Bohol isn’t the best-known destination in the Philippines, but it is well worth a visit if you want to unwind, enjoy the gorgeous scenery and spot local wildlife! Consisting of one large island surrounded by 75 smaller islands, the region is a great option if you want to get away from the main tourist areas and enjoy a more authentic side of the Philippines.
Not only is Bohol not as well known for tourists, but it is also quite sparsely populated to begin with. This can make getting around tricky, and most visitors opt to base themselves in one area whilst on the island for the duration of their stay. Because of that, it’s important to know which areas are the best before you arrive.
That’s where we come in! We’ve figured out the five best towns in Bohol and categorised them based on what kind of traveller you are. Whether you want nightlife, local culture or panoramic views we have you covered.
So let’s get started!
Quick Tips – Where to Stay in Bohol
- Where to stay in Bohol for the first time – Baclayon
- Where to stay in Bohol on a budget – Tagbilaran
- Best neighborhood in Bohol for families – Anda
- Where to stay in Bohol for nightlife – Panglao
- Coolest place to stay in Bohol – Tubigon
Where to Stay in Bohol
Looking for the best of the best? These are our favorite accommodations in beautiful Bohol.
Best Hostel in Bohol: Oasis Balili Heritage Lodge
Right in the heart of Tagbilaran, this is an excellent pick for backpackers that want to easily get around the main attractions in Bohol! With the best reviews of any hostel on the main island, it’s no wonder this takes our top spot for backpacker accommodation in the area. They have fantastic social facilities, too.View on HostelWorld
Best Hotel in Bohol: South Palms Resort Panglao
The only five-star hotel in this guide, South Palms Resort Panglao is well worth the extra cash if you want to splurge! It is located right on the beach, with its own private section keeping you away from the hustle and bustle of the main tourist strip. Click through to read the awesome reviews and you’ll be sold, too.
Best Airbnb in Bohol: Countryside Studio Flat
Just outside of Baclayon, this small studio provides a great rural retreat whilst still being close to the major tourist centres! It comes with a private balcony with panoramic views across the magnificent Bohol mountains and forest. It has been recently refurbished to ensure modern standards of comfort.View on Airbnb
Bohol Neighborhood Guide
While there are a lot of islands in the region, Bohol Island itself houses most of the towns. Only a short ferry ride away from Cebu, and with flights to other parts of the country, getting in is relatively easy. The region is famed both for its natural beauty and the opportunities to spot native wildlife. This makes it a popular destination with Filipinos, though it’s still fairly undiscovered by the rest of the world.
Tagbilaran is the largest town on the main island, and a great pick for those on a budget! Tourism is bigger business on other parts of the island, so while there aren’t many attractions to speak of there are still some great restaurants and bars offering budget-friendly fare.
If you want something a bit more established, Baclayon is only a short trip away from Tagbilaran and still benefits from the great travel connections! It also houses the more historic attractions, and is one of the most popular picks with Filipino tourists heading to the area.
Heading further north, Anda is probably the second most popular destination for visitors from elsewhere in the Philippines – mostly due to its excellent beach! Don’t worry though – it’s still an incredibly calm and serene neighborhood. This makes it a great option for families, especially those looking for a quiet getaway.
Tubigon is on the west side of the island, and is where you will get the ferry to Cebu and beyond! This side of the island is far less developed in terms of tourism, making it a great choice for discovering the local way of life.
Finally there is Panglao! Easily the most popular tourist destination in the region, it is actually on a separate island connected with Bohol by bridge. This is where you will find the best tourist resorts and nightlife options, and is also home to the airport making it a great option for shorter stays.
Still need help deciding? Check out our extended guides below!
5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Bohol
Let’s take a look, in more detail, at the five best neighbourhoods in Bohol. Each caters to different interests, so be sure to pick the neighbourhood that’s right for you.
As the first town established on the island by Spanish colonists, Baclayon is the cultural hub of the island and where you will find most of the historic attractions! The town centre in itself is a wonder to look at with beautiful colonial-era architecture and mesmerising views across the sea. The large church is the centrepiece to the town, and worth a visit.
Colonial history aside, Baclayon also has great examples of pre-colonial history and modern day culture! With a large market in the centre and an important heritage walk, Baclayon is a good starting point for first time visitors looking to get a feel for the Bohol region.
More awesome things to see and do in Baclayon
- The Historic Marketplace not only serves as an architectural attraction, it’s also a functioning market every Wednesday with plenty of local produce
- Take one of the hour long boat tours out to Pamilacan Island and spot some whales and dolphins along the way
- The BAHANDI Heritage Walk not only gives you the chance to discover the colonial history of the region – it also has some great indigenous culture highlights
- Buggy tours, where you get to zip around the local villages on a handmade cart, depart from the Peacock Garden Resort daily
- Seaside barbecues line the coastline in the evenings – grab a beer and bite to eat and mingle with the locals
- If you want a more typical sit down meal, 6 to 7 is a popular and inexpensive choice with locals and tourists alike
Best Hostel Baclayon: Pamujo Hostel
One of the newest hostels on the island, Pamujo Hostel only currently provides private rooms but does have some great communal spaces. This gives you the best of both worlds – a little bit of privacy whilst still having plenty of opportunities to mingle with other guests. Plus, breakfast is included!
Best Hotel in Baclayon: Marqis Sunrise Sunset Resort
Despite only being a three-star hotel, Marqis Sunrise Sunset Resort comes with some excellent features! It has a large outdoor pool area with gorgeous views across the Bohol landscape, as well as a small sunbathing area. The entire resort consists of private cottages and villas, and there is a spa on-site.
Best Airbnb in Baclayon: Countryside Studio Flat
This gorgeous apartment allows you to wake up to breathtaking views across the Filipino forests every morning! It is well equipped with modern technology – including air conditioning, Netflix and high-speed WiFi. This is an excellent option for solo travellers, digital nomads and young couples.View on Airbnb
Despite being the capital of Bohol, Tagbilaran is rarely visited by tourists unless passing through on the way to the airport. Nevertheless, it makes an interesting destination – especially for those interested in the local culture! As a result of the low rates of tourism, Tagbilaran also benefits from lower prices than elsewhere on the island.
It is also the best connected area on the island – especially due to its proximity to the airport on neighbouring Panglao! If you want to be able to get around a few of the best resorts on the island, staying in Tagbilaran is your best bet.
More awesome things to see and do in Tagbilaran
- National Tagbilaran Museum has some fantastic exhibits spanning history, culture, nature and science
- Just up the same street, Balay Kabilin Bohol Heritage House is a great starting point for learning about the centuries-long traditions of the region
- Plaza Rizal is the main square in the city – as well as acting as a meeting point, it also has a small park and some great cafes nearby
- Tableya is a traditional drink from Bohol that is made from cacao – sample it in the heart of the city at Dalareich Tableya
- Head to Island City Mall – the largest retail destination on the island with local brands, cheap electronics and a massive food court
- Gerarda’s is a small local restaurant that comes with great reviews and even better prices!
Best Hostel Tagbilaran: Oasis Balili Heritage Lodge
Housed entirely within a historic building, Oasis Balili Heritage Lodge is an attraction in its own right! It is also the most popular hostel on the main island, and has some excellent communal spaces where you can socialise with other guests. They also offer social events, and regular tours of Tagbilaran.View on HostelWorld
Best Hotel in Tagbilaran: Café d’Arcey & Residences
This colourful bed and breakfast is an excellent choice for those that want a local touch to their stay! It is owned by a resident family, meaning you will gain some unique insights into the best things to do in the city. A complimentary breakfast is provided every morning, with American and Asian options on offer.
Best Airbnb in Tagbilaran: Bohol Maple Suites
This truly grandiose apartment can sleep up to four guests – making it a great pick for families and small groups! In a city without many luxury hotel options, it is also a good choice for those wanting to splurge whilst staying in the region’s capital. The bright and airy villa is packed with modern conveniences.View on Airbnb
Whilst tourism is starting to pick up, Anda remains a bit of a hidden gem on Bohol! Most visitors agree it has the best beach on the island – though this is largely because it is unspoiled by the tourism industry. If you want a calm beach retreat without the flashing neon of Panglao, Anda is a great choice.
This peace and quiet makes it the ideal spot for families visiting the island! Even though tourism numbers are still quite low, there are excellent facilities on the beach that you will get plenty of use out of, including a free freshwater shower.
More awesome things to see and do in Anda
- There are plenty of fantastic natural attractions in Anda – including water caves, towering viewpoints and gorgeous waterfalls
- Quintale Beach is a vast expanse of golden sands and crystal clear waters with free facilities and some great cafés nearby
- 1Peace Beach Resort offers some great equipment hire options including tandem kayaks, mountain bikes and motorbikes
- Take a hike out to Lamanoc Point check out the historic finger paintings, feed monkeys and admire panoramic views
- The Chocolate Hills are arguably the most famous attraction in Bohol – Anda is the closest town, and only about an hour away by motorbike
- J&R Restaurant offers a good mix of local and European cuisine – they are located in a secluded location right on the coast
Best Hotel for Backpackers Anda: 1Peace Guesthouse
Whilst there aren’t any hotels in Anda, 1Peace Guesthouse is an excellent option for backpackers that want to discover a calmer neighborhood. Part of the 1Peace Beach Resort complex, this is their most budget-friendly accommodation – though it still benefits from access to the many facilities on-site.
Best Hotel in Anda: Casa Amihan
This small but perfectly formed hotel has idyllic views across the ocean and a private garden area! With family suites and deluxe sea view rooms on offer, this is a great choice for families and couples alike. They’ll provide a complimentary breakfast every morning, too.
Best Airbnb in Anda: Family Loft Cottage
This small cottage is housed within a wider eco-resort, making it great for environmentally-conscious families as well as those that want to mingle with other guests whilst visiting the neighborhood! There is a large communal pool, and the host comes with Superhost status ensuring optimal service.View on Airbnb
Though a separate island from Bohol, Panglao is easily the most visited part of the region! This means it comes with plenty of polished resorts, laid-back hostels and unique apartments. The beach can get quite busy, but offers some of the best sand and sea on the island with endless facilities on offer.
Whilst Bohol isn’t exactly the nightlife capital of the Philippines, Panglao has some great options – particularly during the high season! Clubs are laid back and close a bit earlier than you would expect, but bars offer drinks at reasonable prices and are usually within a stone’s throw of the main beach area.
More awesome things to see and do in Panglao
- Pinarella Bay is probably the best-known club in the area – frequented by both locals and tourists, it usually sticks to cheap drinks and chart music
- Sea Breeze Pool Bar is a great option day and night where you can enjoy a drink right on the beach or by the side of the pool!
- Alona Beach is the tourism hub of Panglao where you will find all the best restaurants, bars and entertainment venues
- Freediving is a popular activity in the area – head to Just One Breath Freediving for some great beginner courses
- Hop on board one of the tour boats at Alona Beach where you can head out into the sea to try and spot some dolphins
- During the evenings the street vendors sell local snacks – stick to satays if you don’t have the most adventurous appetite
Best Hostel Panglao: Moon Fools Hostel
The highest-rated hostel on Panglao Island, this is a hugely popular backpacker accommodation for those wanting to explore the tourism epicentre of the region! Though it is quite a small hostel, the cosy atmosphere creates a great space for socialising with other guests. Plus, it’s only a few minutes to the beach.View on HostelWorld
Best Hotel in Panglao: South Palms Resort Panglao
It might be a five-star hotel but it is absolutely worth splashing out on! Private beach aside, it also comes with a large pool and fantastic spa facilities. Rooms are well decorated to create a calming ambience and are, of course, fully air-conditioned. Snorkelling equipment is also available.
Best Airbnb in Panglao: Casa Sophia
The best feature of this villa is easily its pool! It is built in the traditional colonial style, with some modern twists to ensure comfort. The location is great, too – far away enough from the main strip to give you some peace and quiet, but only a short walk away from Alona Beach.View on Airbnb
Despite being the main connection to Cebu, Tubigon remains a bit of a hidden gem on the island’s west coast! Most tourists simply pass through the town, but if you want to truly discover local culture on Bohol this can be a rewarding experience. There are also some great neighbouring towns, providing connections to small islands.
Tubigon is largely unspoiled by the tourism industry, hence why we have named it our coolest place to stay in Bohol! This is definitely one for the more adventurous out there, but if you’re up to the challenge it can be a rewarding experience.
More awesome things to see and do in Tubigon
- Tubigon Church, which was destroyed by the most recent earthquake in the area, is a great example of local restoration efforts
- The Bamboo Walk starts alongside the river and ends up deep in the bamboo mangroves – a truly unique natural attraction
- Pooc Occidental is a major commercial hub in the centre of the town, with the local market only a short walk away
- The Loom Weaving Cooperative is the largest industry in the area – aside from the ferry – and they offer tours where you can learn about how their products are made
- In the evenings, head to the top of the main shopping centre where you can enjoy a rooftop bar and local karaoke
- Tubigon is a surprising city for foodies, full of local delights and interesting modern takes on classic cuisine – we recommend the small restaurants between the pier and square
Best Hotel for Backpackers Tubigon: Rene’s Diverslounge Resort
Whilst there aren’t any hostels in Tubigon – or many hotels, for that matter – the surrounding region has some good options for backpackers. Rene’s Diverslounge, located on Pangangan Island, is just across the bridge from Tubigon and makes the perfect getaway if you want something cheap and cheerful.
Best Hotel in Tubigon: Calape Forest Resort
Located in nearby Calape, this is one of the best rated resorts on the east coast! There’s a large outdoor pool, as well as some gorgeous gardens and a sunbathing area. The on-site restaurant offers complimentary breakfast every morning including Italian, Asian and American options.
Best Airbnb in Tubigon: Elvira’s Place
Only a short walk from Tubigon, this apartment might seem fairly basic but it comes with great reviews thanks to the property features and Elvira’s Superhost status. On hot days, the private pool and blasting A/C will be especially welcome.View on Airbnb
Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Bohol
Bohol is an excellent destination that has long been known to Filipinos, but has yet to be discovered by Western visitors! If you want to head a little off the beaten path, you will discover some great beaches, restaurants and cultural highlights in this gorgeous region only a short boat trip from Cebu.
In terms of the best area, we have to recommend Tagbilaran! It is well connected to the two most popular tourist areas, as well as some smaller resorts further afield in the region. We also recommend checking out the local cultural attractions.
That being said, all of the areas mentioned in this guide have their charms, and depending on your travel style, will be rewarding to check out. We hope you have a great trip!
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments.
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