Carabao Island Philippines – Why it is Not Just a Boracay Island Side Trip

Written By: Jing Calonge

Carabao Island in Romblon, Philippines is comparable to its neighbour, the chart-topping Boracay Island, in terms of powdery white sand beach and turquoise blue sea.

However, this tropical island is the reverse of Boracay when it comes to the presence of crowds, the party atmosphere, and the luxurious indulgence the latter offers.

If you love simple pleasures of enjoying nature in a serene environment, then Carabao Island is for you.

Things to do on Carabao Island

Carabao Island Philippines | hambil beach
Hambil Beach

One full day in the 8.51 square mile Carabao Island, more popularly known to locals as Hambil, can easily be filled with fun activities to do and places to go.

Here are your options for enjoying the island in a day.

Hambil Beach

visit Carabao Island | boat at dock

This is at the island’s east side where the boats dock if you are coming from Romblon (the capital) through Santa Fe Port in Tablas Island. Tablas Island is one of the three major islands in the province of Romblon.

Passenger boats from Boracay Island also dock in Hambil Beach.

The sight of the powdery white sand, crystal clear and astounding turquoise waters of Hambil Beach upon our approach made my heart skip with excitement.

hambil beach philippines

Walk through its long shore of fine sand, cool off at its clear waters, say hi to its resident fishes through snorkeling, or just spend the entire day beach bumming.

hambil beach in Philippines locals
I saw more locals hanging out at the beach than tourists. This is my kind of beach.

Unfortunately, I regret not taking more photos of Hambil Beach during daytime when the water is in its most vibrant blue.

Carabao Island beach at sunset
A stroll at the coast before sunset

I did love walking through the beach at sunset though.

Kuding Kuding Point

kudung kudung beach carabao island
Beach at Kudung Kudung

Kuding-Kuding Point is a rather new destination in Carabao Island getting known as a cliff diving site.

There’s a strip of the road nearing the entrance that is quite challenging though. This road segment is very narrow, with rocky downhill and uphill slopes.

You can ask your motorcycle driver if you can walk this part of the path, as it’s just less than a kilometer away from the site.

cliff divers at kuding kuding

The site boasts of beautiful rock formations and amazingly blue waters.

Things to do at Kuding Point

kuding kuding point carabao
Will you take the plunge?

Aside from cliff diving, there’s a small cave that has a mini pool that you can swim inside.

view from swimming hole carabao philippines
Entrance to the small cave

If you’re not up for a cliff driving, you can still enjoy Kuding-Kuding Point by taking in the gorgeous site or simply hang out over the raft below the cliff.

swimming hole on carabao island
Crystal clear swimming hole

You can access the raft through a bamboo ladder.

the bamboo raft kuding kuding point
Bamboo raft below the cliff
  • Getting There: You can get here from Hambil Beach in about 30 minutes by renting a motorcycle.

Lanas Beach

carabao island boats at beach
Not as white and powdery as Hambil Beach, but Lanas Beach is beautiful just the same

Lanas Beach at the western side of Carabo Island can be reached through a chartered boat from Boracay.

From Hambil Beach, you can go to Lanas Beach by motorcycle. You can actually rent a motorcycle for a day to go to different places of interest around the island.

You can see Puka Beach, the northern tip of Boracay, from this side of the island. Our motorcycle driver told us that Lanas Beach is a good take off point to beautiful diving spots.

Boracay Viewpoint

path to boracay island viewpoint
Path on the way to the viewpoint

Our motorcycle driver also took us to a viewpoint of Boracay and Panay Island from a hill.

From the main road, we had about 5-minute walk uphill through grassland.

boracay island from carabao island
View of Boracay Island

The breeze and shade from the hut at the viewpoint was a great way of cooling off from the heat of the sun.

That’s Boracay Island on the left and the northern portion of Panay Island behind it.

How to Get to Carabao Philippines

How to get to Carabao Island Philippines
Top-loading on a jeep ride on the way to Sta. Fe

From Aklan or Boracay Island

The nearest airport in Carabao Island from Aklan is the Caticlan International Airport.

  • From the airport, ride a tricycle going to Tabon Baybay port.
  • From the port, take the passenger boat bound for Hambil. Boat leaves the port at 9 AM and the ride takes about an hour.
  • If coming from Kalibo International Airport in Aklan, ride a one-hour van trip for Caticlan. Ask to be dropped at the Tabon Baybay port.
  • If you’re in Boracay Island, you can take a chartered boat to Hambil, which is 40 to 45 minutes away. The boat can take you to Lanas or dock at the Hambil Beach, where passenger boats also land.

From Tablas Island, Romblon

boat ride from sta Fe to Carabao Island
Boat ride from Sta. Fe to Carabao Island

Fly into Tugdan Airport in Alcantara, Romblon. From the Tugdan Airport, take the jeep to Sta. Fe and get off at the port where you will catch a boat.

The boat leaves at 9:30 AM, while boat ride is around one hour.

If time is not an issue, you can catch ferries bound for Tablas Island, Romblon from the Batangas Port. Travel time is 8-10 hours.

The ferry docks at Odiongan in Tablas Island. Ride a jeep to Sta. Fe at the jeep terminal in Odiongan. Jeep ride takes one hour. Get off at Sta. Fe port.

Going back from Carabao Island

Passenger boat leaves Hambil for Caticlan at 5:30 AM. That leaving for Sta. Fe also leaves at 5:30 AM.

Carabao Island as an Emerging Destination

Carabao Philippines boat at sunset

Carabao Island’s proximity to Boracay Island has made it an emerging destination. It deserves to be a destination in its own right.

What I loved about Carabao Island is its tranquility and the STILL preserved state of the environment it is in now.

Accommodations and places to eat are basic facilities, free from the luxury you can have over at Boracay. Nonetheless, resorts and accommodations are slowly growing.

In fact, building an international airport within the island had been part of the government’s plan to directly link the island to other parts of the Philippines and other Asian countries.

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), the proposed project had two national administrations come and go without the project being continued.

Responsible Travel Tips to Carabao Island

I am not against development. However, it’s sad to see how sadly some pristine islands in the Philippines have turned into commercialized areas crowded with tourists, at the expense of peace, tranquility and natural beauty it was supposed to offer.

The least we can do as travelers is to protect the area by being responsible visitors.

Don’t throw plastic bottles, food wrappers or any other solid wastes anywhere.

Better yet, find ways of avoiding using them if you can.

Learn more about ways on how to travel responsibly and reduce our negative impacts to the environment here.

Read More about travel to the Philippines:

Carabao Island Pinterest
How to Explore Carabao Island

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About Jing Calonge

Jing Calonge is an environmental consultant from the Philippines who happens to love travel and photography. She considers traveling the best way to discover not just the world outside but to learn of oneself. She writes about her travel experiences at Follow Jing at: FindingJing / Facebook / Instagram /

Leave a Comment

12 thoughts on “Carabao Island Philippines – Why it is Not Just a Boracay Island Side Trip”

  1. Thanks Jing for a great blog, which inspired me to come to Carabao Island. Actually I’m here now and agree with everything you said and more about the tranquil nature of the island, it’s like Boracay was 30 years ago! But as you say, things are developing quite quickly and there are some quite excellent resorts here now, I think 2 or3 , one of which is The Beach House in Lanas, probably the best beach resort and restaurant I have found in all my travels in the Philippines. Thomas’s comments have some validity, but I found the boat I came with from Caticlan fantastic, but it’s new and 2 story, but I think some of the others have seen better days. As Thomas says some of the roads are a bit dangerous, as they are being relaid, but the circumferential road that goes all around the island is just complete and is a higher standard than in Europe! I hope this island doesn’t get spoiled like Boracay, but now is the time to come! Land prices are very cheap also if you want build your dream getaway in what must be the best paradise island in the world so close to an airport, and Kalibo International airport is only 90 mins away.

  2. You said an emerging island. While that may be true, you fail to mention that many of these roads are not completed yet. They are scary at the least and in parts just dangerous. Also the boat to Caribou can also be downright treacherous. As well as overloaded and not properly equipped with fire extinguishers or lifejackets. It has a long way to go. Not for the faint of heart. Upon arrival it is heavenly but I think people should be aware of the good and the bad. Especially when risk is involved.

  3. Hi, thanks for the information, really useful!! We are traveling tomorrow to Caticlan and go directly to Boracay, then we are looking to go to Carabao, Tablas, Romblón and Sibuyan… If you had to choose over Carabao or Tablas, which one would you choose?

  4. @Marianne, Hope you had a great time in Bohol and Palawan. There’s always so much to see in every country. There sure are a lot of reasons to go back to the Philippines. 🙂

  5. I was in the Philippines last year – Bohola and Palawan – and this post brings back many happy memories. I need to look into another trip. Carabao looks beautiful!

  6. This is really great island to explore. You shared awesome pictures of that place. You help me a lot to create my bucket list!

  7. Carabao Island is such a beauty. You captured great pictures. Thanks for sharing it.

  8. The Philippines never ceases to amaze me. I have always wanted to see it. Thank you for the great information and more destinations to add to our list!