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Retire in Bohol Island Guide

Retire in Bohol Island with confidence, armed with the knowledge from our extensive guide. It covers critical considerations for retirees, from the cost of living and climate to housing, healthcare, and residency choices in Bohol Island. We also delve into the social and cultural scene, volunteering options, public transportation facilities, and the city's walkability, helping you make an informed decision.

Bohol Island, is a tropical paradise that has become a popular destination for international retirees. The island offers a laid-back lifestyle, stunning natural beauty, and a low cost of living, making it an ideal place for those looking to enjoy their golden years. However, like any place, retiring in Bohol Island also comes with its own set of challenges, such as adjusting to a new culture and navigating the local healthcare system.

Cost of Living

One of the main attractions of Bohol Island for retirees is its affordable cost of living. A comfortable lifestyle can be maintained here for a fraction of what it would cost in many Western countries. Rent for a decent apartment can be as low as $200 per month, and dining out at local restaurants is also inexpensive. However, imported goods and luxury items can be pricey, so it’s best to adapt to a local lifestyle to make the most of your retirement budget.


Bohol Island boasts a tropical climate, with warm temperatures year-round. The island experiences a wet season from June to November and a dry season from December to May. The average temperature ranges from 24 to 32 degrees Celsius, making it perfect for those who enjoy warm weather. However, the island is also prone to typhoons, which can be a challenge for those not used to such weather conditions.


Bohol Island has several hospitals and clinics that provide good quality healthcare. The island’s capital, Tagbilaran City, is home to the Governor Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital, which is the largest government hospital in the province. There are also several private hospitals and clinics throughout the island. However, for more serious medical conditions, retirees may need to travel to Cebu City or Manila, which have more advanced medical facilities.

Public Healthcare System

Foreign retirees in the Philippines are not eligible for the country’s public healthcare system, PhilHealth. However, they can avail of private health insurance plans, which are relatively affordable. Some retirees also choose to pay for healthcare services out-of-pocket, as the cost of medical procedures and consultations is generally low.

Residency Options for Retirees

The Philippines offers several visa options for foreign retirees, including the Special Resident Retiree’s Visa (SRRV), which provides multiple-entry privileges and exemption from customs duties for the importation of personal goods. To qualify for the SRRV, retirees must meet certain age and financial requirements.

Parks and Recreational Activities

Bohol Island is a haven for nature lovers, with its beautiful beaches, lush forests, and unique wildlife. The island is home to the famous Chocolate Hills and the Tarsier Sanctuary, where retirees can enjoy hiking and wildlife viewing. Water sports such as diving and snorkeling are also popular activities on the island.


Bohol Island offers a wide range of dining options, from local Filipino cuisine to international fare. Some popular restaurants among retirees include the Bohol Bee Farm Restaurant, which serves organic food, and Gerarda’s, which offers traditional Filipino dishes. For seafood lovers, the Loboc River Cruise offers a buffet lunch while cruising along the scenic river.

Learning the Language

While English is widely spoken in the Philippines, learning the local language can enhance your retirement experience. In Bohol, the locals speak Cebuano, and there are several language schools in Tagbilaran City that offer Cebuano classes.

Local Culture

The locals in Bohol are known for their hospitality and friendliness towards foreigners. The island has a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere, and the local culture is a mix of traditional Filipino customs and Spanish influences. There are also several festivals throughout the year, such as the Sandugo Festival, which celebrates the island’s history and culture.

Meeting People and Volunteering

Meeting new people and making friends is easy in Bohol, as the locals are very welcoming. There are also several expat groups and clubs on the island where retirees can meet fellow foreigners. For those interested in volunteering, there are opportunities to get involved in community projects and environmental conservation efforts.

Housing Options

Most retirees in Bohol choose to live in apartments or houses in or near Tagbilaran City, which has all the amenities and services they need. Some also choose to live in beachfront properties in Panglao Island, which is just a short drive from the city.


Public transportation in Bohol is reliable and inexpensive, with buses, jeepneys, and tricycles readily available. However, many retirees choose to buy a car or a motorbike for convenience. The island is also small enough to explore on foot or by bicycle, making it a great place for those who enjoy an active lifestyle.

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

Additional Information:

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