Carabao Island is the poor neighbour of Boracay.Even though it is only 35 to 50 minutes away depending on the tide, Carabao is a world away in real terms from Boracay. Carabao Island can be seen from Puka beach on the north end of Boracay and seems so close and easy to visit, but getting there is another story.
There is no direct link between the two islands even though they are close neighbours. All passengers need to travel via Caticlan unless booking an island hopping tour from Boracay.This turns the short trip into a 5 hour journey.
The landing stage is a beach 20 minutes walk east of the main Caticlan port. Since the bangka cannot get right up on the beach anyone wishing to board needs to wade a short distance into the sea to climb the gangplank and if like me will always get their shorts wet.
The daily bangka is the islands lifeline, bringing in vital supplies like fresh fruit, eggs, rice, and dried goods from Caticlan as well as the few tourists that venture that way.
There is also a daily service from Santa Fe on Tablas Island to Carabao which leaves around 10.00 am and takes about an hour.
The jetty at Port Said is on the other side of the island near the capital San Jose. There is not much to do on this side of Carabao. The town is really small and is about a 20 minute walk from the jetty along a sandy road.
The beautiful white beach is nearly 1km long but is only visible at low tide. As you walk into town you will pass some marble statues of Carabaos in the garden of the Mayors house, and these are likely to be the only ones you do see. There may be a few more out on a farm somewhere but you will have to look for them.
About the only place to stay on this side of the island is also in the house of the mayor. You cannot miss his house as it is the biggest and grandest one around. I actually stayed in the Mayors house on a previous trip to this island.
In town there is a small market which sells a few vegetables and basic supplies. The centre of San Jose is taken up with the local municipal buildings and school and a small barangay.