Boracay Island in the Philippinescan be reached through air and sea. A majority of visitors arrive through the port town of Caticlan on Panay Island across the Tabon Strait. These visitors are ferried across to Cagban Port on the southeast end of Boracay.
Traveling to Boracay By Air
Caticlan: the diminutive Godofredo P. Ramos Airport (IATA: MPH, ICAO: RPVE) handles turboprop flights from Cebu and Manila (compare prices). Most air travelers prefer flying into Caticlan, as the town is only a 20-minute ferry ride away from Boracay.
One-way fares from Manila to Boracay start at US$32, or PHP 1399.
Many Boracay resorts offer pickup services between the Caticlan airport and their premises, so inquire about airport pickup before confirming your stay. Boracay resorts with airport pickup may simply subcontract the job to transport agencies like Southwest Tours.
Kalibo: The capital of Aklan province, Kalibo is 90 minutes away from Boracay by bus. Its airport is larger than the one in Caticlan - Kalibo International Airport (IATA: KLO, ICAO: RPVK) handles domestic flights from Manila (compare prices) as well as international flights from Taipei, Busan, and Seoul.
- Budget carriers servicing Kalibo Airport: Cebu Pacific, Air Philippines Express, ZestAir (offsite links). One-way fares from Manila to Kalibo start at about US$25, or PHP 1099.
To make the connection from Kalibo to Boracay, visitors may patronize two types of land transport waiting outside the airport: an air-conditioned van service for about US$5, or PHP 200, or an open-air jeepney for about US$1.50, or PHP 65. This doesn't apply to visitors who have pre-arranged airport pickup with their resort of choice.
Some transportation companies specialize in the land/sea connection between Boracay Island and the two airports: one of the most reliable is Southwest Tours (Phone: +632 893 3871, +632 893 8754; southwesttoursboracay.com), an agency providing pickup and drop-off service between either airport and the Boracay resort of your choice.
Southwest Tours offers cushy air-conditioned land transport and a guaranteed reserved seat on the day of your flight. Many Boracay resorts outsource their airport pickup services to Southwest.
Traveling by Passenger Ship from Batangas to Caticlan
The port of Batangas, located about 65 miles south of Manila, serves as the capital's main marine link to Boracay via the nearby town of Caticlan.
From Manila, you'll need to ride an air-conditioned bus to Batangas Port. JAM Liner (jam.com.ph)'s buses leave from two terminals in Manila. Travelers coming from the northern part of Manila can ride from the Cubao terminal, while passengers coming from Makati, the city of Manila and the airport can ride from the Buendia terminal.
Buses from JAM Liner's two terminals leave Manila hourly and deposit passengers within the Batangas Pier itself.
- JAM Liner Cubao - 831 EDSA, Kamuning, Brgy. Sacred Heart, Quezon City; tel: +63 2 990-1289; location 14.6319N, 121.04495E (Google Maps)
- JAM Liner Buendia - 2124 Taft Avenue, Pasay City; tel: +63 2 831-8264, +63 917 5621617; location 14.5535N, 120.9975E (Google Maps)
From Batangas port, 2Go (travel.2go.com.ph) serves the Batangas-Caticlan route with an overnight passage that leaves Batangas at 9pm, arriving at Caticlan at 6am. Tickets can be purchased online at 2Go's booking website.
Overnight accommodations depend on your budget - beds range from dormitory-style bunks to staterooms with space for 2 to 4 travelers. Once you disembark at Caticlan, you'll still need to cross over to Boracay by ferry, which we cover in the section below entitled "The Caticlan-Boracay Crossing".
Traveling to Boracay By RORO (Roll-On Roll-Off) Ferry
Travelers can reach Boracay via the "Strong Nautical Highway", a combination of overland and ferry routes that links Manila to Boracay. While cheaper than air travel, this trip takes up to sixteen hours to complete, and is readily disrupted by inclement weather.
- First Leg: Bus from Manila to Batangas Port (2 hours)
- Second Leg: RORO from Batangas Port to Calapan, Mindoro (2-3 hours)
- Third Leg: Bus from Calapan to Danggay Port, Roxas City (2-3 hours)
- Fourth Leg: RORO from Danggay Port to Caticlan (4-5 hours)
Several transport companies service this route - you ride in a single bus or van all the way to Caticlan, but you will have to disembark when the bus boards the RORO ferry. Travelers ride in the ferry's passenger compartments when at sea.
The most established provider on this route is Philtranco (Phone: +632 851 8077, +632 851 8079; www.philtranco.com.ph) Philtranco buses depart their station in Cubao, Quezon City within Metro Manila (Wikimapia, offsite) on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 11am. Buses returning from Caticlan leave on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday, roughly between 2-3pm. Fare is about US$32, or PHP 1367 one way.
The RORO ferries used in this route are secondhand boats from New Zealand and the UK, with a considerable cargo capacity but not much in the way of luxury. Travelers may choose to sit in the air-conditioned "first class lounge" or relax in the open air.
The Caticlan-Boracay Crossing
If you don't have airport transfers arranged with your Boracay resort, you can still cross over to Boracay from Caticlan on your own.
Step 1: Ride the motorized tricycles from the Caticlan Airport to the Caticlan Jetty. Ignore this step if you ride the bus to Caticlan - bus and van services drop you off directly in front of the Caticlan Jetty. 5 minutes.
Step 2: Ride one of the pump boat ferries at the jetty. The trip costs about US$2.90, or PHP 125 one way (inclusive of environmental and terminal fees). Passengers disembark at Cagban Port in Boracay after a ride of 15-20 minutes.
Step 3: Motorized tricycle from Boracay Jetty to your resort. Trip length depends on where your resort is located, but you will pay a flat rate of about $2.30, or PHP 100 per motorized tricycle.
Transportation in Boracay
Tricycles. Motorized tricycles are quite ubiquitous in Boracay; you can flag one down on the main Boracay Central Highway, or find a tricycle queue (there's one in the Boracay Jetty, one in front of D'Mall on Station 2, and some every few hundred feet down the Central Highway).
A shared ride - i.e. bus-style with other passengers - costs about twenty cents, or PHP 10 a head. If you want the whole tricycle to yourself, pay about US$1.20, or PHP 50. Tricycles in Boracay are tricked out to accommodate seven passengers, but may not venture beyond the roads (i.e. no tricycles on the beach).
If you want to explore other beaches in Boracay, you can hire a tricycle by the hour for about PHP 150-500, or between US$3-US$11.
Island-Hopping by paraw. Paraw are traditional sailboats with outriggers. Originally used for fishing or local transportation, enterprising locals have coopted the paraw for "island-hopping" trips around the Boracay island.
Island-hopping trips generally include jaunts to Puka Shell or Balinghai Beach, snorkeling trips, ending with a barbecue dinner. One paraw can accommodate up to six passengers, and can venture as far out as Panay Island and the neighboring Carabao Islands. Paraw rentals can be found up and down White Beach; Red Pirates (Phone: +63 36 288 5767; mobile +63 915 203 0790; red-pirates.blogspot.com) charges US$13, or PHP 600 per hour.
Bicycle/motorbike rental. Bicycles and motorbikes are available for rent from many Boracay resorts. Rates for bicycles average about a dollar or PHP 50 an hour; motorcycles go for about US$3, or PHP 150 an hour. An international driving license may be required for motorcycle rentals.