We created the Bohol itinerary to show you the best of this beautiful island in the Philippines. Bohol was the first island we explored in the Philippines and we enjoyed it a lot.
Bohol as the 10th largest island of the Philippines is a very diverse island. It is one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the Philippines. Why diverse? There is so much to do there.
Our Bohol itinerary includes visiting amazing beaches of Panglao Island, the famous Chocolate Hills, unique Tarsier sanctuaries and much more. I can guarantee you that our Bohol itinerary will keep you busy for many days.
THE ULTIMATE BOHOL ITINERARY
You can easily spend 5 – 7 days wandering around Bohol, depending on where you want to spend most of your time. Our Bohol itinerary will mention all the best spots to see on this cute island.
We started our trip in the capital of Bohol, Tagbilaran. There is not much to see but we would give it 1 day to just walk around.
FIRST STOP BOHOL ITINERARY: PANGLAO ISLAND
The first stop on your Bohol trip must be Panglao Island. This is where you will enjoy some serious beach vibes. This island is located just southwest of Tagbilaran City and it is a popular tourist destination in the Philippines with many beautiful beaches.
There are a couple of beaches where you can find affordable accommodation on Panglao Island.
Alona Beach which is the main beach on Panglao Island is quite a touristy place and was nothing for us. However, it has many restaurants and shops so you can definitely find something you like.
We decided to stay at first one night at Dumaluan Beach. The beach is so beautiful with turquoise waters and reminded us of Kalanggaman Island in Cebu.
After we saw its beauty, we decided to prolong our stay immediately. Who wouldn’t, right? This was definitely one of the most beautiful beaches we have visited in the Philippines.
You can see other small islands near Panglao, such as Gak-ang, Pontod, and Balicasag. We didn’t have much time but I am more than confident that they must be super beautiful as well.
SECOND STOP: THE CHOCOLATE HILLS
The Chocolate Hills, also called Jewels of the Philippines, are considered as one of the Philippines’ natural wonders.
QUICK INFO ABOUT CHOCOLATE HILLS
There are in total 1776 hills spread over an area of more than 50 km. The hills are made of limestone and were created during the Ice Age when the island was fully submerged. The reason why they are called chocolate hills is that during dry season they turn from green to brown. And that is what reminds people of chocolate bonbons. As you can see, the view is really incredible and you can already see one brown hill in the back.
If you want to see the Chocolate hills, there is a small entrance fee of 100 pesos.
OUR TIP: rent a scooter and come to the Chocolate hills for sunrise. You can use the entrance ticket for the whole day, which is perfect for you to come back for sunset.
HOW TO GET TO THE CHOCOLATE HILLS ON YOUR OWN.
Get to the bus terminal in Tagbilaran. There are several frequent buses going straight to Carmen village. We caught a local bus (no air-con) which took 2 hours to Carmen.
WHERE TO STAY IN CARMEN VILLAGE
Carmen is a very small village and there is really nothing to do. There are no proper restaurants (yet). However, we were lucky and could have dinner at our guesthouse called Villa del Carmen, where we stayed for 2 nights.
THIRD STOP: VISIT A TARSIER SANCTUARY
Have you ever heard of an animal called tarsier? They can only be found on Southeast Asian islands, such as the Philippines, Sulawesi, Borneo, and Sumatra. The Philippine tarsier is locally known as “mamag” in Boholano (the local dialect). Unfortunately, they are considered an endangered species and face extinction.
WHERE TO SEE TARSIERS IN BOHOL
There are only 2 parks where you can see Tarsiers, Tarsier Conservation Area and Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary. There are also some discussions which park to visit and which one is treating tarsiers the best. We found some negative and positive reviews for both of them. However, we decided to visit Tarsier Conservation Area. The entry is 60 pesos (2018).
Tarsier Conservation covers a relatively small area and it takes around 40 minutes to see all the little tarsiers.
There are guards everywhere making sure, that the people obey the rules which are: being silent, not taking close photos of the tarsiers and of course not touching them.
While many people are critical of this particular conservation center and recommend to visit the other one (called “Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary”) in Bohol we didn’t see any indication that the animals were maltreated.
SOME INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT TARSIERS
Tarsiers are one of the world’s smallest primates and they are indeed unique animals. They spend their entire lives eating, sleeping and reproducing in the trees. What a life. Tarsiers are nocturnal animals and it is very hard to spot them during the day as they sleep.
The tarsier has the largest eyes of all mammals, bigger than their brain. What is very unique is that their eyeballs cannot rotate. Tarsiers are, however, one of the few animals that can rotate their heads 360 degrees. They are also incredible jumpers and can jump 40 times their own body length. They have elongated fingers and a very long tail which helps them to be very comfortable on trees and to keep their balance.
THE SHOCKING FACT ABOUT TARSIERS
When tarsiers are disturbed, from touching and loud noise, they might commit suicide. They can bang their heads on something hard or they just hold their breath until they pass out. That is why it is very important that you stay silent and do not touch them during your visit. Remember, any disturbance and stress can cause their death.
OUR TIP: You don’t need to sleep in Carmen in order to see Chocolate hills and the Tarsier Sanctuary. It is perfectly doable to do in 1 day and there are many operators which organise day tours, from Tagbilaran or Panglao Island.
FOURTH STOP: RENT A SCOOTER AND EXPLORE BOHOL
You should definitely rent a scooter and drive around Bohol. Renting a scooter in Southeast Asia is the best way to explore places in general 🙂 From endless rice fields, beautiful forests, tiny villages to small hidden waterfalls.
We really enjoyed driving through Bilal Man-made forest. A 2 km stretch of beautiful mahogany trees. Driving on this road surrounded by those tall and big trees raising their branches straight up towards the sky was breathtaking.
CRUISE ON THE LOBOC – LOAY RIVER
If you have some extra time, the Loboc river should be in your Bohol itinerary. You can go for a river cruise in the floating restaurant (serving buffet) enjoying traditional Philippine food and lush green landscapes.
HOW TO GET TO BOHOL
The capital city of Bohol is called Tagbilaran. Tagbilaran’s airport/harbor is easy to reach by airplane/boat. We came from Manila via plane and paid around 45€ per person. Tagbilaran City doesn’t have Grab (in 2018) so you need to find a taxi to get you to the bus terminal or to your hotel from the airport.
A taxi costs around 250 PHP so we took a tricycle which is cheaper (150 PHP). It was a lot of fun especially with our two big suitcases and two backpacks (NOT) but we survived and saved some money.
WHERE TO STAY IN BOHOL
Finding a place to stay in Bohol is not a hard task. There are many places to choose from.
If you are looking for something fancy in Bohol, head to Donatela Hotel. We stayed there for a couple of nights and we really liked it. It is a perfect place for a vacation or even a honeymoon. The resort is located on wonderful Panglao and you can easily get there from Tagbilaran City.
CHECK THE LATEST RATES FOR DONATELA
There are of course other more budget-friendly places. Have a look at Glamping Alona, they have very nice and authentic accommodation. Even though most of them are tents, they have real beds inside.
CHECK THE LATEST RATES FOR GLAMPING ALANA.
WHERE TO NEXT FROM BOHOL?
From Bohol, you can easily get to another island called Cebu. This is also one of the main islands in the Philippines that many travelers visit. However, it is not as busy as Palawan. Here you can visit for instance beautiful Malapascua Island where you can dive with thresher sharks and also go for a day trip to Kalanggaman Island near Malapascua or snorkel with whale sharks in Oslob. If you have a bit time why not explore even more places in the Philippines.
Enjoy your stay and travels in Bohol, Philippines. Let us know in the comments how you liked it there.
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