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2020 CEBU TRAVEL GUIDE BLOG: Things To Do, Tourist Spots, Itinerary, Hotels, Tour Packages, Travel Tips and More!

THINGS TO DO IN CEBU ITINERARY Tourist Spots Attractions and Things To Do and Experience

Need help in planning your Cebu itinerary? Read on this comprehensive and detailed Cebu Travel Guide Blog with sample itinerary, list of top things to do in Cebu, tourist spots and attractions, recommended hotels, Cebu tour packages and practical travel tips to help you plan your trip.


Cebu one of the most visited tourist destinations in the Philippines. Dubbed as the "Queen City of the South," it boasts of many popular beaches, islands and diving spots. It is also rich in natural wonders such as waterfalls, mountains, and spectacular marine life. In the province's capital - Cebu City, lies most of its historical, cultural, and religious sites such as the Magellan's Cross, Fort San Pedro, Colon Street, and the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño.

At the central part of the province is Metro Cebu, which is a bustling and huge metropolis much like Metro Manila. Rich in history, culture, great-tasting food, and natural wonders, there are so many amazing things to do in Cebu and interesting tourist spots to visit that you will surely enjoy. If it's your first time traveling to Cebu, you have to plan your itinerary very well. The province is so big that it would require you several days to really visit most of the popular tourist destinations in Cebu.

In this Cebu Travel Guide Blog 2020, I will help you in planning an amazing Cebu itinerary. We will be focusing on Cebu City, Mactan, Lapu-lapu, other nearby towns and cities and some parts of South Cebu. Having been to Cebu several times, I must say that there are so many things to do and places to visit in Cebu that you could add in your Cebu Itinerary. For first-timers, I listed here the most popular attractions and things to do in (and near) Metro Cebu, as well as in the Southern part of Cebu.

CEBU TRAVEL GUIDE BLOG 2020 FIRST-TIMERS (UPDATED MAY 2020)



WHAT'S COVERED IN THIS CEBU TRAVEL GUIDE BLOG?


In this Cebu Travel Guide Blog with itinerary, I will provide you some useful information on how to get there, top things to do in Cebu, DIY itinerary, hotel recommendations, suggested tours and more! Are you ready to explore Cebu? Let's get started!


QUICK FACTS ABOUT CEBU


  • Cebu is the name of the provices and Cebu City is the capital city of the province.
  • Metropolitan Cebu, or simply Metro Cebu is composed of Cebu City and six surrounding cities (Carcar, Danao, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Naga, Talisay) and six more municipalities. Located at the central part of Cebu Province, it is the main urban center of the province.
  • Cebu City is the oldest city in the Philippines and is considered as the very first seat of Christianity in the country.
  • Cebu has an international airport, the Mactan-Cebu International Airport. You can go to Cebu directly from many key cities in Asia, and even via a direct flight from the USA.
  • Language: Cebuano, but English and Tagalog are also widely spoken.
  • Currency: Philippine peso (PHP).
  • Mode of Payment: Credit and debit cards are widely accepted in many establishments in the city. If you need to withdraw cash, ATMs can be found in many commercial and business areas in the city.
  • Public Transportation: Main mode of transportation within the city is the jeepney. Multicabs, buses, Grab car and taxis are also available.
  • Both Globe and Smart mobile signals work very well in Metro Cebu. Mobile data internet are also available in most areas.
  • Metro Cebu is highly urbanized and heavily populated metropolis next to Metro Manila. Traffic jam is common in its three major cities: Cebu City, Mandaue City and Lapu-Lapu City. This happens during the rush hours in the morning and in the late afternoon to early evening. Be sure to adjust your itinerary accordingly.
  • The Sinulog Festival is the most popular festival in Cebu. This is also the best time to visit Cebu City.

HOW TO GET TO CEBU?


As a highly urbanized and developed city, Cebu is well-connected from different parts of the country. International Airlines also have direct flights to Cebu coming from different parts of the world.

To get to Cebu, you can take a flight from Manila or from other key cities in the Philippines - such as Davao, Bohol, Iloilo, Bacolod, Dumaguete and Puerto Princesa.

You may also take a ferry, RORO, or fastcraft to Cebu from many parts of the country. Ferry companies such as 2Go, Oceanjet, and Weesam Express have regular trips to Cebu from Manila and from many key cities around the Philippines. Check out the wide array of transportation options below:

You can also SEARCH ferry schedules and availability below:


HOW TO GET TO CEBU CITY FROM MACTAN-CEBU INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT?


Cebu City is about an hour away from Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA). For ease and convenience in traveling from Mactan-Cebu International Airport to Cebu City center, you may book a Private Airport Transfer. Transfers are available 24 hours a day, 7 times a week so you don't have to worry even if you arrive late at night. Get from Mactan-Cebu International Airport to your hotel in no time with a comfortable and safe private transfer. This is ideal for groups because you can split the cost, and it's comfortable transfer especially if you have huge luggage with you or if you're traveling with kids or senior citizens.

CLICK HERE TO BOOK AN AIRPORT TRANSFER


How to get around Cebu?


With so much to offer, Cebu is such an amazing city to explore. For a comfortable tour, I recommend that you avail a private car rental service to visit the best and most popular areas on the island. With a chartered car, you can plan your own perfect day and discover Cebu at your own time, schedule, and itinerary. Alternatively, you can explore Cebu City by public transportation - jeepney, bus, habal-habal, Grab car or taxi are all available. As a huge city, the jeepney is the primary mode of transportation to go to many parts of the city. But if you're not familiar with the routes, I highly recommend booking your transportation via Grab Car or Taxi. This will save you a lot of time and chances of getting lost.

SEE RATES AND CAR AVAILABILITY


If you're traveling outside Metro Cebu, you need to take the bus. If you're going to the towns and cities in the north, go to the Cebu North Bus Terminal in Subangdaku, Mandaue City. If you're going south, you should go to the Cebu South Bus Terminal in Sambag, Cebu City. Here, you'll find buses and minibuses headed to the different municipalities and cities in North/South Cebu.

When is the best time to visit Cebu?


As a tropical country, the Philippines experiences two distinct seasons - wet and dry seasons. During the dry season from December to May, the weather is cooler and there are less chances of rains. The wet season from July to November is when most of the rain showers happen. But this "low season" is also a good time to score cheap airline promos and affordable hotel rooms and tours. This is also the best season if you don't like too much crowd visiting the tourist attractions in Cebu.

If you're into festivals, then January is the best time to visit Cebu. This is when the month-long Sinulog Festival happens. During this time, Cebu City becomes more festive with a lot of events happening. This is also the most crowded and most expensive season to visit Cebu.

CEBU TRAVEL GUIDE TOURIST SPOTS IN CEBU SAMPLE ITINERARY

TOP THINGS TO DO IN CEBU + TOURIST SPOTS AND ATTRACTIONS


What to do in Cebu City? Tourist Spots, Attractions and Things To Do and Experience? Here are some of my recommendations:


THINGS TO DO IN CEBU Tourist Spots Attractions and Things To Do and Experience

1. Say a prayer at Basilica del Sto. Niño


Basílica Menor del Santo Niño de Cebú commonly known as the Santo Niño Basilica is located along Osmeña Boulevard and is one of the most famous landmarks in Cebu. It was founded in the 16th century and it is considered as the oldest Roman Catholic Church established in the country. The present church was completed between 1739-1740 and was built on the spot where the image of the Santo Niño de Cebú was found during the expedition of Miguel López de Legazpi. Since then, it has been the home of the Sto. Niño, which is considered as oldest religious relic in the Philippines in honor to the Holy Child Jesus. Outside the church you can buy candles from the candle vendors and they will ask for your family name, then dance to the high heavens while praying for your family. In front of the church is a huge plaza where masses were also held during the celebration of the annual Sinulog Festival.

THINGS TO DO IN CEBU Tourist Spots Attractions and Things To Do and Experience

2. Visit Magellan's Cross


Just a few steps away from Sto. Niño Church is the Magellan's Cross, a symbol of Roman Catholicism in the Philippines. Housed in a chapel, the cross is said to have been planted through the order of Ferdinand Magellan to signify one important event - the propagation of the Roman Catholic faith in the islands. It also symbolizes the colonization of the Philippines on behalf of King Philip II of Spain.

THINGS TO DO IN CEBU Tourist Spots Attractions and Things To Do and Experience

3. Check out the smallest fort in the country, Fort San Pedro


Fort San Pedro (Fuerza de San Pedro ) is a military defense structure which is considered as the oldest and smallest fort in the country. The fort is triangular in shape consisting of three bastions – La Concepcion, San Ignacio de Loyola and San Miguel. It is located in the area now called Plaza Indepedencia, in the Pier Area of Cebu City.

THINGS TO DO IN CEBU Tourist Spots Attractions and Things To Do and Experience

4. Visit Mactan Shrine


Located in Lapu-lapu City, it is a site dedicated in honor of Lapu-Lapu, Ferdinand Magellan, and the Battle of Mactan. A life-sized statue of Lapu Lapu and a painting that depicts the war of Lapu-Lapu against Ferdinand Magellan can be seen here. It is also the site of Kadaugan sa Mactan festival where a re-enactment of the battle is held every 27th of April every year.

If you're staying in one of the finest resorts in Mactan, why not go on an island hopping tour? Start your island hopping adventure with a nice snorkeling session in Hilutungan Marine reserve. Swim with some tropical fishes and observe some big jack fishes passing by. Enjoy a short swim near the marine reserve of Nalusuan. Relish in a delicious lunch by Pandanon Island.

BOOK A MACTAN ISLAND HOPPING TOUR HERE


THINGS TO DO IN CEBU Tourist Spots Attractions and Things To Do and Experience

5. Shop for Pasalubong and Souvenirs at Tabo-an Market


Located in downtown Cebu City, Tabo-an market is the haven for dried danggit, tuyo, squid and dilis, to name a few. Here, you could also find other Cebu delicacies such as dried mangoes, otap, among many others.

READ ALSO: Top Best Hotels and Resorts in Cebu

THINGS TO DO IN CEBU Tourist Spots Attractions and Things To Do and Experience

6. Get your adrenaline pumping at Sky Experience Adventure


If you're seeking for great adventures within the city, go to Crown Regency Hotel and Towers near Fuente Osmeña. Here, you could try heart-pounding activities such as Edge Coaster, Tower Walk, Urban Zipline and Vertical Climb.

THINGS TO DO IN CEBU Tourist Spots Attractions and Things To Do and Experience

7. Visit the stunning Cebu Provincial Capitol Building


Located in Osmena Blvd., Cebu City, this is the seat of the Provincial government of Cebu.

THINGS TO DO IN CEBU Tourist Spots Attractions and Things To Do and Experience

8. Relieve history by visiting the Heritage of Cebu Monument


Located along the oldest street in the Philippines, Colon Street in Cebu City, it showcases the significant events in the history of Cebu. The monument was done by National Artist Edgardo Castrillo.

THINGS TO DO IN CEBU Tourist Spots Attractions and Things To Do and Experience

9. Pres. Sergio Osmeña Museum


Located along Osmeña Blvd., the ancestral house of Pres. Sergio Osmeña is part of the facility now owned by CAP Educational Plan. Inside, is like a museum that displays old photos and clothes, memorabilia and many things owned by the former president who hails from Cebu. Built in the 1950's, this house where President Osmeña retired after his political defeat against Senator Manuel Roxas.

Address: CAP Building, Osmeña Blvd., Sambag II; Cebu City
Telephone: +63 32 416 4932
Admission Fee: Free

THINGS TO DO IN CEBU TRAVEL GUIDE

10. Cebu Taoist Temple


Located inside the posh Beverly Hills Subdivision in Cebu City, the Cebu Toaist Temple was built in 1972 for Cebu's substantial Chinese community. A must visit place if you are in Cebu, a beautiful piece of oriental culture. It has several lush gardens, plenty of benches and space to relax or reflect and not too crowded. It's beautiful, quiet, and serene place with an outstanding view of the city.

Address: Beverly Hills, Cebu City
Admission Fee: Free
Note: Picture taking of the gods and statutes inside of the temples are not allowed.

THINGS TO DO IN CEBU TRAVEL GUIDE

11. Sirao Flower Gardens


Sirao Flower Garden or Sirao Flower Farm is most popular for their beautiful flower gardens. It has many picturesque spots, flower gardens and you could take as many Instagram-worthy shots as you want. Located on a hilltop overlooking the beautiful sceneries of mountains and hills, every corner of these beautiful gardens will surely be enjoyed by everyone.

THINGS TO DO IN CEBU TRAVEL GUIDE

There are two Sirao Flower Gardens in Cebu. One is the Sirao Pictorial Garden and Camping Site (PGCS) and the other one is the first Sirao Flower Garden located near the PGCS.

THINGS TO DO IN CEBU TRAVEL GUIDE

NOTES:
The first Sirao Flower Garden is open from 06:00 am to 06:30 pm, admission fee is PHP 100 per person. While the Sirao Pictorial Garden and Camping Site is open from 06:00 am to 06:30 pm for all visitors and 6:30 pm to 6:30 am for overnight campers. Entrance fee is PHP 50.00 per person.

For ease and convenience, you may avail a Celosia Flower Farm and Jumalon Butterfly Sanctuary Half Day Tour that covers a visit to Sirao Flower Farm.


THINGS TO DO IN CEBU TRAVEL GUIDE

12. Temple of Leah


Cebu City's Temple of Leah is a symbol of undying love of husband Teodorico Soriano Adarna (grandfather of Filipino actress Ellen Adarna) to his wife Leah Villa Albino-Adarna. Located on top of the hill in barangay Busay in Cebu City, this grand temple is one of Cebu's newest tourist attractions. Built in 2012, it has a Roman Architecture design with a museum, an art gallery, collections from her travels, and a library where all of the favorite things her wife owned are placed.

THINGS TO DO IN CEBU TRAVEL GUIDE

The temple offers great views from the top of the hills overlooking Cebu City. It's definitely one of the most Instagram-worthy places in Cebu City!

Please take note of the following fees and opening hours:
Opening hours: 7:00 am to 6:00 pm daily
Admission fee: ₱50.00 per person
Parking fee: ₱100.00 inside the premises
Contact number: (032) 233-5032

THINGS TO DO IN CEBU TRAVEL GUIDE

13. Terrazas de Flores


Located in Busay Cebu City, Terrazas de Flores is a nice botanical garden with beautiful rows of gardens with more than 120 species of plants and flowers planted on terraces that was carved off the hill. It also has a small cafe where guests could grab a bite while enjoying the lovely and serene surroundings.

It's a peaceful and romantic place perfect for couples or families wanting to experience serenity, relaxation, to reconnect with nature or escape the busy metropolis.

Opening hours: 08:00 am to 12:00 mn
Admission fee: ₱100 per person
Contact number: 0917 653 4227

THINGS TO DO IN CEBU Tourist Spots Attractions and Things To Do and Experience

14. Go on a Food Trip


Eat to your heart’s content and worry about your diet after. Don't miss Cebu's famous lechon, kansi and sutukil. Also, visit Larsian and sample on Cebu’s street food paired with their "puso" (rice wrapped and cooked in palm leaves) and enjoy Cebu food trip at its best!

For ease and convenience, you may also join a Cebu Street Food Half Day Tour that will let you enjoy gastronomical adventure and discover the hidden food gems around the city that most tourists don’t know about.


THINGS TO DO IN SOUTH CEBU Tourist Spots Attractions and Things To Do and Experience

15. Go on a Day Trip outside Metro Cebu


There are indeed so many tourist spots and attractions that you can enjoy, even outside Metro Cebu. From the city, you can go on a day trip to Osmeña Peak in the town of Dalaguete, Mt. Manunggal in Balamban, chase the waterfalls of Kawasan in Badian or the Mantayupan Falls in Barili. You love old churches and structures, you can visit the churches in Carcar, Boljoon, Oslob, and Argao, and even the pilgrimage site of Simala Shrine in Sibonga. If you're looking for an amazing tropical getaway, go to the beaches of Moalboal, Alcoy, Mactan, or Badian. All these can be done on a day tour from Metro Cebu. Read more here.

There are really a lot of things you can do and experience when visiting Cebu. I highly suggest that you visit these tourist spots and attractions and make your first Cebu trip a memorable one.


TRAVEL TIP:

If you're looking for cheap and affordable Cebu City Tour, I highly recommend a Private Cebu Rediscovery Tour which covers a visit to the top tourist spots and attractions in Cebu. Such as the Magellan's Cross, Basilica del Sto Nino, Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, Taoist Temple, Plaza Sugbu and many more. Tour rate starts at ₱ 1,300 pesos per person for a group of 8 pax.

TOP THINGS TO DO IN SOUTH CEBU (Tourist Spots and Attractions)


  • Trek and take a dip at Kawasan Falls
  • Climb Osmeña Peak in Dalaguete
  • Take a dip at Mantayupan Falls in Barili
  • Swim at Moalboal Beach
  • Have a taste of Torta de Argao
  • Visit Boljoon's Church, Escuela Catolica and El Gran Baluarte
  • Visit Oslob's Church and Cuartel
  • Visit Simala Shrine in the town of Sibonga
  • Have a taste of Carcar's Lechon and Chicharon
  • Take a look at the old houses in Carcar
  • Stop by the Carcar Rotunda
  • Visit Carcar Church

For more information on South Cebu's tourist spots, attractions and must-do activities, please visit: 12 THINGS TO DO IN SOUTH CEBU (Tourist Spots, Attractions and Things To Do and Experience).

THINGS TO DO IN SOUTH CEBU Tourist Spots Attractions and Things To Do and Experience
Moalboal Beach

SAMPLE CEBU ITINERARY (3 Days and 2 Nights)


You can use this sample 3 days and 2 nights Cebu itinerary in planning your own trip to Cebu. Feel free to adjust it depending on the things you want to do and on the tourist spots and attractions in Cebu you want to visit.

DAY 1: ARRIVAL + CEBU CITY TOUR PART 1

  • Arrival at Cebu-Mactan International Airport (MCIA)
  • Travel from MCIA to Cebu City
  • Check-in at the Hotel
  • Lunch
  • Cebu City Tour
    • Basilica del Sto. Niño
    • Magellan's Cross
    • Fort San Pedro
    • Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral
  • Dinner
  • Sky Experience Adventure at Crown Regency Hotel & Towers
  • Back at the hotel

DAY 2: SIRAO FLOWER GARDEN, TEMPLE OF LEAH AND MORE!

  • Take a photo of Cebu Provincial Capitol
  • Take a look at Rizal Memorial Library and Museum
  • Visit Sergio Osmeña Museum
  • Visit Cebu Taoist Temple
  • Lunch
  • Enjoy Sirao Flower Gardens
  • Visit Temple of Leah
  • Shop for pasalubong and souvenirs at Tabo-an Market
  • Dinner
  • Chill and relax at Mango Square
  • Back at the hotel

DAY 3: CEBU CITY TOUR PART 2, MACTAN SHRINE + DEPARTURE

  • Visit Heritage of Cebu Monument
  • Explore Colon Street
  • Visit the Jesuit House and the Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House
  • Lunch
  • Hotel check-out
  • Proceed to Mactan
  • Explore Mactan Shrine
  • Go to Mactan-Cebu International Airport
  • Dinner
  • Departure

√ For ease and convenience, you may avail a Private Cebu Rediscovery Tour or a Mactan Island Hopping Tour in exploring Cebu. See other Cebu Tour Packages below.


TRAVEL TIP: For Sample Cebu Itineraries for 4, 5, 6 days or more, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

CEBU TRAVEL GUIDE TOURIST SPOTS IN CEBU SAMPLE ITINERARY

Cebu to Bohol by Ferry


If you wish to visit Bohol from Cebu, I highly suggest that you book a Cebu-Bohol OceanJet Ferry Ticket in advance.
  • Experience hassle-free booking and a fast ferry ride between Cebu and Bohol
  • Go on the easiest and most comfortable way to access the two major tourist destinations in the Visayas region
  • Travel via OceanJet, one of the most reputable ferry operators in the Philippines
  • With a wide variety of departures daily, you can choose a departure time that perfectly fits your schedule

CLICK HERE TO BUY FERRY TICKETS


For hassle-free and organized Bohol Tour, I recommend that you book a Sight-see Bohol Day Tour from trusted and reputable travel agency.


Sight-see Bohol Day Tour


  • Catch a glimpse of the world's smallest primate - the tarsier!
  • Take a cruise along the Loboc River while eating delicious local food
  • Stand in awe as you visit Bohol's famous Chocolate Hills
  • Visit a colorful butterfly sanctuary and stroll through a lush forest
  • Hotel transfers, guide services, ferry tickets and lunch are all included in the tour

CLICK HERE TO SEE RATES AND AVAILABILITY


Sample Cebu to Bohol Day Tour Itinerary:


  • 07:00 am approx. hotel pick up time
  • 09:20 am ferry transfer to Tagbilaran
  • 11:20 am arrive at Tagbilaran Port
  • 11:45 am view famous Tarsiers
  • 12:30 pm lunch at the Loboc river cruise
  • 01:30 pm see the famous Chocolate Hills
  • 02:30 pm sightsee at Bilar man-made forest, Butterfly Sanctuary
  • 03:30 pm visit Baclayon Church and Museum and Blood Compact Monument
  • 05:00 pm end of tour
  • 05:30 pm return ferry back to Cebu
  • 07:30 pm arrive back in Cebu, hotel drop off


WHERE TO STAY: HOTELS AND RESORTS IN CEBU CITY AND MACTAN


Cebu City and Mactan has a wide array of hotels and resorts, affordable and high quality hotels, guest/pension houses, hostel and inns for you to stay in! Depending on the things you want to do and places you want to visit, Cebu City and Mactan are (for me) the best places to stay at. Here are my recommended accommodations in Cebu City and Mactan that I have personally stayed at during my previous trips in Cebu.

Please click the hotel name to read my full review

TRAVEL TIPS: If you want to stay close to the city, check out hotels in Cebu City. If you want to stay in resorts near the beach and near the airport, check out hotels and resorts in Mactan. If you're traveling to Cebu for the Sinulog Festival, the best place to stay is near the route of the festival's main events – the Solemn Procession and Grand Parade. Major roads in Cebu City are closed during these events so it will be best if you find a hotel that is on or closest to the festival route. Also, make sure that you book your hotel 2-3 months in advance as the hotels get fully booked quickly. So, reserve your hotel as early as possible.

READ ALSO: Top Best Hotels and Resorts in Cebu


CLICK HERE TO SEARCH FOR HOTELS AND RESORTS IN CEBU


RECOMMENDED CEBU TOUR PACKAGES


If you're looking for tour packages in Cebu, you may check out the following. Getting a Cebu Tour Package free you of the nitty gritty and tedious task of travel planning, learning how to get there, and creating your itinerary. Here are some of the cheap and affordable tour packages in Cebu that you may consider.


READ MORE HERE: Cheap and Affordable Tour Packages in Cebu

Want more? For more amazing guided tours and exciting day trips in or from Cebu - PLEASE CLICK HERE.


Useful Travel Tips for the Budget Travelers


  • If you’re traveling alone or with your partner, joining a group tour will save you a lot on travel expenses. This is also a good opportunity to meet fellow travelers and gain new friends from around the world.
  • If you’re traveling with your family or group of friends, the most economical way of exploring the city is by renting a car. This way, you could go to the tourist spots and attractions at your own pace, time and itinerary.
  • Staying in hostels or budget hotels could also save you on hotel expenses. As a developed city, you could find plenty of budget hotels and hostels around the city. Find cheap hotels and hostels here.
  • Travel during the "low season" from July to September. You could score low airfare and get promos on hotels during this season. The city is less crowded too during the low season.
  • Avoid Sinulog Festival month of January. This is the most expensive time to travel to Cebu.
  • Get a local SIM card or rent a travel WIFI to keep you connected to the internet. It's cheap and will save you a lot on mobile roaming charges. Check your options here.

Cebu Travel Video



MORE TRAVEL GUIDES BELOW!

LUZON

VISAYAS

MINDANAO
Note: This article was first published on August 2013 and republished on September 2018. Last updated on May 2020.


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