Panglao Island is one of the few small islands in the Philippines that do not require a boat to enter! Just drive quickly across the bridge connecting it to Bohol and voila – you’ve arrived!
Panglao is the perfect island to spend a few days or even a week of life on the slow lane. Spend one day hopping from one white sand beach to another, and the next day join your own pub crawl while enjoying tropical tiki drinks on the Alona strip.
There are plenty of idyllic places for snorkeling, kayaking and diving when you suddenly feel motivated to do something positive.
You’ll find a wide range of accommodation options here, from budget bungalows to mid-range hotels to upscale resorts. During the low season, you can show up to Panglao without a reservation and stroll the beach looking for the best deals.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Panglao:
1. Alona Beach
This is where the magic happens! Arona Beach is the main beach in Panglao. Here you’ll find beachside restaurants with stunning water views, laid-back beachside bars where you can drink until late, and many tourist vendors who want to take you around Bohol or around the island.
Arona Beach is home to some lovely guesthouses that stretch into the jungle. You’ll find cottages with cobblestone walkways and tropical flowers, and you’ll find modest homestays at low prices. It’s the best of both worlds.
2. Massage on the beach
If you’re not interested in massage, it can be hard to shake the friendly and long-lasting massage ladies whose massage tables are set under the shady canopies of the beach. They actually form a human wall to let you in. This is impressive.
But if you’re looking for a massage, you’re in luck! Lie back and let these experienced masseuses work their magic. The price is reasonable and the view is perfect.
Massage girls are there all day, so when you’re ready, you can pamper yourself. Or, if you want to get a massage later, you can schedule a door-to-door service and have them come to your room – perfect for rainy days.
3. Dumaruan Beach
The water is shallow and crystal clear, and you can set foot in the sea for a long time. Look for small crabs, small shells and sand dollars on the pure white sand. Take a break in shallow water with fairly gentle tides.
Because the waves are so gentle, many travelers use this beach to kayak out to sea, where they can enjoy stunning views of the island and palm-lined beaches in the distance.
There are some BBQ stalls and drinks for sale so you can relax on the beach all day long!
4. Go scuba diving
Just off the coast of Pangloa, there are a few dive sites sure to imprint your memory.
On Balicasag Island, you will encounter terrain worth diving, including steep walls and deep slopes with rich coral reef development.
Then there is Pamilacan Island, where dolphins, whale sharks and even manta rays can be seen and swimming with.
You’ll find plenty of dive shops happy to take you on an underwater adventure. Two of the most respected dive shops in the area are Bohol Divers Club and Alona Divers.
5. Snorkeling Boat Tour
Of course you can rent a snorkel to swim off the coast of Panglao where you’ll see a few fish and some coral reefs, but if you really want a cool snorkeling experience, rent a boat to take you there Best destination.
Captains will know the best snorkeling spots, including Pamilacan Island, a small reef with many colorful fish. Even without diving deep, you have the chance to see dolphins, manta rays and whale sharks.
The tour guide provides snorkels but not any sunscreen! Carry some with you!
6. Yoga Atmosphere Panglao
After getting tangled in a crowded bus or sitting too long on a tiring flight, your body may need a little TLC. Yoga Vibe Panglao is the place to stretch your muscles and bring your soul back into sync with your body.
You can do morning yoga, sunset yoga or yin/recovery yoga every day of the week. Some meetings are held right on the beach, while others are held in beautiful seaside cottages. The teachers are warm, knowledgeable and happy to welcome you to their classes.
7. Virgin Island
Virgin Island is nothing more than a sandbar a few meters off the coast of Panglao – but it is absolutely beautiful. Since Virgin Island is so close to the mainland, you can kayak here yourself, or you can choose to rent a boat to zip around.
Go on a starfish hunt in the water, see small patches of mangroves, or take the opportunity to take a quick photo on a beach that looks like it’s in the middle of nowhere.
Good to know: There are a few humble stalls with coolers for drinks and snacks.
8. Hinagdanan Cave
The opening of Hinahdanan Cave is just a small hole in the ground – if you don’t look carefully for it, you might miss it. To explore, you will enter the darkness via a solid staircase and start the tour.
Your guide will take you through the cave and tell you about the origins of its formation. The cave is a bit eerie, with thousands of spiked cave rocks hanging from the ceiling and bats flying around.
There is a cold pool at the bottom of the cave where you can swim if you dare! There aren’t any creepy creatures around, but the pool will be cold. you only live once!
9. Bohol Bee Farm Restaurant
For healthy, organic options, dine at Bohol Bee Farm Restaurant in Panglao. The restaurant encourages local farmers to grow without pesticides and fertilizers, compost their leftovers, and use a full range of eco-friendly farming methods. Bohol Bee Farm Restaurant helps farmers move in this ecological direction by teaching them new farming methods and methods.
Eat a fresh meal at their restaurant and visit their shop where you can buy organic honey made from their own bee farm!
10. Tarsier Entertainment Philippines
Tarsiers are small endangered primates native to nearby Bohol. The critters are said to have gone extinct without conservation centers including the Philippine Tarsier Entertainment Corporation.
In the center, you will walk along a beautiful jungle path surrounded by lush greenery and foliage. Look up in the tree and you’ll see a pair of big round eyes staring at you. Tarsiers are just as curious about you as you are. Other tarsiers will sleep peacefully under large leaves and won’t even notice you’re there.
11. Trudy’s Place
For a seafood feast, Trudi’s Place is the place for you. Right on the beach, with palm trees overhead and live music at night – it doesn’t get much more tropical.
If you love squid, the squid adobo is to die for, and the garlic butter grilled squid is heaven. They have the juiciest prawns and the most tender fish.
As true seafood lovers know, there’s nothing like a cold beer for seafood, and Trudi’s Place is the cheapest! It’s a win-win situation.
12. Dorcho Beach
The sunset at Doljo Beach will rejuvenate you! This beach is on the other end of the island, and from there you can access a small peninsula that spouts into the sea. The beach is well maintained and not too crowded. It offers a truly peaceful experience away from hawkers, bars and tourists.
The tides can get very low, which allows you to go far into the sea, where you can search for marine treasures in the wet sand.
There are a few resorts here, but the facilities are mature – you’ll hardly notice they’re there.
13. Explore the Aquarium
Experience the turquoise waters and biodiverse coral reefs of Panglao Coast from the bottom of your crystal clear kayak! There are green turtles, clownfish, schools of colourful fish, sea anemones, sea urchins and more – all of which you can see up close and personal.
The staff at Explor’Aqua will take you and your transparent kayak to the best lagoons and reefs before letting you paddle freely. This is an especially great way to play in the water for non-swimmers.
14. Oasis Resort Restaurant
When you imagine dining on an island, you probably think of a romantic restaurant that requires no shoes and has candlelit tables on the beach. The Oasis Resort restaurant has this, along with comfortable bean bag seating and low tables for a relaxing meal on the beach. It’s your choice.
You can order everything from Western to Filipino seafood feasts here. Try this burger that will quench your cravings for eating at home, or pair it with tuna sashimi for some fresh Visayas.
15. Tarsier Botanical Garden
Spend a few hours off the beach and into a botanical paradise. Tarsier Botanika is a café, botanical garden, resort and wildlife haven.
Explore the gardens and be greeted by friendly grey parrots who love to talk and scratch their heads, plus some tarsier monkeys who love to snuggle up in the trees for the day. Follow a long wooden path between cactus gardens, manicured wetlands and beautiful tropical flowers.
For your dining experience, choose between garden seating or a seaside table where you can enjoy a cup of coffee and some dessert, or enjoy a traditional Filipino meal.
Where to Stay: The Best Hotels in Panglao, Philippines
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