If you are planning a trip to Philippines, then I am sure that you have come across the island of Bohol. A place mostly known for its unique natural landscapes, the Chocolate Hills and the amusing Tarsiers; a unique animal, found in very few places in the world.
The island of Bohol is certainly one of a kind! But in comparison to other islands in Philippines, it is fairly big. If you want to make the most of it, you will need to organise yourself and set priorities.
When I was planning my Philippines itinerary, I came across many blogs saying that you need at least 5 days to the see Bohol, but I found that you can experience all the main touristic spots in only two full days. How? You may ask. By going on tours.
Here’s the video of our time in Bohol, where you can see all the main activities and how we spent our 3 days on the island.
Bohol tours are widely known in the island, and if you walk around the most touristic areas, you will find people selling these tours every five metres.
Now, the thing with these tours is that they are not for everyone – It really does depend on what you want to experience and how much time you have in Bohol. If you are trying to decide whether you want to see the island via tours or independently, here’s what you need to know:
Visit the island independently if:
• You have more than 4 days in the island
• You prefer to take it easy and go at your own pace
• You have very specific places that you want to see
• You are OK with driving a scooter for hours to get from place to place
Choose tours if:
• You have little time in the island and want to see as much as possible
• You have little to none experience driving scooters or don’t feel comfortable driving for hours
• You prefer to be taken to the main spots instead of having to organise it yourself
• You are OK with seeing some additional spots in the island that were not part of your itinerary
Having said that, you could also decide to only go on one of the tours and see the rest of the island by yourself.
In this post, I will be talking about my experience going on the two most famous tours in Bohol – The in-land, Bohol Countryside Tour and the Bohol Island Hopping Tour. Have a read, and decide for yourself is these are for you!
Bohol Countryside Tour
Price: 500 PHP per person = $ 10 USD per person
Time: All day tour, 9AM to 7PM
Now, here’s the trick – You will also have to pay entrance fees at almost every stop in the tour. With these fees, the total of the tour comes up to around 2,450 PHP (= $50 USD) per person, by the end of the day.
Tour activities and stops (for which you have to pay individually) include:
• Chocolate Hills: 50 PHP = $1 USD
• Tarsier Sanctuary*: 100 PHP = $2 USD
• Man-made forest (photo-spot, no fee)
• Hanging Bridge: 35 PHP = $ 0.70 USD
• Butterfly Farm: 50 PHP = $1 USD
• Lunch River Cruise: 750 PHP = $15 USD
• ATV Quad Experience: 1,000 PHP = $20 USD
• Tagbilaran View Point (photo-spot, no fee)
• Tagbilaran Cathedral (photo-spot, no fee)
Note that you don’t have to participate in all of the above (or pay them) if you don’t want to. But if someone in your tour does, you’ll just have to wait for them to finish.
*Something important to note is that most of the tours don’t take you to the actual famous, ecological, Tarsier Sanctuary. There’s many places in Bohol who are calling themselves “Tarsier Sanctuaries” when in reality they only have a couple of trees and Tarsiers in a small space – We were able to see the Tarsiers from very close, but apparently, this is not a healthy and natural environment for the Tarsiers to live in, as they need much more tree space. So, in reality, it’s not really a sanctuary. The one we visited even had other types of animals in cages 🙁
When we booked our tour, we didn’t know this. If going to the real sanctuary is very important to you, then make sure to do your research on the best way to visit it. Apparently, the number of people that can visit the sanctuary in one day is restricted, hence why tour agencies can’t take people there. But even if you ask the tours, they will tell you that you are going to the Sanctuary, and then take you to a fake one…
However, all in all, we thought that this was a great tour to do if it is your only chance to see the Chocolate Hills and the mainland of Bohol. The island is very big, so it is the best and quickest way to see everything in one day. If you were going by scooter, it would take you several days to do the same itinerary.
Bohol Island Hopping Tour
Price: 1,350 PHP = $27 USD per person but, if you negotiate, they can bring it down to 800 PHP = $16 USD per person
Time: 6AM to 1PM
Unlike the countryside tour, the Bohol Island Hopping Tour comes with everything included in the price.
Tour activities and stops include:
• Boat Ride to and from islands
• Dolphin Watching*
• Snorkelling in Balicasag Island
• Virgin Island
*It is worth noting that, even though all the tour companies will advertise dolphin watching as a star activity of the tour, you are most likely not going to see any dolphins. We were told by locals that they hadn’t seen any dolphins in a really long time. This depends on the season and state of the sea on the day that you go.
However, the snorkelling in Balicasag Island was one of the best we’ve ever done. We saw a massive sea turtle and then snorkelled in a swimmers-only section with breath-taking corals and fish.
This tour was definitely the highlight of our stay in Bohol and we would 100% recommend it. The island of Bohol is well known for diving and snorkelling and now we know why…
And if you’re not a big swimmer or diver – don’t worry. You can do this tour with a lifejacket on and seeing the fish from the surface. It is not difficult!
Thank you for reading! Don’t forget to subscribe to nalbatravels.com below to receive notifications when I post a new blog. I have lots of new content about Philippines coming up here and on my YouTube channel.
If you have any questions about the Philippines please drop me a comment below and I will be happy to answer!