Imagine blue and turquoise shades of sea water touching white sandy beaches imprinted with footprints , a sunset so mystical that leaves you speechless while awing the beauty of nature and lush foliage that soothes your eyes…. And yes I am not describing a post card but if anyone of you have been to Boracay, you will agree that it is nothing short of those beautiful postcard photos. I blogged about my trip to El Nido in Philippines few months back and suddenly it occurred to me , how did I forget to mention about Boracay. This is one place in Asia that you surely do not want to miss. What used to be an untouched, pristine laid-back village has now transformed into an overdeveloped party island. Whether you want to just relax or do adventure water sports, Boracay has it all . It is a tiny island in the Visayas region of the central Philippines. As the most popular travel destination in the Philippines, it’s far from undiscovered — the island absolutely buzzes with tourists.
HOW TO GET TO BORACAY: If you are coming from Manila flying is the best option. Whatever you choose , you need to make your way to the Caticlan Jetty Port as ferry is the only way to enter Boracay. You can fly either to :
a) Kalibo : This airport is farther than Caticlan but has cheaper flights approx USD 70 for roundtrip. You need to take a bus or van to Caticlan Jetty Port (USD 5) and it takes 2 hrs to reach.
b) Caticlan : I flew from Manila to Caticlan. It saved me 2 hr bus ride from Kalibo. Even though the tickets are costlier than Kalibo (USD 100 approx), it saves you a lot of travel time.
Choosing between Kalibo and Caticlan depends on : Do you have more money or more time? If you have more money, book straight to Caticlan. From Caticlan airport, take a tricycle to the jetty port or walk, it takes around 10 minutes. Upon arrival at the jetty port, you will be required to pay Entrance Fees of USD 5 to Boracay Islands.
GETTING TO KNOW BORACAY : Boracay is a tiny island with land area of 10.32 sq kilometers. It is seven kilometers long and dog-bone shaped with the narrowest spot being less than one kilometer wide. White Beach is the main hub of the island, It is divided in 3 stations. Station 1(very pricey),Station 2(commercial hub with major landmark called DMall) and Station 3(home to cheapest hotels). Most of the Jettys will drop you at Cagban Jetty port which is near Station 3. Any tricycle from port to station should not cost more than USD 2.
- Avoid peak season November to June. All major holidays (Christmas, New Year etc) are in these months making Boracay holiday destination for whole South east Asia. Prices get more than double and the beaches get very crowded, so forget about that!
- If you are looking for cheap accommodation , try on station 3. Station 3 has a lot budget hotels and it is less crowded .
- Do not be shy of bargaining. Haggle as much as you can. Being tourist destination, the prices are generally inflated and you can easily steal a deal, if you know how to haggle.
- Its always cost effective to share a ride and needless to say you need to be cautious while doing that. You can save a lot if you share rides to D’Mall ,where you will end up going a lot. Some hotels have free shuttle service to D’ mall.
THINGS TO DO:
- Boracay White Beach : This beach is heart of Boracay. Its soft powdery white sand will make your feet simply sink in as you walk on the beach in the day time. At night this area transcends into party hub.
- Puka Beach: If you want to skip the crowd and the party, hop on a tricycle and sail away to Puka . Puka beach is located on the other side of Boracay and is open to public for free. It has no restaurants but has canteens and you can get your own drinks on the beach to enjoy sunsets.
- Mount Luho : Mount Luho is the highest point in Boracay. There is a viewing deck and you will get to see a sensational panoramic view of the island. There is an entry fee of USD 10$ to get to the deck. I enjoyed a lovely set from the top of Mount Luho.
- Cliff Diving: Ariel’s Point is located in Buruanga, a half hour boat ride from Boracay’s white beach. An excursion to Ariel’s point costs almost USD 45-50 and usually includes snorkeling and lunch buffet. You climb up the cliff and there are 5 different levels from where you can dive in water. Sounds fun , isn’t it?
- Island Hopping: Want to explore hidden jewels of Boracay? Venture out into its waters. You can rent a boat or join a day trip offered by many companies which covers diving, snorkeling, food and transportation. The most common tour is to Carabao Island.
- Water sports: For water sports enthusiasts, Boracay is a paradise. The most popular watersport is banana boat ride.
- Nightlife in Boracay : The island comes alive with people homing in on the island’s bars’ cheap drinks and delicious food. Boracay’s most fascinating bar is Cocomangas, whose “Still standing after 15″ challenge is a rite of passage for many first-time Boracay visitors. Winners get t-shirt and their name on a plaque on the wall when they finish their 15 shots.
- Boracay Spa and Massage Treatments: Feel like pampering yourself, head out to one of Boracay’s Spas. If you do not want to go out, a lot of hotels provide inhouse spa treatments. My advice is DO NOT MISS IT.
What are you waiting now, Go and Enjoy …
As first timer, it might appear a bit confusing to get to the Island but once you are at Boracay ,you will not feel like going back. So plan your trip and book your tickets. I assure you , like everyone else you will alsofall in love with this island. If you have been there I would love to hear your experiences. Thank you for stopping by.