Malapascua is one of the best islands in the Philippines which is world-renowned for its incredible scuba diving sites where you can swim with thresher sharks!
I’m not a diver myself, but I can tell you now that there are many more fantastic things to do in Malapascua other than diving.
I spent 3 days and 3 nights on Malapascua Cebu to explore all four corners of the island and I’ve put together this complete guide including how to get there, things to do in Malapascua Island, where to stay, and the best time to visit!
WHERE IS MALAPASCUA ISLAND?
Malapascua Island is located in the Visayan Sea approximately 7km off the northernmost tip of Cebu Island in the Philippines.
HOW TO GET TO GET TO MALAPASCUA
The most common route is from Cebu City to Malapascua with the use of the public bus and then a short boat ride to Malapascua Island.
The bus from Cebu to Malapascua operates on a daily basis and departs every hour from the Cebu North Bus Terminal bound for New Maya Port at the northernmost tip of Cebu Island. The cost of the bus is around 230 pesos and the journey time is 4 hours.
Another option of how to go to Malapascua is to ride in a shared minivan or take a private transfer which includes a pick-up from your hotel in Cebu City and drop-off at New Maya Port.
This is the option that I went for because it was much more comfortable than the bus and the journey time was faster.
Book Now → Shared Minivan from Cebu
Book Now → Private Transfer from Cebu
BEST TIME TO VISIT MALAPASCUA ISLAND
The best time to visit Malapascua Island Cebu, weather-wise, is between December and June when temperatures are hot and there is barely any rainfall. This is also high season, so expect to see many tourists during these months.
I recommend visiting on the shoulder months of the high season which would be July and November which sees a bit of rainfall but usually only lasts for a couple of hours and the rest of the day is sunny.
Try to avoid the typhoon season which is between August and October.
ARRIVING AT NEW MAYA PORT
The bus or minivan will arrive at New Maya Port and from here you will need to take an outrigger boat over to the island which takes around 30 minutes.
The cost of the boat from New Maya Port to Malapascua Island is 100 pesos providing there is a minimum of 15 passengers to fill the boat. If there are less than 15 passengers the cost of the boat is 1500 pesos total which can be divided between you and other travelers heading over to the island.
Boats depart from New Maya Port to Malapascua every hour, 7 days a week, between 6:30 am and 4:30 pm.
If for some reason you miss the last boat to Malapascua Cebu, there is accommodation nearby to New Maya Port where you will have to spend the night and take the first boat over to the island the following morning. The name of the accommodation is D & N Lodge.
Must Read → 3 Weeks Philippines Itinerary
WHERE TO STAY IN MALAPASCUA
Malapascua Island has dozens of accommodation options to choose from, so I have narrowed it down to a few of the best places to stay to fit the needs of budget backpackers, luxury travelers, and everyone in between.
See the list of accommodations below that I personally recommend:
Luxury: Tepanee Beach Resort
Tepanee Beach Resort is the best luxury accommodation on the oceanfront. Featuring a private beach area, hot tub, an in-house restaurant with a bar, beautiful gardens, and free wifi. The beachside cottages are cozy with bamboo furnishings and fitted with air conditioning, a minibar, a large bed, a private bathroom, and a balcony. Tepanee beach Resort can also help you to organize water activities, island hopping tours, and scuba diving. Recommended for couples, families, and friends!
Mid Range: HippoCampus Beach Resort
This 3-star accommodation is one of the most popular places to stay on the island. Located on the shores of Bounty Beach, Hippocampus features a seaside restaurant and bar, tropical gardens, and a dive shop. Each room has air conditioning/fan, large beds, a private bathroom, a work desk, free wifi, and ocean views from the balcony! PADI and SSI-certified scuba diving are also available at the resort. Perfect place to stay for friends, couples, and families!
Budget: Neverland Malapascua
I personally stayed at Neverland and can’t recommend this place enough! The staff are super friendly and will welcome you into their loving community. The rooms available are thatched bamboo huts that sleep up to two people and fitted with power sockets, a fan, comfortable beds, and a mosquito net. There is also a dormitory room with bunk beds if you don’t mind sharing a room with other guests. Neverland has an in-house vegan restaurant with delicious food and the wifi is solid! For all you budget travelers, I can highly recommend staying at Neverland during your visit.
THINGS TO DO IN MALAPASCUA
Now that you’ve got all the information on where to stay in Malapascua Cebu, the best time to visit, and all the logistics, let’s get to the fun stuff!
So without further ado, here is my ultimate guide to the 11 Best Things To Do In Malapascua!
The first thing I recommend doing when you arrive on the island is taking a dip in the ocean to cool off and what better spot to do it than at Bounty Beach.
Most popular for its palm-fringed shoreline, white sands, turquoise waters, dive shops, and beach resorts, Bounty Beach is the ultimate paradise.
No matter what time of day you visit Bounty Beach, there are plenty of things to do such as going for a stroll along the coastline, grabbing a bite to eat at one of the seaside restaurants, or beach bumming in a hammock.
One of my favorite spots along Bounty Beach is Ocean Vida Bar and Restaurant featuring bean bags on the sand with candlelit tables and it’s also one of the best spots on Malapascua Island to watch the sunset.
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The second best beach is Langob Beach also known as North Beach. It’s not quite popular as Bounty Beach so you can expect to see fewer tourists here which definitely isn’t a bad thing.
One of the best things to do on Langob Beach is go snorkeling around the reefs just a stone’s throw from the shore. It’s a popular location to spot large sardine bait balls that circulate the area. Be sure to pack a quick-dry travel towel to dry off after snorkeling.
Once a week, Neverland Hostel hosts a beach clean-up that everybody is welcome to join and it’s a great opportunity to meet other like-minded travelers along with the resident locals whilst doing a great deed for the environment.
Related Article → 15 Things To Do In Bantayan Island
LAPUS LAPUS CLIFF JUMPING
One of the best cliff jumping spots on the island is the Lapus Lapus cliff jump located on the northwestern tip of the island. This is one adventure you must add to your itinerary.
Lapus Lapus cliff features a range of different cliff jumps starting as low as 5 meters and the highest being 15 meters. Make sure to visit during high tide if you are game enough to take the leap.
If you happen to visit Lapus Lapus cliff during low tide you can explore the beaches and the caves at the base of the cliffs.
Hidden Beach isn’t the most ‘Hidden Beach’ but it is indeed a worthy spot for a quick swim and a snorkel while you are adventuring around Malapascua Island.
Hidden Beach is located on the far most eastern end of Langob Beach and there is a set of concrete stairs leading over the headland which emerges onto the pristine shoreline of the so-called ‘Hidden Beach’.
Beach bum on the sand, snorkel the reef or explore the abandoned resort that was semi-destroyed during the infamous Yolanda typhoon of 2013.
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Gugma Beach is yet another iconic location that lies in an idyllic cove surrounded by coconut palms and a colorful coral reef.
Gugma Beach can be easily reached via a dirt trail from Hidden Beach. The short walk beneath the palm trees makes for a great photo spot.
The only downside to Gugma Beach is the uninviting sea urchins that lurk in the shallow waters of the reef. But please don’t let this deter you from visiting as there are some nicer spots to swim at the southern end of Gugma Beach.
Must Read → 11 Best Beaches In Cebu
DIVING IN MALAPASCUA
For all you scuba divers, you’re in for a real treat when visiting Malapascua Cebu as it’s home to a very fascinating underwater species, the Thresher Shark. Thresher Sharks can grow up to 4 meters long and the most unique feature on their bodies is their long whip-like tail.
This is the only place you can dive with Thresher Sharks in the Philippines and it’s said to be the only place in the world where they can be seen regularly.
Furthermore, it’s the main reason why Malapascua has made its mark on the map, ultimately becoming a popular tourist destination.
Diving with Thresher Sharks in Malapascua is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that can be organized through one of the many dive shops on the island.
The Thresher Sharks are typically found at a popular dive site called Monad Shoal in the early hours of each morning. By early hours I mean you have to be in the water before sunrise which is some time between 4 am and 5 am. It’s an early rise but 100% worth getting out of bed for.
It’s a 30-meter dive down to Monad Shoal where you can witness the wrasse, (small fish) cleaning the bacteria off of the Thresher Sharks which is commonly referred to as the ‘cleaning station.’
Diving with the Thresher Sharks is an absolute must during the time you plan on spending here and I guarantee you won’t regret it!
Search All → Dive Resorts in Malapascua
HAPPY HOUR AT HIPPOCAMPUS
Hippocampus Beach Resort plays host to arguably the best beach bar on the island and happy hours are between 4 pm and 6 pm, every day of the week!
After sunset, there is usually a live band playing into the night and it’s a great place to meet other travelers and divers.
Hippocampus also has an in-house restaurant if you wish to stick around after happy hour for dinner and more cocktails.
Search All → Tours in the Philippines with Klook
VILLA SANDRA REGGAE BAR
Villa Sandra is another epic bar and restaurant in Malapascua Cebu that is most popular for its colorful decor and reggae vibes!
My friends and I went to Villa Sandra after happy hour at Hippocampus to see a live reggae band playing some funky beats and the beers were cheap. Lounge out on the cushions or chill in a hammock and enjoy the awesome vibes that Villa Sandra has to offer.
Lighthouse Beach is hands down my favorite spot on Malapascua Cebu to watch the sunset. This tucked-away little cove located on the west coast of the island is not to be missed during your visit.
If you happen to be staying at Neverland Hostel, it’s no more than a 5 to 10-minute walk over the headland to reach the shoreline at Lighthouse Beach.
There’s a small bar built into the cliffs on your way down to the beach, selling cold beers and other mixed drinks. The Lighthouse Beach Bar features a balcony terrace and wooden lounge chairs along the beach which is set up for guests to enjoy a relaxing time with a beer in hand while watching the sun setting over the horizon.
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SATURDAY NIGHT DISCO
Ahhh what can I say about the Saturday Night Disco? It definitely wasn’t my cup of tea but it was the most talked-about party on the island. Push came to shove from one of the guys at my hostel and so we ended up checking it out.
The Saturday Night Disco is held at the community church basketball court on the northern end of the island and the party kicks off at around 11 pm.
Basically, every man, woman, child, and dog will without a doubt be at the Saturday Night Disco having the time of their lives.
The resident DJ plays outdated techno music mixed with a combination of strobe lights, copious amounts of Red Horse beer, and lots of silly dancing! As a tourist attending the Saturday Night Disco, you will be welcomed in as one of the locals to join in on the fun!
Search All → Hostels / Hotels / Resorts in Malapascua
KALANGGAMAN ISLAND DAY TRIP
Last but not least on this list of things to do in Malapascua is a day trip to Kalanggaman Island.
You can book a join-in trip to Kalanggaman Island through any of the dive shops/tour desks along Bounty Beach or organize your own private boat with a local, preferably one day in advance.
Kalanggaman Island is most famous for its incredible sandbar that is surrounded by crystalline waters and a lush palm tree forest on one end. This little tropical paradise seemingly lies in the middle of the ocean.
It takes around 2 hours by boat to reach Kalanggaman Island and the trip costs around 8oo pesos for the boat and 500 pesos entrance fee. This tour also includes a bbq lunch on board the boat.
If you wish to spend a night on Kalanggaman Island the only option is to stay in a tent at the campground on the island. You can take your own tent to set up at the campground or you can rent one when you’re there for around 400 pesos. There is also a fee of 750 pesos that must be paid to stay overnight.
Book Now → Kalanggaman Island Tour From Cebu
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THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
There are no ATM machines on Malapascua Island so you will have to stock up on cash before you arrive. I recommend doing so in Cebu City where there are hundreds of ATM machines located around the city.
Getting around the island is quite simply done by either motorbike, bicycle, or on foot. The majority of travelers will get around by walking as the island is so small and you can literally walk from one end to the other in less than one hour.
If your legs are painted on, you can rent a motorbike from a local for around 300 pesos per day or get a ride on the back of a motorbike taxi for as little as 30 pesos.
The Internet connection on the island is relatively good. Both Smart and Globe SIM cards will work just fine, though if you don’t have either, the best WiFi I found on the island is at Neverland Hostel.
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WHAT TO PACK FOR MALAPASCUA
When visiting the island, here is a list of items I highly recommend bringing with you;
- Sunscreen – the Philippines sun is very strong, so make sure to pack some high-quality sunscreen.
- Quick-dry travel towel – a must for drying off after a dip in the ocean or lying out on the sand.
- Reusable water bottle – stay hydrated by bringing along a reusable water bottle.
- Dry bag – protect your gadgets from any water damage while you’re at the beach.
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MALAPASCUA ISLAND TO BANTAYAN ISLAND
For your next destination, I highly recommend heading over to Bantayan Island which is located just off the northwestern tip of Cebu.
The only way to get to Bantayan Island is to take an outrigger boat and the cost is around 800-900 pesos per person. If you can find a small group of people to share the boat with the cost will be lower.
The journey time to Bantayan Island is around 2 to 3 hours depending on the sea conditions.
See More → 15 Things To Do In Bantayan
BEST TOURS IN CEBU
MORE PHILIPPINES TRAVEL GUIDES
I spent 3 months traveling in the Philippines and have put together a tonne of useful travel guides to help you plan the perfect trip!
EXPLORE MORE: PHILIPPINES TRAVEL GUIDES
TRAVEL RESOURCES FOR YOUR NEXT TRIP
Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or it’s your first trip overseas, here are some useful travel resources to help you kick-start your next adventure!
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Looking for more? Check out my Travel Resources page for further help with your trip planning!
I hope you enjoyed reading this article and if you have any questions at all about Malapascua Cebu, please leave me a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
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THANKS FOR READING
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