It’s too crowded in Boracay.
We’ve heard that a lot. It’s true that Boracay is incredibly commercialized, a tourist trap and increasingly full of people.
But we still keep coming back.
The trick is to hang out in places without a huge crowd, to find a spot of beautiful white sand where you can just sit, settle, sleep and savor.
Later on in this post, we’ll share where we like to go and what we like to do, but for those who aren’t familiar with Boracay, here’s a rundown.
Arguably the whitest stretch of sand in the Philippines, Boracay always has a place in our travel calendar. Located Northwest of Cebu City, this little island is a favorite tourist destination famous for the three kilometer stretch of white sand called White beach.
Getting to Boracay
Most people choose between going via Caticlan or Kalibo. For most instances, the best bet is to fly straight to the closest airport to Boracay, the Caticlan Airport. This is where most people land, but in cases when the flights are expensive, you can check via Kalibo (if you don’t mind the two hour drive to the pier). This gives you more options when choosing flights. This is especially helpful when on a budget.
Once in the pier, everything is straight forward. Boracay isn’t too far. It takes about 30 minutes from the pier to the island. Boats leave very frequently. In fact, I’ve never tried sitting on the pier to wait for a boat.
PS – Some higher end resorts offer a pickup service that picks you up from the airport and includes the boat ride. A private speed boat to Boracay. Snazzy!
Where to Stay
You can find all sorts of hotels in Boracay. From the super luxurious to super affordable, there are many places you can stay in. We usually stay in Mandala Spa and Resort (one of TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice 2013), but if you want to read more about other places to stay, here’s a good list of Boracay hotels.
The Low Down
Generally, we tend to avoid the crowds and don’t even do too much partying. If you know where to look, Boracay can be filled with adventure, sightseeing and even sports, but for us, we come here to get away from everything, lounge in the beach and simply relax.
Here’s What We Like to Do
Now, let’s get to the meat of this whole thing. Whenever we are in Boracay, we’re on vacation and stick to our comfort zone. That means we tend to do the same thing over and over again. Here’s our favorite to-do’s.
Lounge in the beach and do nothing. Yup. All we need is sun block, a bottle of beer, an umbrella and the sun. This isn’t as straight forward as it sounds. Like we mentioned, we tend to avoid the crowds as much as we can. Although looking for a deserted beach spot in White beach isn’t really possible, there are places you can go where there are less people. In station 1 and 3, you are more likely to find yourself with more room to breathe. Most of the crowd hangs out in station 2.
Personally, we like visiting station 1. In between all the high end resorts, you can find affordable spots to hang out. We usually stay in front of Beach Bites (#7 on this list), Sur Beach Resort or White House Beach Resort. Food is good and affordable and the beer is cold. That’s all we need.
A visit is never complete without a fruit shake from Jonah’s. This fruit shake bar and cafe has been around for as long as I can remember. It is always filled with beach goers – a telltale sign that it is goooood. Best fruit shakes in the island. Hands down! In the middle of a scorching hot afternoon by the beach, it is perfect.
Grab a giant at Bite Club. For some reason, this is always our first food stop whenever we hit D’Mall (located in Station 2). The burgers are juicy good and stomach filling. There’s just something about it that I can’t place. For whatever reason, we need to get this craving out of the way before hitting the beach.
What’s the next best thing to lounging comfortably on the beach? Lounging comfortably while getting a massage! While there are many places to get a good massage by the beach, it is sometimes difficult to find a masahista without rough hands! If you want a top of the line massage, you’ve got to visit Mandala Spa. You won’t be by the beach and it’s not cheap, but it’s worth every penny.
The place is dingy, hot, and uncomfortable while the food takes some time to cook, but Smoke always does the gastronomical trick. Definitely, the best bang for your buck! Too many places in Boracay are charging an arm and a leg for a good meal. This is not one of them. Hidden somewhere in the depths of D’Mall, Smoke is literally a good find. (They also deliver! See link for details.)
Grab a Calamansi Muffin from Real Coffee and Tea Café. If you haven’t heard of their famous muffins, you are in for a treat. Imagine eating Calamansi laden clouds. Heaven on in your mouth. Mmmmmm…… Last time we were there, they recently moved to a new and better location in Station 2 (beach front!). Oh… here’s a receipt for the Calamansi Muffins.
With the sun winding down, there’s nothing better than chilling with a beer… and playing shuffle board in the Calypso Lounge! Basically, it’s a game with a long table board and weighted pucks. The object of the game is to slide the pucks into the scoring area. The one with the most pucks in the scoring area wins. It’s a fun game! There’s a sign that says P250/hour for none hotel guests, but when we went, we just ordered drinks and they let us play for free. Lucky?
Turn strangers into friends! Go on a PubCrawl. When we were walking around, someone gave us the flyer above. We didn’t try it, but it seems like a lot of fun. For those looking for a good time and who want to meet new people, this is the way to go.
– The trikes have two rates. Private (60 to 150 pesos) or public (10 to 15 pesos). Public basically means you treat the trike like a jeepney – meaning other people can ride on it as well. If you ride an empty trike and tell the driver where to go, he’ll assume you want the private rate.
– As of this writing, you aren’t allowed to smoke or carry beer bottles on the beach. We’ve seen people fined for this. You’ve been warned.
– When in Bora Boracay, don’t call it Bora.
*For more details on the places listed above, check the links! Enjoy!
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