The Majestic Chocolate Hills in Bohol, Philippines

Introduction

Ah, the Chocolate Hills! Have you ever heard of them? Situated in the heart of the Philippines, these iconic hills are a prime attraction that has captured the hearts of many. Bohol, a gem among the islands in the Philippines, is not just any island. It’s a place where nature’s artistry seems to come alive, and the Chocolate Hills are its masterpiece. When I first set foot on Bohol Island, I was immediately captivated by its natural beauty and charm.

The Geological Marvel of Chocolate Hills

multiple hills with chocolate color under the afternoon sky. the famous chocolate hills in bohol

So, how were these hills formed? It’s a question many tourists and even locals often ponder. The geological formation of the Chocolate Hills remains a topic of debate among geologists. Some believe the hills were shaped by the erosion of limestone over thousands of years, while others argue they are the result of uplifted coral deposits. But one thing’s for sure: these cone-shaped wonders are a testament to nature’s artistry. I remember a local sharing an old tale about giants who used to roam Bohol, and these hills were the remnants of their playful antics. They said the giants were throwing mud at each other and that’s basically how the hills were formed.

How to Get to Chocolate Hills

Whether you’re in Panglao or Tagbilaran, reaching the iconic Chocolate Hills is a straightforward journey. Here’s your guide to navigating from these locations to the breathtaking hills.

From Panglao or Tagbilaran

By Bus or Van

Begin your journey by heading to the Dao Integrated Bus Terminal in Tagbilaran. From either Panglao or Tagbilaran, you can take a tricycle or taxi to reach the terminal. Once at the terminal, look for buses or vans that are en route to Carmen. The journey typically lasts about 1.5 to 2 hours. Upon arriving in Carmen, habal-habal (motorcycle taxi) drivers are available to whisk you away directly to the Chocolate Hills Complex.

By Scooter or Motorcycle

If you’re up for an adventure, consider renting a scooter or motorcycle. Scooter rentals in Panglao are around 300 – 350 pesos per day. This gives you the freedom to explore at your own pace and make the 1.5-hour drive to Carmen and the Chocolate Hills.

Private Car or Tour

For those seeking a more relaxed and convenient journey, consider renting a private car or joining a tour group. Numerous tour operators in both Panglao and Tagbilaran offer day trips to the Chocolate Hills, often in combination with other Bohol attractions. This option is hassle-free, often encompassing transportation, entrance fees, and sometimes meals.

Mode of TransportationTravel TimeEstimated Cost
Bus or Van1.5 to 2 hoursApproximately 120-200 PHP
Scooter or Motorcycle RentalAbout 1.5 hours300 – 350 PHP per day
Private Car or Tour1 to 1.5 hoursVaries, but can range from 2,000 to 3,500 PHP for a day tour

No matter your mode of transportation, the Chocolate Hills promise an enchanting experience. Remember to pack your camera, stay hydrated, and immerse yourself in the panoramic beauty that awaits! If you want a more detailed transportation guide, click here.

Embarking on a Chocolate Hills Tour

When you think of Bohol, the iconic Chocolate Hills immediately come to mind, it’s one of the top tourist spots in Bohol after all. These unique geological formations are not just a sight to behold but are steeped in legends and stories that add to their allure. But did you know that there’s so much more to do around these hills than just gazing at them?

Chocolate Hills Complex Viewpoint in Carmen

The Chocolate Hills Complex in Carmen is the primary destination for viewing these majestic hills. Situated about 55km away from Tagbilaran City, this complex offers a panoramic 360-degree view of the hills. Imagine standing atop two chocolate hills, with a vast expanse of more such hills stretching as far as the eye can see! The complex is equipped with a restaurant, swimming pool, and even accommodations for those who wish to stay overnight amidst this natural wonder. And if you’re a fan of currency trivia, you’d be thrilled to know that these hills are featured on the 200 Philippine Peso bill!

Sagbayan Peak Viewpoint

For a different perspective, head to the Sagbayan Peak. Located 10 miles from the Chocolate Hills Complex, this viewpoint offers a more relaxed and less crowded experience. Apart from the hills, you can catch a glimpse of the sea separating Bohol from Cebu. The resort here is family-friendly, with cartoon character figures scattered around, making it a hit among kids.

male person wearing glasses taking a selfie with the chocolate hills in the background in the day time
me, showing you how not to take photos of the chocolate hills

Chocolate Hills Adventure Park

For the thrill-seekers, the Chocolate Hills Adventure Park offers an adrenaline-pumping experience. Fancy biking mid-air or trying the surf zipline while overlooking the hills? This park has got you covered. Located in Carmen, it’s an adventure-packed addition to the traditional hill viewing experience.

ATV Rides Around the Hills

Want to get up close with the hills? Rent an ATV and hit the trails! It’s an exhilarating way to explore the terrain and get closer to these geological wonders. After a quick orientation, you’ll be all set to navigate the picturesque landscape.

green atv on a muddy road surrounded by grass and trees

If you’re looking for more things to do in Chocolate Hills, click here to read our article.

Nearby Attractions

While the Chocolate Hills are the main attraction, Bohol offers a lot of other fascinating spots that are worth a visit. Here are some of them:

Bilar Man-Made Forest

Travelers heading to the Chocolate Hills in Carmen often pass through the enchanting Bilar Man-Made Forest, making it a popular pit stop and photo-op spot. This lush forest, composed of tall white and red mahogany trees, stretches 2 kilometers long and is situated on the border of Loboc and Bilar. It’s a result of a reforestation project aimed at preventing the deforestation of the Loboc watershed. As you pass through, you’ll notice a sudden drop in temperature, especially during summer, thanks to the dense canopy of trees that block out the sun, offering a refreshing cool breeze. You’ll also notice many visitors taking picture in the middle of the road, so take extra care in driving.

Tarsier Sanctuary

Bohol is also renowned for its adorable tarsiers, one of the smallest primates in the world. No trip to Bohol is complete without a visit to see the Bohol tarsiers. While there are several tarsier sanctuaries in Bohol, many tourists flock to the Corella Tarsier Sanctuary and Tarsier Conservation Area in Loboc. These sanctuaries not only offer a chance to see these cute creatures up close but also provide educational insights about the species. Remember, tarsiers are nocturnal and sensitive to noise, so it’s essential to keep quiet during your visit. Also, refrain from using flash photography and touching them.

Chocolate Hills Adventure Park

For those seeking a more thrilling experience, the Chocolate Hills Adventure Park is the place to be. Here, you can bike mid-air (Bike Zip) or try the surf zipline (The Wave Runner) while overlooking the scenic Chocolate Hills. The park, located at Barangay Buenos Aires in Carmen, offers various activities, including rope courses, horseback riding, and an eco-hiking trail. There’s also a Serpentarium where you can see different species and sizes of snakes.

Sagbayan Peak Viewpoint

Another vantage point to view the Chocolate Hills is the Sagbayan Peak, a mountain resort and recreational center. Located in the town of Sagbayan, this viewpoint offers a more spacious and less crowded experience. The resort boasts various facilities, including an open-sided chapel, a tarsier sanctuary, a butterfly dome, and several cartoon character figures scattered around the area, making it a hit among kids.

Local Delicacies and Shops

After all the sightseeing, satiate your hunger with local Bohol delicacies. From the sweet calamay to the savory peanut kisses, there’s something for every palate. And don’t forget to pick up souvenirs from local shops to remember your trip by!

Visiting the Chocolate Hills is more than just a visual treat. It’s an experience that encompasses adventure, culture, and gastronomy. So, when are you embarking on your Chocolate Hills journey?

Beyond the Hills: Exploring Bohol Island

Bohol is more than just the Chocolate Hills. From the white sandy beaches of Panglao Island to the serene flow of the Loboc River, there’s so much to see and do. On my last trip, I rented a motorbike and went island hopping, discovering hidden gems and making memories along the way.

Staying in Chocolate Hills

After a day of exploring the mesmerizing Chocolate Hills, there’s nothing like resting your head close to these natural wonders. Fortunately, the vicinity of the Chocolate Hills offers a range of accommodations to suit every traveler’s needs.

Chocolate Hills Resort

Located right next to the iconic hills, the Chocolate Hills Resort provides not just a comfortable stay but also an immersive experience. With amenities like a swimming pool, restaurant, and bar, it ensures that guests have everything they need at their fingertips. The resort’s proximity to the hills means you can wake up to a breathtaking view every morning.

Bohol Beach Resort

Just a short 10-minute drive from the Chocolate Hills, the Bohol Beach Resort offers a blend of beachside relaxation and easy access to the hills. Enjoy the best of both worlds as you lounge by the beach during the day and take in the stunning views of the hills by sunset. The resort boasts a range of amenities, including a swimming pool, restaurant, and bar.

Bohol Bee Farm Resort

Nestled in the mountains and about a 20-minute drive from the Chocolate Hills, the Bohol Bee Farm Resort offers a unique experience. Known for its dishes made with honey, its restaurant is a must-visit. The resort provides a serene environment, perfect for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle and be closer to nature.

If you want more information about nearby hotels, click here.

Where to Eat Near the Chocolate Hills

Exploring can work up an appetite, and the area around the Chocolate Hills doesn’t disappoint when it comes to culinary delights:

  • Chocolate Hills Restaurant: Situated next to the Chocolate Hills Resort, this restaurant serves a mix of Filipino dishes and international cuisine, ensuring there’s something for every palate.
  • Bohol Beach Restaurant: Located on the beach, a short drive from the hills, it specializes in seafood dishes and offers a diverse menu that caters to international tastes.
  • Bohol Bee Farm Restaurant: A unique dining experience awaits in the mountains. Known for its honey-infused dishes, it’s a treat for those looking to try something different.
    rice cakes, pork barbecue, pork belly, shrimp and other local delicacies on one plate

Whether you’re looking to stay right next to the hills or a short drive away, the Chocolate Hills area offers accommodations that cater to every preference and budget. With delicious dining options and comfortable stays, your trip to this iconic landmark promises to be memorable.

Practical Tips for Tourists

Visiting the Chocolate Hills is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. To make the most of your trip, here are some practical tips tailored for those venturing to this iconic landmark:

What to Wear

  • Comfortable Footwear: Opt for sturdy shoes or sandals. You’ll be doing a bit of walking, especially if you plan to climb the viewing decks.
  • Light Clothing: Bohol can get quite warm, especially during the day. Wear light, breathable clothing. Consider moisture-wicking fabrics if you’re planning to do a lot of walking.
  • Hat and Sunglasses: Protect yourself from the sun’s rays, especially during midday.

Best Time to Visit

The early morning or late afternoon offers the best lighting for photos and is cooler. Visiting during these times also helps avoid the peak tourist rush that usually happens around midday.

Essentials to Bring

  • Water: Stay hydrated, especially if you’re visiting during the hotter months.
  • Camera: You won’t want to miss capturing the beauty of the hills.
  • Snacks: While there are restaurants nearby, it’s always a good idea to have some snacks on hand.
  • Sunscreen: Protect your skin from the sun, especially if you’re planning to stay out for extended periods.
  • Umbrella or Raincoat: If you’re visiting during the rainy season, be prepared for sudden showers.

Best Spots for Photos

The viewing deck in Carmen offers a panoramic view of the hills, making it a popular spot for photos. However, exploring the area can lead you to less crowded spots with equally stunning views. Don’t be afraid to venture a bit and find your unique vantage point!

Respect the Environment

While it’s tempting to venture off the beaten path for that perfect shot, always respect the environment. Stick to designated paths and avoid disturbing the natural landscape.

With these tips in hand, you’re all set to have an unforgettable experience at the Chocolate Hills. Remember, it’s not just about the destination but the journey and memories you create along the way.

The Chocolate Hills in Bohol, with their unique geological formations and the rich culture of the island, offer an experience like no other. From the breathtaking views to the heartwarming hospitality of the Boholanos, it’s a journey worth taking. So, when are you planning your next trip?

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