Bohol, located just east of Cebu in the Philippines’ Central Visayas Region, offers a unique mix of underwater and above water attractions. With everything from nudibranchs to hammerheads, the five diving areas surrounding the main island can challenge the most advanced diver or ease a discovery diver into their first bubbles.
Because of the island’s protected environment and mild tropical climate, diving near Bohol is possible year round. On average, the air temperature is a balmy 77 - 95°F (25 - 35°C) and the water temperature range is 77 - 86°F (25 - 30°C). From November to February, the weather tends to be cool, dry and a little windy making rougher seas. March to May bring the best weather. During these months, it is hot and dry with generally calm seas. June to October are the rainy months, but don’t let it deter you. This doesn’t mean it is raining day in and day out.
Due to Bohol’s above ground attractions, both divers and non-divers flock to the island. Between Anda, Panglao, Cabilao, Balicasag and Pamilacan, there are plenty of dive sites to keep you busy. Accommodation is additionally plentiful. From beach bungalows to fancy resorts, Bohol has it all.
From December until April, Bohol can get crowded and prices soar. In particular, avoid visiting during the Christmas, Chinese New Year, and Easter holidays when the island is full of both local and international tourists. The best bet is to arrange a diving trip in May or November when diving is good but demand is low. During these months, discounts can be arranged for both accommodation and diving.
To say that diving is the main attraction in Bohol would be a fallacy. It’s probably not even the second biggest draw. Tourists from around the world come to see the above ground sites and then fall in love with the underground world.
Visitors can gaze at the chocolate hills, wonder at the Tarsiers in the island’s sanctuary for the smallest primate in the world, or discover local culture on a Loboc River cruise. Whale and dolphin watching tours are also popular.
On the other hand, watching the sun sink into the water with a fresh coconut in hand, relaxed from a day on the beach, is the perfect way to spend a tropical vacation.
Taglibaran Airport services the island of Bohol. However, it is far more likely for international flights to land at either Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila or Mactan-Cebu International Airport in Cebu.
If you aren’t landing in Taglibaran, you can use AirAsia or Cebu Pacific to fly from Manila to Bohol. If you are landing at Mactan-Cebu International Airport, a frequent ferry is available for the short journey between Bohol and Cebu.
On the island of Bohol, buses and auto-rickshaws are available for moving from one place to another.
Note: A new airport, aptly named ‘Bohol Airport’, will be opening in mid-late 2018 and will provide additional transport options.