Friday, November 18, 2011

How to get to Boracay

If you are carrying heavy equipment, PAL is the best airlines to choose, as they use Boeing 737-300s on this route with normal 20kg (44lb) checked baggage allowance (if you have Flying Sportsman Card you can carry even more). They have several flight a day from Manila to Kalibo, as well as flights from other islands. You then take a 1 1/2 to 2 hr bus or jeepney ride from Kalibo to Caticlan, where you board bangkas to ferry you across to Boracay.
(For the return journey, the buses leaving Caticlan are timed to meet the flights departing from Kalibo airport.)
This route is highly organized. You will be accosted at Manila domestic airport Terminal One by representatives of the two main transfer operators, southwest and 7107 Islands Tour Management Inc., who will sell you an all-in ticket for both an air-conditioned bus and the bangka transfer (the bangkas have radio contact with the transfer organizers). You could save some money by getting a jeepney from Kalibo to Caticlan and haggling with the bangkas, but it is hardly worth it if you are carrying any heavy equipment.
The bus ride from Kalibo to Caticlan can be avoided by flying directly to the little airstrip at Caticlan with either Air Philippines, Asian Spirit or Pacific Air. Smaller aircraft are used on this route with a checked baggage limit of 10kg (22lb)
.It is only a short crossing from Caticlan to Boracay but, depending on the tide, you will at least get your feet wet or possibly have to wadewhen embarking and disembarking, so it is worth wearing shorts and sandals. The bangkas tend to be overloaded and the crossing can be wet, so protect any equipment that you want to keep dry.
The bangkas call at regular stopping points along White Sand Beach, so it is a good idea to know in advance where you are staying.
The only types of mechanized transport permitted on Boracay are motorcycles and motor tricycles and these are barred from the beach. If the weather is rough, you will be dropped on the leeward (east) side of the island, where you will be met by motorized or pedal tricycles for transport.
Some of the larger up-market resorts have their own ferry service, also, if there are enough of you going to one particular resort, the bangkas will drop you there. Bangkas ply the route from other provinces as well.

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