Even though Boracay Island in Central Philippines is a small stretch of land, it has a myriad of possibilities. You can have your piece of quiet paradise or enjoy the pulsating rhythms until the wee hours. Here are some of the recommended areas and venues when coming to Boracay.
This stretch of powdery white sand is where most tourists go. Not only it has a vast sand area where you can never run out of space to lay your towel and sunbathe yourself, it is also the island’s commercial area. Its light blue waves are so quiet and low that you can actually swim up to 30 meters away from the shore and still the water is waist-deep.
White Beach is divided into three sections: Stations 1 through 3. The widest beach front is at Station 1, where prime hotels and establishments are also located. Accommodations may be pricier, expect a relaxing environment.
This quiet patch of white sand located on the northern tip of the island is where most people go if they want the island just for themselves. Expect the sand to be a bit coarser with small puka shells that the locals gather to make fancy jewelry. Its waters, meanwhile, can be a bit rough but much quieter. The services may be fewer, but you would not have a problem getting cold drink as vendors would patrol the beach. Its secluded environment makes it a great place for a picnic, but you are advised to bring your trash with you. To get there, hire a tricycle or a paraw (outrigger boat).
Baling Hai Beach
A quiet little cove several meters north of White Beach provides a perfect spot for swimming, snorkeling, and dining. Its cliff-top restaurant has some wonderful views of the surroundings.
At the western end of the island, down several dirt roads, is the Bat Cave that houses many small insectivorous bats. Hire a local guide and take a short hike through the forest, leading to the mouth of the cave. Note that the cave drops down to a very steep angle, littered with large boulders, and can be extremely difficult-not to mention dangerous-to descend. If you do not like to step on slippery stones and tons of bat guano, it is much advised to wait at dusk for the bats to come out. Do not forget to pay an entry fee for the family that owns the land, as well as a generous tip to your guide.
Literally "The Mall," it is Boracay’s main commercial venue. Located in Station 2, D’Mall has a wide variety of gift shops and boutiques. Some stores would even let you haggle. Outside of White Beach, shopping venues may be a bit sparse.
White Beach has several "massage stations," where masseuses lay down their mats and wait for customers. The stations are usually open until after sunset. You can also just wait for a masseuse to approach you while you lie on the white sand and have an impromptu massage right away. The island also has several venues that give relaxing massages.
Boracay has rows upon rows of bars from Stations 1 through 3, each having its different flavor and crowd. Bars located in Stations 1 and 2-such as Hey Jude, Cocomangas, and Juice-are livelier and can be a bit rowdy. Meanwhile, bars in Station 3 (like Red Pirates) are more relaxed and laid back.
This tiny island has up to a hundred accommodation venues, with prices ranging from the backpacker-friendly to the splurge-happy. If you want to get away from the pounding noise from the bars’ speakers, get a room at venues south of Station 3. You also need to remember that you should book for reservations directly at the resort or hotel, as a lot of travel agents would only charge you double.