Boracay Travel Guide

Boracay Travel Guide, everything you need to know for your Boracay trip. Boracay is open with new regulations to keep Boracay Island and Boracay Beaches the Best in the World. Your Island Paradise awaits in Boracay Philippines! 

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Welcome to the ‘New’ Boracay!

The Crown Jewel of the Philippines

The crystal clear blue waters and the long stretch of powdery soft white sand are just some of the reasons why Boracay is dubbed as the crown jewel of Philippine tourism. It’s a world-famous tourist hot spot and one of the country’s most visited beaches, garnering an average of two million tourists a year! These numbers make sense since everyone needs to experience the 4-square mile tropical paradise, however, the high number of tourists have caused immense consequences in the small island.

Boracay Travel Guide: Start Your Boracay Trip Here

Here’s what you’ll find in this Boracay Travel Guide
 
Once a virginal beach located in the central province of Aklan and home to indigenous communities, the island has been a subject of criticisms due to its over-commercialization. Boracay has become an island rife with over-tourism and environmental law violations. For this reason, the government stepped in to save the beautiful island from rampant overdevelopment and fix its massive waste management problem. In April 2018, the government ordered the closure of the island from the public to make major rehabilitation efforts. After six months, Boracay opened its doors to a few numbers of visitors to enjoy the newly restored island. Beginning October 2018, Boracay will have a limit on the number of tourists, fewer restaurants and hotel, limit on some water sports activities, and new anti-beach boozing regulations to tame the island’s party-hard reputation. Today, the “new” Boracay is beyond beautiful and is back to its former glory – a place perfect to spend a time of tranquility and peace. While you may not be partying the night away like how it used to be back in the days, Boracay is still the best island to visit in the Philippines. Many tourists, especially the locals, prefer the new Boracay island this way.
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Know Before You Go

Essential contacts

The Basics

  • Currency: Philippine peso (PHP)
  • Telephone code: For domestic calls, dial 0 + Area Code + Phone number
  • Time Zone: 8 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)
  • Flight times: Flight time from Manila to Caticlan or Kalibo is less than an hour

Local Laws/Etiquette

Before purchasing your airplane tickets and packing your bags to visit the tropical paradise of Southeast Asia, these are the rules strictly implemented on Boracay island that you need to be aware of to get out of trouble:

Tourists should show their government-approved hotel reservation upon arrival at the island. They must have booked to an accredited hotel that has earned the approval of the sewage system requirements of the government. For a list of the accredited hotels, check here.

For more information on the new regulations for Boracay, click here.

  • Strict zoning areas for watersports should be observed. For example, jet skis must be at least 100 meters from shore.
  • Get around the island by ‘e-jeepneys’ – environmentally friendly buses.
  • Partying and alcohol consumption on the beach is prohibited.
  • Umbrellas, beach bed or deckchair are not allowed on the sand.
  • No pets allowed on the beach.
  • Littering is strictly forbidden and enforced with hefty fines.
  • BBQ/Grills are not allowed on the beach.
  • No fireworks after 9pm.
  • Single-use plastics are banned.
  • Gambling is forbidden. (Casinos are not permitted to operate on the island).
  • Building unregulated sandcastles on the beach shore is not permitted (if you can believe it).

Why Go?

Is it still worth it to go visit Boracay? Yes, Boracay is still the place to be! You might think that Boracay is not fun anymore with its new set of stringent rules and a limit on beach activities to do, but that’s not true. In fact, you will never run out of things to do on this island. The new rules and regulations are all part of the continued restoration efforts of the government to a much cleaner and serene island to spend the perfect vacation days.

One of the island’s new regulations is the limit to its number of visitors. The Philippine Department of Tourism shared that the island can only hold 54,945 people at any given time – 19,215 tourists at a time added to the 35,730 residents and staff. This is excellent news since overcrowding, especially during the summer months, has been one of the island’s downsides for the past years.

Just like other famous beaches in the Philippines, Boracay is definitely a nature haven. With the new Boracay, you’ll be able to appreciate more the island’s elements of charm, beauty, and relaxation. Once known for its busy night-life, this tropical paradise is now a chilled-out family-friendly island perfect for a peaceful and stress-relieving getaway from the busy hustles of the city life.

When to Go?

Boracay Island can be enjoyed practically any time of the year. It’s a lovely island that is great on either peak or off-peak season.

The island is the best place to be seen during the dry season where you can enjoy the sunshine and the waters better. From March to May, tourists visit the island to get a tan or get sun-kissed. Since those months are the peak season, flights and hotel rates may skyrocket.

December to February is also known as the peak months for the island. Foreigners who seek warmer climates during winter and locals who are on a holiday break flock to Boracay for a vacation. Just like in summer, high prices and relatively crowded beaches are to be expected.

Some visitors prefer to visit during the rainy season, between July and November. Traveling during the off-peak season doesn’t guarantee you to have the beach all to yourself since Boracay is a world-famous tourist destination. There would still be a number of tourists visiting the island even on a not-so-ideal weather condition. The advantage of the off-peak season is you’ll have the perks of cheaper flights and affordable hotel rates.

Moreover, it’s best to avoid going to Boracay during the monsoon season, which occurs from July to September. While the island itself is not severely affected by typhoons than other islands in the Philippines, the rainy weather may cause delayed or canceled flights and stronger, bigger waves.

Regions of Boracay

Choosing Which Beach to Explore

White Beach – The Most Famous Beach in Boracay

The most popular beach in the island is the White Beach – a 4-km stretch of fine powder white sand with bright turquoise waters offshore. It’s the central area of the island where most of the restaurants, resorts, and water activities are found. The White Beach is further divided into 3 sections:

  • Station 1 (The North End): Area of Luxury and SpaceStation 1 is where you’ll find lots of luxurious hotel and resorts. It’s also where you’ll get a sight of Willy’s Rock, which is probably Boracay’s most photographed landmark. Station 1 is a peaceful area, and it’s not separated from the beach by a walking path like in Station 2. There are also a few restaurants and private clubs at hand to best enjoy the evening.
  • Station 2 (The Middle Part): The EpicenterThis station is the busiest area in the island. It’s the home of mid-scale resorts, shops and food stalls. D’mall, one of the main shopping spots on the island, sits right in Station 2. The water offshore is shallow in this area, but a bit lesser than in Station 1.Before the rehabilitation, Station 2 is the center of nightlife in Boracay with lively parties and dance floor. Today, only a small number of bars are operating near the area. There’s also a strict rule banning beach parties and beachside drinking.
  • Station 3 (The Southern End): Peace and NatureThe third station is where you’ll see a lot of backpacker and low budget-friendly hotels. The beach is steeper into the waters, so this area becomes deep pretty fast. Station 3 is the most peaceful area among the other stations, and it’s where you’ll get to appreciate the right amount of green nature.

 

Read More about White Beach Boracay here

 

Diniwid Beach – Spend Time With Family

Located just north of White Beach, Diniwid Beach is a quieter beach alternative. This area is less crowded than the other places on the island, making it an ideal location for families to let their children run and play in the calm blue waters.

Bulabog Beach – Water Sports Capital

The strong winds on this side of the island makes Bulabog Beach the water sports capital of Boracay. It’s located on the eastern side, just across Station 2. Kite-boarding, windsurfing, and paragliding are just some of the sports activities you can enjoy at this part of the island.

Puka Beach – Best For Couples

At the northern tip of the Boracay Island is the Puka Shell Beach or also known as Yapak Beach. This area is also another quiet alternative to the crowded white sands of White Beach. The water here is deeper than other beaches, making it a perfect spot for swimming, snorkeling, and paddle-boarding activities. Moreover, Puka Beach is the ideal spot for a romantic and peaceful atmosphere to watch the sunset.

Tambisaan Beach – For Relaxation

To better appreciate the beauty of marine life in Boracay, Tambisaan Beach is the best place to go. It’s a less developed beach than the other beaches in Boracay, but there a few local stores selling basic necessities for a day on the area.

Getting There

Aside from its stunning landscape, one thing that makes Boracay a favorite destination by tourists is its easy accessibility. There are a few options to get to the Boracay outlined below, for more detailed information on how to get to Boracay, click here.

By Plane

It’s the most convenient and fastest way to reach Boracay. There are two airports you can land in – Caticlan Airport, which is closer to the island and the more distant Kalibo Airport. There are regular trips offered from Manila to both airports daily.

Kalibo, however, is more favored since its more affordable and also offers direct flights to Korea and Malaysia if ever you need to connect to an international flight. The downside, it’s a 2-hour van ride to Caticlan Jetty Port. Outside the Kalibo Airport, you may find a lot of van operators that services package transportation inclusive of van and boat fare for about 5 USD.

The boat ride from Caticlan Jetty Port to Boracay takes only 10 minutes. From the port, you’ll also have to pay for a terminal fee (2 USD), an environmental fee (1.50 USD), and a boat fare (2 USD).

By Ferry

There are also ferries that travel from Manila to Caticlan or Dumaguit, which is near Kalibo. Traveling by ship, however, will take you a 17-hour long trip.

By Land

If you prefer public transportation, there are also air-conditioned buses that pass along Caticlan, the entry point to Boracay. These buses travel via the “Strong Republic Nautical Highway,” with routes from Batangas, Luzon to Cagayan de Oro. This is probably the cheapest mode of transportation to get into Boracay, but it will take more time and some adventurous spirit.
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Getting Around

Getting around the island is relatively easy. The island is about 7 kilometers long from north to south and 2 kilometers across at its widest point, with a good road network. The most common mode of transportation within the island is through motor vehicles/tricycles for long distances, but the government is now encouraging the use of their electric-jeepneys. Vehicle rentals are also available, you may hire motorbikes, bicycles, scooters or ATVs to explore Boracay better. Some upscale hotels, like the Discovery Shores Boracay or the Shangri-La Boracay Resort, provide their guests with shuttle service to D’mall at White Beach. For island hopping activities and a tour of the sea, native sailboats or Banca boats can be rented as well. There are many companies offering boat chartering services to give tourists the opportunity to discover some “secret” Boracay beaches and the nearby island.

Nightlife

Before the rehabilitation, Boracay nightlife is famous for being over the top and was once likened to Spain’s Ibiza. Today, visitors who are in search of wild and lively beach parties are in for a letdown. The implementation of the stringent rules since its opening last October would also mean that the party days in Boracay are over. Tourists should manage their expectations since the government is aiming to maintain a high environmental standard for a peaceful stay on the island for both the locals and visitors.

Safety

Whether you’re traveling domestically or internationally, safety is always of utmost importance. Fortunately, Boracay is a reasonably safe place to visit. After the 6-month rehabilitation efforts, the police force of Boracay is aiming to be a “world-class police task force” in ensuring the security and safety of the people on the island. “Come to Boracay, you are safe here,” stated by the commander of the Metro Boracay Police Task Force (MBTPTF) to travelers, promising the safety of residents and tourists in the new Boracay Island. They also stated that to prevent crimes, acts of terrorism, and environmental degradation, both citizens and stakeholders in the island work hand-in-hand. Moreover, the MBPTF has established more police community assistance around the island. Lifeguards on duty are also available on the beach area.

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