Although this isn’t my first time on the island, Carnaza always gives me butterflies. Check my previous travel to this island in 2019 here: Mesmerizing Carnaza Island: A Travel Guide
I was just invited for this trip, but later get to organize almost everything. It’s okay though, no big deal at all.
What is new in this island and its neighboring islands since the pandemic? Follow me through.
Disclaimer: This is a personal blog. The views, opinions, and tips expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the other travelers. I’m not an expert. My purpose of writing is to share my story, hoping, somehow, to be helpful and inspirational to some – if not all.
Carnaza Island Overview
Turtle-shaped Carnaza Island has a total land area of approximately 173.5 hectares. It is shrouded in the rain forest, jungle viewpoints, coves, caves, low mountains, and white sand beaches. Locals here will accommodate you well. You can pay a visit to its nearby islands as a side trip.
How to Get There?
From Cebu City, you will have several options:
Bus – En route to Maya/Bagay or any bus plying Daanbantayan at SM City Terminal in Cebu City then alight at Tapilon Port after a 4-hour journey. Your fare can be around P200.
Van – Bound for Daanbantayan from SM City Terminal or Ayala PUJ Terminal then alight at Tapilon Port after 3-4 hours. The fare is approximately P200.
Private Vehicle – Use Waze or Google Maps for the directions to Tapilon Port in Daanbantayan with a travel time of about 2-3 hours.
From the port, you may take a public boat for P200 across the island. It will cost you less to charter a private boat if you are in a group. The rate for a private boat ride varies depending on the passengers and where you are heading after Carnaza. Try to negotiate with your boatmen. We hired our boat for the whole trip since we are more than 20 in the group.
Activities When in Carnaza
Swimming and beach bumming aside, Carnaza Island offers other activities and spots to enjoy. From exploring the island’s jungle areas, clear waters, interesting coves to hopping to its neighboring islands, there’s much for you to experience here.
You will not just stay at Carnaza Eco-Park when you’re here.
Carnaza Eco Park Resort
Carnaza Eco-Park is a private beach resort managed and owned by the Osmeña family. You must pay P200 each as an entrance fee for adults and a half for children below 10 years old.
It is the resort’s wooden sheds that draw its tourists’ attention. You may rent these woodsheds at P200 per night. Rooms good for 4 persons are at P2900 while the family room for 10 persons is at P5000 a night. Beach tents good for 2 are at P200. You may also bring your tent and pay for the space at P50.
They have seafood for sale and let them cook for you with P300 cooking charge. This same rate applies when you prefer to cook your food using their kitchen.
Beaches and Coves
The park’s crew offered us some spots to visit around the island. The Elena Beach, Twin Beach, and Skull Cove can be a packaged tour riding a motorcycle at P150 per head. Since we hired a private boat, we arranged with the boatman to drop us at these spots before the island hopping.
Views from the helipad
Skull Cove and the Helipad
The 360 degree-view of the island from the helipad is worth a visit. There are two caves here: one holds a small cave pool while the other one nestles human skulls (from Japanese military men) dated back during WW II.
In front of the caves is an enticing bluish clear water. A small pathway at the side will lead you to the helipad where a panoramic view of the crystal-clear ocean welcomes you. As usual, everyone had photo-ops at this scenic spot. And oh, I wasn’t informed that Meteor Garden has a taping at that time. See photos below of some of the snaps of the F4 and Sanchai (Carnaza version). Just kidding guys. We’re just having fun.
Twin Beach (Liog-Liog Twin Beach/Cove)
Climb up on a huge rock that connects the identical beaches, hence the name Twin Beach, to have a full view of its beauty. Feel the breeze at the top and see fishing boats docking on its shoreline.
If you are brave enough, go down to the hidden pools at the other side but you will get through the sharp edges of rocks first. Be very careful then.
Elena or Kailina Beach
This is a secluded beach on the other side of the park. We just walk our way out to get there and watch the sunset. That lovely burst of the sunset is magical. The powdery white sand and the turquoise waters are astonishing.
Its peacefulness is deafening, you will only hear the ocean waves, the wind blows, and the rustling of leaves and chirping of birds afar. I’m with some friends, but they are busy doing photoshoots. I did too but not quite. The water is so inviting, so there I am swimming alone and went back all wet and chilling.
As arranged, our hired boat sailed to Carnaza’s neighboring islands.
La Manok Island or Isla La Manok
There are many myths and stories about the historical account of this island. Some of these tell-tales relate it to its rooster shape and its presence on the island. It also serves as a pit stop for the fishermen from Carnaza and Masbate islands, says Kuya Tirso (our boatman).
An hour of the boat ride is all you need to get here. Who can resist this exceptionally stunning sandbar and bluish water? Its seascape? Picture-perfect indeed.
Visible from Carnaza Island, picturesque Gato Island resembles a huge rock in the middle of the ocean. Divers looking for the famed thresher sharks and other distinct sea creatures come here for the rich marine life. The water is clear enough to let you see what’s in the deep blue sea. We can’t get any nearer with the high tide, so the boat took a turn around the island before leaving.
We were just in time we set to get back to the mainland. What a trip to behold for a lifetime.
Just like the other islands in the world, Carnaza Island remains to be a destination full of surprises for every visit you make. I haven’t seen the whole of it yet. One moment at a time whenever circumstance permit. Change is always part of development; the same goes for this island. See you on my next adventure fellow wanderers. Keep safe and healthy always.
Travel Tips and Pointers:
Try to consider the following before getting to the island for a remarkable trip and memories for keeps.
1. Check the island’s Tourism Office or official FB page for some requirements during the pandemic.
2. Book your accommodation as the walk-in booking is discouraged.
3. Always check the weather condition on your scheduled visit dates since big waves are highly likely upon crossing the island.
4. Always observe the government and health protocols (like wearing a mask) all the time as necessary.
5. Leave no trace other than your footprints in the sand.
6. You are expected to be a responsible traveler anywhere, anytime.
8-8:30 am – Meet-up SM City Cebu
9 am-1 pm – Tapilon Port
Lunch, last buy
2-4 pm – to Carnaza Eco Park
5 am – wake-up call, light breakfast
6 am – wash-up, decamp
7 am-1 pm – Island Hopping
7-8 am – Around Carnaza Eco Park (Twin Beach, Skull Cove, Helipad)
8-9 am – to Lamanok Island
Lamanok Island (swimming, snorkel, brunch)
10-11 am – Gato Island
11:30 am-1 pm – back to Tapilon Port
2-6 pm – to Cebu City
— END OF TRIP —
Boat Rental – 521.74 (12000/23)
Fare Cebu City-Tapilon Port (Daanbantayan) – 400 (two-way)
Entrance Fee (Carnaza Eco Park) – 200
Tent space fee – 50
Total = 1171.74 (excluding food and other personal expenses)
We would like to thank Carnaza Eco Park for accommodating us. For more details on your reservation contact them at their FB Page or through this mobile number 09094758799. Also, thank you Kuya Jemlyn of Maje-Ethan Tourist And Transport Services for our safe road trip to Daanbantayan and back to Cebu City. For a trusted and safe van trips, you may contact him at the Maje-Ethan Tourist And Transport Services’ FB page.
Also, check my story about Carnaza Island trip at Travelgoeasy.com: Carnaza Island: Still One of My Favorite Philippine Travel Destination