Big changes have swept Boracay. Now it’s up to you to decide if it’s your kind of place.
For many years Boracay was the most popular island in the Philippines, and a true paradise for all party lovers. During these times it was often named the best island in the world, mostly thanks to its famous ‘White Beach’ area. Sadly, Boracay’s popularity has taken a huge toll on the environment and the small island has been quickly falling apart, overloaded by the sheer number of visitors.
Boracay has recently transformed itself with the new rules put in place on the white sand island. Beachfront establishments were all removed by the authorities, who wanted to protect the dangerously polluted waters and give island time to breathe. Some of the resorts were penalized and asked to close because of non-adherence to environmental regulations and laws. The crazy Boracay days of partying all night right on the beach has mellowed down quite a bit.
The island was closed to tourists for around 6 months to undergo complete rehabilitation and make Boracay look better than ever before. And today, Boracay is back as the major go-to island in the Philippines. With the beautiful white sand beaches surrounded by bars, hotels and restaurants, Boracay is still way ahead of its major competitors in the world on all fronts. Nowadays, Boracay also became a classic choice for honeymooners and beach lovers who see a more private and quiet vacation.
What’s new at Boracay
- According to the new rules, not more than 19,000 tourists are allowed to be on the island at one time
- Firework displays can take place only until 9 pm
- The annual labor day party ‘Laboracay’ has been transformed. No more rave parties and loud music.
- There are only 10,000 rooms available on the island, only through compliant establishments and hotels. That’s why travelers are required to make their bookings beforehand so that they are allowed to enter the island.
- Activities and indulgences such as diving, fire dancing, smoking and drinking are prohibited on the beach area.
- Casinos cannot operate on the island
- Dining by the beach is not allowed, ensuring tourists can take a stroll by the beach without any obstructions
- No electric lights on the beach
- Sandcastle building by the beach is not allowed without proper permits
It might sound like too many rules and ‘dos and don’ts’, but it means a cleaner and serener island for everyone. It is truly an example of an island that was environmentally damaged due to over-tourism. The rehab and new rules are now put in place to protect the island that was once known for its breathtaking beach. So, while it is no more a party place, it is still one of the best places to visit in Asia.
The best and fastest way to get to this beautiful island is by plane. There are two airports that have flights operating from and to different parts of the world – Caticlan airport and Kalibo airport. While Caticlain is just 10 mins away from Boracay, Kalibo is a 1.5-hour car ride away. On the other hand, flying to Kalibo can save you up to 50% of flight price, and it also accepts flights from nearby Asian countries – unlike Caticlan which is a strictly domestic airport.
Things to Do in New Boracay
After the environmental rehab, the beaches on the island look as pristine as ever. It has a long stretch of white sand lined up with several restaurants and hotels. On one side where you have white beach, a 4 kilometer stretch of powdery white sand. Then there is Puka beach on the other side where you get to see ocean on the one side and forest and cliff on the other. Moving on to the virgin beach that appeals to most of the adventure lovers, the Ilig-Iligan beach is known for being the most rugged and wild beach on the island. It is quite exciting to explore forests, caves and lush mountains around the beach, and you can even rent a bicycle and roam around this area. If you are a beach fanatic and want to appreciate the clad waters and turquoise surroundings, Boracay is surely not going to disappoint you.
Scouting from one island to another is another activity that is back in action. If you are looking to do something other than just lazing by the beach, book an island tour to the nearby islands to experience a change in vibe. This way you can spend your days in the quieter neighbors, such as Crocodile island, Ariel’s Point and so on. One can also choose to get indulged in some of the activities such as jet ski, mermaid lessons, freediving, helicopter tours and so on.
Want to try out a sailing adventure with a paraw? Well, for all those who do not know what a paraw is, it is a local sailing boat similar to catamaran that can carry up to 6 people and has two outriggers. The adventurous ones love to sail on windy days due to the exciting high speed and waves, some prefer to sail during relaxing calm weather to enjoy the amazing sun views.
All those looking for diving experience and explore the world under water, the good news is Boracay has more than 15 dive sites and most of them are easy for beginners. For experienced ones, there are challenging sites as well, such as Yapak.
Where to stay in the New Boracay
While Boracay is no longer a party goers place, it has become a paradise for peace lovers with its clean and blue waters. With fewer number of people around and lesser number of options for accommodation, it is always good to book the hotel ahead of time to avoid chaos while entering the island. So, check out the approved list of accommodation that is open to public.