Boracay. The name alone has an exotic ring to it and brings to mind images of pure paradise. I first heard the name of this small island about 6 years ago when I moved to Korea. Many Koreans talked about it as a top honeymoon destination and most of my foreign friends bragged about their cheap backpacking adventures there. Now it’s my turn to brag a little.
The first thing you need to know is that there are two main ways to get to Boracay. I always go for the cheapest but most complicated and time consuming route, (which I usually end up regretting.) We flew into Kalibo airport from Manila. The flight was only $35 USD so I couldn’t argue with that. From Kalibo airport you can take a 2 hour bus to the Caticlan ferry port and from there, Boracay is just a 15 minute ferry ride away. Island Star Ferry does a door-to-door service that includes the bus and ferry ticket, although you have to pay your own way to your hotel once you arrive in Boracay (Island Star Ferry). If you don’t mind spending a bit more, you can fly directly into the Caticlan airport and then hop right on the ferry.
The options for accommodations in Boracay are overwhelming, but when you see how small the island is, you really can’t go wrong. Boracay is basically a long strip of land with one main road going through the middle and a long beach on either side. White Beach is the most famous beach. During the day it’s popular for relaxing, swimming, or going out on a boat for some island hopping adventures. At night, White Beach is a hot spot for the nightlife. Restaurants, bars and clubs are lined up along the coast and they set up tables and chairs right on the beach. Bulabog beach is on the other side and is mostly for windsurfing. We decided to stay at a hostel on Bulabog beach and we were both really happy with that decision. White Beach is a 5 minute walk across the main road from Bulabog beach and it’s also much quieter at night. We stayed at Jeepney Hostel and booked a private room for around $40 USD per night. Accommodations in Boracay can get really steep if you’re the resort type of traveler so hostels are great options. I would highly recommend Jeepney. There is a restaurant and three bars right at the hostel and it has a great vibe for solo travellers who want to meet people. It’s also right on Bulabog beach. Here are some pics of our private room:
We arrived at night and after a long day of travelling, I wanted our first full day in Boracay to be a relaxing beach day, but we were quickly persuaded by our hostel to join them the next day on a booze cruise and island hopping. Unlimited drinks included=not a difficult decision to make.
The next day we woke up early to get a few hours of beach time in before our booze cruise adventure. When we got back to the hostel, the staff started coming around putting glitter on everybody’s faces. Then a group of Boracay natives came to warm us up with some drumming. Soon after, we were armed with rum and cokes and on our way to the beach. The boozing was well on its way before the cruise even started. Little did I know of what was in store for the day ahead.
After some drinking and dancing on the boat, we arrived at Magic Island. I noticed right away signs that said “10 meter” “9 meter” and “7 meter.” Not more than a few minutes after we arrived, some of our new friends were diving and backflipping off of a 10 meter cliff. I barely had the chance to grab my camera, and my boyfriend did a daring dive off the highest cliff. I immediately knew that I would not be participating in this activity. It’s not so much that I am afraid of heights, but the idea of jumping off of something terrifies me. I watched everyone while sitting back enjoying my rum and coke. About 30 minutes later I realized that a bit further down were some “baby” jumps- a 3 meter and a 5 meter. I figured that I would be able to conquer the 3 meter. In my day, I have jumped off of some boats and small bridges so I figured, what the hell. But when I actually walked the plank and looked down, I couldn’t find the courage to do it. As I get older I seem to be getting less and less daring. When I first went over to the “baby” jumps nobody was there, but as I continued to hesitate, more people came over and jumped off. I think they were trying to encourage me, but instead I just became more nervous. I had a group of cheerleaders at one point and I knew I had to do it. So, if everyone is jumping off a cliff would you do it too? Well, in this case, yes! It took me an embarrassing amount of time to finally build up the courage, but I did! And to be honest, the worse part was getting a noseful of water. By the time I finally did it, we were getting ready for the next island. We went to one more spot to enjoy some swimming, snorkeling and a beautiful sunset.
The next day we took a short but steep morning hike up to the top of Mount Luho to check out the gorgeous views of Boracay. It’s only about a 20 minute hike from Jeepney hostel, but you can also take a tricycle or hop on a motor bike.
The rest of the week was mostly spent relaxing on the beach and trying out some restaurants in the evenings for dinner. We decided to save our activities and excursions for our last stop-Bohol Island. In hindsight, Boracay was the highlight of our trip and we wish we would have stayed an extra day or two there. It’s a place I would highly recommend and to which I would definitely consider traveling again someday.