Boracay: 2012 T+L Best Island in the World
A wise person once said "To get to paradise, one must often travel far, and in discomfort." - that wise person was me, after we got to the tiny white sand island of Boracay in the Philippines, which in 2012 was awarded as the best island in the world by the travel magazine Travel + Leisure. I would use this saying once more after traveling to El Nido on the island of Palawan, just a little over a week after....
Actually, this trip was not so bad. While we could not fly directly to Boracay (only small planes with tourist carrying tiny luggage could), we flew to Kalibo on the nearby island of Aklan, took 2h bus ride, then a ferry to Boracay, followed by a small Jeepney ride across the island to our hotel.
Boracay welcomed us with lots of sunshine, beautiful white sand beaches, and calm blue waters. We were happy to be back in warm weather. After all, it has been a month since we last got some vitamin D while wearing bathing suits. El escandalo! We spent 5 days in Boracay but in retrospect we wish we had spent more time there. While the island is super small (barely 4 sq miles/10km²), and just like most tourists we spent most of our time on the sand strip on the west side of the island, we were not bored. For the first time during our travels we tried scuba diving. We used Eclipse Dive Center and had a private lesson with a very cool and informative instructor Mike. After a brief explanation and some basic exercises in the shallow waters, we were taken on a boat and onto the open waters. I did not expect things to escalate so quickly but before I realized we were 12 meters underwater. Well actually that happened quite slow as we were instructed to go down only a short distance while making sure to equalize our ears - something I found a bit challenging as I was just recovering from a cold. Our scuba diving instructor brought some crackers with him and let us feed the fish. It was an amazing sight. As soon as we opened the crackers a big school of colorful fish appeared around us. While we both enjoyed this experience Vlad was the one who absolutely loved it as he enjoys looking at marine life more than me.
The following day we rented standup paddle boards right before sunset. It was the first time for both of us and one of few times I beat Vlad at a sport. He just could not keep his balance and kept falling in the water. I had some laughs at his expense. This particular evening the sunset was absolutely stunning with pink, purple, and orange hues covering the sky. Too bad we don't have any photos from that night or from diving.
During our stay in Boracay we met a couple of young German sisters who offered to take a photo of us on the beach. After returnig the favor we ended up going to dinner with them the same night, a beach bar few days later and also rented a small catamaran for a 30 min sunset sail. One of the sisters works on a cruise ship while the other is still in collage. We joked that after they come home they will say they hang out with an older couple :-).
We have been warned by some that Boracay is extremely touristy. While there is no denying that it is a tourist spot, it was a very pleasant destination with a decent crowd of people from around the world. After talking to some locals we found out that this tiny island reached its peak of tourism few years ago and now the flow of people started to slow down.
Without further adieu, here is Boracay!
Flight to Kalibo from Manila was about 1 hour.
This was our hotel room. A bit eclectic but we enjoyed the island style. Hotel courtyard where you could get some WIFI if you were lucky. White sand beaches were right in front of our hotel. From speaking with locals, we found out that Boracay has reached its peak of tourism few years ago and it's no longer as crowded as before. Walking by the beach you could find hotels, restaurants, and bars. Many of them offer live entertainment (bands, singers, poi dancers) in the evening.
White sand beach stretches down the west side of the island. The water was a beautiful blue hue. While in Boracay we tried scuba diving for the first time and took the boat on the right for our dive. Even though we don't have a seflie stick (we refuse to buy it), we manage to take decent selfies due to Vlad's long arms. The sand in Boracay was very fine and white. There were also lots of beautiful shells and pebbles that I enjoyed collecting but had to leave behind as it's against the law to remove them from the country. Walking along the beach tourists can find various water sports and attractions. Walking north towards Station 1, the beaches became less crowded and hotels more fancy. It was hard to resist dipping our feet in the blue waters even during our evening walks. Boracay sunsets were very colorful. Here is Vlad alone with his thought at sunset. Admiring the sunset. So much color in the sky. No Instagram filters needed.
Once in a while we make it a point to ask someone to take a photo of us - this time it was two German sisters Mimi & Sandra who we later hung out with a few times. We ended up getting dinner together and had a great time exchanging travel stories.
Sunset sail - photo by Miriam & her waterproof camera.
If you venture out past the touristy strip you can get a glimpse of a more local life.
Tricycles are very popular in Boracay.
And for the end, I leave you with a photo of one more beautiful Boracay sunset.
So what do you think of Boracay? Would you like to visit this place?
It looks as fantastic as I remember it from 2008. The beach is gorgeous and the sandy pedestrian pathways along the beach are a nice rest from vehicle loaded streets. It's cool that you met other tourists and hung out with them. Sounds like fun! What did you think of the food? Good job on trying scuba diving. Maybe you guys can get certified? I need diving buddies!!
what a paradise! and so many 'firsts' ! very proud of you Edi for doing diving while recovering from a cold (hope all is good now!)
the pics kinda make me speechless (and that does not happen a lot, lol)
Thanks for sharing!
Boracay looks amazing! Water is stunning!
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