We had heard many things both good and bad about Boracay so had to check it out for ourselves.
Many reviews online stated how the island was the next Phuket, but having never been I had no idea what that meant, well it means overcrowded, overly touristic, and expensive! But it did win us over in the end…
We arrived in Boracay earlier than planned due to connections on the mainland, unfortunately this wasn’t great news as it was around 2pm and the sun practically at its highest. It was almost the end of high season, so we didn’t think we would struggle to find somewhere to stay, but we were wrong.
We spent a good few hours searching for accommodation, in the heat with bags on. Most places were well out of our initial price range, and the few that were affordable were terrible – tatty falling apart wooden shacks. Luckily in the end we decided one of us go find somewhere while the other sat with the bags. Greg found somewhere amazing, Island Jewel Inn, it was still expensive at 1600PHP (£22) a night, but it was at least good quality.
We offloaded our stuff had a shower then went out for dinner and to explore. We were based on White Beach just past Station 3, the backpacker end. Accommodation here is generally cheaper and the vibe is a lot more chilled out. Prices of everything increase the further you head up the beach – we barely ventured past station 2 for this reason.
White Beach is crowded but still beautiful.
The water is the clearest we have seen anywhere.
Despite being a small island, getting up and down the beach is a long and tiring walk. It takes a while to flag one down, but a seat on a shared trike can be had for 10PHP per person between boat stations. There are 2 malls – D’Mall and E-Mall, both aren’t traditional malls as they are outside. The more touristic D’Mall is very expensive as we found out, there are a variety of shops and restaurants but most places there were out of our price range. E Mall is more of a market, with tiny alleys filled with stalls selling all sorts.
Food is a problem when you’re on a budget in Boracay, being an island there is a premium on almost everything, and the lovely beachfront restaurants for the most part are just not affordable.
Our favourite budget place was Hakuna Matata at station 3, which did various sizzling plates of meat and rice for prices close to what you would pay on the mainland. There were also a few great food stalls – Master Siomai which did 4 delicious dumplings for 40PHP, and a Shawarma stall next door which was about 70PHP I think.
In D’Mall, there was a great budget place down a side alley called Smoke, its cheap and does great Filipino food.
Whilst in Boracay we met some great people who we spent the majority of our time with. One day we decided on a day trip to another beach – Puka Shell Beach. It’s around 6km from station 3, and quite affordable via a trike – I think it was 100PHP shared between 4 people.
It was a great discovery, the beach is a lot less developed and was almost empty. We had a full day of swimming, sunbathing and eating seafood. The beach isn’t quite as photogenic as White Beach but the peace makes up for it.
There’s not really much to say about Boracay other than its a beautiful place, with clear blue seas and pristine white sands.
Yes it’s overdeveloped but you can see why. We spent blissful days soaking up the sun and swimming in the warm waters, and relaxing evenings on the beach sinking cocktails and watching the sunsets at the Pirate Bar. Life was good.
Best of all we did it for £44.84 ($76.15) per day – slightly over budget but not bad for Boracay!
Where We Stayed
Island Jewel Inn is a great place to stay, good value, very clean and modern, the bed was comfy and the shower hot. We spent 6 nights here and were very happy with it. They even offered a free beer upon check in!