After lots of research, and then staying on Bantayan Island for a few weeks we found a bunch of the best places to stay on the island. I want to share these spots with you today.
The best area to stay in Bantayan Island near the town Santa Fe. We recommend staying on the southern side of the ferry port as that is where all the restaurants and shops are. You will be near Kota Beach, and have easy access to transport.
There are a few different areas to stay depending on your preferences. Bellow we want to share our favourite accommodation options after staying in Bantayan for a few weeks
Where to stay in Santa Fe, Bantayan Island
The little town of Santa Fe is the best option for most. From here you are close to all the restaurants, hotels, tricycles, and last but not least Kota Beach.
More on Kota Beach bellow.
We tried staying a bit outside Santa Fe for a couple of night, but we just ended up having to travel back into the town of Santa Fe for everything.
Our Favourite Santa Fe Hotel & Guesthouses
Coucou Bar Hotel and Restaurant we stayed here for two night, and paid around 1000 PHP each night (prices may vary). The place has internet, aircon, and is clean. The value for this place was great.
There is parking outside, if you decide to rent a scooter, and Kota Beach is about a 3-4 minutes walk away.
While it is partially a bar, the hotel is far enough away from the bar area which closes around 23:00. Well, unless somebody pays of security to keep it open, but it won’t disturb you.
The food at the restaurant is very mid. But the hotel and bar is great!
N & F Guesthouse this was our favorite accommodation on the island, hands down. While it cost 1500 PHP for a family room (2 double beds), we got a fantastic view out on to the beach, and great wifi.
The guesthouse is right in the middle of the action in Santa Fe. Kota Beach is just across the street, and all the nightlife is right around the corner of the building.
Try to get a room facing away from the bars if you stay here, and you won’t have any issues with music from the bars. They close at 23:00 anyway.
Two more luxurious options in Santa Fe
Kota Beach Resort & Amihan Beach Cabanas Resort: if you can get a room at Kota Beach Resort, and you have a bigger budget, I recommend you try to stay there. It is right on the best part of the beach, and it is magnificent. We loved hanging out at the restaurant/bar there.
Amihan Beach Cabanas Resort also looks like a great alternative. If you have some more money to spend, and Kota Beach Resort is not available.
Restaurants & Nightlife in Santa Fe
While there are not much nightlife in Santa Fe, you can have a great night out if you start early. Most of the restaurants and bars around town shut down around 11 PM at night.
Bantayan Burrito Company
Here you can get some great burritos from the friendly expat owner. And if you are lucky he might give you a free shot of tequila as well.
We found this to be one of the best places to eat in Santa Fe. And a meal will set you back around 200-300 PHP per person.
Caffe del mare Ristorante Italian
You should come here if you would like to get a proper stone baked pizza in Santa Fe. Prices range around 400 PHP per “large” 12 inch pizza.
More nightlife on Bantayan Island
Apart from these two favorites you can find endless of options around town. If you stick around MJ Square you will find lots of food options, bars, and live music on the weekend.
While there are no nightclubs on the island. There are a few places with live music on the weekend where you can have your dancing needs met.
We recommend HR Sports Bar for live music and a great time on the weekend. Here you can get cheap drinks and fantastic live music. If you are brave enough you can even sing a bit on stage yourself!
Outside the weekend, a great time can be had at Coucou Bar Hotel & Restaurant Bantayan Island (Check it out on Agoda). We had a few drinks and food here one night, and were allowed to sit here and chat for a bit after closing hours.
The best beach bars in the area is Stumble Inn Beach Club right down on Kota Beach, and the restaurant & bar at Kota Beach Resort (Check it out on Agoda).
Accomoodation Beyond Santa Fe
While we recommend staying in Santa Fe in Bantayan Island, there are a lot of options around the island if you have time to explore further.
There are a few hotels around Bobel Beach, and if you really want peace and quiet that is an option. You will also find a few different restaurants and beach bars around here.
You will probably get bored staying here longer than a day or two though. So I recommend renting a motorbike or hiring a tricycle to have a look around at the surrounding areas.
We didn’t stay long in this area, as we found Santa Fe a lot more interesting, but Anika Island Resort is a great option. Unfortunately, we cannot recommend the neighbouring hotel facing the harbour to the south.
The beach around this area is not as nice as Kota Beach. It is very shallow, and at low tide you can barely get your knees bellow water before you reach the end of the area where you are allowed to “swim”..
Similar to Bobel Beach, Sandira Beach is also a secluded beach a 10 minute ride away from Santa Fe. There are less food and drink options around here, but the beach is nicer than the Bobel Beach, and you have the option to swim.
You will also find a lot of cliffs around here, and some people enjoy jumping from them (it is very shallow though).
There is a tiny water park here that you can enjoy if you are feeling adventurous! It was quite costly, and being repaired while we were there though. So can not
The best hotel in the area is Kandugyap House by the Sea, tap the link to check it out on Agoda if you are interested in staying here.
There is also the option of going camping here! The Paradise Beach Campsite. There is a flat lawn-like area before you reach Sandira Beach which could be great if you enjoy camping.
To enter Sandira Beach and the campsite there is a 50 PHP entry fee for each person.
Bantayan is the biggest town on the island. Unfortunately we did not stay here our on trip, but on our visits we got the impression that this is more of a local town than a tourist destination.
There are lots of shop around here, and lots of locals living normal lives on the island.
It is worth mentioning that there are ferries leaving for Cadiz City from here daily. And you can also get a bus for your return to Cebu City from here.
Similar to Bantayan, Madridejos is more of a local town.
I recommend renting a scooter and driving up here to have a look at Bantay Baywalk & Kota Park. But again you are better off staying around Santa Fe, and doing day-trips up here.
We met the most friendly people on the island around here, and there are very few tourists up here.
If you are a foreigner and want to be instagram famous in the Philippines you will have lots of opportunities to be taken photographs with up here! 🙂
Beaches on Bantayan Island
There are a lot of beaches on Bantayan Island. And we encourage you to rent a scooter, or hire a tricycle to drive you around.
But the best beach hands down is right there in Santa Fe. Which is why it is hard to recommend anywhere else to stay on Bantayan Island.
Kota Beach offers superfine white sand, a nice breeze, and (mostly) clean places to lay down.
There are multiple restaurants and bars around the area, like mentioned above our favorite is a part of Kota Beach Resort. But we can also recommend Stumble Inn Bar a few minutes to the north.
There are quite a few sellers roaming the beach, especially on the weekend. They try to sell you some bracelets or pearls, and can be annoyingly persistent.. But they leave if you are clear about not wanting this merchandise.
We felt mostly safe leaving our stuff on the beach as we went swimming.
So there you have it! – Here’s how to get to Bantayan Island quick and easy
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