This tiny island measuring barely 4 miles in length is the poster child for the Philippines; an island paradise in the true sense of the word. Boracay has been a popular tourist destination for years thanks to its jaw-dropping beauty and lively nightlife. Whether you want to laze around on a powder white sand beach beneath the coconut trees, sip cocktails every night in the open-air beach bars, or get active hiking through lush jungle and indulging in your favourite watersports, all of it is possible on the island of Boracay. As beautiful as it may be, development has taken over the island in the last decade so bear that in mind if you prefer somewhere more secluded and untouched...
You can't miss the 2.5 mile long White Beach, in all its picture-perfect splendour - essentially Boracay's #1 attraction. The second most popular beach is Bulabog Beach, a magnet for windsurfing and kiteboarding enthusiasts. Puka Beach and Baling Hai Beach are a bit more off the beaten track and are also worth a visit for their stunning views.
If you don't fancy lolling on the beach all day, why not get active with the array of water sports on offer? You could also try a hike into the jungle interior of the island, explore the Bat Caves, or attempt to climb Mount Luho (100m above sea level) - it may be tough but the views are worth it once you're up there!
+ Pristine beaches that are often voted best in the world
+ The friendly and welcoming locals
+ A variety of places to dine and drink out
- The rapid development overtaking the small island
Windsurfing and frisbee tournaments as well as dragon boat races are held every year so it might be worth it to time your visit with any of these events. Bear in mind that the Hagabat (monsoon season) generally runs from May/June to September/October, bringing strong winds and heavy rainfall. A smaller version of the Ati-Atihan Festival takes place on the island sometime in January and is a great way to experience the local culture.
Avoid the American-style shopping malls and the tacky discotheques - neither of which do any favours for this island paradise.
Unfortunately, authentic Filipino food may be somewhat difficult to find due to the proliferation of restaurants serving Western cuisine. You could eat a different cuisine every night if you wanted to: from German, Spanish, French, to Italian and British cuisine, and, as the Philippines is an ex-US colony, there are many American influences as well. But you'll also find more 'exotic' options such as Thai, Indian and Mexican joints too. So if you feel like a hot dog, paella, tandoori or spaghetti bolognaise you won't have a hard time finding it. This is unfortunate as Filipino cuisine can be very tasty; chicken/beef adobo (made with soy sauce, garlic and vinegar) is the national dish, but you can also try the kare-kare (oxtail cooked in peanut sauce) or afritada (chicken/pork simmered in a tomato sauce with vegetables). However being on a tropical island, seek out the seafood as it is excellent; from grilled fish to prawns, calamari, lobster and shellfish, you'll find your catch of the day on Boracay.
To bring back
Cast an eye over the antique furniture and native woodcarvings at the open-air market in the north of the island. Along White Beach, you'll find plenty of gift shops for beach wear and accessories. Look for the delicate jewellery made of shells from the local Puka Beach.
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