The Finest Cebu Resorts and Beaches
Cebu is a traveler’s fantasy come true—balmy weather, pristine beaches, crystalline waters, and luxurious resorts—but with all the frills of modern living. Its sea-valley-and-mountain features set it apart, but it is the beaches that make Cebu truly outstanding and hard to forget. Cebu’s 167 islands and islets are lined with sandy beaches featuring sapphire-clear waters teeming with marine life. Cebu’s Beaches offer incredible experiences.
Cebu’s accessibility, its reputation for peace and order, and the fact that it has the most beach resorts in the country make it a primary destination for more than 40% (and steadily growing) of all foreign tourists visiting the Philippines.
Explore and Discover the Top Beaches in Mactan Cebu
SDR Apartments is within 15 minutes of all beach resorts in Mactan. All these Mactan resorts allow day visitors for a minimal fee, which in some cases also includes a buffet lunch. Whilst enjoying the economical cost and location of your SDR apartment, you can jump in a taxi (costs less than US$3) or a jeepney (for those who want adventure and part with less than 50 cents) and enjoy the beach resort’s facilities without the huge costs of having to stay there!
Staying at SDR Apartments will allow you to enjoy a day in the sun and ocean without having to travel far. We are conveniently close to all major beach resorts in Mactan. And we are sharing our notes with you to make your planning easier. Bring a snorkel and mask (you can rent from SDR) so you can check out a number of beautiful tropical fishes even in the shallows.
Rates as of January 2009
Vista Mar Resort charges 400 pesos for lunch buffet and use of swimming pools and beach. Buffet lunch is good with extensive choices. You can use a locker for free. To get there, you can take a taxi or a jeepney, transfer to a tricycle then walk to the resort.
Hudsan Beach is a public beach and charges 40 pesos for entrance fee. You can reach it easily by jeepney or you can walk from your SDR apartment. Expect to see a busy beach during weekends and public holidays. Bungalows are also available for day rental if you want to relax out of the sun’s rays or catch a quite moment with your partner!
Costella Bella Beach Resort charges 595 pesos for lunch and access to its swimming pools and beach. The lunch is limited so don’t expect too much. The resort’s buffet lunch on Sundays for the same price is a much better deal. There’s no locker. To get to the resort, you can take a jeepney, transfer to a tricycle, then walk to the resort.
Maribago Bluewater Beach Resort charges 600 pesos for use of swimming pools and beach, meal or locker use are excluded from the fee. There is a special dinner by the beach every night for less than 1,000 pesos. Use of the swimming pools and beach is included in the dinner price. This is a good deal if you arrive after lunch hours and stay for dinner. You can easily reach the resort by jeepney, which stops right in front of the resort. You can also go via taxi.
Cebu White Sands charges 600 pesos on weekends and legal holidays; fee is inclusive of a lunch buffet and use of swimming pools and beach. The resort charges 400 pesos during weekdays without lunch. To get there you can ride a jeepney, which goes right in front of the resort gate.
Portifino Beach Resort charges less than 400 pesos including lunch. The resort also has jet skis for rent so it’s a good option for the more adventurous.
The Shangri-La and Plantation Bay also allow day visitors, but the charges are scary in the case of the ‘Shang.’ As of January 1, 2009, Shangri-la charges 2,000 pesos for a local and 4,000 pesos for foreigners for a day pass, which includes an awesome buffet lunch. Shangri-La has two massive resort pools, a brilliant beach, and all the trimmings.
Plantation Bay Resort has a small private beach but one of the biggest seawater swimming pools in the world. They charge 2,000 pesos per head; 50% less for kids from 4 to 12 years old, and free for kids below 4 years of age. Buffet lunch is served at Kilimanjaro Kafe. Plantation Bay is set on 11.4 hectares, and the themed “Tropical Plantation” architecture is very different.
The Hilton Hotel & Spa charges 1,500 pesos, kids below 4 years old are free. The fee includes a buffet lunch at their Vanilla Beach Café. The Hilton has a small private beach and huge resort swimming pool.
Other Cebu Beaches
Unfortunately, not all beaches in Cebu are pristine. Due to the ongoing development and in some places over-development, Cebu has its fair share of dumpy beaches with little or no sand. There are some waters around Cebu that are polluted and cloudy. Fortunately, there are only few of them.
SDR Island Hopping and Fishing Tours
In Mactan you can easily make day trips or overnight trips to some awesome islands and beaches that are just a stone’s throw away (well maybe a 15-25 minute banca boat ride away in the case of the nearby islands).
SDR can arrange boat trips to these beautiful islands, complete with snorkeling equipment, lunch, etc. You will witness beautiful islands with real beaches and chock-full of marine life that would be the envy of most fish market owners in Hong Kong. If you like, you can also stay in some superb accommodation on stilts within the marine sanctuary of Nalusuan Island.
To get to Nalusuan Island, SDR can organize a tour in a private native banca, which will be your wooden chariot to surf the Hilutungan Channel from Mactan and bring you to the promised land. Divine islands such as Hilutungan and Nalusuan possess beaches personally manicured by Mother Nature herself. You will truly feel like you are in nirvana.
We have taken the trickery out of island tours and fishing trips, hooked up with some honest operators (with well-maintained bancas), and worked out some great routes for tours taking in one, two, or three islands depending on your time. These tours include transfers to and from the boat, snorkeling equipment, and a barbecue on the beach or simple packed lunches with lots of yummy local fruit and refreshing beverages. SDR charges US$50 per head (minimum 2 persons) for a half-day tour and US$90 per head for a full-day tour.
You will have ample time to take those postcard-like images to make your friends back home wish they were with you. The oceans surrounding the islands are as clean as a surgeon’s knife and are teeming with life. The sand is powder-white, and you will have the necessary equipment to explore the underwater life.
SDR also offers fishing excursions with much larger bancas, most of which have a w/c on board. The boat has 4 hand lines for bottom fishing. If you wish to do game fishing, we also have rods for rent. The fee for half-day tour is US$250 for 2 persons, additional guests are charged at US$60 per person. Full-day fishing tours cost US$400 for 2 persons, and US$80 per additional guest. The tour fees include unlimited cold beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and sumptuous lunch and snack packs to keep you going throughout the day.
Frolicking around the water like a beached cetacean would not be uncommon practice for a newly arrived foreigner. These islands and their beaches are surreal and much better than most of us could ever imagine.
For the thrifty, you can make your way to that awful pink monstrosity known as the Hilton and catch a ferry to Olango Island. The trip takes about 15 minutes and will set you back just a few dollars. The service begins at 8 am and runs until 7 pm.
If you simply wish to relax on a decent beach (even if it is man-made), snorkel with some beautiful fish, and admire the corals, then worth a day trip is Plantation Bay’s and Shangri-La’s private beaches. The latter is actually a marine sanctuary. You will see some superb marine life there: everything from barracuda, clown fish (yup, Nemo as Disney has now branded them), angel fish, angler fish, flounder, and for those with the 20/20 vision there are stone fish, scorpion fish, and scores of crabs doing great renditions of their immediate coral homes.
Find Out More About the Beach Resorts in Mactan Cebu
Other noteworthy Cebu islands with magnificent beaches, as they are also truly world-class and natural, include Bantayan Island (compared very favorably with Boracay), Alegre Beach, and Malapascua Island. Another notable island to visit is Camiguin, but it is in Mindanao. Of course, there are literally dozens more to list but the aforementioned places will have you raving for years.
Even before World War II, Bantayan’s fine beaches in Santa Fe were favorite hideaways for lovers who wanted a secluded tropical destination. Bantayan’s surrounding waters are ideal for swimming and snorkeling. Boats can be chartered for trips to diving spots like the uninhabited Gato Island with several caves that can be entered at depths of about 12 meters.
Stroll along Bantayan’s town proper, and you’ll feel like time was standing still. Well-preserved antebellum houses, a testament to the rich heritage of this old Hispanic settlement, stand side by side with modern establishments. Bantayan’s main town also has a church that is four centuries old; it is the first to be built by the Spaniards outside Cebu City. It was built earlier than the Parish of San Nicolas, Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, or the Basilica del Santo Niño.
Fishing is important in Bantayan. Fringed with reefs and shoals, two of its three municipalities (Bantayan and Santa Fe) are important fishing centers that supply seafood to bustling Metro Cebu.
Bantayan Island is just one of the 15 islands clustered off the northern tip of Cebu Island. Nearer to the mainland is Daan Bantayan Island, a raised coral reef connected by a bridge over the narrow Daijogoan Canal. One of Daan Bantayan’s attractions is the famous Virgin Beach.
Further north, entering from Daan Bantayan, is the roughly 3 km by 1 km island of Malapascua. Also known as Logan, Malapascua’s sugar-fine white sand beaches look like Boracay 10 years ago sans the commercial atmosphere.
Getting to these northern Cebu diving destinations is easy. By land, one can take a two-hour bus ride from the North Bus Terminal in Cebu City to San Remigio where inter-island ferries to Bantayan Island and to Malapascua are available. You can also take the night ferry from Cebu City to Santa Fe, but that takes about nine hours.
More Information on Cebu Beaches
The information above is obviously not hugely extensive but will hopefully serve as an entree or appetizer to the main meal, which of course is getting here and witnessing the beauty yourself.
SDR staff would be happy to provide you with more “local” knowledge. One thing is for sure, there is no shortage of quality Cebu beaches, and all it takes is a seeking spirit.
If your keen to obtain more relevant information on Cebu travel, we recommend Cebu Lifestyles. The site has extensive articles and an excellent forum. We look forward to welcoming you to SDR Serviced Apartments in the very near future.
For your Cebu travel, stay at SDR Apartments for accommodation at par with 5-star Cebu Hotels sans the costs. Contact SDR today!