Camotes Islands

This article has been translated from Russian language using an artificial intelligence-based translation algorithm. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by the quality of the translation. You can read the original of this article in Russian here, and ask questions on the topic of our travel forum in English here.

General information

Camotes Islands are located to the east of Cebu Islands, and are part of the same province. The minimum distance from Cebu to Camotes is 63 km, separated by the Camotes Sea (Camotes Islands on the map).

There are three large islands in the group:

There is also a small island of Tulang (Tulang Diot, on the map). Poro island is connected to Pasiyan by a causeway 1.5 km long, and Ponson is a little to the side, it can only be reached by boat.

The total area of the Camotes Islands is 236 km2. The population is about 110 thousand people. It is gradually increasing, following the growing popularity of the islands among tourists. There are four cities on Camotes: Poro, Tudela (on Poro), Pilar (on Ponson) and San Francisco (on Paciana). But these are small towns, rather even villages, in the rest of the territory of the islands is almost not inhabited. The terrain of Poro island is hilly, and its highest points are used to install telecommunications network repeaters.

Pasiyan is home to the airport and seaport, the main part of hotels and tourist infrastructure, as well as the largest freshwater lake in the entire province of Cebu – Danao (650 hectares). It is here that tourists are mainly accommodated, to a lesser extent – on Poro. On Ponson and Tulang, there are no organized placements at all.

Holidays on Camotes

Holidays on the islands of Camotes

Until recently, Camotes were little known to tourists, and were considered the" hidden diamond " of the Philippines. Now they are showing significant development, with the annual opening of several new hotels and dive centers at them. However, due to its relative remoteness from major tourist destinations, Camotes still retains the purity and attractiveness of a little-visited place. Therefore, if you come here, you will have the feeling of pioneers or "Robinsons" who have arrived in a low-tourist and wild place (at least for now).

The main natural resources of these islands are excellent beaches with light, almost white sand; clear ocean waters of amazing color; caves, coral reefs, a rich underwater world with excellent opportunities for diving and snorkeling. Colorful coral walls decorated with sea fans and sponges, crinoids (sea lilies) of various shapes and colors are always waiting for their researchers here. Around swim pleasing variety of tropical fish: groupers, clownfish, - Angels, - Scorpions; shrimp-jesters and other representatives of the ocean fauna.

But do not be naive, believing that a beautiful wild beach here can be found at every turn. In fact, as in most of the Philippine islands, there are not so many clean wild beaches here, often rocky shores come across. Therefore, choose a place for accommodation carefully, as described in more detail below.

To sum up: the Camotes islands are, first of all, a paradise for divers. The waters around the islands hide an underwater paradise that just longs to be explored. There are also excellent opportunities for a beach holiday, and their Plus is a small number of vacationers. But for a beach holiday you need to settle on beaches that are cleaned and cared for, otherwise the rest can be a little spoiled. Well, it is worth considering that the infrastructure here is still very poorly developed, especially tourist. You will have to arrange your own rest and entertainment yourself, so Camotes are not very suitable for lovers of package tours, parties, parties and tourist entertainment.

Well, another important point is that the rest on Camotes is not yet very suitable for budget travelers and backpackers. There are no khostaars here, budget accommodation options can be counted on your fingers. If you want to relax in comfort and be close to a nice clean beach, you will have to fork out. But the situation is changing, so it is possible to open new inexpensive hostels or homestays.

Areas and beaches where to stay

The Camotes islands are large in size, but the tourist infrastructure and accommodation options are concentrated in only a few compact places mainly on the island of Pacijan, much smaller on Poro Island, and literally isolated options have appeared on Ponson. There are no large cities here, as there is no concentration of infrastructure in one place, only small villages and towns.

Here is a list and brief description of the popular beaches on Camotes so you can choose the right accommodation.

  • Santiago Bay Beach / Santiago Bay Beach

    The best and most equipped beach on all the Camotes Islands is the White Beach of Santiago in the south of the island of Pasiyan (Santiago Bay Beach on the map). Around it is located the main part of comfortable expensive hotels and the entire resort infrastructure on Camotes. But the hotels do not come close to the shore, but stand at a distance from it. Therefore, there is more than enough space for sunbathing and beach games. Most tourists arriving on Camotes, settle at the beach of Santiago, and rightly so. In this place, the beauty of tropical nature and the proximity of the necessary infrastructure for comfort are well combined.

  • Mangodlong Beach / Mangodlong Beach

    The second most popular beach on Camotes is located on the western tip of Pasiyan near Santiago Beach (Mangodlong Beach on the map). The beach is "owned" and maintained by the hotel Mangodlong Paradise Beach Resort, but there is no ban on visiting it. Nearby there are several other small hotels offering a more modest and "rustic holiday" than in Santiago. The "highlight" of this beach is a picturesque and spacious gazebo in its very center on a small rocky ledge, in which you can have a picnic if there are no other vacationers.

    Half a kilometer along the coast from it there is an exit to two more beaches Palanas Beach and Bagongon Beach with relatively inexpensive accommodation options and village infrastructure.

  • Bakhaw Beach and Esparanza Beach

    On the northwest coast of the island of Pasiyan, among the palm trees close to the water, there is a small beach covered with sugar-white sand Bakkho, and a longer Esparanza (Bakkho Beach on the map). They are very picturesque and shallow, ideal for families with children. But you need to take into account the time of tides, since it is impossible to swim in low water. There are several mini-hotels and small guest houses in the beach area. In the neighborhood there are several less equipped beaches: Nonok, Nagub.

  • Buho Beach

    Located in the southwest of Poro Island, Buho Beach is in close proximity to a picturesque mangrove forest spread out on a small rise of a stone plateau (Buho Beach on the map). This is a rocky beach, it is also called Buho Rock Beach. Specially equipped stairs lead from the beach to the observation decks, which offer magnificent views.

    Not far from Buho Beach there is a port and a village, but there is no developed tourist infrastructure. Therefore, usually people come here just to admire the beautiful coast and mangroves, as an attraction.

  • city of San Francisco / San Francisco

    The most developed locality on the islands (San Francisco on the map). Here you can find banks and ATMs, there is a currency exchange, authorities, a hospital, pharmacies, markets, and more or less intelligible shops with essential goods. There are also several options for the most budget accommodation.

Three more beaches are located in the east of Poro: Mandayang, Sorun and Puertobello. They are not very popular because of their relative remoteness. But you can relax there, enjoying the secluded environment.

On the Camotes Islands, as well as in the entire Central Visayas region, there is a big problem with low tides: they greatly affect the beaches, the water goes far. Therefore, if you plan to visit the islands for a beach holiday, keep in mind that you can get to low tide and unsuitable beaches for swimming in the daytime. There is no direct dependence of tides on the time of day, but you can use special forecast graphs:

График приливов и отливов на островах Камотес
00:0006:0012:0018:0000:0006:0012:0018:0000:0006:0012:0018:0000:0006:0012:0018:0000:0006:0012:0018:0000:0006:0012:0018:0000:0006:0012:0018:0027/06/2022 / пн28/06/2022 / вт29/06/2022 / ср30/06/2022 / чт01/07/2022 / пт02/07/2022 / сб03/07/2022 / вс1.14 м. / 3.7 ft.-1.04 м. / -3.4 ft.
График приливов и отливов на островах Камотес подробно ⧉

In general, there are only a couple of dozen accommodation options. There are no ultra-budget options and hostels for single accommodation, however, even in high season it is quite possible to find inexpensive accommodation, but it is better to book in advance via the Internet, so it will be cheaper.

If you have decided on which beach/area of the island it is better to stay, then you can pick up and book hotel accommodation through one of the sites or the search form:

Внимание! Системы Booking.com, Agoda, AirBnB, Trivago и другие иностранные сайты показали себя как крайне ненадежные партнеры и полностью закрыли возможность бронирования отелей и жилья на территории РФ, в том числе и с финансовыми потерями для граждан России. Если вам нужно забронировать размещение без последствий, советуем пользоваться российскими системами поиска и бронирования жилья и отелей, и избегать использование Booking.com, Agoda и др. Подробнее здесь...

Map of Camotes Island with hotels, beaches, transport

You can download ⤓ points of interest, important transport points (bus stations, airports, etc.), districts and beaches from our map in KMZ/KML format. These files can be downloaded to the navigator or smartphone for use with offline or online Google Maps applications, Maps.me and others that support this format, and use them to navigate and explore resorts.

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Camotes Infrastructure

On the islands, electricity is mostly around the clock, but there are planned outages from 18 to 19 hours. Cellular communication and mobile internet work, but in some areas of Pasiyan – with interruptions. There are ATMs, but there are very few of them, so it's better to stock up on cash. Dive centers and sellers of excursions to Lake Danao and caves are almost at every hotel (but not in guest houses, of course). There is no wide variety of excursions, as there are no street travel agencies with inexpensive group tours.

Along each of the equipped beaches there are cafes where you can eat delicious food. The main ingredients of local dishes are fish, seafood, rice. But a large abundance of tourist cafes and restaurants, as in other resorts, should not be expected here. If you stay in a hotel or guesthouse not on the beaches of Santiago Bay Beach, Mangodlong beach or Bakkho Beach, then you will have to eat either at the hotel restaurant or look for a cafe for locals in the area.

There is no shopping here, there are no large shops and supermarkets. You can buy food and basic necessities only in a few shops in the villages, and prices are higher than on more developed and larger islands.

There are a few ATMs, but they are all in non-tourist locations, most in San Francisco. A fee of 250 pesos is charged for cash withdrawals (4.54 USD) for the operation, which makes the withdrawal unprofitable. You can not pay with a bank card anywhere. The only exchange office for cash is in San Francisco, but the rate is lower than in the big Islands. Therefore, it is best to change the currency on Cebu (through it you will get here), or at the Manila airport on arrival. In Cebu Airport Upon arrival, it is better not to change money, the course there is unprofitable. But you can find exchangers with a very good rate near the airport or in . Cebu.

Курс обмена валюты (филиппинский песо) на сегодня ()

1000 песо (PHP) = 920,30 рублей (RUB)
1 евро (EUR) = 57,90 PHP
100 рублей (RUB) = 108,66 PHP
1 доллар США (USD) = 55,06 PHP
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Camotes weather, tourist seasons

Theoretically, you can go to Camotes at any time of the year, it is always warm here. But in warm weather, heavy rains and hurricanes interfere, which mainly occur during the low rainy season.

  • High or dry season from January to May. At this time, there is a minimum of precipitation and cloud cover, the probability of Typhoon formation is low. It is best to rest on Camotes in these months.

  • The low or rainy season is from June to December. You can go to rest during this period, but there is a possibility of prolonged rains, high clouds, thunderstorms. Rains are usually short-lived, can go for half an hour or an hour several times a day, and abruptly give way to good weather. But sometimes cloud cover without rain drags the sky for weeks.

    This is also the time of the most likely formation of tropical storms and typhoons. They hit the Philippines several times a year, and bring bad weather, destruction, and even loss of life. Because of them, evacuation can be announced, sea and air traffic is suspended for 1-3 days. In order not to be cut off here before flying home from international airports, it is better to get to the island of the departure airport in advance during the rainy season, and spend the last days there.

Learn more about the weather and seasons in the Philippines Here...

Seasons on Camotes by month, when it is better to go

Jan Feb March Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov. Dec
                       

* best time to visit;
acceptable time to visit;
not recommended time to visit

Current weather on Camotes Island and forecast

How to get to Camotes

The Camotes Islands are part of Cebu Province and are located 63 kilometers from the Big Island of Cebu (Camotes on the map). Camotes is connected to Cebu by a frequent ferry service. Also on the island of Pasiyan there is a small airport, or rather a landing strip, where you can fly on a private or charter light aircraft.

See also:

The nearest major airport is Mactan-Cebu International Airport (airport on the map). It is through him that it is best to get to the islands. It is located on the small island of Mactan, which in fact is already part of the Big Island of Cebu, connected to it by bridges.

International flights from other countries operate here, and it is one of the most convenient airports for entering the Philippines. You can also fly to Manila airport, but then you have to make another domestic flight to Cebu. Direct flights from Russia and other CIS countries to any of the airports of the Philippines are not performed, only with a transfer.

Minimum prices for flights from Moscow to Cebu:

ЦЕНАПЕРЕСАДКИАВИАКОМПАНИЯДАТА ВЫЛЕТАДАТА ВОЗВРАЩЕНИЯ
НАЙТИ ОТ 90088 ₽ 2 пересадки Лого авиакомпании 26.07.2022 10.08.2022
НАЙТИ ОТ 60185 ₽ 2 пересадки Лого авиакомпании 18.08.2022 05.09.2022
НАЙТИ ОТ 50576 ₽ 2 пересадки Лого авиакомпании 06.09.2022 19.09.2022
НАЙТИ ОТ 40262 ₽ 1 пересадка Лого авиакомпании 30.10.2022 12.11.2022
НАЙТИ ОТ 37815 ₽ 1 пересадка Лого авиакомпании 01.11.2022 09.11.2022

Minimum prices for flights from Russia to Cebu:

ЦЕНАМАРШРУТПЕРЕСАДКИ
НАЙТИ ОТ 37453 ₽ Москва ⇄ Себу 1
НАЙТИ ОТ 49115 ₽ Санкт-Петербург ⇄ Себу 1
НАЙТИ ОТ 262486 ₽ Южно-Сахалинск ⇄ Себу 4
НАЙТИ ОТ 65840 ₽ Новосибирск ⇄ Себу 2
НАЙТИ ОТ 84960 ₽ Минеральные Воды ⇄ Себу 2
НАЙТИ ОТ 79090 ₽ Самара ⇄ Себу 2
НАЙТИ ОТ 44211 ₽ Екатеринбург ⇄ Себу 2
НАЙТИ ОТ 91070 ₽ Челябинск ⇄ Себу 2

Upon arrival at Cebu airport, you will need to travel to the Camotes Islands by ferry from one of the three departure Piers. Given their schedules, you may have to spend the night on Mactan or in Cebu, and the next day in the morning go by ferry. What to do on Mactan and Cebu see the guidebooks at the links.

By ferry

There are several piers on Camotes, two of them are important for tourists:

  • Camotes pier on Poro island / Camotes Pier (Marina on the map). From here to the tourist areas and beaches go further, jeepneys go.
  • Consuelo Marina on Pasiyan island / Consuelo Warf (Marina on the map). It is much more convenient for tourists, it is easier to get to the beaches.

The main ferry service connects these marinas with Cebu island and Mactan Island. There is also a pier Puertobello Wharf in the town of San Francisco, but for tourists it is of little interest.

Learn more about each route:

  • From Cebu port to Camotes pier on Poro island

    OceanJet runs this route, these are fast passenger ferries. The pier is located in the main port of Cebu.

    On Camotes depart at 06: 00 and 15:00 | back to Cebu at 08:00 and 17: 00 | cost from 800 pesos | 1.5 hours on the way. The schedule may change, check on the carrier's website oceanjet.net, or on the site 12go.asia (Russian).

    From the airport to the port in Cebu can be reached by taxi for about 500 pesos, or with transfers on city buses and jeepneys. To do this, at the airport you need to take the city bus MyBus to the shopping center SM City Cebu for 50 pesos, and from SM City Cebu transfer to a jeepney. Learn more about transport in Cebu here...

  • From Danao port on Cebu island (Danao Ferry Terminal) to Consuelo Warf jetty

    Danao Ferry Terminal (port on map). From here to the pier Consuelo Warf go large cargo and passenger ferries RoRo (you can ferry motorbikes and cars), and protsye passenger.

    On Camotes go to 05:30, 08:30, 12:30, 14:30, 15:30 | back to Danao on Cebu in 05:30, 08:30, 13:30, 15:30, 17:30 | cost from 220 pesos / 2 hours on the road. The schedule may change, check on the carrier's website Jomalia Shipping

    In turn, Danao can be reached by bus from Cebu North Bus Terminal Cebu North Bus terminal. This bus terminal from the airport can be reached by taxi for 300 pesos, or by city bus MyBus to the shopping center SM City Cebu for 50 pesos, and from there 10 minutes on foot or by jeepney for 8 pesos.

    Buses and minibuses depart from the northern bus terminal to Danao around the clock. During the day every 15-20 minutes, at night less often. Travel costs from 40 pesos, about an hour on the road. Buses make a stop right in front of the pier in Danao.

  • From Mactan jetty to Consuelo Warf jetty

    This is one of the most convenient ways to get there after arriving at the airport, as the Cebu Yacht Club departure pier is on Mactan Island just 10 minutes from the airport (Cebu Yacht Club pier on the map). There are high-speed passenger ferries.

    On Camotes from Mactan depart at 08: 00 / back to Mactan at 10: 00 / cost-500 pesos | 1.5 hours on the way. The schedule may change, check on the carrier's website Jomalia Shipping.

Here is the schedule of available online booking ferries to Camotes:

Transport

The islands are quite large, so you may need transportation to move around them and see the sights. There is no normal public transport here, you will have to move on rare jeepneys, tricycles or mototaxis, or rent a Motobike.

All the smaller settlements of the islands of Pasiyan and Poro are connected by irregular and rare communications by jeepneys (trucks converted for transporting people). Even the locals don't know exactly when and where they go. More or less frequent jeepney communication is along the routes:

  • The main wharf of Camotes on Poro-the city of San Francisco-is the Consuelo Warf Wharf on Paciana.
  • The pier at Consuelo Warf on Paciana is Santiago Bay Beach.

Usually they are always waiting for passengers at the berths, and are sent to fill up after the arrival of the next ferry. Travel, depending on the distance, will cost about 80 pesos (1.45 USD).

In addition to jeepneys, the main way to move around the islands is tricycles and motorcycle taxis (called habal – habal). Both work at a contract price, and you need to bargain with them before the trip. Tricycles can accommodate up to 4 passengers, motorcycle taxis only for one. For a trip from Camotes pier to the tourist areas and beaches of Santiago Bay Beach or Mangodlong Beach, they can request 500 pesos or more, but it is quite realistic to bargain up to 200 (3.63 for a short trip within one town they ask 1-20 pesos.

The most convenient way to move is to rent motorbikes. They are offered in most accommodation, there is a separate rental on the street in the area of Mangodlong Beach. The rental price is slightly higher than on the popular islands, but not much. Rent for a day (8 hours) will cost from 300 pesos (5.45 USD), per day from 500 (9.08 USD). You can also bring a rented motorbike from Cebu island by ferry through Danao Port, the crossing will cost from 520 pesos in one direction.

To rent a motorcycle, even the most low-power, in theory, you need rights with an open category "A". In practice, there is no traffic police on the island, and tourists rent them at their own risk without documents at all. See more about renting transport in the Philippines, and what rights are needed here...

Attractions, what to see

All the attractions of the islands are natural, and you can visit them for one tour on a motorbike, which will take one day, and will cost about 500 pesos. If you do not drive a motorcycle, you will have to buy an individual excursion on a tricycle or jeepney, which are offered in hotels and very rare travel agencies. You can gather a group of like-minded people from other tourists, then it will be cheaper. If you want to see more, you can hire a private boat and visit the neighboring islands, relax on Tulang Diot beach of Tulang island. Of the entertainment for tourists there is only diving and snorkeling, as well as beach bars. There is no nightlife.

  • Danao Lake

    This place radiates tranquility and peace. You can have a picnic on the green shore of the lake, or take a boat and go on a journey through its waters (30 pesos). In the middle of the island there are two islets arranged so that they form a figure eight. You can also go around the lake on a horse, ride a zipline.

    The lake is located on Pasiane (lake on map). You need to go to Lake Danao Park, which offers entertainment on the lake.

  • Busay Falls

    A small water cascade, under which there is a natural reservoir, up to three meters deep, in which it is very pleasant to swim in the heat. But the place is absolutely not spectacular and poorly equipped, so you should not go specifically, except to call on the way.

    Located on the island of Poro, a few kilometers from the town of Tudela (waterfall on the map).

  • Timubo Cave

    Quite a large cave, well equipped, there is lighting. Inside are stalactites and stalagmites, and a natural pool with cold water for bathing. Located in Pasiyan (Timubo cave on the map), Entrance 50 pesos.

  • Bukilat Cave

    The most beautiful cave on the islands. It has bizarre stalactites and stalagmites, swimming pools (shallow). In some places, the "ceiling" collapsed, opening the light to the sun's rays, which very beautifully illuminate the turquoise water. Located on Poro Island (Bukilat cave on the map). Admission costs 50 pesos.

  • Crystal Cave

    Closed

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