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Mactan Island - the closest island to Cebu island, located opposite Cebu City, separated from the main island by a strait less than a kilometer wide at its narrowest point (Mactan on the map). Belongs to the province of Cebu, and is one of its most popular and developed resorts. Here is the main and only International Airport in the province of Mactan-Cebu, through which tourists arrive in this part of the country. Mactan Island is often referred to as Lapu-Lapu, but Lapu-Lapu is actually one of the island's cities and its capital.
Rest on Mactan
Despite its popularity, Mactan is an ambiguous resort with its own characteristics. This is not a paradise of nature, as commercial guidebooks write about it, but a concrete and Road-scarred island, almost a metropolis. Although the atmosphere here is calmer than in Cebu City, it is worth leaving the hotels or from the resort area along the southeast coast, as you will find dirty streets with poor and beggars, traffic-laden roads, exhaust, and the stench from numerous local cafes. All descriptions of the resort on commercial travel sites, as a paradise island with unspoilt nature and the cleanest beaches of the bounty, are complete nonsense. Well, one more thing that tourists from European countries do not always like is a large number of Asian tourists from Korea, China, Hong Kong and other Asian countries with their characteristic manner of relaxing and moving in large and very noisy groups.
Holidays in Mactan are beaches and diving. All the beaches here are with large yellow sand mixed with fragments of corals and shells. What is good, the coast is protected from waves by neighboring islands. But there are not many beaches on Maktan: almost the entire coast here is rocky, or destroyed and polluted by human activity. What remains belongs to expensive resort hotels with their own territory and artificial beaches, access from the side to which is completely blocked, or is possible for a fee, and very considerable.
And the remaining few public beaches are always crowded with locals and not very clean, so if you need a budget beach holiday, you should look for other places, for example, go to Moalboal or to the neighboring Panglao Islands, Bantayan, Malapascua etc.
But what Maktan can really surprise is a very rich underwater life, which makes it one of the most popular places for diving. Dive prices are low, from 1100 pesos (USD), and for only $ 250 you can get training. Therefore, nerekdo island is used as a starting point in order to get an initial certificate in 3-4 days, and then go to other, more interesting islands of the Philippines.
In general, summing up, we can say that this is a good developed resort for beach holidays and diving, but it will suit you only if you are willing to pay a considerable amount for accommodation in a comfortable hotel with its own beach. In other cases, you should not stay here for a long time, for a budget holiday it is not at all suitable.
Beaches of Mactan Island
As we have already mentioned, the beaches on Maktan are mostly owned by hotels, although this is illegal. They build up areas around the beaches and limit the passages, so that it is simply impossible to get to them. Some hotels allow you to pass for a fee: that is, you pay for the service (lunch in a restaurant, rent a gazebo or chaise longue), and then you get the right to go to the beach. There are few free beaches here, they are always crowded with local vacationers, not very clean and comfortable for relaxing and swimming by sophisticated tourists. Here are the most popular paid and free beaches for reference:
Vaño Beach or Marigondon Beach(Vaño Beach on the map). A public beach, the cheapest of all on Mactan. However, the entrance fee is 70 pesos. Very dirty and ugly, lots of algae in the water, and lots of locals. Swimming is not worth it, except that you can come here to sunbathe and drink beer, which is sold in a local cafe.
Mactan Newtown Beach(Mactan Newtown Beach on the map). One of the best in terms of price and quality. For guests of the hotel The Mactan Newtown Beach is free, from the side of 150 pesos on weekdays, 200 on weekends.
Maribago Beach(Maribago Beach on the map). Theoretically, this is a public public beach, but in fact in the public part on the shore there are only boats and mud, it is impossible to swim. The rest is blocked off by hotels and broken up into clean and well maintained but short plots with all amenities. The Blue Water Maribago site is available to the public for 2,000 pesos on weekdays, 2,500 on weekends. This price includes the use of the pool, lunch at the restaurant, Beach Games.
Plantation Bay Resort and Spa(Plantation Bay Resort on the map). At the same time, this large and expensive resort hotel complex has its own small and clean beach Galapagos Beach. But it is impossible to get on it from the side, you need to live in a hotel.
Shangri-la Beach(Shangri-la Beach on the map). The beach of Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa, one of the best on the island. Admission costs 700 pesos.
Crimson Beach(Crimson Beach on the map). The beach at the Crimson Resort Garden Hotel is very clean and cozy, but very small, only 30 meters wide. Paying 2500 pesos for the entrance to the beach, you will get the right to use the pool, and lunch.
Vista Mar Beach(Vista Mar Beach on the map). The beach is almost 100 meters long at the Vista Mar Beach Resort and Country Club. Admission is 500 pesos.
If you have decided on the beach and accommodation, you can find and book a hotel in Mactan on these sites, or through the search form from Agoda:
- Search for hotels in Mactan on Agoda.com (recommended)
- Search for hotels in Mactan on Booking.com
- Search for hotels in Mactan on Hotellook.com
- 🛌 Search hotels on Ostrovok.ru
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...
Both the tourist and urban infrastructure on Maktan is well developed. In the resort area along the coast and on the beaches there are diving centers, many restaurants and cafes, in travel agencies and hotels you can buy excursions to the sights of Cebu island and tours to neighboring islands. Currency exchange and ATMs in the resort area are, but the rate is not very profitable, and for the exchange of amounts from several hundred dollars it makes sense to go to Lapu-Lapu, Mactan Marina Mall (Western Union exchanger inside the supermarket), or in Cebu City. Money is best withdrawn at the HSBC ATM at Ayala Mall in Cebu City, as it is the only ATM that does not withhold a 250 peso fee for each withdrawal.
The most developed city is the capital of Mactan-the city of Lapu-Lapu. It has markets, shopping centers, shops, cafes. The largest shopping centers: Gaisano Mall, Super Metro (hypermarket), Mactan Marina Mall. Even larger shopping and entertainment centers can be found in Cebu City, which can be reached by jeepney, taxi, or ferry.
Mactan weather, tourist seasons
Mactan Island is a year-round resort, it is always warm and sunny. It is customary to distinguish the rainy season (low tourist season) and the dry season (high tourist season).
- The dry season runs from January to May. The best time to relax on the island, there is little rain, the sky is clear, and not very hot. However, sometimes the rainy season is prolonged and goes to January and even February, so the best months are march-may.
- The rainy season lasts from June to December, sometimes spanning January. At this time, you can also go on vacation, there is a high probability of rain and clouds. Precipitation is short-lived, usually in the evenings,and after an hour after them there is no trace. And even if the sky is overcast, this does not interfere with sunbathing.
Several times a year, typhoons or tropical storms hit the island. They occur mainly during the rainy season and affect the north of Cebu island, and destructive winds usually do not reach Mactan. But during typhoons there are heavy rains, the movement of ferries can stop for 1-3 days, flights are suspended. It is not yet possible to predict the appearance of storms and typhoons for a long period, so just follow the forecasts before the trip, and make a decision immediately before leaving.
Seasons on Mactan by month, when it is better to go
* best time to visit;
acceptable time to visit;
not recommended time to visit
Current Mactan weather and forecast
How to get to Mactan
Mactan is the main international airport in this part of the country, and it is through it that most tourists arrive here. Also nearby in Cebu is the largest port of the country, connected by communication with a large number of neighboring and more remote islands of the Philippines.
To Mactan-Cebu International Airport (abbreviated MCIA, IATA code-CEB, website - https://mactancebuairport.com/, airport on map) flights are operated from a large number of countries, mainly Southeast Asia. There are no direct flights from Russia and other countries of the former USSR, but it is convenient and inexpensive to get flights with transfers through Singapore, Hong Kong, Seoul, Bangkok, Dubai. For sales, you can buy a ticket from Moscow in both directions from $ 400 ( USD), the rest of the time the minimum price of the flight-500 and above ( USD). You can pick up tickets using the search form:
Minimum prices for flights from Moscow to Cebu:
ЦЕНА ПЕРЕСАДКИ АВИАКОМПАНИЯ ДАТА ВЫЛЕТА ДАТА ВОЗВРАЩЕНИЯ НАЙТИ ОТ 83090 ₽ 1 пересадка 13.09.2022 11.10.2022 НАЙТИ ОТ 72312 ₽ 1 пересадка 12.10.2022 02.11.2022 НАЙТИ ОТ 57645 ₽ 1 пересадка 27.11.2022 12.12.2022 НАЙТИ ОТ 63770 ₽ 1 пересадка 11.12.2022 24.12.2022 НАЙТИ ОТ 51229 ₽ 1 пересадка 31.01.2023 20.02.2023
Minimum prices for flights from Russia to Cebu:
ЦЕНА МАРШРУТ ПЕРЕСАДКИ НАЙТИ ОТ 45980 ₽ Москва ⇄ Себу 1 НАЙТИ ОТ 72562 ₽ Санкт-Петербург ⇄ Себу 1 НАЙТИ ОТ 105363 ₽ Новосибирск ⇄ Себу 2 НАЙТИ ОТ 87299 ₽ Екатеринбург ⇄ Себу 2 НАЙТИ ОТ 86115 ₽ Минеральные Воды ⇄ Себу 2 НАЙТИ ОТ 148017 ₽ Нижний Новгород ⇄ Себу 3 НАЙТИ ОТ 131085 ₽ Иркутск ⇄ Себу 3 НАЙТИ ОТ 162781 ₽ Хабаровск ⇄ Себу 6
For domestic flights, it makes sense to manually check prices on the websites of local airlines: Philippines AirAsia, AirSWIFT, Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, Royal Air Philippines.
From the airport to the hotels on Maktan will have to get a taxi. The only airport bus MyBus departs from the terminal of domestic airlines, but it does not go to the resort area, but goes over the bridge to Cebu City. But some hotels in order to spend the night before or after arrival, with a light backpack from the airport can be reached on foot.
From the airport you can leave on one of two types of taxi meters:
- Taxi-White-cheaper taxi. It will cost up to 200 pesos to get to the hotel on Mactan ( USD).
- Taxi-Yellow is an airport taxi, a bit more expensive.
You can also use the car order for the trip through the Uber or Grab applications, which is even more profitable and safer. To order, you can use airport WiFi, or buy a local SIM card with an internet package at the counter in the arrival terminal.
By ferry to Mactan through the port of Cebu City, you can get from Bohol, Dumaguete, Manila and many more cities and Islands. See more, how to get to Cebu City by ferry.
Upon arrival at the port, the hotel can be reached by taxi at a counter from 500 pesos, but due to traffic jams, the journey can take two hours. You can shorten the way if you use the City ferry Metroferry. They depart from the small Pier #3 (Pier 3) to the Cebu-Mactan Ferry Terminal pier in the center of Lapu-Lapu (Mactan pier on the map). Boats run every hour from 05: 00 to 20: 00, the journey takes 15-20 minutes, the cost is 20 pesos. Already in Lapu-Lapu you can catch a taxi or tricycle to the hotel.
Transport on Maktan, what to move
The main transport on Maktan is taxis and tricycles. There are also a small number of jeepney flights, but they cover the resort area very poorly, the designations of their routes are confusing, so you should not count on them.
Car taxis on the island are equipped with a meter, the cost of 40 pesos for boarding, 13.5 pesos for 1 kilometer of travel and 2 pesos for each minute of travel. As a result, the longest trip around the city will cost no more than 200 pesos, and to the center of Cebu City about 500 pesos. But be sure to check with the driver before boarding that he will take you to the meter( Taxi-meter), otherwise surprises are possible at the end of the trip in the form of an inflated price at times. To avoid such surprises, you can order a taxi using Uber or Grab applications.
Tricycles are not equipped with counters, the price of the trip must be negotiated in advance. Usually they try to impose a price on tourists even higher than a car taxi, so you need to bargain. A more or less reasonable price is no more than 30 pesos for a short trip of 1-2 kilometers, and no more than 80 pesos from one end of the island to the other.
Attractions and entertainment in Mactan
Objectively speaking, apart from relaxing on the beaches and diving on Maktan, there is absolutely nothing to do and see, there are no attractions here. The only land-based tourist attraction, the aquarium, closed in 2014. And the island's two main historical sites, the Magellan monument and the Lapu-Lapu monument, are unlikely to be interesting. All that remains is to go and see a few historic sites in Cebu City, or go on excursions around Cebu island.
The main excursion and Entertainment, which in any case should not be missed during the rest here is swimming with whale sharks in Oslob. There you can see and swim among whale sharks, and this is the only place in the world where they can be seen with 100 percent probability. Also, this tour or separately may include a visit to the waterfalls of Kavasan, Tumalog and others, canyoning at the waterfall of Kavasan, visiting the peak of Osmena. Even from Mactan on your own or with excursions you can visit several attractions on the island of Cebu:
- Oslob and whale sharks
- Kawasan Falls
- Osmen peak and Casino peak
- Tumalog Waterfall
- Inambakan Falls
- Kambais Falls
Such excursions are offered at travel agencies on the street, and are also available for online booking on the following verified sites:
- Guided tours of Cebu island tripster.ru
- Guided tours of Cebu island getyourguide.ru
- Guided tours of Cebu island govoyagin.com
- Guided tours of Cebu island Viator.com
As for the evening rest, in the resort area of Maktana there are several bars working late, restaurants with views, you can find girls or boys. But it is best to go to Cebu City for evening entertainment, where the most popular establishments are located: Blue Bar & Grill, Ibiza Cebu, the Social Cebu, Morals & Malice, Cubana, Liv Super Club, Bellini, Champagne Lounge, Bamboozers Bar, Sentral, Club Holic. If you stay in an expensive hotel with its own territory, then you can count on evening shows that are arranged for guests. Fans of gambling can visit the casino at the Resort Mactan Isla Resort and Casino.
Diving on Mactan
The waters off Mactan Island are home to some of the best diving spots in the Philippines. There is a coral reef and Wall, there is an underwater cave Marigondon, and even a submerged plane. All information about dive sites can be obtained at local diving centers. Dives on nearby Nalusuan and Olango islands are also offered. At the same time, prices are among the lowest in the world, but somewhat high by the standards of the Philippines. For example, training and an initial certificate can be completed for 250 USD, a one-time dive near the shore will cost from 1600 pesos, and three dives from a boat from 5000 pesos. You can find lower prices, for example MSDC offers a dive from 1100 pesos, but this is near the coast. Therefore, some tourists start their journey on Mactan in order to study here and get a certificate, and with it continue traveling around the Philippines to less expensive places.
🕐 Working hours: day and night dives at your convenience.
🚶 Entrance fee / tickets price: dive offshore from 1100 pesos (Philippine currency and exchange rate), with a boat from 1600 pesos ( USD).USD, see
🚶 How to get there: diving and training are offered in a variety of diving centers, they are located mainly on the southeast coast of Mactan in the resort area. You can find them on the spot or book in advance via the Internet, many centers have their own websites, search for queries like Mactan diving book.
Magellan's Marker and Lapu-Lapu Monument
These two monuments are located opposite each other, and are considered the most iconic places on Mactan. Indeed, their historical significance can hardly be overestimated, but their real entertainment for tourists is minimal.
Both monuments were erected in 1866, it is believed, in the place where in 1521 the leader of the local Lapu-Lapu tribe killed the great traveler and navigator Fernand Magellan. He was the first European to open the Philippines to Europeans. After arriving on the island, he actively began to impose the Christian religion and Spanish citizenship on the locals, for which he had to burn several villages resisting this. Against the Spaniards, led by Magellan, the leader Lapu-Lapu spoke out, and in the ensuing battle Magellan was killed by a spear. There is also a legend that Magellan was buried in this place, but historical information does not confirm this.
🕐 Working hours: around the clock.
🚶 Entrance fee / tickets price: free.
🚶 How to get there: the monuments are located on the northeastern outskirts of Maktan (monuments on the map). You can get here by tricycle or motorcycle taxi for 100 pesos, or by jeepney for 8 pesos.
Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary
On the small island of Olango, lying nearby in Maktanom, there is a bird reserve (Bird Watching at the Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary), which is a refuge during migration for a large number of birds. According to experts, more than 40,000 birds annually make a stop on Olano on their way to refresh themselves with animals found in shallow water and rest a little. At this time, you can watch them and make a lot of beautiful photos. In addition to the birds, the walk on the island along the path among the mangroves is also interesting. After payment at the entrance to the reserve you need to walk along a concrete path among the mangroves, it will lead you to the observation gazebo. It is best to bring binoculars and a camera with a long-focus lens.
🕐 Working hours: around the clock, best visited from November to February early in the morning or 2 hours before and during high tide.
🚶 Entrance fee / tickets price: the entrance fee to the Reserve is 100 pesos (USD).
🚶 How to get there: the island of Olango offers personal guided tours, but it is easy to visit it yourself. To do this, on Mactan by tricilca or motorcycle taxi you need to get to the pier Angasil Port or Hilton Port, from where often during the day boats leave for Olango at the pier Santo Rosa Pier, the cost of 30 pesos. Here you need to take a tricycle or motorcycle taxi to the entrance to the reserve (entrance to the Reserve on the map). For a trip you can ask up to 200 pesos, but you need to bargain, the real price is not more than 50 pesos in one direction.