Picture: White Beach on Boracay
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General. The small island of Boracay is a real piece of paradise on earth and one of the most well known touristic hotspots in the Philippines: white sandy beaches, palm trees, crystal water combined with a tropical climate. Equipment for water sports which is sometimes hard to find in many places in the Philippines or which is in limited supply, is available here: jetskiing, parasailing, windsurfing, kitesurfing,... At daylight the beach is a dream location for getting that nice tan you always wanted or for water sports, but at night the island transforms into a party island with nice beach bars, disco's and all kinds of entertainment, most of which can be found alongside the promenade. Boracay is also known as a destination for honeymoons.
Beaches. Boracay's biggest asset are its beautiful sandy beaches. There are several of them around the island but White Beach is the most famous one. At a single glance you will see where White Beach gets its name from. It has a promenade where you can hang out in the shadow of the palm trees, there are various bars, shops and of course quite a few sellers that try to get you to go on tours or buy their stuff. Watch and compare to get the best offers. Tip: if you want something super relaxing, then try one of the massages that are offered at the beach. On the other side of the island lies Bulabog Beach that is mainly known for kitesurfing and windsurfing. There are also a few other smaller more secluded beaches.
Activities. Most activities on Boracay are obviously linked with water. There is a quite extended offer (to Philippine standards, you could even say that there is a huge offer) of water sports and activities such as: glass-bottom boats, parasailing, bananaboat, jetskiing, kitesurfing, windsurfing, island hopping... The greatest beauty of the ocean however lays under the water surface, so don't forget to bring a snorkel and goggles. If you want more than just snorkeling, than you can book a diving session in one of the many dive shops. Sunset sailing trips are also very popular. The bangkas depart from White Beach every day slightly before sunset and will take you for a unforgettable trip to the open sea. You can book a trip easily via one of the many tourist shops or sellers (and if it's not too crowdy you can ever try it at one of the boats directly). If you prefer doing something on dry land, then you can rent a bike, go horse riding or play golf.
Diving. Scuba diving on the Philippines is an unforgettable experience, it's not different on Boracay. There are plenty of diving centers on the island, most of them near White Beach. It's worth checking and comparing the prices, the equipment and the dive locations before choosing. They offer initiation dives for people without diving licenses but if you want, you can also follow a course to get one. Several schools of fishes near the beach have become so used to be fed by people that they have no fear anymore and swim around you in large numbers. It's like swimming in a huge aquarium. More advanced divers are taken by boat to more challenging dive spots and reefs a bit further off shore.
Cliff Jumping. One of the most exciting activities in the area is cliff jumping. This is not done on Boracay itself, but in Ariel's Point (Buruanga), which is located on a neighbouring island. Boards have been installed at different hights on a rock that is leaning towards the ocean. The lowest board is at 1 meter above sea level, the highest one on 15 meter. A real challenge if you have vertigo... If you had it with jumping, then you can try sea kayak or just swim or snorkel. There is also bar where you can have something to drink or eat. You can book a trip to Ariel's Point in Boracay. A boat picks you up from White Beach.
Shopping. Shopaholics can feed their addiction along the beach promenade where there are plenty of little shops and sellers. There are also a few "local" markets where you can purchase cheap textiles, bags, souvenirs,... If you are a bit handy in haggling, then you can easily save a few pesos. The biggest shopping center (D'Mall) is located in the middle of the island (more or less in the middle of White Beach). Next to shops you can also find some restaurants there.
Entertainment and nightlife. There are plenty of options on Boracay when it comes to entertainment or nightlife going from chilling at one of the beach bars to clubbing in one of the dancings. Barhopping trips are also popular.
Food. No need to worry about the variety in food. Since the island is quite touristic, there is a wide range of restaurants: italian, chinese, local,...from fast food to haute cuisine. Of course there are also quite a few fish restaurants. A spot on the beach underneath the palm trees with the sound of the waves on the background and fresh lobster, seafood, lapu lapu or the "catch of the day" on your plate? Doesn't that sound appealing? It's possible on Boracay. Warning with regard to the tap water: it is not drinkable. You best use water from bottles (take care that the seal has not been broken).
Spending the night. You will encounter both backpackers and luxury tourists on Boracay. The facilities for spending the night vary from cheap hostels and cabins (often in nipa) to luxurious 5-star resorts. Take into account the seasonal fluctuations at the moment of booking.
Picture 1: the beach of White Beach
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