You’ve battled through the airport delays, shuttle buses, the ferry and the trike trip and finally arrived at your hotel. WELCOME TO BORACAY. No, let’s give it some justice. WELCOME TO THE CENTER SPREAD OF ALL TRAVEL MAGAZINE CENTER SPREADS. That’s better.
There are too many articles on Google telling you about all the touristy things to do on the island. They all show you the same boring pictures. It looks exciting, but is that it? NO! Here is a list of things to do on the island that doesn’t make the headlines as often as they deserve to.
Have a cocktail on the beach out of a real coconut.
What: They cut open a fresh (LARGE) coconut, add some coconut rum and a straw and there you go! It is the ultimate Boracay Beach drink! An absolute must.
Tips: They taste even better when had on the beach with the sunset as the backdrop.
Where: Just walk along the beach road and you will see plenty of coconut cocktail signs!
Bargain Shopping at D’Mall
What: It’s not the conventional ‘mall’ you go to, to spend yourself into dept and then eat your guilt at a fastfood restaurant. It’s outdoors and vibey. There are many different shops and restaurants. It’s not all tourist orientated. I even saw a pharmacy.
One of the most exciting things about the island is how cheap everything is! Now is the time to buy that exotic coconut oil without feeling guilty or indulge in accesories and cute little bags or clothing. Go crazy! It’s not going to cost you your grocery budget for the next two months. You will also find some international ATMs as well as currency exchange booths there.
Tips: Take a bag or backpack, so you don’t have to carry all the small things you bought around.
Where: There are two main entrances to D’Mall and you will find both on the beach around Station 2. Just walk along the beach road until you see the D’Mall sign.
Local meat market: d’Talipapa
What: A local market where you can find sooo much meat! Chicken, fish, crab, lobster, prawns, steak, anything! Local vendors sell meat according to it’s weight. Surrounding the center of the market where the meat is being sold, you will find a few restaurants where you can have your meat cooked right there and then!
Tips: Always be careful when buying meat of the street. If something smells wrong or you just don’t trust it, do not eat it. You don’t want to get sick on your beach vacation. I didn’t eat any meat there for this reason, but it was still an interesting experience.
Where: The easiest way to get to d’Talipapa is by walking up the small cemented walk in between buildings towards the trike stop. D’Talipapa is right next to it. You can also just ask any local to direct you. Everyone knows about it.
Watch the sunset from Spider House
What: Spider House is a wooden tree house – like beach resort built on a cliff on the edge of the island in Station 1. You can go chill out there with a cocktail and pizza or sushi. People also cliff dive off the deck. You can watch the breathtakingly beautiful Boracay sunset from there. Spider House is a Boracay MUST!!!
Tips: Take a trike to Spider House and experience a Boracay transport adventure. Walk back to your resort along the beach and view some of the shrines and beautiful rocks and quieter areas.
Where: All the way up at Station 1 on the edge of the island.
Have a Cocktail in a Hangmat
What: It’s the island vacation cliche you would see first if you google an island vacation, but it’s a cliche for a reason. It is amazing. I could not have felt more at peace lying comfortably in the hangmat, cocktail in hand and beach view in the background. Do it.
Tips: Don’t instagram it just yet. Give yourself a moment of disconnection to appreciate the peace.
Where: Of course you would find many resorts with their own private hangmats, but I really recommend taking a trip to the other side of the island, Bulabog Beach. Bulabog Beach is where the locals go to escape the tourist frenzy at White Beach. It is quiet and tranquil. Your hangmat is waiting for you at Leventin on the beach front.
Eat Coconut Ice Cream Out of a Coconut
What: The best “ice cream” EVER. I’m lactose intolerant, so I’ve had many alternatives to the real deal and THIS COCONUT “ICE CREAM” was by far the best thing since I last had ice cream. No, it was way better! Not to oversell it, but it will blow.your.mind. I mean, it’s moderately okay….I guess. It’s topped with sticky rice and sprinkled with rice crispies and served in a coconut halve. You can also get it in a cup or add fresh mango.
Tips: Get the four scoops instead of only two. It will save you a trip back.
Where: d’Talipapa. Coco Mama’s stall is right there by the trike stop at the one entrance to d’Talipapa. You can just ask any local to direct you to d’Talipapa. Her hours are from 12:00 – 22:00.
Visit Puka Beach
What: This beach is where travel magazine center spreads are taken. You can relax under an umbrella made out of leaves and have a cocktail or swim in the crystal clear water.
Tips: There is only one or two small shops which only sell drinks, as far as I know. Take some food with you and a good book and escape to Puka island for the day.
Where: You have to take a boat. It is still on the island, so I would guess that you can take a trike, but a boat would be a much more scenic choice.
What: Another island must. You hop on a boat for a 6 hour long adventure around the island. You will do some snorkeling, have a buffet lunch, visit Puka beach as well as Crystal Cove. This trip was absolutely worth it.
Tips: In the bargain price of only 1000pesos you will get the boat trip, Puka beach and the buffet lunch. Unfortunately you have to pay an additional 200pesos to get into Crystal Cove and another 20pesos for the use of the snorkeling equipment, so remember to bring the extra cash.
Where: The trip departs around Station 3. Don’t stress too much about how to get there. You will find many people selling these trips along the beach road. I recommend going to the guide standing in front of Nigi Nigi Nu Noos Beach Resort. We booked with him and met him there the next morning and then he took us to the boat.
Have Mango Cheesecake with frozen mango pieces in
What: One of the best cheesecakes I’ve ever had! It’s a set cheesecake with pieces of frozen mango in it. Good luck with the inevitable inner conflict debating whether a second piece would really be soooo bad.
Tips: Don’t even look at the other cakes. You’re having this.
Where: Cafe del Sol, close to the D’mall entrance/exit.
Eat fresh local exotic fruits
What: Fresh papaya, mango, coconut, apple, pineapple, mangosteen, guyabano, lanzones (they look like potatoes), chico, banana and apple mangoes, which they say is a mix between mangoes and apples.
Tips: Buy some fresh fruit and ask the barman at your resort to make you a fresh fruit smoothie or even add a shot or to for a refreshing cocktail and have it on the beach.
Where: Everywhere! You can find fresh fruits sold by street vendors as well as at d’Talipapa or D’Mall.
Enjoy live music!
What: One of the best things about the evenings on the island is that you will find live bands performing everywhere!!! There are so many, that sometimes you’re not even sure which song you are listening to as their volumes compete in the evening excitement. This gives the island such an exciting vibe in the evening.
Tips: Find a beanbag on the beach, buy yourself a drink and just sit back and relax while listening to vibey music and enjoying the scenery.
Where: Literally everywhere! Just walk along the beach road. You can’t escape it!
Take a nap under a sun umbrella
What: Soulfood. If your resort doesn’t have a beach area with beach chairs arranged in the sun, you can easily rent one on the beach front.
Tips: Yes, the sun kissing your skin feels great, but if you don’t want to look like a breakfast banger for the rest of your vacation, I recommend taking a nap under a beach umbrella.
Where: At your hotel or on the beach.
What: This is such an obvious suggestion, but one that doesn’t get nearly enough hype. You don’t really go to Boracay and think “Man, I’m gonna SWIM!!! Insane!!!” However, this is something that you should have at the top of your list, because the water is so warm and soothing it feels like you’re swimming in a giant bath. It’s clean and clear and, if you look back at the island, the most beautiful place to float.
Tips: Sunscreen! Also, if the dark sky won’t clear, don’t let it discourage you! Go swim in the rain! You’re getting wet anyway!
Where: The best beach for swimming depends on what you like. If you like swimming with a lot of people, then White Beach is the place to be. Any station would do. If you are looking for a more private swim, go to Diniwid Beach. Diniwid is close to Spider House after Station 1.
Walk, walk, walk around!
What: Just let the road lead you! There is so much to discover beyond the average touristy trails. Get lost in between little shops or stroll along the beach and see how far you can go.
Tips: Don’t plan it. Start somewhere and just embrace the adventure. Maybe you find something interesting that would lead you to the next adventure.
The Freshest Seafood
What: You can find fresh seafood ready for you to fish for your favorite and then have them prepare it for you right there. You can choose from fresh lobster, prawns or a variety of fish.
Tips: Don’t accept the first price they propose to you. When they tell you the price, act reluctant and disappointed and watch that price drop ;). It is very common for the local to try and get the most out of tourists.
Where: Again, just walk along the beach road until you see fresh seafood displayed on ice.
Get a Massage
What: Massages everywhere!!! Everywhere you walk, people are advertising massages and they are super cheap! Amazing too, if I might add. I paid 350 pesos for an hour long full body massage. 350 pesos is around 7 USD. That’s one trip to the candy store!
Tips: Skip the outside massages and opt for a little fancier place for a more private massage with less mosquitos and maybe an aircon. It will still be cheap.
Where: All the way down the beach road. I found a really nice place next to Nigi Nigi Nu Noos at the end of Station 2.
Appreciate the sunset on a sailboat cruise
What: Cruising romantically along the coastline on a sailboat with the beautiful sunset setting the scene in the background.
Tips: Put your electronic belongings in a drybag. They’re sold everywhere and very cheap. The water is usually very calm, but since these sailboats are a bit small, it is just safer to keep your things dry.
Where: If you stroll along the beach in Station 2 or 3 you will most likely be offered a boat ride. It is also very easy to see where these boats dock.
Share the ‘super cocktail’ at Nigi Nigi Nu Noos with friends
What: Only the biggest cocktail you’ve ever seen!!! Every evening between 5pm-7pm there is a buy one, get one free cocktail special at Nigi Nigi – an island style resort with a vibey bar and restaurant with live music every night. Along with the cocktail special, they display their super cocktail on the bar. Every night it’s a different cocktail.
Tips: Unless you want to end up in bed before 10pm (or like this guy), share this bitch with friends.
Where: Nigi Nigi Nu Noos Beach Resort on the beach front in Station 3.
Some other great things about Boracay:
- The people are so friendly and inviting! At the end of my trip I had to really ask myself if I really went alone, cause it felt like I was saying goodbye to old friends.
- Bang for your buck! Everything is really cheap there. One evening I had a grilled almond encrusted salmon steak with roasted vegetables and a glass of fairly decent chardonnay at a nice restaurant for only 10 USD. What whaaaaaat! And it was amazing, if I might add!
- Go in winter time. Their winter. That’s when you’ll have the most sunny days. Unfortunately, it’s very crowded then, but the weather is great.
- Don’t overspend on your accommodation. If you can get a place on the beach front with a nice view, a private beach lounging area and maybe a restaurant or bar, then you are more than okay! Look no further than Nigi Nigi Nu Noos Beach Resort on the beach front. The rooms are really spacious, the staff nice, the restaurant and bar amazing, the live entertainment vibey and the view and private beach area was absolutely perfect. Every morning I had my breakfast with the best view. One of the best things about this place was also that, when it was raining, I could still have a great time at their restaurant and bar and still see the ocean. Perfect.
- Get on a trike!! It’s the Boracay taxi service – basically a cart fixed to an offroad motorbike. So much fun!
I can’t recommend Boracay enough. The day I left, I felt like I was leaving home. This place does something for your soul. If you’re teaching in Asia, you have the perfect opportunity to explore this paradise. Go, just go already.