Early last month, I went to Boracay for the first time. I know it’s surprising; I’d been to 18 countries, but why have I never been to Boracay? (And please, it’s always called Boracay, never Bora!)
Fact is, I wanted to save visiting Boracay with someone special, but it never did happen. One of my boyfriends had been there, another didn’t like the touristy vibe of the island, while another was always unavailable for travel.
So when cheap flights became available last month, I figured I had better visit Boracay before I’m old and gray. If I could visit Santorini as a solo traveler, why not “one of the world’s best beaches”? It was time for me to see what the fuss is all about.
Travel magazines have called Boracay one of the best beach destinations in the world, and the award was, in a way, well-deserved. The fine, powdery white sand of White Beach, coupled with amazingly clear light blue and green waters certainly meet anyone’s definition of paradise.
That is, if you can empty it of people.
There are so many people in Boracay now that even during off-peak season, you would still find it hard not to bump into someone when you’re walking along White Beach. There’s a constant stream of people walking on the beach, going in and out the bars and restaurants, buying souvenirs, or taking pictures of each other.
At night, it gets even more crowded. Indeed, given the number of bars, restaurants, and other establishments in White Beach, it’s easy to forget the sea is just a few meters away. If you weren’t traipsing on sand, you would think you were in Malate in Manila.
Where to stay in Boracay
If you’re a budget traveler and into all-night partying, definitely stay either in Station 2 or 3, where the hostels/hotels are just a few meters away from the bars. Even if you get too drunk, you can easily crawl back to where you’re staying.
For the well-heeled travelers, Station 1 is where all the pricey hotels are. Depending on where you choose to stay, it can be accessible to the nightlife in Station 2 without being too isolated.
However, if, like me, you’re after a bit of quiet without the hefty price tag that goes with it, staying in Diniwid Beach is perfect. It’s 20 minutes to Station 2 by shuttle but only 10 minutes if you walk along the beach.
I stayed at Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham in Diniwid. It was beachfront, had a swimming pool, and was also accessible to “downtown” Boracay with its hourly shuttle service. I had isolation and quiet + beachfront + sunset views all in one. Perfect!
Search for other hotels in Boracay as well via Agoda.
What to do in Boracay if you’re a solo traveler
In Boracay, as in other island destinations in the Philippines, solo travelers get the short shrift. Packages are usually offered per group, and it can be hard to find a group to just join in (which is why I loved El Nido, where the pricing of island hopping tours was per person, not per group).
My Boracay Guide, for example, offers a three-hour island hopping and snorkeling tour in Boracay for only P3,000 for up to six persons. That’s only P500 per person for a group of friends, but a whopping P3,000 if you’re alone.
Your best bet as a solo traveler would be to cozy up to other travelers in the area and hope that (1) they want to go island hopping too, and (2) they would want you to go with them. I really recommend you take the island hopping and snorkeling tour. The underwater world of Boracay is amazingly varied.
If you’re the partying kind, you can also join the Boracay Pub Crawl. For P690, you get to go bar hopping with 30 or so other people and have at least five free shots, one per bar that you visit. Their tagline “Turning Strangers Into Friends” is true enough. Once you’ve had a few shots, everybody becomes your friend!
During the day, you can also just buy a drink, sit on the sand, and watch the crowds go by. It’s lovely to people watch in Boracay, you get to see so many characters. And of course, the view is priceless!
Is Boracay for Solo Travelers?
My friend and fellow travel blogger Eileen Campos says,
Boracay is a good place to enjoy your own company and unwind from the pressures of work and city life. It is also just as awesome when it comes to making new friends and world connections.
It is in Boracay, through the top-rated Boracay Pub Crawl, that I got to know Rohima and Rahul from India, Andy from Sri Lanka, Jamie from La Union and a whole bunch of other new friends who I still keep in contact after Boracay.
So whatever mood you’re in, an anti-social Twilight female protagonist mood or a Van Wilder, Party Liaison, kind of mood – there will be something for you in Boracay.
For me, at this time, I think Boracay is best for lovers and friends. Of course, it can be for solo travelers, too, but only for those who are more outgoing than I am, who would not think twice about chatting up a stranger in a bar or a restaurant.
However, I’m willing to go back to Boracay one more time to see whether it can also be for introverted solo travelers like me. Until then, let’s see. 😀
Have you been to Boracay by yourself? How was it? Do you think it’s a good solo travel destination?
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Aleah Taboclaon is a freelance writer and editor. She likes running (completed one marathon, training for the next!), diving (PADI open water diver), and traveling with her Kindle. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. You can also email her; she would love to hear from you!