Boracay in Aklan municipality, is rated as the best island by many travel magazines in the recent years, this small island is known for its white beaches and clear waters. Located in central Philippines, the beaches are comparable to the ones in the Caribbean and other South Pacific destinations like Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. Once a nightmare for tourists with the lack of electricity, the island has a range of hotels, restaurants, bars and several shopping options.
How to reach Boracay
Reaching Boracay is not quite easy as it is separated from mainland. Two airports serve Boracay. The Strong Republic Nautical Highway (SRNH) connects mainland to Caticlan, where boat jetty is present. Bus operators operate in this provincial bus routes availing tourist packages.
There are two airports near to Boracay, Caticlan or Godofredo P. Ramos Airport and Kalibo International Airport. The former accommodates only smaller aircrafts, hence you may want to avoid using it in case you have an aversion for rough landings. The Kaliban International Airport is further away from Boracay, but is better connected with international destinations and Manila, in particular. Boracay, being separated by a narrow strait from the mainland, Panay, utilises boats operating from Caticlan jetty port to commute to Boracay.
The island is primarily a beach based tourist destination. All kinds of entertainment and fun activities are available in the island along with shopping opportunities.
White Beach - The main attraction of the island. It is divided into stations 1-3. Station 1, on the northern side, is a flat beech, were you’d find water to be only waist-high even after venturing 10 metres into the sea. This makes it safer for kids. Station 3 on the southern side, gets deep quickly and you’d love a swim here. Station 1 & Station 2 are relatively quitter as Station 2 is the centre of attraction of White Beach. People choose to stay here for sleepless nights and blaring music. Open-air shopping centres like D’Mall and D’Talipapa are in this area.
Puka Beach - If you wish to get away from the crowded White Beach and serenity is in your list, Puka Beach is the place to go. This area is slightly under-developed. It once only had native wild grasses and scattered coconut trees to show off, with birdsongs being the loudest noise. Local people gather here to collect puka shells, white or beige round shells with whole in the centre, in this beach. The sea water is slightly rougher and fewer restaurants compared to White Beach can be found here.
Bulabog Beach - A lesser populated beach popular for kite surfers. Other water sport activities too can be found here. This is a perfect place for early risers as the sunrise can be viewed on Bulabog Beach horizon.
Diniwid Beach - This beach is adjacent to White Beach Station 1 and is tiny and more private kind of beach. It only has a few resorts and stays away from the loud noise of White Beach.
Baling Hai Beach - This beach is further north of Diniwind Beach, which is a little cove. You can enjoy swimming and snorkelling and some peaceful bite amidst the stunning view in the peaceful environment.
The Bat Cave - Extremely popular among tourists, this place is fairly dangerous for the extreme angles and large boulders. The floors are very slimy and visibility is very low unless you carry a flashlight of your own. It has interesting stalactites on the ceiling along with bats which stay in the caves.
Willy’s Rock - A natural rock formation seen in the White Beach.
Scuba Diving - Multiple operators of varying difficulty levels available across the White Beach.
Boat Tours - Various boat operators are available using Paraw, native sailboat.
Apart from the few malls available, street shopping is the main attraction, where you can buy shell jewellery, when it comes to shopping in Boracay.
Places to Stay
Boracay has two distinct seasons, based on which hotel pricings are based. June to November is considered low season and the rates are relatively lower. November to May is considered high season and prices go up by 30%. Within the high season, peak rates are observed during the festivities of Christmas and Easter, along with Chinese New Year.
White Beach has resorts from the top of line to simple bed space rentals. Staying along the White Beach line get you closer to the bars and lounges along with non-stop music all around. Massage spas and parlours, from cheap ones to well-equipped ones can be found at walkable distances if you stay in the locality.
Bulabog Beach area, 1.5kms away from White Beach is quieter and more laid-back. The onshore breezes makes it a pleasant place to stay. Water sports including scuba diving, para-sailing, banana rides, jet-skiing etc. are easily accessible from this area.
Eateries in Boracay
With a steep hike in the influx of tourists, Boracay now houses all varieties of food to eat. However, do not miss out on the locally grown sweet and mellow mangoes available. A wide line of bakeries are also available.
A1 Boracay, Arwana Coffee Shop, Crafty’s Rooftop Bar and Coffee Shop, Lemon Café, Real Coffee and Tea Café etc. are some good choices for hot beverages. Cocoloco, Cocomangas, Déjà vu, Red Pirates Pub, Club Paraw, Exit Bar etc should excite you if you want to grab a few drinks
Blue Mango, Cream Café and Juice are two notable places for old style shakes and juices.
If you are fan of steaks and grilled foods, try Bistro Valhalla, Cowboy Cocina, Rumbas etc
Chez De Paris, Aria, Fridays Boracay, The Hobbit House, Jammers etc. also can be tried for regular meals.
Getting Places in Boracay
Tricycles - This is the most popular and cheap mode of travel along Boracay. You can either get on shared ones, which will have other tourists or exclusive ones. The fares are fixed based on distance and is generally displayed.
Scooters - Gives you flexibility at reasonable rates. However, riding can be difficult in the traffic due to the aggressive riding of tricycles.
Mountain Bikes & Quad-cycles - These are available for rental and can be used along the beach line, off the limits of motorized vehicles.