CARABAO ISLANDInformations, activities and what to do.
Here you will find all the informations you need about how to get to Carabao
and the different activities and things to do in Carabao island
during your holidays in the Philippines.
An island with breathtaking landscapes that is waiting to be discovered.
The municipality of San Jose, Carabao Island, or Hambil like the locals know it, is a small island located in the south of the Romblon province of the Philippines, just a few minutes away from its step sister, the world famous Boracay. Just as Cinderella waiting for the ball, this island remains untouched, away from the crowd and immersed in nature. The tropical water and healthy reef offer perfect opportunities for a diving holidays, our favorite activity. It is definitely a new diving paradise of the Philippines, but for those looking for more things to do, Carabao will not disappoint.
You can enjoy lot of different activities, either if you are looking for adventures or just to relax on the beach and enjoy the sunset. On this page you will find all the informations about what you can do during your stay on our beloved Carabao island.
With only 10,000 people living on the island and hardly any tourist, visiting Carabao during your stay in the Philippines will definitely get you away from the crowds.
Travel and activity guide for Carabao island Philippines
The island of Carabao is a great entry/exit point for your trip around the Romblon province of the Philippines, as it easily connects with Cebu or Manila via Caticlan airport. Pair that with a visit of Tablas, Romblon and Sibuyan islands and you get the perfect 2 weeks holidays in the Philippines, full of activities. You could chose Carabao island to do just a few things and relax a few days. You can enjoy the untouched nature and authentic Filipino lifestyle, the beautiful beaches or go for different activities like visiting the caves, go for cliff jumping, bike around and join us for a glide along the reef or an exploration of the wrecks of the nearby Boracay.
Some people chose to visit the island during a daytrip, but Carabao has so much more to offer and if you get the right informations, you will find a lot of activities and things to do. Carabao island is really worth a few days when you visit the Philippines.
How to get to Carabao Island?
Ask your resort or the place where you booked if they offer a transfer service to the island.
Other resorts may offer this service, just ask them in advance.
If you prefer to come to the island by yourself, there are different options to reach Carabao depending on where you are coming from:
From Caticlan to Carabao island:
There is a daily public boat going to San Jose, Carabao, three times a day. The first one is around 9:00 am, then 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm.
Once you arrive at Caticlan airport, you can take a tricycle to Tabon Baybay port to catch the public boat going to Carabao Island. Just ask around in english and you will know where to go. The fare is ₱100 per person.
When you arrive at Said port in San Jose, you will be asked to pay a ₱50 environmental fee and you will see motorbikes waiting for you, ready to drive you directly to the place of your choice.
*Those informations are the last updates we are aware of and schedules can change. Please let us know if you notice any change.
→Friendly advice: Caticlan is a small city in the Philippines that is used as a transition for tourists going to Boracay and Carabao. There are a few hotels for a night stay and you can find really good burgers (Roadhouse Pub), but try to book a flight that will allow you to transfer to Carabao island in the same day, you will save some time to enjoy in paradise. During Habbagat season between July and November, it can happen that the boat departs from Tabon Port (different from Tabon Baybay). Just ask your driver for help.
From Boracay to Carabao island
To go to Carabao from Boracay, the best thing to do is to go back to Caticlan and take the public boat or ask your resort to pick you up (ask them directly for more informations).
Public ferry departs from Caticlan to Carabao daily at 9:00 am, 2:00 pm, 3:00 pm.
From Tablas to Carabao island
There are direct ferries from Sante Fe in Tablas to San Jose, Carabao. The boat leaves Santa Fe around 9:00 – 10:00 am and returns from Carabao to Tablas around 5:30 pm every day. The fare is ₱100.
Informations about activities and what to do on Carabao
SCUBA Diving and snorkeling
For Vibrations, the best thing to do around Carabao island, and the best activity from far in the Philippines, is to SCUBA dive and explore the beauty of its underwater landscape. Romblon is a well known diving location in the Philippines as is its neighbor Boracay, but Carabao certainly has the most beautiful reef around and is a diving destination by itself. You will find more informations about this activity and the different things you can do with us on our section dedicated to the diving around Carabao.
The island possesses its own underwater secret coral gardens, impressive reef and large diversity of marine life, with more than 10 dive sites around the island that range from very easy to deep walls, but we are still investigating and working on finding more.
Other activities and things to do in Carabao island:
If you are looking for some adrenaline rush during your holidays in the Philippines, a very cool thing to do is another way to dive in Carabao Island. Indeed, the island is blessed with numerous cliff where you can jump from diving boards or for the less adventurous, just take a picture with a great view or enjoy a swim in the crystal clear blue water. This is the number one activity (after scuba diving of course 😉 ).
Visit the caves
An other nice activity of Carabao connected with the amazing nature of the Philippines is to visit the caves. That’s one of our favorite thing to do (when we are not diving obviously). Most of them are connected to a cliff jumping site, except for the Ngiriton Cave. You will need a guide and equipment to visit them. Do not to forget your bathing suit, some caves have natural pools where you can swim, like in Cathedral Cave.
Watch the sunset
Carabao is a small island so it is easy to catch sunrise and sunset of the same day. Not really an activity but one of the best thing you can do after a day of diving. For those who like to wake up early, then you can have a look at the sun going up from poblacion beach on the east side. For the sunset, you have a few options to chose from:
Rent a motorbike and explore the Island
An activity for those who know how to ride a motorbike: rent one and get lost around Carabao! Discover small roads through the hills covered in nature and enjoy the sight, or take the easy drive around the island and find a nice bay where to rest for the afternoon.
If that’s the thing you want to do, then pack water and some food and you are ready to go. Please remember to use the less plastic as possible (using reusable plastic or metal water bottle, asking your resort for reusable plastic lunch box and avoid the use of plastic bags is the best way to reduce plastic waste and protect the nature).
It will take 2 to 4 hours to go around the island, depending on how many stops you want to do. In Carabao like in many places of the Philippines, roads can be tough sometimes and you will need good driving skills if you want to go out of the main road.
If you don’t know how to drive then ask for a habal-habal tour, the same experience while someone drives for you! Keep yourself safe, you still have a lot of activities to enjoy around.
Fee for a habal-habal: ₱500
Hike or Mountain Bike around
An activity for the most adventurous
The Philippines is a great playground for activities such as mountain biking and hiking, and you can get a mountain bike from Oceans Edge Resort or just go hiking around Carabao.
You will go up the hills, meet horses, cows and carabaos, contemplate Boracay from a unique point of view, cross with the smiles of the people and maybe find the secret river.
It can be very hot and the hills can be steep, so we recommend a good physical condition for hiking or biking around. For the most sport addicts only.
Feel free to contact us if you want a guide or any information, we will be happy to show you around if we are not diving. We know the trails and secrets of the island and will be happy to share them with you.
Relax and chill on a white sand beach
Carabao Island is surrounded with white sand beach, and chilling on a beautiful beach is always a nice thing to do. The two famous ones are Poblacion and Lanas.
Oceans Edge Resort Private Beach
Oceans Edge Resort offers its own private beach and you can also just spend a nice afternoon chilling on the pool and enjoying the luxury that Oceans Edge Resort has to offer, should you be a guest of the resort or simply diving with Vibrations.
Where to sleep?
There is a good choice of accommodation around the island that will suit every budget. From the luxurious Oceans Edge Resort to more backpacker and budget friendly Kameo Lodge.
Hotels and where to sleep on Carabao Island
Our favorite is the place where we chose to settle our dive center, the luxurious Oceans Edge Resort.
This is probably the best place to stay during your holidays on Carabao Island. Here you will find a serene atmosphere all over this place immersed in nature. Relax next to the infinity pool and enjoy their locally grown organic products cooked by Chef Yen.
Looking on Internet you will find informations for more options, like the Beach House, Lanas Beach Resort or Kameo Lodge for example.
Where to eat?
Carabao is not a touristic destination of the Philippines and it is not easy to find informations but it is tourist friendly anyway. You will find good quality food, western style or local dishes to please everyone.
We know it’s not easy to find informations online, so we will try to help you.
Restaurants on Carabao Island
Oceans Edge Resort
Here you will have the chance to try the cuisine of Chef Yen, an experienced Filipina chef that knows about Korean and Italian food too.
Almost all the products you will eat here come from the island. Local animals and locally grown vegetables.
They even have their own organic farm straight inside the resort that you are welcome to visit. Here you know what’s in your plate!
Simple place with good quality food. Their Cordon Blue is a success and it comes with a tasty salad on the side.
They also serve all kind of western and Filipino dishes.
One of the best place to eat on Carabao.
The Beach House
A great place on Lanas beach to chill with a drink while watching the sunset.
Since you are here, take the time to try out the pasta, it is just wonderful.
The Sister’s BBQ
Our favorite barbecue on Carabao. Very local place located in Inihawan (nearby Oceans Edge Resort), owned by four sisters. You won’t have much choice here but try out some baboy (pork) or manok (chicken) longaniza, or a couple of pork stick and take the time to talk with Dina, Bebeth, Janeth or Delian.
They are lovely ladies that will be happy to share a few words with you, give you informations about Carabao and teach you a bit of Tagalog or Hambil (local language) while you enjoy your dinner. You can easily have a decent dinner for two people and pay ₱100 only. So you have no reason not to try it!
Carabao Island Grill & Restaurant
Located in poblacion itself, this restaurant is the perfect place for a Filipino dish. Prices range from ₱90 to ₱200. You can even order a cheese burger for ₱50 or a bacon burger with egg for ₱60. And for that price, you get home-made patty in a burger that will fill you.
The Bamboo Bar & Restaurant
Located at the entrance of Poblacion town coming from Lanas, you will find this beautiful bamboo construction with wooden furnitures. In their menu you will find good filipino dishes, we recommend the chicken BBQ with rice (Inasal). They also have really cheesy pizza with vegetarian option.
Good place for a fresh fruit juice for only ₱80.
As you can see, Carabao Island is a must check for your next Philippines holidays. It is the perfect gate for a Romblon Discovery and a pristine getaway from Boracay.
For more information contact us, we are happy to help.
To know more about Carabao Island:
Have a look at these pages from bloggers who visited Carabao for more informations about the different activities and what to do on the island.
Through the eyes of bloggers
And a short video to give you a preview of Carabao Island