Boracay’s famed powdery white sand, azure waters, and vibrant night life make it one of the most popular beach destinations in the Philippines. For the uninitiated, Boracay is an island located 196 miles south of Metro Manila, the country’s capital city. It has been included in various lists for top destinations around the world, peaking in 2012 when it was declared the world’s best island by international travel magazine Travel + Leisure.
Far from being a mere party destination, Boracay is likewise famous for destination weddings, birthday bashes, and other events. The upsurge of tourist and business activity transformed this once sleepy island paradise into a bustling business center that it is today, importing anything from an online florist’s bridal and wedding flowers to hosting international DJs for summer festivals.
These days, the more understated and unspoiled appeal of the coves in El Nido, Palawan has drawn away some tourists from the crowds of Boracay. Nevertheless, despite concerns of overcrowding and overdevelopment, the island paradise remains unmatched with its overall package of countless adventure offerings, scenic views, and lively summer vibe life all year long.
There are roughly 17 beaches in Boracay, but the biggest and most popular is the White Beach––a four-kilometer stretch of fine, white sand beach divided into Stations 1, 2, and 3. This is the commercial hub of the island featuring a dense concentration of clubs, resorts, restaurants, and revellers. The cheapest accommodations are in Station 3, while the more posh places are in Station 1. A no frills dorm-type lodge at Station 3 can go as low as $5 a night and up to $60 a night for a cottage. At sunset, expect White Beach to be teeming with locals and tourists getting ready to hit the bars and soak in the revelry of Boracay’s vibrant night scene. To hit as many pubs as you can while meeting interesting new people along the way, why not join a pub crawl as you party the night away.
Puka Beach is quickly catching up to White Beach as a frequented place in Boracay. It is 20 minutes away from the city center via tricycle ride. The white sand is not as fine as the White Beach, but it’s equally picturesque. More importantly, it’s a lot quieter. Go early in the morning and you can have the beach all to yourself, or come at dusk to get a glimpse of bats flying over the cliffs.
For kite and windsurfing aficionados, Bulabog Beach is the place to be. This beach is on the other side of the island, across White Beach. From November to April, you can catch like-minded travelers jumping and gliding across water. There’s plenty of room for amateurs and hobbyists as well as basic courses can be taken from schools posted along the beach.
Apart from the usual beach-side activities, there are a few offbeat alternatives you can try while in Boracay.
Catch the sun as it rises from the best seat in the island––at the top of Mount Luho, Boracay’s highest point. You’ll have to get up at an ungodly hour, but it will be worth the effort. The easier way to get there would be to hire a tricycle, but if you want to sweat it out, you can opt to hike up the hill. Once you get to the observation deck, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the entire island against the backdrop of the rising sun.
You can catch the sun set at the White Beach, but for a change of scenery, the secluded shores of Diniwid Beach offers a less frenzied view. This beach is a short walk along rocks and crevices to the northern side of White Beach’s Station 1. There’s a bar and resto perched on the rocks where you can catch the famed fiery Boracay sunset in an intimate and romantic setting.
For some otherworldly scenery, head to the Dead Forest located the near Bulabog Beach. The places is surrounded by dead mangrove trees which gives it an eerie vibe. Locals believe supernatural beings dwell in this place. In fact, the lifeless vegetation is actually a result of an ecological disturbance after a dam broke down. Filmmakers have likewise taken advantage of the ethereal landscape to shoot horror and post-apocalyptic scenes. If you don’t believe in the supernatural, the place can even pass as romantic.
These are just the tip of the iceberg. There are still plenty of things to do and places to see in Boracay, so if you’re heading there this summer, don’t forget to work up a healthy appetite for fun and adventure.