Boracay is a tiny island located in the central Philippines. It is home to an abundance of impressive beaches full of white powdery sand. Boracay has often been voted home to the most beautiful beaches in the world as well as being titled the best island in the world by big-name publications such as CNN Travel and Travel + Leisure.
Before arriving I had seen a lot of mixed reviews online. Many had described Boracay as too touristy, too expensive and not the true essence of the Philippines. You could prove this is true yourself if you are not willing to venture away from the centre.
That is why I am here to help!
Boracay is divided into Boat Stations known as Station 1, 2 and 3. Station 2 is the backbone of the island and is what I would describe as a tourist vortex. It sucks you in with all of its modern charm, international food and cheap souvenirs. You tend to forget that everything else exists as everything you need is there. But you didn’t travel to the Philippines to eat Mexican food and be crammed on a busy beach, did you? Once you get away from the main hub, you will discover pristine beaches on the quiet corners of Boracay. It is there that you will discover a world full of friendly locals enjoying their simple lives on the outer corners of paradise. Away from the tourist gimmicks and souvenirs are vendors selling beers and shaded sunbeds that are happy to have you as their only customer for the day. The original island vibe that ignited the romance of tourism in Boracay is still alive.
Getting around the island:
No cars are allowed on Boracay island! Riding in motorised tricycles driven by the locals is the way to get navigate. The tricycles are generally affordable for Western standards and provide a great insight into the islands way of life. Be sure to ask your accommodation the real price you should be paying to get to your destination, then agree on a price with the driver before entering the tricycle.
Some say this Boracay is overrated. I say it is underappreciated for what it really holds.
This list will give you the ultimate Boracay beach experience with a combination of places for interacting with the locals, swimming in the clearest water, the best snorkelling and cliff jumping, a few tourist hotspots, some places off the beaten track and of course the most beautiful sunset viewpoints.
Here is my list of Boracay’s Most Beautiful Beaches
When to go: Late afternoon
How to get there: 10 minutes by tricycle from Station 2 OR a 30-minute beach walk from White Beach
I recommend going to Diniwid beach to wind down after a long sun-drenched day. Go before 4 pm and find a comfortable bean bag at Wahine Beach Bar. Try some of their delicious appetisers after going for an afternoon swim. You can drink their famous Kalamansi margaritas and smoke some flavoured shisha whilst watching one of the most incredible sunsets on the island. It’s worth arriving early as it gets busy once the sun starts setting.
When to go: Anytime
How to get there: 20 minutes by tricycle from Station 2 OR by boat.
Tambisaan is located in a developing area that still holds its original charm. Due to this, it’s worth visiting before everyone finds out about this slice of paradise. Tambisaan Beach’s village is home to extremely friendly locals, which allows visitors a chance to connect with the people living there unlike the busier parts of the island which is more business orientated.
It was here that we fell in love with the smiling children and played with them in the crystal clear sea. We chatted, we swam and took turns jumping into the blue waters from different level ledges. We saw families going about their daily lives, including a little boy washing his chicken which later became his lunch. The children jumped onto passing boats to perform backflips for visitors and others played with what looked like a ball, which actually turned out to be a puffer fish!
I really loved every beach on this list, yet Tambisaan was my favourite by far! Make sure you walk up the stairs to the pink gazebo-like structure, a local hang out and great viewpoint. This part of the island is also ideal to go snorkelling as you can find lots of colourful fish and coral reefs. Tambisaan is located next to Crocodile Island, a famous dive site that is shaped like a crocodile.
Ilig Iligan Beach
When to go: Morning
How to get there: 25 minutes by tricycle from Station 2 OR by boat
Ilig Iligan. Try saying that fast 10 times! This beach is what I would call rugged and untouched, and that is exactly why I loved it. Ilig is a great spot to snorkel and experience an area where minimal tourists make the effort to visit. Upon arrival and facing the water, walk to the far left side. When I was leaving, I noticed more people gathered on the right-hand side.
We arrived around 10 am to an empty stretch of white, squishy sand and a friendly local happy to have us there. We paid a small price for shade and a sun bed, and even less for some local beers. Hours passed and we were still the only ones here! This beach is truly paradise with only a few boats passing by, making it well worth a visit.
Puka Shell Beach
When to go: Morning
How to get there: 20 minutes by tricycle from Station 2
Puka Shell Beach is a popular choice on the island but still has a serene feel to it. The beach is named after the abundance of Puka shells that can be found there. There isn’t much shade available so I recommend renting one of the sunbeds and umbrellas if you plan to stay all day. By doing this, you have a refuge from the sun and are supporting the locals, but be aware the prices can change depending on how many people are around. Regardless, the cold beer being served goes down a treat on a hot day. Around midday, the beach can get busy. There are some places to buy food here, but packing a picnic may be the best option for the budget conscious. If you want to find a private paradise, simply swim to the far right around the rocks and you can find small coves away from the crowds.
When to go: You need to check-in for the day trip before 10:30 AM. Buy your tickets the day before.
How to get there: Meet at Ariel’s House on White beach.
Although not technically a beach, I couldn’t leave this one out. Ariel’s Point is 35 to 45 minutes away from Boracay Island by outrigger boat and is part of a day trip. For $55 USD a ticket, guests receive a full BBQ buffet lunch including fresh seafood. Also included upon arrival are snacks and unlimited beverages and even beer and mixed alcoholic drinks, a lethal combination for those cliff jumping. Fortunately, there are lifeguards to ensure your safety and to keep an eye on those braving the tropical heights of 5, 8 and 15 metres.
At Ariel’s Point, you can also go snorkelling, kayaking and stand up paddleboarding. This makes for an epic day out away from the main hustle and bustle of Boracay and a great place to make friends. I couldn’t recommend it enough!
When to go: Sunset
How to get there: Walk from Station 2
Last but not least is the centrepiece of Boracay, a 4km strip lined with hotels, bars and restaurants. Although it is the busiest part of the island, it draws crowds for a reason. It is truly breathtaking when the sun goes down. Enjoy the other beaches during the day and head to this one in the late afternoon. This beach is home to one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen, regardless of the number of people around. White Beach is full of tourists but has a static energy and you can’t help but fall in love with the madness of it all. I recommend walking to the far right side and stopping at one of the many bars with bean bags to enjoy the sunset with a drink in hand.
Have you visited Boracay? What is your favourite beach? Let me know in the comments below!
Looking for more Philippines inspiration? What about a trip to Kawasan Falls?