Discover the best things to do in Boracay, where to eat and stay, and what else this paradise island has to offer in this guide to the Philippines’ most popular holiday destination.
You might have heard of Boracay and perhaps have already visited its neighbouring Southeast Asian islands and beaches, but maybe you’re yet to see the destination that Conde Nast readers just selected as the best island in the world, not to mention its numerous accolades from Lonely Planet, Travel + Leisure, and many more. Most people who’ve been would describe it as ‘paradise’ although a few might say ‘crowded’. Boracay seems ideal for 20 and 30 somethings, yet it has something for everyone.
Jon Santangelo has the lowdown on where to stay, what to do, where to eat, top tips and lots of other useful information.
ACCOMMODATION ON STATIONS 1, 2 AND 3
While there is no shortage of places to stay, you should insist on booking in advance — especially during Chinese New Year and Holy Week.
Boracay is divided into several districts: White Beach Stations 1, 2, and 3; Bulabog Beach, and Diniwid Beach. Station 1 is where some of the island’s top properties are tucked away, like the evergreen yet ultra-modern The Lind Resort, or the rustic, nature-inspired Sea Wind Resort. Station 2 is more dynamic with a wide variety of high-end to budget accommodations. Station 3 is less dense with a few B&Bs and a standout boutique hotel, Villa Caemilla. At Diniwid Beach, Wyndham’s Microtel sits beachside, quaint and cosy, while the famous West Cove Resort is nestled atop cliffs and boulders. Bulabog beach is frequented for water sports and doesn’t offer many hotels, but there are some located inland, within a short walking distance.
Watch arguably, the world’s most gorgeous sunset at White Beach. Acclaimed as the Philippines’ best beach (which says a lot for 7,000+ islands), head here to see Willy’s Rock, lounge in the crystalline sands, swim in the clear waters, and bask under the sun, amidst postcard-perfect scenery. It’s divided into three stations; Station 1 and 3 are considerably tamer than Station 2’s livelier section.
THE BEST PLACES FOR FOOD & DRINK
Complementing White Beach’s sands are countless cafes and restaurants with tables placed on the beach itself. For the ultimate dining experience, The Pig Out Bistro Restaurant is the island’s highest rated place to eat. A trip to the tropical island is not complete without sampling its superb, fresh seafood, and the calamari and shrimp are particularly popular. For another festive dining experience head over to Aplaya Beach Bar & Italian Restaurant. With sofas right on the sand, enjoy the island’s best pizza while nodding your head to the beats of local drummers. But if you want to sip on the best smoothies in Boracay, head up to the quieter café that’s commonly nicknamed Jonah’s in Station 3, a Filipino favourite.
EXPERIENCE BORACAY’S LIVELY NIGHTLIFE
Notorious for its boisterous nightlife scene, Boracay is as alive at night as a party block in a major city, with two organisers leading the way. First, ‘The Pub Crawl’ allows travellers from all cultures to enjoy drinks and dances with locals and holidaymakers alike, while navigating the bars of Boracay. Second, plan ahead for the next night to be spent in style on a yacht with ‘The Manic Monkey Crew’. But make sure to book in advance online or by visiting the organisation in person on the island to get an early bird discount.
HIDDEN GEMS & DAYTIME ACTIVITIES
Spending your vacation sunbathing on the shore is nice, and so is gallivanting White Beach, but Boracay has a plethora of fun things to do that don’t take place on the coastline. For land activities, there’s the new underwater sea tunnel, or hiking to Boracay’s highest mountaintop, as well as ‘ATVing’ off road. Rent a Segway or if you’re splurging out — a helicopter!
Back at the coastline, go further into the waters by parasailing Bulabog Beach or partake in a scuba diving lesson which you’ll find are considerably more affordable than your typical scuba course back home. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned diver, Boracay offers several options for abilities. First timers should try the Discover Scuba Course where you’ll get to know the fundamentals in one three to four hour session.
Though Boracay has plenty to venture, there’s more to explore outside of it than you’d expect. Island hopping takes you on an eco-tour of snorkel sites amid thriving corals and marine life. You’ll see how Crocodile Island got its name, then delve through the caves of Crystal Cove Island (an unashamed tourist trap!). For the fearless, there’s cliff jumping at Magic Island, or take a moment of relaxation by gazing at the crystal blue waters at Puka Beach. Island hopping also offers lunch options of local savoury seafood delicacies. A vacation to Boracay should include quality time in the water, but if you’ve already island hopped, check out the shopping at D-mall in Station 2. This sprawling area, known as the outdoor megamall of Boracay, is a place where you can buy gifts and clothes, get a tattoo, a lava stone massage, and eat ’til your heart’s content.
ROMANCE ON DINIWID BEACH
More than likely you’ll unexpectedly witness a beach wedding or even a proposal. Boracay is a hub not only for singles, but also a destination for romancing couples who come to enjoy cliché long walks along the beach and candlelit dinners under the stars. To impress your newfound date or longtime partner, book a dinner overlooking Diniwid Beach at the award-winning Nami’s restaurant. And if you really want to surprise with a proposal, work with a specialist like The Chariot Company to arrange a fairytale moment on an oceanfront cliff, complete with fireworks and a live band, just like you’ve seen in the movies.
LAST MINUTE TIPS
- Renting trikes (three wheeled taxis) can cost from 50–200 Pesos.
- Traffic in the Station 2 area is heavily congested with trikes.
- Book Southwest Tours for airport to hotel transportation.
- Kalibo airport is one and a half hours from Boracay’s boat station, where you’ll be transferred to Boracay from Caticlan port.
- Rainy season is usually between the months of July and October.
- It’s recommended to tip your waiters if no gratuity is added.
Originally published at www.travioor.com.