Travel Guide: Camotes Islands
“Camote”, replied the island ancestors when asked by the Spaniards about the name of the place. The natives were harvesting sweet potatoes (camote) then and thought that the Spaniards were asking what they were digging. That was how the group of islands got its name according to local folklore.
Camotes is a group of islands composed of four towns of Cebu (Poro, Tudela, Pilar and San Francisco), geographically located east of the province mainland, in between the islands of Cebu and Leyte in central Philippines, two hours away by boat from Danao, north of Cebu City.
It is a small piece of paradise… of beautiful white sand beaches, great underwater treasures, amazing caves and lake, rich culture and history and lovely people.
Go beyond the usual Cebu. Discover, explore, experience and fall in love with the charm of Camotes Islands.
Cebu City is where tourists usually touch down before going to Camotes Islands . From Cebu City, catch a multicab or bus going or passing in Danao. Travel time usually takes an hour. Fare is less than P30.
In Danao Port, ride a public boat to Camotes. Boats from here usually go to Port of Consuelo, in the town of San Francisco, Pacijan Island. The boat ride is approximately two (2) for P180.00. In the port, there are multicabs and motorbikes (habal-habal) that offer hotel transfer for P50.00 per passenger.
Going to Cebu City from any point the country is easy. Being a prime Visayan city, it serves as a hub of most airlines and shipping companies. There are direct flights to Cebu from Manila, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga, Puerto Princesa, Legaspi, General Santos, Surigao, Siargao, Clark, Dipolog, Ozamis, Butuan, Dipolog, Roxas, Caticlan, Dumaguete, Bacolod and Iloilo via Philippine Airlines, AirphilExpress, Cebu Pacific Air and Zest Air.
Cebu City is also accessible from major Asian cities with direct flights from Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Incheon, Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, Taipei and Qatar.
Cebu is accessible via ferry ride from different ports of call in the country. Numerous shipping lines link the two cities to the others, these include SuperFerry, Negros Navigation, Cokaliong Shipping, Montenegro, SuperCat and OceanJet, among others.
By land from Mainland Luzon, Cebu can be reached by bus from Manila through Batangas via RORO passing Masbate or by traversing the Eastern Philippine Highway passing to Bicol, RORO to Samar and Leyte before crossing via RORO again to Cebu City.
The town of Pilar in Ponson Island is geographically nearer to Ormoc City, Leyte, only an hour by boat. There are public boats serving the route. There are also public boats that connect Pilar to the other islands and towns of Camotes.
Where to Stay
Bella Vista Mare Resort (formerly Beach View Resort) offers cheap room with a great view of Santiago Bay. We stayed in a decent fan room for as low as P850 per room overnight. It is along Santiago Bay in Barangay Santiago, San Francisco, where most tourists stay. Contact Number: +63905-3508883, they prefer to be contacted from 07:00AM to 08:00AM and 06:00PM to 08:00PM.
Beside Bella Vista Resort is a popular hotel resort in town, Santiago Bay Garden and Resort. It has a restaurant and a swimming pool. Other accommodations in town include: Masamayor Beach Resort and Payag Beach Resort in Santiago; Mangongodlong Rock Resort in Mangongodlong; and Harbor View in downtown San Francisco.
- Diving/snorkeling: There is only one dive operator in Camotes Islands
Ocean Deep Dive
Mangongodlong, San Francisco, Camotes, Cebu
- Beach bumming in Santiago Bay, Mangongodlong and other white sand beaches in the islands of Pacijan, Tulang, Poro and Ponson
- Island tour: Lake Danao, Timabu Cave, Baywalk, Buho Rock, Bukilat Cave in Tudela, St. Joseph Parish, Kalbaryo, Alta Vista, Guadalupe Cave and Busay Waterfalls
- Beach sports: volleyball, frisbee
- Going to Consuelo, Camotes from Danao: Jomalia Ferry 830AM, RJR Pumpboat (11AM) from Danao
- Going out of Consuelo, Camotes to Danao: Jomalia Ferry 5AM, RJR Pumpoboat (2PM) to Danao
- When to go: Summer and dry season
- No electricity everyday from 6PM-7PM
- Mobile signal is weak in some areas of Pacijan Island, especially in Santiago and southern barangays of San Francisco
- No ATM or bank in the island
- Non-aircon room rate good for two is as low as P850.00/room/night in Bellavista, Aircon room rate for two is at P1200.00/room/night
- Consuelo Port to hotel transfer is P50.00 one way
- Half day motorcycle tour rate is P500.00 for the following spot: Lake Danao Park, Timabu Cave, Baywalk, Buho Rock and Bukilat Cave
- Motorbike Driver Contact: Kuya Elmer’s cellphone number: +639067100831