Unlike the more popular Boracay, there isn't as much info available online about Bohol. Here's what I learned in the course of planning my trip. Hope this helps you plan yours.
You will land in the Tagbilaran airport, however the beaches are in Panglao Island which is around 20-30 minutes from Tagbilaran. No ferries needed -- the islands are connected by a bridge. We had a car pick us up from the airport to go on a tour of the countryside, but for those who want to go straight to their resort, the rate is usually P 400/car from the Tagbilaran airport to Panglao.
There are 2 popular areas in Panglao to stay -- Alona Beach and Dumaluan Beach. These 2 areas are about 15 minutes away from each other by car. Of course there are resorts on other beaches, but know that they are a bit isolated from other establishments. If you are the type that doesn't mind having all their meals at the resort, then Anda, Doljo, Dauis and other areas would be suitable too.
On Dumaluan Beach you have Bohol Beach Club & Dumaluan Beach Resort. I believe these 2 properties are separated by a public beach. We spent a day at Bohol Beach Club which is a huge resort with a long stretch of beach. The sand is fine, water is very clear & shallow even when you're meters away from the shore. However the whole time we were there, the waves were pretty strong and there was a lot of debris in the water. Stuff like twigs, leaves, even a banana tree trunk (I kid you not!). Maybe the debris was becuase it rained pretty hard in the morning, but whatever the reason, it wasn't much fun picking leaves and other non-marine vegetation out of the water while trying to swim.
We didn't see the rooms, but they have villa-type accommodations facing the beach which looked nice. They have big gardens and a pool so if you have kids, there's lots of space to run and play. If you end up staying in BBC, make sure to ask to stay in the new wing (I heard the rooms in the old wing are quite tired). Also, ask for the rooms that aren't near the public beach unless you want to hear really bad videoke singing 24/7 (we could hear it from the restaurant). The food was ok, and if you stay here, you will pretty much have all your meals at the resort as there is no other place to eat, aside from the nearby Dumaluan Beach Resort.
We stayed in Alona Tropical Beach Resort which is on Alona Beach. Alona Beach's shoreline is lined with many resorts, however we walked its whole length and found that only our resort and Alona Palm (most expensive place on the beach) beside it had a nice, wide, clean beach. The beach in front of the other places was too narrow (establishments built too close to the shore) and during hightide, their beach practically disappears. The sand was not clean and well maintained -- I wouldn't want to walk barefoot there! Also, the boats were right near the shore which didnt leave much room for swimming. Now I understood why, during my research, all these other places were vague whenever I asked about the quality of the beach in front of their property.
Thankfully, boats don't dock close to the shore in front of where we stayed, so there's always lots of space to swim. The water in Alona Beach is clear and the sand is fine as well. The water was just as shallow as BBC but calmer, and there seemed to be a bit more marine life.
The accommodations in Alona Tropical have either fan or a/c but both are very native in style -- ours had a/c but no fridge, no phone, no tv (but the suites and family rooms are better furnished). The regular rooms don't have running hot water, however, the suites do (they are newly renovated). The place has a pool with jacuzzi and the food they served us was very good.
On the day we arrived, we took a countryside day tour. Rather than be part of a larger group, we chose to hire a driver to take us around. He had an itinerary of the popular sights -- tarsier encounter, Chocolate Hills, manmade forest, lunch on a boat while cruising Loboc River, old churches, etc., but he was very flexible in case there were things we did/didnt want to do or see. Our tour lasted from around 8:30am to 6:00pm -- it's usually shorter, but there were many places (not on his itinerary) that we wanted to see. His rate was P1,800.00 all in.
Most of the places we visited didnt have entrance fees, although there was usually a box for donations. For those that had entry fees, it was never more than P 25/head. The Loboc River cruise charged P 250/head inclusive of buffet lunch and drinks. Except for the grilled fish, the lunch on this cruise was really bad, however there is more than one company that does these cruises, so maybe the other meals are better than the one we had.
We were also supposed to go dolphin watching and snorkeling in Balicasag Island, but we cancelled because of the weather. The rate for this was P 1,500.00 and you have to get up at 5 or 6am to get any chance of seeing the dolphins. There seemed to be a steady stream of divers coming and going, but as I'm not a diver, I can't give any info on dive sites, etc.
Public transport isn't plentiful on Panglao Island which is why there are many cars for hire. You can also ask the resort security guard to call a tricycle for you, which is what we did when we wanted to go to BBC (the rate was P 400 for drop off and pick up, a car would charge P500-600).
- There are no ATMs on Panglao Island, so make sure to bring cash or stop by an ATM while on Tagbilaran.
- The tap water in most, if not all establishments on Alona Beach is a bit salty, which makes your soap & shampoo lather less, and your hair sticky. We solved this by buying lots of mineral water.
- There are internet cafes on Alona Beach
- If a resort along Alona Beach other than Alona Palm or Alona Tropical tells you they have a nice, wide beach, don't believe them!