Bohol Travel Tips: Travel Like A Pro

This guide is your key to unlocking the secrets of this magnificent Bohol island in the Philippines. In this comprehensive guide, we dive deep into the essential travel tips that will transform your trip into an experience of a lifetime. From practical advice on currency and customs to insider tricks for transportation and accommodation, we’ve got you covered. Our goal is to equip you with all the knowledge you need to explore Bohol like a pro, uncovering hidden spots, savoring local culinary delights, and making the most of every moment on this beautiful island.

So pack your bags and get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through Bohol. With these travel tips in hand, you’re all set to enjoy an adventure that’s as smooth as it is thrilling. Let’s explore Bohol together!

Essential Travel Tips for First-Time Visitors

Currency:

Handling Money with Ease: In Bohol, the Philippine Peso (PHP) is the currency of choice. When planning your expenses, remember that the best beach experiences or a tour in Bohol often require cash transactions, especially in remote towns in Bohol.

Currency Exchange: For international travelers, currency can be exchanged at the airport, banks, and authorized money changers. It’s advisable to compare rates and be aware of current exchange values to ensure a fair deal. Credit cards are accepted in most hotels and resorts, but it’s better to confirm beforehand.

Cash Withdrawal: There are many ATMs in Bohol especially in the busy areas like Alona Square. But some of them are kind of hidden or obscured. So, it’s better to remember or make a mental map whenever you see one.

a well lit ATM on the left and an obscure ATM on the right

Customs: Understanding and Respecting Local Traditions

Understanding and respecting local customs is key to enjoying your time in Bohol. Whether it’s your first time in Bohol or you’ve been to Bohol before, embracing local traditions will enhance your experience.
Respect and Courtesy: Filipinos are known for our hospitality and friendliness. A respectful nod, a smile, or a simple “Hello” in English (widely spoken in Bohol) can go a long way in establishing rapport. In more rural areas, learning a few basic phrases in Visayan, the local dialect, can enrich your interactions. You can also click here if you want more tips about communication in Bohol.
Cultural Etiquette: When visiting religious sites or attending local ceremonies, dress modestly and ask permission before taking photographs. It’s also common to remove shoes when entering someone’s home. Respect local customs such as the ‘Mano Po’ gesture, a sign of respect to the elderly, by taking their hand and bringing it to your forehead. You don’t have to do this as we only do this to our family members, but if you see people do it just don’t get weirded out.

Practical Tips for an Enhanced Experience

From ensuring you have safety measures in place to understanding tours and itineraries, these practical tips are vital for anyone traveling to Bohol.
Staying Connected: Mobile connectivity is generally good in Bohol. Purchasing a local SIM card can be a cost-effective way to stay connected. Wi-Fi is available in most hotels and some cafes, but speeds can vary.

Tipping and Bargaining: Tipping is not mandatory but is appreciated for good service, usually around 5-10% in restaurants. Bargaining in local markets is customary, it’s a part of the shopping experience but should be done respectfully.

Safety Measures: Bohol is relatively safe for tourists. However, like in any travel destination, exercise common sense. Keep your belongings secure, be cautious when traveling at night, and stay informed about local news and weather conditions.

a padlock, a wifi symbol, and a hand putting a bill in a tip box

Itinerary Planning: Bohol Beyond the Beaches

While Bohol’s beaches, like the famous Alona Beach and the serene Balicasag Island, are a must-visit, there’s more to explore. The Bohol countryside tour, including a visit to the Chocolate Hills and the historic churches, should be part of your itinerary. Remember, Bohol is not just about the beaches, it’s a cultural experience.

Getting to and Around Bohol: Insider Tricks

Smooth Sailing: From Manila to Bohol

Your journey to Bohol might start with a flight from Manila to Tagbilaran, the capital of Bohol. Alternatively, for a more scenic route, consider the ferry services. The travel time is part of the adventure, offering stunning views of the Philippine archipelago.

Once in Bohol, tricycles and jeepneys are your best friends for short distances. For a more authentic experience, try the habal-habal (motorcycle taxis). They’re not just a mode of transport, they’re a way to see Bohol through the eyes of a local. If you’re planning to explore more remote areas, renting a scooter or car might be the best option.

green tricycle on the upper left, yellow buses on the upper right, chrome mitsubishi suv on the lower left, motorcycles on the lower right

Accommodation Secrets: Where to Stay Off the Beaten Path

When visiting Bohol, consider staying in places like the Bohol Bee Farm or smaller boutique resorts nestled in quieter parts of Panglao Island. These locations offer a more authentic and serene experience, away from the crowds. Don’t overlook the smaller towns of Bohol, where homestays and guesthouses provide a glimpse into local life.

a large swimming pool surrounded by cottages shaped like the chocolate hills

Securing the Best Deals

Booking your accommodation in advance can secure better rates, especially outside the peak season (December to April). Consider traveling during the off-peak months for a more budget-friendly experience. Websites and local travel agents can offer package deals that include stays at lesser-known yet charming hotels and resorts.

If you want to know the best time to visit Bohol, click here.

Local Eats and Hidden Culinary Gems

Dive into Bohol’s Culinary Scene

Bohol’s cuisine is a blend of traditional Filipino flavors and unique local twists. Don’t miss out on trying the fresh seafood at Alona Beach or the organic dishes at Bohol Bee Farm. For a truly local experience, seek out carinderias (local eateries) in Tagbilaran or small towns for affordable and authentic meals.

Must-Try Dishes and Snacks

Your culinary adventure in Bohol isn’t complete without trying dishes like Chicken Inato, a local version of grilled chicken, or the sweet and creamy Halo-Halo. Seafood lovers will rejoice in Balicasag Island, known for its fresh catches. Also, keep an eye out for local markets selling suman (rice cakes) and ube (purple yam) treats.

calamay, puto, and other glutinous rice cakes in Bohol Philippines

Bohol’s Best-Kept Secrets

Exploring Beyond the Chocolate Hills

While the Chocolate Hills and the Tarsier Sanctuary are must-visits, Bohol has much more to offer. The Loboc River Cruise offers a scenic view of Bohol’s countryside, while a visit to the lesser-known Anda Beach promises tranquility. For the adventurous, exploring the island’s numerous caves, like Hinagdanan Cave, is a thrilling experience.

Living Like a Local

Engage in community-based tourism activities like visiting local farms or taking part in traditional crafts workshops. These experiences not only provide unique memories but also support local livelihoods. Don’t forget to explore Bohol’s numerous festivals, where the island’s culture and heritage come to life.

Smart Packing for Bohol

When preparing for your trip to Bohol, consider the variety of activities you’ll engage in. For island hopping and beach days, bring lightweight, quick-dry clothing, sun protection, and waterproof bags. If you’re planning to explore the countryside or engage in hiking, pack comfortable walking shoes and insect repellent. Don’t forget a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated. For more packing tips, visit our page here.

light clothing, hat, slippers, lotion, sunglasses, small cosmetics

Travel Essentials for Bohol’s Climate

Bohol is typically hot and humid, so breathable fabrics are a must. However, for evenings or trips to higher elevations like the Chocolate Hills, a light jacket can be handy. Also, consider bringing a small first-aid kit for minor scrapes or sunburns.

For more details about what to bring and wear, read the article here.

To avoid the crowds at Bohol’s famous spots like the Chocolate Hills, plan to visit early in the morning or later in the afternoon. Not only will you beat the crowds, but you’ll also enjoy these sites in softer light, perfect for photography. For island hopping tours, ask local operators about less crowded alternatives or timing your tour to avoid peak hours.

a line of people going up the stairs to the viewing deck of the chocolate hills complex

Maximizing Your Experience

At popular destinations like the Loboc River or Alona Beach, look for experiences that offer a unique perspective. For instance, a stand-up paddleboarding tour on the Loboc River provides a serene and less crowded experience compared to traditional boat tours.

Safety and Health Tips

While Bohol is generally a safe destination, standard travel precautions apply. Be mindful of your belongings in crowded areas and respect local customs and laws. Health-wise, stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun. If you’re prone to motion sickness, prepare accordingly for boat trips or winding road journeys.

Preparing for the Unexpected: Travel Insurance

It’s always wise to have travel insurance when exploring destinations like Bohol. Ensure that your policy covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and any adventure activities you plan to undertake.

Sustainable Travel in Bohol

As travelers, it’s our duty to protect the destinations we visit. In Bohol, opt for eco-friendly accommodations, support local businesses, and be mindful of your environmental impact. Participate in activities that promote conservation, like visiting the Tarsier Sanctuary, which helps preserve these unique creatures.

a family picture with 3 women and a man carrying a small girl, with the tarsier as a foreground

Leaving a Positive Impact

Consider volunteering for local conservation projects or beach clean-ups during your stay. Always follow guidelines for responsible wildlife interactions and dispose of waste properly to preserve Bohol’s natural beauty.

Final Thoughts

Bohol offers a rich tapestry of experiences, from its stunning landscapes to its warm, welcoming people. By following these travel tips, you can ensure a memorable and fulfilling journey. Remember, traveling responsibly not only enhances your experience but also contributes to the sustainability and preservation of this magnificent island.

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