow, Tibaw, and Combento.

a female diver descending into a cave pool in Bohol

I didn’t make it out here when I was in Bohol. But according to those who have, the water is sometimes really clean and clear while other times after it rains, it can get murky.

Cabagnow seems to be the most popular and BEST cave to check out. But all 3 are pretty close to each other so if you’re spending any time in Anda, you can do all of them.

How to Enjoy the Cave Pools on a Tour

  • 2-Day Bohol Tour – This tour is so JAMPACKED that it seems too good to be true! Day 1 – Chocolate Hills, Tarsier Sanctuary, Cabagnow Cave Pool, and Anda; Day 2 – Rice Terraces, and Can Umantad Falls. Stay overnight at a hostel in Anda. Includes lunch, breakfast, and entrance fees – CHECK TOUR PRICE HERE!

How to Get to the Cave Pools by Public Transport

First, get to Danao Bus Terminal in Tagbilaran and then take a bus headed to Anda. 

Bohol Itinerary: 4 to 7 Days

This Bohol itinerary will allow you to see the major attractions of Bohol as well as do some snorkeling, stand-up paddleboarding, hiking, and relaxing.

Bohol Itinerary: Day 1

Take the ferry from Cebu in the morning so you’ll get to Bohol by noon. Spend your first night in Panglao.

After checking into your hotel, get some lunch and then check out the beaches. I recommend Dumaluan and White Beach. Alona Beach is the most famous but I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed. The one good thing about Alona Beach is that there are lots of places to eat around it.

In the evening, do the firefly-watching kayak tour.

Bohol Itinerary: Day 2

Do an island hopping tour today. You’ll get to see some dolphins, do some snorkeling, and relax on Virgin Island d and Balicasag Island.

Bohol Itinerary: Day 3

On Day 3 visit the Tarsier Sanctuary, Chocolate Hills, Hanging Bridges, and Baclayon.

You can technically do it by public transportation. But I recommend seeing these on a tour. There’s the inexpensive Countryside Tour and the more expensive Southwest Tour. You can also add the whale sharks attraction to your tour as well.

However, I recommend doing the 2-day Bohol Tour that includes these same attractions as well as Cabagnow Cave Pool, Can Umantad Falls, and the rice terraces in Candijay. The tour spends the night in Anda so you’ll get to see the beaches near there.

Bohol Itinerary: Day 4

If you’re on the 2-Day Bohol tour, you’ll be exploring the beaches of Anda, the rice terraces and a waterfall.

For those not doing that tour, you can head out to these places on your own with a private car and driver or rental car.

Bohol Itinerary: Day 5 – 7

If you want to stay longer in Bohol, I recommend heading to one of the river lodges along the Loboc River for some R&R. Traveling can be hard work. You can do some hiking in the jungle and stand-up paddleboarding on the river as well.

Where to Stay in Bohol

The BEST areas of the island to stay in are in these locations:

  • Panglao – close to beaches and other travel businesses – tours, restaurants, bars, etc.
  • Loboc – Ideal for those who want a laidback place that’s not overly touristy near the Loboc River
  • Anda – An off-the-beaten destination; quieter and with lovely beaches

How to Book Your Accommodations in Bohol

I recommend booking your accommodations with either or Agoda. Both are international companies that have been in the travel business for many years. I use them for 95% of my hotel and hostel bookings.

If you have problems, you can contact and Agoda. Plus! They have a way to leave reviews, so if you’re not happy with your stay, you have some way to communicate your dissatisfaction.

Just make sure you receive the email confirmation of your booking. and Agoda also offer a messaging service to communicate with your host before arriving. Touch base with your hotel or hostel BEFORE arrival—let them know your arrival time and get info on how to get to their place from the ferry or airport.

Top 6 Places to Stay in Panglao

Try to get as close as you can to a beach! It doesn’t have to be Alona Beach either. I stayed in Panglao when I was in Bohol and loved it! Not the most convenient place to get around, but it’s still a lovely area.

  • $ – Under US$40;
  • $$ – US$40 – $100;
  • $$$ – Over US$100

Here are the top 6 places to stay in Panglao for all budgets:

Bohol Beach Club ($$$) – You’re right on the beach here at this resort! Can’t beat that! RATING:  9.1/10 ( | Agoda)

Amarela Resort ($$$) – Terrific location; Quiet and peaceful; great place to chill out; beautiful décor! RATING: 9.3/10 ( | Agoda)

Blue Planet Panglao ($$) – Highly-rated place with a swimming pool! RATING: 9.3/10 ( | Agoda)

Tyner’s Place ($$) – Great location near Dumaluan Beach! RATING: 9.3/10 ( | Agoda)

Bohol Coco Farm Hostel ($) – I stayed here when I was in Bohol. It’s a great hostel with comfy rooms (no bunk beds!), a great social area with hammocks, and in a great location near White Beach. RATING: 9.6/10 (Hostel World | Agoda)

Greenspace ($) – This is a highly rated place with affordable private rooms even for solo travelers! RATING: 9.5/10 ( | Agoda)

Top 3 Places to Stay in Loboc

For booking a place to stay in Loboc, check out the complete listing of hotels and hostels on and Agoda.

  • $ – Under US$40
  • $$ – US$40 – $100
  • $$$ – Over US$100

Fox and the Firefly Cottage ($$) – Beautiful décor and excellent location along the Loboc River! Great vibe! Mini oasis! RATING: 8.9/10 (

Water to Forest Ecolodge ($ – $$) – Another mini oasis along the Loboc River! Has dorms and private rooms! RATING: 9/10 ( | Agoda)

Loboc River Resort ($$ – $$$) – Beautiful hotel right next to the Loboc River! Surrounded by wildlife and nature! RATING: 8.8/10 ( | Agoda)

Top 3 Places to Stay in Anda

For places to stay in Anda, check out the complete listening on and Agoda.

  • $ – Under US$40
  • $$ – US$40 – $100
  • $$$ – Over US$100

Casa Amihan ($$ – $$$) – Fabulous place to stay near the beach; AMAZING views! RATING: 9/10 ( | Agoda)

1Peace Beach Resort ($ – $$) – Great place right on the beach! Quiet and fabulous views! Dorm rooms and private rooms with sea views. RATING: 8.5/10 ( | Agoda)

Island View Beachfront Resort ($$$) – Right on the beach! Comfortable with amazing views. You can walk to Anda town. RATING: 9.5/10 ( | Agoda)

PRO TIP: When you arrive in the Philippines, you can buy a SIM card at the airport. There are 2 companies used throughout the Philippines: Globe and Smart. Each of them gives you 10 or 12 GB of memory for 30 days for 1,000 pesos (US$20). I used 2 GB in 30 days.

If you have to "add load" (add minutes or data) for some reason, you can do it at a convenience store around the Philippines. Tell them you want to "add load". You need to give the clerk your phone # to complete the transaction (I usually store my SIM card # in my Contact List).

BUT that's not it. You then need to register your phone. If you have Globe, dial *143#. I usually have the store clerk or someone at my hostel or hotel help me complete the registration. If you don't register after every time you add data to your phone, the minutes and data disappear.

Top 3 Packing Essentials for Bohol

  • Dry Bag – You’re sure to go on an island-hopping tour in the Philippines! A dry bag is a must-have as the floor of the boat always gets wet and you often get sprayed with water. Without a dry bag, all your stuff will get wet! | Check Price Here!
  • Water Shoes – They’re essential to have when walking on the beach or going on island-hopping tours. They’ll protect your feet from hookworms and sharp rocks and glass. | Check Price Here!
  • Rash Guard – To protect yourself from getting sunburned and skin cancer, wear a rash guard when out snorkeling, kayaking, surfing and going on island-hopping tours. | Check Price Here!

Solo Travel in Bohol

Bohol can be both a good place and a bad place for solo travelers. If you stay at Bohol Coco Farms (jump to this section on where to stay), you should have an easy time meeting other travelers. It’s a very sociable hostel with an inviting commons area where lots of travelers hang out. If you join a tour like the Firefly Tour or Island Hopping Tour, you’ll also have a good chance of meeting fellow travelers.

On the other hand, going on a tour to the waterfalls or rice terraces can be pricey if you’re just one person. Bohol is a big island and the transportation system is terrible, so it can be hard to get to the different sights like the Chocolate Hills or the waterfalls, especially if you don’t drive a motorcycle. You can go on tours, but some of them are too expensive if you’re the only one on them. To make the tours more affordable, you’ll have to round up other travelers, which can be tough to do.

For more solo travel tips and a solo traveler’s personal experience in the Philippines, read my Solo Travel Guide to the Philippines. 


March – May are the BEST months to visit Bohol when the island is at its driest. The dry climate turns the chocolate hills brown, like chocolate. In the other months, the Chocolate Hills are green and at this time, most people say they look pretty disappointing.

November to March are the SECOND-BEST months to go. The weather is cooler than at other times of the year. There’s also less rain than from June to November. However, the Chocolate Hills will be green and not brown and hotel prices will be at their highest. Tours are more crowded as well.

June to October is the rainier season in Bohol. Seas are rougher, so going on island hopping tours or swimming isn’t as enjoyable as during other items. Since there are fewer tourists, prices are cheaper.

Final Thoughts on Bohol

There you have it!

I hope this Bohol Travel Guide has answered all your questions. If not, leave a question in the Comment Section below and I’ll answer it as soon as I can.

If you’ve been to Bohol and you think I’ve left something out, please let me know!

And check out all my other Philippine travel posts here!

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tarsier monkey holding onto tree branch

More Travel Guides for the Philippines:


  1. Hello! Great and detailed, this travel guide it really helps me plan my trip. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Wow so much great information here. I haven’t made it to the Philippines yet (unless the Manila airport counts) but it is high on my list. Saving this information for planning purposes. Thanks!

  3. The animal as big as a cat but looks like it might be a rat, is probably a palm civet 🙂 Very common in SE Asia; my mother often rants at the one that keeps eating her mangoes.

  4. What a comprehensive post! I have yet to visit the Philippines but they are on my list & now Bohol is well & truly up there! I was lucky enough to see a Tarsier in Borneo & it felt such a privilege. Such beautiful animals!

  5. Wow this is amazing – actually I had hoped to be in the Philippines this year, so, thanks to you, it’s almost like I was. 🙂 Thanks for this inspiring post!

  6. What a fantastic , comprehensive review. Thanks so much, Julie.

    • You’re welcome! I’m glad you like it!

  7. Wow amazing looks so beautiful guide of Bohol.

  8. Alluring travel guide.Loved reading.Thanks for sharing


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About the Bamboo Traveler

The Bamboo Traveler

Welcome to The Bamboo Traveler, a travel blog dedicated to helping those travelers who want to dig deeply into the history, heritage, and culture of a place. Whether it’s through the pages of your passport or the pages of a book, I’ll help you travel the world and uncover the history, culture, food, architecture, and natural beauty of some of the world’s most fascinating places.

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