Boracay; The small island in the middle of the Philippines, once you make it there you can have an adventure filled trip or relax next to the pristine, aqua coloured ocean.
Getting all the way there!
When I’ve told people how we got from Australia to Boracay, a lot were turned off the idea of going because it is a bit of a mission to get there. I always assure them though that it actually wasn’t that bad and well worth it.
We flew from Gold Coast to Sydney (around 1 hour), then direct flight from Sydney to Manila (around 8 hours). We then had to overnight in Manila, generally this is required with any direct services from Australia as there are no connecting flights by the time you land. The next leg is where people start to lose interest. Manila direct to Kalibo airport (around 1hr15min), we flew with AirAsia. After disembarking we jumped on a bus for about 1.5 hours to the Caticlan Jetty, then a short boat ride across to Boracay and lastly a mini bus to our accommodation. Easy!
Now, there is the option to purchase flights direct to Caticlan airport, which is 10 minutes away from the jetty, so you’d cut out the bus ride – generally speaking though, the flights to Caticlan cost about 3 times as much as flights to Kalibo from Manila.
If that’s the case, I’d definitely recommend flying to Kalibo. Save your money! The journey from Kalibo to the jetty really wasn’t that bad. The roads are decent; it’s a relaxing ride and has plenty of gorgeous views of the ocean, rice fields and mountains.
We purchased our transfer tickets on board our flight to kalibo. It was so well organised, I couldn’t fault the service. Nearly everybody was heading to Boracay and there was plenty of staff at every point making sure we all got on the right bus, boat and onto the correct hotel transfer with ease. If you choose to go this route I suggest purchasing your transfer tickets as “return” tickets…. We didn’t and when we were booking to come back it cost us a bit more than a return ticket would have.
1… 2…. 3…
Boracay is divided up into three stations, station 1, 2 & 3 and these are the “tourist hub” on the island. Throughout each station there’s a large number of hotels and resorts, catering to all types of travellers.
Station 1 is most expensive
Station 2 is middle range (and closest to most of the shopping)
Station 3 is the cheapest (you’ll find plenty of the cool beach bars along here)
We like to do things a bit different so we spent our first few nights at Diniwid beach (north of station 1) at a Resort called Spiderhouse. This was recommended to us by a friend and it’s by far one of the coolest places I have ever stayed. It’s basically like an overwater tree house, very basic and built into the cliff using bamboo. The main deck is surrounded by the rooms, this is where you’ll do most of your eating, drinking and sunbaking. You can jump straight from the deck into the ocean and for only $90 a night, I had not one complaint.
Our last couple of nights we headed to station 2 to check out the action. We stayed at Henann Regency Resort & Spa, this resort was big, beautiful and had everything you could need. But I did miss the simplicity of Spiderhouse.
There was a lot more going on in station 2, plenty of shopping, bars/clubs, water sports, spas and restaurants. Getting between the stations is easy, they’re all along the one beach so you could just walk along the sand or if you had somewhere specific you wanted to go just grab a ride on a tricycle or multicab.
The food in Boracay was alright but nothing amazing about it, they love their meat, so if you’re a big meat eater this is the place for you.
I’d definitely recommend checking out Wahine Beach Bar & Grill, the food and cocktails are the best. This is between Spiderhouse and Station 1. It’s a fun chilled out place, bean-bags on the beach and the perfect spot to watch the sunset. Don’t arrive too late, as it can get pretty busy at night.
3 Must Do’s on Boracay:
Visit Puka beach
Puka Beach is located at the northern end of the island. Thankfully it’s not covered with large resorts and hotels, there are a few shops, food-stalls and massage huts. I was blown away when we arrived, it’s so beautiful. Very clean, the water is clear and the most spectacular blue colour. It’s a nice long beach so plenty of space for yourself. Also there are a number of places that offer sun beds, some charge 200-400 pesos for the day or others just expect you to purchase drink/food.
Stand up paddle-board at sunset
Along the beach of station 2, there are heaps of people with paddle boards to hire. This is something I regularly do at home so wasn’t going to miss out here. They’ll give you a lesson if you need it and its regulation there to use a leg strap and wear a life jacket…. Safety first! The water is calm so it’s easy to go far out, just be mindful of the many boats in the area. I highly recommend doing it in the evening as well, the sunset views were incredible.
Hire a sailboat
Hiring a sailboat is super easy, the beach is generally teeming with people offering this service. You’ll organise a time/date then meet them back at the same spot. We paid approximately 1,500 pesos for 3 hour’s; he took us right around the island, stopping at a few different areas to snorkel (we had our own snorkelling gear). I’m sure they all would, but make sure you’re taken to crocodile island… the snorkelling there was the best.
I really loved Boracay and I can see why so many people go back again and again. If that’s you, let me know in the comment section below what you loved.