Are you a weekend warrior? Are you constantly on the hunt for the getaway of a lifetime, but only able to squeeze in an escape of two days or so? Are you the type to seek a dose of vitamin sea at least once a year? In that case, Boracay is the place for you. A weekend in Boracay is the absolute best way to experience nature, adventure, fun, and many other ingredients that make the Philippines special.
Powder-white sand, crystal-clear water, and a vibrant beach scene are just some features that make it one of the hottest tourist spots in the country. There’s no shortage of things to do, which means actually deciding what to do can be a challenge. With that in mind, here is a Boracay guide to help you make the most of your stay on the island.
Photo courtesy of Dianne Rosete via Flickr
It’s possible to photograph Boracay from a plane, but getting a good angle from the window can be tricky. To really get a good view of the island, you have to really think about where to stay in Boracay. Cheap accommodations are good for those on a shoestring budget, but you may have to splurge more for a spot at an awesome summit. Those who want to grace their Instagram with a panoramic photo can enjoy the Dinara View Deck at the Alta Vista de Boracay, which is located on one of the island’s highest peaks.
Photo courtesy of Ria R via Flickr
You can do different things to get into the island mood. Some people make a ritual out of putting on their beachwear, while others just soak in the sun for a while. When you go on an outing in Boracay, hair braiding is one of the most popular trends. For 50 to 300 pesos, depending on your hair’s length and the design that you want, you can change your look to really feel like you’re getting away from the ordinary.
Photo courtesy of Roman Nuritdinov via Flickr
After priming yourself for the Boracay experience, it’s time to take on the waves. Don your swimsuit or rash guard and choose among a range of activities. Adventurous souls can go beyond swimming and try kite-surfing, windsurfing, banana boating, fly fishing, parasailing or riding a jetski, just to name a few. But if you’re less of an active type and more of a DLSR-toting shutterbug, you can just take the opportunity to hone your action photography skills.
Photo courtesy of Jeff Tollefson via Flickr
Boracay has something for everyone, not just in terms of activities but also in terms of food. One of the best things to do when visiting Boracay on a budget is to go on a food trip, especially after doing some energy-burning activities. The go-to location for budget meals is Bulabog Beach, where you can eat a decent meal for less than 200 pesos. Grilled meats, pasta, seafood, crepes, pancit canton, and fajitas are just some of the dishes you can enjoy.
Photo courtesy of Marco Verch via Flickr
Another good Boracay activity is to get a Henna tattoo. You should have no problem finding some place to get one done, with many tattoo artists ready to show a portfolio of their work. The price for the service varies from 50 pesos up to the thousands, depending on how complex the design is. Just take note: going for a dip too soon after getting inked will likely spoil the design (just look at the poor guy in the picture on the right), so you’ve got to time it. Also, be careful not to stain the sheets in your hotel room or else you may incur a fine. Henna tattoos aren’t permanent, though, and they should go away within a few days.
Photo courtesy of Flair Candy via Flickr
Not all of the activities in Boracay focus on the beach. In some parts of the island, you can indulge in parties and other urban pleasures too. The Boracay nightlife is actually exciting; those with a thirst for music, drinks, and parties will surely have a lot to look forward to. Find the right spot on the island and you can also shop for souvenirs, as well as take night photographs of unique island spectacles like fire dancers and larger-than-life sandcastles.
Photo courtesy of denAsuncioner via Flickr
After resting from a full night out, you can go on a leisurely beachside stroll. Combing the beach for shells and other oddities can be a relaxing way to spend your second morning on the island. If you want to do this in relative solitude, you may have to go beach-hopping; with all the developments on the island, it’s easier for people to get relatively cheap accommodation in Boracay, making it somewhat crowded. Guests of Alta Vista de Boracay may enjoy exclusive access to Puka Beach, a pristine paradise where you can calmly wander.
Photo courtesy of Mark Lehmuhler via Flickr
With all the exciting water sports done the previous day, you can check out the ocean from a different perspective: underwater. Scuba diving and snorkeling are to be expected from a destination like Boracay. You can also do helmet diving, where for 700 pesos or so, you can explore the ocean floor about 10 feet deep for around 30 minutes. Underwater activities are best enjoyed when the ocean is calm, which is usually in the morning. Again, if you have access to a concierge in your accommodations in Boracay, it’s best to ask them about the underwater activities you can do and the typical rates for each, since it depends on the season.
Have you ever jumped off a cliff? In Boracay, people can actually pay for the experience. Fearless adventurers, or ones who want to conquer their fears, can go to Ariel’s Point and jump from the height of their choice, ranging from 3 meters to 15 meters. Even though the experience—which includes a boat ride and a meal—can take about half a day out of your schedule, it may well be worth it to visit a destination that’s been featured on the Huffington post.
Photo courtesy of Hani_Han via Pixabay
Of course, no trip to the beach is complete without a sunset photo. Sunsets usually occur within a 15- to 30-minute window—sounds like a long time, but serious photographers know that it’s not that long. Keep tabs on the weather and an eye out for the best angle to capture that magic moment. Also, while clear skies are ideal during your trip, you still want some clouds if you’re aiming for a riotous combination of orange, purple, and pink in your picture.
A beach getaway is a real luxury that not everyone can afford. When you’re able to arrange a seaside escape, it’s an experience you have to cherish. Of course it’s a good idea to research for things to do beforehand, but any Boracay itinerary you could find is just a rough guide. Keep your ears open and your eyes peeled, and you’ll surely find other summer experiences to try. The key to having the time of your life, especially if you’re on a finite timetable, is to strike the balance between “why bother?” and “why not?”