Camotes Islands Travel Guide

The Camotes Islands are part of the Central Visayas region. They are a collection of three stunning islands and four towns within easy reach of Cebu and boast an abundance of natural attractions.

Prehistoric civilizations were rooted here, though Magellan claimed ‘discovery’ of the Camotes in 1521. This miniature archipelago is made up of Pacijan Island, with San Francisco Town; Poro Island, with Tudela and Poro towns; and Ponson Island, with Pilar Town. Rental houses, low-key hotels and beach houses are scattered throughout these towns.

Lake Danao, or ‘Lovers’ Lake’, is tucked into the northern half of Pacijan Island. Snake and Crocodile islets can be reached by boat, or visitors can relax as part of a lake cruise. A 10-mile hiking and cycling trail circles the entire perimeter of the lake. Resorts and bungalows are found across the lake region.

Guadalupe Cave is another attraction in the region. It boasts a broad cavern partially concealing a broad swimming pool. Bukilat Cave in Tudela Town also has a swimming pool along with a few interesting stalagmites and stalactites.

There are a few historical sites, though these attractions are easily eclipsed by the island’s natural appeal. The church of Poro Town was built in 1849 from coral stones pasted together with egg whites. This was largely the product of forced labor. The town of Pilar has a colonial-era wooden mansion that also draws a few visitors.

The most atmospheric shopping option meets in San Francisco on Sundays. This open-air market is a meeting place for merchants selling everything from fresh produce and household goods to livestock and even handicrafts. It is a great opportunity for tourists to get a glimpse of local life.

Getting There & Away

The islands of Poro and Pacijan are connected by a paved road, so most inter-island transportation takes place between these two islands. Access to the islands is by boat from mainland Cebu. Travel from the islands to Cebu takes anywhere from 2 to 4 hours depending on the type of boat. The airport in Cebu is the second-busiest in the Philippines and is well-connected to the rest of Asia.