Visiting an island paradise is everyone’s dream, and with a location as gorgeous as Boracay, Philippines, it makes no sense to miss out. With the small island pulling in over 2 million tourists in 2017 alone, it’s clear that you have a lot of company when it comes to travelers who want to get a taste of the turquoise waters and fine white sand. But how can you get to this small, sparkling jewel of the Philippines? Here’s a short, handy guide for how to get to Boracay.
Are there direct flights to Boracay?
Boracay is a small island in the Philippines that spans only 7km in length. As such, it lacks the infrastructure required for international flights. You unfortunately won’t be able to book a flight directly from Manila to Boracay, because there’s no airport on the island itself.
However, even though you won’t find a direct flight to Boracay any time soon, that doesn’t mean that it’s hard to travel to the island. On the contrary, ever since Boracay began to boom in popularity, the local government unit (LGU) and the Department of Tourism have put together an easy-to-understand system to travel to your accommodation in Boracay island itself.
If you are a tourist who’s booked accommodation and fulfilled all the necessary requirements for entering Boracay, then in general you would simply take a plane to either Caticlan Boracay Airport or Kalibo International Airport. Then, you would have to transfer to Caticlan Jetty Port via bus or van transfer service, from which you will take a ferry to the island itself.
While this is the general method for entering Boracay, the COVID-19 pandemic has a few newer requirements. Below, you will find a brief list of what you need to prepare for before entering Boracay during the pandemic.
Requirements for Entering Boracay
To stop the spread of COVID-19, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) has published a list of requirements that every traveler must fulfill before being allowed to enter the Island. The requirements are listed below, but always be sure that you check the LGU page for the most up-to-date list. Another option is to send an email to your accommodation, which can provide you a checklist of things that you will need.
What You Need for Entry to Boracay
- Health Declaration Card – You can find this form on the Tourist Boracay website. Simply click the option that says ‘Boracay’ and you will be redirected to the form. The information you provide will be used for COVID-19 contact-tracing activities only. Once you accomplish the form, you can then move on to the next step.
- Confirmed hotel or resort booking – You must have a confirmed booking with an accredited establishment on the island. Your accommodation must have a Certificate of Authority to Operate or Provisional Certificate of Authority to Operate, issed by the Department of Tourism.
- RT-PCR test with a negative result – This must be taken within 72 hours before your departure. You must take an RT-PCR test at any accredited laboratory and bring a copy of the results with you. If you plan to travel with multiple people, each person must have a copy of their own authentic RT-PCR test result with them.
- Email a copy of these requirements to email@example.com – The subject line of the email must be ‘OHDC-[Family Name], [First name]’. If you’re traveling as a group, you can send all your requirements in one email. Just ensure that you include a list of names for all your traveling companions, and that each one’s requirements are attached and properly labeled. These documents must be submitted 12 hours or more before your departure to Caticlan or Kalibo Airport. Try to email as soon as possible to ensure that your application is processed as swiftly as possible. Results will usually be sent out within 2 hours; if you haven’t received yours yet within that span of time, you can send a follow-up email. You may also be required to provide additional clarification in case processing is unsuccessful.
- Tourist QR code and copy of Health Declaration Card – You will receive a copy of your QR code if your email processing is successful. You will need to have your QR code with you at all times on the island, so make sure you have a physical or digital copy readily at hand.
Once you’ve completed all of the above requirements, you can then travel to the island.
Kalibo to Boracay
In the days pre-pandemic, there were two options to landing in Aklan, the province of Boracay. One of them was Kalibo International Airport, which requires 1.5 to 2 hours of travel to Caticlan Jetty Port. The advantage of Kalibo International Airport is that fares to Kalibo are generally cheaper when compared with fares to Caticlan Boracay Airport.
However, due to new requirements instituted by the IATF, the two airports are now restricting travel to specific categories of travelers depending on their purpose of travel. Kalibo Airport now only serves the following:
- Returning overseas Filipino workers (ROFWs)
- Locally stranded individuals (LSIs)
- Authorized persons outside of residence (APORs)
If you do not fit any of the above, then you’re going to fly into Caticlan Airport, which we’ll discuss briefly below. From Kalibo Airport, you can then take a bus, tourist van, or van transfer service to Caticlan Boracay. Of these, the cheapest option is the bus, which is priced around Php 120 for Caticlan Boracay Airport or Caticlan Boracay Jetty Port.
Caticlan to Boracay
Caticlan Airport, also known as Boracay Airport, is the closest airport to the island. Caticlan Jetty Port is nearby Caticlan Boracay Airport, only around 15-30 minutes away. This airport is exclusive to the following travelers:
- Boracay-bound leisure travelers
Once you arrive at Caticlan Airport, you can take a tricycle ride to Caticlan Jetty Port. Fare per person will range from around Php 50 to Php 75, depending on the number of passengers. As of October 15, 2018, Caticlan Jetty Port is the only point of entry and exit into Boracay for tourists, employees, and residents. Please take the necessary precautions and observe social distancing all throughout your travel.
How to Travel From Manila to Boracay
If you are planning to travel from Manila to Boracay, there are a range of different options available for you. There are several methods available for traveling from Manila to Boracay, but sea travel or via flight are the most popular options.
In the past, traveling from Manila to Caticlan Boracay by sea was done through ferry. This is the cheapest option to get to Caticlan Boracay, but unfortunately takes the longest time. You need to travel from Manila to Batangas Pier, which is around two hours and change of bus travel, and a cost of around Php 230.
For you to travel to Caticlan Boracay from the Batangas Pier, you will have to take a 2Go ferry to Caticlan. The cost of your fare on the ferry will depend on which seat or section you decide to book. Total travel time to get you to Caticlan Boracay from the Batangas Pier will be around 9 hours. It might not be the safest and most expedient option given the pandemic, so make sure to weigh your options carefully.
Manila to Boracay Flights
The best and fastest option for flying from Manila to Boracay is to take flight from airports around Manila. The typical choice is to book your flight from Ninoy Aquino International Airport, but Clark International Airport, which is a few hours from Manila, offers flight options to Caticlan Boracay as well.
From Manila to Caticlan Boracay, flight time is around an hour and a half. Because flying to Kalibo for leisure travelers isn’t possible due to the pandemic, your flight will land in Caticlan Boracay instead.
Of the airlines PAL or Philippine Airlines is the most popular choice, but Philippines AirAsia budget airline offers cheap flights from Manila to Caticlan Boracay. You also have the option to take advantage of deals like piso fare flight promos. Airlines like Cebu Pacific offer cheap flights from Manila to Caticlan Boracay, so pick the flight that’s the best for your schedule and budget.
Cebu to Boracay Flights
If you aren’t flying out from Manila, Cebu to Boracay is a much shorter flight time at around an hour. Cebu province is nearby Panay Island, which is where the province of Aklan is located.
Airfare deals and cheap flights to Boracay from Cebu are readily available under Cebu Pacific, which offers the most flight connections to many of the top destinations in the Philippines. Whether you choose Cebu Pacific or Philippines AirAsia, the process of getting to your accommodation on the island follows more or less the same requirements provided above.
International Travel to Boracay
Before booking accommodation, it’s important for international travelers to take note of possible travel restrictions from the country to airports in the Philippines. The below instructions are listed in case international travel to Boracay is possible. However, it’s important to double-check with international and local government restrictions before finalizing trip details.
Seoul to Boracay Flights
If you’re coming from Seoul, the best way to travel to Boracay is to land in the international airports in the Philippines. NAIA and Clark are good options for traveling from Manila to Boracay from Luzon. There are also direct flights from Incheon Airport to Cebu.
From the international airports in the Philippines, you can then book a domestic flight with Philippines AirAsia, Philippine Airlines, or Cebu Pacific that will land in Caticlan Airport. From Caticlan, it’s the same process to go to Boracay Island itself, provided you fulfill all the requirements.
Guangzhou to Boracay Flights
If you’re planning to take a flight from Guangzhou, you can fly with China Southern to Manila. You can then book a domestic flight from Manila to Caticlan via Philippine Airlines, or any other domestic airline.
Once you’ve landed in Caticlan, follow the same procedures listed above for travel to Caticlan Jetty Port, and from Caticlan Jetty Port to the island. Always be sure to have the appropriate documents with you at all times in Boracay, as these will allow you to enter and exit the island safely.
Shanghai to Boracay Flights
It takes a minimum of around ten hours to get from Shanghai to Boracay in total, depending on flight schedule and other matters. International flights from Shanghai mostly land in NAIA. From that point, you’ll book a domestic flight from Manila to any one of the airports close to Boracay.
Same principles and instructions listed above apply. Keep travel and health declaration documents with you at all times while in Boracay. Make sure to follow all local rules and regulations, including social distancing protocols, to ensure a safe trip for all. Happy travels!
James Gonzales is a Filipino-American travel enthusiast and writer currently based in the Philippines. After living and working in New York for 10 years, James decided he wanted to see more of the world and leave the city behind. In the course of saving up for what would become an epic trip across Asia, he wrote about previous traveling experiences for various travel websites and publications based in the Lower East Side.
James focused on journeying through the Philippines in the hopes of understanding his roots, and began Daydreaming in Paradise to share his thoughts and experiences. He’s always looking for like-minded travelers to trade stories and swap tips with, and he hopes you’ll join him on his journey.