First time in Boracay — Getting there by plane

I thought going to Boracay from Manila would be as simple as “You catch a plane to the nearest airport in Boracay, then take a cab/van/tricycle/what-have-you to get to your booked accommodation, and then voila!” Wrong.

It was our first time to travel to Boracay as a family and we  had no idea where to go. I didn’t even know there were five “Stations” in Boracay and what differentiated them from one another.  I had to ask friends for hotel recommendations and read tons of online reviews before making travel arrangements.

To save you from the hassle, I compiled the basic steps you need to know in getting to Boracay by plane from Manila or practically any city in the country.

How to get there:

1. Fly to Caticlan or Kalibo.

There are two airports close to Boracay — Caticlan (Godofredo Ramos Airport) and Kalibo International Airport. Which airport to choose? Here are some points to consider:

Caticlan – It is closer and more convenient to get to Caticlan Jetty Port if you’re coming from Caticlan Airport (roughly 10 minutes) compared to Kalibo (which will take you an hour and a half to two hours by van or bus going to Jetty Port).  So between Caticlan and Kalibo, we chose the former. If there are no flights available from your city to Caticlan, then Kalibo is your option.

Tip: Book morning flights. It’s a small airport with sunset limitation, meaning no adequate lighting facilities to allow flying and landing in the evening or early morning when there’s not enough visibility. Ergo, if you took an afternoon flight to Caticlan and it was delayed for any reason, your plane might be rerouted to Kalibo or worse, cancelled.

Kalibo – Cheaper airfare rates, bigger planes (but note that you have to spend around P200-P250 each for your van transport from Kalibo to Jetty Port plus the extra 2 hours you spend on the road which could sap away your vacation-mode energy). Since it’s an international airport, bigger planes can fly there unlike in Caticlan.

So between the two airports, your call. I would still go for Caticlan, more convenient for me.

2. From Caticlan Airport, you can easily get a tricyle waiting outside for P10 per passenger or P50 “pakyaw” or fixed price.

In our case, we were picked up by a van arranged by Sur Boracay, our booked hotel in Station 1.  The driver was extra friendly, he made sure were taken care of at the Jetty Port.

(From Kalibo, up to two hours ride by van or bus to Jetty Port).

3. Pay these fees at Caticlan Jetty Port to get to Cagban Port:

  • Boat fee – P25
  • Environmental fee – P75
  • Terminal fee – P100

Tip: Get free tourism handouts at the Jetty Port. They will come in handy during your stay in the island.  The handouts include a map and lists of establishments around Boracay, and activity packages you can choose from, among others.  They’ll also serve as souvenirs and perhaps your motivation to go back in the future.

4. At last, you’re in the island! To get to your booked hotel, take a tricycle from Cagban Port. If you made no prior reservations, just tell the tricycle driver which Station you want to go.

Our tricycle ride cost P100 from the port to Sur Boracay in Station 1. We passed through Station 3 first, then 2, then finally Station 1. From that trike ride alone, we could observe the differences among the three Stations — Station 3 was a bit more residential than Stations 2 and 1, at least from the street side’s perspective. The streets were vibrant around Station 2, more crowded and packed with commercial establishments. Then as we approached Station 1, the noise and the crowd slowly faded away. Serenity!

5. Once you’ve settled in your booked hotel, enjoy the place! Swim, hike, dine, dive, snorkel, island hop, para-sail, sunbathe, rest, party at night, do what you went there for.

For some tips on how to maximize your staycation in Boracay without breaking the bank, check out my other post: When in Boracay.

Have fun!

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