Bohol has all the best that’s on offer in the Philippines, with powdery beaches, biodiverse scuba diving, bug-eyed tarsiers and the majestic Chocolate Hills. Enjoy it all to the max with a stay at one of Culture Trip’s curated list of hotels.
Travellers stepping off the boat in Tagbilaran tend to go in one of two directions: north to take up rainforest paddleboarding and canopy ziplining in Loboc, or south to Panglao Island, to flop onto a white-sand beach or dive among soft corals and turtles. Fortunately, you needn’t miss either, as savvy hotel staff can arrange tours and activities for you, as well as provide luxury amenities when you get back from your excursions.
Just across the Borja Bridge from Panglao Island, this stately neocolonial guesthouse makes an excellent base for beach-hopping and exploring the rainforest attractions of Bohol’s inland. Each room is air-conditioned and has a private bathroom with a shower; the attached terrace has excellent ocean views. Breakfast is available for an additional charge. Ask the staff about the airport shuttle service, should you need it.
Just 2km (1mi) from the southern edge of Panglao – a five-minute ride from Libaong White and Dumaluan beaches – these air-conditioned, bamboo homes are well placed for exploring sights all over Bohol. Scooters rentals are at hand, allowing you to explore the waterfalls, Chocolate Hills and Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary at your own pace. Filipino and Western-style meals are available all day – try the chicken adobo. Professional full-body massages are available on request, too.
Set in Panglao’s leafy inland, a six-minute drive from the airport, this idyllic resort is a great base for relaxation after days of beach picnics and water sports. Kids will love the giant slide and toy-filled playroom, while grown-ups will appreciate the on-site babysitting services. The resort provides a complimentary shuttle to Libaong White and Dumaluan beaches and arranges diving tours with local operators.
This combined resort and dive centre on Panglao’s southwestern corner has facilities for landlubbers and water babies alike. Beginners can grasp the basics of scuba diving with a lesson in the resort pool, while others can take a short boat trip to Balicasag – Panglao’s prime diving site and a haven for soft corals, turtles and barracuda. Rooms and bungalows sleep up to four guests and feature plenty of tiling and bamboo – bear in mind air-conditioned rooms cost extra. The bar serves international food and has a billiards area.
Serving tropical vibes with a continental twist, this French-owned resort has immaculate, European-style rooms with fast wifi, Netflix and a private poolside seating area. The large pool also has a whirlpool tub – a rarity for this area. The restaurant serves both Filipino and European dishes – there’s even French camembert on offer. Rent scooters on-site and drive to Alona Beach in six minutes; Bohol-Panglao International Airport is just three minutes away.
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Overlooking a private beach on Panglao’s southwestern corner, this 208-room resort is a cut above. Modern, orange-accented rooms have pool, forest or sea views; the latter have balconies. Alternatively, book a private villa with a four-poster bed for the ultimate romantic stay. Facilities include a palm-fringed pool, a gym, a lavish spa and water sports such as kayaking and scuba lessons. Six drinking and dining options include the beachside Monkey Bar and Asian comfort food at Bridge.
This collection of apartments in western Panglao is the epitome of laid-back Bohol. All but one of the air-conditioned homes sleep three guests, and each comes with a dining and living area and a kitchenette with a microwave, kettle and toaster. A swimming pool and barbecue space are also available for shared use. You’ll find the best of Panglao’s beaches within a 10-minute drive. Car and scooter rentals are available for exploring farther afield.
It doesn’t get more luxurious than this, a grand wellness resort ringed by a collection of neocolonial villas on Panglao’s secluded northwest corner. Indulge in indoor and outdoor massages at Zenses the Spa, discover ocean-to-table seafood at SEADS (Seafood + Seeds), or sip a cocktail right on the ocean at the bamboo-stilted Nest Bar. Don’t miss the Bamboo Walk, an elevated pathway that weaves through mangroves before emerging onto an ocean-view platform.
Hugging a limestone cliff at the east end of Alona Beach, this luxury resort is enviable in terms of both location and amenities. Two infinity pools have stellar ocean views; unwind further with Filipino massage treatments in the Sea Tree Spa. Contemporary Asian-style accommodation ranges from deluxe rooms with a minibar and rainfall shower to villas with a private plunge pool and lawn. Four restaurants serve Mediterranean classics, Pinoy-style grilled meats and signature cocktails.
This secluded three-bedroom, four-bathroom home is steps from Can-uba Beach. As it’s far from Bohol’s better-known haunts, you’ll likely be the only tourists here. Sleeping up to six guests, the house has free wifi, a well-appointed living room and a kitchen with a gas stove, refrigerator, microwave and dining table for six. Rent transport in the neighbouring town of Jagna. The Chocolate Hills are a one-and-a-half-hour drive from the lodge, and Loboc is one hour away.
These recommendations were updated on December 30, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.