Boracay, Philippines

[ 0 ] February 9, 2013 |

The Best Beach in the World!

That is the headline of our trip to Boracay. Named the World’s Best Island in 2012 by Travel + Leisure Magazine, the distinction did not let us down.

boracay beach

Boracay Island’s White Beach

After spending a little less than a week in the metropolis of Manila, Alison and I were ready for a few days lazing in the sun and soaking up some beach culture. Located just 300 km south of Manila just off the northern tip of Panay Island, getting to Boracay is fairly easy. From Manila you can either fly into Caticlan (MPH) or Kalibo (KLO) airport. Caticlan is the closest airport (10 min. boat ride away from Boracay) but only accepts turbo prop planes limited passengers to a maximum of 15kg of luggage each – no go for us. Kalibo is a bit further (90 min. car ride + the 10 min. boat ride to the island), but is able to hold most major aircraft.

The Sand, Ohh The Sand

The crown jewel of Boracay is most certainly the sand. A stroll up to the northern most part of White Beach any you can’t miss it. The sand turns into a fine white dust that seems to pack together like polished cement. Sand Castles have become a burgeoning business for locals in this part of the island. With the sand seemingly perfectly evolved for the trade, the locals are able to make some of the most intricate sand sculptures you’ve ever seen using a common kitchen spoon as their paint brush.

palm trees + powdery white sand…this is why boracay island was voted the World’s best beach

sailboats slowly return to shore as the afternoon draws on

pinch me, is this real?

do we have to leave?

Where to Stay…It’s All About the Beach Front

Once on the island, the main beach and epicenter of all development is located along the infamous white sand long beach on the western side of the island. The beach is broken up into three major sections – Boat Stations 1, 2, and 3. Station 1 is on the north end of White Beach while station 3 is on southern end of the island. In a nutshell the more northern you go on the beach (and hence the lower the number of the nearest boat station) the wider the beach, the more fine the sand, and the nicer and the more expensive the hotel. Priced out of most places near Station 1, we decided to camp it around Station 2 in the middle of the beach. While you can find some pretty amazing cheap, hostel type options around Station 3, Station 2 hotels are reasonably priced with ample amenities. Most important to us was a pool and central location. Given these criteria we gravitated to the Boracay Regency Beach Resort. One of the larger resorts on the strip, it is beach side, located just off station 2, has a gigantic pool, and has surprisingly good food. Given its central location to both the northern and southern parts of White Beach, as well as the fantastic last minute (in-person) rate they gave us, I would HIGHLY recommend anyone to stay here – fantastic value.

our beach oasis...the Boracay Regency Beach Resort

our beach oasis…the Boracay Regency Beach Resort

Walking out our hotel door, our view immediately turns to this….

looking right....outside the Boracay Regency Beach Resort

looking right….outside the Boracay Regency Beach Resort

looking left....outside the Boracay Regency Beach Resort

looking left….outside the Boracay Regency Beach Resort

Sand Boulevard…by Day and Night

Starting from your hotel, the setup at White Beach is basically – (i) Hotel & Retail Shops, (ii) Pedestrian Footpath, (iii) Palm Trees, (iv) Beach, then (v) Ocean. Given the shortage of space, be aware that a lot is crammed within the footpath area. Stepping foot outside your hotel you will find yourself on the beachfront path. Navigating the inevitable sea of tourists traversing the footpath while also being accosted by countless Filipino locals hocking anything and everything can be mentally taxing. While most of the hawkers are certainly relentless, I generally found them to be very friendly and not overly aggressive. In between the walkway and the beach is a 20 to 30 foot wide swath of palm trees. By day these are nice shady spots that local cafes procure and place various tables and chairs for their patrons.

oceanside sandy lane

oceanside sandy lane

sand laden streets of boracic

sand laden streets of boracay island

wind block on windward side of island

wind block protecting pedestrians walking along the sandy beachside boulevards

By night this area becomes a whole other scene filled with endless seafood buffets, fire juggling acts, and bands performing their latest sets – it’s quite a show.

boracay beach by night

boracay beach by night

boracay beach by night

boracay beach by night

Development and the Island’s Future

The one downside to this pristine piece of natural wonder is the rampant development going on. With hotel after hotel lining White Beach now, Boracay will soon (or already has) lost some of the charm and charisma this little slice of heaven had but just a season ago (or so we were told by a few locals). While the blockbuster growth in tourism is undoubtedly good for the local economy – the key question becomes, at what cost?

exploding beach front development on boracay

exploding beach front development on boracay

exploding beach front development on boracay

exploding beach front development on boracay

And just incase you feel a little homesick, you can always grab a bite down at the Obama Grill before making your way back to Facebook Resort to relax.

the "Obama Grill"

the “Obama Grill”

"facebook" resort

“facebook” resort

Only having spent four days here, as a short-term tourist I can’t say that the development significantly impacted my experience all that much – but of course I have not context regarding what it was like before or clarity into what it probably will become in the future. All I do know is that we had an amazing time baking in the Filipino sun for the few days we were there and that I would suggest a brief trip to the island of Boracay for anyone looking to enjoy some of the finest and most amazing sand beaches you can find on this earth.

goodnight boracay, we'll miss you

goodnight boracay, we’ll miss you

For detailed information regarding getting around, eating, and accommodations, please check out the Boracay WikiTravel page – a trusted go to option when it comes to figuring out logistics of a new place.

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Category: Blog, Destinations, Featured Posts, Oceania, Pat's Blog, Philippines

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