Located off the coast of southern Cebu in the Philippines, Sumilon Island boasts some of the most stunning landscapes in the region. It features pristine white sand beaches and vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life, surrounded by crystal-clear blue waters. As Cebu’s first marine protected area, it’s a haven of untouched natural beauty, making it a must-visit destination for tourists seeking a scenic and tranquil getaway.
Just a short boat ride from Oslob, the town famous for its local Whale Sharks, this beautiful yet tiny island has just one resort, Sumilon Island Bluewater Resort.. Some might just call it paradise.
SUMILON ISLAND: VISITORS GUIDE
In this blog post, I’ll share everything you need to know about visiting Sumilon Island including tips about the sandbar, resort, day-trips and best times to visit.
TOP 3 PLACES TO STAY IN MOALBOAL
Moalboal is the best place to base for all your Cebu adventures. It is central to most waterfalls, canyoneering, snorkeling, beaches and within driving distance of the Whale Sharks!
HOW TO GET TO SUMILON ISLAND
As Sumilon sandbar is an island located just off the coast, you will need to take a boat ride from Oslob, Cebu to get there.
For a convenient option, consider purchasing the BlueWater Sumilon Day Pass online, which includes access to the pool and boat transfer without having to stay overnight at the Sumilon Island Bluewater Resort.
While there are various boat services that ferry passengers between the mainland and Sumilon Island daily, avoid incurring the cost of a private boat ride.
A more cost-effective choice is to opt for a shared “banka” or boat with other travelers. I’ve pinned the location of the Sumilon Island Port below on the map.
WHERE TO STAY ON SUMILON ISLAND
There is only one resort on Sumilon Island and it is very exclusive. I mean, imagine getting to stay on a resort on a private island with crystal clear waters and your very own sandbar. If you can afford a night or two on Sumilon Island it would be a very unique experience. The resort is called Blue Water Sumilon Island Resort.
It is a 4-star resort with spacious cottages that are equipped with hot showers, WiFi, desk, TV and beautiful decor. Guests can enjoy massages or activities such as fishing, snorkeling, and diving and you can even watch the fish and sharks with the ocean view from your cottage.
MY 5 FAVORITE CEBU TOURS
- Oslob Whale Sharks & Moalboal Sardine Run Snorkeling – This combo tour is the BEST VALUE way to enjoy a guided and PRIVATE tour of the two most popular activities in Cebu.
- Moalboal Island Hopping & Pescador Island & Turtle Bay Snorkeling: Swim with turtles and the sardine balls on an island-hopping boat trip from Moalboal.
- Bluewater Sumilon Island Day Tour – Visit the crystal clear water of Sumilon Island on this day tour.
- Kawasan Falls Canyoneering Tour (BEST PRICE): The classic tour. Number one most booked activity in Cebu!
- Bohol Day tour from Cebu: Want to visit Bohol but are short of time? See the top sights on this one-day adventure including transport.
Click the orange button below to view all of the top-rated tours on Klook
WHAT TO EXPECT AT SUMILON ISLAND
When we arrived at Sumilon Island two ladies were waiting for us and we had to pay 50 pesos or $1 USD entrance fee. A group of holiday-makers played in the water and their kids were having the time of the life. The sand was some of the whitest I had seen so far in the Philippines and contrasted beautifully against the clear water and surrounding reefs.
A ladder led us up around the side of the island, towards the western dock. We explored the island for just over an hour and the weather cleared up creating beautiful reflections and scenes for some photographs. The island isn’t large but still spans 24 hectares. We managed to explore most corners of the island in our afternoon visit.
Sumilon Island is the first marine protected area in the Philippines and has been protected as a marine sanctuary since 1974. It is no surprise that there are lots of marine life swimming about the crystal clear waters of Sumilon Island.
BEST CAMERA FOR THE PHILIPPINES
The GoPro Hero11 is the BEST camera for traveling around the Philippines.
- Waterproof for snorkeling, island-hopping and canyoneering and beach days.
- Built-in stabilization for filming your travels and adventure activities
- 5.3K video and 27MP Photo to capture awesome memories of friends and family
FACTS ABOUT SUMILON ISLAND
- Location: Sumilon Island is located in the southeastern tip of Oslob in the province of Cebu, Philippines.
- Size: The island covers an area of about 24 hectares, making it a relatively small yet beautiful island destination.
- Marine Sanctuary: Sumilon Island is Cebu’s first marine protected area, established in 1974 under the guidance of Siliman University Marine Reserve.
- Sandbar: The island is famous for its shifting sandbar, changing shape and location depending on the season and the tide.
- Marine Life: It is home to diverse marine life, including various species of fish, corals, and on occasion, whale sharks.
- BlueWater Sumilon Island Resort: The island houses a single resort, the Blue Water Sumilon Island Resort, known for its luxurious accommodations and activities.
- Lighthouse: The island features a historic lighthouse with panoramic views of the ocean.
- Wildlife: The island is not only rich in marine life but also has a variety of bird species, making it a haven for birdwatchers.
- Cave: Sumilon Island has a natural cave that was used as a shelter during World War II.
- Activities: Apart from swimming and snorkeling, visitors can also enjoy paddleboarding, fishing, and picnicking.
SUMILON ISLAND SCUBA-DIVING
There are four major dive sites on Sumilon Island:
- Garden Eel Plaza
- Nikk’s Wall
- Coral Landscape
- Julie’s Rock
These diving sites are internationally known for their perfect visibility and a wide variety of tropical fish and marine species. If you are lucky you might spot a black tip reef shark or maybe even a whale shark cruising past.
SUMILON ISLAND SANDBAR
The Sumilon Island Sandbar is one of the most distinctive features of the island. This naturally formed stretch of white sand is renowned for its stunning beauty and its intriguing behavior – it shifts and moves, altering its shape and location influenced by the season and tide. This capricious sandbar renders a different spectacle every visit, making each experience unique. Embraced by crystal-clear turquoise waters and often serving as a resting spot for playful marine life, the Sumilon Island Sandbar not only offers a perfect place for sunbathing and relaxation but also provides an excellent spot for snorkeling and swimming, attracting tourists from all over the world.
There are also a few other spots to visit on the island including a natural lagoon with mangroves and a pristine lake.
SUMILON ISLAND MAP LOCATION
Below, I’ve pinned the exact map location for Sumilon Island so you can plane your trip.
MORE CEBU TRAVEL GUIDES
- Ultimate Cebu Bucketlist: 26 AWESOME THINGS TO DO ON CEBU
- Canyoneering Guide: KAWASAN FALLS CEBU CANYONEERING
- Ultimate Oslob Guide: WHAT TO DO IN OSLOB CEBU
- Digital Nomad Guide to Moalboal: THE DIGITAL NOMAD GUIDE TO MOALBOAL, CEBU
- Waterfall Chasing: 14 BEST WATERFALLS IN CEBU
- Moalboal Guide: 20 BEST THINGS TO DO IN MOALBOAL
- Alegria Guide: 13 BEST THINGS TO DO IN ALEGRIA
- Hiking Osmena Peak: OSMEÑA PEAK IN CEBU – A BEAUTIFUL SUNRISE HIKE
WHERE TO STAY IN CEBU?
I really think that if you are going to be exploring Cebu, the best place to stay is in Moalboal. There are a few reasons why!
Cebu City might be where you land at the airport but if you are looking for adventure, you will need to head south as soon as possible. Most of the best waterfalls, whale sharks, snorkeling with sardines and turtles are all down in the south of Cebu. So where do you stay to do all of these adventures? Moalboal!
Moalboal is a cool town, which is the free-diving and scuba capital of Cebu. There are tons of hostels, hotels, and hostels here as well as being close to all the waterfalls and hikes in the region.
Here are my recommendations on where to stay in Moalboal depending on your budget.
- Teobas Homestay – Value: You need to click on that link just to see how rad this place is. It has a staircase down to the ocean into crystal clear water. I can tell you, I have snorkeled out the front of this place with turtles many times. For about $30 USD you get a private room with all of the facilities you need. There is not much better than having ocean access and a bit of a sunset view!
- Dolphin House Resort – Luxury: If you are looking for a nice resort, Dolphin House is a 5-star resort with a huge pool for less than $200 USD per night. It has ocean access, great restaurant, chilling areas and a beautiful garden throughout the property.
MY ACCOMMODATION GUIDES FOR THE PHILIPPINES
- Luxury in South Cebu: 18 BEST SOUTH CEBU RESORTS
- Bucketlist: 13 BEST PHILIPPINES OVERWATER BUNGALOWS
- Beach Resorts in North Cebu: BEST RESORTS IN CEBU
- El Nido Resorts: 12 BEST RESORTS IN EL NIDO
- Moalboal Accommodation: WHERE TO STAY IN MOALBOAL
- Panglao Resorts: 13 BEST LUXURY RESORTS IN PANGLAO
- Siargao Accommodation: WHERE TO STAY IN SIARGAO
- Hostels in Cebu: 10 BEST HOSTELS IN CEBU
- Sustainable Resorts: 12 BEST ECO RESORTS IN THE PHILIPPINES
- Coron Accommodation: WHERE TO STAY IN CORON
MORE OF MY PHILIPPINES GUIDES
- The Ultimate Philippines Itinerary: 3-4 WEEK PHILIPPINES ITINERARY
- Best Island Hopping Trip: BIG DREAM BOAT MAN IN CORON
- The Backpacker’s Guide to the Philippines: 1 MONTH FOR $800
- Ultimate Guide to Coron: 22 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN CORON
- Ultimate Guide to Siargao: 40 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN SIARGAO
- Ultimate Guide to Romblon: 17 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN ROMBLON
- Ultimate Guide to El Nido: 20 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN EL NIDO
- Ultimate Guide to Bohol: 27 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN BOHOL
- Ultimate Guide to Sibuyan: 9 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN SIBUYAN