Getting to Boracay can seem overwhelming to many. However, there’s a lot of options and things to do when you get there. This will be the one Boracay itinerary you need to know on your journey to this magnificent island.
Boracay, the Philippines’ globally popular and award-winning beach attraction, has finally opened after a 6-month hiatus. If you’ve been here before, it’s easy to attest to the island’s popularity.
Boracay’s appeal is legendary – visitors are often dumbfounded by its sheer natural beauty. Its crystal clear waters and powdery white sand are arguably the best in Southeast Asia.
Whether you decide to travel hack your way there, spend a honeymoon or travel with friends, you need a proper plan to see everything. Before its hiatus, more than 6,500 tourists flocked to Boracay’s white beach daily – but fame had been doing the island more harm than good.
A 6-month government-initiated rehabilitation program was launched in April 2018 to eradicate environmental breakdown and illegal construction. Today, it’s business as usual for locals and tourists alike.
Frequent visitors will be happy to know that the Boracay spirit is alive and well – the island’s resorts and watering holes continue to beckon revelers at night, while the beach, flocked by throngs of bathers and water sports enthusiasts, stirs with activity at daylight.
The sand is still at its whitest, the water crystal-clear, and the food deliciously diverse. The Boracay you left is still here, albeit cleaner and more serene. But the changes made aren’t only superficial. Visitors must follow a slew of new rules aimed to keep the island clean and sustainable. If you’re planning a Boracay itinerary, here’s everything you need to know about the new changes.
I’ve also included tips on how to best spend your time on the island, especially when you’re pressed for time.
- Languages: English and Tagalog. Ati and Aklanon are native languages.
- Location: Central Philippines, in the province of Aklan – a part of Panay Island.
- Currency: Philippine Peso (PHP)
Modes of payment: Though some establishments accept credit cards, cash is the main mode of payment. Best time to visit: For the best weather, visit between February to May. Drier months mean more tourists, so take the crowd into account.
If you’re looking to get away from the crowd but enjoy relatively good weather, visit between November and January. Use these family travel hacks to save time and money along the way.
MAP OF BORACAY
NEW BORACAY RULES
If you’re planning your Boracay itinerary, it’s a good measure to take the island’s laws into account.
Many of Boracay’s new rules only apply to local businesses, but some apply to tourists and visitors.
- Do not smoke in public spaces, lest you incur a fine. If you absolutely must, ask the nearest local business where to smoke.
- Do not bring pets to beachfront areas.
- Do not collect sand as a souvenir.
- Do not bring food or alcoholic beverages at the beach area.
- You may be required to present hotel reservations before entering the island proper.
- Sandcastle building is regulated.
- Accommodations are limited to places accredited by the Department of Tourism. Here’s a list.
HOW TO GET TO BORACAY
Wondering how to get to Boracay from Manila? Flying is the fastest way to get to the island. Visitors may choose to land among two airports: Caticlan and Kalibo.
Kalibo Airport is a two-hour drive and boat ride away from the island with cheap fares. Caticlan Airport has more expensive fares but is just a 30- minute boat ride away.
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Once you’ve arrived at the airport, you need to travel to Boracay via a bus and a boat/ferry. Here’s what to do next:
FROM KALIBO AIRPORT
Visitors flying to Kalibo need to travel to Caticlan Jetty Port via several options. The ride takes around 1.5 to two hours.
Here are your options for getting to Caticlan Jetty Port from Kalibo Airport:
- A local bus
Ride a tricycle to the bus terminal. Here, you’ll board a Ceres bus (PHP120) headed for Caticlan Jetty Port.
- A “non-packaged” tourist bus
Look around for buses and vans that do not offer packaged transfers (PHP200).
- A packaged bus or van transfer service
If you’re aiming for convenience, look for packaged buses. These services include the terminal fee, boat crossing, environmental fee, and hotel transfer.
Escorts will assist you throughout the entire process of riding a ferry at the jetty port.
Once at the port, follow the instructions in the next section.
FROM CATICLAN AIRPORT
If you’re coming from Caticlan Airport, take a tricycle ride to Caticlan Jetty Port (P50 to P75).
Once at the Jetty Port, here’s what to do:
- Look for the Registration Area
You’ll find a canopy of tents just outside the terminal building. This is the registration area. You’ll be asked to list down your name in the logbook.
- Head to the Verification Area
Present your hotel booking or proof of accommodations. Visitors spending more than a night on the island must book a hotel.
- Settle Fees
Head to the payment windows and decide whether to ride an affordable pump boat or a more expensive Oyster Ferry. You will need to settle the following fees:
- Terminal Fee (PHP100)
- Environmental Fee (P75)
- Boat Fare (PHP25-30 for pumpboats; PHP100 for Oyster Ferry)
- Wait at the Port Building
Go through a security check and wait for boarding at the Passenger Waiting Area.
- Ride the Boat
The ride takes around 10 to 15 minutes.
- Head to Your Hotel
At Boracay proper, ride a tricycle to reach your accommodation.
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WHERE TO STAY IN BORACAY
From award-winning luxury hotels and resorts to budget-friendly hostels and guesthouses, Boracay has a plethora of accommodations for all price points. Deciding where to stay on the island depends on your Boracay itinerary.
With over a dozen beaches on the island, your overall experience is influenced by where you’ll stay.
Here are the three of Boracay’s most popular beaches:
This 4KM long strip of powder white sand is Boracay’s most popular beach. With the most number of accommodations and establishments, this section is naturally the most crowded.
Your Boracay itinerary will be studded with activities from this location, so it’s wise to book your accommodations here to save time.
White Beach is also the best place to witness Boracay’s fabled sunset. The entire stretch is divided into three sections: Station 1, 2, and 3.
Here are their pros and cons.
- Station 1
Tucked in the northernmost part of the beach, Station 1 is less crowded, more serene, and spacious. Its shallow waters are great for kids, and the beach is relatively quiet. This section has limited restaurants and only a few clubs.
- Station 2
With its central location, most places on the island are within walking distance. Expect a bustling nightlife and a plethora of restaurants.
Some areas may be very crowded (especially D’Mall).
- Station 3
A great choice for people looking for a break away from the crowd. Expect more foliage and several bamboo-style resorts. Nightlife is limited and more laid back. Beware of deeper waters.
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This long stretch of sand lines the eastern side of Boracay. Sand is grittier here, but this beach is known for being the best jump-off point for the island’s best water activities.
Watch out for exciting kiteboarding and windsurfing events from November to April.
Diniwid is a small patch of sand just a 10-minute walk north of Station 1.
A few hotels are located by the beachfront, while several villas nestled atop a hill offering spectacular views of White Beach and Diniwid Beach.
This is a great place for visitors looking for a serene atmosphere.
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THINGS TO DO IN BORACAY
Boracay offers a wide range of activities for both daredevils and laid-back adventurers.
If you’re looking to fill your Boracay itinerary, make sure to include the following experiences:
Go Beach Hopping
Boracay is more than just its fabled White Beach. Several smaller beaches that are equally just as stunning line its perimeter.
On the island proper, you’ll find sellers offering island hopping experiences with stops at Crocodile Island, Puka Beach, and Crystal Cove Island.
You may opt to book a private boat or join a group tour as well. Lunch is often included!
Grab one of these beach blankets to ensure you can relax on the beach with ease.
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Cliff Dive at Ariel’s Point
Leap off a cliff and plunge into turquoise waters in Ariel’s Point, an eco-friendly destination where you can also kayak, snorkel, and paddleboard. A staple for every Boracay itinerary, cliff diving at Ariel’s Point is a favorite among daredevils.
Choose among five cliff diving points – the highest one towers at 13 meters.
Rates, often sold as packages, include an outrigger ride, unlimited beverages, snacks, and a BBQ buffet lunch.
Sail in a Paraw
Take Instagram-worthy snapshots in a paraw – a local sailboat with two outriggers. Sail around the island across serene waters or wait for the waves to kick up for a more high-octane experience.
Schedule your adventure at dusk to witness the incredible Boracay sunset.
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Go on a Pub Crawl
Boracay is globally known as a party island, and even its recent rehabilitation didn’t dull its luster. Join a pub crawl and go bar-hopping while making new friends along the way. Packages come with a guide to take you around and host activities.
A professional photographer also tags along to cement your drunken memories. You could use a tour site to book your full pub crawl experience.
Splash Around on a Banana Boat
If serene sailing isn’t your thing, hop atop a banana boat and experience one of the most exhilarating rides of your life. A banana boat is an inflatable vessel pulled along by a speedboat.
A forewarning: Unless requested, the speedboat driver isn’t one to take it easy on you. You’ll literally get thrashed around and bounced, so it isn’t for the faint-hearted!
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Go on a Food Trip
Boracay’s White Beach is studded with restaurants from high-end outlets to pocket-friendly fast food.
There’s an eatery out here to tickle your tastebuds, no matter the cuisine you’re looking for. D’Mall, located at Station 2, offers a bunch of cafes and mid-range to high-range restaurants.
If you’re traveling on a budget, your best bet is one of the local eateries located along the inner alleys or the main road.
If you’re on a budget but not in the mood to eat out of White Beach, Andok’s in D’Mall offers delicious budget food!
Seafood lovers may opt for D’Talipapa, a bustling fish market where you shop for fresh ingredients and have any of the surrounding outlets cook them for you.
It’s also a fantastic choice if you’re eating out in groups.
If you’re going food tripping, you absolutely must try the chori burger at Merly’s BBQ, an ice-cold fruit shake at Jonah’s Fruit Shake, and the delectable calamansi muffins at Real Coffee and Tea Café
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THE BEST 3-DAY BORACAY ITINERARY ON A BUDGET
If you’re spending three days on the island and looking forward to the best experiences, here’s a sample Boracay itinerary to follow that will make you obsessed with travel.
Time isn’t included so you could adjust the activities according to your liking.
DAY 1: Exploring White Beach
- Caticlan Airport to Caticlan Jetty Port transfer (around 15 minutes)
- Board the boat to Boracay (around 20 minutes)
- Arrive in Boracay
- Hotel check-in
- Lunch at D-Mall
- Freshen up at the hotel
- Swim or walk along White Beach
- Gawk over the sunset
- Get back to the hotel to freshen up
- Dinner and souvenir shopping at D’Mall
- Get a massage from one of the local spas
- Back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep
DAY 2: Exploring Boracay
- Go on an island hopping tour (around 4 hours/30 mins)
- Refresh with Jonah’s Fruit Shake
- Freshen up at your hotel
- Gawk over the sunset
- Try a chori burger for dinner
- Party the night away on a Pub Crawl (around 6 hours)
- Back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep
DAY 3: Departure Day
- Wake up early to enjoy the refreshing morning sun
- Breakfast at D’Mall or a local carinderia
- Check out
- Ride a tricycle to Caticlan Jetty Port
- Arrive at Caticlan Airport
- Flight Out
What will you do with your Boracay itinerary? Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.
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