An island hopping tour to Virgin Island Bohol and Balicasag Island is an absolute MUST on your Bohol itinerary!
The island hopping tour includes dolphin watching from the boat, snorkelling with sea turtles on Balicasag Island and a visit to the unique sand bar on Virgin Island Bohol.
I can’t recommend this Bohol Island Hopping Tour enough as it was by far the highlight of my trip to Panglao!
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VIRGIN ISLAND BOHOL & BALICASAG ISLAND HOPPING TOUR
The Bohol island hopping tour takes around five to six hours from start to finish. It includes transport by boat from Panglao to Balicasag Island, secondly to Virgin Island Bohol and then finally returning back to Panglao.
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MY EXPERIENCE ON THE BOHOL ISLAND HOPPING TOUR
Our trip began at 5:45 am where my friends and I met our skipper and guide at the meeting point down on Alona Beach. We each signed our names on some sort of waiver form and we were swiftly on our way.
The first mission was to find dolphins on our way over to Balicasag Island and we got lucky when one breached out of the water right next to our boat. My buddy Jay also spotted a ray flying out of the water nearby.
It all happened so fast that I couldn’t get my camera out quick enough to capture it all. I guess some experiences like this are best left unphotographed. But damn I wish I had my camera at the ready…
As the boat neared Balicasag Island, which was only a 30 minute trip over from Panglao, we could already see the colourful reef from the boat, that’s how insanely clear and pristine the water is. I know I have repeated these words quite frequently but it was the bluest water I have ever seen!
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Arriving at Balicasag Island
We weren’t the only ones arriving at Balicasag Island
Balicasag Beach – Best beaches in Bohol
BALICASAG ISLAND SNORKELING
Balicasag Beach is one of the best beaches in Bohol purely for it’s glistening white sands and it’s abundance of marine life just offshore.
You can rent snorkelling equipment from one of the many shacks dotted along Balicasag Beach when you arrive on the boat. A mask and snorkel costs 150 pesos and then they will try to charge you and extra 250 pesos for a guide which is not necessary. Just pay for your snorkel set and walk around to the opposite side of the island to where there are no boats.
Majority of the tourists snorkel on the side of the island where all the boats are parked up but definitely veer away from this area and head to the other side of Balicasag Island.
Snorkeling in Balicasag Island was the highlight of my trip to Bohol. As soon as I dived into the shallow waters with my mask and snorkel I spotted a sea turtle cruising across the reef about 5 meters from the shoreline. I remember squealing like a little girl with excitement! I knew Balicasag was renowned for sea turtles residing in the reefs here but I did not expect to find one that easily.
We spent at least two hours snorkeling around the Balicasag reef and swam with about 15 different turtles. It was a morning that I will never forget!
Apart from turtles, we saw many colorful corals and countless species of fish while we explored the underwater world of Balicasag Island.
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VIRGIN ISLAND BOHOL
After a memorable few hours spent on Balicasg Island, we then continued the Bohol Island Hopping Tour over to Virgin Island Bohol Philippines.
It was still high tide when we arrived on Virgin Island Bohol so the sand bar wasn’t completely exposed. And on top of that, we were 1 of about 30 other tourists boats that were also parked up on the island.
I was a little deterred by the number of tourists at first, but when I got off the boat to explore the shallow waters around the sand bar it was quite interesting to see what was going on.
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Before even having the chance to set foot on to the sand bar a local jewellery seller had boarded our boat and tried convincing us to buy a couple of pearl necklaces. Once we kindly denied his offer we were able to get off and stroll around the sand bar.
Most of Virgin Island Panglao consists of floating seafood kitchens which was quite an amusing scene to watch. You could go up to the boat that had the most appealing seafood and choose whatever you felt like trying such as lobsters, sea urchins, calamari and fish which they would boil or grill right in front of you. There was also the option to sit on benches and tables that were half-submerged in water to enjoy your fresh meal.
Apart from that, there isn’t a whole lot to do on Virgin Island Bohol but it’s a very unique experience I am sure you will enjoy!
The last leg of the boat ride from Virgin Island Bohol to Alona Beach in Panglao takes around 20 minutes and you should arrive back around 12 pm just in time for lunch.
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WHERE TO STAY IN PANGLAO
Luxury: Donatela Hotel
- Donatela Hotel is the best luxury accommodation in Panglao. Centrally located and close to beaches and other attractions on Panglao island. The hotel offers a private beach area, swimming pool, restaurant and pool bar. There is a garden villa, pool villa, family villa and honeymoon villa available at Donatela Hotel. The rooms are air-conditioned featuring a balcony, flat-screen tv, dining area, tea/coffee maker, mini-bar, private bathroom, bathtub and plunge pool. They can also help you to organise scuba diving, snorkeling and other activities in Bohol. Great for families, friends and couples.
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Mid Range: Conrada’s Place Hotel & Resort
- Conrada’s Place is located 450m from Alona Beach and close to shops, restaurants and other nearby attractions. The accommodation features an outdoor pool, restaurant, snorkeling activities and wellness spa. There are double rooms, deluxe rooms, family rooms and suites which have air-conditioning, free wifi and breakfast is included for all guests. Great place to stay for families, friends and couples.
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Budget: Bohol Coco Farm
- Bohol Coco Farm is rated the best accommodation for a solo traveller in Bohol. Enjoy a rustic experience with modern luxuries of free wifi and a restaurant. Great location close to beaches and other attractions. The rooms and fan-cooled with shared bathrooms and towels are included. There’s also a shared lounge with free coffee and a tour desk.
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For all other places to stay in Panglao, Click Here to search on Booking.com
Another option for accommodation in Bohol is to stay at an Airbnb, which generally has some great deals in Bohol.
HOW TO GET TO BOHOL
There are two ways of getting to Bohol, one is by plane and the other by ferry.
There are daily flights to Bohol welcoming both domestic and international travellers. The main airport in Bohol is Panglao International Aiport located on Panglao Island.
Cebu to Bohol ferry
The most common route is the ferry from Cebu to Bohol which takes approximately 2.5 hours and the cost is around 600 pesos.
There are daily ferry departures from the Cebu Pier 1 Ferry Terminal and it arrives at Tagbilaran Port in Bohol.
Once you have booked your Cebu to Bohol ferry ticket online, on the day of travel you can head directly to Cebu Pier 1 Ferry Terminal at least 30-minutes before departure and present the online booking number to the staff at the check-in counter so they can issue you a seat number. There is also an additional 25 pesos terminal fee that must be paid in cash on the day.
Siquijor to Bohol ferry
If you happen to be on Siquijor island and heading over to Bohol from here, there are daily ferry departures from Larena Port in Siquijor to Tagbilaran Port in Bohol. The ferry from Siquijor to Bohol takes around 1.5 hours and the cost is around 800 pesos plus an additional 20 pesos terminal fee.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article and if you have any questions at all about Virgin Island Bohol & Balicasag Island, please leave me a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
Happy Adventuring! 😃