When looking for a vacation destination, the Philippines has something for everyone. The island of Boracay is especially attractive, as it has a wide variety of sites and activities. But getting there in 2020 is super easy – you just need to know how to do it! (Updated Feb 2020)
Why Boracay in 2020?
While Boracay has changed a lot in recent years due to being shut down in 2018 due to it being a “cesspool”, it is still one of the top destinations in South East Asia. It is home to perhaps the most beautiful beach in the world (White Beach), breath-taking sunsets, delicious foods, and more. While Boracay has some great drink specials, I would argue the days of great nightlife are gone. However, don’t let this put you off from visiting! You can still have a great time after midnight – just don’t expect wild and crazy parties on the beach.
The first step, of course, is getting to Boracay. The island isn’t hard to reach, and you have multiple options. Boracay is a small island, and as such, doesn’t have its own airport. You’ll have to fly into one of two airports: Caticalan, or Kalibo.
Caticalan is much closer, but only has domestic flights. As such, you’ll be paying a lot more to fly into this airport. You’ll only need to take a 5-minute tricycle ride to the jetty port. Hop onto a 5-minute boat ride, and you’ll be in Boracay.
Today, we will focus on the more common route, which is from Kalibo to Boracay. Kalibo International Airport is a small airport, and has direct flights from all around Asia. I flew from Incheon International Airport on Jin Air flight 039. I landed around midnight. I opted to stay in Kalibo to explore the Kalibo Public Market and Bakhawan Eco-Park before heading off to Boracay.
Most people flying into Kalibo are eventually making their way down to Boracay, so it is not difficult to arrange transportation. The Kalibo International Airport is tiny (like, really, really small). As soon as you walk out, you’ll be approached my touts who can take you do the jetty port in Caticalan.
It should be noted that you can also take a boat. However, for the price and the fact that it only runs once a day, I decided not to take it. The boat looks quite comfortable, but isn’t for most tourists due to the lack of flexibility. (EDIT: It appears this service is currently discontinued.)
To reach Boracay, you’ll need to get to the jetty port (approximately 2 hours), and then take a boat to the island.
How you go there really depends on your needs, budget, and number of people traveling. I was traveling alone, and had more flexibility in my schedule. I personally decided to book before flew to Boracay. It would be no problem to show up and find someone to transport you. However, I like to get the logistics of my travel completed as it is one less thing to worry about.
I booked my transportation using the company called Island Star Express. I booked using the app called Klook. The price was $9.39 for the one-way transfer. Since I was staying at a hotel, I simply made my way to the airport and joined the bus. The bus was spacious, clean, and comfortable. It was only 20% full, so it wasn’t difficult to make myself comfortable.
In total, the journey took roughly 2 hours. It was nice to see the countryside of Aklan Province on the way. After two hours, we had made it to the jetty port. We were so close to Boracay!
Since I had booked through Klook, it was very easy. I entered a small building where I had to fill out a simple form. I showed my booking for my Boracay hotel I had made through Agoda, and my hand was stamped showing I was permitted to make my way to Boracay.
Beware of new regulations when entering Boracay!
Due to new regulations, in 2019, 2020, and beyond, you’ll need a hotel booking from an accredited hotel. As of July 10, 2019, these hotels are accredited by the DOT. Again – you MUST have a confirmed booking from an accredited hotel to be allowed onto Boracay Island. To find the best deals, I recommend booking through Agoda.com, and then checking these hotels against the list of accredited hotels. Be sure the number of passengers and the dates of stay are correct. I would advise printing the confirmation off, but a screenshot on your mobile device will also work.
After filling out the form above, I was directed to a small boat that would take us to the island of Boracay. The boat could hold 36 people, but was comfortable enough. The ride was only 5 minutes, and felt safe. We were given life jackets just in case of an emergency.
After a few moments, we could see the banks of Boracay. The water as already crystal clear, and the excitement in the boat was growing.
The last and final step was getting to the hotel! Since I booked via Klook, my service included drop-off service. I boarded a van, and was driven to my hotel.
In total, the journey from Kalibo International Airport to my hotel in Boracay was approximately 3 hours. The transfer was smooth and easy. I would definitely recommend Island Star Express the next time you are transferring to Boracay.