A tiny island located at the northern tip of Cebu, Malapascua was deemed to be the next Boracay way back in 2006. In reality, Boracay scale development would never have been possible on such a small island, and the cluster of resorts along the main white “Bounty Beach” is as busy as it gets!
Diving wise, people come here to see the Thresher sharks! Beach wise, people come here to escape the hustle and bustle of Boracay and while away their hours in a hammock. There’s a floating bar and a beach made for spectacular sunsets adding to the low key vibe of this tropical paradise.
Where to Stay Malapascua Island
There’s a variety of accommodation on Malapascua from backpacker dorm rooms to luxury beach resorts. Most of the beach resorts on the island are owned by Europeans from a variety of different countries who found the island and decided to set up shop and never leave.
The locals have had to share their island with tourists for many years now and consequently seem to have embraced it so you’ll find a friendly atmosphere at most resorts whether it’s Western or Filipino owned.
Malapascua Backpacker Accommodation
Malapascua Budget Inn: Offering the cheapest accommodation on Malapascua Island, this places gets great reviews and dorm beds start at just $7 USD. Just a few minutes walk from the beach, the hostel also arranges boat trips and excursions at backpacker prices. With a shared lounge and kitchen, it’s one of the more sociable places to stay for backpackers on the island.
Thresher Cove Dive Resort: This top-rated dive resort offers one of the cheapest places to stay on Malapascua Island with beds in a 6-bed mixed dorm from $8 USD. There’s a private beach, the restaurant serves great food and there’s a swimming pool too. The location of this resort is rather secluded so great for those looking to relax. A private room will cost you $17 USD here. All in all a bargain!
Lionfish Backpackers Malapascua: With dorm beds in a 6-bed dorm costing $8 USD this is another cheap place to stay for travellers on a budget. Located in a quiet area, just a few minutes walk to the beach. (The island is so small you can pretty much walk anywhere!)
Malapascua Hotels – For Flashpackers
Celtis Resort: is a good option for those on a budget as you can pick up a decent, clean fan room for only 1200 PHP ($25 USD). It’s located slightly further back from the beach, but it’s still only a 2-minute walk.
AABANA Beach & Watersport Resort: Located right on the beach, this resort is great value for money with welcoming staff and comfortable, clean rooms. Don’t expect total luxury, but for the price, this is one of the best options on Malapascua. A double room with a garden view costs $25 USD. Also includes a very decent breakfast in the price!
Tepanee Beach Resort: This Italian owned resort is great if you want to splash out for a few nights. The accommodation is rustic but luxurious and most of the rooms have lovely sea reviews. From the resort, there’s access to a gorgeous secluded beach with crystal clear waters and great snorkelling. There’s also a spa and spa bath for guests to enjoy. Rooms start at a very reasonable $47 USD per night.
6 Things to do in Malapascua
1. Dive to see the Thresher Sharks:
You better make sure you’ve not got a hangover as it must be a very early rise if you’re keen to get a sighting of the thresher sharks that this island is so famous for!
Thresher sharks, by their nature, normally dwell in the deep ocean, beyond diving capabilities, however, in the early morning they come closer to the surface near the island of Monad Shoal to be cleaned of parasites by shallower fish. This ‘cleaning station’ is where you’ll catch a sighting.
2. Take a pump boat:
Visit the beautiful island of Calangaman, 2 hours from Malapascua (another amazing dive spot!).
3. Visit the lighthouse:
Take a walk up to the lighthouse that looks out over the whole island of palm trees, white-sand beaches, local huts and beach resorts.
4. Go to the local disco!
If it’s the weekend and if you like to drink Tanduay (rum), sing karaoke and get to know locals (highly recommended) then why not pay a visit to the village disco. The island is small and motorbikes are the best way to get around, although in most cases you can get anywhere you need on foot, including the village.
5. Chat with fishermen:
Take a walk past the many banca boats being made on the island and talk to fishermen, their stories are incredible.
6. Indulge in Western food
There are some great international restaurants around, from Pizzeria’s to Chiringuitos and Burger Bars, although if authentic Filipino food is what you’re after this will be harder to come across on the island!
How to get to Malapascua Island?
Malapascua is approximately four hours by bus from Cebu. Ask to go to the Ceres terminal and pay 130 PHP for the bright yellow bus that will transport you out of busy Cebu and into sugar cane country.
From the northern tip of Cebu, it is about a 20-minute banca ride to Malapascua Island, although it may take longer if the weather is bad.
Try not to get scammed into a “private” hire tourist boat which won’t seem so private when half the population of Malapascua who have been visiting the mainland for the day climb aboard!