Boracay, hailed as one of the best islands in the world, is arguably the most popular and prime tourist destination in the Philippines. Its main draw is the White Beach, famous for its ultra-powdery white sand that stretches up to 4 kilometers, lined with swaying palm trees from end to end, kissed by calm azure waters, and features one of the most spectacular sunsets incomparable to anywhere else in the country.
Despite its small and compact size, the island has no shortage of wondrous sights and fun-filled activities that can be enjoyed by either a solo traveler, tour groups, or families. From frolicking in its many beach pockets, drinking and dancing until sunrise, and experiencing many of the water sports activities here, you will never run out of things to see and do in Boracay. Aside from this, Boracay basically has all the choices imaginable, from backpacker- and budget-friendly hostels, mid-range hotels, down to the most exclusive and luxurious resorts in the entire country.
Its postcard-perfect beaches and rock formations have also become favorite backdrops for couples getting married and spending their honeymoon, as well as for adventure-seekers, sun worshippers, and party-goers — registering more than a million visitors every year.
What used to be a quiet and sleepy island has become a crowd-pleaser and world-class destination over the years, prompting a rehabilitation project by the government in 2018 — closing down the island for its environment’s healing and community rejuvenation from mass tourism. But it is open once again, renewed and revitalized, but with the same sheer beauty and natural majesty for all the world to see and experience.
Boracay is a destination that can be enjoyed all year round, given its many sights and activities. However, it being an island destination, it is best to visit on bright and sunny days.
Cheapest time to visit Boracay
Like most destinations in the Philippines, Boracay Island’s low season runs from August to October, the wettest months of the year. Coming here at this time means that almost everything is less — from flight tickets, hotel rates, and tourist crowds.
Weather in Boracay
As with the rest of the Philippines, Boracay experiences both dry and wet seasons. Hottest months are from March until June, while wettest months run from August to October. November to February is mostly dry.
Peak season in Boracay
Boracay is jam-packed with visitors during the country’s hottest months from March to May. Tourists troop to the island to enjoy everything the island has to offer, from sunny skies to calm waters.
Holy Week is also very crowded, because it means long vacation for locals and still falls during the summer season.
Main festival/events in Boracay
Holiday season from Christmas until New Year is a high time for Boracay because of its festive island atmosphere and night-long celebrations. Chinese New Year also sees many international tourists coming into the island.
When to avoid visiting Boracay
The months of July to October may bring heavy rains and expected typhoons, and there will be a huge chance that flights and ferry rides to Boracay get cancelled for safety reasons.
Being a prime tourist destination in the Philippines, Boracay has become very accessible to both local and international tourists. One can reach this idyllic island by air, sea, and a combination of land and sea travel.
The best entry point is Caticlan Airport, with flights coming in from Manila, Clark, Cebu, and Davao. From the Caticlan airport, it only takes a short 10- to 15-minute shuttle or tricycle ride to Caticlan Jetty Port, where pumpboats await for your short ferry ride to Cagban Jetty Port in Boracay Island.
Visitors can also take flights to Kalibo Airport in Aklan, which are cheaper than those landing at Caticlan, but it takes 2 hours to get from Kalibo to Caticlan.
Those coming from Manila and Southern Luzon can reach Boracay via a 9-hour ferry ride from Batangas Pier. Land travel from Manila to Batangas Pier takes about 1.5 hours. Several bus companies also offer a direct Manila-Caticlan route through a Roll-On/Roll-Off (RORO) vessel, but with several transfers. Same instructions apply once visitors arrive at the Caticlan Jetty Port.
Upon arriving at Cagban Jetty Port, you will then ride a tricycle or your arranged shuttle service to take you to your hotel or any part of the island you wish to be dropped off.
Boracay Island is generally considered to be a safe destination for tourists. The locals and inhabitants here have become so accustomed to visitors from almost every part of the world, making them friendly and warm. But that being said, some locals, especially vendors, have also gained the reputation of being overly persistent when offering souvenirs and tour packages. Just politely say no if you do not wish to buy any of what they are offering.
Crime rates have also gone down since its reopening. As nightlife here is very active, visitors are always encouraged to be mindful of drunk tourists and locals alike, and to always have company when going back to their accommodations late at night.
Boracay Island is very small, and you can always enjoy exploring the entire White Beach and its inner streets by foot. When mass tourism was at its peak, Boracay’s main street running parallel to White Beach became overly congested that it was much easier to just walk.
Tricycles remain to be the most popular motorized mode of transportation here. You will see them running along major and smaller streets around the island, and it is best taken if you need to go to areas away from White Beach. A number of them will ask you to rent the entire tricycle for your trip, instead of taking in other passengers along the way — expect to pay higher for this.
Over the years, there are two things that Boracay has become popular for in terms of food and drinks. Jonah’s is the go-to for refreshing milkshakes in fresh fruit flavors and other interesting combos. Chori-burgers are made of grilled local sausages called chorizo sandwiched between burger buns — a lot of stalls by the beach sell this.
There are limitless dining and drinking options in Boracay, wherever you may be staying at. Because of its large international market, different cuisine types are being offered around the island. Budget travelers can find local eateries and fast food joints, mostly inside D’Mall and around Stations 2 and 3. More upscale cafes and buffet restaurants can be found along the White Beach front. You also don’t want to miss out on visiting D’Talipapa, a wet market where you can choose among a wide selection of fresh seafood and have them cooked in whatever way you want in many of the restaurants inside.
Boracay is also world-famous for its very active nightlife. From local bars to big clubs, Boracay has it. You can most of them along White Beach, too.
Both drinking and smoking at the beach are strictly prohibited. There are designated smoking areas, but it is best to keep the drinks and cigarettes inside bar or hotel premises, in accordance with their own rules.
Anywhere by and near the White Beach is a great spot to stay when in Boracay. If you can splurge on beachfront accommodations, you will have the most glorious sight of its immaculate white sand as you step out of your hotel. Although hotels here are more luxurious, Station 1 offers a more expansive and less crowded shoreline.
You may also choose to stay in Bulabog Beach, also known as the back beach, to see adventure-seekers getting into different water sports action.
Stay in Station 2 where D’Mall, the island’s central shopping center, and most establishments are concentrated. This area is lined with shops that range from specialty and branded stores down to mini-stalls with locals selling trinkets and souvenirs.
If you stay along White Beach and its inner streets, you will have no problem finding a spot to drink and dance. As mentioned, Station 2 has the most number of dining and drinking establishments, but there are also clubs and bars in both Stations 1 and 3.