2020 NEW Boracay Travel Guide Blog for First-Timers
Among the many options for spending your vacations in the Philippines, Boracay always manages to stand out for several reasons. In this NEW Boracay Travel Guide, we will share with you some of the most important things that you need to know before you visit the island. Recognized as one of the Best Beaches in the World, Boracay Island is surrounded by some of the most amazing beaches, making it the ideal spot for those looking to spend a little time under the sun; many of the hotels on the island accommodate to that style of resting as well, by offering convenient, nearly immediate access to the beaches through their location.
If, on the other hand, you’re looking for an exhilarating time, don’t worry – the island offers plenty of good opportunities for water sports, from the mild to the extreme, and if you’re lucky enough to arrive when the weather is suitable, you can catch some of the most amazing waves for windsurfing and Kitesurfing around Boracay’s Bulabog Beach. There are so many activities that you can add to your Boracay Itinerary.
Last but not least, your trip to Boracay doesn’t have to end once the sunsets. If you want to relax and spend the night in your hotel room that’s fine, but if you want to go out and have some wild fun, that’s definitely an option as well, thanks to the numerous nightclubs, bars, and discos available on the island. All kinds of musical tastes will be satisfied by the clubs in the area, and you’ll also get a chance to check out the amazing skills of some of the local bartenders.
Are you planning a trip to Boracay soon? In this Boracay Travel Guide blog, we’ll give you first-timers travel tips to the island of Boracay with budget tips and advice on things to do and see, itinerary, money-saving tips, best places to stay, and more.
Best time to visit Boracay
January to April – The dry season in Boracay. It is the perfect season if you want to avoid being stranded on the island.
May to October – Considered the rainy season in the Philippines. This is also an off-peak season and you can expect hotel and airline rates to be much lower.
November to December – It’s the perfect period to visit the island since it’s not usually crowded during these months.
How to Get to Boracay
Getting to Boracay always goes through Caticlan, a small jetty port in the town of Malay in Aklan Province. From there, connections to Boracay are pretty good and travel regularly. After paying the environmental fee and terminal fee, you can take a boat which will take you straight to Boracay.
Flights to Boracay
Entry points will be either through Caticlan’s Godofredo P. Ramos Airport (Caticlan Airport) or through the Kalibo International Airport. Connections to both airports are easily available to tourists, including “full package” tickets that give you access to everything, including a ferry ride.
Boat Ride to Boracay
While the boat service is generally good and professional, there are some cases where operators might act a little pushy and inappropriate if you’re not a seasoned tourist. Always keep an eye on your luggage and don’t let people carry it for you – what seems like a free service at first may quickly turn out to be a constant demand for yet another tip.
How to get around
Moving around can be done on a rented tricycle depending on where exactly you’re staying but if you prefer to stay in luxury resorts, they provide a service vehicle upon your arrival on the island.
Accommodation in Boracay
There are plenty of hotels and resorts in Boracay to spend the night on the island, and you’ll never be short of options for accommodation. If your budget is more limited, you may also want to rent a room directly from one of the locals, which can be both cheaper as well as warmer/cozier, if you’re into that kind of thing.
As with most popular tourist destinations, most of the hotels tend to be fully booked several weeks before any major holiday, so you should plan accordingly and make reservations if you plan on visiting during a busier season. On that note, consider booking your hotel with Agoda.com to get discounted and promotional rates. If you prefer booking your hotel directly, you’re better off doing your own research and making your reservations yourself. Doing so will not only give you access to everything available on the island at a glance, but it will also guarantee that you’re getting a fair price.
If you plan on sleeping a lot, you may want to stay away from White Beach – as far away as possible, in fact. The place is full of clubs and discos that go on through the night and into the early morning, and while this is great for avid partygoers, those who need their dose of rest and peace during their holidays will definitely not appreciate the situation. There are lots of alternatives available if you move a bit farther away from the Centre, so don’t worry – peaceful rest is definitely an option here.
If you’re looking to spend a few nights on a short budget, try Taj Guesthouse Boracay. It’s owned by a family that has other properties on the island, and they are known for their friendly, quick service, as well as their low prices. It’s less than a minute away from the beach as well, which makes it the perfect location for those who came for some beach fun.
And if you can afford to spend a little more money on your accommodation, the Boracay Mandarin Island Hotel is a well-known place with a long-running reputation, and it can never steer you wrong. The prices vary according to how many rooms are currently booked, but in most cases, the place does come off slightly above the price range of most other hotels in the area. The extra money you’re paying is definitely worth it though when you see the quality of the rooms as well as the service you’ll get. You should also check out online reviews and see Boracay Hotels with the highest traveler ratings to guide you on your booking decisions.
Also Read: List of the Best Boracay Luxury Hotels
Things to do and see in Boracay
Let’s get down to what really matters – what is there to do on Boracay Island? As we said above, those of you who’ve come for a more sporting trip will never run out of things to do – between scuba diving, island hopping, kite and windsurfing, and kiteboarding, your body can get the vacation it’s craving here.
Paraw for rent in Boracay
Kitesurfing in Boracay
If you’re new to kiteboarding and want to try it out, there are several schools in the area that accommodate beginners as well as more experienced boarders as well. The Freestyle Academy Kitesurfing School is perhaps the most prominent one, and you can find it on the Bulabog Beach. Instructors at this school are always friendly, professional, but also highly trained with all relevant certifications.
The island is also well-known for its variety of spas and massage parlors, so you’ll have plenty of options for relaxing your body and mind in a deep massage session as well. There are places fit for every pocket here, from cheaper ones like the massage stations around White Beach to classier spas like Mandala Spa. For an affordable rate, you can get a 90-minute whole-body massage on the beach or in the comfort of your own room. Massage services on the island are definitely worth every cent, and you’ll likely be coming back for more in a few days after seeing what a professional massage can do for your body.
Boracay Horseback Riding
There are even horses available for riding if you’re keen on that – just go down to the Boracay Horse Riding Stables and start having fun!
Every local knows the place, so just ask for directions if you want to get there yourself, or hop on an ATV and enjoy the ride. It also doesn’t matter if you’re a complete beginner, as you’ll have a chance to take part in some entry-level courses to get a feel for riding.
PS. Don’t forget to include Island Hopping on your Boracay Itinerary!
Where to Eat
Food is certainly never an issue here, no matter what kind of taste you have. You’ll always find something tasty to eat right around D’Mall area, and if you’re willing to spend a little more time exploring the island, you can find some delightful hidden gems. Also, pastry lovers are going to enjoy the large variety of bakeries all over the island.
If you’d like to try some local street food then try Chori Burger, a local specialty, you can get this along the white beach from street vendors that also sell grilled food. If you want to try fresh seafood cooked your way style, head to Talipapa – a seafood market where you can buy your choice of fish and other seafood and have it cooked in various restaurants in the area.
The Déjà vu is a rather unique looking place, serving a variety of different foods. You’ll mostly find snacks and fast food-type meals here, including pizzas, hamburgers and some types of seafood. Worth noting is the place’s stylish furniture, which is always a refreshing sight.
Down for some Chinese? The Bamboo Lounge by Station 1 has a great selection of meals, and great customer service with staff that’s always happy to make sure that you have a good time.
For budget travelers, there are food chain restaurants in D’Mall and Station 2 Area like Tapa King and Mc Donalds.
And on the other hand, if you’re in for something spicier, you should check out True Food in Station 2. An Indian restaurant with quite a lot of experience under its owners’ belts, the place serves some amazing dishes that will make you breathe fire if you’re into spicy food. There are also some more “relaxed” meals available that aren’t so harsh on the taste buds, but then again, you can get that all over the island – true hot Indian food is best served here, however.
Banks, ATMs, and currency exchange
A common problem that both locals and tourists frequently run into is the low availability of ATMs on the island. There are a total of eight of them, and refills are only done once a day, so if a certain machine runs out of cash, you can forget about using it until the next day. ATM Machines are available in the White Beach area, D’Mall Area, Budget Mart, and others along the main road. During the busier holiday seasons, the situation can be quite bad, with people literally racing to get to the ATM first so they can withdraw enough money for the day.
Credit Cards are a great alternative if you want to avoid the common hassle with the ATMs, and there’s of course also the option of just arriving with enough cash on you. If you’re doing that though, try to check first if the establishment accepts credit card, particularly restaurants and bars.
If you want to bring your own local money and exchange it on the spot, that’s also possible, but keep in mind that the exchange rate varies quite a lot from one place to another so you might want to walk a little longer and check out all places before handing in your money. As with most tourist locations, the closer you get to the Centre, the worse the rates get, so head the opposite way if you want to get the most for your money.
Now that you have enough money in your wallet, you might be wondering where you can actually spend it on the island. The opportunities for that are plenty, and depending on what exactly you’re looking to buy, you should get to choose from lots of good stores.
Are you looking for some new clothes or jewelry? There are several high-end stores around D’Mall area or along White Beach which offer some great-looking threads, but their prices also tend to be accordingly high. Art is also a popular commodity around the central markets and stores, although most tourists aren’t exactly looking for that in the general case. Souvenir shops are to be found practically everywhere, so if you’re looking to buy something to remember your holiday by, that will be easy.
As you move away from White Beach, you’ll start to see fewer shops, and the attitude of their owners will also change. Generally, shops away from the Centre have a more mercantile nature and are more open to haggling, even bargaining with items of your own if you’re up to that. Keep in mind that the store owners around here tend to be quite experienced and savvy though, so don’t expect to trick them – if anything, you should be on the lookout that you don’t pay more than you should for what you’re buying!
The D’Mall is full of shops to explore and it alone can probably satisfy your shopping cravings quite nicely, although be aware that the prices there can be a bit higher compared to some stores in the area. Still, it makes up for that with the convenience of offering pretty much every kind of store you might want to explore under one roof and within a walking distance from most of the important points of the city. So, if you don’t feel like walking around too much to do your shopping, the D’Mall should be more than sufficient.
Boracay Boat Fare, Environmental Fee and Terminal Fees etc.
- Environmental Fee — PHP75 (USD1.50) per person (free for kids 5 years old and below)
- Caticlan Jetty Port terminal fee — PHP100 (USD2.00) per person (free for kids 12 years old and below)
- Boat Fare from Caticlan to Boracay — PHP25 (USD.50) per person from 6:00 AM to 05:45 PM, and PHP30 per person on 05:45 PM onwards (half fare for kids 6 years old and below)
Boracay Budget Travel and Tour Packages
We will continuously update this 2020 Boracay Travel Guide as we discover new things to do, restaurants to try and some important updates that you need to know. Enjoy Traveling:)
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Searching for the best Boracay Island hotels and affordable flights? Check out our complete list of affordable Boracay hotels and resorts via Agoda or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.
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