Boracay. Over the last decade, this island’s name has become synonymous with a tropical getaway. Find out why it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Philippines.
- World-class beaches
- Delicious Filipino cuisine
- Boat tours around Boracay
- Local basketball games
One of Boracay’s most valuable assets is its stunning natural features which, off the back of its six-month ‘rehabilitation’ period in 2018 when the island was closed to tourists, is on its way to being preserved for all to enjoy long into the future. So without any further ado, here’s a list of everything you need to see and do while on Boracay.
Boracay is home to a plethora of stunning beaches dotted along its coastline, but White Beach is without a doubt the heart of the island. Its central location makes it a hub for restaurants, bars, and shops and it’s the jumping-off point for most of the island-hopping tours.
Though sections of the beach in both Station 1 and 2 can be busy, because of the length of White Beach, you’ll find a nice spot on the sand to yourself if you put in some leg work. Since it’s on the western edge of Boracay, it’s protected from much of the wind and swell blowing through from the east, making it a tranquil beach to relax on for an afternoon.
Catching a sunset at White Beach is also an absolute must. Whether you’re enjoying a beachfront beverage at a bar or bathing in its blue waters, the silhouettes of boats on the horizon as the sun dips below is something to remember.
Only a 15 minute tricycle ride away from the centre of Boracay, Puka Beach is the perfect spot for sunbathing away from the crowds.
Due to the lack of resorts and businesses along this stretch of beach, it’s not nearly as crowded as the ones closer to the centre.
This being said, many of the island hopping tours do make a pitstop at the far end of Puka Beach in the late morning, giving passengers the chance to hop off and grab a refreshment. So if you head here after lunch, the far end of the beach is emptier than a banker’s heart.
There are also vendors who have placed mats along the beach where you can take a seat, get your hair braided or grab a coconut, take your pick!
Just a stone’s throw away from White Beach sits my favourite beach I visited while on Boracay, Diniwid Beach. To get there, all you have to do is stroll around the corner at the northern end of White Beach till you reach the next headland or hop on a tricycle.
Though just a 15 minute walk from Station 1, you’ll notice as you turn the corner that Diniwid is less crowded and has a more mellow ambience about it. Find a patch of sand to your liking, pull up at one of the beachside bars or get a spike in with the locals playing volleyball on the shores of this slice of paradise.
Ilig Iligan Beach
Ilig Iligan Beach is located on the north-west corner of Boracay and you’ll have to catch a motorcycle out here if you want to frolic along these shores. Due to its more remote location, this is another spot that’s great for getting away from the crowds.
Though there’s not too much going on out here in terms of amenities, you can get a meal or bevy on the shoreline and take a snorkelling tour around the islands just off the beach.
Hagdan Beach is yet another salty gem tucked away on the west coast of Boracay. To get there from White Beach, you’ll need to hop on a motorbike taxi that’s willing to take you down to Hagdan Beach.
Many tricycle drivers won’t offer you a lift as the track ventures down a bumpy dirt road, making it difficult for them to navigate. Because of this, you’ll be pressed to find more than a few groups of tourists or even locals down here, making the tranquillity of the coastline at Hagdan unmatched. Crack a cold one or a coco and take it all in, you deserve it!
Love kitesurfing, windsurfing or feeling the breeze blow through your hair? Bulabog Beach is the spot for you. The beach brings warm waters and reliable winds year-round making the conditions great for learners and advanced riders alike.
Though the beach is subject to more winds as it’s on the east coast of the island, it’s still a decent beach to roll out a towel and get your daily dose of vitamin D.
I’m on a Boat! – Borcay Island Hopping Tours
If you’re curious to see what the smaller islands around Boracay have to offer, it’d be rude not to hit an island hopping tour.
During my visit, most of the boats were leaving the floating docks at Station 1 around 9 am. It’s organised chaos at the floating docks as tour operators jostle for prime position to wrangle their passengers onto the boat and head off on their tours.
With the understanding that the captain had the right to change the route however he saw fit, it was very difficult to find out exactly where we were heading before the trip, even with a friend who spoke Tagalog! When the day had come to a close this was the journey we took around Boracay.
White Beach – Snorkelling – Puka Beach – Snorkelling – Lunch – White Beach
Though the day on the water was more a circumnavigation of Boracay Island than an island-hopping tour, it was still cool to see all the little nooks and crannies that were hidden around the island.
The snorkelling won’t blow you away if you’ve had snorkelling experiences before, as the years of tours in the area have clearly taken a toll on the reef and marine life. I recommend checking taking an island-hopping tour to Magic Island as they have some pretty awesome cliff jumps you can send off the backside of the island!
Watch a Local Basketball Game
After heading to Puka Beach, we decided to stroll back up the main road instead of hopping straight back onto another tricycle to see what was going on in the local neighbourhood. It wasn’t long before we’d stumbled across a rowdy local basketball game.
Complete with announcer, a full crowd, and a music PA system blasting tunes, this local game was really bringing the energy. I couldn’t help but have a smile on my face as I watched the kids cheer their friends and family on.
The camaraderie between all the spectators in attendance was heartwarming. We ended up staying to watch the entire game and I’d definitely recommend embracing this side of the island culture while you’re on Boracay.
Willys Rock is one of Boracay’s most iconic landmarks. This volcanic rock formation rises above White Beach’s waters in Station 1 and holds a shrine to the Virgin Mary. You may have to wait your turn to climb up the man-made steps leading up on the rock platform during the peak hours of the day, but it’s definitely worth making a stop to admire or grab a photo of this stunning spot.
After West Cove Resort’s lack of accreditation by the Department of Tourism was brought to the forefront, the government decided to demolish this controversial resort. Fast forward to the present day and the broken-down structures of the once four-star resort still exist.
If you’re adventurous, it’s a really fun place to explore, hang out at or take a few leaps off the platform into the blues below. I met a crew of local kids who were hanging out and dangling makeshift hand reels over the edge using rocks as sinkers, hoping to hook onto dinner and joined them for a few cheeky cliff jumps.
This resort is just a short walk south from Hagdan Beach, so pairing this visit with your trip to Hagdan is a killer combo.
Basecamp – Frendz Resort & Hostel
Whether you’re after a private room or a bed in a dorm, Frendz Resort and Hotel has a bed for every budget. Throughout my stay, the staff held a bunch of events including a themed dinner and karaoke nights that were the perfect opportunity to grab a drink and meet travellers. Frendz Resort & Hostel is centrally located on Boracay, so you’ll never be too far away from your next adventure.
- Hat & sunnies
- An empty belly (the local food will sort that out)
How To Get There
I flew from Sydney to Boracay via Manila with Cebu Pacific Air as part of the #CEBTravelSquad. If you’re looking for an affordable and reliable way to get over to the Philippines, they’re tough to beat!