The coral reefs and blue waters of Boracay make a heady combination attractin divers to this tropical island. The graceful palm trees and glittering white sand that fringe the waters complete the picture of perfection. The shimmering sand of Boracay is bright white and it is said to have given the island its name because ‘bocay’ means white.
Location of Boracay
The island of Boracay is in the Philippines and is part of Western Visayas which is Region VI, one of the 18 regions into which the country is divided. Boracay is in the shape of a dog’s bone with 7 km in length and less than a kilometre in width at the narrowest part. It has many beaches, the more important among them being Bulabog Beach and White Beach, located on the east and west sides of the island respectively, on its narrow part.
What You Can Do in Boracay
With plenty of dive sites around, the primary tourist attraction in Boracay is scuba diving. However, there are plenty of other things that one can do in the island.
Beach Sports: You can snorkel in Boracay, and there is provision for other water sports like parasailing, kiteboarding, and skimboarding. In fact Bulabog Beach is ranked among the best sites in Asia for kiteboarding.
Cliff Diving: Boracay’s Ariel’s Point is a popular destination for cliff diving as well as kayaking and snorkelling.
Zorb and Zipline: For those who like to fly through the air, Boracay is an ideal destination because there is a zipline ropeway that offers a fantabulous view of the island. There is also provision for zorbing down the hill.
Mermaid Swimming: It is a fairy-tale experience to be in a mermaid costume, and swimming in it is an excellent workout. The Philippine Mermaid Swimming Academy has 3 centres in Boracay.
Island Hopping: In island hopping tours, which generally start just before sunset, tourists are taken in native boats called paraws to a series of nearby islands. You can watch the sunset from the boat, and see the beauty of the islands in the dimming light of the sun and in the enticing darkness of the night.
Spa Services: A range of spa services are available in the beaches of Boracay. There are cheap massages done at the beach itself, and high-end Thai and Filipino massages that include facials, scrubs, and quite a lot more.
Nightlife: Night clubs become active around midnight in Boracay when most of the people leave the bars and shift to clubs and opt to dance. Then there are binge-style parties held on the nights of full moon days, new moon days, New Year Eve, Halloween etc.
Fire Dancing: Fire dancers dance holding metal chains on which flaming containers are suspended. Well-trained dancers can dance to different types of music holding these chains. It is a sight worth seeing.
Bakhawan Eco-Park: Also known as Bakhawan Mangrove Forest, this is a nature park spreading over 200 hectares, with several species of birds, marine animals, and mangrove trees. There are hiking trails to explore the park or you can do it in a kayak.
Best Time to Visit Boracay
Boracay has a tropical climate. From November till May is the best time to visit since it is the least-hot season with temperature ranging from 25oC to 32oC. Night life is also at its best during this period and in January there is a mardi-gras-like festival called Ati-Atihan.
It is hotter from July till October and there may be intermittent rain. However, there is no harm in visiting during these months as well because visibility is high during the summer months, and it rains, if at all, only in the afternoon. Further, some companies organize contests and concerts in summer. So, in the end, the right season to visit is purely your choice. Boracay is an all the year round destination.
Best Diving Season
The best diving season is from October till May. From June till September (the typhoon season) the dive sites located on the eastern side of the island are more protected. April to June, though the months are hotter, is also good for diving since visibility will increase.
Boracay Dive Resorts
WaterColor Boracay Dive Resort (4 star)
WaterColor is located at a distance of 1.7 km from the well-known volcanic formation Willy’s Rock and at a distance of 0.6 km from the island’s White Beach. There are good dive sites nearby, and the resort provides diving courses at two centres on the beach.
Calypso Dive Resort (3 star)
Situated on the White Beach itself, Calypso has a PADI-certified 5-star dive centre that offers a range of diving courses. The resort’s air-conditioned rooms are airy and bright, and there is a poolside bar, Italian restaurant, and beach beds on the shore. The resort organizes guided safaris and other entertainments like shuffleboard tournament.
Victory Beach & Dive Resort (3 star)
This is also on White Beach, in Station 2. It provides excellent diving facilities and has instructors who offer courses in German, Russian, Japanese, and Portuguese, besides English and Filipino. The resort gives a lot of importance to marine conservation by banning spear-fishing as well as collection of molluscs and corals.
DiveGurus Boracay Beach Resort (3 star)
DiveGurus is at a distance of 50 m from Station 3 in White Beach. Its PADI dive centre offers a range of courses like Open Water Diver, Adventure Diver, Rescue Diver, Deep Diver, Drift Diver, Night Diver, Coral Reef Conservation, Enriched Air Diver, and many more. The rooms and premises of the resort are safe and secure with security guards and CCTV cameras.
Pinjalo Resort Villas (3 star)
This resort is within walking distance of White Beach and is in Station 3. Its front desk is functional day and night, and rooms have all amenities like Wi-Fi, AC, laundry service, and swimming pool. The reception desk will arrange for you all activities like scuba diving, helmet diving, cliff diving, boat rides, parasailing, zip-lining, windsurfing, and kiteboarding.
Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort & Spa (5 star)
Located at a distance of just 6 km from Bulabog Beach, which is a popular kiteboarding centre, Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort offers to its customers every facility like hot tub, private pool, round-the-clock room service, mini-bar, iPad dock, Wi-Fi, gym, spa, poolside eatery, lobby lounge, and seafood restaurant. The resort organizes weddings and other celebrations, and has provision for many water sports in addition to scuba diving.
Sea Wind Resort (4 star)
At Sea Wind Resort you can see the perfect fusion of contemporary luxury and traditional hospitality, with a range of facilities like private beach, swimming pool, conference hall, banquet services, spa services, baby sitting, and provision for water sports.
La Carmela de Boracay Hotel (3 star)
There are 4-occupancy and 2-occupancy rooms of varying price ranges and the rooms have every amenity like coffee shop, restaurant, conference facility, outdoor pool, kid’s pool, and spa services.
Blue Mango Inn Beach Resort (3 star)
It is a family-run resort with different types of accommodations like Family Lofts, Family Rooms, Ocean View Suites, Deluxe Ocean View, Deluxe Garden, and Standard. The dive centre, which is PADI-certified, has experienced instructors. It is located very near Station 3 of White Beach.
Sea Gaia Dive Resort (2 star)
A Japanese restaurant, and a staff who speak Japanese, Korean, and Tagalog (a language spoken in the Philippines) besides English, are the specialities of Sea Gaia Dive Resort. A range of dive courses are offered at the resort dive shop and you can also jet ski and snorkel to your heart’s content.
Other Boracay Luxury Resorts
Monaco Suites de Boracay Hotel (5 star)
This is an all-suite resort hotel with room size ranging from 90 sq m to 240 sq m, and there are a total of 14 villas. It is an eco-friendly resort that relies on solar energy and we can see in it many facets of Mediterranean architecture. The resort is set in 16000 sq m lush green land and its dolphin-shaped infinity pool gives it a touch of uniqueness.
Discovery Shores Boracay (5 star)
Located in Station 1 in White Beach, this luxury hotel has 87 rooms, and a special children’s room, swimming pool, fitness centre, and eateries that include a colour-themed restaurant named Indigo Restaurant. It organizes corporate events, social events, and weddings for its customers and has won a World Luxury Hotel Award which is a recognition of service excellence.
Boracay Regency Beach Resort & Spa (5 star)
The resort, with 302 well-equipped rooms, is located on White Beach, near Caticlan Domestic Airport. It has all amenities like gym, spa, fitness centre, and convention centre.
How to reach Boracay
The closest airport to Boracay is Caticlan Airport, a domestic terminal which is also known as Boracay Airport and Godofredo P. Ramos Airport. There are flights to Caticlan Airport from the domestic terminal of Manila, and also from Mactan-Cebu International Airport that serves the city of Cebu.
Another airport close to Boracay is Kalibo International Airport to which there are flights from the capital cities of many Asian countries, besides domestic flights from Manila and twice-weekly flights from Cebu. Yet another airport through which you can enter is Iloilo International Airport which hosts international flights from Singapore and Hong Kong, and domestic flights to many cities of the Philippines including Manila and Cebu.
Asian Spirit, Cebu Pacific, Corporate Air, Philippine Airlines, Air Philippines, PAL Express, TigerAir, and Interisland Airlines are the airlines plying in these routes.
Once you reach Caticlan Airport, you should make your way to the jetty in Caticlan Port. The jetty is near the airport and from there Boracay is only a 15-minute boat ride away.
If you are flying to Kalibo, you can travel by road to the jetty in Caticlan Port. The drive from Kalibo to Caticlan port will take slightly less than 2 hours. There are vans and air-conditioned buses plying the route. Vans are generally available at the airport itself or you can take a tricycle to the bus station. If you are flying to Iloilo also you can travel by a van or a bus to Kalibo or to Caticlan.
From Manila too there are buses all the way to Caticlan. The duration of the Manila-Caticlan bus journey is nearly 12 hours.
The final lap of the journey to Boracay can only be by boat. You can travel either by local outrigger boats called bankas or by larger vessels that have air-conditioned rooms. The frequency of the local boats is much more than the latter. There are two jetties in Boracay, namely Cabgan jetty and Tanbisaan jetty. Cabgan jetty is more in use from December till May.
You can also travel all the way by boat from Manila to Caticlan and from there to Boracay. The journey from Manila to Caticlan takes nearly 16 hours.
Getting around in Boracay
Tricycles, which are motorbikes with a side car, and motorized pedicabs are available for hire in Boracay. You can use them to explore the island. They cost slightly more during night than during daytime.
Alternatively, you can rent a vehicle and drive yourself. Cars are not available for rent in Boracay but you can easily get a motorcycle or mountain bike for hire. Since the island has a good network of roads, many places of tourist attraction can be accessed on a bike. Tricycles can also be hired. Another option is renting an ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle) that can travel through any rough road. You will be briefed on how to operate it, and you can explore the whole of Boracay using it.
Scuba Diving in Boracay?
Check out our Boracay dive guide and start planning your next dive trip!