Boracay Is Back

Southeast Asia’s famed island emerges renewed.

By Chadner Navarro

In April 2018, the island of Boracay—one of the Philippines’ most popular destinations—closed its shores to visitors so that it could rehabilitate. Decades of unrestricted tourism had taken a serious toll on the tropical paradise. In October, after six months of TLC that included cleaning up the beaches and reworking the sewage network, the island finally reopened, with a new set of eco-friendly rules. Here are five changes you need to know about for your vacation.

Open Beaches

Boracay’s once-pristine beaches are idyllic again because businesses that used to crowd the shoreline—from food vendors to sandcastle builders—are no longer allowed to operate there.

Visitor Limits

Previously unregulated development led to overcrowding. Since reopening, a capacity ceiling controls the number of people who are on the island at any given time to just more than 19,000.

Know Where to Book

It used to be that you could take part in water sports just about anywhere you pleased with companies offering their services directly to tourists, but now new regulations require that you book your Jet Skiing and diving excursions through your resort or an accredited travel agency.

No More Parties

Boracay is attempting to restore not just its natural landscape but its reputation, too. The government wants to transform the party scene into one of relaxation, so casinos have been shuttered, drinking on the beach has been banned, and fireworks are now restricted.

New Eco-Friendly Measures

To keep Boracay sustainable, single-use plastics are now prohibited. And the Philippines’ most popular mode of transportation, jeepneys (small buses), have been given a green upgrade, with electric versions now shuttling passengers around.

  • NOTE: Information may have changed since publication. Please confirm key details before planning your trip.
  • Published: April 2019