Island Hopping in Mactan, Cebu has always been one of our favorite quick getaway. There’s nothing more fun than a day spent on the beach. Much less on board a small banca exploring islands…

Cebu today is commonly associated with canyoneering in Badian, diving in Malapascua and snorkeling/ sardine run in Moalboal.. But, to get there you must travel to the southern or northern part of the island..

If you are in the city and would love to see corals, swim with fishes and generally just enjoy the beach, then Mactan is a great option for you! That is aside from the budget and luxury resorts dotted in the island.

Island hopping in Mactan is definitely one of those activities that is sometimes overlooked by those first timers visiting the island.

To experience this is pretty easy.. For starters, there are a lot of island hopping tour operators in the Cebu that will be more than happy to take you on an island hopping adventure.

You may check the internet for local tour operators and check the reviews. This is one of our method in looking for trusted operators to take us including referrals from friends… I have managed to contact one tour operator via Facebook: Everyday Summer – Island Hopping & Tours.

You may also check Arlei Travel and Tours, Island Hopping Cebu Tours and Islands Banca Cruises.

For advance booking, a downpayment is usually asked beforehand to reserve your dates. Make sure to get the receipt of your payment to ensure that there’ll be no problem on the day of your island hopping.. If you’d rather not book in advance, you can always go directly to the port and look for vacant boats and haggle your way for the best price..

On our part we usually book in advance to avoid the hassle of haggling and of course to ensure that we can start pretty early..

There are many ports where the small boats (pump boats as we call it) are docked. Ports at Maribago and Cordova are some of the areas where the island hopping starts.

To get there, simply look for a Public Utility Jeep (PUJ) headed to either ports anywhere in Lapu-Lapu.

Admittedly, the views are not like those at Coron.. But it’s more or less like the island hopping in Puerto Princesa at the Honda Bay.

So hop on board and let me expound more on our list of Why We Love Island Hopping in Mactan, Cebu.. Enjoy!

It Is Affordable

Island Hopping Mactan Cebu: Affordable
Cost for an island hopping in Mactan varies depending on the size of the boat.. The cheapest that we’ve hired only amounted to 2,500 Php (49.40 USD). And that’s already good for 8-10 persons!

So if you are in a group, that will be around 250 Php (4.95 USD) per head. You’ll be able to snorkel and enjoy the sea at a very affordable price indeed!

Please take note, however, that there are entrance fees in the islands that you’ll be visiting and it’s not included with your package. We travel by group (that is with family and/or colleagues) so it was pretty much affordable on our part hence the reason why we love it!

We Can Share It With Family and Friends

Island Hopping Mactan Cebu: Share with Family and Friends
Because of its price and the size of the boat, you can definitely enjoy it with family and friends.. We’ve enjoyed countless of island hopping activities with family, close friends and co-leagues before.

Island Hopping Mactan Cebu: Share with Family and Friends
We have also seen groups with the same numbers as ours enjoying it too.. Who can’t say no to a day spent with cool company? Fun times indeed!

We Can Bring Our Favorite Food

Island Hopping Mactan Cebu: Bring Food
There are island hopping tours that includes lunch buffet on board while visiting the islands

But if you’d rather save (just like we wanted) you definitely can bring as much food as you can. This includes drinks, desserts and even raw food to be grilled.. Just ask your contact/ operator/ boatman if they have available grill on board..

If yes, then you are good to go!

We love bringing pre-marinated pork or raw fish on-board and either let the boatman cook it for us (at no additional cost) or do it ourselves.

We Can Make It As A Day Trip

Island Hopping Mactan Cebu: Day Trip
It will not ruin your schedule.. Trust me.. Island hopping can be done in a day.. So it can easily be included in your day trips/ itinerary should you be traveling for a few days in the city.

Usually, the time of departure to the islands starts at 7am and ends at around 3pm. This is to avoid the rough seas at the later part in the afternoon.

So if you are only in Cebu for a quick trip, then you can definitely include this in your itinerary!

We Get To Choose Our Itinerary

Island Hopping Mactan Cebu: Choose Itinerary
Mactan Island has plenty of islands that you can include in your itinerary.. But, visiting those in one day may not be ideal.. You’ll be rushed and you won’t fully enjoy the entire experience..

So to get a better experience, talk with your boatman/ operator first before sailing out to establish the island that you’ll be going.

Islands that you can visit are: Caohagan, Olanggo, Gilutongan, Nalusuan and Sulpa. However, due to certain constraints, you’ll only get to choose at least three (3).

Island Hopping Mactan Cebu: Olanggo Island Fish Sanctuary
One of our favorites to include is the Olanggo Island fish sanctuary. There are plenty of fishes, albeit not many in variety but many in quantity which is pretty alright for us.. We love fish feeding here too!

Island Hopping Mactan Cebu: Pandanon Island
You may also just choose Pandanon Island (this is recommended as a whole day trip because of the distance). We’ve been there before and it is farther from the rest of the small islands.

Pandanon Island boasts of white sands and clear waters. Travel time may take up to an hour, depending on where your starting point is and of course the weather conditions. The sea can be a little rough going there.

We Love Swimming

Island Hopping Mactan Cebu: Love Swimming
So obviously, island hopping is about diving, snorkeling and swimming… We are a beach-loving family so this is high on our affordable family trips!

Island Hopping Mactan Cebu: Swimming
Not only do we get to enjoy one of our favorite family activity but we get to enjoy it at a reasonable price..

In general, island hopping in Mactan is best enjoyed during summer time. That is, from March to May. But, it doesn’t mean it’s not available all-year round.. Just be aware of the weather, though.

Here’s a pretty short video we’ve created during our weekend adventure with my awesome colleagues!

So what do you think? Is island hopping in Mactan a cool way to spend a day when in Cebu?
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