Things to do in Cebu

Itineraries for Your Trip to Cebu

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1 Day in Cebu for First Timers

Curated by Lydia SchrandtLydia Schrandt is a writer, editor, and award-winning photographer currently based in Houston. She’s a contributor for USA TODAY 10Best and serves as the first chair of the Editors Council of the Society of American Travel Writers. Her work has appeared in Draft, Time Out Beijing, Travel+, USA TODAY, San Francisco Chronicle, and others.

With some of the best beaches and scuba diving in Southeast Asia, it can be hard to tear yourself away from the coast in Cebu—particularly if you only have a single day to explore. But there’s plenty of natural appeal on the island’s interior as well. Here’s how to maximize 24 hours in Cebu.


During the cooler morning hours, head into the island’s interior to Kawasan Canyon for a morning of hiking, cliff jumping, and canyoneering amid the island’s spectacular waterfalls and river gorges. All that activity is sure to work up an appetite, and many tours include lunch at the top of Kawasan Falls. Some itineraries take as little as half a day, leaving you plenty of time to spend the afternoon at your leisure. 


After lunch, it’s time to head to the beach for some rest and relaxation in the sunshine. Take in the views of Cebu from 150 feet (45 meters) in the air on a parasailing adventure, walk along the ocean floor amid tropical fish while helmet diving, or find out why Cebu is so famous for its spectacular scuba diving or snorkeling by donning a mask to explore beneath the surface. Alternatively, book an afternoon spa treatment and pamper yourself before your evening out.


Visitors often overlook bustling Cebu City, but it’s a perfect setting for a night out on the town to experience a little bit of local culture. On an evening tour of the city, take in the views from Tops Lookout and sit down for a romantic dinner in the Busay Hills. Alternately, take a culinary journey on a Cebu Dine Around tour to sample traditional delicacies like pork ribs, shrimp soup, grilled fish, and steamed dumplings.

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