1 Laze by the beach
White Beach in Boracay is a 4km-stretch of perfect white sand lapped by gin-clear tropical waters.
Boracay actually has 30 beaches and coves, with others such as Puka Beach—on the island's northern coast—that are gems in their own right. On the island's eastern coast, at Bulabog Beach, the onshore summer winds make it a perfect location for kiteboarding and windsurfing.
Puka Shell Beach
Puka Shell Beach is located on the northern part of Boracay, 30 to 45 minutes away from White Beach. It has fine white sand with an abundance of puka shells, hence the name. And the best part is that it's quieter than White Beach.
Diniwid Beach is 10 minutes away from White Beach and has quite a few resorts in the area.
Ilig-Iligan Beach is located in the northeastern part of the island and is quieter and more tranquil than White Beach. It’s blessed with fine white sand and you can laze about the beach and swim in the waters without noise from tourists indulging in watersports or the noise of bars and restaurants on the beachfront.
2 Jump off Ariel’s Point
Ariel’s Point has five diving boards and platforms from three meters to 15 meters high. Find your ideal cliff dive or dive them all. Ariel's point is 35 to 45 minutes by outrigger boat from Boracay Island. You can book your tickets online. It's best to book at least a day in advance. Ariel’s Point’s package is from P2,500 (about US$54). For more information, call +6336 288 4348.
3 Dive in, surf, kiteboard
Freediving is a form of underwater diving that relies on the diver's ability to hold his breath instead of using a breathing apparatus. Visit Freedive Boracay, the first and only freediving school in Boracay, located on White Beach, and owned and operated by freediver Catalin Craciun. Freediving courses cost from P11,500 for two days.
Boracay is windsurfing country, with excellent windsurfing lessons available on the island. Every January or February, the island comes alive with The Boracay International Funboard Cup, one of the largest windsurfing and kiteboarding races in Asia, attracting over a hundred windsurfers and kiters. It's hosted by the Green Yard Funboard and NeilPryde/Cabrinha Test Center. The best time to go windsurfing in Boracay is from November to March. For windsurfing lessons, call Hangin Kite Center at +6336 288 2527.
Kiteboarding is a fast-growing sport on the island, as international kiteboarders discover the ideal conditions at Bulabog Beach. For kiteboarding lessons, call Habagat Kite Village, tel +6336 288 5787, email [email protected]; or GreenYard Kiteboarding Center, tel +6336 288 3663.
4 Ride a water buffalo, work the rice fields
Motag Living Museum is an informative and interactive living museum that gives visitors a chance to experience the rural country life of the people in Malay, Aklan, before the influx of tourists. You'd be able to try your hand in ploughing, harrowing, planting, threshing, pounding, and then cooking rice. Or learn about traditional crafts and try riding the carabao, a Philippine water buffalo used by most farming families to plow the field.
Museum rates are from P500 for students with student ID, and P700 for adults. A family package costs P1,600, for families with two kids up to 12 years. The Motag Living Museum is open from 10am to 2pm, Tuesday to Sunday. For inquiries and reservations, call +63921 556 3111.
5 Climb Mt. Luho
Trek or ride an All terrain vehicle (ATV) up Mt. Luho, Boracay's highest point at 100 meters above sea level. At the peak, there’s a viewing deck and you'd be able to see the surrounding waters of Boracay, including some of its beaches. You can also rent a tricycle to take you to Mt. Luho for P250. Ask your hotel to recommend a guide for the walk, or call G1 Island ATV Rental at tel +6336 288 4235 or +63912 904 3240.
6 Escape to a private island
Crystal Cove Island Resort, 10-20 minutes away from mainland Boracay, is a small private island offering various day tour activities, from trekking to snorkelling and swimming, pigeon feeding and fish feeding. It has a fine white sand beach and two coves to explore.
Admission rates to the island are from P350. For inquiries and reservations, call +6336 272 2709.
7 Go shopping for ethnic wares and accessories
D’Mall, D’Talipapa and E’Mall in Boracay sell some unique buys on the island, from beach clothing, t-shirts, sandals, accessories to local crafts and homeware. Custom and fine jewellery are also sold in stores, some made of pearls, corals, shells, and gemstones. Island Girl at D'Mall sells sandals and ethnic and trendy accessories, from native woven bags to colorful clutches. See more of their products on Instagram. Lonely Planet store is well known for its furniture and home accessories. The Island Souvenirs store at D’Mall sells ready made and personalized t-shirts. For gifts to take home, buy a box of calamansi muffins from Real Coffee and Tea Cafe, a local favorite.
8 Tapas Night at Dos Mestizos
Don't miss Tapas Night every Saturday at Dos Mestizos restaurant. The Saturday buffet features different dishes with tapas as the star.
Buffet costs P980 per person. Dos Mestizos is open from 11am to 11pm and is located at Remedios St., Sitio Manggayad, Boracay Island, tel +6336 288 5786.
9 Pamper yourself at top spas
Boracay has several registered masseuses offering their service on the beach. But if you do decide to do a luxe version, head to Shangri-La Boracay’s CHI, The Spa. An online questionnaire allows clients to learn their element sign, which in turn will assist CHI’s therapists in customizing their treatments. Call +6336 288 4988 or email [email protected] for inquiries and reservations.
Also try Mandala Spa, an award winning spa and one of the best on the island. Golden Tree Spa on Bulabog Road offers a spa package for P3,500, including a two-hour black stone healing therapy and massage. Call +6336 288 9999.
10 Horseback riding
Horse Riding Stables Boracay has over 16 horses. A one-hour horse ride to the foot of Mt. Luho costs P935, a one-and-a-half hour ride to the viewing deck of Mt. Luho costs P1,390 and a two-hour ride to Bulabog Beach costs P1,720.
Call Horse Riding Stables Boracay at tel+6336 288 3311.
11 Zipline and cable car ride
Fairways and Bluewater Newcoast Boracay has a zipline and cable car ride, both 620 meters long, taking you from Mt. Luho to Fairways for P1,200 per person. For more information, call +6336 288 2843.
12 Extreme sports
Xtreme Fun Sports and Recreation
Xtreme Fun Sports and Recreation offers flyboard, hoverboard and flybike.
Call +63910 230 0000.
G-Max Reverse Bungee Boracay
The G-Max Reverse Bungee is like a slingshot and a rocket launcher. It’s shaped like a capsule with room for three people, then the capsule is catapulted in the air, 50 meters high at a speed of 200kph.
One ride costs P1,800 per person. For inquiries, call +63921 532 3550.
13 Live music and party
The Boracay Suncruiser, a 65-footer outrigger fiberglass boat that can accommodate up to 60 passengers, holds boat parties and can be hired for private events. It features the 20-foot high Boracay SunCruiser Super Slide and the Boracay SunCruiser Jump-off pad that’s two stories high. The cost for private charters or parties is P38,000 for a minimum of three hours, for up to 40 guests. Visit Boracay Suncruiser. Read, Boracay's pleasure boat. For more information, call +6336 288 9079.
A world grill by day and a beach club by night, Epic Boracay —brought to you by the same people behind Manila's hottest superclubs such as Encore, Manor, and Republiq—is the place to go for some of the best parties on the island, and to dance the night away. Signature cocktails are especially concocted by New York mixologist David Dennis.
For inquiries and reservations, call +6336 288 1477.
Charlie’s Steakhouse & Diner
Charlie’s Steakhouse & Diner has rock bands performing every night for diners, from 7:30pm to 12 midnight. Every Tuesday, draft beers are buy-one-take-one-free, and Thursdays are Ladies’ Night which means free drinks for all the female diners. Dishes cost from P250 to P1,600.
Call +6336 288 1232.
14 Paraw sailing
Paraws are local sailing boats handmade by the natives of Boracay. Southwest Tours Boracay offers paraw sailing for P3,900 an hour, for up to eight people.
Southwest Tours Boracay, tel +63917 568 2441.
15 Island hopping
Southwest Tours Boracay offers island hopping, taking you to the best snorkelling spots, for P1,320 incuding buffet lunch.
Southwest Tours Boracay, tel +63917 568 2441.
How to get there
Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines have daily flights from Manila to Caticlan. From Caticlan, take a 15-minute boat ride to Boracay Island, from where tricycles and multi-cabs are available to take you to your resort. Most resorts help arrange boat and land transfers.
Where to stay
Mandala Spa & Resort Villas at Station 3 has villas, with rates from P11,116, tel +6336 288 5857/58 or +63917 634 8430.
Discovery Shores is a luxury resort with rates from P10,800, tel +632 720 8888, +6336 288 4500 or +63917 625 8507.
Zuzuni Boutique Hotel has rooms from P2,800, tel +6336 288 4477 or +63908 893 9841.
Best time to go
The best time to go to Boracay is during the amihan season from November to May.
The forms of transportation in the island are tricycles, multicabs, e-trikes and vans. Tricycles charge P20 per person but if you want to book it from Cagban Port to the Boracay station of your choice, it will cost P100. Multicabs can be rented from Cagban Port to Station 1, 2 or 3, for P350. E-trikes charge individual passengers from Cagban (P10 per person) and vans can be rented for P1,500.
Foreign Exchange rate
One Philippine peso is equivalent to US$0.02. Visit xe.com for the current exchange rate.
Foreign Exchange centers
There are a lot of souvenir shops in D’Mall that are also foreign exchange centers.
Visit Paolo Collection at D’Mall to exchange your foreign currency for Philippine pesos, tel +6336 288 3448.
Boracay Tourism office
The Boracay Tourism office is located in D’Mall, tel +6336 288 3689.
ABOUT OUR INSIDERS
Mae Bernales is the operations manager of Zuzuni Boutique Hotel & La Cozina Boracay Restaurant.
Nenette Graf, a Boracay native, owns Boracay Beach Resort. Graf is also a windsurfing champion and board member of Boracay Foundation, Inc.
Jack Jarilla is a freelance photographer and longtime resident of Boracay.
Cover photo by Jack Jarilla.
Published September 2016