One of the most developed provinces in the Philippines; Cebu is the most densely populated island in the country and one of significant economic importance. As well as being one of the main islands, the destination also boasts a plethora of activities to do, which draws in almost two million tourists a year! From world-class diving and beautiful beaches to fantastic mountains and canyons, it’s no wonder that backpackers and travellers alike are charmed by Cebu and keep coming back for more.
Located in the Central Visayas region, Cebu consists of a main island surrounded by 167 islands and islets. Cebu Island itself is a long and narrow island, full of narrow coastlines, coastal plains and rolling, rugged mountain ranges. Not to mention that it is home to the oldest city and first capital of the Philippines, Cebu City, so this is definitely a spot that you have to visit.
It can be quite unnerving looking at where you can stay in Cebu, but with a little research, you‘ll soon find that the pressure will fall away. There are about eight major areas in Cebu that tourists flock to, so depending on your preference. If you want a busy hub, Cebu City is a great option. If you’re looking for high-end resorts or luxurious hotels, look more to the islands of Mactan, Bantayan, Badian, Malapascua and Camotes. If you want a genuine cultural experience that’s off the beaten track, there are also smaller resorts in fishing villages in the Southern and Northern areas of the island, such as Moalboal.
Regardless of the way you travel, Cebu offers great places to stay that will suit every type of travel budget. To help you kick off your search for the best place to stay in Cebu, here are the areas that we recommend for a first time visitor. We will cover off all types of accommodation in Cebu from Hostels to luxury hotels that don’t cost the earth!
We will also cover off all types of Cebu accommodation options from Hostels to luxury Cebu hotels as well as how to decide where to stay in Cebu, the best Cebu hotels, best places in Cebu to visit, the best places to stay in Cebu, hotels near Cebu attractions, Cebu neighborhood guide and many more. Airbnb is also a great option for short or long stays.
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Cebu City – Best place to stay in Cebu for nightlife
Often referred to as the Queen City of the South, Cebu City is the largest and oldest city in the Philippines. Although not exactly aesthetically pleasing, the Capital of the Southern Philippines is a bustling metropolis, a hub of history, culture and energy all rolled into one; this atmosphere alone is enough to spend some time here.
Packed to the brim with lively bars and clubs, retail choices and a dining scene that is continuously improving, Cebu City is quickly becoming a cosmopolitan beauty. As well as having an infectious energy, the city is also becoming increasingly prosperous, boasting a large English-school industry, well-regarded universities and the Cebu international airport that offers both domestic and major international flights.
Trust us when we say, keep your eyes peeled with this city. It’s definitely an up-and-coming city!
Best Places to Stay in Cebu City
Affordable Luxury Hotels in Cebu City:
Radisson Blu Cebu
Mactan Island – Where to stay in Cebu beach
If you’re looking for some of the best diving, snorkelling and island hopping in Cebu, Mactan Island (often referred to as Lapu-Lapu) is where you need to go. Full of white-sand beaches, majestic marine life and all-inclusive resorts, this island is not only a popular tourist destination but one that is also frequented by weekend visitors from Manila, Hong Kong and Korea.
One of the great things about Mactan (as well as the incredible diving and cultural activities) is that it’s so easily accessible. Connected to Cebu City by two bridges, there are no hours-long boat rides into the middle of nowhere to get that unique island feel.
Being so convenient to get to does make this island a busy one, but when you see this coral island for yourself and indulge in its plethora of water activities that are on offer, you’ll never want to leave.
Best Places to Stay in Mactan Island
Affordable Luxury Hotels in Mactan Island:
Jpark Island Resort & Waterpark, Cebu
Crimson Resort and Spa, Mactan
Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa
Movenpick Hotel Mactan Island Cebu
Plantation Bay Resort And Spa
Moalboal – Where to stay in Cebu backpackers
Often used as an entry point on the way to the popular Panagsama Beach, Moalboal is a sleepy, beach town located on the South-West side of Cebu Island. Originally a major attraction for the locals, Moalboal has slowly developed into a destination that tourists love too as it makes for the perfect weekend getaway from the bustle of the city. One of the more developed places outside of Cebu City, Moalboal is divided into two main areas: Panagsama and White Beach (Basdako).
In Panagsama, you’ll find most of the resorts, restaurants, bars and walk-in dive schools as this are the central area, whilst in White Beach, this is where people go who are in search for seclusion and romance. The perfect place for divers of all levels, Moalboal is also home to Pescador Island, a prime diving location famous for its shoals of millions of sardines. Best known for its stunning beaches, colourful underwater world and lively nightlife scene, you’ll soon see why this town is becoming a major tourist hotspot in its province.
Best Places to Stay in Moalboal
Budget Hotels in Moalboal:
Savedra Beach Resort
Oslob – Where to stay in Cebu for tourists
Located right on the South-East tip of Cebu Island, you’ll find a famous destination known as Oslob. One of the most popular destinations for Whale Shark watching in all of the Philippines, Oslob is always teeming with tourists in search of swimming with these giant majestic creatures.
Although heavily criticized for this type of irresponsible tourism, this shouldn’t stop you from coming here altogether. Oslob itself is a beautiful location, dominated by a variety of landscapes from rolling hills and valleys to lush forests and open grasslands. As well as the views it provides, Oslob also offers other points of interest and tourist attractions such as the Baluarte (Watchtower), the Church of the Immaculate Conception, the Cuartel, and Sumilon Island. Sumilon Island, in particular, is a spot of exceptional beauty; a marine protected area that boasts stunning dive sites with superb visibility and colourful and preserved reefs with an abundance of life.
Best Places to Stay in Oslob
Budget Hotels in Oslob:
Gingging Hotel & Resort
Malapascua – Where to stay in Cebu on a budget
If you’re looking for an isolated and quiet island getaway, Malapascua Island will offer you that and more. A small, idyllic island with eight hamlets, you can walk around Malapascua in about three hours. With so much time to spare, you can spend the rest of your time relaxing on one of the white-sandy beaches such as the most popular Bounty Beach, experiencing some world-class diving with thresher sharks and manta rays, or simply exploring the island from its lush green middle to the gorgeous stretches of sandy bays that grace its edges.
Although most of the islanders derive their livelihood from tourism, you can still see some of the locals fishing and farming for subsistence and the island itself still gives off alluring remote island vibes. As a beautiful beach destination that provides travellers with an excellent choice of hotels and guesthouses and reefs and marine life that they can only dream of, Malapascua will continue to charm many.