Travel Guide to Boracay, Philippines
Boracay is a small, butterfly-shaped island located on the northwest corner of Panay Island in the western Visayas archipelago in the Philippines. This stunningly beautiful island is visited by scores of international beach lovers annually, so much so that it has become the most popular beach destination in the Philippines.
Renowned for its powder white sand beaches, azure waters and rich marine life, Boracay is a beach side paradise, which caters to tourists of all ages. The island is surrounded by rich coral reefs and is inhabited by three main beach communities who reside in the areas of; Yapak in the north, Bulabog in the east and Manoc-Manoc in the south. However, visitors to Boracay, largely congregate on the island’s famed White Beach, a 4 km (two mile) stretch of palm-fringed beachfront, which hosts more than 300 hotels and a large, ever-expanding pedestrianized area called D’Mall, which is populated by numerous restaurants, bars and nightclubs.
Best time to visit Boracay
The weather on the island of Boracay features two main seasons, namely the dry and the wet season. The dry season in Boracay, referred to as ‘Amihan,’ typically extends from November to April. During this season, daytime temperatures on the island tend to hover around 25 degrees to 32 degrees Celsius (77̊F to 89.6̊F) and the island is cooled by the Northeast monsoon winds. The Amihan season is considered to be the best time to visit Boracay.
The summer season in Boracay extends from April to June and features scorching temperatures that range from 28 to 38̊C (82̊F to 100̊F). Summer is the hottest season in Boracay and it is soon followed by the southwest monsoon season (July to October), which is referred to as ‘Habagat’, and is the wettest season of the year.
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Getting to and around Boracay
Getting to the beach paradise of Boracay can be quite difficult. The main access to Boracay is from the small town of Caticlan, which is located on the mainland. Small boats (outriggers) called ‘bancas’ transport visitors to Boracay’s jetty port from Caticlan all throughout the day.
The town of Caticlan can be accessed via its own small airport (Godofredo P. Ramos Airport), which receives only small-bodied aircraft operated by airlines like SEAIR, Cebu Pacific and Air Philippines. These airlines provide both domestic and international air links to Boracay.
Once you have arrived at Caticlan’s airport, you can walk or take a tricycle taxi to the Caticlan Jetty port to get a ‘banca’ to Boracay’s jetty port at Cagban.
Yet another airport, which provides access to Boracay, is the Kalibo International Airport, which is located in the town of Kalibo, situated in the northwest half of Panay Island. The Kalibo Airport is equipped with a runway that can accommodate most modern-day aircrafts.
As a result, Kalibo International Airport receives both international and domestic carriers that link the town with destinations like Manila, Seoul and Taipei. The Caticlan jetty port is located at a distance of 63 kilometers (40 miles) from Kalibo and can be accessed via a 1.5 hour jeepney ride.
Boracay is easily navigable on foot, though the main modes of transport on the island are bicycles and tricycles, which are essentially motorcycles equipped with sidecars for passengers.
Family-friendly hotels in Boracay
The island paradise of Boracay is an immensely popular vacation destination. Tourist arrivals on the island have been rapidly growing since the 1970’s and to cater to this growing demand, Boracay in recent years has come to be equipped with a wide range of accommodation options that include more than 350 hotels, guesthouses, and serviced apartments, many of which are especially child-friendly.
Alta Vista De Boracay Resort
The Alta Vista De Boracay Resort offers well-appointed spacious rooms that are equipped with all of the essentials of modern-day travel like flat-screen TVs with cable service, tea and coffee makers and air-conditioning. The hotel is also equipped with an outdoor pool, a restaurant, a spa and a children’s play area.
The Blue Lagoon Villas
Blue Lagoon Villas hotel is located on Boracay’s relatively quieter and less commercial, Tulubhan Beach. The well-appointed villas at the hotel are outfitted with a wide range of amenities like Jacuzzis, private kitchenettes, DVD players and flat screen TVs.
The hotel is also equipped with various other facilities like a restaurant, an outdoor pool, which has a separate section for children, and a spa. The hotel also offers a nanny service and has provisions for a plethora of water sports, like surfing, windsurfing, kite boarding, wakeboarding, kayaking, jet-skiing, scuba diving and parasailing.
Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort and Spa
The luxurious Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort and Spa is located on the hillside of a beachfront eco-reserve. The hotel offers 219 well-appointed rooms outfitted with various amenities like flat-screen TV’s with cable service, coffee/tea makers, minibars and complimentary Internet access.
The hotel is also equipped with a wide range of facilities like an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness facility, two tennis courts, four restaurants and three bars. The hotel further offers ample entertainment for children of all ages in the form of its indoor play areas like the Adventure Zone and the Entertainment Center. Both of these facilities are equipped with various gaming and recreational facilities, guaranteed to keep kids entertained for hours while their parents relax and rejuvenate.
Family-friendly attractions in Boracay
Boracay is renowned as a beachside paradise. However, aside from its many glorious white sand, palm fringed beaches, it also offers a few notable sights, which are worth taking in on any Boracay beach holiday.
Mount Luho is the highest elevation point in Boracay at a height of 100 meters above sea level. The summit of Mount Luho hosts an observation deck which offers jaw-dropping vistas of the island and beyond. However this summit can only be accessed via a steep climb or via an ATV, which are available for hire at the many shops located at the base of the hill.
The island of Boracay is littered with many cave formations which are definitely worth exploring. The Bat Cave is one such cave on Boracay and is located on the rocky east coast of Yapak, situated in the northern half of the island. This cave is home to numerous cave bats and giant fruit bats, which have wingspans of up to four feet. These fruit bats are nocturnal creatures, who leave their cave home at twilight to go in search of sustenance. Tourists usually hire local guides to visit the Bat Cave and view these giant creatures and the many flying fox who inhabit the trees located near the cave.
Dead Forest and Wooded Area
The Dead Forest is located next to the fish ponds in the south of the island. The area is littered with dead mangroves, which jut from the water into the landscape and present an eerie sight especially at twilight. The dead forest is believed to have been created by a biological imbalance that caused a saltwater dam to break and flood the forest thereby killing all of the vegetation.
Willy’s Rock is a volcanic formation located in the shallow waters off White Beach about 100 meters from the shore. This castle-like formation hosts a shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary at its summit. Willy’s Rock is the most photographed landmark on Boracay.
Kar-Tir Seashell Museum
The Kar-Tir Seashell Museum is located in the Boracay village of Ilig-Iligan and offers interesting displays of seashells, along with exhibits that showcase the native arts and crafts of the Philippines like woodcarvings, woven products and pottery.
Family-friendly activities in Boracay
Boracay is renowned as a ‘fun in the sun’ destination. The island is thus equipped with a wide array of entertainment, dining and nightlife options. However, this beach paradise is not solely an ‘adults-only’ domain and offers various recreational activities suitable for all members of the family.
Go diving and snorkeling in Boracay
Boracay is considered to be heaven for scuba diving enthusiasts, as the entire island is surrounded by live coral reefs, which offer numerous excellent dive sites easily accessible via a short boat ride. The island also hosts several dive shops that offer scuba diving lessons for novices.
Boracay is also equipped with horse-riding stables which are located near the island’s post office. These stables offer rides, which cater to all levels of experience.
Take a boat ride to a neighboring island
Various tour operators on Boracay offer unhurried boat trips around the island on an outrigger boat. The trips often include tours to the neighboring Carabao Island and feature stops to explore virgin beaches and snorkeling sites.
Indulge in Boracay’s many water sporting activities
As a beachfront destination, Boracay offers a plethora of water sporting activities like banana boat rides, parasailing, jet-skiing, wakeboarding, windsurfing and kitesurfing. These various activities are offered by the island’s many hotels and resorts and also by the tour operators who conduct their business from stalls located on the island’s famed White Beach.
Visit Kingfisher farm
Boracay’s Kingfisher Farm is located in the narrowest part of Boracay Island near the Boracay boat station three. The farm is located on a picturesque inlet surrounded by mangroves and offers accommodation as well as picnic facilities. Visitors to the farm can go fishing at the farm’s pond and then have their catch cooked at the farm’s kitchen and served at its restaurant. A visit to Kingfisher Farm makes for a fun day trip on a Boracay holiday.
Useful contacts for Boracay
Tourist Center Boracay
Manggayad, Boracay Island
Tel: +63 (0)36 2883704/05
Tel: +63 (0)36 2883023
Philippines National Emergency Phone Number: 117
Foreign embassies in the Philippines
United States Embassy, Manila: +63 (0)2 301 2000.
British Embassy, Manila: +63 (0)2 858 2200.
Canadian Embassy, Manila: +63 (0)2 857 9000.
Australian Embassy, Manila: +63 (0)2 757 8100.
South African Embassy, Manila: + 63 (0)2 889 9383.
Honorary Consul of Ireland, Manila: +63 (0)2 896 4668.
New Zealand Embassy, Manila: +63 (0)2 891 5358.