Camotes Islands Hopping and Tours
The "Lost Horizon of the South" is a group of four islands less than 1 hour from our dive center in Mactan. The Camotes Islands are 42 kilometers (22 nautical miles) from our Scotty's headquarters heading 39° on the compass. The Camotes islands group consists of San Francisco Island, Poro Island, Ponson Island, and Talong Island.
"Camotes" means "sweet potatoes." According to legend, Spaniards asked for the name of the islands. But, the locals thought they were asking about their crop, which they were harvesting at the time. Thus, the Spanish thought their reply “camote” was the name of the land.
The Camotes Islands have a mix of mostly-green terrain. They are flat with some hills. But, they also have a peak, Altavista, and Cebu's largest freshwater lake, Lake Danao.
The government may develop a small airstrip into an airport in the future. It might also build one airport for both Camotes and Bantayan somewhere else.
Spelunking Camotes Islands
The must-see attraction of Camotes Islands is the Holy Crystal Cave. Its name comes from its pious caretaker and, of course, its crystals. You will also see 5000-year-old human bones.
The Camotes Islands caves have concrete steps and adequate lighting for safety. Try to include Bukilat Cave, Timubo Cave, Guadalupe Cave, Paraiso Cave, and Tangub Cave on your tour.
Timubo Cave has a freshwater, natural swimming pool at the bottom. Tangub Cave also has small, natural swimming pools. The deep Tangub Cave leads to Buho Rock, where you can go cliff diving or snorkeling.
Your Camotes Islands Snorkeling Excursion
Bring your underwater camera and go snorkeling. The Camotes Islands are home to colorful aquatic life, including:
- hard coral
- leaf fish
- nudibranch (sea slug)
- porcelain crab
- sea fan
- soft coral
Activities include kayaking and boating at Lake Danao, cliff diving at Buho Rock, camping on Tulang Island, shopping at Fiesta Mall, and playing volleyball and frisbee on the white sand beaches at Santiago Bay, Mangongodlong, Esperanza, Bakhaw, Ponson Island, and others.
Go sightseeing at Greenlake Park, Mt. Calvary (Kalbaryo), Pacijan-Poro mangrove swamp, and the lightstations at the ports. Marvel at Poro Waterfall, Tudela Waterfall, Busay Falls, and Panganuron Falls. In March, check out the Soli-Soli Festival in San Francisco. When you're hungry, try the sutokil, pulvuron, and, of course, the camote (sweet potato).
For some history, visit Mactang Beach. Locals say that Philippines hero Lapu-Lapu and Spanish explorer Ferdinand Magellan fought their historic battle here. The official history places this battle on nearby Mactan Island.