When Filipinos and visitors a like talk about Boracay there’s usually a caveat of “it’s a bit touristy” on whatever statement they have made. And sure, the island is small, there is a McDonalds, and it’s no where near as “undiscovered” as the rest of the country to foreigners, that’s all for a reason. When I lived in Cebu, Boracay was my favourite long weekend destination if I wanted to sunbathe, unwind and party. The island is beautiful and charming, and the powdery sand and crystal clear waters are one of the things I miss most about my time in the Philippines.
Boracay’s White Beach is currently Trip Advisor’s 19th Best Beach in the World, and while Pinoy pride can skew online international polls (like when Palawan’s Underground River was being pushed as one of the world’s natural wonders), it is the closest to beach perfection I’ve personally experienced.
For such a tiny island, the local government have done a great job of keeping the sands and roads trash free, a small miracle considering how much of a problem this can be elsewhere. Even if you get a seaweed filled tide, the seaweed is fine and softer than moss.
Station 2 and 3, where the majority of bars and restaurants are, can get crowded, especially during the day. However Station 3 and onwards past Willy Rock (a small group of rocky islands just offshore with a shrine enclosed) is usually quiet, and the beach gets broader here.
Even those who find Boracay too crowded (when in reality it’s much quieter than most of the Thai tourist stops) will find the golden sunsets hard to resist. White Beach faces directly east across a breadth of water, making evening the worst, rainiest evening beautiful.
Head further along White Beach, past Station 1, and you’ll find a cliffside walkway to the much quieter and more rugged Diniwid Beach.
Small boats and fishing nets rest in the coves leading there, and mostly Filipino families and honeymooners can be seen enjoying the beach.
I liked the colourful corks used within the fisherman’s nets, and the variety in the small boats, nestled on the rocks, and even sometimes in the trees.
Next time I’m in Boracay (hopefully this Easter), I’m considering staying at the Spider House – an open cliff-side hotel where all the rooms face into the ocean.
Exploring the Island
A great way to see more of the island is to have an a trip around it in a Banca boat (Jukung). Uusually 5 or 6 people can share the trip for the half day. In 2012 the going rate was around 1200 pesos (£16).
The boat will take you to some good snorkeling spots, and stop off at a few of the other beaches. I highly recommend spending time at Puka Beach on the Northern tip of the island. It’s not unheard of to have the entire beach to yourself, and is a great place to relax, catch up with reading, or go for a shell collecting walk.
Another great option is Bulabog Beach on the West side of the island, parallel to White Beach. This is one of the best places in the world for Kite and Wind Surfing.
My Top 6 Tips for Boracay
- Stay at Frendz Resort if you want to socialize and meet other travellers
- Check Cebu Pacific Air for cheap promo deals on flights – Kalibo is an extra hour away by minibus but is often a third of the price of flying into Caticlan
- You can pick up free copies of My Boracay Guide nearly anywhere on the island for maps and tourist information. The website has a PDF version if you want to look before you arrive.
- Eat at Smoke for tasty and authentic budget meals, they even have some great veggie options
- If you’re a fan of fresh seafood, head to Talipapa Market where you can buy the ingredients and have your dinner prepared for you.
- The beachfront at Station 2 is the best for evening entertainment, with many of the bars offering happy hours, fire dancers or live bands. For late nights, Club Paraw on Station 1 is always busy and avoids being too cheesy – the islands so tiny you can easily check out a mixture of bars until you find your favourite.
What are your tips for Boracay?