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Carabao Island Travel Guide (May 2024)

Before the 2020-2021 pandemic, we frequently traveled with our little ones around the Philippines. You can find our stories here. We went to popular spots and places tourists don’t normally visit. We mostly enjoyed the adventure, so in 2024, we decided to try taking the kids on another adventure outside Luzon.

We decided to explore Romblon, being the home province of my mother’s side of the family. Normally, we would stay in Looc, my mom’s hometown, for a long period of time and then take a side trip to Boracay.

However, this time, we decided to take the kids to other towns in Romblon, including Carabao Island.

How To Get To Carabao Island

Although the trip was longer, we opted to take the ferry instead of the plane to Romblon. Taking a ferry meant we could bring more luggage with us to cover our 10-day adventure. With kids in tow, we had clothes, beach toys, floaters, and gadgets.

If you decide to follow our travel path, here’s how we got from Manila to Romblon via ferry:

  1. Drive from Manila to Batangas Port
  2. Take a 2Go ferry going to Odiongan (we recommend getting a cabin or stateroom for more privacy and comfort)
  3. You may stay for a night in Odiongan if you wish. Or, you can head straight to Sta. Fe port to take the 8:30 a.m. boat ride to Carabao Island (also called Hambil). There are vans you can rent. In our case, we stayed two days in Looc before heading to Sta. Fe to give our kids a breather before another boat ride.

Where To Stay In Carabao Island

Whenever we travel, we look for hotels or resorts that can accommodate a big family like ours and have amenities that the whole family will enjoy. If we are going to an island destination, we prefer beach-side ones, but we also want one that has a pool because our five kids have different preferences.

It’s also important that the accommodation has internet because my work heavily depends on online communication and we have a homeschooler who needs to connect online with her teachers.

There are not many options on Carabao Island, but we did find one that met our needs: Oceans Edge Resort. You can read more about our stay here.

There are, of course, other options. Lanas Beach Resort could be ideal for you if you want something closer to the beach. The only reason why we didn’t stay there is that it doesn’t have a pool.

There are also other hotels you can find near the town center.

Again, it really depends on your preferences.

Where To Eat In Carabao Island

Our hotel offers meals; however, we longed for other options since we stayed long.

On the island, you can dine at Lanas Beach Resort or drop by MMAD (Meet Me At Dawn) in the town center.

We highly recommend the latter because it serves delicious, affordable food. Plus, it has Starlink Wi-Fi, so I could work while we dined.

Places To Visit In Carabao Island

Before our visit, we researched the places we could visit in Carabao Island. We found many posts showcasing the beautiful scenery and activities you can do during your stay.

Sadly, when we arrived, we soon discovered that many of the spots tourists used to visit pre-pandemic had closed. We asked the locals about what happened, and they said that many of these spots were not able to recover after the pandemic and after being damaged by typhoons.

So where do you go?

We went to Cathedral Cave, where you can explore a cave leading to a lagoon.

After that, my husband tried cliff diving while I went snorkeling. (It’s in the same location as Cathedral Cave)

Carabao Island Travel Guide 2024 - Kimberley Reyes

We spent most of our morning there, then ate lunch at Lanas Beach Resort.

In the afternoon, we took a motorcycle ride around Carabao Island, recording and photographing the views.

Other than that, there’s not much to do, unfortunately.

Tips During Your Stay

  • Going around the island can get expensive, especially if traveling as a big group. Our hotel offered van transfers, which cost Php150-250 per person per way. If you decide to take the tricycle, they charge Php50-100 per person per way.
  • If traveling solo or as a couple, rent a motorbike (only if you can drive it!), which costs Php500-800 for 5 hours. Gas is not included.
  • Bring aqua shoes with you because the shores are rocky. This way, you can enjoy snorkeling without worrying about stepping on sharp rocks.
  • Bring cash because most establishments cannot process credit cards or e-wallet payments.
  • There are areas without cell signal, so you can either stay in a hotel with Wi-Fi or go to Starlink-powered restaurants like MMAD and Lanas Beach Resort.

Final Thoughts

We hoped to have a Boracay-like holiday in Carabao Island, minus the crowd. Unfortunately, it wasn’t able to deliver. I hope the local government, business establishments, and locals do something to rehabilitate the beach areas and activity spots to revive tourism on the island. It has so much potential!

Kimberley Reyes

Kimberley Reyes is an Online Business Manager for entrepreneurs who are ready to get off the hamster wheel and step into their CEO shoes. On top of helping her clients get organized and scale their businesses, she is also happily busy raising her five kids with her firefighter husband.

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