Boracay is a small island located approximately 196 miles (about 315 kilometres) south of Manila, and approximately 1.2 miles (about two kilometres) off the northwest tip of Panay Island in the Western Visayas island-group, or Region VI, of the Philippines. This dog bone-shaped island is approximately 4.3 miles (about seven kilometres) long, with the narrowest spot being less than 0.6 miles (one kilometre) wide, and has a total land area of approximately four square miles (10.32 square kilometres). The island comprises the barangays (also known as barrios, wards or villages) of Manoc-Manoc, Balabag and Yapak in the municipality of Malay, in the Aklan Province. Boracay Island is administered by the Philippine Tourism Authority, and the provincial government of Aklan. Boracay is divided for land use and conservation purposes into approximately 988.4 acres (about 400 hectares) of preserved forestland, and approximately 1,554 acres (about 628.96 hectares) of agricultural land.
Boracay was originally home to the Ati tribe, and the island was already inhabited before the Spaniards arrived in the Philippines in 1565. It was known to the Iberian conquerors as 'Buracay'. At the time of contact with the Europeans, Buracay had a population of one hundred people, who cultivated rice on the island and augmented their income by raising goats. Boracay is part of the Aklan Province, which became an independent province on April 25, 1956. Sofia Gonzales Tirol and her husband Lamberto Hontiveros Tirol, a town judge on nearby Panay Island, took ownership of substantial properties on the island around 1900, and planted coconuts, fruit trees and greenery here. Others followed the Tirols, and cultivation and development of the island gradually spread. Tourism came to the Boracay Island beginning in the 1970s. The movie, Too Late the Hero, was filmed in 1970 on locations in Boracay and Caticlan. In the 1980s, the island became popular as a budget destination for backpackers. By the 1990s, Boracay's beaches were renowned as the finest in the world.
South-facing Cagban Beach is located across a small strait from the jetty port at Caticlan on Panay Island, and the Cagban jetty port serves as Boracay's main entry and exit point during most of the year. When wind and sea conditions dictate, east-facing Tambisaan Beach serves as an alternative entry and exit point. Boracay's two primary tourism beaches, White Beach and Bulabog Beach, are located on opposite sides of the island's narrow central area. White Beach, the main tourism beach on Boracay Island, is approximately 2.5 miles (about four kilometres) in length, and lined with resorts, hotels, lodging houses, restaurants, and other tourism-related venues. In the central portion, the approximately 1.2-mile (about two-kilometre) Beachfront Path separates the beach from the establishments located along it. Several roads and paths connect the Beachfront Path with Boracay's Main Road, which runs the length of the island. At the extreme northern end of White Beach, a footpath runs around the headland there, and connects White Beach with Diniwid Beach. Bulabog Beach is located across the island from White Beach in the central part of the island's eastern side. It is the second-most popular tourism beach on the island, and Boracay's main windsurfing, kiteboarding and kitesurfing area. The island also has several other beaches.
Boracay Island and its beaches have received awards from numerous travel publications and agencies. In 2012, the Philippine Department of Tourism reported that Boracay had been named the world's second-best beach after Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands. That same year, Boracay was awarded as the best island in the world from the international travel magazine, Travel + Leisure. Boracay may be a small island, but there is much to do here. You can swim in its pristine blue waters, take a stroll along its idyllic, white-sand beaches, indulge in the island's exciting night life and sumptuous, multi-ethnic cuisine, or simply relax, sunbathe and take in the amazing island scenery from one of the many beachfront hotels. A landmark natural rock formation, 'Willy's Rock', juts prominently directly in front of Willy's Beach Resort.
Boracay also offers a wide array of scenic and memorable sightseeing venues for outdoor enthusiasts. Land-based excursions include picturesque bird-watching and hiking treks amidst the verdant forested hills and mountains, which can also be explored via all-terrain vehicles, and a relaxing round of golf at the picturesque Fairways & Bluewater Boracay Golf Course. Boracay's spectacular white-sand beaches and abundant, crystal-clear waters are ideally-suited for exciting, fun-filled water-based excursions, including swimming, snorkelling scuba diving, diving helmets, windsurfing, kiteboarding, kitesurfing, cliff-diving, parasailing, boating, yachting, sailing, and more.
Due to its compact size, Boracay can be easily explored in just a single day.
Going Ashore in Boracay
The ship may be at anchor. Guests will tender ashore to Cagban Port. Boracay's town centre is approximately 1.2 miles (two kilometres) from the port, and can be reached via public transportation.
Boracay is renowned for its handicrafts, clothing, accessories, t-shirts, leather goods, jewellery, shells, pearls, books, specialty food items, woodcarvings, and other souvenirs. The major shopping areas include the Tilipapa Market, D Mall, E Mall and Plazoleta. The Talipapa Market., located between Boracay's Main Road and White Beach, features an abundance of food, seafood and souvenir stalls. The D'Mall, located at Station 2 and known as the heart of shopping in Boracay, offers many restaurants and tourist shops. The E Mall, located on the Main Road, is home to numerous cafes and shops offering beach items, clothing and other souvenirs. Plazoleta, located directly on White Beach at Station 2 near the Regency, offers books, leather goods, handbags, food, and souvenirs; it also features a wine store and salon. A wide array of handicrafts, clothing, t-shirts, beach items, jewellery, woodcarvings, furniture, tarsier dolls, shells, pearls, handbags, baskets, and other souvenirs can also be found at the many souvenir stalls throughout the island. Most stores are open from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. The local currency is the Philippine Peso.
Boracay's cuisine is renowned for its excellent seafood, and unique blend of Filipino, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Italian, Mediterranean American, Arab, and Spanish influences. Popular local restaurants include: Los Indios Bravos Boracay, Sunny Side Café, SpiceBird, Lemon Café, Aria, Solana, Paupatri, Subo Boracay, Mayas, Tilapia 'n Chips, Pelmeshka Café, Thai Basil, Mama's, Sushi Shiro, Ariel's House, Nami Boracay, Pamana, Spider House, Aplaya, Dos Mestizos, Smoke, Kasbah, Cowboy Cucina, Plato d'Boracay, Cozina, Cyma, Real Coffee & Tea Café, Summer Place, and Crafty's. Popular hotels for dining include the Paradise Garden, Mandarin, Discover Shores and Shangri-La.
Boracay offers a splendid selection of outdoor activities, including picturesque bird-watching and hiking treks amidst the verdant forested hills and mountains, which can also be explored via all-terrain vehicles, and a relaxing round of golf at the Fairways & Bluewater Golf Course. Boracay's spectacular white-sand beaches and abundant, crystal-clear waters are ideally-suited for fun-filled and exciting, water-based excursions, including swimming, snorkelling scuba diving, diving helmets, windsurfing, kiteboarding, kitesurfing, cliff-diving, parasailing, boating, yachting, sailing, and more.
Private arrangements for independent sightseeing may be requested through the Shore Concierge Office on board the ship.