Located in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines, Boracay has long been a favorite tourist destination because of its fine white sand and beautiful sunsets. Many say it is now too commercialized, but this island still hasn’t lost its charm that continues to mesmerize millions of local and foreign visitors every year.
For those who plan to visit soon, here’s a guide to Boracay island that might help you in exploring and making the most of your stay in the island paradise. Whether staying for a few days or more than a week, this guide will be able to give you a general idea of how to spend your vacation, from where to stay, where to eat, and what to do.
How to get there
One has to get themselves to Caticlan Jetty Port and ride a boat for around 15 minutes in order to get to Boracay. Once you arrive in Cagban Port in Boracay, you may take a tricycle to your hotel. You may also coordinate with your hotel if they offer van transfers to and from the port.
There are different ways of getting to Caticlan Jetty Port:
By plane – the most popular and convenient way to get to Boracay. Airline companies have multiple trips to Caticlan from Manila. Flying time is 45 minutes to an hour. From the airport, you may take a tricycle to the jetty port, or arrange a van transfer with your hotel.
Another option is to take a flight to Kalibo, the capital of Aklan. You may then take a bus or van to Caticlan, travel time is approximately an hour and a half.
For those coming from other countries, you may check with your country’s airlines if they have direct flights to Caticlan. If not, your best option would be to get a flight to Manila, than another flight to Caticlan or Kalibo.
By bus – if you are coming from neighboring provinces like Antique, Capiz or Iloilo, you may take the bus that goes to Caticlan. You will be dropped right outside the jetty port. For those coming from Iloilo, proceed to Tagbak bus terminal in Jaro district for the Ceres bus that will bring you to Caticlan. First trip is at 4:00 a.m., travel time is 5 to 6 hours. Fare is about Php300.
By RORO – one may also reach Boracay via the Nautical Highway, a combination of land highways and roll-on, roll-off vessels that allow passengers to bring their own vehicle or ride buses that ply the Manila-Caticlan route.
The trip to Boracay via RORO is a four-part travel, starting with a two-hour bus ride from Cubao, Quezon City to Batangas Port, followed by another two-hour travel via RORO to Calapan, Mindoro. You will then travel by land for 2 to 3 hours to Roxas Port, Mindoro, where you will be taken to another RORO vessel that will arrive in Caticlan Port after 4 to 5 hours.
Take note that you cannot bring your private vehicle to Boracay. Upon reaching Caticlan Port, you have to leave it in one of the secure parking lots for a fee.
Peak and off-peak seasons
The ideal time to come to Boracay is from November to May, when the northeast monsoon or ‘amihan’ provides the cool air to the otherwise hot environment come summertime, which is from March to June. Off-peak season begins in July and ends by November, as the southwest monsoon or ‘habagat’ enters the country and brings rain.
Whether you plan to visit during the peak or off-peak seasons, expect a large number of visitors all year round. The main difference would probably be the prices of accommodation and activities, as they tend to jack up during peak season, including Holy Week, summer, Christmas, and New Year.
Philippine Peso is the main currency used, although US Dollars and major credit cards are also widely accepted in many hotels and restaurants. There are also money changers and ATMs all over the island.
Mode of transportation
Tricycle is the main mode of transportation around the island, although they are not allowed along the beach. You have to take a short walk to the highway to hail a tricycle that will take you to any point in the island. Fare is Php10 per person for regular trips, and Php60 for special trips (meaning you will occupy the entire tricycle).
Where to stay
Boracay caters to all kinds of travelers, from solo backpackers to big groups. Whether you are ready to splurge for a luxury accommodation or on a tight budget and prefer a cheaper alternative, Boracay has it all.
There are various hostels in the island, but most of these are not located in the beachfront area. No need to worry as the beach is just a few minutes walk from where these hostels are.
Here’s the list of the best hostels in Boracay.
For those who prefer to stay right across the beach, there is The District Boracay in Station 2. A contemporary beachfront boutique resort, The District Boracay offers various rooms and facilities that can cater to all of their guests’ needs. It has a swimming pool, fitness center, a newly opened spa, and two restaurants Star Lounge and Caruso Ristorante Italiano. The resort is also a few minutes away from ‘D Mall, making shopping and dining easier.
For other luxury hotel options, check out our list of luxury hotels.
Where to eat
Aside from the picturesque view and pristine beach, Boracay is also a foodie’s paradise, thanks to the many restaurants that serve different types of cuisine.
The District Boracay’s Star Lounge serves the best brunch buffet in the island, and their grill-to-order dinner is also a must try. You may cap off your night by trying out their Meduse shisha.
Meanwhile, Caruso Ristorante Italiano, which is also found in The District Boracay, offers delectable Italian dishes in a fine dining setting.
Another must-try in the island is the famous Jonah’s Fruit Shakes. Aside from the shakes that made them popular, Jonah’s also serves burgers, pizza, and other food items that go well with their signature drinks.
For those looking for steaks and burgers, you might want to check I Love Backyard BBQ in D’Mall. They also serve sausages, pasta, and other sizzling dishes.
If you want fresh seafood, D’Talipapa is the place to be. It allows guests to buy live seafood and uncooked meat from the market, then have them cooked to their liking in any of the restaurants inside the compound.
If you’re on a budget, no need to worry because there are branches of your favorite fast food establishments in the island, too.
What to do
There are numerous activities you can do in Boracay, whether on land or in water (and maybe even on air).
Island hopping is a popular activity among first time visitors. Check out the other side of the island and even smaller islands by riding an outrigger boat (banca) for a few hours.
Water activities such as parasailing, banana boat riding, and stand up paddle boarding are also tourist favorites.
Of course, watching the sunset from the beach should not be missed. It’s free, so spend as much time as you want looking at the beautiful view.
Boracay also has something for those who love shopping. D’Mall and D’Talipapa have stall after stall of various souvenirs, from keychains to wallets to shirts. Well known brands also have stores here.
Getting a henna tattoo is also common along the beach, as well as having your hair braided in different styles.
Having a massage by the beach is also a good way to end a tiring day of activities.
And what is a visit to Boracay if you won’t take a dip in its pristine waters? Go for a swim any time of the day, as the sea retains its beauty the entire day. You’ll be lucky to spot a fish or two swimming nearby!
Whether it’s your first time or nth time in Boracay, the island paradise always has something new and exciting up its sleeve. There is still more to Boracay than this list, so make sure to try them out on your visit!