Must-visit Sandbars in Cebu

Aerial shot of Sumilon Island Sandbar // Photo submitted by machojapito

Sky above, sand below, peace within — the sweet things we feel when we’re at the beach

Do you know the sweetest part about living in the Tropics? It’s that it’s always summer (well, most of the year anyway). We can always take a quick trip to the beach when we want to, especially here in Cebu. It’s just a boat ride or a few hours drive to these locations where we can find the best sandbars. And enjoy them, even privately if you get lucky and are the only ones visiting that spot. 

So what is a sandbar? For those who aren’t familiar with them, they’re actually an area of sand, gravel or fine sediment that sits above the water. Sandbars may be offshore or it could also be connected to the shoreline. They are most commonly narrow and straight and are also known as a sandbank or a shoal. 

Like waterfalls, each of these unique and beautiful sandbar formations differs throughout the day and over a period of time. Certain elements such as the current, the tide, the season and the weather will cause the sand to shift from one formation to another. Some days, it may be visible, while some days it may be submerged. But they’re always worth the visit, especially the clear blue water surrounding them – great for swimming and snorkeling. A perfect day at the beach, don’t you think?

Now, I know it’s November but hey… The weather during the day can get really warm and any day is always a good day to hit the beach. If you’re looking to check out something new, visit the sandbars on our list.

Kota beach Sandbar in Bantayan

Kota Beach Sandbar // Photo submitted by Athena Andrada Porcalla

When someone says “Bantayan Island” — initially what comes to mind is the fine white sandy beach and the clear turquoise water that’s waiting for you. Ahhh! The beach here is just plain gorgeous.. the whole island is such a treat – you would love just walking or biking around the island exploring.

Now close your eyes for a second and think of how a lovely afternoon would be while you’re by the shifting sandbar in Kota Beach. You’re sipping on your cool lemonade and just breathing in all that fresh sea breeze, then take a dip in the clear blue water. Ughh.. sure sounds pleasant and inviting. Now, that’s somewhere I’d want to be stuck in – paradise.

How to get there

From the Cebu North Bus Terminal, get on a bus headed to Bantayan town proper via Sta. Fe. You can also take a van headed to Hagnaya Port in the town of San Remigio. Travel time is 3 to 4 hours. From Hagnaya Port, you will take a 45-minute ferry boat to Sta. Fe, Bantayan Island. And from the town in Sta. Fe, you can take a tricycle to take you to Kota Beach and start living that tropical dream of yours.

Sumilon Island Sandbar in Oslob

Sumilon Island Sandbar // Photo submitted by Aries Mark Narcelo

Oooh, everybody’s heard about this beauty for sure! In the little town of Oslob, there’s a lot to explore. Go whale shark watching, check out the amazing Tumalog Falls and visit the Sumilon white sandbar. The sandbar is so pristine and have attracted both locals and foreign tourists and not just during the summer season, but all throughout the year. Sumilon Island is located off the southeast coast of Cebu. It is a 20-minute boat ride from the town of Oslob. 

And while there is a resort on Sumilon Island, tourists can get to the sandbar even if they’re not staying or checked-in at the resort. The sandbar is also accessible for the whole day, unlike other sandbars that can only be visited during certain hours during the day. 

How to get there

Take a bus that’s headed to Oslob from the Cebu South Bus Terminal. Tell the conductor or the driver you’d like to be dropped off at the Brumini Resort or at Brgy. Tan-Awan Port. And then you can hire a boat from there to take you to Sumilon Island. You will have to hire the whole boat, the price may start at Php 1,500. Better to go in groups so you guys can divide the cost. Also, expect to pay for a Php 50 Environmental Fee.

READ: Guide to Marine Sanctuaries in Cebu

Mahayahay Beach Sandbar in Argao

Mahayahay Beach Sandbar // Photo source: Mahayahay Beach Argao Facebook Page

When we think of nice beaches, we don’t normally think of Argao right away. Not only is Argao worth visiting for their Spanish era structures, but it offers more. Who’d have thought that this little town down south would have such natural treasures waiting to be explored? We’ve written about their Liki Cold Spring – which is a great stopover on your road trips down south. What more? There’s this pretty beach waiting for you to bask in…

Mahayahay Beach is a public beach located in Brgy. Balisong, Argao. It’s great for groups who are on a budget and would like to have some good fun under the sun! On the beach are several cottages you can rent and sari-sari stores where you guys can buy snacks and drinks for your day. Skimboarding is a popular water sport that you guys can enjoy at the beach here. Starting from October until May, the waters here are very calm and great for kayaking, camping and some BBQ trip by the beach.

How to get there

Go to the Cebu South Bus Terminal and get on a bus that’s bound for Bato – Oslob. Tell the driver or conductor you would like to get down at Brgy. Looc and then get on a tricycle to take you to Mahayahay Beach.

Cordova Sandbar in Mactan Lapu-Lapu

One of the good things about living in Cebu City is how we got the best of both worlds. The proximity to city life as well as the countryside or the island life. And just an hour or two away from the city, you guys can head on to this public beach in Cordova in Mactan Island. When we say public beach, most of the time we imagine it to not be so clean or pretty. However, the Cordova Sandbar is different – it has white sand and blue waters.

There are no cottages to rent in the area. It’s advisable for you guys to bring your own tables, chairs or pitch a tent. There are sari-sari stores nearby where you guys can buy snacks and drinks. However, you may bring your own food and beverages. Please leave no trace and take your trash with you.

How to get there

  1. You may take a van from SM City Cebu Terminal that’s bound to Gaisano Cordova. Then, from Gaisano, you can take a tricycle and tell the kuya driver to take you to the sandbar. Tricycle fare is usually Php 50 and it’s good for 6 persons/ pakyaw. Note that there is no Entrance Fee at the Cordova Sandbar.
  2. Another way to get there is by taking a ferry boat going to Lapu-Lapu City from Pier 3 in Cebu City. Then, take a multi-cab or jeepney going to Gaisano Cordova. Then, the tricycle ride to the sandbar.

READ: Mactan Island Hopping Tours Guide

Gibitngil Island Sandbar in Medellin

Gibitngil Island Sandbar // Photo submitted by Miguel Gee Abas Jr

We’ve all heard of Funtastic Island/ Gibitngil Island in Medellin – with all the adventure that awaits you in there. However, there’s more to love about this place. Situated at the eastern part of Gibitngil Island, is this sandbar that’s a beauty. Just on the other side of the action-packed and filled with adventure Funtastic Island – is the endless turquoise blue water and the fine white sandbar that awaits you on this side of the island.

How to get there

  1. Go to the Cebu North Bus Terminal. Then, take a bus that’s bound for Kawit, Medellin. Tell the driver or conductor you’d like to get down at the Alpine pantalan in Kawit. The bus ride may take 3 to 3.5 hrs.

2. You can also take a van/ v-hire if you want to get there faster. The van road trip usually takes 2hrs and 30 mins.

Campalabo Islet/ Sandbar in Pinamungajan

Campalabo Sandbar // Photo submitted by Azalea Zhiarre Sasubac

The town of Pinamungajan has been blessed with lots of natural attractions. It is known to be home to caves, waterfalls, forests, and sandbar. The sandbar is located in Brgy. Tajao – the islet called Campalabo Sandbar. This white-sand beauty has an area of one hectare that emerges during low tide, right in the middle of a marine sanctuary.

Campalabo Islet can be found off the coast of Pinamungajan. It’s actually a part of a protected marine sanctuary where they take good care of the marine life there. It is a good place to relax and bask in the sun, while also giving you a great view of Mt. Kanlaon and the Tañon Strait that’s known for dolphin watching.

How to get there

Go to the Cebu South Bus Terminal. Take a bus that’s bound for Pinamungajan. The bus ride usually takes 2 to 3 hours. When you get to the town proper, get in touch with the municipal hall in Brgy. Poblacion. There are motorcycles for hire or habal-habal that can take visitors to Brgy. Tajao, where the islet can be found. There’s a jumpoff point that was put up at the sandbar – where the Php 50 ecological/ environmental fee is collected.

Caohagan Island Sandbar in Lapu-Lapu

Caohagan Island Sandbar // Photo submitted by Dawn Suzzaine Macapaz

Another beautiful natural attraction that not many locals know about is Caohagan Island. Not so far from Mactan Island, is a place with a white sandbar that extends off of one side of the island. It’s best for visitors to take a dip on that part of the island, and it is accessible through an outrigger boat that you can charter from Maribago in Mactan Island. The place is ideal for a nice swim, sunbathing, and some snorkeling fun.

How to get there

Caohagan is an island community that’s been blessed with seafood and friendly locals. It’s a great place to visit and swim at during your island hopping trip over the Mactan Channel. You can get on a boat from Maribago – from any of the tourism providers. Or you can also rent a pump boat, with your friends and family for an island hopping tour. Ask the people from the boat to take you to Caohagan Island so you may witness its beauty firsthand.


NOTE: We do hope that when you visit these places, you’d respect nature and the locals. Please don’t be a litterbug and leave no trace. If you know of other sandbars in Cebu that we failed to mention, send us a message on our page. We can add it to our list here. Peace!