An island-hopping tour to Balicasag Island and Virgin Island Bohol is an absolute MUST on your Bohol itinerary.
The Bohol Island Hopping Tour includes dolphin watching from the boat, snorkeling with sea turtles on Balicasag Island, and a visit to the unique sand bar on Virgin Island Bohol.
It was by far the highlight of my trip and I can’t recommend this tour enough.
Here is the ultimate guide to visiting both of these islands including where to book and what to expect on the tour!
WHERE TO BOOK?
I recommend booking the Bohol Island Hopping Tour online in advance with Viator.
The Bohol island-hopping tour takes around five to six hours from start to finish.
It includes transport by boat from Panglao to Balicasag Island, secondly to Virgin Island Bohol, and then finally returning back to Panglao.
Book Now → Bohol Island Hopping Tour
MY EXPERIENCE ON THE BALICASAG ISLAND TOUR
Our trip began at 5:45 am when my friends and I met our skipper and guide at the meeting point down on Alona Beach in Panglao.
The first mission was to find dolphins on our way over to Balicasag and we got lucky when one breached out of the water right next to our boat.
My buddy also spotted a stingray flying out of the water nearby.
It all happened so fast that I couldn’t get my camera out quickly enough to capture it all.
I guess some experiences like this are best left unphotographed. But damn I wish I had my camera at the ready.
As the boat neared Balicasag, which is only a 30-minute trip over from Panglao, we could already see the colorful reef from the boat, that’s how insanely clear and pristine the water is.
I know I have repeated these words quite frequently but the water surrounding the island was arguably the bluest water I have ever seen!
See More → 31 Epic Things To Do In Bohol
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BALICASAG ISLAND SNORKELING
Balicasag Island is home to one of the best beaches in Bohol purely for its glistening white sands and abundant marine life just offshore.
When you arrive on the boat, you can rent snorkeling equipment from one of the many shacks dotted along the beach.
A mask and snorkel costs 150 Pesos and then they will try to charge you an extra 250 Pesos for a guide which is not necessary.
Just pay for your snorkel set and walk around to the opposite side of the island where there are fewer tourist boats.
The majority of the tourists snorkel on the side of the island where all the boats are parked but definitely veer away from this area and head to the other side of the island.
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Snorkeling in Balicasag Island was the highlight of my trip to Bohol.
As soon as I dived into the shallow waters with my mask and snorkel I spotted a sea turtle cruising across the reef about 5 meters from the shoreline.
I remember squealing like a little girl with excitement! I knew this place was renowned for sea turtles residing in the reefs here but I did not expect to find one that easily.
Book Now → Island Hopping Tour
We spent at least two hours snorkeling around the reef and swam with about 15 different turtles. It was a morning that I will never forget!
Apart from turtles, we saw many colorful corals and countless species of fish beneath the surface.
VIRGIN ISLAND BOHOL
After a memorable few hours spent on Balicasag, we then continued the Bohol Island Hopping Tour over to Virgin Island Bohol Philippines.
It was still high tide when we arrived on Virgin Island Bohol so the sand bar wasn’t completely exposed.
And on top of that, we were 1 of about 30 other tourist boats that were also parked up on the island.
I was a little deterred by the number of tourists at first, but when I got off the boat to explore the shallow waters around the sand bar it was quite interesting to see what was going on.
Must Read → 3 Weeks Philippines Itinerary
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Before even having the chance to set foot on the sand bar, a local jewelry seller had boarded our boat and tried convincing us to buy a couple of pearl necklaces.
Once we kindly denied his offer we were able to get off and stroll around.
Most of Virgin Island Panglao consists of floating seafood kitchens which were quite an amusing scene to watch.
You could go up to the boat that had the most appealing seafood and choose whatever you felt like trying such as lobsters, sea urchins, calamari, and fish which they would boil or grill right in front of you.
There was also the option to sit on benches and tables that were half-submerged in water to enjoy your fresh meal.
Apart from that, there isn’t a whole lot to do on Virgin Island Bohol but it’s a very unique experience that I am sure you will enjoy!
The last leg of the boat ride from Virgin Island Bohol to Alona Beach in Panglao takes around 20 minutes and you should arrive back on the mainland around 12 pm just in time for lunch.
WHERE TO STAY IN BOHOL
Panglao in Bohol has hundreds of accommodation options to choose from.
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.
LUXURY: AMORITA RESORT
Experience 5-star luxury at Amorita Resort in Panglao Bohol, featuring ocean views, an outdoor infinity pool, an in-house dive shop, free Wi-Fi, a restaurant and bar, and breakfast included.
The rooms are elegantly furnished each with large comfortable beds, air-conditioning, flat-screen TV, a private ensuite bathroom, and a minibar.
Amorita Resort is the perfect place to stay for couples or families on a luxury budget.
MID RANGE: ALONA VIDA BEACH RESORT
Centrally located on Alona Beach in Panglao, Alona Vida Beach Resort features an outdoor pool, direct beach access, massage services, and watersport activities.
They have many room options to choose from including standard, deluxe, superior, and family rooms to suit all travelers.
Rooms are spacious with comfortable beds, private bathrooms, air-conditioning, a balcony with pool views, flat-screen TV, and a minibar.
BUDGET: MOON FOOLS HOSTEL
Located right in the middle of the tourist hub of Panglao, Moon Fools Hostel is a modern, green, and eco-friendly hostel perfect for budget backpackers.
It’s within walking distance of local restaurants, cafes, and a convenience store, and public transport is easily accessible.
Breakfast is included for all guests and free Wi-Fi is available throughout the property.
For All Other Places To Stay, See My Complete Guide On Where To Stay In Bohol
BOOK A BOHOL TOUR
Another great way to see all of the best Bohol tourist spots is to book a Bohol Countryside Tour.
This particular tour is the top-rated tour in Bohol with great reviews.
I can’t recommend this amazing tour enough, especially for first-timers to Bohol!
The Bohol Tour includes the following:
- Chocolate Hills Bohol
- Bilar Manmade Forest
- Bohol Tarsier Sanctuary
- Loboc River Cruise with lunch
- Baclayon Church
Check Availability & Rates: Bohol Countryside Tour
WHAT TO PACK FOR THE PHILIPPINES
When visiting the Philippines, here is a list of items I highly recommend bringing with you.
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More Philippines Travel Guides
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FINAL THOUGHTS – VIRGIN ISLAND BOHOL
I hope you enjoyed reading this article and if you have any questions at all about the Bohol island-hopping tour, please leave me a comment below this post and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
For a quicker response, be sure to join Jonny Melon’s Travel Tribe on Facebook and post your questions or recommendations to our awesome community.
TRAVEL RESOURCES FOR YOUR NEXT TRIP
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THANKS FOR READING
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