After a very long time, we finally had the chance to return to the island of Boracay. If you’re planning to visit soon, here are some tips and guides that may be helpful from our recent visit.
One of the most prominent changes we have experienced in the island is its vastly improved transportation system. Starting with the airport, the runway has been extended so it can now accommodate much bigger aircrafts. The new terminal though is still under construction and for the meantime, the Arrivals and Departures terminals are separate and located on opposite ends of the airport.
The Arrivals terminal is as bare as you can get. There are no conveyor belts or even air-conditioning, but it serves its purpose. Luggage and bags are placed in the area provided and travelers should get their items as soon as they can due to limited space.
Towards the exit, you can already pay for transport to the port, via van or tricycle. It is a very short trip so if you’re a small group with not much luggage to carry, I recommend just getting a tricycle. The tricycle terminal is just outside the Arrivals terminal, beside a gorgeous beach.
The old airport is now used exclusively as the Departures terminal. Your entrance will vary depending if you’re flying out via Philippine Airlines or other airlines. The terminal is air-conditioned with plenty of seats, but there aren’t that many stores inside so make sure you’re stuffed before entering, or be prepared to eat mediocre food.
Once at the port, you will have to pay for the environmental fee (₱150 local, non-residents; ₱300 foreign), terminal fee (₱150), and the boat fare (₱50). Unfortunately, these are all separate queues but you can pay them in any order so best to line up in as many queues as possible when you arrive. After paying for your boat fare, you will be given a number that will serve as your seat number. They are sequential but there’s a possibility that you still may not seat beside each other depending on the boat’s seat configuration.
Upon arrival on the island, the cheapest way to get to hotels (apart from walking) is to hire the e-tricycles just outside the port. It only costed us ₱150 to hire the entire vehicle to our hotel in station 3.
Other transportation types are also available making it much easier to travel across the island, reaching even up to Yapak where Puka beach is located. What surprised me the most is that most of them are electric!
The most comfortable (and most expensive) ones are the air-conditioned “Hop On, Hop Off” mini buses that also pass through Newcoast where a popular attraction called “keyhole” is located. These mini buses don’t accept cash though so you’ll have to purchase cards (available in the bus itself) that costs from ₱100 for a single ride, to ₱300 for a 24-hour unlimited ride. Unfortunately, they don’t allow these cards to be reloaded once used (only available for local residents) so you can end up with a lot of useless cards that may just go to the trash. What we did was just get the unlimited ride once, and rode the regular transportation for the rest of our stay.
Fares have been standardized so you won’t have fears that the drivers will ask you a higher fare than what is set, except for some vehicles like the mini buses where locals have discounts. I cannot speak for the motorbike (habal-habal) back ride though as we didn’t use this method.
Boracay being one of the most popular destinations in the Philippines, you can expect it to get quite crowded especially during long weekends. There are still some areas not as crowded though like the southern end of White beach, Bulabog beach on the other side of the island, and Puka beach on the northern end of the island. Otherwise, you can also wake up early when most people are still asleep!
This is the windy side of the island that’s why it’s more popular for watersports than anything else. The area has a “chill” vibe akin to surf towns, but if you’re not into physical activities, this is a great spot to catch the sunrise. It is just a short walk from D’Mall and public transport pass through here.
This is perhaps the best place to go to if you want to avoid the crowds. Sure, it can get crowded as it’s part of island-hopping tours, but as soon as the boats leave, you have the place to yourself, especially towards the eastern end. It’s also undeveloped so it’s as close to the old Boracay as you can get. And now that it’s accessible by land, it’s easy to visit anytime.
As my last tip, make sure to find a good spot in White beach during sundown as Boracay has some of the most beautiful sunsets anywhere, promise!