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Top things to do in Bohol

In this post, I talk about the top things to do and see in Bohol and why you can’t miss this island if you visit the Philippines.

dolphins in the philippines

When planning my trip to the Philippines, I wasn’t sure whether to include Bohol in my itinerary. If you decide to visit this amazing country, you will face these decisions many times. Why? Because the Philippines are made up of 7107 islands, all amazing!

Eventually, after asking for more info from a friend in Cebu, I changed my mind and decided to include this island on my trip. I’m glad I did: there are so many things to do in Bohol.

Even though you may have never heard of this island, you have probably seen some pictures of the famous Chocolate Hills and the cute little Tarsier.

Bohol 2-day itinerary: things to do in Bohol and how to get there

chocolate hills in bohol

There are three main reasons to visit Bohol: the Chocolate Hills, the beautiful beaches, and the small Tarsier.

To get to Bohol, you can fly to Cebu City and then catch a ferry to Bohol. The other option is to fly directly to Tagbilaran, the island’s main city. Once in Tagbilaran, take a taxi to your hotel.

Bohol: when to go

As in the rest of the Philippines, the climate in Bohol is divided into two seasons: dry season and rainy season. However, it tends to rain more in Bohol than in other parts of the Philippines, such as Palawan (here is my travel guide). That being said, the months between November and April experience less rain.

The Chocolate Hills

things to see in bohol

The Chocolate Hills are a group of strangely shaped hills that seem to come from another place: the trees don’t grow on these small hills. Probably you don’t know that there are at least 1260 hills, but according to some, there could be 1776 in an area of 50 Square Km.

Why are they called Chocolate Hills? Sadly, they are not made of chocolate, but the hills are covered in green grass that turns brownish during the dry season, giving them a chocolate-like color.

How were the Chocolate Hills formed? The truth is that no one knows, but there are some funny legends about it. One of these says that a town was plagued by a giant carabao (water buffalo), who ate all their crops. Finally, having had enough, the townsfolk took all their spoiled food and placed it so the carabao would not miss it.

Sure enough, the carabao ate it, but his stomach couldn’t handle the spoiled food, so he defecated, leaving behind him a mound of feces until he had emptied his stomach of the food. The feces then dried, forming the Chocolate Hills. It’s quite a disgusting but very funny legend.

If you can visit the Chocolate Hills, renting a quad and driving around the hills is a good idea. You will see them from a unique perspective.

The Tarsier

tarsies in bohol in the philippines

You will surely fall in love with the small Tarsier: his big eyes are almost hypnotic.

Some think that the Tarsier eyes are a bit scary, almost evil. To me, it looks like Yoda from Star Wars. Don’t you agree?

This small primate measures only about 85 to 160 millimeters, but it can jump up to 5 meters: quite impressive! Another interesting thing about the Tarsier is that its eyes are fixed in its skull; they cannot turn in their sockets but can rotate the head 180 degrees.

The eyes are disproportionately large, having the largest eye-to-body size ratio of all mammals. Since it’s a nocturnal animal, it’s not easy to photograph the tarsier with the eyes wide open during the day.

In Bohol, the Philippine tarsier was a common sight in the southern part of the island until the 1960s. Sadly, since then, the number has dropped to around 700. But the government is doing is best to protect this amazing animal.

The beaches in Bohol

best beaches in bohol

An article about Bohol is not complete without talking about the beaches in Bohol. Even though they are not as pristine and wild as in Palawan, the ocean is beautiful and crystal clear. I recommend one of the many Island hopping tours.

I recommend you do the excursion to Balicasag and the Virgin Island. There are dozens of tour operators to choose from. The tour is divided into three parts: the first part is dedicated to dolphin spotting (the photo at the beginning of the article).

Then you will make a stop at Balicasag. This island is famous for snorkeling because several sea turtles live along the coast. You’ll have to pay a fee to dive, and if you have to choose between the two (snorkeling or turtles), I recommend seeing the sea turtles. It’s a wonderful experience. Some are huge, and it’s not easy to see them in the open sea.

where to see the sea turtles in the philippines

Finally, you will get to Virgin Island, famous for its long stretch of white sandy beach that, during low tide, spans around 1 hectare.

Hinagdanan cave

hinagdanan caves in bohol

It is not famous like the Chocolate Hills or the small Tarsier, but the Hinagdanan cave is worth a visit. It is a natural cavern with a deep lagoon and many large stalactites and stalagmites. You can even swim there if you want to.

Where to stay in Bohol

best hotels in bohol

I stayed on the small Panglao Island, just a 15-minute ride by tricycle from Bohol. The area near Alona Beach is a bit more expensive than the other places, but you will find plenty of options and good restaurants.

You can find some good deals on If you prefer check out this page here.

Obviously, during peak season, Alona Beach can be quite crowded, so it’s better to avoid it if possible.

If you have some days left to spend in the Philippines, why don’t you try another amazing experience: Snorkeling with the Whale Sharks in Cebu, not too far from Bohol? Have you been to Bohol? What did you like the most? Let me know your comments!

Here, you can find more pictures from the Philippines. Here is a post about snorkeling with the Whale Shark in the Philippines, and here is my travel guide to Phi Phi Island in Thailand.

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