Kalibo is best known as the venue of the Ati-atihan festival, normally held during the 3rd Sunday of January. The term Kalibo comes from the Aklanon word "sangka libo", ("one thousand"), the number of native (Ati aka aeta) people who attended the first Catholic Mass there. After this very first Mass, a celebration was held that was continued annually as the Ati-atihan festival.
Kalibo Airport is about ten minutes from the main plaza. Kalibo Airport serve direct flights to and fro Incheon, South Korea and Taipei, Taiwan through international flights served by Asian Spirit, Mandarin Airlines and Pacific Pearl Airways. More air links will soon be offered with Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing direct flights in the pipeline establishing and cementing Kalibo's reputation as the international gateway to the Western Visayas region.
Public transportation around the city is by tricycle, multicab and jeepneys.
The Piña and Abaca cloths are also being exported to various parts of the world most particularly North America, and Europe. Kalibo is also known for other native products such as handbags made of buri leaves which is a favorite for Caucasian females visiting the town. Pineapple silk is considered the queen of Philippine fabrics and is considered the fabric of choice of the Philippine elite. During the 1996 edition of APEC in the Philippines, world leaders donned a Pineapple silk Barong Tagalog from Kalibo during the obligatory class photo.
Kalibo also has a burgeoning meat-processing cottage industry and is beginning to be noticed in the processing of locally made chorizo, tocino and other meat products, particularly with Rosa Foods located at Linabuan Norte district.
Kalibo has tourist boom-town character- and is famous not only as a jump-off point to Boracay but as the home of the Philippines most popular, most colorful and wildest festival Ati-atihan - Asia's answer to Brazil's Mardi Gras. The festival is celebrated during the third weekend of January of every year, and despite little government support to promote the festival, word of mouth amongst tourists swelled attendees coming from all over the world- leading to a shortage of hotels.
Ati-atihan is also among the most copied of all Philippine Festivals- other prominent and better-funded festivals that has copied the Ati-atihan concept are Iloilo's Dinagyang and Cebu's Sinulog and the Sto. Niño in Manila.
Aside from Ati-atihan, other places of interest in Kalibo is the Bakhawan Eco-Park, dubbed as the Philippines most successful mangrove reforestation project and the Kalibo Museum which serves as a repository of the town's history and heritage.
The Kalibo Municipal Hall is located inside the Magsaysay Park, which also serves as the venue for Ati-atihan Nights Activities and other community-related events and gatherings.
According to the 2000 census, Kalibo has a population of 62,438 people in 12,628 households.
Kalibo is politically subdivided into 16 barangays.