Hopping from Cebu to Bohol takes you between two of the most popular members of the Central Visayas islands. They’re just 22 miles apart and rank among the biggest draws in the Philippines.
Cebu boasts reefs filled with green turtles down in Moalboal and the iconic Kawasan Falls. Bohol is a true adventure mecca, offering cruises on the wild Loboc River and hikes in the alien-like Chocolate Hills, along with the white-sand beaches of Panglao to back it all up.
There are two main ways to get from one to the other: Fast ferries and slow ferries. This guide will take a look at both in detail.
|Cebu to Bohol by Fast Ferry||1 h||$10||Book Online|
|Cebu to Bohol by Slow Ferry||2 h||$7||Book Online|
|Cebu to Bohol by Tour||1 day||$60||–|
Get to Bohol in a Flash with a Fast Ferry
Time – 1h15
Price – $10
Comfort – 4/5
The fast ferries to Bohol aren’t actually faster than the slow ferries (see below). They just take a more direct route from Cebu to the shores of the home of the Chocolate Hills. That helps them transport you from dock to dock in just over 1h15. It’s the quickest option on offer, and the cheapest to boot, with tickets sitting at a mere $10 per person if you book ahead of time using a service like 12GoAsia.
The whole thing is currently monopolized by the well-rated local ferry operator Oceanjet. They get plaudits for their punctuality and onboard service. Boats are relatively modern, and passengers can choose between two separate classes of travel. The cheapest is Tourist Class, which has comfy enough seats and climate control, plus access to a semi-outdoor space for island viewing as you go. Then there’s Business Class. That costs about $17 each but does guarantee you a bigger plusher seat from beginning to end.
The quick ferry between Cebu and Bohol is a ticket to the northern port of Getafe, which is convenient for accessing the Chocolate Hills but not so great for hitting the southern beaches.
These boats head southeast after leaving Cebu City Pier 1. They weave and meander through the channels that open between Mahanay Island and Olango Island, plotting a course through sun-kissed rocks and coral reefs. The upshot? There’s plenty to look at as you cruise, even if the whole trip is only a smidgen over an hour in total. We especially love the final sections in the narrower waterways, where you’ll travel almost within touching distance of wild mangrove swamps and sandbanks stranded in the Sulu Sea.
What’s important to remember is that the quick boats get you to the less-visited northern part of Bohol. That’s okay for accessing the uber-famous Chocolate Hills. It should cost around $10 for a direct taxi south to those. It takes just under an hour, and drivers will be ready and waiting outside Getafe Port to help you make the trip. However, if you’re eager to laze on Bohol’s sugar-soft beaches and get snorkeling in the lagoons of Panglao, the slower ferries are certainly the better choice…
Sail at a Relaxed Pace from Cebu by Slow Ferry
Time – 2 hours
Price – $7-17 per person
Comfort – 4/5
The slower ferries leave from the same place as the faster ferries, only they head to a port that’s about an hour further south on the Bohol side. They begin as early as 6am and go almost every two-hourly until 6pm. The crossing will take around two hours in all, which means total journey times of about three hours when you factor in that you need to be at the port 30 minutes prior to departure and some extra delays for boarding and whatnot.
One thing we love about the slower ferries that run between Cebu and Bohol is precisely the fact that they don’t take the shortest, most direct route from island to island. Starting in Cebu Pier 1, one of the main jetties in the docks of downtown Cebu City, they then head south through the Cebu Strait. On clear days you can catch glimpses of palm-fringed coral islets like Ubay, sweeps of coastal mangrove forests, and the idyllic sandbanks of Dumog and Mundong. It’s quite a beautiful ride, so be sure to have the camera fully charged.
Take the long boats to Tagbilaran Pier if you want to hit the picture-perfect beaches of Panglao in southern Bohol.
The other bonus of taking the longer route is that you arrive at the more popular port on the south side of Bohol. Cue Tagbilaran Pier. That’s the main boat hub on the island, so perfect if you’re looking to connect to other ferry services heading on to Siquijor or Dumaguete. It’s also closer to the fabled white-sand beaches of Panglao (where you find the top luxury coast hotels in Bohol) and the adventure mecca of Loboc (for river cruises and bathing in the Busay Falls).
You’ll be able to pick from the same duo of travel classes on these longer boats as you can on the shorter boats. However, the fact that it’s a lengthier trip means that it’s going to be a lengthier price tag to match – expect to pay $17 for the basic class on this route and $25 for Business Class. Overall, we think it’s worth that additional moolah if you’re looking to get to the beach-rich south coast of Bohol since overland transfers from Getafe port would end up costing about the same and taking a whole load longer.
Experience the Beauty of Bohol from Cebu with a Tour
Time – All day
Price – $60+ per person
Comfort – 4/5
Some local tour providers offer day trips from Cebu to Bohol. You’ll have to be based on the east coast of Cebu itself, either in Cebu City or Mactan. Those are close enough for easy access to the ports so that you have time to pack in all the activities after taking the hour-long boat to Bohol. The trip is usually done with a pickup at your hotel in a private minivan and then on a dedicated charter boat that’s probably going to be faster than the public ferries.
There are different packages on the menu, but most will include a quick run by the Chocolate Hills for a photo op on the observation decks there and then a visit to a local tarsier sanctuary. Others might throw in cruises on the Loboc River and some snorkeling along the Bohol coast. Expect to pay in the region of $60-100 for the whole shebang, including a drop off back on the Cebu side come the evening, right at the door of your hotel.
|Departure Time||Departure Point||Arrival Time||Arrival Point||Ferry Company||Price per Adult|
|01:00||Cebu Pier||03:00||Tubigon, Bohol||Lite Shipping||From $7|
|01:00||Cebu Pier||15:00||Tagbilaran Pier, Bohol||Oceanjet||From $17|
|06:00||Cebu Pier||08:00||Tagbilaran Pier, Bohol||Oceanjet||From $17|
|06:30||Cebu Pier||07:45||Getafe, Bohol||Oceanjet||From $10|
|06:30||Cebu Pier||10:00||Tagbilaran Pier, Bohol||Supercat||From $16|
|07:00||Cebu Pier||10:00||Tubigon, Bohol||Lite Shipping||From $7|
|07:30||Cebu Pier||09:30||Tagbilaran Pier, Bohol||Oceanjet||From $17|
|08:00||Cebu Pier||10:00||Tagbilaran Pier, Bohol||Supercat||From $16|
|08:20||Cebu Pier||10:20||Tagbilaran Pier, Bohol||Oceanjet||From $17|
|10:00||Cebu Pier||11:15||Getafe, Bohol||Oceanjet||From $10|
|10:40||Cebu Pier||12:40||Tagbilaran Pier, Bohol||Oceanjet||From $17|
|11:30||Quartel Beach Oslob, Cebu||13:00||Momo Beach Panglao, Bohol||Apekoptravel||$18|
|13:00||Cebu Pier||15:00||Tubigon, Bohol||Lite Shipping||From $7|
|13:00||Cebu Pier||15:00||Tagbilaran Pier, Bohol||Oceanjet||From $17|
|13:30||Cebu Pier||14:45||Getafe, Bohol||Oceanjet||From $10|
|13:45||Cebu Pier Supercat||15:45||Tagbilaran Pier, Bohol||Supercat||From $16|
|14:00||Cebu Pier||16:00||Tagbilaran Pier, Bohol||Oceanjet||From $17|
|15:20||Cebu Pier||17:20||Tagbilaran Pier, Bohol||Oceanjet||From $17|
|17:40||Cebu Pier||19:30||Tagbilaran Pier, Bohol||Oceanjet||From $17|
|19:00||Cebu Pier||21:00||Tubigon, Bohol||Lite Shipping||From $7|
|22:00||Cebu Pier||+1 02:00||Tagbilaran Pier, Bohol||Lite Shipping||From $12|
The ferries reign supreme as the fastest and the cheapest mode of transport currently running between Cebu and Bohol. So, it’s hardly a surprise that 99% of travelers choose this way to go.
The main decision you’ll have to make is whether you opt for the quicker ferries that take a little over an hour from port to port or spend longer on the boat and head to the more popular part of Bohol near the sparkling beaches of Panglao in the south. Either way, you’ll be stepping out onto an idyllic tropical island filled with turquoise riverways, gushing waterfalls, and untouched jungle. Perfect!
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