This little island located near the northwest tip of Panay Island is almost always on top of the itineraries of tourists who visit the Philippines. Boracay will never run out of things to do for visitors. Its silky white sand can entice anyone to play beach volleyball, football, and Frisbee. Its clear waters are great for swimming, boating, diving, and snorkeling. The establishments that line the shores offer countless dining options. And at night, the whole island turns into a vibrant party place as the dance floors get crowded and alcohol flows generously. It's no wonder why Boracay never runs out of tourists as well.
Boracay is divided into 3 stations: Station 1 is where the most upscale resorts and hotels are located; Station 2 is filled with establishments like guesthouses, restaurants, and shopping centers while Station 3 has more affordable accommodations, bars, and eateries.
Island hopping is one of the popular activities in Boracay. Tours feature visits to the nearby impressive places in Boracay such as Puka Beach, Crocodile Island, and Crystal Cove. Other fun activities are also commonly included in island hopping like cliff diving, snorkeling, and caving. Meals are also served by the beach.
On the other side of the island is Bulabog Beach, a 2.5 kilometer stretch of white sand, which is quite different from its counterparts in Stations 1, 2, and 3. The area has more powerful waves and stronger winds, making it popular for kite surfing. It is said to be the main destination for kite surfers in Asia. At night, Bulabog Beach is also quieter compared to the more popular beaches in the main stations.
Traveling by plane is the easiest way to get to Boracay. There are two airports that can serve as your jumping-off point to get to this lovely island: Caticlan Airport and Kalibo Airport. Commercial flights to both airports from Manila Domestic Airport usually last about an hour, and you can book them via Cebu Pacific Air, PAL Express, and AirAsia. Once you arrive at the airport of your choice, you need to get to the jetty port to catch a boat to the island. From Caticlan Airport, it only takes a few minutes' tricycle ride to the jetty port. If you're coming from Kalibo, it takes about two hours via bus or van to reach the port.
Boracay can also be reached via sea travel. From Metro Manila, catch a bus to Batangas Port. 2GO Travel has ferries there that will take you to Boracay. The trip should last around 10 hours.
How to Get Around
By Tricycle and Pedicab
Tricycles are the most common mode of transportation in Boracay. After your boat docks at Cagban Port, there are already numerous tricycles available to drop you off at your resort in Boracay. There are also pedicabs on the island, a non-motorized transportation alternative.
For the adventurous, motorbikes or habal-habal (as they are locally known) are also available for rent if you feel like exploring Boracay at your own pace.
What to See
Willy's Rock is one of Boracay's most famous landmarks. Also known as the Boracay Rock, it features a grotto where an image of the Virgin Mary is enshrined. Many tourists visit this attraction to take photos.
Holy Rosary Parish is another place you should visit when in Boracay. While there, you can attend mass or say a quick prayer before going on a trip around the island.
Boracay's beaches take the spotlight when it comes to the most popular tourist spots in the Philippines. Of course, White Beach has become synonymous with Boracay itself since it is the island's most famous attraction. Featuring a four-kilometer stretch of white sands and azure waters, the beach is not only a haven for beach bums but also for those seeking fun things to do on the island. Its shores are dotted with all kinds of accommodations and a variety of restaurants, bars, and shops, along with henna tattoo, hair braiding, and massage stalls. Apart from White Beach, Boracay's famous beaches also include Bulabog Beach for its fun water sports and Tambisaan Beach for its rich marine life which is best explored by snorkeling. Meanwhile, Puka Beach and Diniwid Beach are visited for the peace and quiet that they both offer, a stark contrast to the lively and crowded White Beach.
The beauty of Boracay is not just concentrated on its sands and seas. Climb Mt. Luho for an invigorating experience and a chance to witness an amazing view at the summit. This mountain also has mystical bat caves if you want to have an encounter with colonies of these amazing nocturnal mammals.
Boracay's endless list of attractions and activities will keep you occupied and entertained for the duration of your stay.
For those who came to the island to enjoy the waters, you can take a dip in any of the beaches. There is also wide variety of watersports and rides to try including parasailing, skimboarding, stand-up paddleboarding, paraw sailing, kayaking, jet skiing, and banana boat riding. If you're brave enough to try kitesurfing and windsurfing, Bulabog Beach is the place for you. Meanwhile, head to Ariel's Point for some cliff diving, or learn how to swim like a mermaid with the monofin swimming lessons at Mermaid Swimming Academy. But if you want to explore more than just the shallow waters of Boracay, you can also go helmet diving and feed different kinds of fish, or try snorkeling and scuba diving to explore the island’s colorful underwater world, especially in Crocodile Island, one of Boracay's many dive spots. You can even go on an island hopping tour if you want to visit all the interesting islands and spots around this tropical island.
If you've had enough of the waters, there's still plenty to do on the shores of Boracay. You can build sandcastles, have a massage on the beachfront, or eget a henna tattoo or your hair braided. You can play beach volleyball with your friends or try the zip-line and zorb ball. ATV rides are being offered as well.
For something that is out-of-the-ordinary, swing by Motag Living Museum in Barangay Motag and experience for yourself the simple living of the natives with the interactive tour they offer.
Events and Festivals
Although the fun at Boracay never ends, there are many events and festivals that you should not miss if you want to witness the island’s vibrant party culture in full swing. Laboracay, the annual Labor Day festival, is one of the biggest party events on the island where music performances and overflowing cocktails lure tourists all over the country. There are also annual competitions like the Dragon Boat Race every first half of May and the Boracay International Funboard Cup every second half of January. The barangay fiestas are also fun to attend since you get to see the locals participate in parades and street dances. Catch the fiestas of Barangay Yapak in February, Barangay Manoc-Manoc in May, and Barangay Balabag in December.
Where to Eat
Fast Food Chains
The highly developed island of Boracay has it all, including your favorite fast food restaurants. There are branches of homegrown favorites like Mang Inasal as well as American franchises like McDonald's if you're not much of an adventurer when it comes to food.
Not only is Boracay a haven for those seeking an escape, but also for foodies: the island is teeming with restaurants, eateries, and booths that serves different kinds of dishes and delicacies. From local cuisines to Mediterranean food, you’re guaranteed to find anything that you crave for thile there.
Sunny Side Cafe is a favorite breakfast joint on the island because of its hearty meals that are sure to brighten up your day. You can try Mediterranean dishes at Lemoni Cafe and Restaurant, while Greek food lovers won’t be disappointed with Cyma, known in the country for its delightful Greek offerings. Another must visit is Aria Cucina Italiana for their take on Italian cuisine. If you will be dining on a budget, check out Smoke Resto is for their mid-range yet quality-tasting meals. But to fully enjoy dining in this tropical island, head to D'Talipapa, known as Boracay's dampa, where you can buy the freshest catch of the day and have it cooked however you want. For a refreshing treat after your meal, try the fruit shakes from Jonah's Fruit Shake.
For budget-friendly meals, you can check out a carinderia. In Boracay, these simple eateries serve quality meals that won't burn a hole in your pocket.
Bars and Clubs
Boracay is famous for its pulsing and never-ending nightlife. Tourists join the locals for bar hopping and dancing come sundown. If you want to dance the night away, head to Cocomangas, Epic, or Boracay Stars. But if you just want to have a drink, visit Aplaya, CocoLoco Bar, or Treehouse. You can also join Pub Crawl's bar hopping activity together with other tourists.
Where to Shop
D'Mall is Boracay's main shopping center. Aside from restaurants, it has souvenir shops, banks, gadget stalls, and even supermarkets. You can head to D’Mall for all your shopping needs.
Boracay's markets are also great shopping places, especially if you're looking to buy some fresh seafood to cook if your accommodation has its own kitchen. You can head to D'Talipapa or the Old Talipapa Market for the freshest catch of the day.
Street Vendors and Stalls
You'll find lots of stalls and vendors in Boracay that you can visit especially if you don't want to head to the crowded D'Mall to shop for pasalubong. However, prices are competitive so make sure that you get the best deal.
What to Buy
Food is one of the most popular pasalubong when you go to Boracay. Real Coffee and Tea Cafe's calamansi muffins are the most requested take home delicacies from the island. The usual beach souvenirs are plenty on the island: from Boracay-printed T-shirts, wallets, woven bags, and sarongs to various accessories made from seashells.
ATMs and Money Changers
There are several banks and ATMs in Boracay. There are also money changers for those who want to exchange their foreign bills to peso.
Fare: PHP 2,000.00++
One-way plane fares to Boracay go as low as PHP 3,000.00, while single journey ferry tickets cost about PHP 300.00 to PHP 500.00.
Food: PHP 50.00 to PHP 500.00
No matter what your budget is, there are plenty of food options in Boracay: from affordable eateries and stalls to the more upscale restaurants.
Shopping: PHP 100.00++
The calamansi muffins at Real Coffee and Tea Cafe cost about PHP 320.00 for a box of six. Meanwhile, Boracay T-shirts start at PHP 100.00. Small items like wallets and keychains cost less than PHP 100.00.
Accommodation: PHP 300.00 to PHP 9,000.00
From hostels and budget inns to 5-star hotels and resorts, you'll find a wide selection of accommodations in Boracay. You can already find a simple room for PHP 300.00 in Station 3. There are also plenty of affordable accommodations that cost less than PHP 1,000.00 per night. For upscale hotels in Station 1, you can get a high quality and luxurious room for PHP 9,000.00.
Activities: PHP 150.00 to PHP 2,000.00
You can already enjoy a beachfront massage for as low as PHP 300.00. For watersports, helmet diving costs about PHP 700.00, while parasailing is around PHP 800.00 per person. A paraw ride will cost you about PHP 1,000.00. Boat rentals for island hopping tours are less than PHP 2,000.00 for five people with lunch included. If you don't have your snorkeling gear, you can rent one for less than PHP 300.00. ATV rides cost about PHP 600.00 for an hour, while zip-lining should be around PHP 700.00. For partygoers, clubs usually charge about PHP 300.00 to PHP 500.00 entrance fee, not inclusive of drinks.
Other Fees and Taxes: PHP 200.00
Make sure to set aside PHP 200.00 for the terminal fee at Caticlan Airport and Kalibo Airport. Tipping at restaurants and bars should cost you around PHP 20.00 to PHP 50.00.
||Arrive at White Beach. Explore the surroundings and take photos. Buy a fruit shake from Jonah's to battle the heat as you go around the beach.
||Feast on sumptuous seafood dishes at D' Talipapa.
||Explore the many stores and stalls at D'Mall. Look for potential souvenirs and pasalubong items to buy on the last day of your stay.
||Check in at the hotel or resort of your choice. Freshen up before heading out.
||Go sailing on a paraw. Afterwards, enjoy the beach by swimming in the clear waters.
||Visit Puka Beach and Diniwid Beach for a quiet afternoon away from the crowd. Watch the sunset at Diniwid Beach.
||Have dinner at Smoke Restaurant.
||Watch the fire dancers perform at the beachfront. Enjoy a nightcap from one of the bars.
||Enjoy an island hopping tour. See the beaches of Boracay and enjoy snorkeling at Crystal Cove Island.
||Enjoy the lunch that comes with your island hopping tour package.
||Arrive at your resort or hotel in Boracay and freshen up.
||Visit Willy's Rock and take lots of photos.
||Experience the rush of parasailing.
||Go helmet diving.
||Enjoy a banana boat ride.
||Relax on the beachfront after your eventful day. Sunbathe or avail of a soothing massage.
||Enjoy Greek dishes at Cyma for dinner.
||Get a henna tattoo or your hair braided at the beachfront.
||Ride the Boracay zip-line.
||Enjoy the ATV ride.
||Have a quick lunch at any of the restaurants or fast food chains at D'Mall. Buy some pasalubong and souvenir items as well.
||Check out from your accommodation.
||Arrive at Caticlan Airport. Depart Caticlan for Manila.
The Philippines only has two seasons: the dry season which runs from December to May and the wet season from June until September. Tourists flock to Boracay all year round, but the peak season is during summer. Expect huge crowds during Holy Week and Labor Day.
Make sure to include medicine in your essentials when packing. In case of any emergency, or if you contract a disease during your visit, you'll find several hospitals in Boracay.
The Philippines has no customary tipping practice for restaurants. However, most diners would prefer giving small bills like PHP 20.00 or PHP 50.00 as tip. There are also those who just leave some loose change.
Riding a plane is the best way to get to Boracay since travel time lasts only about an hour or so. Caticlan Airport is nearer to the jetty port, but tickets are also a bit costlier compared to a flight to Kalibo Airport. Make sure to look out for seat sales of commercial airlines so you can get the best deals. But if you're on a strict budget, riding a ferry is another option. However, be prepared for the long cruise, which usually takes about 10 hours.
Safety and Security
Although Boracay may be a generally safe place, there's no harm in practicing vigilance whenever you go on a trip. Learn to survey your surroundings and take care of belongings while you're there.