Panglao, Bohol's relaxed brother.
South of the main island of Bohol there is the island Panglao, in our opinion the best place to stay. Connected by two bridges, but actually a whole island in itself. There is so much to experience, from beautiful beaches, island hopping tours, snorkeling and diving to just relaxing in one of the many resorts. The airport is also located on this island, so it is also very easily accessible.
Whether you want to stay in a resort, guesthouse or hotel, there is plenty of choice. It is important to first determine which of the many beaches you want to spend the night around. Our favorite was Alona beach. A beautiful long beach with swimming and snorkelling opportunities, many catering facilities, water sports activities and a lively atmosphere.
Our favorite activities in Panglao were:
Island hopping tour:
Not difficult to organize because this tour is offered over the entire beach, but no less fun for that. This tour departs at 6am in the morning to spot dolphins. Then on to Balicasag Island to enjoy this beautiful island and some snorkeling tours. And I have to say, this is a fantastic snorkeling location. Many beautiful corals, sea turtles and huge groups of fish make this a fantastic snorkeling spot. Finally, you sail back via the beautiful Virgin Island. Mainly a sandbank but insta-worthy. This was clear, by the way, given the hordes of tourists.
All in all a very nice day activity. It takes 5 to 6 hours, and costs between 850PHP and 1100 PHP, depending on your negotiation skills, and whether you bring your own snorkeling set. All inclusive, except entrance fee to Virgin Island. 100PHP for foreigners and 30PHP for Philippine residents.
Diving and Snorkeling:
There are a lot of diving schools spread all over the island. Logical too, because the surrounding waters are an underwater paradise. The most famous dive spots are Pamilacan Island and Balicasag Island, but it is also beautiful right outside Panglao.
The waters are home to many special species such as turtles, whale sharks, rays, dolphins and even hammerhead sharks, amazing! If you find diving too exciting, there are plenty of snorkeling opportunities. You don't have to go deep in these waters to see all the beauty, so even from the surface with a simple snorkel set you will be amazed.
Yes, for housing Alona beach is our favorite. Many bars right on the beach, as well as restaurants with fresh fish. All types of accommodation are possible here, from luxury resorts to a tent. The water is clean and wonderfully warm, and the edges of the beach are rocky, making it perfect for snorkelling.
Yet there is a beach that appealed to us even more in terms of relaxation, called Doljo beach. Here it is wonderfully quiet with a beautiful sandy beach. The water remains nice and shallow and therefore very warm. Perfect for a relaxing afternoon. The nice thing is that a new shopping center has recently been built near this beach, called "Moadto Strip Mall". You can easily park at the shopping center and the beach is incredibly clean. The shopping center has restaurants, boutiques and a supermarket, you will lack nothing here. Note: high tide is the best time to enjoy this beach.
Whatever your desires, you will never be bored in Panglao.