How to Spend 5 days in Bohol
Bohol is a relatively small island that lies southeast of Cebu. It is quite an accessible island - you can get here by plane or ferry. The Panglao International Airport opened in 2018, making it more convenient to get to. Ferries also run frequently and you can get here from Cebu or from Siquijor (both take approximately 1 hr 30 minutes).
Bohol is famous for its unique landscape (chocolate hills), and their tarsiers (the world's smallest primate), but there is so much more to explore! Here is how to spend 5 great days in Bohol.
How to get around Bohol
Tricycles are the best way to get to your hotel with your luggage. Expect to pay about 10 php/km (eg 200 php/£3.00 for a 20 minute ride.
Hiring a scooter gives you the flexibility to explore the island on your own schedule. Scooter rentals here cost between 350-800 php/day. We paid 500 php and were told this was a reasonable price. It was more expensive than on Siquijor, but it is a much busier island.
Day 1: Arrive in Bohol
Arrive in Bohol and take some time to settle in. If you have arrived from Siquijor like we did, your ferry will arrive at 2 pm at the Tagbilaran terminal. Most stay on Panglao island which is just a short 10-20 minute journey from either the ferry port or the airport by tricycle/car depending on where your hotel is. We chose to stay on the Northern tip of Panglao to make exploring the main island of Bohol easier.
Spend your first evening enjoying the sunset at Dumuluan beach. The parking fee is 75 php (£1.15). Walk another 5-10 minutes along the beach where the beach curves to the right to watch the sunset.
Day 2: Go island hopping (Balicasag island, Virgin island and dolphin watching)
Take a boat tour today. The best thing to do is to ask your hotel you are staying with to book it for you. We paid 2000 php/£30 for a private trip.
The trip starts early, meet your guide at 6am at your meeting point (this was Libaong beach for us). Bring a packed breakfast - but you could also wait to get to Balicasag island to grab some food.
Dolphin watching is the first stop, where you'll spend 30 minutes. Your guide will then take you to Balicasag island - you get to a central point on the island where you choose various activities (snorkelling, swimming with turtles, visiting the corals and diving. They do serve food here but it is pricer (450 php/£6.89 for an average dish. You could also head to the Balicasag island dive resort where they have breakfast at a more reasonable price.
It is best to bring a wet bag with you for the boat trip. Snorkel hire is an additional charge of 150 php (£2.30) pp.
At 11am, continue on to Virgin island, an idyllic sand bank with beautiful shallow water surrounding it. There are several stalls selling food (from fried bananas, to coconuts and sea urchins).
The tour will bring you back to Bohol by about 3pm.
Day 3: Explore waterfalls, Loboc river and visit the tarsiers
Today is a day for exploring. If you love waterfalls as much as we do, visit Pahangog falls which is an hour away from Tagbilaran city. You can rent a float here for 30 php (£0.45). There is a small stall at the top of the falls selling a few drinks and is only a 5 minute walk from the parking area down to the waterfall. The road leading up to the waterfall becomes a dirt track and gets extremely bumpy when you're 10 minutes away - just go slow and it will be manageable.
Loboc river is also worth a visit on your way back from the waterfall. We stopped next to the Loboc river resort to have a look, but didn't spend very long here.
The tarsier sanctuary is another 25 minutes from the Loboc river. The entrance fee is 50 php (£0.70) each and you'll be briefed by a guide before entering - the main rules are that you have to be quiet, no flash photography is allowed and definitely do not try to touch them. They are open from 8 am - 4 pm.
Day 4: Chocolate hills
The chocolate hills are a must see in Bohol, and this is the furthest we ventured. It takes 1hr 20 minutes to get here by scooter from Tagbilaran city. The roads were well maintained and it was easy to get to. The views from the chocolate hill viewing points are great (type this into google maps) - you have to pay 100 php each to get to the viewing point and involves walking up many stairs (takes less than 5 minutes and is very manageable).
If you want to experience it in a different way, you can choose to do an ATV tour around the chocolate hills as well.
Head back after spending the morning at the hills and spend the rest of your time on Bohol relaxing at your hotel and visiting the beaches on Panglao island! Popular beaches include: Alona beach, Dumuluan beach, Doljo beach, Danao beach and Panglao beach.
Day 5: Relax
We had the best time relaxing at Donatela hotel, which is right next to Alona beach. Their villas are spacious and surrounded by nature. Take some time to enjoy their pool and their facilities - they even have a mini zoo where they house rescued animals!
Paprika is a popular restaurant located right on the coast, with great views of the Bohol sea - the perfect setting for watching the sunset.