About Boracay Island
The tropical paradise of Boracay Island with its 4km long, powder white sand beach and crystal clear turquoise water has been voted one of the best beaches in the world. Boracay Island is about 7 km long, and has several remote beaches around the island, as well as Bulabog Beach, which is the best kiteboarding and watersports beach in Asia. Boracay is a vacationers paradise, with luxury 5 star hotels, through traditional bungalows; something for anyone’s budget and taste. There are all kinds of activities on the island, most famous for the diving, kiteboarding, and windsurfing. There are many fantastic restaurants on the island with flavors from around the world. Boracay is above all else famous for its nightlife, with pubs, bars and dance clubs that are jumping late into the night.
Boracay is in the province of Aklan, located in Panay. This is the center of the Philippines. These central islands are the Visayas, region 6.
The island of Boracay is shaped like a dog bone. It is about 7km long, and 1 km wide at its narrowest. White Beach and Bulabog Beach are the primary and secondary tourism beaches, both located opposite of each other.
Boracay is located 2km from Caticlan, the mainland gateway for sea and air access to Boracay. There are ports both in the South of Boracay, Cagban Port and Tambisaan port (only used in Habagat seson) as well as in Caticaln (Jetty Port) to ferry passengers across the Tabon Straight.
Boracay is seYapak in the North, Manoc-Manoc in the South and Balabag in the center. It is common to use the boat stations of White Beach for reference to a location. Boat Station 1 in the North, Boat Station 2 in the center, and Boat Station 3 in the south.
Boracay has 12 beaches. White Beach is the most famous with most of Boracay’s establishments lined along the 4km long beach and footpath. Bulabog Beach, directly opposite, is the secondary water sports beach which is protected by a great reef. There is also the beautiful and undeveloped Puka Shell Beach in the north. The remaining other beaches are either deserted, remote , or have private resorts and villas. You can access nearly all beaches by series of paved or gravel roads, or by the sea.
Getting In Boracay
Caticlan Airport to Caticlan Port – After getting out of the small airport, there will be a lineup of Motor Tricycles. The ride costs 50 PhP per trike for the five-minute trip to the port.
Caticlan Port to Boracay Port – The Jetty Port has Bangka pump boats that ferry between the Caticlan mainland and Boracay Island from Sunrise to Sunset. There are sometimes ferries after dark , but not reliably so. The Bangka trip is 25 PhP, however non-residents also pay a 75 PhP environmental fee, and a 50 PhP Terminal fee. You need to get these tickets outside the Jetty Port before you enter. The trip from the mainland to the island is about 15 minutes. If you have heavy luggage, there are porters to assist you at 20 PhP per item tip. Depending on the season, you will arrive at one of two Boracay Ports – Cagban Ports in the High Season and Tambisaan Port in the Low Season.
Boracay Port to White Beach – The distance from either port to White Beach is about 10 minutes. There will be a long line of motortrikes to take you from the port to White Beach. This trip is 100 PhP per motortrike.
White Beach – The motortrikes cannot go right down to the beach and will leave you on the Main Road next to a path that leads to White Beach. The larger paths have pedal trikes that can take you down to your resort, or you can walk the five minutes. The Motortrike drivers should know the right place to drop you off.
Getting Around in Boracay
Most visitors to Boracay stay on or near White Beach so it is convenient to travel by foot. It’s about an hour walk from one end of the beach to the other. Motor vehicles are not allowed on the footpath and beach. There are motorbikes with sidecars on the main road running parallel to White Beach. The fare between boat stations is 10 PhP. You can also hire a trike driver to take you around the island for 150PhP/hour. This is a god way to visit other beaches such as Puka Shell Beach, or the highest point in Boracay, Mt. Luho View Point. You can also rent a motorcycle from the vendors on White Beach for 150PhP/hour or 400 PhP/half day. Wear a helmet and go slow. Bicycles can be rented from many resorts for less than 500 PhP/hour.
You can also hop around to the island’s remote beaches (Island Hopping) by Paraw, native canoe type sailboat. They are all over White Beach and should be around 500 PhP per hour with crew. Popular trips are to Puka Shell Beach, up and down White beach, sunset sails, and around the Island (weather permitting). There are also ATVs and off road buggies available for rent on the main road past station one, as well as Bulabog Beach.
The currency is the Philippine Peso (PhP). Bill denominations are: 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 pesos. If possible bring your cash in 500 PhP denominations as you will find that getting change for 1000 peso bill can be difficult at times. ATMs dispense in 500 PhP bills. There are ATMs on White Beachm at D’Mall, and on the main road that will accept foreign debit/bank cards. During high and peak season the ATM’s tend to run out of cash and are not refilled till the next business day,so take out money early in the day and before the weekend.
Foreign Currency is best exchanged at the banks or money changing stores. Only the larger restaurants and hotels accept credit cards including MasterCard, Visa and American Express, although a 5% surcharge on credit cards is standard. Personal checks are generally not accepted. Traveler’s checks get a lower exchange rate and should be changed at Allied Bank or the Boracay Tourist Center. The Tourist Center will also give cash advances on credit cards (7%+ fee), and safe deposit boxes are available for rent.
Communication in Boracay
Boracay Island is serviced by three mobile providers, SMART, GLOBE and SUN. They have good reception through most of the island. Visitors can purchase a SIM card with phone number for 65 PhP and then purchase loads (user minutes) in amounts as low as 10 pesos. Text messages are definitely the main form of local communication at a cost of 1 peso per text . (The Philippines is the text message capital of the world). Talk time is more expensive between 6 to 8 pesos per minute. International text messages are quite affordable (most countries 20 PhP).
Landline calls are cheaper, and best for international calls. There are several International Phone booths along the White Beach footpath and in the D’Mall. Some resorts also have international phone service, but generally but higher rates. Philippine country code is +63. Boracay’s area code is (036).
Boracay has several internet cafes along White Beach, at the Tourist Information Center, and in the D’Mall. Half hour is 25-35 PhP, one hour is 50-70 PhP. Connections are not very fast, but sufficient to email home.
There is a post office in the Tourist Information Center, as well as Balabag Plaza behind Station One. There are LBC branches in station 2 and 3 on the main road for all your shipping needs.
The Bureau of Immigration (BOI) can extend visitor visas as well as process other changes required in visa status. For visa extensions you will be required to make photocopies of your passport and fill out a visa application form. The cost varies depending on your visa and desired length of stay. You can expect to pay 3,030.00 PhP for 38-day extension. Please extend 1- 2 weeks before visa expires to avoid penalty. There is a dress code so don’t wear board shorts or tank tops. Located on the main road inside Nirvana Resort, best to go on Mondays and Tuesdays, 8-12 and 1-5. For more information call 288-5267 (Boracay) 500-7601 (Kalibo).
Reference: My Boracay Guide Book