Enjoy 5 star luxury at Mactan resorts
Mactan Island is the gateway to Cebu and if you’re flying into Cebu this is where you will land. Mactan is full of luxury resorts and tourist attractions and activities, unfortunately generally things seem to be overrated and overpriced! Don’t believe the brochures, the beaches on Mactan are by in large pretty ordinary and if you’re staying at one of the resorts you’re more likely to be swimming in the pool rather than on the beach. Only the man made beaches are any good for swimming. Having said that, the luxurious resorts in Mactan allow you to pamper yourself, unwind and get rid of the jet lag from a long flight. Relax by the pool, enjoy a pina colada, take a soothing spa to reinvigorate your body and just get yourself in the mood for the tropics before you head to the better beaches of Cebu. If you’re up for a bit of adventure, Mactan resorts have plenty of water sports to keep most occupied – banana boat rides, jet ski, para sailing and scuba diving are a number of things you can do.
Resort Spotlight – Be Resort Mactan Cebu. Read more on this hotel here.
Mactan Island is full of first class hotels and spas as well as more moderately priced resorts offering everything a holiday maker could want and need. Home to some world-renowned hotel chains such as the Shangri-La, many of these resorts have outstanding facilities that include huge swimming pools, man-made beaches, spa facilities and gourmet restaurants. Imperial Waterpark is a huge resort popular for families with its kid friendly pools and slides. The award winning Plantation Bay Resort Cebu is famous for its beautiful huge man made lagoons with its most popular rooms built on the shores of the lagoon. The resort is complete with four restaurants, water sports such as scuba diving, snorkelling, para-sailing and a full service spa with hot springs. For those looking for a bit of intimacy, the boutique Abaca Resort has luxury villas with their own private plunge pools as well as having one of the finest restaurants on Mactan. Be Resort is a modern chic resort featuring some really funky decor. Crimson Resort comes with a huge pool and luxury villas, Maribago Bluewater Resort has its own private lagoon and great restaurants. Many of Mactan resorts cater for families with arcade game areas, children’s play grounds and kids activities. They also offer plenty in the way of aqua sports, jet skiing, para-sailing, scuba diving and awesome banana boat rides. Coralpoint Garden Resort is a smaller resort with only 22 rooms. The new resort to open in Mactan Island is the Best Western Sand Bar Resort .
Maribago Bluewater Resort video review. Read more here
Mactan Island has plenty of more affordable and mid priced accommodation options as well. Hotels near Mactan Airport start with the Waterfront Mactan only walking distance from the airport itself and Days Hotel Mactan a few minutes away (and a cheaper option). The colourful Islands Stay and Park Hill are the cheapest hotels near the airport. For those not looking for the beach resorts and in the main area of Lapu-Lapu city (near the bridges crossing to Cebu mainland) may want to look at the mid priced hotels such as The Bellavista, the new Goldberry Suitesor Dulcinea Hotel Suites. The cheaper options around this area include Mactan Pension House and Ace Pension. For some mid priced resorts in Mactan, Cebu White Sands or Cebu Marine Resort are good options. There are a couple decent resorts located on the near by islands, they include the Islands in the Sun resort and the popular Nalusuan Island Resort, the later can get busy as it is popular for day trips for its great snorkeling and barbeque lunches. Mactan resorts and hotels are listed below with more details, photos and best rates.
Things to see and do in Mactan
Nalusuan Island makes for a fantastic island hopping day trip around Cebu. You can also stay overnight at one of its stilt cottages. Read more here
Mactan is Cebu’s playground with the bulk of tourists flocking the resorts and their beaches to enjoy Cebu’s tropical warmth. Lay by the pool or the beach and enjoy the sunshine. If you get bored of just lazing about Mactan has many tourist spots to interest the traveller? One can visit traditional guitar makers with the many guitar factories or see Magellan’s Marker, the spot where Ferdinand Magellan was killed. Right next to this is the Lapu-Lapu Monument the local chieftain who killed Magellan. Being so close to the ocean this area is home to some famous Sutukil fresh seafood restaurants – you pick the fish and they cook it the way you want it! Mactan is home to Cebu’s aquarium while small in size is an interesting visit, just don’t expect the size and grandeur of Manila’s Aquarium! For tours of Mactan, we used Cebu Trip (see video). For a day tour which included Cebu City as well as the popular sites of Mactan it’s something we can recommend. Their guides are informative and helpful and a lot more value than just getting a taxi driver to take you around to the tourist sites. The tour of Mactan included Lapu-Lapu Monument, Magellan’s Shrine and the guitar making factory. The tour pick up is at Ayala Shopping Mall in Cebu City and is a whole day tour. Cebu Trip Tours can be contacted on 268-5470/cell 0917-627-8855 or their website Cebutrips. Mactan also is popular for island hopping as there are many smaller islands close by. Most resorts can organise trips, as well you won’t be able to escape the touts (either outside the resorts or over the fences of the resorts, anywhere they can get your attention!) offering island hopping tours as well. They tend to be cheaper but prices are negotiable and prices are never set – so expect to haggle the price! We have used these services by the touts before and haven’t had a problem although we can’t vouch for all and we are not sure if an issue/problem occurs how well it would be dealt with. We used Island Banca Cruises in the video who were (while not the cheapest) just great and professional. We have not problem recommending their services. Worth considering on these island hopping tours is Olango Island famous for its bird wildlife sanctuary, Nalusuan Island for some great snorkeling and a nice place to enjoy a barbeque lunch and Pandanon Island, an island good for swimming and picture taking. Island Banca Cruises also have a nice “Sunset Cruise” which runs along the channel between Mactan Island and Cebu Island. If the weathers good its a great way to see Cebu City at sunset and the tour heads back to Mactan when the lights of the city come alive (again see video). The company can organise a trip tailored to your wishes so give them a call (63 32) 236 4896/516 1903 or visit their website. For those wishing to head out at night most of the major resorts have their own bars some with live music. Outside of the resorts La Place Restrobar is a pretty chilled out place to enjoy a drink, Chicago Jo’s is a popular disco which attracts a young crowd. The El Tiki Bar usually has something going on Friday nights (behind Bigfoot Studios, where Hollywood Suites are located). Mactan is a great place to start your adventure in the Philippines.
Kadaugan sa Mactan (22nd – 27th of April)
A weeklong commemoration of the historic battle of Mactan between the Spanish Conquestador Fernando Magallanes and Mactan Chieftain Lapu-Lapu. Read more…
Being Cebu’s favorite playground for tourists, the choice for food is endless. Most of the resorts have their own in house restaurants, the larger ones have numerous restaurants. Not only do they offer international and local cuisine they regularly have huge buffet dinners (and breakfast) and themed night dinners (Plantation Bay, Shangri La and Maribago Bluewater Resort are popular places for this). Outside the resorts there is the popular Sutukil restaurants around Mactan Shrine area which serves up fresh seafood cooked the way you like. Due to the location of being next to a major tourist spot, prices are a little high. Around Maribago are the popular Maribago Grill Restaurant (close to Maribago Bluewater) and the Jungle Bar Restaurant (see video above) which has a nightly culture show while you eat. Closer to the airport, Mactan Marina Mall there are a number of choices to eat La Tegola (Italian, they have a few branches in Cebu City as well), Krua Thai (Thai cuisine), Golden Cowrie (Filipino cuisine) Magellan’s Landing (pub serving international cuisine and drinks) Harbour City (Chinese cuisine) a number of fast food outlets and a couple of coffee shops (Starbucks and Cafe De France). Across the road near the Cebu Yacht Club is the overpriced seafood restaurant Anton’s. Closer to the bridges (crossing to Cebu mainland) is the Gaisano Mactan Fiesta Mall with the usual fast food outlets, The Bellavista has its 1565 Cafe and on the ground floor of the Goldberry there is a branch of the Vienna Kaffeehaus which not only makes coffee but makes some decent food as well. For those staying in Basak area (BSM Hotel, Lapu-Lapu Cottages,Hotel California and Regency Mactan) there is the new Gaisano Grand Mall which has many fast food outlets including a branch of the Mooon Cafe.
Cebu to Mactan
Mactan Island is dubbed the gateway of Cebu as this is where the international airport which caters for both international and domestic flights .From here it’s easy to pick up a taxi to your hotel or into Cebu City (approx 30 mins). Yellow Taxis are more expensive than the white taxi (Yellow flag fall 70.00 P and 4.00 for extra 300 meters while the white taxi are flag fall rate starts at 40.00 P and 3.50 per 300 meters). With white taxi on the meter expect to pay from the airport to Ayala approx 250 P, SM area approx 200 P, to Shangri La around 150 P.
In the 16th century Mactan Island was colonized by Spain. Augustinian friars founded the town of Opon in 1730 which became a city in 1961. The city was renamed after Lapu-Lapu, the Island’s chieftain who killed Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1521. This battle is commemorated at the Lapu-Lapu shrine in Punta Engaño.