Pristine white sand beaches, lush jungles, charming villages and delicious food – and all of that comes at a great price! It’s no wonder Cebu attracts tourists from all around the world.

But Cebu is a large island with many diverse communities. Which is why we put together this guide for where to stay in Cebu.

This article was written for travellers by travellers. It looks at the best places to stay in Cebu and breaks them down by interest so you’ll know the best areas to stay in Cebu based on what you want to do. So whether you’re looking to party all night long, explore the coral reefs, or lounge on the beach, after reading this Cebu neighbourhood guide you’ll be able to book with confidence and ease.

Here are our top picks for where to stay in Cebu, Philippines.

Where to Stay in Cebu

Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Cebu.

Best Airbnb in Cebu: Beautiful condominium

Beautiful condominium

This absolutely stunning Airbnb is the perfect place for your first stay in Cebu. Located centrally, yet in a quiet location, you can walk to the main hot spots in no time, while also being able to enjoy a good nights sleep. The condo is modern and designed in a Japanese style, has an amazing view of the city and gives you access to the rooftop gym as well.

Best Hostel in Cebu: Mad Monkey Cebu City

Mad Monkey Cebu City

Mad Monkey Cebu City is the best hostel in Cebu. It is situated at the heart of the city and is just minutes away from the best tourist attractions and landmarks. This excellent hostel has clean and comfortable private and dorm rooms with modern amenities. There’s also a pool and sun deck.

Need to spend some quality time with fellow backpackers? Get your fix by staying at one of these amazing hostels in Cebu!

Best Hotel in Cebu: Costabella Tropical Beach Hotel

Costabella Tropical Beach Hotel

The Costabella Tropical Beach Hotel is our favourite hotel in Cebu. It provides four-star accommodation with tennis courts, a swimming pool, a private beach and a variety of family-friendly activities. Its rooms are spacious and peaceful, perfect for relaxing after a day at the beach.

Cebu Neighbourhood Guide

FIRST TIME IN CEBU
Cebu City
FIRST TIME IN CEBU

Cebu City

Cebu City is our top choice for where to stay if you’re visiting Cebu for the first time. It is a busy and energetic city that seamlessly combines its diverse and rich history with modern architecture, delicious restaurants, and wild nightlife.

ON A BUDGET
Malapascua, Cebu
ON A BUDGET

Malapascua

Malapascua is an isolated and quiet island located off the northern coast of Cebu Island. It is small and idyllic with golden-sand beaches, swaying palm trees, lush green jungle, and turquoise waters.

NIGHTLIFE
Mango Square Cebu
NIGHTLIFE

Mango Square

Mango Square is a lively and exciting neighbourhood located at the heart of Cebu City. It is an exciting and buzzing neighbourhood and is our number one choice for where to stay in Cebu for nightlife.

COOLEST PLACE TO STAY
Moalboal
COOLEST PLACE TO STAY

Moalboal

Moalboal is the coolest neighbourhood in Cebu. It is a small town set on Cebu’s southwestern coast that offers an array of incredible natural experiences as well as authentic Filippino culture without the throngs of tourists.

FOR FAMILIES
Lapu Lapu, Cebu
FOR FAMILIES

Lapu Lapu

Lapu Lapu is a small island situated east of Cebu City. It’s one of the busiest areas of the city and is often a jumping off point for travellers to explore other parts of the Philippines.

Cebu is a spectacular island.

Pristine white sand beaches, lush green jungles, and crystal clear turquoise waters are just a few of the features that initially draw tourists from around the world. But once in Cebu, visitors discover a world of natural wonders, cultural attractions and historic landmarks to experience and explore. Throw in delicious food and a vibrant nightlife, and Cebu is certainly one of the best destinations for travellers in the Philippines. Whatever your Cebu itinerary consists of, you will be assured an amazing time here.

Cebu is a long and narrow island with a central mountainous spine and a number of touristic areas dotted along the coast. To help you plan your upcoming trip to Cebu, this guide will look at Cebu’s best neighbourhoods in detail.

Cebu City is the largest city and centre of the island. It’s the best area in Cebu to stay if you’re visiting for the first time or are keen to see the best places in Cebu as well as explore the city’s history and culture. Not visiting for long? This is also our best recommendation for where to stay in Cebu for one night because is such a diverse array of accommodation options.

This thriving and energetic metropolis is also home to Mango Square, the best neighbourhood to stay in Cebu for nightlife. Here you’ll find everything from thriving clubs and laid-back bars to Irish pubs and delicious restaurants.

Head east of the city to Lapu Lapu. Well-connected but separated from the city centre, Lapu Lapu is our top recommendation for where to stay in Cebu with kids because it has great beaches, tasty restaurants and lots of family-friendly activities.

Travel as far north as you can on the island, and then travel a little bit more and you’ll arrive in Malapascua. This quiet and remote island offers visitors a break from the hustle and bustle. It has white sandy beaches and excellent hiking trails and is the best neighbourhood in Cebu to stay in if you’re on a budget.

And finally, on the southwestern coast of Cebu Island is Moalboal. One of the coolest neighbourhoods in Cebu, Moalboal offers world-class diving, exquisite white-sand beaches and plenty of charming restaurants.

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Cebu’s 5 Best Neighbourhoods to Stay in

Still not sure where to stay in Cebu? Don’t worry, in this next section we’ll break down each neighbourhood in much more detail.

#1 Cebu City – Where to Stay in Cebu for Your First Time

Cebu City is our top choice for where to stay if you’re visiting Cebu for the first time. It is a busy and energetic city that seamlessly combines its diverse and rich history with modern architecture, delicious restaurants, and wild nightlife.

If you love to shop, Cebu City is for you! This thriving metropolis is home to a number of excellent malls and shopping centres that offer everything from high-end designers to high street shops. You’ll also find a vast array of local shops and independent boutiques lining Cebu City’s buzzing streets. There are also some lovely Cebu Airbnbs in this area.

Cebu City, Cebu

Best Airbnb in Cebu City: Beautiful condominium

Beautiful condominium

This absolutely stunning Airbnb is the perfect place for your first stay in Cebu. Located centrally, yet in a quiet location, you can walk to the main hot spots in no time, while also being able to enjoy a good nights sleep. The condo is modern and designed in a Japanese style, has an amazing view of the city and gives you access to the rooftop gym as well.

Best Hostel in Cebu City: Mad Monkey Cebu City

Mad Monkey Cebu City

Mad Monkey Cebu City is the best hostel in Cebu. It is situated at the heart of the city and is just minutes away from the best tourist attractions and landmarks. This excellent hostel offers clean and comfortable rooms with modern amenities. There’s also a pool and sun deck.

Best Hotel in Cebu: Griffin Hotel and Suites

Griffin Hotel and Suites

Griffin Hotel and Suites is suitable for any kind of travel group, and is loved by both solo travelers and families. All rooms come with a private bathroom, internet access and a flatscreen TV. There’s a restaurant on-site, and the hotel is a short walk away from the best things to see in Cebu.

Best Hotel in Cebu City: Harolds Hotel

Harolds Hotel

This four-star hotel is in one of Cebu’s best neighbourhoods. Here you’ll find a vast array of eateries and bistros as well as historical attractions and cultural institutions. Guest can enjoy air-conditioned rooms with private bathrooms, slippers and complimentary tea/coffee.

Things to See and Do in Cebu City

  • Delve deep into local history at the Casa Gorordo Museum.
  • Explore the treasures from the sunken San Diego at Fort San Pedro,
  • Go for a stroll on lively and buzzing Colon Street.
  • Marvel at the Basilica of Santo Nino.
  • Pay homage to Cebu’s musical history at the Jose R Gullas Halad Museum.
  • See the unique Taoist Temple.
  • Step back in time at Heritage of Cebu.
  • Visit Magellan’s Cross.
  • Witness a collection of crocs, snakes, deer and other animals at Crocolandia.

#2 Malapascua – Where to Stay in Cebu on a Budget

Malapascua is an isolated and quiet island located off the northern coast of Cebu Island. It is small and idyllic with golden-sand beaches, swaying palm trees, lush green jungle, and turquoise waters.

This tiny island is a popular destination for scuba divers and snorkelers. Off Malapascua Island, divers can frolic with thresher sharks and swim alongside manta rays in crystal clear waters.

Malapascua also gets our vote for where to stay in Cebu if you’re on a budget. Dotted throughout this idyllic island are a good selection of affordable hostels and hotels, as well as diver resorts, homestays and guesthouses. So, if you’re looking for a relaxing vacation in paradise that won’t break the bank, Malapascua is the place for you!

Malapascua, Cebu

Best Guesthouse in Malapascua: ThresherShack Beachfront

ThresherShack Beachfront

Visiting the Philipines on a budget? This little hostel is perfect for everyone that doesn’t want to spend too much for the night. You’ll have a bed in a shared room and access to all common areas. Keep in mind that there’s no aircon in the room, so it can get a bit hot during summer. However, the location is amazing – walk to the beach, shops and restaurants that are close by in only a couple of minutes.

Best Hostel in Malapascua: Malapascua Budget

Malapascua Budget

This lively hostel is one of the best places in Cebu to stay because it has comfortable and well-equipped rooms, a great location and a social atmosphere. They have free wifi and their helpful staff can help organize all your activities to ensure you have an unforgettable stay in Malapascua.

Best Resort in Malapascua: Hippocampus Beach Resort

Hippocampus Beach Resort

Situated right on the beach front, this resort is very reasonably priced! Due to its proximity to popular diving spots like Monad Shoal, diving excursions and snorkelling are offered for an additional charge. Rooms come with private bathrooms and Wifi access, and there’s an international restaurant and bar downstairs.

Best Hotel in Malapascua: Malapascua Starlight Resort

Malapascua Starlight Resort

This clean and cosy hotel has everything you need for a comfortable stay close to nature. Rooms come with garden views, air-conditioning and internet access. Room-service is available, and there’s also a snack bar onsite. A 5 minute stroll will get you to Bounty Beach, and Mangrove Bay is less than a mile away.

Things to See and Do in Malapascua

  • Dive deep and see thresher sharks in crystal clear waters.
  • Go cliff jumping at Los Bamboos.
  • Go for a swim in the Ogton Cave Pool.
  • Head to Ocean Vida for happy hour.
  • Indulge in binignit, a delicious local desert.
  • Rest, relax and soak up some rays at stunning Sugar Beach.
  • Spend a day relaxing on the golden sands of Langob Beach.
  • Visit the Malapascua Light House.
  • Walk the stunning coastline at Bounty Beach.
Klook.com

#3 Mango Square – Where to Stay in Cebu for Nightlife

Mango Square is a lively and exciting neighbourhood located at the heart of Cebu City. It is an exciting and buzzing neighbourhood and is our number one choice for where to stay in Cebu for nightlife.

The epicentre of Cebu’s nightlife, Mango Square is packed with bars, pubs and restaurants as well as thriving clubs and boisterous dance floors. So whether you want to enjoy laidback drinks or dance from dusk until dawn to the latest tunes, Mango Square is bursting with incredible and unforgettable options.

Mango Square Cebu
Source: heewon han (Shutterstock)

Best Airbnb in Mango Square: Summer Leaves Room Apartment

Summer Leaves Room Apartment

This brand new condo unit in the purpose-built Horizons building is bright and cosy. The accommodation is simple but central, situated within walking distance of shops, restaurants and night markets. Up to three guests can stay in the studio, which enjoys stunning views over the city.

Best Hostel in Mango Square: Bunks Hostel

Bunks Hostel

Bunks Hostel is a cosy and quaint dorm hostel in central Cebu. It’s an excellent option for Cebu accommodation because it’s close to excellent nightlife, including bars, restaurants and clubs. This property boasts a common room, a rooftop deck and a welcoming and social atmosphere.

Best Hotel in Mango Square: OYO 227 Palladium Suites Hotel

OYO 227 Palladium Suites Hotel

The location of this hotel is hard to beat, as it’s within easy walking distance of shops, restaurants and bars, cafes and top attractions. Each room in this hotel comes with air-conditioning, a private bathroom and toiletries. Room service is also available – perfect for the morning after a big night.

Best Hotel in Mango Square: Hotel Capada

Hotel Capada

With a large garden and spacious terrace, Hotel Capada provides a space to relax in the city. Family rooms are available, as well as free wifi and a 24-hour reception. The hotel is within walking distance of various attractions and monuments, including the Cebu Heritage Monument and Magellan’s Cross.

Things to See and Do in Mango Square

  • Belt out your favourite tunes at Steve’s Music Bar and Karaoke.
  • Bright lights and loud music – Ultra Club is always a good idea.
  • Dance the night away at J. AVE Superclub, one of Cebu City’s most popular clubs.
  • Drink, dance and party any night of the week at stylish Club Holic & Mixx.
  • Enjoy drinks at laid-back and comfortable Club Bai.
  • Grab a pint at Marshall’s Irish Pub.
  • Listen to great hip-hop at vibrant Sentral.
  • Party until dawn at energetic Club Hype.
  • Rub elbows with Cebu’s elite at Live Super Club.
  • Sip cheap cocktails at lively Alchology.

#4 Moalboal – Coolest Place to Stay in Cebu

Moalboal is the coolest neighbourhood in Cebu. It is a small town set on Cebu’s southwestern coast that offers an array of incredible natural experiences as well as authentic Filippino culture without the throngs of tourists.

Surrounded by coral reefs, Moalboal is an excellent destination for divers and snorkelers. Here you can explore colourful coral and swim with exotic fish in crystal clear turquoise waters.

Hikers and trekkers will also enjoy the fruits of Moalboal. The area is covered in dense tropical rainforests with rivers and canyons just waiting to be explored.

Moalboal

Best Airbnb in Moalboal: Private room with free scooter

Private room with free scooter

Booking this Airbnb, an amazing stay is guaranteed. The affordable private room is in a top location, and the host even provides a free scooter! Exploring the area on your bike is much more enjoyable than walking everywhere or trying to bargain for a cheap taxi rate. The private room offers a comfy bed, a nice bathroom and, most importantly, aircon!

Best Hostel in Moalboal: Moalboal Backpacker Lodge

Moalboal Backpacker Lodge

The Moalboal Backpackers Lodge is one of the coolest places to stay in Cebu. It allows for easy access to the beaches of Moalboal as well as the natural attractions scattered around the island. They offer private and dorm-style rooms with comfortable beds and comfortable hammocks. Free coffee is also available to guests each morning.

Best Hotel in Moalboal: The Blue Orchid Resort

The Blue Orchid Resort

Large rooms, comfortable beds and stunning views – you won’t find a better hotel in Moalboal, one of the coolest places to stay in Cebu. Rooms are equipped with private showers and a myriad of modern amenities. Guests can enjoy a swimming pool, diving centre and an on-site restaurant.

Best Hotel in Moalboal: Dolphin House Resort

Dolphin House Resort

The Dolphin House Resort is ideally located in Moalboal. It is close to the beach and popular attractions throughout the island. Rooms are stylish and luxurious and each is outfitted with a refrigerator, ceiling fan and wifi access. There’s also an outdoor swimming pool and a terrace.

Things to See and Do in Moalboal

  • Bask in the sunshine at beautiful and quiet White Beach.
  • Dine on tasty and affordable Filipino-German fusion fare at Arista Restaurant.
  • Don’t miss the “sardine run,” where you’ll see thousands of fish take over the area.
  • Get your adrenaline pumping by cliff jumping at Kawasan Water Falls.
  • Go for a stroll along the sands of Lambug Beach.
  • Head to Basdiot Panagsama, an excellent dive spot known for the many marine animals and sea creatures that can be seen here.
  • See a vast array of flowers and local wildlife at the Orchid Gallery.
  • Strap on your snorkel and discover what lives on Cebu’s hard and soft coral reefs.

#5 Lapu Lapu – Where to Stay in Cebu for Families

Lapu Lapu is a small island situated east of Cebu City. It’s one of the busiest areas of the city and is often a jumping off point for travellers to explore other parts of the Philippines.

But, travel outside of the centre, and Lapu Lapu is a magnificent island with beautiful beaches, swaying palm trees and shimmering azure waters.

Idyllic Lapu Lapu is our top pick for where to stay in Cebu with kids because it has an excellent selection of things to do. From swimming, snorkelling and lounging on the beach to day trips, natural attractions, and Filippino cultural shows, Lapu Lapu is bursting with things to see, do and enjoy.

Lapu Lapu, Cebu

Best Airbnb in Lapu Lapu: Sky Ocean View Apartment

Sky Ocean View Apartment

With unspoilt sea views and space enough for 6 guests, this Airbnb is the perfect base for families visiting Lapu Lapu. Guests will have access to the pool, sauna and gym, as well as internet access throughout their stay. It’s located in Punta Engaño at the very tip of the island, adding a sense of privacy to the apartment.

Best Hostel in Lapu Lapu: Murals Mactan

Murals Mactan

Murals Mactan is everything you could possibly want from a hostel – and then some. It’s modern and stylishly decorated, creating a comfortable space for you to relax in. It’s just a 15 minute drive from the airport and within walking distance from shops, eateries and grocery stores. Breakfast is complementary and served on the rooftop café.

Best Hotel in Lapu Lapu: Costabella Tropical Beach Hotel

Costabella Tropical Beach Hotel

The Costabella Tropical Beach Hotel is our favourite hotel in Cebu. It provides four-star accommodation with tennis courts, a swimming pool, a private beach and a variety of family-friendly activities. Its rooms are spacious and peaceful, perfect for relaxing after a day at the beach.

Best Boutique Hotel in Lapu Lapu: Appleton Boutique Hotel

Appleton Boutique Hotel

This boutique hotel in Lapu Lapu is a popular accommodation option for families visiting Cebu. Free airport shuttles and the onsite restaurant and spa mean staying here is completely hassle-free. Rooms come with free wifi, air-con, a minibar and flat-screen TV – so there’ll be plenty to do throughout your stay.

Things to See and Do in Lapu Lapu

  • Build sandcastles at White Sands beach.
  • Catch a ride on a colourful jeepney and explore the island.
  • Excite your senses with flavourful Mexican fare at Banana Moon.
  • Experience the grace and heritage of Filipino culture by catching a performance at the Jungle Restaurant and Entertainment.
  • Learn to scuba dive and explore the colourful world beneath the waves.
  • Soak up some rays at Blue Waters beach.
  • Take a day trip to nearby Cabilao.
  • Visit the Lapu-Lapu Monument, a shrine to a local hero who fought against Magellan in 1521.

FAQ about Finding a Place to Stay in Cebu

Here’s what people usually ask us about the areas of Cebu and where to stay.

Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Cebu

Cebu is nothing short of paradise. Golden sand beaches, lush jungles, and sparkling blue waters are just a few of the things that attract tourists from all around the world. But this incredible island also has great nightlife, world-class diving and diverse history, making it a fantastic destination for travellers of all interests, styles and budgets.

In this Cebu neighbourhood guide, we’ve looked at the best places to stay on the island. If you’re still not sure which area is right for you, here is a quick recap:

Mad Monkey Cebu City in Cebu City is our favourite hostel because it has comfortable beds and excellent amenities, like a fantastic swimming pool.

Not keen on hostels? Costabella Tropical Beach Hotel is another excellent Cebu accommodation option. This four-star hotel has a private beach, plenty of activities and offers spacious and relaxing rooms.

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