A complete guide to Bantayan Island, Philippines: the best places to eat, drink, and sleep
The Philippines is a beautiful country boasting some of the most idyllic and isolated beaches that I have had the pleasure of visiting. For my last trip to this country, my boyfriend and I chose to holiday on one of this country’s lesser known islands. We chose to visit Bantayan Island, which is located in Cebu province, just northwest of Cebu island. This island is picturesque, with white sandy beaches and some of the clearest blue water I’ve ever seen. It is quite small, quiet, and private, so if you’re looking for your own private beach to unwind and relax, this could be just the place for you. For our holiday, we spent two and a half weeks lying on the beach, in the sun, in complete relaxation. So if you’d like to do the same, read on for the best places to eat, drink, and sleep on Bantayan Island, Philippines. I’ve also included a quick bit on how to get to this deserted little paradise, and get around while you’re here. And if you have any questions about any of the places listed below, send me an email or leave a comment at the bottom of the post!
Best places to eat:
All of my recommended places to eat are conveniently located in MJ Square. This is the busiest area of the Santa Fe downtown type area. Here you can find a variety of food options, as well as drinks. This is a great place to visit at night for dinner and a drink or two…or three.
Absolutely amazing Greek food! The owner of this restaurant was the sweetest Greek guy and the service was amazing. The owner came and checked on us to make sure we enjoyed our food, and boy did we enjoy it! The menu encompasses a variety of all of your Greek favorites, and also highlights the local seafood with a catch of the day option. Takeout is also available, for those nights that you’re feeling a bit tired and/or sunburnt.
Bantayan Burrito Company:
This small restaurant stand is another favorite of MJ Square. A British guy runs this little taste of home. His menu is fantastic as well, including tacos, burritos, and pulled pork nachos. Yum!
Cupcake Island Cakery:
This cute and quaint little stand boasts some mouthwatering baked goods. Everything I had the pleasure of trying from here far exceeded my expectations. Carrot cake, brownies, cookies, need I say more?
Best places to drink:
Liquido Cocktails & Spirits
Another little gem of MJ Square, this bar has a fun selection of well named cocktails, and is right in the middle of the nightlife action.
Marlin’s Beach Resort
I’m including Marlin’s Beach Resort cocktails on the list, because, boy, are these STRONG. Let’s just say you’re definitely getting your money’s worth with these cocktails, especially the Long Islands.
Best places to sleep:
When we arrived on Bantayan, exhausted from travel, we decided to just choose the first recommendation from the port, and then to explore the island the next day to find a better option for the rest of our stay. Our first night, we stayed at Anika Beach Resort, and the following day, found out that this was the perfect place for us. We visited the beach’s other hotel, hostel, and beach hut options, but none seemed as worth the money as Anika. The beach offers a variety of lodging options, from simple beach huts, to minimal hotel rooms, to more high end bungalows. The prices and availability rates vary, so I would highly recommend checking Trip Advisor and Agoda before you arrive.
Anika Beach Resort
In my opinion, this is by far the best place to stay in the area. It is a little bit pricier than some of the alternatives, but the quality, cleanliness, and service here make this cost completely worth it. This hotel has everything you need, a private beach, restaurant, laundry service, and a variety of different beachfront bungalows. The service here is also top notch, from the grounds keepers to the security team to the restaurant staff. I can’t thank them enough for treating us amazingly during our stay.
Anika’s beachfront is just picturesque, and you can spend days in their lounges and in the sea in pure bliss, and in fact, that’s exactly what we did.
The rooms are all impeccably clean and quite new, with soft beds, cable television, A/C, and hot showers.
The restaurant menu is also quite expansive, with a selection of Filipino and western foods, as well as a special pizza menu. They do room service as well! Just imagine, a full breakfast spread on your porch looking out at the bluest water and whitest sands, what can possibly beat that?
Marlin’s Beach Resort
Very basic rooms, a little overpriced, but fantastic beachfront, and did I mention how strong the cocktails are?
Santa Fe Beach Club
Quite large in comparison to some of the other beachfront properties, but a bit run down. Rooms seem to be available here in a pinch though, if you’re coming last minute.
How to get here:
From Cebu North Bus Terminal, you can pay P160 for a one way trip to Hagnaya Port. This journey takes about 3 hours. You can then hop on a ferry from Hagnaya Port to Santa Fe for P160-170. Another more convenient option is to take a RORO (Roll On Roll Off) Bus. These buses will drive onto the ferry and take you all the way to Bantayan, so you don’t have to worry about transfers and carrying your bags through Hagnaya. You can learn more about these different options here.
How to get around:
When you arrive to Bantayan at the port, you’ll see a large amount of Trisikads, the local pedicabs. These are relatively cheap: a trip from the pier to town should cost about P25, but you can always negotiate. These pedicabs are readily available at most hotels and all over town, so this is your easiest mode of transport on the island.
Motorbikes are also available for rent, from P250-450 a day, depending on what type of bike you want. You can rent these from most hotels as well as rental shops in Santa Fe Town.
So that’s it for the basics of Bantayan. An absolutely idyllic escape that I’d recommend for anyone looking for a getaway with clear blue waters, white sands, and ultimate relaxation.
Enjoy your trip!