Kat in Boracay Island
Guides and Itineraries,  Philippines

First Timer’s Guide to Boracay Island 2024

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Fine sands, turquoise water, and glorious sunsets – Boracay Island is truly a tropical paradise for those who want a beach vacation. It’s also easy and convenient to travel to, making it ideal for first-time tourists, families, friends, and couples on a romantic holiday.

Over the years, Boracay has seen significant changes. From a previously unknown island inhabited by the indigenous people, it was developed to a world-renown tourist attraction. In 2018, it was closed for a 6-month rehabilitation as part of a move toward a more sustainable future. This year, it also introduced new requirements for visiting tourists.

Kat in Boracay Island

Here’s an updated guide on visiting Boracay Island.

Boracay Travel Requirements

As of 2022, here are the requirements you need to present to visit Boracay Island:

  • ID
  • Confirmed hotel booking
  • Boracay Tourist QR Code (generated at touristboracay.com, 3 days prior to arrival date)
  • For vaccinated individuals: vaccination card / For unvaccinated individuals: RT-PCR test result taken within 48 hours

How to get to Boracay

Boracay Island is located in Aklan province. It is close to 2 international airports: Caticlan and Kalibo. From either airport, you need to travel to Caticlan Jetty Port where you’ll ride a ferry to the island.

From Caticlan

Caticlan is considered the main gateway to Boracay, as it is only 30 minutes away from the island. From Caticlan Airport, there are tricycles waiting to take you to the jetty port. Fare is P50 per person.

You can book your transfer from Caticlan Airport to your hotel via Klook.

From Kalibo

Kalibo is a popular option among budget travelers. It is located about 2 hours away from Boracay Island. From Kalibo Airport, there are vans bound to the port. Fare is around P250-300 per person.

You can book your transfer from Kalibo Airport to your hotel via Klook.

Caticlan Jetty Port to Boracay Island

Once you arrive in Caticlan Jetty Port, pay the registration fees and secure a boat ticket. The boat transfer to Boracay takes about 15 minutes. Ferries are available daily, from 4AM to 10PM.

Terminal feeP100
Environmental feeP150 (local) / P300 (tourist)
Boat fareP50

Once you arrive at Boracay Island, there are e-trikes waiting to take you to Station 1, 2, or 3. You can share a ride with other passengers or charter the whole tricycle. Fare is P30 per person if sharing and P150 per ride if chartering the whole e-trike.

Take note that drivers can only drop off passengers along the main roads, so if you are booked in a beachfront accommodation, you may still need to walk. If carrying heavy luggage, considering booking transfers from your hotel.

Where to Stay in Boracay

Boracay is famous for its 3-kilometer stretch of fine-sand beach called White Beach. White Beach is divided into three stations: Station 1, Station 2, and Station 3. You can walk this stretch — it will take about 30 minutes from Station 1 to Station 3.

Station 1

Boracay Beach Station 1
Beach in Station 1.

Station 1 is the best place to stay in the island. It is quiet, relaxing, and home to high-end beachfront resorts. It’s also where you can find the famous Willy’s Rock.

Station 2

Station 2 is the main tourist hub in Boracay. It’s the best option if you want to stay in the middle of everything. It has numerous shops, cafes and restaurants, and activities. It offers a mix of mid- and high-end accommodations.

Read our review of Henann Park Resort in Station 2.

Station 3

Station 3 is ideal for budget tourists who want to stay in a quiet part of Boracay. Although this area has fewer commercial establishments, the beach is uncrowded and it only takes a few minutes to get to Station 2 by foot.


Aside from these stations, there is also Station Zero where you can private luxury resorts such as Crimson Resort and Spa Boracay. If you are looking for other relaxing places to stay, there are also alternative beaches and mountainside resorts you can book in the island. If you’re a solo tourist looking to mingle, you can also find party hostels in Boracay.

Top Things to Do in Boracay

Here are the best activities you can do in Boracay.

1. Explore White Beach

Boracay Island in the Philippines
Gorgeous shore in Station 3.

The main reason you’re visiting Boracay is to experience its famous shores, so pack up a towel and sunscreen and sunbathe, swim, or just watch the beautiful paraw sail boats along the shore. Don’t forget to witness the island’s sunset, which is said to be one of the best sunset spots in Asia.

2. Island hopping

Island hopping is one of the popular activities in Boracay. This activity takes around 5 hours and may cover the following: Puka Beach, Coral Garden (snorkeling), Magic Island, Crystal Cove, Crocodile Beach, Ilig-Iligan Beach, and Ariel’s Point (cliff-diving).

Book an island hopping tour via Klook.

3. Land tour

Similar to an island hopping tour, a land tour via e-trike will take you to the best spots in the island, including Puka Beach. Other land tour destinations include Tambisaan Beach (with picture taking in a kawa), Bulabog Beach, Keyhole, New Coast Beach, and/or Ilig-Iligan Beach.

4. Watersport and outdoor activities

You won’t run out of outdoor activities to do in Boracay, whether it’s a chill one such as parawsailing or something more adventurous such as helmet diving, parasailing, paddle boarding, jet ski, banana boating, and more.

In addition, the island is also a favorite of windsurfers and kitesurfers due to excellent wind conditions. Divers will also appreciate the plentiful dive sites around Boracay. Over 20 are located only a short boat ride away and advanced divers can access world-class sites such as Yapak Wall, Virgin Drop, Camia, Tribird, Punta Bunga, and Crocodile Island.

One of the newest activities offered in the island is crystal kayaking. A guide will take you out to sea so you can pose for some social media snaps with the clear water of Boracay in the backdrop.

Finally, if you’re looking for something unique, Boracay also offers mermaid swimming lessons!

5. Food tripping

Boracay Island is a haven for different restaurants, so you can always find a place to satisfy your cravings. Whether it’s for traditional Filipino cuisine or else Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, Mediterranean, Indian — you’ll find it in the island.

Of course, a Boracay food trip won’t be complete without going to a seafood restaurant for fresh oysters, clams, and other local harvests.

Boracay activity rates

Here are the current rates for the activities in Boracay (Updated as of 2023).

ActivityIsland rate
Island hopping tourP600-700 per person (including lunch buffet, excluding entrance fees)
Sunset cruiseP800 per head
Land tour (via e-trike)P500 per hour
Crystal KayakP200-300 for 15 min per person
Helmet divingP500 per person
Paddleboarding P250-350 for 30 min per person
ParasailingP1000-1500 for 15 min per person
ParawsailingP2500 for 2 people
Scuba diving (assisted)P1000 per person

A lot of the activities vary in price because there are no standard rates, so you might find differences in tens to hundreds of pesos depending on the tour agency or vendor. It’s best to compare prices when you’re in the island.

Where to eat in Boracay

One thing that you’ll find about Boracay is everything is expensive, especially the food. So it’s best to prepare your wallet if you want to explore the culinary scene in the island.

Must-try restaurants

Cafe Maruja in Boracay
Hali in Cafe Maruja.

Here are some of our favorite restaurants:

  • Nalka Seafood Restaurant. This open-air restaurant offers unlimited seafood buffet. Ideal for sunset dining for the beautiful sunset views. Loc: Station 1.
  • Café Maruja. This restaurant serves delicious Buddha bowls and tropical smoothie bowls. Loc: Station 1.
  • Nagisa Japanese Restaurant. An underrated restaurant that serves amazing Japanese food like sashimi, curry, etc. Loc: Station 3.

Check out this updated list of Must-Eat Restaurants in Boracay.

You should also check out popular stalls such as Coco Mama (ice cream in a coconut bowl) and Jonah’s Fruit Shakes in Station 2.

Budget-friendly eats

One of the most commonly asked questions when visiting Boracay is where to find budget restaurants? Most restaurants in the island have expensive menu because the ingredients have to be brought in by boats, but there are still plenty of budget options.

Fast food restaurants like Jollibee, McDonalds, and Mang Inasal are popular dining options. There are also small restaurants that offer good food at reasonable rates, such as Meze Wrap and BunBun. The island also has ordinary eateries often located in small alleys that offer rice meals and silogs.

Meze Wrap - one of the best restaurants in Boracay | Boracay food trip

Where to eat seafood buffet

When in Boracay, you should try fresh seafood!

If you want to go on tradition, head to D’Talipapa where you can buy fresh seafood from wet market stalls and have them cooked in a restaurant (aka paluto service).

There are also Boracay buffet restaurants where you can indulge in seafood and local delicacies. Nalka Seafood Restaurant offers unlimited seafood buffet. Henann Crystal Sands Resort also offers seafood buffet dinner, while Henann Regency Resort and Spa is said to have the best buffet in the island which includes seafood and other options.

Nalka Seafood Restaurant in Boracay
Hali and I at Nalka.

Night life

Night life in Boracay was toned down after its rehabilitation and new regulations were put in place (i.e., drinking is no longer allowed in the beach), but you can still enjoy a night out in the island.

Head to OM Boracay Bar, Kasbar Boracay, and 360 Lounge Bar for drinks and performances. Certain spots such as Wave Bar and Lounge also have fire dance performances.

Where to shop

Buy your pasalubong at D’Mall, a huge open-air commercial space where you can find various shops and souvenir stalls, as well as cafes and restaurants. It is hard to find pasalubong outside of Boracay.

Boracay: Commonly Asked Questions

  • When is the best time to visit: Boracay is a popular destination all-year-round, so expect that there will always be a lot of tourists in the island. That saying, it’s off-peak season starts from July to November. During this period, you can score hotel and resort discounts. February and the shoulder season from late May to early June are also lean periods. If you arrive during peak season (summer and holidays), expect long lines in activities such as island hopping, helmet diving, etc.
  • How to get around: You can walk from Station 1 to Station 3. Trikes is also a common transport.
  • ATMs: There are ATMs in the island. A lot of establishments also accept GCash.

Boracay Travel Tips

Here are important travel tips to Boracay before you go.

  • Don’t forget to bring your OOTDs and reef-friendly sunscreen in your beach packing list!
  • A lot of vendors will approach you to offer tours and activities. It may feel pushy and annoying. Just firmly decline if you are not interested.
  • Beware of common “scams” in the island. Always ask for the full price when going to a seafood paluto, especially if you are asking the restaurant to do the shopping for you. Ask for the additional fees in island tours, since entrance fees are often not included in published rates. You should also be careful when getting hair braids — some vendor will quote a price and then ask additional money for the actual braids used. Lastly, you may get approached by locals offering free buffet or lunch — what they won’t tell you is that you will need to attend a 2-hour presentation for a membership program to get these free lunches.
  • Lastly, it is easy to visit Boracay DIY. But packaged tours are also worth considering, since it’s easy and you can even get discounts if you’re in a group.

Do you have anything to add in this Guide to Boracay Island? Let us know in the comments section below!

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