Cebu is one of the major provinces of the Phillipines consisting of 187 islands. Cebu is a place to make your dreams of a tropical paradise become a reality whilst you immerse yourself in the interesting history and culture of the locals. There are so many activities to dive into (sometimes literally) and once-in-a-lifetime kind of magic to be explored!
From expansive mountain landscapes and canyons to epic seaside getaways and world-class diving, it’s no wonder that backpackers and travelers from all over the world are completely enchanted by Cebu!
Travel to Cebu and find yourself in amongst seaside vistas, a metropolis city and dense jungles. It can be hard to choose how to spend your days in such an adventure filled place!
Want to know what to do, where to go, what to see…Our Cebu travel guide is the answer.
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The tropical paradise of Cebu has the most great weather. There are no real cold seasons as the temperatures are pretty much always high.
During December to February, the weather is its most pleasant and inviting! The sun is consistent and the ocean waters are warm.
The warmest month is May, that’s when the sun hits its peak and is ready to bless everyone with roaring temperatures with typically hot tropical days and nights.
The typhoon season is between July and September and you wish to skip these months. If you are keen to watch some of Cebu’s most beautiful big storms, then visit during October, as that is Cebu’s wettest month! The rain takes a break and it starts to get very dry during April.
Here is a guideline to what you can expect, on average, during the welcomingly blissful seasons of Cebu!
Average Temperatures Chance of Rain Crowds Overall Grade
January 27°C/81°F Low Medium 😀
February 27°C/81°F Low Medium 😀
March 28°C/82°F Low Medium 😀
April 29°C/84°F Low Medium 🙂
May 30°C/86°F Average Medium 🙂
June 29°C/84°F Average Calm 🙂
July 28°C/82°F High Calm 😐
August 28°C/82°F Very High Calm 🙁
September 29°C/84°F Very High Calm 🙁
October 28°C/82°F Very High Calm 🙁
November 28°C/82°F Average Calm 🙂
December 27°C/81°F Average Medium 😀
It can be quite unnerving to find the right place for you in Cebu, with so many islands and places to choose from, all brimming with life and vibrancy! Where to stay in Cebu will largely depend on what you are wanting to do here.
Cebu city is also popularly known as the Queen City of the South, as it is the largest and oldest city in the whole of the Philippines! It may not be as aesthetically pleasing as some of the other parts of Cebu, but it’s a thriving metropolis in an unexpecting region of the world! Cebu City provides plenty of history, culture, and energy, with an atmosphere that is purely captivating.
Moalboal is an entry point on the way to Panagsama Beach and is an off-the-beaten-track kind of neighborhood. This lazy beach town offers relaxation and is a favorite for the locals even though it has transformed into a developed destination for tourists! Getting away from the bustle and business of most of the other popular areas has never been this easy and comfortable.
Matacan is the dream island for those adventurers seeking the best snorkeling, diving or simply the best places to explore! Also known as Lapu-Lapu, this island features on a lot of island tours and is a must-visit neighborhood in Cebu. White-sand beaches, enchanting marine life, and resorts that suit every type of budget, Matacan has everything!
Best Hostel in Cebu – Hostel Seven
Hostel Seven is definitely at the top of our list when it comes to the best hostels in Cebu! This space is fun and comfortable and suits every type of traveler whether you’re alone or traveling with your whole family. There is a mixture of shared dorms and private rooms to choose from. There is a 24/hour Bar and Kitchen, with a casual rooftop lounge for you to chill and melt the afternoons away.
Best Budget Hotel in Cebu – Zen Rooms Hamersons
Found in Cebu City, Zen Rooms Hamersons is a convenient 11-minute walk from Fuente Osmena Circle, one of the hearts of the city’s entertainment and dining scene! This laid back and affordable hotel offers travelers free wifi, air conditioning, and their restaurant for when you’re seeking an easy early morning fix. Close to the Mactan-Cebu International Airport, and only 2.3kms from the Grand Convention Centre. Zen Rooms Hamersons is value for money, and offers comfortable rooms with excellent service!
Best Luxury Hotel in Cebu – Radisson Blu Cebu
Radisson Blu Cebu is located right in the heart of the thriving Cebu City near to SM City Cebu Mall. Sprawl out at the outdoor pool, treat yourself to the spa and enjoy professional cuisine at the 3 different restaurants offering authentic Filipino and international dining! The Historical attractions, Magellan’s Cross and the Basilica Minore del Sto Niño, are only a 30-minute drive away. The Rooms feature panoramic views of the city as well as the charming Mactan Harbor. After a long day in Cebu’s warm sun, you can enjoy cocktails at The Pool Bar and enjoy the company of other guests!
Located in the Phillipines central Visayas region, Cebu consists of the main island and 167 other islands and islets. The island of Cebu itself is long and narrow with coastal plains, vast stretches of rolling and rugged mountain ranges!
When you travel to Cebu, you will find that the public transit is made up of taxis and motorbikes, prices are super cheap and it is an excellent way to easily get yourself from place to place!
If you enjoy walking, then that is also a wonderful option as you will get a chance to experience the street stalls and mingle with the welcoming locals!
Our itinerary below takes in some of the best places to visit in Cebu as well as some day trips and excursions.
- Why it’s awesome: This important building was erected by Cebu’s substantial Chinese community back in 1972, and is composed of two gorgeous temples!
- Cost: Entrance is free
- Food Recommendation: Stroll over to Ananzi and treat yourself to the first bite of local cuisine served with style! This fabulous restaurant has everything, including suave settings and comfortable seating. We suggest giving the Wagyu beef burger a try!
Many temples have beautiful gardens and placid streams, but this one will greet you with an eye-catching and welcoming great blue dragon at the entrance! The dragon is a famous symbol in China for its good luck, strength, and power.
The two temples here are the Phu Sian Temple (which unfortunately is not open to the public), and the Main Temple that is 270 meters above the sea level! There are 181 steps leading up, these steps were originally made to represent the 81 scriptures of Taoism.
The Main Temple is open for all to come and enjoy the serenity and stunning environment that this temple provides. The entrance to the temple is a replica of the Great Wall of China, and within the grounds you will find a library, church, wishing well and souvenir shop
You will have a chance to dive into the culture and religion of the people in Cebu and watch as locals perform rituals within the Temple. This is a fun way to begin your journey into this fascinating province, and start on the right foot by understanding the magnificent philosophies of the natives!
Insider Tip: If you arrive on a Wednesday or Sunday, watch out for the step-climbing ritual that the devotees go on!
- Why it’s awesome: This is a site that shows off the rich history of The Queen City!
- Cost: Free
- Food Recommendation: Enjoy a legendary steak from The KKD Steak and Barbeque, and if you’re wanting a more light meal then definitely give one of their fantastic soups a go!
The Heritage of Cebu Monument is a massive collection and contribution of sculptures made from all kinds of different materials. These are some of the most stunning artworks in Cebu! Each sculpture depicts an important scene or event from Cebu’s history and heritage. This entire enchanting monument is relatively new and was began in 1997 to be complete by 2000.
The man responsible for gifting us these captivating sculptures is a local artist called Eduardo Castrillo, and he created every one of the masterpieces that make up the Cebu Heritage Monument!
- Why it’s awesome: This Museum dating from the 19th century is beautiful although slightly Westernized.
- Cost: Entrance fee is 70 ($1,30)
- Food Recommendation: The Museum’s Cafe offers such an amazing array of tasty meals and snacks! You are bound to find something you’ll enjoy, and we suggest to wash it all down that you have yourself a cup of thick, bittersweet sikwate (a local chocolate brew). If you want to taste a local meal, go for the ensaymada.
The popular Casa Gorordo Museum evokes the lifestyle of the families who experienced the transformation of the Philippines from a colonial backwater to the modern and free society it is today!
You can learn a lot about Cebu here.
- Why it’s awesome: This exquisite flower garden is at the top of Cebu’s famous mountainside!
- Cost: Entrance fee is ?100 ($2)
- Food Recommendation: Treat yourself to some expertly bakes and sweet treats at La Vie in the Sky! From doughnuts to decorated pastries, you will find it all at this French-themed winery! We suggest giving one of the locally made pastries a taste, you won’t be disappointed.
Terrazas de Flores is a mystifying and beautiful botanical garden that brightly sweeps over the mountainside of Barangay Malubog, in Cebu City. The slope of this botanical garden that is facing the soup is adorned with vibrant and colorful wildflowers that have been carefully planted in rows that give off a powerful and artistic effect to the mountain! Each species of flowers were chosen specifically for their distinctive traits and the way they work together to form blossoming terraces of lush flowers.
Terrazas’ is a huge success although it was originally started as a family project.
The atmosphere of Terrazas De Flores Botanical Garden is alluring and peaceful and visitors come from miles around.
- Why it’s awesome: The Kabang Falls is one of the most beautiful natural waterfalls in Cebu!
- Cost: The habal-habal ride will cost around ?70 – ?75 (Around $1,70)
- Food Recommendation: Head over for dinner at La Tegola Busay and feast on some of the most delicious traditional cuisines! We suggest going one of the many kinds of pasta offered, as each is served traditionally with a flavourful sauce.
Kabang Falls is a must-see attraction that is found within Budlaan in Cebu City. One of the best parts of this glorious waterfall is that it is the only waterfall accessible from the city. The walk up to see The Kabang Falls is tropical and full of indigenous wildlife and vegetation.
Connect with nature on this adventure, and dive into the fresh waters of this popular and remote water source. Laze on the rocks and watch as the sunsets, and refresh yourself after a long day with the soothing surroundings of nature and the flowing energy of the waterfall.
Insider Tip: Pack water with you when you go inland, as it gets super hot and you will want to stay hydrated!
- Free WiFi
- Free Parking
- Why it’s awesome: You can consider The Temple of Leah Cebu’s own version of the Taj Mahal!
- Cost: Entrance is free
- Food Recommendation: Stroll over to the Delice Recipe and have a locally made breakfast that is filling! We suggest trying a Filipino style omelet.
The Temple of Leah was originally constructed 2012. It’s a new building that tells an ancient story! The temple has been built as a shrine to symbolize the undying love and ceaseless devotion that Teodorico Soriano Adarna has for his late wife of 53 years, Leah Villa Albino-Adarna.
The temple was designed to look timeless, channelling the Greek and Roman styles. It is intended to last the ages, lets see if it will.
- Why it’s awesome: This museum was originally built as a prison, but has been transformed into an important and beautiful landmark!
- Cost: Entrance fee is ?75 (Around $1,50)
- Food Recommendation: Have a lazy meal at Casa Verde, and treat yourself to yummy snacks! We suggest tasting one of their light tortillas.
The Museo Sugbo is an excellent sight as well as a truly exciting museum! You can venture the massive gallery that is full of both ancient and modern artworks, and admire the sturdy old coral-stone material that was used to create the building.
Originally, this eye-catching and beautiful structure was Cebu’s provincial jail from 1870, and it was only recently transformed into a museum in 2004. Each of the rooms is now dedicated to the different eras in Cebu’s long and captivating history.
This place that was once called “Carcel de Cebu”, the provincial jail of Cebu, has now become a thriving and entertaining Cebu Provincial Museum.
- Why it’s awesome: It is an example of an authentic and very old home of a Cebuana family!
- Cost: Entrance fee is 50 ($1)
- Food Recommendation: Our Place Bar and Restaurant is a fabulous and relaxed place to enjoy a delicious meal that fills the belly and delights your taste buds! We suggest trying one of the meats and enjoying a light beer.
The Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House is another of Cebu’s interesting and fun landmarks, and it is one of the oldest houses in the whole of the Philippines! The house was originally built back in the late 17th century, and still stands!
This old house is now filled with colorful contemporary and ancient artworks, antique collector’s pieces, and Cebuano-made native furniture. Life-sized statues reign in this home now as homage to the original owners, as well as religious deities and images of saints.
Insider Tip: This area is very Westernized, so don’t be afraid to ask the locals questions about the artwork and story of this home.
- Why it’s awesome: The monastery attracted a lot of attention after the late president Cory Aquino sought refuge within the monastery after the People Power Revolution.
- Cost: Entrance is free
- Food Recommendation: The Weekend is a restaurant worth visiting and going to again and again! We suggest any one of their light meals – amazing!.
Carmelite Monastery is found in Cebu City and it is the home of the well respected Carmelite nuns.
Plenty of the devotees in Cebu visit the chapel to hear mass or to light up candles and say their prayers. The Clementine Monastery is a true haven of solitude in the middle of a busy and bustling metropolitan city
The architecture is magnificent, and as you arrive you will step through huge double doors that are framed by elegant white curved walls, stained glass windows, and religious artwork.
- Why it’s awesome: Lambug is one of Cebu’s most fantastic and pristine beaches
- Cost: Entrance is free
- Food Recommendation: Mayas Native Garden Restaurant serves fresh food with wonderful herbs and especially tasty chips! We suggest ordering yourself one of the seafood courses if you want to taste traditional Filipino fish!
Cebu never ceases to amaze and astound us with its white sand beaches, abundant sea life, vibrant corals and ever smooth ocean waters! Lambug beach has all of this and provides everything you would want for the perfect afternoon under the tropical sun. It is undeniably one of the hottest go-to beach destinations, so go ahead and dive into the welcoming crystal clear water, laze under the great blue skies and bask in the refreshing scenery!
You will be enthralled by the atmosphere of this beach! You can even pitch up a tent and camp out under the stars for the night, and it is completely safe. You can go for long walks and collect seashells, whilst smoothing your feet along the fine white sands.
Treat yourself to one of the very best parts of Cebu and soak up the magic on this epic beach paradise to end your 2 days in Cebu!
Insider Tip: Find natural and hidden away falls within the jungle areas of Lambug Beach!
There are loads of day trips to enhance travels to Cebu! We have listed some of the most exhilarating adventures for you to go on during your stay. Whether you’re just spending the weekend in Cebu or more than 3 days in Cebu, we have you!
- This is the oldest public market in the whole of Cebu City!
- Make sure you taste the authentic street food offered at the market; this is a must-do when visiting Cebu!
- Entrance to the market it free
Join this uber vibrant and happening market! The Carbon market is a massive conglomeration of all different types of friendly vendors all selling unique and fascinating goods. This market has become a major tourist destination because of the many choices offered and the extremely inexpensive and beautiful souvenirs provided.
The Carbon Market is named after the neaby Coal depo and is over one hundred years old. The current location of the market used to be the final station of the railway line, where the “coal mountains” once used to power the steam engines were stored.
Here you can enjoy a variety of products, services, and cuisine! It iss a typical Filipino market, so the items offered range all the way from fresh fruit to handcrafted local artwork. Make sure to try out the food at this market, as you will not get a more traditional experience of Cebu’s flavors. One of the most fun ways to travel around this market is to take a ride on the “karetela”, which is a local horse carriage that tours around the market!
- The SM City Cebu Mall is massive, but very well designed so you wont feel too crowded. It is the 6th largest mall in the Philippines!
- You can find 3D Imax movie theatre in the mall!
- Entrance is free
If you are a shopper or you enjoy dazzling places, then be sure to check out the SM City Cebu Mall. This gigantic mall haven is the 11 largest mall in the entire world! The SM City Cebu is an elegant building that sprawls a four-level complex, featuring eight world-class cinemas, department store, massive food court, bowling center, traveler’s lounge, an 8,000-square meter amusement arcade, and a 2,000-square meter trade hall. Above all of that, the mall also hosts around 500 glamorous retail shops, wonderful restaurants, and laid back urban cafes!
When SM City Cebu first opened in 1993, it was only catering to the broad middle class, but to now Fillipinos from across the social spectrum can afford to enjoy the mall. The Northwing opened in 2007 and provides two whole floors of retail restaurants, cafes and retail stores that cater to the leisure market. We all love leisure!
Gaze at the magnificent decor, find bargains and explore the fun that this mall has to offer you!
- This is a huge attraction an attracts large numbers. Thankfully though, the space is huge so everyone is very easily spread out, allowing you peace and privacy!
- As the name suggests, you will see some of the very best views in the whole of Cebu from Mountain View Nature Park!
- Entrance is 100 ($1,80) for adults and 75 ($1,50) for children
The epic mountain side of Cebu has attracted people from around the world. Mountain View Nature Park is tucked in Cebu’s mountainside and in a popular area called Busay.
Busay is has become renowned for its awe-inspiring natural beauty! It is enveloped with indigenous fauna and flora, encapsulating the magic that mother nature provides in Cebu. From the mountaintops of Busay, you can see a panoramic view of the city and the surrounding towns, so be sure to pack your camera long.
The legendary mountain getaway at Mountain View Nature Park offers us a serene escape into the wild, where you can sing at the top of your lungs, enjoy breathtakingly beautiful flowers, and swim in natural waterfalls and pools! You can also explore the Mini Zoo for free once you’ve entered, which is the home to Toucans, monkeys, snakes and other local animals!
There are also a number of awesome attractions found at the park, with the number one being the well-designed pool that is adorned with entertaining fountains and climbing facilities for kids! You will find drinks and food here as well, so you can relax into the bliss that this magnificent park provides!
- The Crown Regency Sky Adventure is a truly most exciting way to push your boundaries and conquer your fears in Cebu!
- This adventure is not for those with a faint heart, squeamish stomach or weak bladder! You will be experiencing some pretty extreme heights!
- Entrance fee is from 250 ($4,80) to 1150 ($22) per person
Fun in the sun has never been quite so exhilarating! Whether you go during the day, or even during the night whilst the stars are out, you will not be disappointed by this once in a lifetime view and experience! The park offers a choice of rides that will take you high up into Cebu’s sky to see the city from a bird’s eye view.
There are a series of extraordinary rides offered!
You will get the chance on the Skywalk Extreme to stroll around the edge of the building connected to an overhead safety harness. This experience will have your heart thudding as you will be 126.55 meters up! You can also brave the skies by going on the Tower Zip that takes you across from two buildings – the country’s first and only urban zip line! The views are outrageous, so it is well worth taking the leap!
For a more chilled and less gravity-defying experience, you can simply go to the 6D movie theatre! It is an in-your-face thrilled adventure complete with rain, wind, snow bubbles and motion seats to blow you away! After your movie, be sure to check out the blacklight mini golf course.
- The Jumalon Butterfly Sanctuary is one of the most popular tourist spots in Cebu!
- There are over 50 different species of rare and exotic butterflies in this sanctuary!
- Entrance fee is 50 ($1) for adults and 25 (50 cents) for children.
The Jumalon Butterfly Sanctuary was built in 1974 by a passionate Cebuano artist by the name of Julian Jumalon. Whilst he was still alive, he planted many varieties of plants food in his garden that now attract these rare beauties. This garden has now become one of the most gorgeous butterfly havens in the world, and boasts the oldest butterfly collection in the Philippines!
Whilst walking through the park, you’ll experience a unique and vast garden that provides you with the chance to see all different types of butterflies in a natural spot where they are free to flutter about flaunting their vibrant and eye-catching colors!
Along with the magical experience of the butterfly-haven itself, you can also indulge in modern art at the Jumalon Art Gallery or even browse the museum. Learn about each rare breed of butterfly, its story and its origin. These beautiful creatures are majestic and are sure to captivate you as you relax in this paradise!
Phillipinos are by and large, very friendly and helpful and crime against tourists is rare.
Some taxi drivers in Cebu will try to rip you off by taking you the long way to your destinations, so we suggest that you get familiar with the map so you know if you might be going off track. Make sure that you discuss and agree on the cost of your trip before accepting the ride!
Snatch-and-grab happens in a lot of famous tourist destinations, and so it is a good idea to pack your things in a backpack that has a lock or to keep your handbag safely and firmly in your hands when walking down local streets.
The children in Cebu are often forced to beg, and sometimes it can get quite excessive. Although we know how heartbreaking it can be, we suggest that you do not give in. Once you give to a single one, you will not be left alone and the rest will flock! Politely say ‘No’ and after a while, you will be left alone to enjoy your walk.
Our guide to staying safe when traveling is full of basic good hints and tips and is well worth taking the time to read.
Don’t forget to sort your travel insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of the best travel insurance for backpackers, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads now, our favourite travel insurance provider.
Fill your sunlit days with fun escapades around Cebu, learning about the culture and experiencing some of the best parts of this colorful province!
Half Day Cebu Arts and Crafts Tour
Cebu is known for having some exquisite art so come and see for yourself how it is made. You will watch in awe as local craftsmen make these magnificent works using indigenous, natural materials! Embark on an adventure into the world of Cebu’s artists!
Oslob Whale Shark Swimming and Kawasan Falls Canyoneering
Start your tour with a once-in-a-lifetime ocean dive that you will stay in your heart forever! Enjoy a swim with wild Whale Sharks. Despite this species’ intimidating name you will see they are actually docile creatures who are remarkably friendly with humans. In fact you can even rub their bellies!
These docile and friendly creatures are not to be feared, and a close up encounter with them will have you feeling enchanted by their majestic nature. These animals are now an endangered species, and having a chance to be in their habitat will only enhance your appreciation for their beauty!
This is included with a private tour that will also take you canyoneering in the picturesque cliffs of Badian as you take for the hills. You will easily understand why Cebu has become renowned for its rolling landscapes and mountains!
Day Tour Island Hopping Adventure With Picnic Lunch
Bask in the sun for the whole day and work on that perfect tan! Go on a full day tour of Cebu’s best and most beautiful tropical beaches! This fun-filled and exciting ‘island hop’ tour will take you to all of the islands in the Mactan channel.
Not only that but you will be going to these beaches on a motorized canoe, known as a “banca” and have an opportunity to go snorkeling with the island’s magnificent aquatic life and diving in the warm ocean waters! After you have worked your appetite up, chow down on a delicious grilled lunch served in a picnic style whilst you laze on the white sands of Cebu.
No backpacking trip to the Philippines is complete without at least some time spent island hopping.
Mactan and Twin City Tour With Lunch
Explore the Queen City of Cebu and discover all of the wonders that await you in this uniquely tropical metropolis! The oldest city in the Philippines has so many spots and sights to share, and a private tour will show you all of them on this full-day tour. Embark on your sightseeing to the Basilica of the Holy Child, See Magellan’s Cross, and plenty of other fascinating historical sites that date back to the 16th century.
This Cebu city tour is rich with its diverse heritage and each of these sites capture the essence of the many marvelous stories!
Cebu: Southern Countryside
Cebu not only has some of the most amazingly beautiful seashores and cliffs, but also a scenic countryside with plenty of indigenous plantations! Enjoy a tranquil journey as you explore the gorgeous countryside surrounding Carcar. As you walk, you will catch glimpses of local rural life with this fantastic Cebu tour guide.
Watch as they go about shoemaking, cooking gourmet dishes, carving ingenious wood sculptures and relaxing as they weave baskets. You will see all of this and more as you see the authentic life of Cebu’s people, all whilst visiting centuries-old churches and prominent historical sites.
Backpacking Cebu on a budget is an unforgettable ride. Cebi is destination that can be enjoyed by tourists from all walks of life and all over the world! Our Complete Cebu Travel Guide will make each and every day of your Cebu trip an eye-opening and exciting journey!!!!
Cebu has an unending array of scenic, tropical and heart-stoppingly beautiful adventures just waiting to be had by you!
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