Boracay is the ultimate party island for a reason. It is the liveliest, most beautiful island in Asia with the most happening events on-going. There’s no lack of things to do, I can assure you. Before we begin, as always, some practical must-knows and travel tips.
You can opt to fly Cebu Pacific for a much higher price direct to Boracay (Caticlan airport) or like us, you can opt for AirAsia’s cheaper flights to Kalibo. From Kalibo airport, you would need to take a van/bus to the jetty in Caticlan (fees usually include the boat as well), but it is a tiresome 2 hour drive. We paid about PHP200 per head for a small van that carries 6-8 people. Once you get to the jetty, you only need to pay an additional terminal fee (PHP100) and an environmental fee (PHP75) before you can enter. Then it is a 15 minute journey across the water to Boracay island.
KALIBO AIRPORT – VAN/BUS TRANSFER (2 hours) – JETTY (15 mins) – BORACAY
(Please remember that there are ‘porters’ at the jetty who carry your luggage bags on and off the boat, they expect tips so be sure to have some small change of PHP20 or PHP50 for tips. If you ask them ‘how much’, they’d tell you PHP100 but honestly, it’s entirely up to you.)
STUFF TO BRING
The usual beach necessities – sun block SPF30+, hats, sunnies, bikinis – but you can also opt to bring ponchos and umbrellas for rainy days. There are many street vendors selling selfies sticks and waterproof cases for your gadgets so feel free to buy those there.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN STATION 1, 2 AND 3?
They are all along the same beach front, but Station 1 is much quieter, and it is where most of the yachts and paraws are parked. This is also where you can find the infamous CocoMangas bar which serves 15 multi-colored shots and the iconic Statue of Mother Mary at Willy’s Rock. Station 2 is where all the action is – happening bars & cafes and the D’Mall shopping district. Station 3 is relatively more quiet, but has very nice beach front hotels. It is also perfect for beach-side massages, and the sand is really soft and fine here.
HOW’S THE WIFI SITUATION THERE?
Most places have WiFi, but then again some of them don’t work properly. Our hotel lobby’s WiFi was the best, and so is McDonalds. Other places are alright, and they mostly require a one-time password entry.
ARE THINGS EXPENSIVE THERE?
It is a tourist-island so expect to spend about PHP200-600 per meal. Drinks are priced between PHP100-800 depending on what you order. Activities there can be cheap if you have great bargaining skills. Most of the westerners usually pay more than the asian counterparts, sometimes even triple the price. The souvenir shops can get pricey (especially in D’Mall), but you can usually get decent prices from those shops that are not at the beach front. Massages are fairly cheap as well.
HOW MUCH MONEY SHOULD I BRING ALONG?
For a 5 night stay, about RM1,500 (PHP19,000) should be more than enough as I only spent about PHP13,000 for my meals, drinks and activities. But also please remember that there are a lot of ‘extra charges’ and fees for certain things that are not included in the initial prices.
IS THERE ANY TAXES I SHOULD BE AWARE ABOUT?
Yes! It is very IMPORTANT for you to keep aside PHP500 for the airport taxes as you leave for home. So be sure not to spend all your money, because you will need to pay this tax fee before you can pass through.
Let’s start off on the fun stuff, shall we? There’s so much to see and do in the beautiful island of Boracay – here’s a small list of some of the things we did, from cliff jumping to the infamous Pub Crawl. I will be covering places to eat in a separate post.
I have to also mention that we stayed at the Grand Boracay Resort in Station 2. It wasn’t too bad and rooms are quite clean, plus the staff are very nice and helpful. I know there are many horrid reviews on Agoda & Trip Advisor regarding this hotel, but we didn’t experience anything really bad. Just be sure to take photos of their bedsheet/pillowcase stains for proof that you did not stain them, as this hotel is notorious for charging for any kind of stain (even though some stains are old leftovers).
ATV RIDING, ZIP-LINING & ZORB BALL ADVENTURE (PHP1,700 per pax)
These three activities are usually coupled together in a package because they are all located near one another. You don’t even need a license to drive the ATV on the road, which is loads of fun! The guide will take everyone on an uphill drive to Mount Luho, the highest point in Boracay where you can get a 360º view of the island. Please note that there is an additional PHP120 fee per pax to go up.
Next up, our Zorb ball adventure was a ball of fun! You get two variants, the dry ball or the wet one. Personally, I’d say go for the wet version. You and a friend get to sit inside the ball with just a splash of water, and you roll down together downhill until your ball lands into a swimming pool. It’s a very wet, laughter-inducing and choke-on-water-from-laughing-too-much kinda ride. One that no one should miss!
The last ride was the zip-lining (ala Superman) where you’ll get to see views of the beach, sprawling bungalows and a golf course. We were delayed from taking this ride first because there were a few Koreans playing golf on the fairway (and they worry we might get hit by a ball). Nonetheless, it was perfect to keep this for last. It dried us off after the zorb ball, and it was a beautiful sight to behold. Brian took a selfie video all the way, but I wasn’t to keen on risking it, lest I drop my phone/camera. It’s really ingenious how they strap your slippers and bags against the hooks and let them rest on your back as you carry them down with you.
CLIFF-JUMPING, ISLAND HOPPING & SNORKELING
(PHP2,500 for 8 pax – only PHP312 per pax)
On a separate day, we set out to sea for the cliff jumping the boys have been waiting for. We headed for Aron’s Magic Island, where there are varying heights to jump-off from. The heights stack up from 10ft, 15ft, 17ft and the highest at 20ft. It doesn’t look too scary from the side, but I can assure you, it sure feels scary standing up at the dive-point. I’m too afraid of height to do it, but my amazing friends have balls of steel.
You can also get your guide to buy some fresh seafood from D’Talipapa (wet market) and bring them here to be cooked by a dedicated kitchen on Aron Magic Island. You can then feast on amazing food as you watch your friends and other tourists jump their hearts off the cliffs.
Unfortunately for us, the waters were quite choppy so we had to skip island hopping at Crystal Cove and Crocodile Island, which are both very beautiful. We headed on straight for our snorkeling session instead. There were so many sea urchins and weird looking fishes, I wish I had an underwater camera with me. I love snorkeling, and the view underwater was amazing! There is also an additional PHP200 charge for snorkel-gear rental.
Our last activity of the day is the freakishly scary Flyfish ride, which I am never going on ever again. It involves a sting-ray shaped float for about 6 people to ride on, pulled along by a speedboat. The scariest thing was that it’s bloody slippery and you only have a thick rope to hold on to. As the speedboat moves faster against the wind, the float sort of flies off the water a little and bumps back down, hard. It’s very hard to hold on and more often than not, people would lose their grip and fly off into the water. Not very fun at all, not for me anyways.
PUB CRAWL – TURN STRANGERS INTO FRIENDS (PHP690 – early bird price)
That concludes our land and water activities. Now for the fun Pub Crawl which everyone is super excited about! For the price, you get to join an epic party with strangers and visit 5 bars (you get a FREE shot at each bar and a special discount for all drinks), a Pub Crawl t-shirt, arm bands and an awesome time. You get to customize your shirt by cutting/drawing on it and a special shot glass to wear around your neck and drink from. We also experienced our first ever silent disco at the end of the night – so much fun!
I didn’t take any photos throughout because we were all busy making new friends and having fun! You should sign yourself up for this and have the time of your life!
The last day we whiled away with a beach side full-body massage for only PHP350 and I did a manicure for PHP200. 🙂
This travel guide continues on a separate eating & drinking guide! Stay tuned. 😉 (UPDATE: Check out the Eat-Sleep-Drink guide here!)