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Cebu, the Queen of the South, is one of the top travel destinations in the Philippines. It is filled with thrilling adventures from heights to depths. So get the most of the best things to do in Cebu when you plan your vacation in the Philippines.
Things to know when planning a trip to Cebu
The most convenient way to go to Cebu is to fly from Manila. You can also fly directly from Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Dubai, and Taiwan to Cebu City.
A ferry ride to Cebu from Manila and other provinces is available but will take a longer travel time.
The best months to visit Cebu is from January to April. Though, the perfect time to visit Cebu is during the peak of the dry season from March to April.
English is widely understood and spoke. However, some people tend to overcharge tourists on rates for tricycle or motorcycle ride.
To save money during your vacation in Cebu, stay in hostels, and use public transportation. Or rent a scooter to go around the city and to nearby towns.
Check availability and book online: Motorcycle or Scooter Rental in Cebu with Cebu City or Moalboal pick-up
What to pack
- Reef safe sunscreen
- Insect Repellent
- Dry Bag
- Reusable Water Bottle
- Wet Shoes
- Mask and Snorkel
- Underwater Camera
List of the 10 best things to do in Cebu
Badian Canyoneering is one of the famous things to do in Cebu that includes hiking, swimming, and cliff jumping.
Canyoneering in Badian may sound intimidating, especially that the highest jump points are at 10, 12, and 14 meters, yet the place is amazing and relaxing. Surrounded by a lush green forest, enjoy a swim in the turquoise water of Badian while listening to the sound of chirping birds and flowing water.
Canyoneering is safe as long as you will listen to your guide as there are slippery parts of the route. You will be provided with a helmet, lifevest, and canyoneering shoes to ensure your safety.
2. Visit the Kawasan Falls
Another famous spot in Badian is the Kawasan Falls. It is at the end of the canyoneering route that’s why most people will combine canyoneering and a visit to the Kawasan Falls in one tour.
The Kawasan Falls in Cebu is a picturesque multilayered waterfall with natural ice-cool turquoise water that is the perfect way to cool down after canyoneering. Assuredly, Kawasan Falls is one of the famous waterfalls in the Philippines.
If you are in South Cebu, you can swim and relax at the Kawasan Falls for a day without booking a tour by renting a scooter or riding public transportation to Badian.
From Cebu City, it is recommended to book a tour along with other activities as it will be a 3 to 4-hour drive from the city.
Book now with Get Your Guide: Kawasan Falls Canyoneering Tour from Cebu City
If you prefer chasing waterfalls, book a Three Waterfalls Day with Lunch Tour from Cebu City.
3. Hike the Osmena Peak
Get a stunning 360 view of Cebu on Osmena Peak. Known as the highest point in Cebu, Pico Osmena or Osmena Peak is part of the unique jagged hills in Dalaguete that stretch as far to its other side in Badian.
The view around the Osmena Peak in Cebu is similar to the Chocolate Hills in Bohol but rather with pointed peaks and the best time to hike is either during sunrise or sunset.
Hiking Osmena Peak in Cebu is beginner-friendly as is it only 1,013 meters above sea level (MASL). From the jump-off, you can easily reach the peak in less than 30 minutes.
To go to Osmena Peak from Cebu City, book a Kawasan Falls and Osmena Peak tour with Get Your Guide to maximize your time in South Cebu that is 3 to 4 hours from the city.
If you are in South Cebu, commute to Dalaguete Junction then hire a motorcycle to the Osmena Peak jump off or ride a scooter to the Osmena Peak jump off.
4. Hike the Casino Peak
Since Cebu is more known for beaches and waterfalls, the Casino Peak and the Osmena Peak are usually missed as the things to do in Cebu by tourists. While it is not as famous as the Osmena Peak, the Casino Peak or Lugsangan Peak offers a panoramic view of green jagged hills with less crowd at the summit.
Casino Peak is also a shorter trek than the Osmena Peak with a hike on a steep hill that will only take 10 to 15 minutes. You can hike to Casino Peak from Osmena Peak but this takes an hour and requires a guide.
If you prefer the easier route, ride your scooter or drive your car to Sitio Lugsangan to start your hike at the Casino Peak jump off if you are coming from anywhere in South Cebu.
From Cebu City, ride a bus to Bato via Oslob at the South Bus Terminal then alight at the Dalaguete and hire a motorcycle to the Casino Peak jump off.
5. Sardines Run
Unlike the sardine run in South Africa, you can swim with millions of sardines all year round in Moalboal. The sardine run in Moalboal can easily be experienced without getting that far from the shore of Panagsama Beach.
Snorkelling or freediving in Panagsama Beach is free, however, the beach is busy with tour boats so it is recommended to hire a guide for your safety. The sardines run in Moalboal is a one-of-a-kind guaranteed experience in the wild and should be in your Cebu travel bucket list.
6. Dive in Pescador Island
The island got its name from the Spanish word that means fisherman. Pescador Island in Cebu is a small island rocky island near Moalboal that is diverse in marine life.
Known as the main attraction in Moalboal, Pescador Island is the famous marine park for recreational divers and tourist destination for island hopping.
If you are from Cebu City, book a Pescador Island and Sardine Run Tour in Moalboal to get the best underwater experience in Cebu.
7. Skywalk and Edge Coaster
The Sky Walk Extreme is a nerve-wracking experience in Cebu City. Located around the 37th floor, the Skywalk Cebu lets you walk on the translucent glass edge of the Crown Regency Hotel & Towers with the support of a harness and a guide.
You may not be able to apply the saying the view is always beautiful at the top during this experience as you are 126.55 meters above the street. Double the adrenaline rush by riding the Edge Coaster!
Riding the Edge Coaster will take you around the 38th floor of the Crown Regency Hotel & Towers while the rail seat is still tilted facing downwards.
8. Dive with the Thresher Shark
Malapascua is the only place in the world where you can consistently see the elusive thresher shark every day especially in the Monad Shoal dive site.
The thresher shark is known for its long upper tail fin which they use to whip their prey. They are not aggressive and will usually swim away quickly when they encounter a diver.
Malapascua is a small island in the northern part of Cebu that is famous as one of the interesting dive sites in the Philippines.
Book your tour now: Malapascua Shark Dive Tour with Options for Cebu City Transfer
9. Skydive in Bantayan Island
Achieve your ultimate bucket list by skydiving in Cebu! Experience the skydiving in Bantayan Island and enjoy the view at 10,000 feet above the sky.
If this is your first time skydiving, book a tandem dive with Skydive Cebu Adventures so you will be assisted by a professional skydiver in the thrill experience of a lifetime.
To go to Bantayan Island, ride a bus going to Hagnaya from North Bus Terminal then ride a ferry to Santa Fe. Total travel time is 4 to 5 hours so maximize your stay in Bantayan Island.
10. Spelunking in Camotes Island
Aside from its white beaches like the Tulang Diot Island, Camotes Island is famous for its natural caves such as the Timubo Cave, Paraiso Cave, Bukilat Cave, and Holy Crystal Cave.
Both the Timubo Cave and the Paraiso Cave have cool and swimming-pool clear water that is refreshing especially during the dry season. The Bukilat Cave is known for its natural light coming from outside its roof opening while the Holy Crystal Cave is known by the name itself, crystal-like formations.
To go to Camotes Island, book a ferry ride from Cebu City going to Camotes Pier. Check availability and book your tickets below.
Book your tours in Cebu with Get Your Guide HERE.
Why whale shark watching is not on the list
You might have heard about swimming with the whale sharks in Oslob.
Oslob is famous for that but I did not include it in my list of things to do in Cebu. Yet I will include it in this post to create awareness.
I would love to swim with the whale sharks in the wild and not in Oslob. Not in a place where they are being fed so they will stay for tourism.
Save the travel spots below on your Google Maps
That concludes my list of the 10 best things to do in Cebu. Use it as a guide to having the best vacation in Cebu and the Philippines.
Where to stay on a budget: List of the best Cebu City hostels
Shejoje Poshtel Hostel – Hostel for Budget Travellers
1075 Dormitel – Hostel for your Family
Down South Hostel – Hostel for Couples
Murals Sleepbox – Hostel for Solo Travellers
Murals Hostel and Cafe – Hostel for Digital Nomads
Mad Monkey Cebu City – Hostel for Party People
Click here to read our Best Hostels in Cebu City post for details.
Neighboring islands to visit
If you want more after enjoying the things to do in Cebu, you can visit Siquijor, Dumaguete, and Bohol via ferry.
Planning your trip tips and tricks
Find cheap flights
Jetradar is a free online search engine for flights around the world that compares airfare from hundreds of airlines and dozens of travel agencies and systems. Download the Jetradar mobile app in iOS or Android to set price drop alerts.
Book a ferry ride to and from Cebu
12GO is one of the largest travel agencies in Southeast Asia that will help you check the ferry schedule and prices and conveniently book a ferry ride online.
Book a tour guide
Get Your Guide is a booking platform that helps travellers find the best and convenient travel experience.
Rent a scooter
Bikesbooking.com is an online service to help you compare prices of rental companies for scooters and motorcycles and book it in advance.
Rent a pocket wi-fi
Stay connected during your vacation in the Philippines by renting a pocket wi-fi that can provide fast internet connection for up to 5 electronic devices. The pocket wi-fi device can be picked up and dropped off in NAIA Terminal 1, Terminal 2, and Terminal 3.
Get a travel insurance
Travel insurance is a usually overlooked item when planning a trip. World Nomads is simple and flexible travel insurance that will help you when things go wrong while travelling.