Boracay

Boracay, a tiny island with white beaches and turquoise seas under 4 hours flying from Singapore. A perfect escape for a long weekend. White Beach, as its name suggests is a glorious strip of white sand a little over 4km long. There are numerous bars, restaurants and hotels situated along this beach, with the biggest concentration at Station 2. In addition to the White sand, warmseas and entertainment options, White Beach faces west, which means the best vantage point for glorious sunsets.

How to get there: We were there for 5 nights, having flown into Kalibo on the Singapore Airlines flight. There are no airports on Boracay (happily), but there are two airports close by which are used for Boracay: Caticlan and Kalibo. Kalibo is the bigger of the two and lands international flights. It is approx a 90 minute drive from the airport to Caticlan for the boat transfer. Caticlan is much smaller and lands domestic, small flights. If you’re short of time and are transiting in Manila, my advice would be to go for Caticlan. However, transfers are easily organised between Kalibo and the boat at Caticlan. We used South West Tours who I can’t recommend enough. We opted for the door to door private transfers rather than the coach, which cost a little more but we valued the speed over cost for a short trip. All in all, the journey is about 2.5 hours door to door when you add in the road trip between Kalibo and Caticlan, the ferry (about 15 mins) and then the transport on Boracay.

Where to stay: There are hotels of all descriptions on Boracay and at all prices. Wanting somewhere mid-range and not too far from anywhere we plumped for Boracay Uptown which is right next to D’Mall at Station 2. A good, central option with roof top infinity pool and beach space. The hotel also has the huge added bonus of having 2 double beds in most rooms which makes travelling with friends a breeze and cost-efficient.

What to do:

  • White Beach – the beach that if legend has it, was the one which Alex Garland really meant when he wrote The Beach. It’s a beautiful sight and there’s 4km of pristine, white sand for your enjoyment.

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  • Diving – Boracay is a dream for diving. We picked New Wave Divers who are based at Station 1. There are numerous other options, but New Wave have that certain je ne sais quoi which I think comes from: small group sizes (I had a DM to myself); the great friendly welcome that Lynette affords every diver; it being the only diving center in Boracay with a Certified Clean Air Certificate; the relaxed, yet utterly professional team. They also don’t expect you to carry your tanks down the beach which is a huge plus. I had the luxury of diving Yapak, the island’s deep dive, Friday’s Rock and the wreck. Each beautiful in its own right. New Wave also offers he full range of PADI courses, so don’t be worried if you’ve never been underwater before!
  • Paraw sailing – all along the beach you’ll see the traditional paraw boats, and plenty of hawkers touting sailing trips. We chose to go out with Red Pirates who are based at Station 3. Joey and his crew are great fun and for only PHP800ph they will take you out on a sailing trip remember. Ahoooo!

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Captain Joey Red Pirates' Paraw Red Pirates

  • Sunsets – simply to die for. Some of the most spectacular you’ll see. Pick a bar or simply a spot on the sand At White Beach and watch the sun set. Spider Bar at the far north of White Beach (about 20 mins walk from Station 1, or 5 mins by tricycle) is a fun, quirky bar with uninterrupted views, but you’ll need to get there early to grab a seat with a view. At the other end of White Beach, Red Pirates offers a quirky, fun and friendly evening of happy hour sundowners. Grab a chair or beanbag and order from their range of beers and cocktails whilst the sun turns the sky a range of pinks, oranges and reds. Later, if you’re fortunate, the Pirates will host an impromptu jam session – Ronnie and the boys on harmonica, saxophone, drums, guitar….whatever is available. Chilled, fun vibes.

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Boracay is a beautiful island filled with friendly, genuine people. However, it is at the tipping point whereby much more development will destroy the reason that it is loved by locals and visitors alike. Check out this petition to protect the last pristine beach and forest and have it declared a wildlife sanctuary.

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