Is it just the powdery white sand and warm, tranquil waters? The beachfront buffets and lively evening parties? Or the rosy golden sunsets and teeming underwater marine life? No matter what tickles their fancy, the sights, sounds and tastes of Boracay keep tourists coming back for more. Are you planning your vacation this summer? Consider Boracay and get ready to tick off each item on this list of must-dos at this incredible island getaway.
#1 Chill, bum and get a massage
After your cross-continental flight to the Philippines, a shorter flight to Caticlan and a quick boat ride to the island, you’ll probably want to relax by testing the waters and laying on the sand. One of the best and cheapest ways to unwind is to get a beach-side massage. Laze on powder-fine sand, listen to gently lapping waves and enjoy the balmy breeze as manangs (lady attendants here referred to as “older sisters”) give you a long and soothing rub-down. Thai, Swedish, Shiatsu, reflexology or the local hilot – say the word and they’ll know what to do. Just remember to bring your sarong or a beach towel.
Ready to explore? Boating is one of the easiest, enjoyable and affordable ways to discover Boracay. You can rent a glass-bottom dinghy, or try the paraw — a local boat with bamboo outriggers. Visit secluded beaches like Diniwid, Puka Shell, Bulabog and Crystal Cove. Have a picnic lunch of fresh fish on the grill then go snorkelling at Crocodile Island or Angol Point. Wrap up the afternoon by drifting slowly across White Beach where, at around 5pm, you’ll see people slowly coming out of their hotel rooms to catch the sunset from the beach — but you’ll be floating lazily on your paraw, sipping wine and enjoying Boracay’s world-famous sunset.
East meets West as just about all the flavours and cuisines of the world are represented in Boracay’s many restaurants. Most of the cafes, bars and resorts that line White Beach, the center of activity in the island, offer buffet dinners with eat-all-you-can seafood: crabs, lobsters, giant prawns and all kinds of tropical fish. Don’t miss the beach barbecues every Friday, fire dances on full moon nights, and live music every evening. Pubs and discos usually host big parties on holidays and Saturday nights during peak season (December-January and Easter).
If you prefer an easier, more laid-back alternative to scuba diving, try reef-walking. Also called helmet-diving or deep-sea walking, it allows you to walk on the ocean floor without an air tank on your back or a regulator in your mouth. You can feed the fish and have as many photos taken as you want – while smiling at the camera, too. There are, of course, scuba tours for those who’d like to be more mobile, as there’re dozens of beautiful sites to explore. Boracay’s clear waters have exceptional visibility at up to 40 meters, where you can view shipwrecks, caverns, cliffs and vertical walls swathed in sponges, gorgonians, soft corals. Get a glimpse of sharks, turtles, rays, barracuda, sea snakes, snappers and tuna. Night dives will reveal a host of exotic, hard-to-find fish: camouflaged frogfish, pygmy seahorses, spiny lobsters, Spanish dancers, harlequin ghost-pipefish and fire gobies.
You’ll probably overcome your fear of heights once you see the warm, shimmering, turquoise waters that await you below. Voted #1 must-do in Boracay by both TripAdvisor and Cosmopolitan magazine, cliff-jumping happens at Ariel’s Point, the highest peak in a cluster of limestone rock formations 30 minutes across the island. Adrenaline junkies can jump from 5 platforms ranging in height from 3 to 15 meters. A $40-tour includes unlimited jumps, barbecue buffet, bottomless drinks, and options to go canoeing, snorkelling, hiking, water buffalo-riding and do boat transfers.
#6 Go on an ATV expedition
ATVs are all-terrain motor bikes or buggies that you can rent to roam the rugged, quieter areas of inland Boracay. Drive up to Ocean Tower, one of the island’s highest peaks, and get a 360-degree view of the surrounding ocean. Stop by the Everland aviary, the butterfly garden and the Bat Cave in Iligligan before heading back to White Beach to…
#7 Cool down with a fruit shake
Still the best refreshment while baking in the sun or relaxing after a full day of exploration, Jonah’s Fruit Shakes are the undisputed, best-tasting cooler on the island, and probably the planet as many would say. Nobody knows what makes their banana-choco, banana-choco-peanut, banana-choco-vanilla, mango-melon, and mango milk shakes sooo good. But who cares? For just a little over US$2 a glass, they’re a steal!
Also known as kite-boarding, this extreme sport lets you ride a small surfboard across the water as you’re propelled to dizzying heights while hanging on to the handle of a huge kite. Boracay is hailed as the Kiteboarding Capital in Asia and is the top windsurfing spot in the Philippines. The large, 2-mile lagoon in Bulabog Beach, with smooth, flat waters 1.5meters deep, has mild, steady blowing winds perfect for this sport. International competitions are held here around January to February, but courses are available all year for beginners and advanced levels. Instructions are offered in English, German, and other languages.
Get a panoramic view of Sibuyan Sea and Tablas Strait as you jump off from the summit of Mt. Luho, the highest peak on the island, and glide your way above lush tropical jungle, 369 feet (112m) above sea level. A breath-taking experience to cap off days of exploration, relaxation and exhilaration.
#10 Get a souvenir
You wouldn’t really leave without one, now would you? Aside from a golden bronze tan, the next best “bodily evidence” to prove you’ve been to Boracay is one or both of these: tight braids on your hair or a henna tattoo on your skin. But since the henna will come off in a couple of weeks and the braid might not even last a couple of days, you’re still better off taking photos of the island. One attraction, for sure, is the sandcastles. You simply won’t be able to ignore the elaborate designs showing up at the beachfront almost daily. Just the right background for a selfie to show off friends.
See you in the summer!
nice one! I’m so proud to be a Filipino and to live here in the Philippines. It is good to know that foreigner come to see what we’ve got naturally. So nice of you putting here in youqueen :) It is a really good advertisement.
Wish every one happy new year xx