Boracay is a very popular beach destination in the Philippines. It’s known for its white-sand beaches, beautiful resorts, and water sports. Paradise by day, Boracay turns into a party center at night.
This beautiful island is undeniably the country’s main tourist draw – both locally and internationally. Because of this, Boracay has suffered major damage in the past years. Often overcrowded, its beaches were littered with trash, its waters were not as clear as they used to be, and its major streets have become rough and broken.
Luckily the government took action to restore the state of this beautiful paradise. In 2018, Boracay was closed to tourists for 6 months of rehabilitation. And when it opened up, hotels were fewer, cafes lining the beach have been pushed back, and Boracay was glimmering the way it did in the 1970s, when it was first discovered. These days you can enjoy Boracay with fewer crowds too!
If you’re planning to travel the 440km distance from Manila to Boracay, you have 3 options: you can take a 2-hour flight via Caticlan, a 3-hour flight via Kalibo, or a 13.5-hour ferry ride. Note that none of these options are direct. Fares start at 1,570 PHP ($29.50).
Taking a flight to Caticlan is the fastest, but also often the most expensive option. Especially during peak season, airfares can easily double or triple the normal rates. If you book early though, you can complete this route for at least 1,770 PHP ($33.50).
If the fares to Caticlan are too expensive, an alternate option is take the Kalibo route. This is the route locals take so rates are more stable throughout the year. However, this also take longer as you need an additional van ride to Caticlan. Combined fares from Manila to Boracay via Kalibo cost about 1,770 PHP ($33.50).
The last option is to take a ferry via Batangas. This combined ferry and bus ride take about 13.5 hours, but you can travel most of the distance at night. Total costs start at 1,570 PHP ($29.50).
AirAsia, Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines (PAL) offer flights from Manila to Caticlan. AirAsia and Cebu Pacific are usually the cheaper options, with one-way tickets starting at 1,500 PHP ($28.50).
Bear in mind that as Boracay is a well-known travel destination, airfare can be quite expensive and sell out during peak season.
Flights depart from terminals 2 or 4 in Manila, depending on which airline you book. Always check this carefully in advance as the airport terminals in Manila can be quite confusing and are far apart!
The flight from Manila to Caticlan takes a little more than an hour and planes land at Godofredo P. Ramos Airport, better known as Caticlan Airport.
Once at Caticlan port, buy your ferry ticket and pay the port and environmental fees. See here a list of the costs:
Ferry ticket costs 30 PHP ($0.55)
Port fee is 100 PHP ($1.90)
Environmental fee is 80 PHP ($1.50)
Your boat will dock at Cagban Port. From there, you will need to take a tricycle or a multicab to your hotel. Boracay’s main tourist area has 3 stations, so tell the driver in advance where you should be dropped off. Station 1 is the most northern station which is also the furthest away from Caticlan. Station 2 and 3 are more south and will be a bit faster to reach.
A multicab seat costs 40 PHP ($0.75) and tricycle fares start at 100 PHP ($1.90).
The combined ferry and multicab ride to Boracay takes about 30mins. Ferries operate from 6:00 to 21:00.
Manila to Boracay via Kalibo by Flight
Duration: 3 hours Cost: 1,770 PHP ($33.50)
Flying to Kalibo is another option if you want to save some money on the journey from Manila to Boracay.
The only trade-off is that you have to take a van (1.5 hours) to get to the port in Caticlan.
Step 1: Manila to Kalibo by Flight
Duration: 1hr 40min Cost: 1,250 PHP ($23.50)
Cebu Pacific offers the cheapest flight from Manila to Kalibo, which starts at 1,250 PHP ($23.50). This takes 1hr 40mins. Air Asia and Philippine Airlines (PAL) offer faster flights for this route, but also more expensive. The plane lands at Kalibo International Airport.
From Kalibo Airport, you still need a bus or van to reach Caticlan Port.
We recommend taking a bus for a more comfortable journey. You can book an airport shuttle via BookAway for 300 PHP ($5.50). Southwest Travel & Tours operates these buses from Kalibo Airport to Caticlan Jetty Port 24 hours daily, with a departure every hour. The bus journey takes 1hr 30m.
If you prefer to take a van, there are plenty of vans waiting just outside the arrivals hall. A van seat is a bit cheaper at 250 PHP ($4.75), but note that it might be a bit cramped, especially if you’re carrying a lot of luggage. Vans normally leave once they are full.
The last leg involves a ferry ride to Boracay Island. You’ll pay a total of 180 PHP ($3.40) for the ferry ride and its associated fees. The ferry docks at Cagban Port, from where can take a multicab or tricycle to your hotel on the island.
Manila to Boracay by Ferry
Duration: 13.5 hours excl transfer time Cost: 1,570 PHP ($29.50)
Travelling by ferry from Manila to Boracay can be quite an adventure. If you prefer this, you’ll need to take a bus from Manila to Batangas first. From there, you’ll take a ferry to Caticlan and then another ferry to Boracay Island.
Step 1: Manila to Batangas by Bus
Duration: 3.5 hours Cost: 200 PHP ($3.80)
For the first leg of the journey, you can take a bus. Jam Liner is a well-known bus company operating this route. It’s pretty convenient, as they have buses that head straight to Batangas Pier. This way, you don’t need to use other transport modes to get to the port.
It takes about 3.5 hours for this trip and buses are available from 01:00 until 00:00, with buses leaving almost every 30 mins.
It’s best to align your bus trip with the ferry schedules so you don’t have a long wait when you reach Batangas Pier.
Departs from either of their 2 terminals in Metro Manila (make sure you check before you ride):
Jam Liner Bus Terminal in Buendia, near LRT Buendia Station
Jam Liner Bus Terminal in Cubao, along EDSA Road, near the Trinity Lutheran Church
Arrives at the Batangas Pier in Barangay Santa Clara
On the Jam Liner website, you can buy a priority ticket that allows you to hop on any of the buses departing on that specific date.
Important note: You can only book the tickets 2 days in advance!
If you failed to do so, you can also just buy your tickets at the terminal.
Step 2: Batangas to Caticlan by Ferry
Duration: 9.5 hours Cost: 1,150 PHP ($21.50)
Starlite Ferries and 2Go Travel operate 2 ferry trips each from Batangas to Caticlan daily. Starlite is an old company with a good reputation among locals, while 2Go Travel is more popular with tourists and young travellers.
When booking online, the cheapest ticket available is 2Go’s non-aircon super value class, which costs 1,150 PHP ($21.50). You can book this via 12go.Asia, but note that there is an additional booking fee. With Starlite, you can get a tourist class bed for 1,400 PHP ($26.50). Although more expensive, this is already an air-conditioned cabin. Also, you can book Starlite via BookAway, which does not add a booking fee.
When you arrive at the port, find the local boats heading to Boracay. Ferries operate from 5:00 to 21:00 daily. The total cost is 180 PHP ($3.40) for the ferry ride and other port fees. From the Boracay Island port, you can take a multicab or a tricycle to your hotel.
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