Boracay is a tiny island. With an area no more than 10 sq km, it’s possible to walk the whole stretch in a day. But this vibrant island continues to surprise even the locals. Picture yourself coasting the waters in a paraw boat as you read our quick guide to the Philippines’ top tourist attraction.
1. Getting There
Whether you’re coming from Manila or Cebu, the best way to reach Boracay is by airplane. Major Philippine airlines such as Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and Air Asia will bring you to either the Caticlan Airport or the Kalibo Airport. Both routes will lead you to the Boracay Island Cagban Port.
This is the fastest and most direct way to get to Boracay. It has recently been upgraded to an international airport, with various airport transfers available. From the airport, you can either take a 10-minute walk or a 5-minute tricycle ride to the Caticlan Jetty Port. From there, it’s just a 15-minute boat ride (which should cost around PHP 200, or $4) to Boracay Island’s Cagban Port, which is just a few minutes away from Boracay’s White Beach.
You can also opt for the Kalibo route if you have time and want to save money. After landing, you have to take either a bus or a van to get to the Caticlan Jetty Port which will take roughly 2 hours. From there, take a 15-minute boat ride to the Cagban Port. Flights to Kalibo typically get the seat sales and promo fares.
2. Boracay Beaches
The entire island is a tropical paradise and has around 12 beaches for you to choose from, each offering their own unique character.
This is Boracay’s most well-known beach, famous for its world-renowned white sand. This is also the first beach you’ll see once you dock off your boat. At 4-km, it’s Boracay’s longest and most commercialized beach. It’s divided into Station 1, Station 2, and Station 3 with various hotels and restaurants.
Diniwid is a very small beach just 3 minutes away from White Beach, separated by a large, craggy cliff. The rocky landscape makes it one of Boracay’s most scenic sunset spots.
This is a private beach owned by Balinghai Resort, but allows non-guests to pay a fee of restaurant consumables. It’s small and fairly private with a stunning view, but disappears once the high tide comes in.
Punta Bunga and Banyugan Beach
Both beaches are privately owned by Shangri-La Resort, making them the most exclusive. But you do get what you pay for, with the peaceful atmosphere and incredible view.
Puka Shell Beach
The name comes from the ‘Puka’ shells which locals use to make the bracelet and anklet souvenirs. If you want to see the white sands with significantly smaller crowds, Puka is only a 20-minute tricycle ride from Cagban Port. You’ll know it by the huge cliff that fronts it, where you can see bats flying across when the sun starts to set.
If you’re up for a challenge, swim through Ilig-iligan Beach’s rugged waters. Most of the nature in this area remains relatively untapped, and many try to swim from one limestone islet to another.
If privacy is a priority for your beach holiday, then go to the Lapuz Beach. This particular island stretch is privately owned by the Fairways & Bluewater Newcoast Resort and is open exclusively to their guests. Still, it’s close enough to the island center making it accessible to Boracay’s restaurants and nightlife.
This is the beach for adrenaline junkies. With water sports such as kiteboarding, parasailing, and windsurfing, you’re sure to get your heart pumping. This is also a great beach to meet both locals and fellow tourists.
If you’d rather shy away from the tourist activities, visit Tulubhan Beach and mix with the locals. Some may find the place underwhelming compared to the rest of the island, but Tulubhan beach is still a great getaway from the daily grind of the city.
Tambisaan Beach[media-credit name=”Mark Lehmkuler” align=”alignnone” width=”801″][/media-credit]
If you’d rather explore the ocean wonders instead of lounging on the sandbar, head to Tambisaan Beach. Bring your own snorkeling gear and take your sweet time gazing at the colorful coral gardens and coral reefs. The Philippines is home to thousands of endemic marine life, so this is a great place to spot more than just Nemo!
Manoc Manoc Beach
Another beach filled mostly with locals, as its where most of the supply boats dock. Manoc manoc Beach offers a welcome change of pace from the rest of the bustling island.
One of the best ways to explore Boracay is through an island hopping tour. Explore Crystal Cove, cliff dive on Magic Island, snorkel by Crocodile Island, and sunbathe on Puka Beach. And to keep your energy up? The island hopping tour comes with a filling Filipino buffet lunch.
If you’d really like to get a taste of Filipino culture, then explore the sea on a Paraw, a traditional Filipino sailing boat. With an experienced boat crew manning the sails, the paraw gives you an unrivaled view of the horizon. Sail out in the late afternoon when waters are calm and the sun starts to set.
Take a short boat ride away from Boracay to Ariel’s Point, an eco-adventure destination where you can kayak, snorkel, and jump up to 13 meters in the air before diving into the deep blue waters. Day trip tours to Ariel’s Point include roundtrip boat rides, a BBQ lunch buffet, and an open bar with unlimited drinks.
Explore some of the lesser-known parts of the island by driving an ATV/Buggy car! With the help of a professional guide, you’ll drive along scenic mountain trails and get a one-of-a-kind view of the white sand beaches.
Experience life underwater like an ocean astronaut with Boracay’s helmet diving activities. This is particularly great if your friends (or you!) don’t know how to swim. Take a walk on the ocean floor and find yourself in the middle of a colorful school of fish as they try to grab a bit of fish food from your hand!
4. Nightlife[media-credit name=”kamsky” align=”alignnone” width=”800″][/media-credit]
Boracay’s nightlife is a travel experience in itself. Friendly locals and fellow travelers all gather around during Happy Hour where the bars slash the (already cheap) alcohol by half the price. Popular hunts are Guilly’s Bar, the go-to party bar, Club Paraw, which constantly has a lively dance floor, and Cocomangas Bar, infamous for its ’15 Shots Challenge.’ There are a lot more options across the island, but you can find most of the bars and clubs at White Beach’s Station 2.
5. Food[media-credit name=”MVI” align=”alignnone” width=”801″][/media-credit]
Boracay offers food options for all budgets. Backpackers and budget travelers can have a filling meal for under Php 150 (around $3.00) at the food stalls or carinderias. Don’t pass up the chance to sample seafood fresh from the ocean at D’Tilapia Restaurant at D’Mall. You can find most restaurant options at White Beach’s Station 2.
6.Hotels and Hostels
Because Boracay has become a popular vacation getaway, there are accommodations that fit all kinds of budget ranges. An Airbnb room for 2 can go for as low as Php 1,800 a night (around $36.00), while a room at Shangri-la starts at roughly Php 15,000 a night (around $300.oo). You can also explore Balinghai Resort, Mad Monkey Hostel Boracay, and MNL Beach Hostel Boracay.