Southeast Asia has always been our favourite holiday destination. It just never fails you if you are into a relaxing and affordable vacation. No posh clothes, no restaurant reservation requirements and no security concerns. It is a place where you can be yourself and enjoy to the max.
Boracay is one of those destinations where you could be yourself while discovering and admiring the views it offers, people’s friendliness, culture and relaxation. And the greatest part is what we’ve experienced in Boracay has exceeded our expectations.
In 2013, the readers of Travel & Leisure voted Boracay the second best island destination in the world after Palawan. Even though we never thought about going to Philippines especially for a 7 nights vacation, we knew we wanted to recharge our batteries in this 7 km tall island after seeing its postcard-like beaches and sunsets.
Boracay is a small island in the central Philippines. East coast of the island is pretty windy making itself kite surfers paradise while the west coast, White Beach is backed by palm trees, bars and restaurants. Lots of wedding ceremonies take place on the White Beach during sunset as it has a miraculous atmosphere and scenery.
How to get there:
From Manila, you can fly either to Kalibo or Caticlan to reach Boracay Island. I strongly recommend flying to Caticlan even the flights are a bit more expensive than those fly to Kalibo Airport.
If you fly to Manila from another country, you will need to take a taxi to reach the domestic departures in Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL). Make sure to take a yellow metered taxi as we ended up paying 1,000 PHPs to one of the white taxis to go to another terminal. With yellow taxis, it costs max 150 PHPs to get from Terminal 1 to Terminal 4.
If you fly to Caticlan Airport: All you need to do is to take a boat/ferry from the Caticlan Jetty Port and get to Boracay in 7-8 minutes. You will need to take a tricycle from where you arrive in Boracay to get to your hotel and reaching to Station 1 from the jetty port takes 15 minutes.
If you fly to Kalibo Airport: You can arrange different shuttle options from the airport anytime, but the most affordable option is to take a yellow metered taxi to Caticlan Jetty Port (takes 1,5 hours), then take a boat to Boracay and then a tricycle to your hotel. The total journey takes about 2 to 2,5 hours so flying to Caticlan Airport will definitely save you time and energy.
In terms of flight times, I’m not sure if it’s common but both of our AirAsia flights from/to Kalibo got delayed. We were thankful for that as we had to spend extra time to find our luggage and we would miss our flight if it wasn’t delayed.
When to visit:
The best time to visit Boracay is November to May when the weather is around 25-32 C and dry. However, some people prefer to visit between October and December as it is before all the crowds fill the island.
Easter and Chinese New Year are the most crowded times, so try to avoid these times as it may get pretty crowded.
Many nationalities don’t require a visa to enter Philippines. Just make sure to check your visa requirements here.
Also, note that you will be charged 200 PHP when you leave the domestic airports Kalibo or Caticlan, so don’t forget to bring some cash with you when you are leaving the island.
Where to stay:
Boracay is a small island and wherever you stay, you always have a chance to go to other areas of the island easily with hotel shuttles or tricycles.
Station 1, 2 and 3 are the most touristic areas where everything is happening. Station 1 is the quietest of the three stations with some nice hotels and resorts, but it is also the most expensive one. Walking towards Station 2, it gets noisy especially at nights with the music coming from different bars, restaurants and clubs. Station 3 has more budget friendly hotels and is quieter than Station 2.
We stayed at The Lind Boracay at the Station 1 and we loved our stay. It is a good choice for those looking for a bit of luxury, but still want to be close to the central area. Not that you need it in Boracay but it is also a good option if you are looking for a hotel with a nice infinity pool. We had a room upgrade and very welcomed (and spoiled) by the friendly staff. The restaurant and bar is a bit more expensive than the other places on White Beach but everywhere is walking distance. For example, if you don’t want to pay 170 PHPs for a beer, you can walk to Station 2 or 3 and it gets as cheap as 40 PHPs.
If you are travelling as a group and self catering is not a matter, you may also want to rent one of the villas on the beach.
Another option is to stay a bit further from Station 1, around Diniwid Beach. It is as quiet as Station 1 but cheaper. We loved sunset views from there especially by sitting at Wahine Bar. The rustic bamboo-built guesthouse Spider House Resort around the corner could also be an option to stay as it looked pretty laid back.
Shangri-La Boracay is another option for those seeking for another kind of luxury in a secluded area on the north. The hotel is huge and located on a hill. The area is so large that you need to call a buggy to go around. Probably the most expensive hotel in Boracay, it seemed like a perfect honeymoon hotel. The Chi Spa is also amazing so I recommend getting at least a massage there even if you prefer to stay somewhere else.
What to do and see:
Boracay is a place where you can spend a week or two even though there is not many attractions.
Water sports is very common in the island. You can rent a kayak, go for parasailing, take a sailing tour around the island or try stand up paddling. You can also hire a boat for half day and do island hopping to see Puka Beach, Crocodile Beach and Tambisaan Beach. There are also around 15 dive sites where you can experience underwater.
Other tours you can take are cliff diving at Ariel’s Point, zip lining, atv rides and of course sunset watching either from the beach or a sailing boat.
You can get a massage in a luxurious spa at Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort & Spa or in one of the hundreds of small spa centres near the beach.
At nights, you can enjoy watching fire dancers while sipping your drinks in the outdoor clubs, try shisha (with or without alcohol) sitting on the bean bags on the beach, or have a quiet night out at a reggie bar while having your dinner. We loved Jony’s Beach Bar as it was quiet and also close to Station 2. Almost all bars and restaurants offer happy hours until 7pm or 8pm so you can also try region’s famous mango cocktails while watching amazing sunsets.
Sunsets are insanely beautiful! I would suggest escaping the crowds and loud music of Station 2 to watch the sky turning red, blue and purple. Other than Station 1, Diniwid Beach and Puka Beach are also quite spots, and both can be reached by tricycles from DMall.
After spending 7 nights at this amazing island, we were totally relaxed, tanned and recharged. So thanks Boracay, for giving us a week of amazing memories, and letting us to see your unforgettable beauty!