Escape to one of the best islands in the world, Boracay in the Philippines! Find out the best time to go, how to get there, the top things to do and see, where to eat, best hotels and resorts to stay in, and other travel tips with this ultimate travel guide.
Boracay Island, one of the top beaches in the Philippines, is blessed with a long stretch of powdery white sand beach (called White Beach), crystal clear and azure waters, a stunning sunset, and more. The island doesn’t fall short on adventures and activities for people of all ages.
You'll never run out of exciting things to do in Boracay, from swimming, island-hopping, diving, snorkeling, parasailing, kayaking, dining, and parties. Because of these, Boracay has been cited multiple times as one of the best islands and beaches in the world according to reputable publications and travelers' choice lists.
If you’re planning a getaway to Boracay, here’s everything you need to know to experience what one of the best tourist spots in the Philippines has to offer.
Tourists from all over the Philippines can once again explore Boracay's clear waters and gorgeous stretches of white sand. But with the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has released a set of guidelines and tourist requirements to follow and consider before you jump at the chance to book that ticket to Boracay.
Starting January 9, 2022, all travelers coming from outside of Aklan, regardless of vaccination status, need to show a negative RT-PCR test result taken not earlier than 72 hours prior to traveling. A negative saliva RT-PCR test result can also be submitted as an alternative.
You also need to present a valid ID that shows your Philippine residency (or a passport for foreigners and OFWs), roundtrip tickets, a confirmed booking with any of the DOT-accredited hotels and resorts in Boracay, and a screenshot of the OHDC confirmation page that you can get by registering via touristboracay.com.
Godofredo Ramos Airport also known as Caticlan Airport is the only port of entry for tourists traveling by land, air, or sea. The IATF has implemented a “one entrance, one exit” policy, making it easier to monitor the number of visitors currently on the island, especially now that there is a daily tourist cap in place.
Travelers arriving at Caticlan Jetty Port and Tabon Port Terminal should also expect strict monitoring as each port is mandated to have health declaration stations, body temperature checks, hand sanitation, staff in protective gear, and physical distancing.
Here are the requirements that you need to prepare before going to Boracay:
Secure a negative RT-PCR test result
Travelers must secure a negative Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result taken not earlier than 72 hours prior to travel, so plan accordingly. Guests can also present a negative saliva RT-PCR test result as an alternative.
Fill out the Health Declaration Form
Visitors have to register online at touristboracay.com to answer a health declaration form. If processing is successful, a copy of HDC and QR Code will be sent right after, which will be presented upon arrival at the airport as well as when entering establishments for contact tracing. Check out this guide for more details on how to register for a QR code.
Once you're in Boracay, make sure you follow these safety protocols:
Tourist QR code
Visitors should always have a copy of their QR code on their person, whether through their smartphone or a printed physical copy. This will be used to enter establishments like Boracay hotels, restaurants, and other facilities for contact tracing.
Minimum health standards
Tourists are required to wear face masks and practice social distancing, in addition to frequent and proper handwashing.
Vehicles have a “no mask, no boarding” policy and can only allow a maximum of two (2) passengers on tricycles and a maximum of four passengers on e-trikes.
Passengers exhibiting flu-like symptoms will be immediately transported to the nearest health facility. Drivers are provided with proper safety gear and the needed sanitization tools to disinfect the vehicle after every ride.
Customers dining in have to log down details for contact tracing. Restaurants should have temperature checks, practice social distancing, and other sanitizing products. Self-service stations are barred from operating.
Don't miss the opportunity to enjoy the tourist spots of Boracay, but make sure to take note of the following protocols:
Swimming - with registration
Tourists have to register before swimming. There are designated beach stations where you can get your temperature checked before you go into the water. Areas are marked with red and yellow flags and you’re allowed to swim from 6 am to 6 pm.
Water sports - reduced capacity
Water sports or White Beach activities such as parasailing, kitesurfing, and more are permitted but at a reduced capacity.
Dining - with protocols
Restaurants are open for dine-in and take-out. Contactless payment is encouraged to lessen possible transmission
If you are going to Boracay for some relaxing, island-hopping, or water activities, you should take note of the climate, weather, and temperature during your target travel dates before booking your plane ticket. This is to avoid canceled plans and to lessen the hassle usually caused by unexpected rains and thunderstorms.
In this section, you'll be able to know the best time of the year to visit Boracay. Also, the annual celebration on the island, as well as what to wear during your stay.
You can enjoy Boracay all year round, but the best season to experience the island and its beaches are from December to May, the dry season in the Philippines.
You would be able to walk around the powdery white sands of Boracay beaches while taking in the warm summer sun. A lot of locals and international travelers visit the island during this time as well so you can expect bars to be lively at night.
Boracay’s peak season is from March to May, the country’s summer months. During this period, Boracay becomes the go-to beach destination for locals.
National holidays such as Christmas, New Year, Chinese New Year, and Lent or Holy Week (from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday) are also peak seasons in Boracay.
Rest assured that no matter what time of the year you choose, the weather will never be too chilly or too hot. The average high temperature is approximately 30 °C, while the average lows are at around 25 °C. The hottest month in Boracay usually falls from March to June, while the wettest month often falls from August to October.
Here's an overview of the monthly average temperature in Boracay:
Bring beach necessities such as swimsuit, rashguard, shirts, shorts, slippers, eyewear such as shades and goggles, towels, and a hat or cap. Wear sunblock so you can avoid getting sunburnt by the blazing heat of the sun.
Regardless of the season, make sure to bring an umbrella with you or borrow one from your hotel. It is to protect you from the heat of the sun and the unexpected downpour of rain.
Boracay is accessible from the major cities of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao – three primary island groups of the Philippine archipelago.
Before traveling to Boracay, make sure you have a printed voucher from your pre-booked accredited Boracay resorts and hotels. You will be denied entry to the island if you don’t hold a voucher from your resort or hotel. It is part of the new rules that the local government and tourism office is implementing since Boracay opened to the public after the rehabilitation program in 2018.
Going to Caticlan Jetty Port
The main jump-off point is Caticlan Jetty Port, but there are different ways to get there. Here are four transport options when traveling to Caticlan Jetty Port:
It is the fastest route when going to Boracay. It is also the most accessible since flights are coming from different parts of the Philippines and even several countries outside the Philippines.
If you’re coming from Manila, the capital of the Philippines located in Luzon, take a 1-hour domestic flight from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to Caticlan. Flying in from Clark to Boracay via Caticlan is also an option if you’re coming from the Northern part of Luzon or if you want to avoid the traffic in Manila. Airfares from Clark are usually lower than Manila.
If you’re coming from the Visayas, there are direct flights to Caticlan from Cebu City’s Mactan International Airport. If you’re coming from Mindanao, there are direct flights from Davao Francisco Bangoy International Airport to Caticlan. From Caticlan Airport, take a 10-15 minute tricycle ride going to Caticlan Jetty Port.
Most locals ride a ferry going to Boracay as it's much cheaper. If you don't mind traveling for long hours or a couple of days, then you might try this mode of transportation. Take note that the main port for Boracay is Caticlan Jetty Port. Below are some of the best ways to go to this port to the island.
A flight to Kalibo in Aklan, a more significant island near Boracay, is significantly cheaper than a direct flight to Caticlan. However, you will need to travel for 2 hours from Kalibo Airport to Caticlan Jetty Port.
When you land at the Kalibo Airport, you will find a multitude of transportation options that will take you to the Caticlan Jetty Port. Be sure to check whether it’s cost-effective or if it will be more expensive for you. Your land travel options to Caticlan include riding a bus or van.
If you’re coming from Manila or Southern Luzon, you can go to Boracay by sea through 2Go Travel ferry. It takes about 9 hours from Batangas Pier to Caticlan Jetty Port. From Manila, you will receive a 2-hour land bus to Batangas Pier from Cubao or Pasay bus terminals.
Your 2Go Travel fare, on the other hand, will depend on the accommodation you choose.
If you would like to take the more scenic but much longer trip to Boracay, you can ride the Roll On, Roll Off (RoRo). RoRo ships are vessels that are designed to carry wheeled vehicles.
Several bus companies are maintaining the Manila-Caticlan route. You can hop on a bus from either the Cubao or Pasay terminal. Your total travel time for this route is approximately 13 hours, excluding the boarding time between trips.
Cubao/Pasay to Batangas Pier (2 hours)
RoRo trip from Batangas Pier to Calapan, Mindoro (2 to 3 hours)
Land travel from Calapan to Roxas Port, Mindoro (2 to 3 hours)
RoRo trip from Roxas Port to Caticlan Jetty Port (4 to 5 hours)
You can also take the RoRo route using your own or hired car. It can be a good option when traveling in a big group or with your family and if you don’t mind the long travel hours. The same bus route will apply, except that you will drive to the Batangas Pier and you must book your RoRo tickets on your own when you get there.
Additionally, you can’t charter your vehicle into Boracay Island, so you need to leave your car at the Caticlan Jetty Port for a parking fee per night. Depending on the size of your vehicle, this may cost you a lot. You also need to pay for the passenger fee and terminal fee during vessel transfers.
If you’re a solo traveler, it’s better to join a group so you can save more money for transportation.
The primary public transportation vehicles in Boracay are electric or motorized tricycles, motorbikes, and shared/private tours. Depending on where you're staying and your budget in commuting, it's essential to take note of the following types of transportation for a more convenient getaway.
You can explore some of the parts of the island by walking around; barefoot if you want! Just make sure to bring a handy map or download an offline map with you so you'll know how to go to the tourist spots in your itinerary. There are walking/hiking trails too if you plan to trek to farther places such as Mount Luho.
Tricycle is the standard type of transportation in Boracay, especially if you're traveling from one station to another. Take note that during off-peak hours, special rides (private) might be the only ones available in the area and can be much more expensive than the regular ones (shared). Make sure to bring enough cash with you and ask how much you'll be paying beforehand to avoid any extra charges.
By Mountain Bike/Motorbike
If you're passing by tricycles, chances are you can see motorbikes moving around the area too. It's not regulated, but many locals use it because of the convenience it offers. You can also rent one if you want! It gives you the freedom to check out the other tourist attractions on the island without having to pay extra for a driver.
If you're not keen on commuting, there are various Boracay tours that include hotel pick-up and drop-off. It's hassle-free and convenient, especially if you're in a big group.
You can’t enter the island without a printed booking confirmation from your chosen resorts or hotels in Boracay. But before booking your accommodation, make sure that the establishment is on the Department of Tourism’s Accreditation List.
Otherwise, you may not be able to enter the Caticlan Jetty Port. But fret not, the government named over 100 hotels in Boracay for you to choose from.
When you're in Boracay, you will find out that most travelers stay at beach resorts. It is more convenient because you get easy access to the beaches. Resorts are also a good place to stay if you're on your honeymoon in the Philippines. Most of their amenities are also focusing on creating a relaxing atmosphere. Depending on your resort, you might get access to luxurious spas, indoor pools, and many more.
If you're looking for a more comfortable place to stay, then it might be best to stay at a hotel. In Boracay, you can find a lot of this type of accommodation; Philippines luxury resorts, mid-range, and budget hotels are all available, some even offering free cancellation. Most basic amenities can be found in hotels, such as en-suite bathrooms, minibar, and wifi.
For budget backpackers, staying at a hostel is best. They have dorm-type rooms, single rooms, and more; the common denominator here is they usually offer shared bathrooms only.
Neighborhoods and Areas
There are barangays and towns in Boracay, but when it comes to distinguishing the different areas on the island, the stations in White Beach acts as a map for both locals and tourists. The White Beach is divided into three sections: Station 1, Station 2, and Station 3.
Home of Willy's Rock, this station is less-crowded, probably because most 5-star hotels in the Philippines and resorts are here. The atmosphere here is quiet, calm, and peaceful, which is why most families with big groups tend to stay here.
It's the home of many foods and shopping establishments, which is why it's considered the "center" of Boracay. D'Mall, the biggest mall in Boracay and the preferred pick-up point for most tours and activities on the island, is in here. You can find mid-range Boracay resorts and hotels in this area.
This area is for Boracay budget hotels and hostels, but surprisingly, there are some luxury resorts as well. It's much quieter than Station 2, but the beach is much steeper here. However, nature is adamant in the area because trees and flora, and fauna surround it.
Accommodation Highlights in Boracay
This section will be divided by station, as it will solely depend on where you plan to stay. Here are some of the best Boracay resorts and hotels that you can choose from:
Station 1 is usually where the luxury resorts are situated, but you can also find newer, less expensive boutique hotels in this area. One of the reasons why these Boracay Station 1 hotels are the best is because it’s still near the city center, but it is relatively quieter compared to staying in other Stations.
Discovery Shores Boracay
Photo by Discovery Shores Boracay
One of the most famous upscale hotels in Boracay, this beachfront property offers a spa and an outdoor pool with a sunken bar. It’s a sprawling resort that’s perfect for families with children, couples, and groups of friends.
The Lind Boracay
The Lind Boracay features a large outdoor pool, infinity pool, and spa. They also provide complimentary transfers for guests between the resort and Caticlan Jetty Port.
Two Seasons Boracay Resort
If you want great value for your money, Two Seasons is for you! The hotel also has an outdoor pool and a restaurant, so you don’t have to go far for your meals.
Jony’s Beach Resort
Located just a couple of minutes’ walk from White Beach, Jony’s Beach Resort provides homey accommodations for budget-conscious travelers. But you will still find the upscale services and amenities. Its rooms feature a balcony with sensational views of the beach.
Zuzuni Boutique Hotel
Photo by Zuzuni Boutique Hotel
Located just 200 meters from Boracay White Beach and 400 meters from D'Mall, you won’t go wrong with this cozy little hotel! The fourteen-room boutique hotel and restaurant offers a unique and personalized service for every guest.
Punta Rosa Boutique Hotel
This cozy and rustic hotel is located away from the crowds so that you can enjoy some quiet time on your private terrace. It doesn’t have a pool, but who needs one when the crystal-clear waters of Boracay are waiting for you?
Station 2 is where most of the activities and establishments are. If you want a short walk to get to the usual destinations on the island, then a hotel here will be perfect for you. Boracay Station 2 hotels include mid-range to budget-friendly resorts and hotels. These are the best accommodations, especially if you’re a social butterfly as it’s near where most events and parties happen.
Le Soleil de Boracay Hotel
Photo by Le Soleil de Boracay Hotel
Located close to the city center and the island’s main tourist activities, Le Soleil de Boracay Hotel can become quite busy, especially in the evening.
Giulius Boracay Italian Resort
This hotel is the perfect place if you want a cozy room fronting some lush greenery. Also, you will reach the middle of the parties by walking for a couple of minutes.
La Carmela de Boracay Hotel
La Carmela de Boracay is a family-friendly hotel that features luxurious ocean view rooms and an outdoor pool. It’s also conveniently located right beside the tourist center!
Abozza Resort Boracay
If you're looking for a budget-friendly hotel, Abozza Resort Boracay is your no-nonsense hotel that offers everything you need your accommodation to be. It is close to tourist attractions, clean and comfortable, and cozy yet spacious enough.
If you want to steer clear of the crowds and the noise, then Station 3 is for you. It’s a laidback area where you can genuinely enjoy lazing on the beach. You can find the right mix of budget, hotels, and some luxury resorts. These are the best ones in Station 3 due to their proximity within popular establishments, but still offer the idyllic atmosphere where you can relax and recover after a long night.
Photo by Astoria Current
Astoria offers an ultra-modern and relaxed atmosphere for the most discerning travelers. Renowned interior designers design each room with colorful décor and furniture.
Hue Hotels and Resort Boracay
Another Boracay jewel not to be taken for granted, the newly renovated Hue Hotels and Resort guarantee a unique experience for all kinds of travelers. Just look at its avant-garde architecture and interior design!
Boracay Ocean Club Beach Resort
Your trip to Boracay isn’t complete without experiencing the wide variety of activities the island offers. While the new rules have prohibited some events after the island’s rehabilitation, your Boracay trip will still be full of things to do and places to see. Here are some of our highly suggested activities that you can add in your itinerary:
The island is known for its powdery white sand and gorgeous, pristine beaches. Even though it's a small island, you can’t reach all the beaches of Boracay on foot. You can either join Boracay island hopping tours or ride a tricycle going to other beaches.
Boracay White Beach - It stretches for about 4 kilometers, and walking along its shores should be part of your itinerary! Walk towards Station 1, and you’ll see Willy’s Rock. It’s a must-see grotto that you won’t miss. Go Beyond Station 1, and you’ll find Steve’s Cliff, where a foreign hotel owner was buried. His grave can even be seen from the beach.
Diniwid Beach - This is much less crowded than Station 1 or Station 2 of White Beach. Lounge around and swim at Diniwid Beach, but make sure to head back to Station 1 before high tide.
At the opposite end of Boracay Island, you will find interesting rock formations and hidden beaches. So, make sure to pack a bottle of water for the long walk. You may want to schedule two separate trails, one heading towards Station 1, and another leading to Station 3, so you won’t be too tired. But if you’re used to having a long walk, you can go from Station 1 to 3 (or vice versa) in one afternoon.
There are many beaches and small islands in and around Boracay, but not all of them are accessible by land. You can book an island-hopping tour to enrich your Boracay experience even further.
Here are some of the experiences you can try from some island hopping-tours or renting a boat:
Swim with colorful marine life in Crocodile Island (No crocodiles here, don’t worry!)
Explore Ilig-Iligan Beach
Take note that some beaches may charge an entrance fee, exclusive of your boat rental fees.
Boracay is famous for its beautiful sunsets, and the best way to see it is to ride a paraw sailboat. If you want a budget-friendly paraw sailing experience, schedule your island hopping in the morning. You can explore the different islands of Boracay and witness the beautiful sunset on your way back to White Beach!
If you want to see Boracay from a bird’s eye view, then you can glide through a thrilling 70-meter zip line, superman-style! Going back to the platform is through a calmer cable car ride, where you can take more photos of Boracay from above.
No trip to Boracay is complete without experiencing its hip nightlife and parties. According to the new regulations, drinking and partying by the beach is no longer allowed. You can do it inside the establishments, though. But you can still join a pub crawl to drink in all the famous bars in Boracay. Surely, you’ll meet new people and make new friends throughout the night!
Boracay’s shopping areas, D’Mall and D’Talipapa, are teeming with shops selling souvenirs, beachwear, gear, snacks, and treats. D’Mall is an open-air mall in Station 2, at the center of White Beach. D’Talipapa, a 10-minute walk from D’Mall, has souvenir shops as well but it’s more known as a seafood restaurant haven. You can buy the freshest catch in their wet market and have them cook it for you.
There’s another thing you need here: an adventurous spirit! While walking along the beach, you’ll see various water sports available for you to experience. You can try out banana boat riding, jet skiing, parasailing, paddleboarding, or helmet diving in Boracay!
Mermaid lessons are one of the most popular attractions in Boracay. Wear a pretty mermaid tail and explore the tranquil waters of Boracay (and maybe even find your own Prince Eric) like the beloved Little Mermaid, Ariel.
One of the best things about Boracay is that there are a lot of restaurants serving different cuisines for every budget. If you want a quick bite to eat, head on over to one of the fast-food joints at D’Mall. If you want a luxurious meal, try one of the infamous restaurants by the beachfront. If you’re craving fresh seafood, then go to D’Talipapa.
To help you plan out your meals for any time of the day, here’s a list of the restaurants you can include in your itinerary. It is categorized by the three meals of the day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Take note that the ones included here are the most frequented by the locals, so you might have to call in for a reservation first.
Never start your day in Boracay without breakfast, because you’ll soon burn all the calories with all the activities waiting for you.
Sunny Side Café - They are famous for their Filipino-American cuisine. They serve all-day breakfast meals and artisan coffee that will surely keep your energy up for an entire day of beach activities.
Lemoni Café - Conveniently located in D’Mall, Lemoni Café serves Filipino and American breakfasts, salads, and pastries. Their on-site bakery ensures that you have access to the freshest home-made bread and cakes.
Real Coffee & Tea Café - Home to the Original Calamansi Muffins, this small but cozy café by the beach is a must-visit when in Boracay. Be sure to bring home a box of their calamansi muffins!
Partied all night and can’t get up for your hotel-provided breakfast? Well, then, you better do brunch or straight to lunch!
Nonie’s - If you want contemporary Filipino cuisine with vegan options, then lunch at Nonie’s is something you wouldn’t want to skip. They also specialize in a wide variety of fruit shakes and smoothies.
Cha Cha’s Beach Café - Cha Cha's Beach Café at the Coast Boracay is known for its all-you-can-eat buffet featuring Western-Oriental Fusion cuisine. And because they’re open from breakfast until after-hours, you can try their delectable and uniquely crafted dishes any time of the day.
D’Talipapa - Buy fresh seafood and other main ingredients from the wet market and have one of the family-owned restaurants in D’Talipapa cook it the way you want!
Mang Inasal - If you want to fill up your belly but want to keep expenses low, then this is the place for you. It is perfect for lunch, as you’ll surely feel famished after your morning activities.
Photo by Dos Mestizos
Dinner time is when you can usually lounge around and enjoy your food. Here are some excellent places to eat before the party vibe kicks in!
Smoke Resto - Smoke Resto specializes in delicious yet straightforward Filipino dishes to fill up your hungry belly. Drop by for a quick meal or cool down with a fresh mango shake.
Vintana Asian Café - If you’re looking for a more romantic setting, the ambiance of Vintana’s al fresco dining is perfect for you. Located at Shangri-La Boracay Resort & Spa, so you’ll surely enjoy a private and luxurious dinner at Vintana.
Dos Mestizos - This rustic restaurant allows you to feel and taste the true essence of the Filipino-Spanish heritage with a relaxing and sumptuous feast with your family, friends, or significant other.
The Pig Out Bistro - At The Pig Out Bistro, there’s a wide variety of choices for the discerning palate, and each serving is certainly filling. Try their seafood platter and bone marrow burger – they know perfect means!
The Philippine government is taking serious steps to preserve the beauty and natural resources in Boracay. As tourists enjoying the breathtaking island, it’s our responsibility to comply with the new guidelines.
Please take note that you can only enter Boracay with a proper reservation at a DOT-accredited accommodation. Make sure to print your booking confirmation. No booking, no entry! It is essential because according to Boracay's new rules, only 19,000 tourists may stay on the island.
While a lot of the restaurants, resorts, and hotels in Boracay accept credit cards, it is still best to bring enough cash with you. Most ATMs and money exchange centers are around Station 2.
Drinking is not allowed on White Beach, which is why beachfront parties are banned. You can only drink alcoholic beverages inside the approved bars. Dining by the beach is also prohibited. Smoking is not allowed on the beach, but you can find designated smoking areas to avoid penalties.
Boracay is an exotic island that will give you everything you’re looking for in a vacation. From a relaxing swim in its calm waters to exhilarating water sports to fun parties. This is why it's one of the most visited islands not only in the Philippines but in the whole world. If you have a pretty tight schedule, fret not. You can experience Boracay Island in just three days and two nights!
8:10 AM - ETD from Manila
9:10 AM - ETA in Caticlan, Boracay Airport
10:30 AM - ETA in Boracay Island, Eat brunch at Lemoni Café
12:00 PM - Check-in at Giulius Boracay Italian Resort, Relax
7:30 PM - Dinner at Smoke Resto
9:30 PM - Drinks at a pub crawl adventure
8:00 AM - Breakfast at the hotel
10:00 AM - Start of Boracay island-hopping
3:00 PM - Return to White Beach and relax for a while
7:00 PM - Local culinary experience at D’Talipapa
9:00 PM - Drinks and evening snacks at Dos Mestizos
8:00 AM - Breakfast at the hotel
9:00 AM - Sightseeing and land tour
10:30 AM - Check out of the hotel
11:00 AM - Travel from Boracay Island to Caticlan Airport
12:55 PM - ETD from Caticlan Airport
1:55 PM - Arrival at NAIA terminal 2, Manila
Boracay is a place you will keep coming back to. No matter what time of the year you choose, you’ll surely enjoy your vacation in this small but world-renowned island destination. From swimming, diving, to exciting water sports, and a vibrant nightlife, Boracay has a lot to offer beyond its perfectly fine white sand and clear waters.
Take note of all the information in this guide and start planning your ultimate getaway to Boracay. You can begin by checking Boracay tours and activities that you can include in your itinerary or book Boracay vacation packages to completely experience the best of this tropical paradise.