Widely recognized as one of the best beaches in the world, the island of Boracay in the Philippines is any beach-lover’s paradise. From its crystal clear waters to its friendly locals and abundance of things to do and see, Boracay should be at the top of any world traveler’s lists of places to visit. Here are some basics that a visitor needs to know when planning a trip to Boracay.
When to Travel
The first thing you need to decide is when you are going to make your trip to Boracay. Boracay has a “high” and a “low” season. The “high” season generally runs from December through May and tends to have a drier climate. The high season also means significantly higher prices for flights and accommodation and a constant crowd of tourists. The “low” season, which runs from June to December is known as the wet season, and it is far less populated with tourists at this time. Tropical storms are common during this time, but it is also possible that your trip could be completely rain-free and beautiful. If you want to avoid the crowds, snag a bargain, and are not bothered by the possibility of rain showers, then the low season may be the best time to go.
How to Get There
If you are traveling to Boracay from outside of the Philippines, you will most likely have a connecting flight in Manila or Cebu. From there, you will continue on by air to Caticlan. Upon arrival in Caticlan, you will have to take a short trip by car or tri-cycle to the Caticlan jetty port, where a semi-private boat will escort you just a short way to the island of Boracay. Be sure to carry some extra cash with you, as there is a terminal fee at the jetty port.
Where to Stay
There are two main beaches on Boracay, located on opposite sides of the relatively narrow island. One is called Bulabog Beach, and the other is White Beach. Bulabog is known for its clear waters for snorkeling and diving and its great surf for water-enthusiasts, especially kite-surfers and windsurfers. Bulabog is also home to the Boracay International Funboard Cup, and can be a venue for the Asian Windsurfing Tour.
Most of the tourists tend to head to White Beach for none other than its beautiful white sand beaches. White Beach is about 4 kilometers long and is divided into three “boat stations”: Boat Station 1, Boat Station 2, and Boat Station 3. There are advantages to each boat station. Boat Station 1 is known for its sand, nightclubs, and luxury resorts. Boat Station 2 is home of “D’Mall,” the restaurant, bar, and shopping center of Boracay, where you can literally dine right on the beach. If you are looking for a more quiet, laid-back vacation, head to the more newly developed Boat Station 3. There, you can find a range of accommodations, from a low-cost beachside, traditional Filipino hut, to a luxurious 5-star resort.
When it comes to selecting a hotel, if you are traveling during the low season and headed for White Sand Beach, you may get the best deal by not booking ahead. If you arrive early enough in the day, you should head to whichever boat station you choose and check out the hotels for yourself. The locals love bargaining with the tourists, even when it comes to hotel rates, and you can get an excellent deal this way. Wherever you decide to stay, you will have an amazing experience, as Boracay is beautiful from all angles.
Things to Do
The list of activities in Boracay is virtually endless. One of the most popular things to do is to rent a local sailboat, called a paraw, and sail off for a day of snorkeling and island hopping, or for the evening sunset. For the scuba diving enthusiast, Boracay is one of the top dive spots in the world. If you are feeling more adventurous, you can go horseback riding on the beach, ride ATVs, or even try out kite-surfing or windsurfing. If you are craving a fresh lobster dinner, check out the market by D’Mall, where you can bargain for fresh seafood and have it prepared for you at the restaurant next door. D’Mall is also home to countless specialty boutiques and local souvenir shops. And if you just want to relax, head to the pool or beach and indulge in the endless offerings of massage and spa services.
Boracay is nothing less than a tropical dream. Enjoy.