BORACAY: Budget Travel Guide 2016

It was the midweek of an off-peak season. Usually, times like this, I would expect to have the beach all to myself. But this was not an ordinary beach. This was Boracay. And in Boracay, even a slow day is roaring.

Boracay has always been the flagship beach destination of the Philippines. It has topped many lists of the greatest beaches in the world, compiled by international travel magazines. All this lovin’ from local and foreign press and backpackers has been drawing swarms and swarms of tourists. What used to be an unspoiled sleepy village transformed into an overdeveloped party island. Even upscale hotels and restaurants have found their way to the island, attracting luxury travelers. Yet, it remains friendly to the budget-conscious.

How to Get to Boracay

Located off the northwestern coast of Aklan, Boracay Island is very accessible to the beach-going public. If you’re coming from Manila, flying is the best option. All major airlines fly to either of them.

Two airports serve Boracay-bound passengers. Each airport has pros and cons.

Caticlan Airport and Kalibo Airport
Caticlan Airport and Kalibo Airport
  • Kalibo is farther, requiring around 2 hours of travel time, but fares are much cheaper.
  • Caticlan is closer, 15 minutes away, but fares are way more expensive.

Whatever you choose, you need to make your way to the Caticlan Jetty Port. Here’s a brief step-by-step guide:

  1. From Kalibo Airport, take the bus or van to Caticlan Jetty Port. Fare: P200.
    If you’re a big group, you may also consider arranging a private van transfer that will wait for you at the airport. I have tried this pre-arranged setup before when I was part of a group of 10. Cost was P3800 roundtrip (P1900 one-way, or P180 per person per way).
  2. Upon arrival at the jetty port, proceed to the booths near the entrance to the building and settle the Terminal Fee (P100), Environmental Fee (P75), and Ferry Fare (P25).
  3. Inside the port building, register, proceed to the Passenger Waiting Area, and wait for boarding announcement.
  4. Board the boat or ferry to the island.
  5. You will dock at either Cagban or Tambisaan Port. Either way, there are tricycles waiting here that can take you to your hotel. If your hotel is in the White Beach Area, cost is P100 per ride.

If you’re coming from Caticlan airport, you can take a tricycle to the port. You can also walk; it should take around 10 minutes.

For more detailed instructions, check out this post: How to get to Boracay from Kalibo or Caticlan

Or check out this video by Adam John of Boracay TV!

 

Where to Stay in Boracay

Check Rates Here | Book Here

While Boracay has some of the most expensive hotels in the country, you will also find the other end of the spectrum here. Hostels and guesthouses are not the obvious choice to the common tourist. But if you’re not choosy and you’re willing to let go of the aircon and other amenities, you’ll be surprised by the number of options awaiting indiscriminate travelers.

Hostels. Fan rooms can be booked for around P500 during off-peak. A bed in a dorm costs as low as P300 per night. Hostelworld is a good place to start looking for affordable hostels.

I stayed once at Frendz Resort at Station 1 for P500 per night (Dorm room), and it was a pretty pleasant experience. Not beachfront but close enough. Just a bed and a fan, but the backpacker vibe made up for it. I always like places where I could meet other travelers and make friends.

Budget Hotels and Guesthouses. If hostels aren’t your thing, budget hotels and guesthouses are also a good choice. Agoda and Expedia have a rich selection of hotels. Surely, one of them is bound to meet your needs.

I had a pleasure of staying at Dakong Amihan Home, and I had a wonderful time. Rates are P1,750 per room (off-peak, good for 2 pax). Again, not beachfront but close to many key attractions in the island. Read my full review here –> Dakong Amihan

Where to Eat in Boracay

Most beachfront restaurants are very costly. Even the P300-buffets along White Beach sound good, but they taste disappointing. There are mid-range restos farther from the beach that may be worth a try. But if you’re really concerned about the prices, your best bet are the turo-turo carinderias along the main road and inner alleys. P60 should already buy you a decent rice meal.

One popular food place is D’Talipapa, where you can shop for fresh ingredients (seafood!) and have one of the surrounding eateries prepare them the way you like it for a fee. This is ideal for groups!

If the place you are staying in allows you to cook or prepare food yourself, pay a visit to Talipapa Bukid at Station 3 for the ingredients!

Photo by Two2Travel.com

More food options here –> Where to Eat Happy in Boracay: 11 Restaurants to Try

 

What to Do in Boracay

Like I always say, the one thing that I love about Boracay and what I think makes it so popular is the diversity of activities. Boracay will keep you busy, and there’s no running out of things to do. It has something for everyone.

Below are the attractions you might want to consider. I have written a separate entry with more information about these activities, including how to book and how much to spend –> 15 Things to Do in Boracay

Island hopping
Island hopping

Paraw sailing
Paraw sailing

Mermaid Swimming
Mermaid Swimming

Standup Paddling and Skimboarding
Standup Paddling and Skimboarding

Parasailing and Windsurfing
Parasailing and Windsurfing

Flyfish and Banana boat
Flyfish and Banana boat

Zorbing and Ziplining
Zorbing and Ziplining

ATV Ride
ATV Ride

Biking
Biking

Sunset watching
Sunset watching

Partying
Partying

Food tripping!
Food tripping!

 

Sample Boracay Itinerary

Fine, fine sand.
Fine, fine sand.

Here’s a sample Boracay long-weekend (3D2N) itinerary. Note that this assumes that you will be taking an early morning flight to Kalibo and a late afternoon flight back.

Day 1: ARRIVAL, WHITE BEACH
07:30 am – Check-in NAIA Terminal 3
08:40 am – ETD NAIA Terminal 3 – Kalibo
09:30 am – ETA Kalibo International Airport
10:00 am – Board bus to Caticlan Jetty Port
12:00 pm – Arrival at Caticlan (Grab quick lunch)
01:00 pm – Board boat/ferry to Boracay
01:40 pm – Check-in at Hotel, freshen up
03:00 pm – Explore White Beach and Diniwid Beach, Willy’s Rock
05:30 pm – Watch Sunset, Dinner

Day 2: ISLAND-HOPPING
07:00 am – Island Hopping + Lunch
01:00 pm – Swimming again, or rest.
03:00 pm – Flyfish
04:30 pm – Parasailing
06:00 pm – Freshen up
07:00 pm – Dinner
09:00 pm – Party party, dance dance, tugs tugs

Day 3: PASALUBONG SHOPPING, DEPARTURE
06:00 am – Wake up call
07:00 am – Breakfast
08:20 am – Buy Pasalubong at D’Talipapa or D’Mall
11:20 am – Check out
12:00 pm – Board ferry back to Caticlan
12:40 pm – Board bus to Kalibo
02:40 pm – Arrive at Kalibo, quick lunch
03:50 pm – Check in at airport
05:00 pm – ETD Kalibo Airport
06:10 pm – ETA Manila – NAIA 3

Just make the necessary adjustments to fit your plans, flight schedule, and activity preferences.

 

Budget Breakdown

If you’re curious how much would you be spending if you follow the itinerary above, the breakdown below can shed a little light. This computation is based on one person staying at a fan room at a hostel and joining other travelers (to form a pair or a group) for the activities. Airfare, airport fees, pasalubong, and partying expenses are not included.

  • P400 – Van fare from Kalibo airport to Caticlan and back (P200/way)
  • P100 – Caticlan Jetty terminal fee
  • P20 – Tambisaan terminal fee
  • P75 – Environmental fee
  • P50 – Ferry roundtrip fare (P25/way)
  • P200 – Total tricycle fare
  • P1000 – Frendz Hostel Dorm Bed (P500/night, 2 nights)
  • P1000 – Parasailing (Diamond Watersports)
  • P600 – Flyfish (Diamond Watersports)
  • P500 – Island hopping
  • P200 – Some random miscellaneous incidentals whatever
  • P1250 – Total food Budget
  • P5,395 – TOTAL

As always, there are ways to even make this much lower. If you’re not interested in parasailing or flyfish riding, you can replace them with much cheaper alternatives. That’s already minus P1600. If you are part of a big group, you can still bring the cost of food down.

It is also important to note that things are much cheaper during off-peak season (June-October). The summer months may bring you more fun, but the cost of almost everything grows with the crowd.


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  • Rubina Ann Padilla

    do you have package tour to Boracay good for 3 persons, inclusive dates 22nd Feb til the 24th, 2014…thank you

  • cheng

    We had package tour for 2k (initially 2.5k, thanks to our haggling skills) when we went to Boracay last year (group of 6). Package includes 5 major activities (parasailing, atv, banana boat, zipline and helmet dive) inclusive of land and water transfers plus free trick art museum entrance. We wanted to add a 6th activity which is paraw sailing so we added 200 each. (overall, we only spent 2.2k).

    You can call Kuya Mike @ 09391373473 to arrange everything for you. Not sure if this is still his contact number but wont hurt to give it a try. 🙂

    • yoshke

      Thanks for sharing, Cheng! Will contact him the next time I plan to visit Boracay!

  • Corinne Vail

    This is a great itinerary, and I love the budget breakdown which is so helpful. Thanks.

    • yoshke

      Thanks, Corinne! 🙂

  • Charles Michael Tolosa

    Thank you for this. 🙂 Any more tips for me? I plan to travel alone to Boracay. 🙂

  • Atiyana Riri Barbas

    THANK YOU!! The best budget travel guide 🙂

    • yoshke

      You’re welcome! 🙂

  • lyn

    thank you for sharing information like this it would be a great help .

  • kate

    hello, i would like to ask, how to join big groups when travelling? hehe i read your post about going to pahiyas 😀 wanting to really have a lesser cost when travelling hehe ;p hope you don’t mind to give me tips and advice. thank you so much in advance

    • Hi Kate! You can invite more friends to form a big group, or you can join group tours. There are many travel agencies offering group tours nowadays. This means you will be joining other travelers in the group.

  • levi

    sir how about going to boracay with 2GO.. ok po ba sila??? mas makaka tipid po ba kami pag ganun..

  • Chippy

    wow, I wish I can go in Boracay 🙂

  • Wow! It’s my first time to visit your blog. Nacurious ako sa “the poor traveler”. hehe! Sabi ng friend ko hindi naman daw ganun kaganda sa Boracay but after reading your post, I think I would enjoy there. Ishare ko na rin ito sa mga members sa OFW Forum para makita rin nila. Thanks sa information! and sa itenerary..hehe!

  • BoracayGuy.com

    Great ideas and info here! Boracay is such an amazing place with so much to do! Its great that the pricing here is more or less correct! One thing they like to do on Boracay is raise pricing, especially in high season. So for those of you that make this vacation happen, be sure to stick by the pricing provided here. I promise you will save a lot of money this way! I would also like to add scuba diving to your list. It is a awesome activity available here that is becoming more and more popular!

  • Mikito Ohara

    When I see Boracay, I really can’t help but compare it to Panglao beach in Bohol, have you gone there?

    Bohol Motorcycle Rentals

  • AwesomeTraveller

    Wow! Didn’t know there’s a 200-peso-rental van from Kalibo Airport to CORON. Hahaha.

    • Hahaha! Thanks for spotting it. It should be Caticlan. Fixed!

  • jack Miller

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  • Elaine

    This is very helpful! One question though, our ETA to Kalibo is 6:30pm plus 2hrs ride to Caticlan that would be (let’s just say) 9pm. Do you think there are still ferry and boats that can transfer us to Boracay? Thanks!

  • jhet

    i had a great time reading your blog. this nov 13, 2014 will be my first time to visit boracay and i know that most of your information will surely help a lot 🙂 thank you (^_^)v

  • Ashlhey

    Wow! Great Post. Really informative 🙂 I also enjoy my vacation in Boracay and its almost the same price.. Less expensive.. But the difference is just the room accommodation. I really look for a relaxing and peaceful place and there I find The Orient Beach Boracay, its affordable, 5 mins ride to D’mall, its not hassle anyway because they have a free shuttle Service going to D’mall. It was also a Newly Opened Hotel, you can find great deals in many sites. Plus they serve really great Breakfast. it was also closer to the famous Puka Beach 🙂 You just need to be familiar with the affordable prices in Boracay,

  • Katie

    Thanks for the info. It will guide my Bora travel on Nov. 13, 2014. I’m excited for this new adventure. It’s gonna be my 1s time in that paradise island.

    • Lakbay Diwa

      Hi Ms. Katie. How was Boracay? How was your experience? We’ll be there this last week of December. Thanks

      Visit http://www.lakbaydiwapinas.com

  • TravelSulit

    Travel Sulit Travel and Tours Package:

    Rate: P1,850/person
    Maximum of 8 person in a room
    Hotel: St. Vincent Cottage Hotel
    (3 minutes walk to beach front beach)

    Inclusions for boracay package:
    1. 3 days and 2 night room accommodation
    2. Daily Breakfast for 4person
    3. Round trip transfer land & sea transfer (caticlan airport to hotel v.v)
    4. Terminal Fee
    5. Environmental Fee
    6. Boat Fee
    7. All Government Taxes, VAT and Resort Surcharges

    Rooms amenities:
    *air condition room and private Bathroom
    *cable tv
    *hot and cold shower

    LIKE US ON FACEBOOK : http://www.facebook.com/travelsulittravelandtours

    Call Center/ Reservation Hotlines:
    Talk N Txt : 09093816397
    Smart : 09985457484

  • Cobra0628

    Amongst the beaches that I’ve seen here and abroad, Boracay would still be the best!

  • Galing! I learn the cheapest way to enjoy travelling.

  • many times we went to boracay pero hndi ako ngsasawa ppunta prin ako jan.

  • Ysabela Meraz

    Now I miss Boracay but it’s really best to go there during off-season so the place won’t be too crowded. Also, we only rode a tricycle from Caticlan airport to Jetty port. The fare was only 25 Pesos per head 🙂
    http://www.travellingthephilippines.info/boracay-island/

  • EVITA ERDMANN

    Good article, Thanks!

  • Joseph Rick Landero Paragili

    Can someone update the prices. Especially transfers from caticlan to the port? Thanks

    • Hi Joseph! We just returned from Boracay. We’ll be posting an updated travel guide soon!