Before we boarded our airplane to the Philippines, we didn’t plan to visit Boracay. We were limited with time, because of Jure’s work – he needs good internet and the Philippines have, sorry I don’t want to be rude, but rubbish internet. But then we discovered that Boracay should be an exception. As the most popular tourist destination in the Philippines it has all a spoiled tourist wants: good internet, nice restaurants, good hotels, a lot of night life, amazing beaches and a lot free time activities.
At the end we were glad we changed our plans and prolonged our Philippines visit and actually we really didn’t want to leave.
How to get there
The nearest airport is Caticlan, just 10 minutes walk from the jetty. Regular flights operated by Cebu Pacific and Philippines Airlines service bigger Philippine airports (Manila and Cebu).
The further airport is Kalibo, around 90 minutes away, which offers more connections, also international.
It can happen that flights to these two airports are extremely expensive, especially if you try to book your ticket a few days prior. In this case fly to Iloilo, jump on a taxi to the bus terminal and take the 6 hour Ceres bus for only 140 pesos. It will drop you off directly at the jetty.
Ok, once you made it to the jetty, you need to go to three ticket windows – boat ticket 25 pesos, port fee 75 pesos and environmental fee 100 pesos.
The journey is not over yet. 🙂 When you arrive to Boracay, just outside the jetty, are tricycles. To Station 3 it is around 50 pesos, to the other stations slightly more.
Where to stay?
If you want to enjoy the typical Boracay feeling, stay at Station 1, 2 or 3. Bulabog beach is reserved for kite surfers and is not as nice as the white beach. Other beaches are also ok, but much calmer and quiter.
About the stations:
Station 1: pretty quiet, quite a few high end hotels and resorts, the beach is not crowded, a lot of restaurants and bars. Very shallow beach.
Station 2: busy, busy, busy 😀 Night clubs, shopping mall, markets, food stalls, massage places, discos, streets sellers … The hotels here (at least the ones on the beach) are expensive, in the evening it’s loud (especially on weekends)
Station 3: busy, but not as station 2 – everything the same as in station 2, just the mall and discos/night clubs are not at the doorstep.
Remember that walking from station to station is easy, it takes around 15 minutes from one station to the next one.
For a more detailed and in-depth guide of the stations and where to stay, visit the Boracay Compass – a travel blog all about lovely Boracay.
What to do?
It depends on your wishes: you can have a relaxed beach vacation, a crazy party holiday or an active break from everyday life.
You can join a boat tour to Crocodile island for snorkelling, followed by a stop at Puka beach, with lunch and snorkelling gear for around 800 pesos.
You will be offered parachute, private boat tours (pretty expensive), ocean walking and Stand up paddling every hour if you’re on the beach. 😉 As mentioned before, go to Bulabog beach for kite-surfing (courses also available).
If you want to relax, the beach is gorgeous to swim, play in the sand or just lie and read. Numerous restaurants and bars are just steps away, so don’t worry about that 😉
When choosing a massage place – inform yourself, take a look at the facilities and ask a lot. The quality varies and the cheap places are not as good as the cheap massage places in Thailand. You can shop on the beach at different street sellers or go to D’Mall, get a real or temporary henna tattoo (beware – some hotels charge for stains on bed sheets) or let the skilful fingers of Filipinas braid your hair.
For party animals Boracay is the place – numerous discos, bars and night clubs are lined on the beach, in the evening many bars have fire shows, shishas to smoke and deep house to electronic music to move your body.
So is Boracay heaven or hell?
It depends on what you are expecting 😉 We liked it and would go back – we didn’t mind for all the tourist crowds, after all we were a part of them. If you like to party, you have many places to do exactly that, but if you want to enjoy a quiet beach day, just go to Station 1.
With all the tourist infrastructure and offer right on this breathtaking beach, for us Boracay is heaven.