Miles and miles of powdery white sand, crystal clear water on the most gently sloping beaches, boats and bangkas floating on waves in the background of the setting sun, people swimming and frolicking in the crystal clear waters, having candlelight dinner on the most romantic place on earth. Every moment spent in Boracay leaves an impression in your mind which lasts life long. Voted as the number 1 beach in the world by many travel magazines and websites Boracay is a must visit place for anyone visiting Philippines for holidays.
Boracay has something for everyone. During the day you can do snorkeling, deep sea diving, wind surfing, para sailing, jet skiing, island hopping, kite boarding or just relax on the beach with your friends and family. After the sun goes down Boracay turns into a nightlife place like no other. There are fine dining restaurants, fast food chains, buffet dinners, bars, nightclubs, discos and shops lined all along the entire stretch of white beach. It feels like a huge party on the beach where all the outdoor and indoor restaurants and bars seem to merge into one another. For the shopaholics there is even a beach style mall where you can buy anything from local handicraft products to branded goods.
Boracy island has a shape of a dogbone. Its 8 km long and 1 km wide at its narrowest. White beach is the main beach on the western side of the island and Bulabog beach is the next popular beach on the opposite side of the island. There are 10 other beaches as well on Boracay but are not so popular with tourists. White beach has 3 distinct areas known as boat station 1 in the north, station 2 in the middle and station 3 towards south. The main shopping mall of Boracay known as D'Mall is situated near boat station 2 which is also the shopping and dining centre of Boracay. Lifeguard and rescue centre is also located in station 2.
Although there is no shortage of accomodations in Boracay, its 300 plus hotels, resorts and guesthouse are fully booked during peak seasons like Christmas and New Year so its always advisable to book your accomodation in advance. Where to stay depends on your personal taste and budget. If you like to party and don't mind littel bit noise till midnight and also want to stay near the beach then you can chose from hotels situated right on white beach near station 1 and station 2 but if you don't like too crowded places and still want to stay near the beach and like little bit nightlife then you can select hotels near station 3 as its relatively quiter. If you like to totally stay away crowds then you can stay on Bulabog beach or some of the other beaches as these are relatively quiter.
For those who live to eat Boracay is a perfect place to be. You can enjoy buffet dinners by the beach on offer outside almost all the restaurants offering authentic Filipino food, Mangolian BBQ, Korean or Chinese food or you can have Pizza at Shakey's or Yellow cab. If you are into Mexican food then there is an Army + Navy outlet near station 1. There is an Indian restaurant also near D'Mall offering vegetarian as well as non-vegtarian curries. Red Coconut is one of the most famous restaurants between station 1 and station 2 offering continental as well traditional Filipino breakfast, lunch and Dinner. It has beach side dining arrangements as well.
Most importantly you will find something or other to meet your taste as well budget in Boracay.
For the party animals Boracay offers a nightlife experience like no other. There are beach side pubs, bars, discos, Karaoke clubs and lounges all over Boracay. Some of the most famous ones are Cocomangas and Guilly's Island on station 1, D'Hobbit house, Bom Bom, Pat's Creek, Mint and Bamboo Lounge on station 2, Red Pirates on station 3 and Jungle Bar on Bulabog beach. During peak season almost all restaurnats have live music outdoors and sometimes you can even hear more than 1 band playing at a time. Some places also offer Sheesha for the tobacco lovers.
1. By Air via Caticlan Airport
Nearest airport to Boracay is Caticlan airport which has direct flights from Manila and Cebu. These flights are operated by SEAIR, Cebu Pacific and Airphil Express. The flight duration is around 30 to 45 minutes. Once you reach Caticlan airport you have to take a tricyle to Catclan Ferry port where you get a boat to Boracay Island. There are many types of boats available and fare is usually between 30 to 50 pesos per person. You also have to pay environment fee (75 pesos) and terminal fee (100 pesos). After you land in Boracay Island you again have to take a tricycle to your resort or hotel.
2. By Air via Kalibo Airport
Kalibo airport is around 90 minutes drive from Caticlan Ferry port and you can take a van/ bus to Caticlan Ferry port for 250 pesos per person.
It is advisable to book a door to door transfer from airport to your resort hotel using one of the many travel agencies which provide a very good service at reasoable prices. These agencies are based in Kalibo and Caticlan and have their own websites where you can book your transfer online. You can also book the transfer through your hotel but they will charge you 100 pesos extra per person for the same service thrugh same travel agencies. Please keep some buffer time (30 - 40 minutes) for you flight back as sometimes there is delay in pickup from hotel if you book the airport transfer through these agencies.
3. By road and ferry (RoRo)
If you don't want to fly due to budget constraints or any other reason you can take the ferry and bus/ van combination called Roll on/ Roll Off (RoRo). It is not possible to bring your own vehicle into Boracay in case you are planning to do that. Assuming good connections, the total journey time is around 12 hours from Manila and costs around 1200 pesos per person.
The bus/ van leaves from Manila, travelling through Batangas,Calapan and Roxas where you catch the boat to Caticlan. It is advisable to keep some water and snacks for the journey as you may not get much on the way.
Also there are direct ferries from Batangas Port to Caticlan Port, which eliminates the long journey from Batangas to Roxas.
While Boracay is a relatively small island its not possible to walk to all the places you might want to go. As there are no taxis in Boracay you have to chose from one of the following
Like any other place in Philippines, tricycles or trikes are most popular in Boracay as well. These will take you to almost any place except on the beach. The fare is between 20 to 100 pesos person depending on the distance.
2. Rental Scooters
You can rent scooters at a reasonable price if you can handle the Filipino traffic.
3. Mountain bikes
Very useful and convenient as you can take these to almost all places including most beaches
Best option if you want to see all the beaches in one day and do island hopping around Boracay.