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How to Visit Sumilon Island in Cebu in 2024

How to Visit Sumilon Island in Cebu in 2024

A quick guide to visiting Sumilon Island on Cebu’s pristine coast. Everything you need to know with inspiring photos from my trip.

Sumilon Island is a small sandbar island located just a short boat ride from Oslob on Cebu Island, the Philippines. There’s no doubt that Sumilon Island is an epic spot for spending the day relaxing, exploring, and swimming in some of the clearest water in Cebu.

The island is owned by the Bluewater Resort but it is also possible to visit with a day pass, even if you are not staying there.

In this blog post, I’ll outline everything you need to know about visiting Sumilon Island in Cebu via both options and share some photos that I captured during my visit.

Sumilon island, cebu philippines
Olly gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler & adventure photographer for 6 years with 700+ published travel guides. I visit every place I write about & share real tips from what I learn.

How to Get to Sumilon Island?

Since the Sumilon sandbar is an island just off the coast, you're going to need to catch a boat ride from the Oslob side of Cebu.

There are several boat operators that transport tourists and locals between the mainland and Sumilon every day. However, don't get caught paying for a private boat.

Instead, the local option is to share a boat or "banka" with others. If you're getting a tricycle over to the boats, you can ask your driver for a cheap local boat transfer. Otherwise, head to the location pinned on the map below.

Map showing the location of the boat port to sumilon island in cebu

Once you arrive, ask for a shared boat. This means that the boat transport operators get a fair, fixed price for the journey. This way, up to 10 people can share the cost of the trip to Sumilon.

Sumilon Island Boat Price

The Sumilon Island boat transfer price is 1,500 pesos per boat. As mentioned, this is per boat, not per person. Some operators might try to tell you that it's 1,500 per person, but don't be fooled.

The boat operators might also try to tell you that others won't want to share a boat, or that you'll be waiting for hours for people to arrive. Don't believe it. In the peak or shoulder seasons, you'll certainly see other travelers wanting to share a boat to Sumilon Island.

There is also a 50 peso environmental fee per person. This goes to the local municipality to maintain the environmental integrity of Sumilon Island.

Sumilon drone photo

Best Things to Do On Sumilon Island Cebu

Once you arrive, you'll have the opportunity to walk around and explore the island. If you purchase a day pass, you'll also get access to the amazing pool and resort facilities.

Here are the best things to do on Sumilon Island.

Snorkeling and Diving

Once you arrive, one of the best things to do is to check out the underwater world.

It's possible to snorkel all around the sandbar. There are small patches of reef on the long stretch of white sand, with plenty of fish to see. However, the best place for snorkeling on the island is in the Marine Sanctuary. This is a protected marine area a little out of the way from the main sandbar swimming area.

There are also a few dive sites on Sumilon. If you're interested in scuba diving, it's best to speak to the Bluewater Resort. They organize trips to up to 5 different dive sites including:

  • Garden Eel Plaza - Renowned for its sandy bottom dotted with garden eels and occasional sightings of bigger marine life, ideal for both novice and experienced divers.
  • Nikki's Wall - Offers a vibrant coral wall teeming with marine biodiversity, perfect for wall diving enthusiasts looking to explore the underwater ecosystem.
  • Shark Point - A thrilling dive site for those hoping to encounter blacktip sharks in their natural habitat, along with a variety of other marine species.
  • Julie's Rock - Known for its colorful coral gardens and diverse fish population, suitable for divers of all levels seeking a visually stunning underwater experience.
  • Coral Landscape - Features an expansive coral field with a rich assortment of coral species and marine life, providing a serene diving experience for those interested in the subtleties of marine biodiversity.
Sumilon island sandbar

The Shifting Sandbar

An interesting thing about the island sandbar is that it is always shifting direction. You may have seen thinner, stretched sand reaching fat out from the Southern tip. This is due to monsoons bringing tropical rain and tide patterns that shift the sandbar.

The great thing about the island is that it'll always look different, no matter what time of year you choose to check it out!

Sumilon sandbar philippines
Sohoton cove diving board

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When is the Best Time To Visit Sumilon Island

The best time to visit Cebu and Sumilon Island will depend on the Typhoon seasons. There are two main seasons in Cebu; Dry and Wet Seasons.

Cebu dry season – December – June
Cebu wet season – June – December

The best time to check out the sandbar island is in the Dry season, or just before, from November to May. It is possible to dive and snorkel all year round, however, these months provide the best visibility and weather conditions on the island.

Sumilon island boats

Sumilon Island Resort & Day Passes

The entire island has only one resort or accommodation option. For those with deeper pockets, you could also enjoy an excellent overnight trip while staying at the Sumilon Island Bluewater Resort.

The resort owns a large portion of the island, including the entire northern side. So, in order to fully experience the rest of this awesome place and to spend a night here, you'll need to book a room.

However, visitors are free to explore the private side of the island by purchasing a day pass online with Klook. This gives you access to all of Bluewater's facilities including the private beach, infinity pool, lagoon, restaurant, and snorkeling trips.

Sumilon island resort

More Photos from Sumilon Island

I hope that you enjoyed this short travel guide to Sumilon Island Cebu. Before you head out, why not check out some Sumilon Island photos captured on my trip below? For more travel and adventure inspiration on Cebu, make sure to also visit some of my other articles found at the bottom of this blog post.

Sumilon island 11 of 12
Sumilon island in the philippines, drone

Where to Stay in Cebu

The best place to stay is in Moalboal as it's close to all of the best things to do and all the epic attractions you'll want to add to your Cebu itinerary. However, if you're planning to travel around the island, then I'd also recommend staying at:

  • Cebu City/Mactan
  • Oslob
  • Malapascua
  • Sumilon Island

Here are my 4 top picks for hostels, resorts, and hotels in Cebu for each budget.

Ancelle cristo re, cebu island resort accommodation

1. Ancelle Cristo Re Moalboal

Top-rated luxury resort situated on a private beach near Moalboal where you can snorkel with sea turtles. This hotel is run by three amazing sisters who use their proceeds to support a local orphanage.

Bai hotel cebu

2. Bai Hotel Mid-Range

Mid-budget resort in Cebu City with large rooms, daily buffet breakfast, and rooftop swimming pool. Located close to the Cebu International Airport.

Chief mau moalboal

3. Chief Mau Hostel

A great hostel with a relaxed backpacker vibe in the heart of Moalboal. Large rooms, an onsite bar, and tours can be booked straight from the front desk.

Sumilon island in cebu

4. Sumilon Bluewater Island

Stay on a pristine private island with a beautiful white sandbar and crystal-clear water for swimming and snorkeling.

I hope that you've enjoyed this quick and updated guide to visiting Sumilon Island Cebu. For more adventures on the island, as well as others in the Philippines, make sure to check out some of my other guides and tips below!

Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure travel journalist & photographer. Traveling non-stop since 2018, I've published over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. These draw on my personal experience to share unique itineraries, accommodation tips, & fun adventure guides covering hikes, viewpoints, beaches, waterfalls, & tours. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.

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Monday 14th of June 2021

Hi, Is it possible to bring a tent and do camping in sumilon?

Olly Gaspar

Monday 14th of June 2021

Hi Cen,

I believe you cannot camp for free on Sumilon because the guys at the Bluewater own the rights to accommodation.