Located just 40 minutes east of Mactan Island, escape the madness around Cebu airport and enjoy the birds and the fish.
The real draw of the island is the bird sanctuary, but the reviews are mixed. We preferred instead the tranquility of the island, the privacy of the small resort where we were staying, and listening to birds, waves and geckos scurrying across our walls.
This was one of our splurges, as we wanted to organise something special for Christmas. Including transportation to/ from the island, accommodation, food and entertainment, our final costs were $430 for two days, or $215 / day (which far exceeds our travel budget of roughly $60 / day). Buying small bottles of water at the resort, as no courtesy water was offered, cost us $5-$10 a day.
We stayed at the Talima Beach Villas & Dive Resort on Olango Island, which proved to be a delightfully private experience for our little family. The resort arranged a private car to transport us from the airport to the ‘Hilton Pier’, and a private boat to zip us directly to the shores of the resort. We normally don’t take such luxuries (the public ferry is a fraction of the price — $2 instead of $35 for the private boat), but when we arrived at the ferry terminal on Christmas Eve with our exhausted crying children and walked past all the people fanning themselves anxiously in the heat with their bags of live chickens, I was thrilled to have spent the extra money.
The small resort consists of 3-4 bungalows with large verandas overlooking the swimming pool, and another 3-4 rooms in a longer building along with a restaurant, and has direct access to the water. We only saw eight other guests during our two-day stay there, and always had the swimming pool to ourselves. Snorkeling is possible just a short swim off the shoreline from the resort, and despite numerous internet reviews describing the reef as totally decimated, we found the snorkeling to be quite worth it for the area — not as a diving destination, and certainly not as much to see as Anilao, but well worth it if you are in the area.Next article > Fishing villages and driving adventures