I’ve been to Boracay numerous times already thus I will summarize all those trips in one entry. Hope this helps you in your future travels.
How to get to Boracay?
- Fly to Caticlan from Manila
Advantages: it’s hassle-free because from the Caticlan airport, it takes 5 minutes to get to the port that will bring you to the island. The boat ride from Caticlan to Boracay takes about 15 minutes.
Disadvantages: The tickets are pricier compared to Kalibo. For those who are afraid of small airplanes then flying directly to Caticlan may not be an option for you since the airport runway is narrow.
- Fly to Kalibo from Manila
Advantages: aside from the really affordable tickets, the airplanes used to Kalibo are bigger than those that fly to Caticlan.
Disadvantages: From Kalibo airport you have to look for a van that will bring you to Caticlan. It takes about an hour and a half to two hours to get to the port. You will be wasting a lot of time though.
The verdict: After experiencing both, I realized that flying directly to Caticlan is better even if the tickets are pricier. If you fly to Kalibo, you have to realize that you still need to pay for a shuttle that will bring you all the way to Caticlan. It may save you some money but I suggest that you spend a little more for a comfortable experience.
Airlines that fly directly to Caticlan:
- Philippine Airlines (PAL Express)
- Cebupacific (CebGo)
- SkyJet Air
Airlines that fly to Kalibo
- Philippine Airlines
- Watch out for a seat sale because you might be able to score really affordable tickets to Caticlan
- Ask your hotel if they can be the one to fix the transfers so that you don’t have to fall in line and pay for the boat tickets and the like.
- It’s better if you book a flight to Boracay early in the morning. Specifically 7-9 AM.
Fees you have to pay:
My hotel took care of our transfers thus we didn’t have to ride a public boat. The cost per pax if you plan to ride a public boat is about PHP 150-250 if I remember correctly.
|1. Environmental fee (going back to Caticlan)||PHP 100|
|2. Terminal fee/environmental fee (going to Boracay)||PHP 160|
|3. Caticlan Airport terminal fee||PHP 200|
Common questions asked regarding transfers:
- Is the port open 24 hours?
Years ago it wasn’t. My friend told me that the first boat out is at 4am. When I asked a local recently, he told me that it’s already open 24 hours. Correct me if I am wrong though. Let me know if this is true.
- What if my hotel doesn’t provide transfers (from Caticlan port to Boracay)?
Don’t worry because there are a lot of public boats available that can bring you to the island. I am not sure though how much it costs exactly but my suggestion is try to haggle because some of them may make the prices really high.
- What if my flight is from Kalibo? How do I go to Caticlan?
Like I said, there are vans that you can rent. You can also ride a bus which is more affordable than renting a van. Don’t worry because as soon as you step out of the airport there are a lot of drivers asking if you have a ride already going to Caticlan.
Where to stay in Boracay?
For those on a budget:
- Alice in Wonderland
Location: Station 2 near the Police Station, It’s kind of hidden because it’s not beachfront but it’s a minute away from the beach
Price per pax per night: PHP700
Stayed here back in 2013 and I really had a great experience because aside from the affordable price and the free breakfast, the rooms were big and there was a swimming pool.
- Isla Gecko Resort
Location: Station 2, two minutes away from D’mall
Price per pax per night: PHP800
Stayed here back in 2011 and I had a great experience because aside from the affordable price, we were allowed to ask them to cook the food that we brought. Only downside is that the rooms were small.
- Bans Beach Resort
Location: Station 1, in between Astoria and Nandana
Price per pax per night: Php 800-1300
I never stayed here but my sister told me that its location is nice for the price. She highly recommends this place.
For those who are willing to spend:
- Sea Wind Resort
Location: Station 1
Price per pax per night: PHP3500-5000
Just stayed here recently and I really liked it because the beachfront was so huge. Aside from this, the food was delicious, the rooms were big, there’s a pool, and the staff was friendly. It’s pricey but it’s worth it because of the excellent service. I love the location because it’s quiet and there are a few people in the beachfront.
- Sur Boracay
Location: Station 1
Price per pax per night: PHP 2000-3500
Although I never really stayed there but all my friends told me that aside from its good location, the rooms are really nice. Also, if you love to party, you will surely enjoy because of their happy hour promos, good music, and crowd.
- Fairways and Bluewater
Location: 3 km from both Bulabog Beach and Puka Shell Beach. It’s not walking distance to stations 1,2, and 3.
Price per pax per night: PHP 1500-3000
Stayed here back in 2009 and I really liked it because of the amenities. The rooms were huge, there was a pool, and also a private cove. The only downside is that you have to take a shuttle to get to the main beach. They provide a free shuttle although it might be a hassle for you to go back and forth.
4. Tides Hotel
Location: Station 2 D’mall
See review here
Where to eat?
- barLOResto Lounge
Location: Two Seasons Resort Station 1, beside Sur
What to order:
- Manana RestaurantLocation: Station 2
- Real Coffee & Tea Café
Location: Station 2
What to order: the famous Calamansi muffins
- Jonah’s Fruit Shakes
Location: Station 1
What to order: Mango banana fruit shake, Army Navy Sandwich
Location: Station 2
What to order: Chili prawns, grilled squid, sinigang na hipon
- Boracay street food
What to order: Choriburger and longgaburger
- Sea Wind Resort buffet
Location: Station 1
There’s a Mongolian night or a pasta night. The buffet comes with unlimited seafood/meat (prawns, squid, chicken, ribs, blue marlin, dory fish, barbecue, beef, porkchop) which you can grill.
Things to do in Boracay:
- Experience the night life and party the night away! Go to Club Paraw, Epic, etc.
- Enjoy Happy hour which begins at 3 in the afternoon. Go to White House, Sur, and Two Seasons. Cocktails are buy 1 take 1.
- Get a massage by the beach. You can do this in Seawind Resort (PHP500)
- Do water activities like helmet diving, paraw sailing, and fly fish.
- Chill and witness the beautiful sunset
I really enjoyed helmet diving because I was able to see a lot of cute fishes. Cost per head is PHP 600.
For those who want to uniquely experience the Boracay sunset, try paraw sailing. It’s very relaxing. Cost per boat is usually PHP1500 but you can haggle lower.
- Always remember to haggle! The vendors overprice water activities, hats, shades, and etc. so make sure you haggle because you’re gonna be spending a lot of money! I remember buying a hat for 200 pesos. Its price at first was 350 but then I was able to haggle lower. I thought the price was okay but other vendors were selling it for only 150 pesos. Be careful because they usually say it is the best price but other vendors may sell it cheaper.
- Drink during happy hour because it’s buy 1 take 1. You get to experience the island vibes too.
- Not all water activities are worth it. Helmet diving was the best for me because it’s something different from the past activities I tried. Always haggle because they really overprice everything. Even the paddle boards for rent is expensive. I didn’t try it though because it was too corny for me. Just took a picture with it.
- If you plan to take a tricycle to wherever, make sure you’re with other people because a cost per tricycle is 60 pesos per ride. You get to save money if you’re with other people.
Hope I get to help you all in your future travels. If you have comments and suggestions kindly let me know. Email me at email@example.com