6 Boracay Tips I Wish I Knew Before Going: Must-Read for First-Time Visitors

6 Boracay Tips I Wish I Knew Before Going: Must-Read for First-Time Visitors

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Boracay, Philippines

The Philippines is home to some of the world's most beautiful beaches. Among them, Boracay stands out as one of the top places to visit in the Philippines. Located in the Western Visayas region, Boracay is known for its powdery white sand, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant Boracay nightlife. It's a paradise for beach lovers and adventure seekers alike.

I've visited Boracay many times already, and it has always been a great experience. I fell in love with its stunning sunsets, thrilling water activities, and delicious seafood. Some of my favorite memories include lounging on the beach, drinking coconut water, and getting an adrenaline rush with a Boracay windsurfing activity. Every day, there was a new thing to do in Boracay, and I didn't want to leave.

Relax at Boracay

In 2018, Boracay underwent a six-month closure for environmental rehabilitation. But since its reopening, it has regained its status as one of the most beautiful islands in the Philippines.

During my recent trip, I realized there were things I wish I had known before. Now, I'll be sharing these Boracay travel tips with you to help you make the most of your vacation, especially if it's your first time.

1. Avoid the Boracay algae season

Algae season in Boracay

I had an interesting discovery during my recent trip to Boracay! During the algae season, usually around February to April, the stunning White Beach gets tinged with green. Although it wasn't exactly what I expected, I was intrigued to discover what actually makes this happen. It's all due to factors like warm water temperatures and nutrient runoff, which create an environment perfect for algae growth.

If you're curious about the best time to visit Boracay, I strongly advise avoiding the peak months of the algae season, from February to April. Instead, consider visiting during the beginning of the rainydry season that decreases the phenomenon, from May to June, when the beach is at its pristine best.

White Beach algae season

If you do find yourself in Boracay during the algae season, I've found that heading to other beaches aside from White Beach, such as the beach in Boracay Newcoast, is a great alternative. With fewer tourists and crystal-clear waters, it's like having your private paradise.

Another tip to avoid the green beach of Boracay during algae season: I booked a Crimson Boracay day pass, which includes access to a stunning private beach without a speck of algae in sight. It was such a relaxing experience, and I highly recommend it if you're looking for a picture-perfect and relaxing Boracay tour aside from the usual water activities.

So, if you find yourself in Boracay during the algae season, don't worry! There's still so much beauty to discover on this stunning island.

2. Pre-book Boracay airport to hotel transfers to avoid the long wait

Boracay airport transfer

During my weekend trip, the airports near Boracay were packed with tourists. I had to wait in a long line for a tricycle to Caticlan Jetty Port, pay registration fees, and then ride a boat to Cagban Port. I even hailed another tricycle again that could take me to my Boracay Station 2 resort. I wish I had booked a Boracay airport to hotel transfer beforehand to avoid the hassle. Watching others zoom past us to their transfers made me realize the benefit of pre-booking.

If you want a hassle-free vacation on the island, plan and book your Boracay airport transfers early. It will save you time and avoid stress. You won't have to wait in long lines like I did or worry about finding transportation when you arrive. So, remember to book ahead for a smoother trip.  If you booked a Boracay tour package, check to see if it already comes with transfers.

3. It's better to book Boracay activities in advance

Boracay Solo Parasailing

When I visited Boracay for the first time, I was super excited to try out all the fun water activities! There were so many cool things to do, like parasailing, riding a banana boat, and trying a crystal kayak in Boracay. But what I was looking forward to trying were these unique activities: sunset paraw sailing and helmet diving in Boracay.

Boracay sunset paraw sailing

While walking along White Beach, I noticed lots of people offering tours and activities. At first, I thought it might be easy to just book something on the spot, which is why I paid for my activities there. But then I realized they were asking for much more money than I could have paid if I had booked Philippine guided tours in advance online, like through Guide to the Philippines.

I was really bummed I wasn’t able to book Boracay activities in advance at that time. Instead of relaxing, I constantly worried about how to enjoy the most beautiful Philippine beaches and other attractions in Boracay. It also made me vulnerable to some of the travel scams in the Philippines that I had read about.

In the end, I did manage to try the activities I wanted to, plus I was able to join a Boracay party boat and a Boracay sunset cruise, but the lack of planning definitely added unnecessary stress to my trip. Next time, I'll definitely be more prepared and book ahead to avoid this kind of problem.

4. You can access Boracay luxury resort amenities with day passes

Crimson Resort and Spa BoracayPhoto by Crimson Resort and Spa Boracay

Boracay is known for being home to some of the most luxurious resorts in the Philippines, mostly Boracay Station 1 resorts. But let's be real: staying at the best Boracay hotels for the whole trip can be pricey. That's why I usually stay at a cheap hotel in Boracay (there are many budget-friendly Boracay Station 3 hotels). I realized, though, that booking resort day passes can be a great way to enjoy some of the luxuries of the more expensive Boracay resorts without the high cost of staying there.

Boracay stunning view

Two accredited hotels in Boracay that I wish I had visited during my recent trip are Crimson Boracay and Movenpick Boracay. With their day passes, I've heard you can enjoy their top-notch amenities without spending too much! I'm definitely considering them for my next trip.

A Crimson Boracay day pass will give you access to their 5-star resort facilities, including the main pool, kids pool, and private beach, along with the use of outdoor showers and public restrooms at Azure Beach Club and Beach Pavilion. 

Beach at Crimson Resort and Spa

You can also enjoy beach activities such as volleyball, soccer, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding while receiving complimentary use of sunbeds and towels. Additionally, the pass also includes a consumable amount of P1,500 for ala carte dining at Azure Beach Club and a 2-hour free-flow beverage package from 1 to 3 PM!

Movenpick BoracayPhoto by Movenpick Resort and Spa Boracay

Meanwhile, a Movenpick Boracay day pass will give you access to their luxury facilities, including their swimming pool, private beach, gym, and shower room. You'll also receive a welcome drink at Sol Marina Beach Club and a meal entitlement at various Movenpick restaurant outlets. Additionally, you'll enjoy complimentary access to Movenpick Chocolate Hour, a 10% discount on additional a la carte orders on food and drinks, and 10% savings on massages and treatments at Sagay Spa.

So, even if you can't afford to book a Boracay beach resort package like me, these day passes will allow you to experience the best of Boracay's luxury scene.

5. There's so much to explore outside of White Beach Boracay

Puka Beach Boracay

When I visited Boracay, I spent most of my time at White Beach, which was incredible. But looking back, I realize there's so much more to this beautiful island than just one beach. If you're planning a trip, here's a tip: don't miss out on other amazing tourist spots in Boracay!

First, there's Puka Beach. I was told that the vibe there is totally different from White Beach. It's quieter and more serene, with amazing shells scattered along the shore. Then, Diniwid Beach is smaller and a great spot to watch the Boracay sunset as it's away from the crowds. Both beaches are included in most Boracay island hopping tours. I regret not joining one!

Boracay scenery from Mt. Luho

Luckily, I was able to hike to Mount Luho, which is the highest point on the island and offers breathtaking scenery. However, I wasn’t able to visit Ariel's Point. It's a cliff-jumping spot with different platforms, perfect if you want an adrenaline rush.

I wish I had known about Punta Bunga Beach and Banyugan Beach during my trip as well. They're perfect for peace and quiet, known for their exclusivity and pristine beauty. I heard it’s the ideal place for a relaxing day. In fact, when my friend went there, she told me someone proposed there! No wonder the island is one of the most romantic places in the Philippines

There are also places to eat in Boracay where I enjoyed the food. However, most popular food outlets got crowded at night. If you're looking for exclusivity, I was told you can dine at restaurants inside beachfront resorts in Boracay or at high-rated restaurants. In fact, I’m planning to try a 5-course meal at Aria Cucina Italia on my next trip. If you're a Muslim traveler, some restaurants also serve halal food in Boracay

So, don't just stick to White Beach like I did; get out there and explore other attractions in Boracay! 

6. The Boracay Hop-on Hop-off shuttle service is a cheaper way to get around the island

Southwest Boracay HOHO BusPhoto from Boracay Hop-on Hop-off Shuttle Service

Getting around the island can be pricey. During my recent Boracay trip, I paid PHP100 for a single tricycle ride because I was traveling solo, and they considered it a "special" fare. If only I had known about the Boracay Hop-on Hop-off shuttle service earlier! It's a much cheaper way to explore the island's attractions.

With this service, you can easily visit Boracay's top tourist spots or move between Station 1, Station 2, Station 3, Bulabog Beach, and Newcoast Boracay. Plus, you can enjoy unlimited rides with a 1-day pass. If you're staying longer, there are options to upgrade to a 2-day or 3-day pass.

Booking the Boracay Hop-on Hop-off shuttle is a no-brainer, especially if you're unfamiliar with the local transportation system. It takes away all the hassle of figuring out how to get around. Just check the nearest pick-up and drop-off points, plan your itinerary, and you're good to go!

Follow these Boracay Tips and Advice for a Great Vacation

Boracay aerial view

For me, the best time to visit the Philippines is during its dry season, which is why I’m planning to visit Boracay again soon. I’m very excited to try what I learned from my previous trip! For a more worry-free vacation, here’s a bonus tip: you can book a Boracay all-inclusive package or a Philippines itinerary travel package if you're going to stay longer. You can also book flights to the Philippines, including cheap flights to Boracay, like cheap flights from Manila to Caticlan, with Guide to the Philippines.

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