7 Beaches and Mountains to Camp in Cebu
I don’t mean to sound bias here, but it’s hard to deny that Cebu is still a favorite go-to destination for both local and foreign travel junkies. Everything is just within reach. Whether you thrive in having modern city comforts or would like to try out adrenaline-pumping experiences, Cebu offers that. A short 30-minute drive is all you need to go from a posh hotel to the best beaches and mountains. But who needs a posh hotel when you can camp in Cebu beaches and mountain peaks?
Are you ready to challenge your adventurous spirit? Here are some of the most recommended beaches and mountains for beginner camping in the island of Cebu:
1Osmeña Peak in Dalaguete
Even though Osmeña Peak is the highest point in the island at 1,013+ meters above sea level, it is also among the easiest climbs there is and perfect for beginners. Getting from the foot to the peak of the mountain takes about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on your pace, and offers the most spectacular views.
People usually visit Osmeña Peak in the morning, while it is still cold, but going there late in the afternoon is also popular especially for campers. Most of those who set up camp in the area would cap their adventure with a 3 to 4-hour traverse trek to the famous Kawasan Falls.
To get to Osmeña Peak, take a 3 to 4-hour bus ride from Cebu City to Dalaguete. Hop off and ride a motorcycle to the Mantalungon Public Market or to the foot of Osmeña Peak.
2Santiago Beach in Camotes Island
Cebu is also composed of several other islands including the famous Camotes Island. To get a real glimpse of what it has to offer, head on out to Santiago Beach where you can set up camp at a very minimal cost.
If you are looking for a beautiful, unspoiled beach to camp in and laze around all day, this is the perfect place to try out. Of course, there are also more comfortable accommodations around the area, but if you are a little short on budget or would simply want to have a different travel experience, this is for you!
To get to Santiago Beach, ride a RORO from Danao City to Consuelo in Camotes Island. From the port, you can hire a motorcycle to get you to Santiago Beach.
3Sirao Peak in Busay
If you are looking for a quick outdoor getaway in Cebu City, Sirao Peak is one of the best choices. It takes about 20 minutes to get from the city center to the actual campsite.
However, many people would rather take the more challenging route which takes around 4 to 5 hours to complete. This popular trail also offers hikers with a quick dip in Kabang Falls. For those who want to camp at the peak, it is also possible to get there via a 30-minute hike from Ayala Heights.
The peak has the best views of Cebu City at night.
To get to Sirao Peak, take a jeepney ride from Cebu City or Mandaue City to Talamban, and ride a motorcycle to get you to Barangay Budlaan. You can also opt to ride a motorcycle from JY Center in Lahug to Ayala Heights then take the 30-minute hike instead.
4Payag sa Asinan in Olango Island
We love looking for new campsites to explore, and we love it even more when they do not cost an arm and a leg!
Going to Olango Island, for example, costs less than PHP 500 for two people, round trip. Did I mention the boat ride only costs PHP 15 per person per way? We had one of the best camping experiences there, literally sleeping under the stars by the beach and feasting on fresh seafood the next day. Even our (limited) seafood buffet did not get us beyond the 500-peso budget.
The campsite, which is also an eco-park, also offers numerous activities such as kayaking and mangrove planting.
To get to Olango Island, ride a jeepney from Highway in Mandaue to Mövenpick Port in Lapu-Lapu and take a boat ride to Olango Island. Tricycles should be waiting at the port ready to take you to the Olango Island Eco-Park.
Bantayan Island is a well-known diving area and party place but even though it has a touristy aura, we realized that the island does not come off as expensive even to the locals.
One of its most popular camp area, perfect for budget travelers, is Sugar Beach. It boasts of powdery white sands and beautiful, clean waters. Sugar Beach is ideal for families, barkadas, and solo travelers who want to enjoy and relax by the beach.
To get to Bantayan Island, take a bus from Cebu City to Hagnaya. Ride a RORO to Santa Fe in Bantayan then hop on a motorcycle to get to Sugar Beach.
6Chalet Hills in Busay
Many people do not consider this place as a “mountain they’ve been to” mostly because it really is just a small hill with enough space for a few people to set up camp.
In fact, you can easily get to this area via a 5-minute hike, set up camp and enjoy the view, experience the cool mountain climate, enjoy the view again in the morning, then go back down to the city. It does offer seclusion and relaxation which is probably why so many people continue to camp here to this day. Plus, it also has spectacular views of the city.
To get to Chalet Hills, hire a motorcycle from JY Square in Lahug. The campsite is located along the same road as Mountain View and Temple of Leah.
7Mt. Naupa in Naga
Another area in Cebu where you can easily set up camp is Mt. Naupa. Although the place isn’t that high in elevation, it still offers a breathtaking 360-degree view of the Cebu countryside. It is very popular among beginner hikers, for the trail is challenging but just enough so that even kids can enjoy the 45-minute walk to the campsite.
To get to Mt. Naupa, take a KMK bus from SM City Cebu and hop off at Gaisano Minglanilla. From there, you can ride a motorcycle that will get you to Cogon Chapel.
Now, if those Cebu beaches and mountains are not enough to get you packing your tent and camping gears, I don’t know what else will.
You don’t need to bring everything with you, just don’t forget to bring your LNT knowledge (leave no trace, that is), and an adventurous spirit. Philihappy camping!