BORACAY: A PRACTICAL TRAVEL GUIDE FOR DIY & BUDGET TRAVELERS with new guidelines [UPDATED 2021]

Note: As a precautionary measure in this time of COVID-19 pandemic, it is best to check with the authorities the updated travel requirements and possible restrictions that might affect your travel plan. Contact Boracay Tourism Office at deptour6boracay@yahoo.com or at (036) 288 3689 or the Aklan government at aklanpgo@yahoo.com or at (036) 268 5338 to know the latest update.

Remember to always follow the health and safety protocols imposed from your travel origin to your destination. I wish you a safe trip ahead!

Traveling to Boracay Island for the first time? This detailed DIY travel guide is exactly what you need. Scroll down and take note of the outlined information from sample itinerary and budget, new rules for visits, best places & top things to do, recommended tours and transports, budget-friendly accommodations, and other travel tips. Have a fun and enjoyable trip ahead!

START HERE!

BORACAY AT A GLANCE

The most awarded travel destination in all of Philippine islands, BORACAY extends to 7 kilometers long in a dog-bone shaped at the northeastern tip of Panay in Visayas.

At Station 3 White Beach, Boracay.

The small island which has been highly recognized as the flagship of Philippine tourism over the years, along with Palawan and Cebu, is widely known for its over 30 soft, powdery, white beaches and coves that assist a postcard-perfect sunset, international restaurants that dot along its coastline, and an extensive list of nightclubs and pubs. On top of these, Boracay is popular for its richly azure waterfronts that make for an excellent stage for water activities like stand-up paddle, snorkeling, scuba diving, parasailing and banana boating, to name a few.

Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto
Willy’s Rock or Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto at Station 1, White Beach, Boracay.

Due to an explosive influx of tourists for the past years, Boracay went through a significant decline in its environmental condition which required for a quick rehabilitation so it can regain its former glory. Thus, in April 2018, Boracay was temporarily closed for a period of 6 months; whereby an evaluation was made in all of its surroundings resulting to the demolition of some establishments that violated the Water Code of the Philippines.

Of late, Boracay is back to welcoming tourists who fancy on wandering around its world renowned beaches. Yet, unlike the previous years, tourists are now limited to a number of activities and are obliged to comply certain requirements to be fully admitted to the island.

Read further and learn more about the changes in the renewed Boracay.

At rest, after a searing stand-up paddle activity at noon time.

WHERE TO STAY IN BORACAY

The White beach which what Boracay is known for is the place to be when it comes to finding the right accommodation. The beach is segmented into 3 stations:

  • Station 1 which owns the best sands and is dotted with some of the most luxurious hotels in Boracay; nearest to the popular Willy’s Rock which is considerably the best site to watch the sunset.
  • Station 2 which is situated in between stations and gives good access to all points of interest in White beach in only a short walk, the accommodations around the area are a mix of splurge, average and budget;
  • Station 3 which is home to the most affordable hotels in all of White beach, this station is where all tourists for island hopping and scuba diving meet up making it an ideal location if you are keen on doing these activities.

Choosing which among these stations to stay is a matter of budget and interest. Note: Accommodations in Boracay must be tourism-accredited to accept guests, as part of the new regulation.

Below you can find some of these tourism-accredited accommodations, grouped per station. Click here for the full list: www.tourism.gov.ph

Here is a snapshot of some of available accommodations at White Beach, Boracay. Hover or click the price to book or check for more details.

Accommodations at Station 1

JONY’S BEACH RESORT
– Superior triple room is priced at around P4,800+ good for group travelers with 4 adults and 2 kids
– provides free breakfast and WiFi access
– with friendly and accommodating staff
Click the photo to book or check for more details.
SHORE TIME TRAVEL
– Family room is price at around P2,700+ for 4 adults and 1 kid, breakfast included
– with WiFi access
Click the photo to book or check for more details.
BORACAY BUNGALOWS #2
– apartment for a family of 4 adults is priced at around P3,100+
– has good amenities and free WiFi access
Click the photo to book or check for more details.

For solo or couples traveling on a budget (Click on the link to book or check for more details.)

Accommodations at Station 2

LA CARMELA DE BORACAY HOTEL
– room good for 4 adults and 2 kids is priced at around P2,300+
– offers free breakfast and WiFi access
Click the photo to book or check for more details.
CLUB MANILA EAST BORACAY
– room good for 4 adults and 2 kids is priced at around P2,200+
– offers free breakfast and WiFi access
Click the photo to book or check for more details.
AZALEA HOTELS & RESIDENCES BORACAY
– price at around P4,800+ for a room good for 4 adults and 1 kid
– offers free breakfast and has WiFi access
Click the photo to book or check for more details.

For solo or couples traveling on a budget (Click on the link to book or check for more details.)

Not another sunset photo. πŸ™‚

Accommodations at Station 3

WALD’S PLACE BORACAY
– room good for 4 adults and 1 kid is priced at around P2,100+ with free WiFi access
Click the photo to book or check for more details.
SHERIDAN VILLAS BORACAY
– room good for 4 adults and 2 kids is priced at around P2,000+ with free breakfast and WiFi access
Click the photo to book or check for more details.
GRACIA’S INN
– room good for 4 adults is priced at around P1,800+ with free WiFi access and free breakfast for 1
Click the photo to book or check for more details.

For solo or couples traveling on a budget (Click on the link to book or check for more details.)

Paraw Sailing Boat
My mom and dad with a lineup of Paraw boats at the background.

HOW TO GET TO BORACAY

There is not a direct flight to Boracay. To get to the small island, follow these 2 simple steps:

  1. Go to Caticlan (the nearest municipality to Boracay) and head out to its Jetty Port.
  2. At the port, take a ferry that will get you across to Cagban Jetty Port in Boracay; then hail a van or tricycle to your hotel.

Klook offers transfer packages from Caticlan and Kalibo airport. Click the link below for details:

At the waiting area of Caticlan Jetty port. This is where your hotel booking is checked.

If you want to go on a DIY, here is a detailed information on how to get to Boracay Island:

  1. Caticlan can be accessed directly via its airport if you are coming from Cebu or Manila. At the airport, you can hail a tricycle or shuttle to get to Jetty Port. Travel time is around 10 minutes. Fare is roughly P50. If you are going on an international trip, access to Caticlan is possible via Kalibo International Airport which also services flights from Cebu and Manila, and from Incheon in Korea, Taipei in Taiwan, and Shanghai and Chengdu in China via Pan Pacific, Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, Air Asia, Jin Air and Juneyao Airlines. From Kalibo airport, you can get to Caticlan Jetty Port by:
    • (cheaper option but longer travel time): taking a tricycle to the bus terminal at Kalibo town proper where you can board the next available Ceres bus to Caticlan Jetty Port. Travel time is roughly 2 hours, fare is around P150.
    • (more expensive but faster travel time): by taking the shuttle service at Kalibo airport. Travel time to Caticlan Jetty Port is close to 1.5 hours, fare is around P200.
  2. At Caticlan Jetty Port, pay the terminal fee for P100, environmental fee for P75 and boat fee for P25 if you choose the motorized outrigger boat or P50 if you take the Oyster Ferry. The same fees are collected for tourists 6-year old and up. All boats arrive at Cagban Jetty Port in 5 to 10 minutes depending on the sea condition. At the port, you can charter a tricycle or van to your chosen accommodation for P150. Travel time is close to 10 minutes.
Cagban Jetty Port in Boracay. You will arrive at this port from Caticlan Jetty port.

Note: At both airports and jetty ports, agency-organized transfers are also offered if you don’t want to do it yourself. Price ranges from P700 to P1000 inclusive of transfer from airport to Caticlan port, from Cagban Jetty Port to your hotel, and all fees from ferry, terminal to environmental.

Outside the arrival area of Caticlan airport are different offices of companies that organize hotel transfer. Approach the window of your designated company to get your pass and sticker for all transfers up to your hotel.

GETTING AROUND BORACAY

Most tourists in Boracay stay at the 4-kilometer White beach which can be covered on foot as the entire stretch is enveloped with white sands that are easy on the feet. Elderlies or those who find long walks a challenge can charter a trishaw that are parked at the pathways near the shore. A ride from one station to another is around P50 to P100 depending on your bargaining skill. A cheaper alternative are tricycles and e-jeepneys that can be found at the main road, some 300 meters away from the shoreline. Fare for a short distance ride is P10 per person.

Earth bending the sands of White Beach, Boracay. πŸ˜€

Outside White beach, the main mode of transport in Boracay are tricycle, pedicab and e-jeepney. Fare for short distance travel is P10; for long distance say from White beach to Cagban Jetty port is P20 per person.

NEW BORACAY GUIDELINES

Here are new guidelines in Boracay from its re-opening in October 2018 that directly affect tourists.

  • Entry of tourists in Boracay per day is limited to 6,000 persons only.
  • Tourists are required to present a copy of hotel reservation at the Jetty port in Caticlan before permitted to purchase a ticket bound for Boracay. Again, your accommodation of choice must be Department of Tourism accredited before it can accept guests.
  • Spitting, urinating, defecating and vomiting in public areas are strongly prohibited.
  • Open fire and use of kerosene gas are banned at the shores. Fire dancers can still perform, only if they use LED lights.
  • No animal is allowed to roam freely in the beaches and public areas in Boracay.
  • Drinking of alcoholic drinks, partying and dining at the beach area are not permitted.
  • Smoking is allowed but is limited to designated areas.
  • Flying of drone is granted only if the owner secures a permit from the local authority.
A designated smoking area at the right section from entrance inside D’ Mall.

TOP THINGS TO DO IN BORACAY

Here are top tourist spots and activities that you can still do in Boracay at the time of its re-opening. Click the link for details.

Hair braiding – one of the most favorite activities of girls while in Boracay.

Apart from the list, catching the sunset which Boracay is famous for, should be a priority. The sunset at White beach is like no other. It is insanely beautiful! Don’t take my word for it, just look at these photos.

Boracay sunset!
Boracay sunset!

Of course, in between your beach activities, it’s important that you grab a bite at some of Boracay’s most visited snackhouse and restaurants. Try HaloMango and Ice Flakes at Station 2 near D’Mall or feast on seafood at D’ Talipapa.

My father outside HaloMango. Give their mango ice cream a try. It’s a sure treat. πŸ™‚

For party goers, you can join the pub crawl which lets you interact with 40+ other people as you hop from one bar to another. It’s a fun way to socialize and spend the night away.

Boracay Pub Crawl

BORACAY RECOMMENDED TOURS

Step up your Boracay experience by joining these highly recommended tours. Click the link for itinerary and other details.

Klook.com

Search for more Boracay discounted tour and transfer offers from KLOOK using the search box below. Just type “Boracay” and click “search.”

Klook.com

BORACAY SAMPLE ITINERARY & BUDGET

The proposed Boracay DIY itinerary assumes a party of two and will set back an amount of P4,545+ per person which includes expenses for food, transportation, and tour activities. The allocated budget does not cover cost for airfare, accommodation, souvenir and other incidentals.

White Beach, Boracay
White Beach, Boracay

DAY ONE (Budget per person: P1,335.00)

ActivityScheduleBudget
Arrive at Caticlan Airport3:00PM
Trike to Caticlan Jetty Port3:15PMP50
Ferry to Cagban Jetty Port3:30PMP200
Travel to Hotel4:00PMP75
Check-in4:15PM
Stroll at White Beach until sunset5:00PM
Dinner at Paluto (D’ Talipapa Market)7:00PMP1,000
Back to Hotel8:00PMP10
Lights Out!8:30PM
My parents at Puka Beach during our island hopping activity.

DAY TWO (Budget per person: P2,340.00)

ActivityScheduleBudget
Breakfast7:00AMP100
Island Hopping9:00AMP500
Puka Beach
Snorkeling Area 1
Snorkeling Area 2
Lunch1:00PM
Back to White Beach2:00PM
Rest2:30PM
At HaloMango Ice Cream4:30PMP250
Sunset at White beach6:00PM
Dinner7:00PMP500
Pub Crawl!8:00PMP990
Back to Hotel1:00AM
Diniwid Beach
Snorkeling near Diniwid beach.

DAY THREE (Budget per person: P870.00)

ActivityScheduleBudget
Breakfast9:00AMP100
Enjoy the beach!10:00AM
Lunch12:00PMP500
Check out12:30PM
Trike to Cagban Jetty Port1:00PMP20
Ferry to Caticlan Jetty Port1:30PMP200
Trike to Caticlan Airport2:00PMP50

Here are things to note for this sample DIY Boracay itinerary:

  • The sample itinerary can be extended to 5 days depending on your activities. Take note however that Boracay is a mainstream tourist destination and most of its activities come with a steep price.
  • D’ Talipapa is a local market where you can buy fresh seafoods including lobsters and crabs. Right in the market are restaurants like Paluto that can cook the seafoods for a certain fee.
  • The island hopping activity which only cost for P500 is organized by Bamboo Resort at Station 2. The activity already includes an all-you-can-eat lunch. You can book the activity in person, just drop by at their area a day prior or before 8:00AM if you want to do it on the day.
  • D’Mall at Station 2 is where you can find the most variety of restaurants and souvenir shops in all of Boracay. The mall is open-air and can be accessed from the beach area or from the main road.
D’ Talipapa, just beside D’Mall.

QUICK FACTS ABOUT BORACAY

Here are bits of information you need to know about the island of Boracay:

  • Boracay is administratively part of the municipality of Malay in Aklan province. It is composed of three barangays: Yapak, Balabag and Manoc-Manoc which has a total population close to 60,000 people.
  • Before it became a major tourist destination, Boracay was home to the Ati community. Ati tradition claims that Boracay was derived from the local words bora which means “bubbles” and bocay which translates to “white.”
  • The rehabilitation of Boracay last April 2018 was decreed by the Philippine Government to allow a certain period of time to undertake major renovation works including the rectification of sewerage system and an evaluation of the influx of tourists, line-up of establishments and a list of tourist activities in the island.
  • The best time to visit Boracay is during the dry months from December to early June, when its waters are mostly calm and at their best condition.
My mom and dad on their sand-castle photo session!

USEFUL PHRASES

Like in any parts of the Philippines, the locals can speak English in Boracay. However, here are some good phrases that might prove useful when you find yourself endearing with them.

English to Tagalog (the most widely used language among the local tourists in Boracay)
Thank you – Salamat
Good morning – Magandang umaga
Good afternoon – Magandang hapon
Good evening – Magandang gabi
How much is… – Magkano ang…
Where is… – Saan ang…

Parasailing!

MY TRAVEL HIGHLIGHTS IN BORACAY ISLAND

What I like?

Boracay has simply the best sunset offering in all Philippine destinations, and that’s saying without an ounce of exaggeration. You get to see it yourself to believe. And with some ponds at its beaches during a low tide, you can step up your sunset photography shots in a more creative perspective. The golden hour is truly something.

Of course, the sandy, white beach is on another level of satisfaction. It’s rare to find a clean beach with a sugary sand seabed. I don’t need to do other activities here as long as I have the beach.

What I don’t like?

Apart from the high-priced activities, I hate the fact that I can’t fly my drone freely without getting to pay a permit from the local government. But I guess, it’s all for the betterment of tourists. Perhaps next time if I have several days to spend, paying the permit would all be worth the cost.

MEET THE BLOGGER

Leaning on our boat at Punta Sibaring 1. This photo was taken during a high tide.

Hey there! I’m Ker, The Fun-sized Traveller. Fun-size because I’m a short guy from the Philippines. Thanks for checking out this virtual block I have started building since my 30th birthday to document my 2nd quarter life. Yup, it’s more of a personal pursuit, but a part of me also wants to give back to the travel community that is why I make it a point to share travel articles out from my trips around Asia.

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