The best destination comparison site!


The best destination comparison site!

Boracay or Cancun, which paradise holiday destination is best for you?

With the whole world to explore, and so many paradise holiday destinations to visit, choosing the ideal one can be surprisingly challenging. Cancun and Boracay are both exceptional in their own ways, but definitely cater for different tourist types. This article will provide a comparison of Boracay with Cancun and help you to identify which is the better destination for your paradise holiday.

Boracay vs Cancun; a quick summary

Is Cancun or Boracay better for…..?

A honeymoon - Boracay
A backpack or inexpensive trip - Boracay
The 5-star treatment - Cancun

What does the name Boracay and Cancun refer to for tourists?

Boracay (area 10km2)
Boracay is a small paradise island found within the Philippines archipelago. There is just a single resort town which spans the length of the beach, and this is where all of the tourism development is found. The 4km beach is divided into three sections (named “stations” as boats historically moor here); Station 2 is the lively central area, Station 3 is calm and peaceful, while Station 1 is where the luxurious hotels tend to be situated.

Cancun (area 12km2)
Cancun lies on the eastern side Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. As a visitor, Cancun refers to the Hotel Zone, a beautiful “7” shaped sandbank that juts out in the Caribbean Sea. This sandbank is relatively narrow, and all of the major hotels are condensed in a comparatively small area, at the northeastern tip. The hotels become less dense and more spacious away from this point, but every inch of beach is lined by hotels. A holiday to Cancun rarely refers to the city.

Destination scores and ratings for Cancun and Boracay
So why Cancun?

If you seek beautiful beaches, the 5-star treatment and buzzing nightlife, then Cancun is the holiday destination for you. The white sands and calm turquoise sea make the perfect beach, and this once paradise is now lined by iconic hotels and resorts at the pinnacle of all-inclusive.

Cancun excels at the mega-resort hotels; welcoming couples, families and of course, super excitable spring-breakers. Cancun is renowned for its wild nightlife, which is tailored purely for tourists; there’s Mandala Beach Club, pool parties or Coco Bongo’s extravagant nightclub.

There are day trips to Tulum, Chichen Itza and Coba, along with snorkelling excursions, but the real reason to visit Cancun is to enjoy the beach and facilities of your hotel or to party. Cancun is a holiday destination of manufacture perfection; few things can be faulted except for the complete lack of Mexican culture or any real character of the town.

Insight: To get the most from a Cancun holiday always carefully choose a hotel which fits your tourist style; if that’s partying all night or a slice of luxury.

So why Boracay?

Boracay is a heady mixture of so many great things; tropical paradise, vibrant nightlife and social atmosphere. It is easy to understand why it is the most popular beach resort of the Philippines.

By day Boracay is relaxed and laidback, but once the sun sets the bars fill and the energy of the island grows. Boracay knows how to party!

Boracay attracts an eclectic mixture of visitors, from tight budget backpackers through to 5-star aficionados, along with a multitude of different nations. There is the vibe of a backpacker hangout but the caterings for the modern tourist.

There are snorkelling and diving excursions and trips other smaller islands but you mainly come to Boracay spend time on the beach. Boracay is the destination for you if you what a chaotic mixture beaches, nightlife and unpredictable excitement…..

Insight: Most visitors to Boracay combine the island with a secondary destination in the Philippines, and the lack of an international airport often forces this.

When to visit and the weather

The ideal season to visit Cancun is between November to March, which aligns with the dry season. From May is the start of the wet season, but this is usually intense but short downpours which rarely last long. The months to avoid are the unpredictable hurricane season of September and October. The sea temperature is always pleasant ranging from 25°C (77°F) to 29°C (84.2°F)

Boracay has two distinct seasons Habagat (wet - June to October) and Amihan (dry November and April) – and the dry season is the much better time to visit! Both seasons are tied to the wind direction with Habagat experiencing moisture ladened northeast winds, while Amihan has drier northeast winds. Typhoons are difficult to predict but can form any time from July to October. The peak season is around Christmas when hotels will be fully sold out.

The beaches of Boracay and Cancun

The beautiful beach of Boracay was the sole reason that the island was transformed into a major tourist destination. This is a paradise beach.

What more is there than the beaches? Day trips and popular activities

The hotel zone in Cancun is completely devoid of any Mexican culture. For day trips there are expensive coach tours or private tours to the temple complexes in Tulum, Chichen Itza or Coba. Playa del Carmen is an interesting city for a day trip and has a much more relaxed vibe than Cancun.
The Yucatan Peninsula is not the easiest region to explore independently, and all public transport departs from Cancun city.

Cancun does excel in sea-based activities, with the likes of jet skis and parasailing. Cancun is at the northern end of the Great Mayan Reef, and there are excellent snorkelling trips to the El Meco coral reef, near the Isla Mujeres. Another popular activity is swimming with dolphins.
Generally, all the tours offered in Cancun are of a very high standard but can be expensive and busy in the peak season.

Boracay - Boracay’s small size means that day trips and alternative activities are slightly limited. There are boat tours (often sold as island hopping tours), but the highlights are Magic Island and Crystal Cove, where there is good snorkelling at both. A popular evening activity are the sunset cruises on the Paraw Sailing boats.


Boracay - The lack of an international airport is a major consideration for any trip to Boracay. Most visitors have to fly into Manila, then take a domestic flight to Malay, and from here it’s a short ferry to Boracay. There is horrendous traffic around Manila airport and making domestic connections can be nerve-wracking. Unfortunate this often means that a night is needed in Manila, which is a polluted and chaotic city with very little to see and few positives.

Cancun - Cancun has a modern international airport and is only 26km to the centre of the hotel zone. This is a slick airport experience and a very easy transfer.

Is it safe?

Boracay - The island is safe, but there is always the very slight threat from terrorism or extremist. To compensate there is a high level of security to reach Boracay, with metal detectors and a high (but subtle) police presence. There is almost no crime, and most issues are from visitors doing silly things.

Cancun - The Hotel Zone of Cancun is one of the safest places in Mexico, with police controlling who enters. Cancun city has had gang issues but is safe for tourists if common sense must be used.


Boracay may be small, but it punches well above its size. The beach front, known as the Path is lined with multiple bars serving inexpensive drinks, and then later in the night, social night clubs partying late into the night.

Cancun - As one of the focal points for the Spring break holidays there was always going to be outstanding nightlife in Cancun. Sometimes it could be considered as tacky and is always excessive, but is always fun. Drinks in hotels and night clubs are expensive, and is why so many go for all-inclusive.
Note for European tourists: Cancun has the same tipping culture as in the USA, and the dollar is more frequently used than the Mexican Peso.

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