Top 10 Popular Beaches in Visayas

Written by Patrick

The Visayas region often comes to mind when talking about the best or popular beaches in the Philippines.  After all, it is where Boracay’s White Beach, the world-famous beach, is found.

Visayas is one of the major geographical divisions in the Philippines, along with Luzon and Mindanao.  It consists of several islands, all blessed with abundant natural formations such as rivers, mountains, and beaches where several species of flora and fauna, some endemic, thrive.

Millions of tourists, both local and foreign, flock the region every year to explore what it has to offer.  Boracay alone welcomed more than one million tourists during the first half of 2022.  And Boracay is not the only island in the region with the most stunning beaches.

Here, we listed the most popular beaches and islands in the Visayas other than Boracay.

1 | Isla de Gigantes

Antonia Beach in Isla de Gigantes Sur is one of the most popular beaches in the Visayas.

Caption: Antonia Beach in Isla de Gigantes Sur

Location:   Carles, Iloilo

The sudden rise in popularity of Isla de Gigantes brought the spotlight not only in the municipality of Carles in Iloilo but also in the neighboring towns.  Isla de Gigantes, a group of islands in the Visayan Sea, consists of about 10 islands blessed with pristine waters, white sand beaches, and limestone formations.  While Antonia Beach is probably a crowd favorite, other beaches in the area are as beautiful.

Carles is also recognized as the center for commercial fishing in Western Visayas and is even nicknamed the “Alaska of the Philippines” due to the abundance of marine resources.

Sicogon Island, a popular tourist attraction in the 1970s, is also located in Carles, Iloilo.

READ MORE: Panay Island Visitors Guide

2 | Sambawan Island

Popular Beaches in Visayas: Sambawan Island

Caption: Sambawan Island

Location:   Maripipi, Biliran

Sambawan Island is one of the islets surrounding Maripipi Island, both are under the administrative division of the municipality of Maripipi.  Devoid of human habitation, Sambawan Island is home to a white sand beach, rock formations, mountainous coastline, and a thriving marine life.  The island is actually a marine sanctuary and a dive site where sea turtles, sea snakes, and reef sharks in addition to corals can be sighted.

READ MORE: Biliran Island Visitors Guide

3 | Salagdoong Beach

Popular Beaches in Visayas: Salagdoong Beach

Caption: Salagdoong Beach

Location:  Maria, Siquijor

Your trip to Siquijor wouldn’t be complete without visiting Salagdoong Beach, the most popular beach in the province.  It is flocked by tourists not only for its white sand and clear waters but also because of its cliff diving platform.  Thrillseekers can choose between the 20-feet or the 35-feet high cliff to jump from.  Additionally, Salagdoong Beach has two coves, a giant slide that drops you straight into the water, and marine life which can be explored even without going into the deep part of the water.

If you prefer less crowded beaches, you may want to head to the town of San Juan, almost an hour drive away from the town of Maria.

READ MORE: Siquijor Island Visitors Guide

4 | Limasawa Island

Caption: Limasawa Island | Image Source

Location: Limasawa, Southern Leyte

Limasawa is known in the country as the site where the first ever Catholic mass in the Philippines was celebrated in March 1521.  The island, which covers an area of just about 7 square kilometers, has a cream sand beach with clear water perfect for swimming and snorkeling.  There are also small coves, a lagoon, a lighthouse, First Mass Shrine, and Magellan’s Cross, a replica of the one Magellan and his group erected when they arrived on the island.

READ MORE: Leyte Island Visitors Guide

5 | Caluya Islands

Popular Beaches in Visayas: Beach in Caluya Island

Caption: Beach in Caluya Island | Image Source

Location: Caluya, Antique

Antique may be known as a mountainous province but it actually has several islands, such as Caluya, with beautiful beaches. The islands of Caluya is comprise of the main Caluya Island, Sibato Island, Sibolo Island, and at least four others. The scenic views in these Visayas islands and its beaches are popular to tourists. Coastlines are blessed with sand with colors ranging from white to pinkish. Located within the islands of Panay and Mindoro, the waters surrounding these islands are rich in marine life where various tropical fishes, colorful corals, turtles, and dolphins thrive.

Ferry ride to Caluya takes around 4 to 5 hours from Antique mainland so expect to enjoy the tranquility as it is not usually crowded with tourists.

6 | Capul Island

Popular Beaches in Visayas: Beach in Capul Island

Caption: Beach in Capul Island | Image Source

Location: Capul, Northern Samar

History combined with beauty – that is what Capul Island is about.  It played a part during the Manila-Acapulco Galleon trade in the 1600s and was an important part of navigation during the Spanish era.  The island has a Spanish-built lighthouse that is still being used today, a centuries-old church that served as a fortress and refuge during the early times, and of course, a number of beaches with pristine waters and beautiful rock formations. 

READ MORE: Samar Island Visitors Guide

7 | Kalanggaman Island

Kalanggaman Island

Caption: Kalanggaman Island

Location: Palompon, Leyte

One of the most popular beaches in the Visayas and a top tourist destination in the province of Leyte. Kalanggaman is a small island with a long sandbar, one of the longest in the country.  It boasts of crystal clear water and powdery white sand great for swimming, sunbathing, or beach bumming. 

READ MORE: Kalanggaman Island

8 | Higatangan Island

Popular Beaches in Visayas: Beach in Higatangan Island

Caption: Beach in Higatangan Island | Image Source

Location: Naval, Biliran

A little over 50 kilometers away from Kalanggaman Island lies Higatangan Island, under the administrative division of Naval.  The island is lined with beautiful beaches that will surely take your breath away by just simply looking at it.  There are also beautiful rock formations, a shifting sand bar, a lighthouse, and palm-tree lined coastline.

9 | Sumilon Island

Popular Beaches in Visayas: A View of Sumilon Island

Caption: A View of Sumilon Island

Location: Oslob, Cebu

Sumilon Island is a small island off the coast of Oslob, Cebu.  The first marine protected area in the Philippines, Sumilon Island covers an area of 24 hectares and is blessed with several dive sites known for their superb visibility and impressive reefs inhabited by various marine species including black tip sharks.

The island features a shifting white sandbar and clear water.  The island also has a lagoon, caves, a lighthouse, and a historical watchtower built in the 19th century.

READ MORE: Cebu Island Visitors Guide

10 | Apo Island

Marine Life in Apo Island

Caption: Marine Life in Apo Island | Image Source

Location: Dauin, Negros Oriental

Not to be confused with Apo Reef in Mindoro, Apo Island is located 7 kilometers off the southern tip of Negros Oriental.  It is home to more than 60 sea turtles and hundreds of species of fish and corals,  making it one of the most favorite diving spots among Filipinos and foreign tourists alike.  The marine habitat around the island is a marine reserve and is protected by the Philippine government.

Other stunning beaches in the Visayas include Paradise/Sandira and Kota Beaches on Bantayan Island, Marabut Beach (Marabut, Samar), Olotayan Island (Roxas City, Capiz), Balicasag Island (Bohol), White and Pink Beaches in San Vicente, Samar, and the many beaches of Siquijor, Bohol, and Leyte.

If you want to visit these beaches, we recommend using the following websites to plan your perfect vacation:

READ MORE: Top 10 Beaches in the Philippines | Top 10 Popular Beaches in Luzon | Top 10 Popular Beaches in Mindanao

Have YOU visited any of these Beaches?

About the Author


Patrick is an entrepreneur, digital nomad, explorer, and photographer. Patrick is always in search of fun and adventure. He is well travelled throughout the world, and although location independent, his home base is Phoenix, Arizona in the USA. Patrick loves island lifestyle which is no wonder why he is so interested in spending time in the Philippines with it’s over 7,000 islands. Patrick created this site to share his knowledge of and experiences in the Philippines with Filipinos as well as other foreigners.

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