Boracay Travel Guide
Boracay Island is one of the Philippines major tourist attractions, because of its superb beaches, great watersport possibilities, combined with lots of nightlife and endless dining and shopping options.
Tourism already started in the beginning of the 70s when budget travelers stayed in small nipa huts along the beach for a couple of dollars a day. Nowadays tourism draws big crowds from South-Korea and other Asian countries as well as western backpackers looking for an alternative to Bali or Phuket.
Boracay Island is a 7 km long, bone shape Island, located off the North Eastern corner of the island of Panay in the Western Visayas. Separated at the south from the port of Caticlan by a narrow channel, which serves as the main entry point to the island. Caticlan has a small airport with numerous daily flights between Manila and Cebu.
The major attraction of Boracay is White beach, located on the west side of the island. As the name suggest, its a 4 km squeaky white sanded beach, lined with dozens of restaurants, diving outlets, bars and massage places. On the east side of the island is Bulabog beach which is a great place for windsurfing and kiteboarding.
Internet & Communication
Boracay's internet infrastructure can't always keep up with the influx of tourists wanting to have internet access. During peak hours internet speed can be slow, best time to go online is early morning or late evening. On White beach there are several internet cafe and some restaurants have opened there WIFI connection. ACE Wireless on station 1 is offering faster speeds through their WIFI network and is currently covering White Beach. Prepaid cards for 8 hours access are sold for 12 USD and 1,5 hours for 2,5 USD. Two mobile providers, Smart and Globe have coverage on the island and local SIM cards can be bought for 2 USD. Sending a text message to a subscriber in the same network is just 1 PHP. The cost of sending an international text message is around 0,30 USD.
Best time to travel to Boracay is during the dry season running from November to May. Temperatures during the dry season vary between 27 °C / 81°F at night to 33°C / 91°F during the day. From June the weather gets more unstable and typhoons may hit the island. Some establishments close during this season, while other resorts are offering big discounts.
Visa extension up to 29 days can be arranged by the tourist office or you can go directly to the Bureau of Immigration located next to the Nirvana resort on the main road. You will need to bring your passport and two photocopies of it, a (flight) ticket out of the country and pay the processing fee of 3050 Peso. A dress code applies and applicants wearing shorts, sandals or T-shirts will not be allowed to enter.
ATMs dispensing Philippine Pesos are mushrooming throughout the island. Most are connected to an international payment network, either Cirrus or Plus for Mastercard of Visa card holders. A service fee of 3 USD is added to the transaction. Maximum amount of money dispatched is 10000 PHP per day, more if you hold a local account. ATMs frequently run out of money in weekends or during peak season, so make sure to stack up plenty of cash.