For those of you who has never traveled to Boracay and wants to pay a visit to the famous tourist island of Philippines, here's a little tip on how to travel into Boracay.
It can be a little confusing for most first time visitors as unlike most popular island destinations around the world, getting to Boracay island isn't a straight forward affair.
To begin with, there are two airports that can bring you to Boracay:
Caticlan Airport - caters to the more luxurious airlines such as Air Philippines and Cebu Pacific Air; the airport is smaller and is the closest airport to Boracay island itself.
Kalibo Airport - the more common choice among travelers servicing larger aircraft such as Boeing 737 and Airbus A320, has more routes and also services more airlines including budget airline such as ZestAir which sometimes throws promotion to get you from Manila Airport to Boracay in under USD10 (before tax). The airport is also 90 minutes away from the island, which means you lose half a day on the road and getting in to the island.
Getting from Caticlan Airport to Boracay:
Both airports are located outside of Boracay Island. From Caticlan, you would need to hire a local tricycle just outside the airport to get to the Caticlan Jetty Port few minutes away. Then queue to buy your ferry ticket (Php 25-30) as well as paying for the environmental fee (P100) AND terminal fee (P100), present your ID if you're a student or senior citizen to get a discount. Make sure you pay and collect all your tickets and receipts before entering the terminal or you will be booted out.
Once getting to Boracay island, you still need to pay for another tricycle (around P100-200) to get to your hotel on the White Beach, categorized by Station 1, Station 2 and Station 3.
It is recommend to stay at either Station 1 and 2 if you want to be close to all the actions and tourist hotspots.
Getting from Kalibo Airport to Boracay:
It's pretty much the same as getting from Caticlan Airport but from a much farther location. It's said to be 90 minutes away from the Caticlan Jetty but depending on your arrival time, getting into the rush hour jam will stretch your travel time to 2 hours or more. By the time you check into your hotel, chances are you will arrive at your hotel during dusk or at night.
When you get into the airport, you will see a lot of booths at the luggage collection area selling bus/minivan ticket with/without ferry tickets from P250-350. The minivan leaves when it has 10 passengers or more so beware of peak season when you may need to wait longer for an available ride.
So which is better? Well arriving at Caticlan Airport can cost twice as much (P8-10,000) on regular fare compared to arriving via Kalibo Airport (P4000) and sometimes up to 10 times more when you have a seat sale on a budget airline. Unless time is a bigger concern over budget, most visitors will fly into Kalibo.
My suggestion is book a decent hotel and have the hotel arrange transportation to pick you up at Kalibo airport. You will have people escorting you onto a bus upon your arrival, as well as people escorting you in to the terminal without the fuss of queuing to pay for all the fees and queuing to get into the terminal. If you have big luggages, there will be assistance so less hassle for you. When arriving at Boracay, a private hotel van or car will be waiting for you at the jetty to drive you to the front of the hotel. Each way transfer fee will set you back P1700 but it is well worth the hassle and you don't have to worry about ferry or bus schedule on either side as the hotel will do the worrying for you.
Enjoy your trip! (if you're going)