At the mention of Boracay, one immediately zeros in on the pristine sands of White Beach where everyone and everything is. But there’s more to the island than just the touristy, often crowded long sand strip facing the Sulu Sea. There are twelve other Boracay Island beaches that you can explore if you wish to.
Now don’t get me wrong; I adore White Beach and it’s still my favorite especially because of the sunsets (more on that later). But when it gets a little too crowded during peak season, one needs to escape to a quieter part of the island even for a few hours. You can always go back to your hotel to escape but if you’re on the island for the sun, sea and sand, heading off to a beach somewhere is your best bet.
So here are some of the best Boracay Island beaches. Some I have already visited, all of them I already saw while on board a boat on an island hopping tour. Most of the smaller coves are exclusive to some resorts in Boracay but who knows if you’ll be staying in one of them, right?
There is no doubt that this is the most celebrated beach in the Philippines. Most foreign visitors make Boracay their destination of choice because of the beautiful photos of White Beach that they see in magazines and websites. The increased number of arrivals in the recent year proves that it is still the crown jewel of Philippine tourism.
Boracay’s White Beach literally has everything: a stunning shoreline, all sorts of hotels and restaurants, bars, a shopping mall and marketplace, spas, and all manner of activities in and out of the water. It’s true that you don’t have to leave White Beach for anything. White Beach is not as beautiful as it was in the past decades because establishments have mushroomed a few meters from the shore but it still retained some of its charm.
Despite the crowds and beachfront buildings, White Beach still offers some of the most spectacular views in the island. There’s Willy’s Rock, a set of rough volcanic boulders sitting in the middle of Station 1. It is arguably the island’s most prominent landmark, with a grotto of the Virgin Mary perched on one of the rocks.
The sunset views along White Beach are also very dramatic, much so that it is famous the world over. Every day especially during summertime, visitors and locals flock to the beachfront to watch in awe as the sun disappears into the horizon. If you’re the cheesy type, you can rent a paraw and go on a sunset cruise.
A lesser-known but equally stunning beach in Boracay is Puka beach, located on the northern edge of the island. The beach got its name from the shells which its shore is made of. Don’t expect the creamy, powder-fine sand of White Beach here; you’ll most likely want to wear your flip-flops on the beach but it’s not so uncomfortable should you decide to go barefoot. Puka Beach is known for being a peaceful beach; there are no vendors around to offer ATV rentals and diving lessons. Its charm lies in its isolation from the crowds; most of the time, you can have a small part of the beach all to yourself.
Puka Beach stretches about 800 meters into the northernmost tip of Boracay Island, where cliffs separate it from two other smaller coves called Ilig-Iligan and Lapuz-lapuz. The best views of the beach can be seen from a boat as it approaches the shore but you can also access Puka via tricycle. I suggest you come in groups to split the P150 one-way fare.
It’s a good idea to head to Puka Beach before lunchtime. There are a few restaurants that serve fresh seafood and Filipino delicacies. After your sumptuous meal, you can take a look at the array of souvenirs mostly made of Puka shells being sold in small stalls. Be aware though that these are a little more expensive than those sold in the main part of the island. It can get really hot in the main part of Puka Beach because there are no buildings that provide shade so bring a hat.
This is another famous Boracay beach, known to the world as a windsurfer’s paradise. The popular Boracay windsurfing is done on this part of the island where the wind is favorable during the first few months of the year. Bulabog Beach is a more laidback part of the island where you can find plenty of homey inns mostly patronized by backpackers and adventurers. Affordable accommodations are abundant on this side of the island and there are some small bars and music lounges that provide nightly entertainment.
Bulabog is known to locals as “Back Beach” because it is located on the other side of White Beach, almost parallel with Station 2. While it is “swimmable”, it is more of a watersports beach and you can spot an occasional windsurfer or kite-boarder when the Boracay weather permits it. If you’re not staying in Bulabog Beach but would like to check out what it has to offer, just hop into one of the tricycles that ply the highway. It would normally cost you P10 to get there.
This Boracay Island beach is one of the exclusive ones and you only get access to it if you’re staying in of the hotels along its shore including Nami Resort, Artista Boracay, Microtel and Spider House. It is located north of White Beach, in a secluded cove that ensures privacy and exclusivity.
You can see Diniwid Beach while island hopping but I doubt if stopovers are allowed. We did ask the boatman if we could stop for a few minutes to take photos but he said we can’t. Diniwid Beach is home to the controversial Boracay West Cove which has recently suffered demolitions in some parts because of permit issues. Locals insist that world-famous boxer Manny Pacquiao owns the resort. Or maybe they created the rumor just to spike visitors’ interests.
Further north of Diniwid is Balinghai, another secluded beach that boasts of the coveted peace and quiet. Its walls of craggy boulders make it seem like you’re not on a party island at all. There is only one resort located along Balinghai so there’s little chance of bumping into a lot of people. Accommodations are quite expensive on this part of the island. That is already to be expected considering the privacy perks it offers.
There is a coral garden just a few meters from the shore to keep you entertained. If you’re up to it, all you need are snorkels to explore a different world underwater. Boracay diving is best enjoyed close to this beach. Transportation to the main part of the island is also available should you decide to re-join civilization for a few hours.
All in all, there are thirteen Boracay Island beaches. Here are the other beaches on the island:
Punta Bunga Beach
Cagban Beach (jetty port)
You can see all the beaches of the island during an island hopping tour. I cannot guarantee that you’ll be allowed to make stopovers and some boatmen might charge additional fees. Some of these beaches are exclusive to resorts and you would have to appreciate them from a distance..
Which is your favorite among the 13 Boracay Island beaches? Mine’s definitely Puka and White Beach, they’re two sides of the same coin, so to speak. See you at the beach!
Disclaimer: None of the hotels and businesses mentioned in this article is connected with Philippine Traveler.