I’ve taken a few days off from the Philippines blog roll but the cold weather outside has suddenly got me wishing I was back on the beach. Specifically, Boracay’s White Beach.
Boracay was the main reason Krystina and I ventured the 20+ hours across the globe. While we had been hankering to go back to Asia for this years annual trip, the draw of a long white sand stretch nestled amongst jungle palms was all too alluring. Consistently ranked by the likes of New York Times as one of the world’s top five beaches, Boracay is the ideal destination for any beach bum. Four years ago, while living in Korea, I was supposed to make the journey. I booked the tickets, researched the hotels, got together a great group and then had to suddenly come home. Rave reviews and a personal vendetta placed Boracay squarely at the top of my bucket list. Less then a month ago my escape to beach heaven had finally arrived.
Though only an hour’s flight from the bustling Philippine capital of Manila, Boracay is a world away. The buzzing crowds are replaced by relaxed travelers sprawled across wide clean expanses of sand instead of jammed into city streets. Luckily for those needing an escape Boracay is serviced by a handful of airlines running dozens of flights daily. SEAIR, Airphil Express, Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific are all popular choices with nonstop flights into Caticlan. Ranging in price $50 to $150 each way, traveling by air is the most practical way to reach the island*. From Caticlan, boat transfers are easily arranged from the airport to your final destination if your hotel hasn’t already arranged one.
Once there, there are no shortage of hotels from which to stay. For our trip, Krystina and I called the sprawling Boracay Regency home. A “luxury” resort with all the requisite amenities the Regency did not disappoint. Another solid beachfront choice at a slightly cheaper price range would be the perennially popular Nigi Nigi Nu Noo’s. Off the beach, small boutique hotels dot the unpaved roads and provide cheap beds close to the waves. If not visiting the island during “super peak” times (xmas to new years, lunar new year, easter) advance reservations are not necessary. It’s easy and common to stroll the beach and score a decent hotel to stay.
Boracay, in brief, is gorgeous. One hundred percent absolutely stunning. Popular with the Asian, Australian and European travel sets the island destination has yet to pick up the momentum of American tourism. To my fellow patriots, this is a mistake. Though the ticket to get there may cost a few dollars little is spent upon arrival. With a landscape that will emotionally charge you, a relaxed atmosphere replete with a pulsing nightlife, friendly locals and good food, Boracay should rank high on anyone’s list.
Don’t believe me? Look through the pics below if you need any more convincing…
Personally, I don’t… hatching my plan for a gym/bar combo with @krystinaf now. If all else fails, there’s always selling coconuts on the beach….
*While these airlines offer cheap flights, actual departures do not seem to be guaranteed. After technical difficulties grounded our plane halfway in on the outbound and who knows what delayed and detoured our return we lost quite a few hours in the airports. This is no reason not to visit Boracay, it just requires a little bit of planning. Book the earliest morning flight available to the island- even if you are delayed a few, you’ll still arrive with most of your day to enjoy with mango shake in hand on the beach. Going back to Manila flights seem to wait to be full (instead of flying all schedules) and then tend to miss the sunset laws. This requires a detour to Kalibo (two hours by bus) before your flight to Manila can take off. To help ease the stress, book your flight a day before your international departure. Another little annoyance: travelers through Caticlan are only permitted 10 kilos of luggage. For most this is fine, for me, it was quite the challenge.