The tropical island of Boracay is well known for its white sand beach, the most amazing sunsets, nightlife and steady wind between December and March. Situated just off the coast of Panay Island and only a short flight away from the country’s biggest cities of Cebu and Manila, Boracay offers a different view for the tropical island gateway. Very popular with tourists from the neighbouring countries of China, Taiwan and Australia, this little island offers an entirely different vibe than the rest of the Philippines. Upon arrival at Boracay, you will quickly notice the 'not so tranquil' feel. A lot of noise, many cars and tourist, all types of hospitality providers and even Starbucks, Mcdonalds and the rest. It may feel quite hectic at first, but all of it only exists at the central part in the middle of the island. The whole island is split into many sections and stations. The main action happens at the west coast of the islands narrowest strip called the White Beach. As the name explains, it is a long white sand beach dedicated to tourists only and offers all the beachfront accommodations, and many bars, restaurants and cafes to keep you entertained day and night. At the middle of the island, at Station 1, you will find the central shopping mall (D’mall), and at the opposite part of the island, at the east-facing the beach, you will find the tranquil kitesurfers paradise - Bulabog beach. Even though the island is quite busy and hectic, Bulabog beach is the exact opposite. Due to the strong winds, most of the tourist never even step their foot at this side of the island. For kitesurfers, that means a perfect hideaway from this island lifestyle, with the opportunity to join the rest of the crowds for a good party if they wish to. This divers option makes Boracay a perfect winter gateway for nomad kitesurfers needing the internet and facilities, also the backpackers exploring Asia wanting to experience civilisation for a little while. The most importantly this location is perfect for all level kitesurfers, from beginner to advanced; wanting to practice freestyle, wave riding or try hydrofoiling. ISLAND UPDATE Recently the island was closed for a six month rehabilitation period, to sort many of the island's problems caused by overpopulation and the rapid growth. As of November 2018, the island is re-opened and fully functioning, however, few things changed, and most would agree that the change is for the better. Generally speaking, Boracay always was one of the more established islands providing all of the amenities you would possibly need away from home. Now it is less crowded, much cleaner and you can experience even better service. Overall, the sunsets there are still the most beautiful, the wind is always blowing, and the locals are super fun and friendly. Please note that some of the building works are still in progress, leaving main roads halfway completed and many accommodations and hospitality providers closed for reconstruction. When it comes to pre-booking accommodation, kitesurfing lessons or any other activities, we recommend contacting businesses before your arrival to make sure that they are prepared to offer you full service.
VISAS: Citizens of nearly every country can get a visa upon arrival in the Philippines for up to 30 days (Visitors from Israel and Brazil get 59 days). You can have this visa extended to 59 days at one of the offices of the Bureau of Immigration for about 3,000Php. CURRENCY: Philippine peso (PHP) PRICES: Beer: 50-100 PHP (€0.80-1.30) Food: Lunch 250-550 PHP (€3-9) Accommodation: 550 - 4800php (€7-80pp) Kite Lessons: 3h 7,000php (€115) Kite Gear rental: 3500php all day (€60) LANGUAGE: Filipino (Tagalog) and English INTERNET: Offered in most accommodations bars and restaurant. For longer stays and a stronger connection, we recommended getting a Local SIM card. You can get a free SIM card at the exit of Manila Airport (same hall as getting the transfer bus, so you will not miss it). TRAVEL ADVICE: After the refurbishment of the island, you will be required to show booking confirmation for your accommodation upon entering the island at the Jetty port. There are many cash machines on the island, however, if you have an opportunity in the Manila airport take money there as you will need it for tricycle rides and tips for the porters upon arrival. TEMPERATURE: Water temperatures range from 22 – 26°C / 71 - 78°F during the Amihan season, therefore wetsuit is not necessary, however on the overcast days the water temperature can be colder, so thin neoprene layer will come handy. The air temperature stays 26-29°C / 80°F day and night. There is plenty of sunshine; however with the wind comes the wind chill; therefore, a light cover in the windier days can come in handy. We also recommend taking a rain jacket with you as some heavy rain days can occur, especially in the earlier season.
NEAREST TOWN: Caticlan NEAREST CITY: Iloilo NEAREST AIRPORT: Caticlan/Godofredo P. Ramos Airport [MPH] or Kalibo International Airport [KLO] If you are flying from outside of the Philippines, you have an option to fly to Kalibo International airport and then take a 2,5h transfer to the Caticlan Jetty Port. Or you can fly to Manila International airport and then change for the short flight to Caticlan airport and then take a very short ride to Caticlan Jetty Port. We recommend contacting your accommodation provider or organising a reputable and fast transfer for the quickest journey. If you decide to arrange transfer yourself, you will find many transfer companies waiting for you on arrival at either of the airports and plenty or tricycle drivers to choose from. In this case, make sure you get some money in local currency at the airport. The average cost for the transfer is: 200php for the transfer from the airport to the port; multiple fees for the ferry (total 200pho per person); tip for the porters bringing your kite bags to the boat (20php per bag) and cost for the tricycle driver getting you to your accommodation (around 300php). GETTING AROUND: Everything is effortless to reach by foot once you are on the island. Bulabog beach (kite beach) is located at the east side of the narrowest tip of the island. To reach all the restaurants, shops and clubs at Station 1 only take 5-7 min walk. If you need to reach any further malls, cinema or other beaches, you can catch a tricycle from anywhere, and it will cost you no more than 300php.
Bulabog beach has a perfect set up for all level kitesurfers, thanks to the wide bay and the constant onshore winds it is easy to learn or improve your skills. In the low tide, the water gets very shallow, and exposed reef doesn't leave much space for the riders. As a general rule, you should calculate a 1,5H either side of the low tide as a no kiting time. Mid tide is the best time to kite as the water is relatively flat, there is enough beach space for everyone, and the water depth is around the mid-waist in most parts of the bay. Please note that this is the times when most lessons take place, therefore if you are comfortable riding upwind you may be asked to stay further away from the beach. With the water rising, the small to medium size kickers will appear at the bay alongside small wave rolling in at the reef. As the tide reaches the high point, then kitesurfing in the bay is still possible, however only for intermediate to advanced riders and exercising caution. If you want to experience more kitesurfing action outside of Boracay, there are few options: Seco Island - Many kite schools offer organised and adventurous trips to Seco and other islands nearby. It is highly recommended to take one of these trips. Union Beach - is a beautiful shallow water bay, 5km away from Boracay island. It is located just on the other side of Caticlan airport and is an excellent location for beginner and independent riders to gain experience in a less crowded environment but still close to Boracay. Mindoro - It takes a 3h ferry ride from Caticlan to get there, but it offers completely isolated island experiences than Boracay. There is only one camp (glamping) provider on the island giving access to kitesurfers only bay, providing excellent food and other adventures for your stay. Check out Kitesurf Mindoro for more details. AMENITIES: Kite School, Gear Rental, Beach Assistance, Gear Storage, Kite Shop, Kite/Gear Repair, Toilets, Cafe/Bar, Accommodation, Food Shop.
Wind in the Philippines is dominated by a North Easterly trade wind, known locally as the Amihan. The Amihan is a steady, consistent wind that blows from around November to April, with January and February being the prime wind seasons. The winds come from the N-NE, therefore, providing consistent cross-on-shore and on-shore winds for kitesurfing. You can expect steady winds from around 16 to 25 knots almost every day. During the Amihan season, kiteboarders in the 70-85kg range should bring 12m and 9m kites. You can expect quite a few windy days for 7m (not as common and get very gusty) and few days for 14m or trying hydrofoil. Lighter / heavier kiteboarders should adjust their kite sizes accordingly. Months June to September are the Habagat season, also known as the south-west monsoon, this period is considered the low season in Boracay. The winds come in from the southwest side of the island, from the direction of White Beach and kitesurfing is not allowed there. WIND DIRECTIONS: NE, E WINDIEST MONTHS: High Season - January, February. Mid Season - December, March, April.
Due to a small beach a cross-wind/up-wind line set up required (as a spoken rule); Launch the kite facing the water due to palm trees and electric cables being very close to the launch area. The water movement and depth closer to the beach will very quickly wash you to the shore if the kite is down, don't worry, there will be plenty of people to catch your kite. However, at the high tide, the beach space is significantly reduced and brings you very close to the palm trees, concrete tide-walls and a road. Knowing deepwater pack-down, being confident in releasing your safety and being proficient in launch and land techniques is a must if you want to kite in the high time, as there is no room to make mistakes. If you are beginner kite surfer or tend to lose your board a lot, it's recommended to wear booties as there are some sea urchins and corals, fields of reef grass in the area. *If you need kite related service like kite repairs, lessons or beach assistance please contact with the local kite centre or camp. ** We always recommend seeking additional knowledge about the spot from local kite school or qualified instructors.
Waist deep water lagoon suitable for beginners and more advanced, slightly choppy in the windier days. Overall pretty windy especially Jan-Feb, you can kite every day at least for a few hours, and if you have a 14m kite and a foil, then you can be in the water all day every day! Mostly use all your kites in one day, the wind usually not that strong in the morning and picks up around lunchtime. If you like kiting stay at Bulabog beach, it's nice and quiet, specially created for watersports people. If you want to party, you will find kitesurfers hanging in the beach bars, or you can walk for 5 min to White beach and party with the tourists. Overall, strong wind and a great atmosphere! Also, quite a few beaches in the nearby island to explore too if you want to run away from the crowds.
You’ve read all about it, now feast your eyes on your next kiting destination.