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Where to Stay in Cebu: Best Areas & Hotels

Where to Stay in Cebu: Best Areas & Hotels

Olly Gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler for 6 years. I visit every place I write about & share real tips, photos, & advice from my trips.

Discover where to stay in Cebu, from 5-star hotels, to beach resorts with on-site diving, & budget accommodation close to turtle snorkeling locations!

Cebu isn’t just the oldest city in the Philippines, it’s one of the best islands in the country for fun adventure travel! From visiting majestic jungle waterfalls like Kawasan Falls to diving and snorkeling at world-renowned sites like Moalboal or Malapascua, there’s so much to do in Cebu!

I’ve visited twice and spent months in total exploring the island. My advice? Stay in the City of Cebu on your day of arrival and departure, and plan your accommodation in other more beautiful areas like Moalboal, Oslob, or Sumilon Island for the rest of your vacation.

To help you plan your trip, below I will suggest the best hotels and places to stay in Cebu for all budgets.

Tip: My favorite hostel in Cebu is Chief Mau Moalboal for its location close to the epic Moalboal sardine run and its chilled-out atmosphere. I noticed there have been major renovations at this hostel since my first visit and it now looks even better!

A map showing the best areas to stay in cebu including mactan, oslob, sumilon island, and moalboal.
Map showing the different areas to stay in Cebu

Where to Stay in Cebu

Planning a trip and looking for a quick answer for where to stay in Cebu? Below are my top picks for the best hotels, resorts, and budget options.

If you scroll down, you’ll find a detailed accommodation guide. But, if you’re in a rush, you can’t go wrong with one of these accommodation picks:

Best Cebu Hotel (City): Bai Hotel

Best Luxury Hotel in South Cebu: Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort

Where to Stay close to Cebu Airport: Little Norway Guesthouse

Best Budget Cebu Accommodation: Chief Mau Moalboal

Cebu Hotel Rates: Cebu Island and the Philippines in general are quite cheap to visit when compared to many other parts of Asia, and even compared to other islands like Siargao or Palawan. You can find budget lodgings like guest houses and shared backpacker hostels for under $15 USD per night and even the luxury resorts and high-end hotels typically cost less than $150 USD per night.

1. Moalboal

My favorite place to stay in Cebu is Moalboal. This is an established and fast-growing tourist hub located on the southwest coast of Cebu Island.

Here, you'll be close to all of the best adventure activities in Cebu, including Kawasan Falls and a few other great waterfalls. This region is also famous for scuba diving, snorkeling, and the epic Moalboal sardine run.

Moalboal sardine run
Swimming with the sardine run in Moalboal

2. Cebu City & Mactan Island

If you're flying into Cebu, you'll be landing at the Cebu/Mactan International Airport near the city. This city is quite big and very busy. However, some of the best Cebu luxury resorts and hotels are found here.

The city is attached to Mactan, a large island where you'll be close to the ferry terminal to Bohol and some great diving reefs.

Bai hotel cebu
Luxury hotels in Cebu City

3. Malapascua

Malapascua is an awesome little island located just to the north of Cebu. This island is famous for scuba diving, especially its famed thresher shark dive. If you've got time to explore Cebu, I highly recommend adding Malapascua to your list of places to stay.

Thresher shark on malapascua island, cebu travel guide
Malapascua is a great diving destination

4. Oslob

The final region/area to stay in Cebu is Oslob. This small beachside town is quite close to Moalboal and many waterfalls including Tumalog Falls. Oslob is also the location where the whale shark swims depart. There are a few great hotels and resorts in this region of Cebu

Whale shark underwater photo
Whale shark swimming departs from Oslob in South Cebu

5. Bonus: Sumilon Island

Sumilon is a tiny sand-spit island located on the southern coast of Cebu. This private island is owned by Sumilon Bluewater Resort. It is a great option if you're looking for an island getaway for a night or two.

Sumilon island, cebu, philippines
Stay on a scenic sandbar island just off Cebu!

Best Luxury Hotels in Cebu

Bai hotel cebuBai Hotel Cebu CityCebu City $$$
Ancelle cristo re, cebu island resort accommodationAncelle Cristo Re ResortMoalboal$$
Tepanee beach resortTepanee Beach ResortMalapascua $$
Gingging hotel & resortGingging Hotel & ResortOslob$$
Shangri-la mactanShangri-La Mactan ResortMactan$$$
Sumilon islandSumilon BluewaterSumilon Island$$$

Bai Hotel

  • Area: Cebu City
  • Best for: Buffet breakfast and Pool with city view

Bai Hotel is one of the best 5-star luxury hotels in Cebu. It's located in the city and offers clean, spacious rooms. Even the lobby is breathtaking with a luxurious atmosphere. One of the best reasons you should stay in this Cebu hotel is its daily buffet breakfast and in-room dining.

If you're visiting Cebu and looking for accommodation for where to stay for work, then this is a great pick as the wifi is excellent in all rooms and it's close to the airport and main shopping malls.

Bai hotel cebu

Ancelle Cristo Re

  • Area: Moalboal
  • Best for: Private beach with snorkeling spotting sea turtles

Looking for a luxury resort in Moalboal, Cebu with the opportunity to spot sea turtles? The best pick is Ancelle Cristo Re. This resort is run by a local family who is heavily involved in supporting a local orphanage, with proceeds going to the cause.

It's located just a little further from the main strip of Moalboal, which means you'll get your own private beach. However, it's still a close 10-minute walk to Panagsama Beach where you can swim with turtles and snorkel through sardine ball.

The resort itself is beautiful with a tropical beach ambiance. It offers large, spacious villas that are some of the best-rated in Cebu.

Ancelle cristo re, cebu island resort accommodation

Tepanee Beach Resort

  • Area: Malapascua Island
  • Best for: Relaxing and diving with Thresher Sharks

The best luxury resort in Cebu's northern island of Malapascua is the Tepanee Beach Resort.

Getting here is quite easy, just a short 40-minute public ferry from Maya. The resort offers air-conditioned, spacious rooms as well as a massage parlor and spa bath the ultimate luxury on Malapascua.

This resort is excellent if you've come to Cebu to check out the incredible diving and spot the famous thresher sharks.

Tepanee beach resort

Gingging Hotel & Resort

  • Area: Oslob
  • Best for: Excellent food within the resort and a beautiful pool

The best luxury resort near Oslob on Cebu's south coast is the Gingging Hotel. This spot is close to the whale shark swim and offers a large swimming pool, a la carte breakfast, spacious rooms with great wifi, and ocean views.

Gingging Hotel also offers an airport shuttle service which is very useful if you're landing in Mactan and looking to get to the south coast without hassle.

Note: If you're planning to swim with the whale sharks do not apply sunscreen beforehand as the chemicals are harmful to the animals.

Gingging hotel & resort outdoor swimming pool and ocean views

Shangri-La Mactan

  • Area: Mactan
  • Best for: Beach views and epic Cebu hotel with a pool

If you're visiting Cebu for a quick tropical getaway, one of the best places to stay is Mactan. The best luxury resort on this island off the coast of Cebu City is the Shanrgi-La.

These luxury resort hotels are world-famous for quality and excellent service. The Mactan Shangri-La offers a spa and massage parlor, 5 bars, luxury lounges, a gym, tennis courts, private spa villas, two huge swimming pools, and the list just goes on!

Mactan is a great area to stay in Cebu for short stays as it's very close to the airport yet makes you feel like you're on a faraway island surrounded by nature with ocean views.

Shangri-la mactan, best luxury resort in mactan cebu

Bluewater Sumilon

  • Area: Sumilon Island
  • Best for: Resort on a private island

One of the best day trips I had in Cebu was a visit to Sumilon Island. I didn't know this at first however this little island is owned by a resort that offers incredible 4-star accommodations.

Here, you'll experience incredible snorkeling, long stretches of white-sand beaches, and loads of activities like paddleboarding and kayaking.

While Bluewater Sumilon offers a day pass for visitors, you'll get a better experience if you stay here for at least a night!

Sumilon island drone

Best Mid-Range Hotels in Cebu

Citadines cebu cityCitadines Cebu CityCebu City$$
Sambag hideaway bungalowsSambag Hideaway BungalowsMoalboal$
Angelina beachAngelina BeachMalapscua$$
Angler's hub & resortAngler's Hub & Resort Oslob$
Crimson resort and spaCrimson Resort and SpaMactan$$$

Citadine Cebu City

  • Area: Cebu City
  • Best for: Immaculate rooms with huge rooftop pool

A mid-budget accommodation choice for the night before flying out from the city of Cebu or for a quiet place to relax whilst the jetlag wears off.

The pool is probably its biggest highlight as it is on the rooftop with expansive views over the skyline and serves as the perfect place to watch the sunset over the city.

The rooms are large and offer an apartment-style layout with an equipped kitchen which is great if you're traveling with the family. The views from the on-site gym will make working out seem like a holiday.

Citadines cebu city, where to stay in cebu for cheap luxury

Sambag Hideaway Bungalows

  • Area: Moalboal
  • Best for: Private beach with turtle snorkeling

The best mid-range pick for Moalboal is the Sambag Hideaway. This one is tucked away on a private beach where you can walk straight into the water from your bungalow and swim with green turtles!

It has some of the best reviews for staff and guests always rave about the great air conditioning and wifi connection.

Each bungalow has ocean views and offers beautiful views for sunrise and sunset. Sambag is a great base for a few days to take in the surrounding marine life. Diving and snorkeling are available here and the underwater corals in the area are healthy and abundant.

Sambag hideaway bungalows

Angelina Beach Resort

  • Area: Malapascua Island
  • Best for: Ocean views and large room

All the best Cebu accommodation options on Malapascua Island are beachside! And, this is no different at the Angelina Beach Resort. This is my recommended mid-range hotel pick for the island as it's located on a private beach and offers excellent large rooms with air-conditioning.

Location is often one of the most important factors when choosing where to stay in Cebu. If you pick the Angelina Beach Resort, you'll find yourself close to the best bars and restaurants on the island. Furthermore, there are loads of dive shops within walking distance!

Angelina beach resort cebu malapascua island

Angler's Hub & Resort 

  • Area: Oslob
  • Best for: Whale shark tours and waterfall day trips

The Angler's Hub is a great bang-for-buck luxury resort in Cebu's southern township of Oslob. Guests will find this one on the beachfront in a quiet location away from the hustle and bustle. There's also a large pool and great air conditioning in every room.

It is only an 18-minute scooter ride to the impressive Tumalog Falls which is perfect for those hot days if you're looking to explore nature.

If you're looking for a resort that offers spectacular ocean views for a great price, this one is a great choice for where to stay on Cebu Island.

Angler's hub & resort, cebu hotels

Crimson Resort and Spa

  • Area: Mactan
  • Best for: Kids club and spa for the parents to relax

Mactan is known for its luxury resort offerings available at a fraction of the price compared to other places in Asia. One of the best Cebu hotels that screams luxury without the price tag is the Crimson Resort & Spa.

This resort offers the whole package. It's a beach-front resort with infinity pools and activities including kids club, yoga classes, gym access, island tours, and massage services. Guests rate this as one of the best hotels in Cebu for its breakfast and location.

Crimson Resort is found on Crimson Beach only 800 meters from Tambuli Beach.

Crimson resort and spa, 5 stay luxury resort on cebu

Best Budget Backpacker Hostels & Cheap Hotels in Cebu

Mad monkey cebu cityMad Monkey Cebu City Cebu City$
Chief mau moalboalChief Mau MoalboalMoalboal$
Villa sandraVilla SandraMalapascua$
Sharky hostel oslobSharky Hostel OslobOslob$
Little norway guesthouseLittle Norway GuesthouseMactan$

Mad Monkey

  • Area: Cebu City
  • Best for: Backpacker vibe with a rooftop pool

The Mad Monkey hostels are renowned for being the best backpacker places to stay in the world if you're looking for a good time and to meet other likeminded travelers

In this guide, I've picked Mad Monkey as one of the best Cebu accommodations in the city for budget and solo travelers.

This is one of the best Mad Monkeys I've ever stayed at. You'll find an awesome rooftop pool, bar, restaurant, and spacious private rooms and dorms.

The vibes here are excellent thanks to the social layout and great staff. You can play billiards at the bar or ask the team to organize a guided tour to the Kawasan canyoneering from the city on a day trip!

Mad monkey cebu city hotels

Chief Mau Moalboal

  • Area: Moalboal
  • Best for: Excellent location near the sardine run and great vibe

The first time I visited Moalboal, I stayed at Chief Mau. This backpacker hostel is located close to the beach and within walking distance of many restaurants and bars.

This is a great pick if you're a solo traveler looking for Cebu accommodation on a budget. There are always backpackers hanging out playing pool, drinking a Red Horse, or just lounging in hammocks.

The rooms are quite spacious and not super-close together which is great as you get some privacy in the dorms. Oh, there's also a resident sausage dog who is famous in town. I hope the little guy is still there!

Chief mau moalboal, cebu cheap accommodation

Tip: If you'd rather experience the sardine run with a guide, I recommend booking this trip that also includes Kawasan canyoneering and a trip to nearby Pescador Island.

Villa Sandra

  • Area: Malapascua
  • Best for: Sustainable tree-house close to dive shops

Villa Sandra is one of my personal favorite hostels/budget accommodations in Cebu and perhaps in all of Asia! This place has been built using sustainable and recycled building materials including beer bottles, recycled bamboo, and fishing nets.

Villa Sandra has a great vegetarian restaurant where we ate most of our meals on the island. The top tree house is a great place to hang out and meet other travelers. We organized a dive trip from here to see the thresher sharks which was hands down one of the best things I did in the Philippines.

There's always evening entertainment and the rooms are decent, especially for the price!

Villa sandra malapascua island, cebu travel guide

Sharky Hostel Oslob

  • Area: Oslob
  • Best for: Close to whale sharks and situated on the beach

The top backpacker/budget hostel accommodation in south Cebu (Oslob) is Sharky's. This hostel is located on Tan-Awan beach which is very beautiful. You'll also be close to the whale sharks and many great restaurants on the strip.

The staff here are friendly and can arrange scuba diving and activities including a visit to Sumilon Island for cheap.

Sharky hostel oslob hotel cebu

Little Norway Guesthouse

  • Area: Mactan
  • Best for: Big breakfast & accommodation close to the airport

Looking for cheap Cebu accommodation close to the airport? Don't look past the Little Norway Guesthouse.

This spot is just a quick 10-minute drive from the airport and offers clean rooms with a kettle, fridge, shower, and TV. It has everything you need for a comfortable sleep before an early flight. If you're looking for some last-minute purchases there's a great shopping mall within walking distance of the property.

This is one of the most secure guest houses on Mactan in a gated complex with a security guard.

Little norway guesthouse hotel cebu mactan

My Hotel Selection Process

  • Accommodation Criteria: I look for amenities, location, current traveler reviews, city reputation, and overall vibe.
  • My Experience: I have stayed in over a dozen hotels in Cebu and the surrounding islands. I've scanned, reviewed, and compared hundreds of hotels online and in person to give you the most accurate & honest hotel roundup.
  • Top Reviews: I compare recent reviews from real travelers across hotel booking sites including Agoda, & All hotels maintain a good score but more importantly, the recent trend suggests high quality.
  • Local Insights: I've worked with many tour operators in Cebu on tourism marketing & photography jobs. This has helped with my hotel roundups as I gather local recommendations.

Read more about how I review & select hotels & accommodations.

Years Traveling
Hotels Stayed
Olly gaspar

I'm Olly, a full-time traveler for the past 5 years. Each accommodation option in this guide is handpicked by me. Read my travel review ethics statement.

FAQ About Staying in Cebu

What's the best area to stay in Cebu for first-time visitors?

For first-time visitors, staying in Moalboal offers a perfect mix of adventure activities like the Kawasan Falls and the Moalboal sardine run. For city explorers, Cebu City & Mactan Island are ideal, offering easy access to historical sites and luxury resorts however, I would spend no more than 3 days in this area.

Can I find luxury accommodation in Cebu?

Yes, Cebu has several luxury hotels and resorts, a stand out being Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort. It offers world-class amenities and stunning snorkeling.

What's the best place to stay for diving and snorkeling in Cebu?

Malapascua is renowned for its diving, particularly for sighting thresher sharks which should be on every divers list of things to do. Moalboal is another top choice for snorkelers wanting to experience the sardine run or spot turtles.

Is it better to stay in Mactan or Cebu City?

Mactan is ideal for those seeking beachfront luxury and water activities close to the airport, while Cebu City offers a rich cultural experience with access to historical sites and urban exploration.

I hope this has been a useful guide to help you plan where to stay in Cebu for your first visit!

Be sure to check out some of my other guides below to Cebu and a few other spots in the Philippines you should visit!

Best places to stay in cebu, philippines
Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure traveler from Australia. I’ve spent the last six years traveling the world full-time, sharing my first-hand experiences & photography in over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. I visit every destination I write about to bring you unique travel itineraries, epic hiking routes, fun tour ideas, travel & photography gear ideas, & interesting places to stay.

I only make genuine, worthwhile recommendations based on my experience, expertise, & research. If you buy through my links, I may get a commission, supporting this website at no extra cost to you. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.