Although any boom in local tourism is good news for the country, sometimes the crowds of people can deter other tourists away from the location. Such is the usual case in Boracay, especially during peak seasons. If you’re not in the mood to make new friends with your fellow travelers, then here are a few places you can get away from it all, without compromising your love for the beach life!
It’s not as glossy as a 5-star hotel, but it’s not as communal as a dorm either. Baling Hali strikes the perfect balance between comfort and space, since it was made to be isolated from the rest of the resorts along the White Beach. This secluded resort was built into cliffs back in the 80’s, and has the distinct privilege of facing a private cove by the norther part of Boracay Island. This is inaccessible to tourists from White Beach.
- Type: Lodging, Resort
- Location: Hagdan, Baling Hai Rd.
- Directions: Just take your usual flight to Boracay Island, and then take a tricycle to Baling Hai. You can also sail there.
- Budget: P3,000 to P5,000 fit for 2-3 people
- Activities to do: Go to the nearby beach property, parasail, surf, swim, do birdwatching, catch hermit crabs before setting them free, take another ferry ride back to Boracay Island for a whole new itinerary.
- Travel tips: Bring a good book and rest, away from all the crazy partying of White Beach.
Also called the “Sunken Forest,” this attraction stands out as an anomaly in the otherwise colorful and cheerful character of Boracay Island. As the name suggests, this grove used to be a normal patch of lovely mangrove trees, known as bakawan.
But something happened to the ecosystem surrounding the area, said to be caused when a dam nearby broke, causing saltwater to flow. The mangroves all died, and they are commemorated by a collection of eerie stumps sticking out of the still water.
- Type: Tourist attraction, Ecological site
- Location: Near Bulabog Beach
- Directions: Take the scenic route and walk along Lagutan Road from the main highway, or directly walk here from the beach itself.
- Budget: P20-P30 for tricycle fare both ways
- Activities to do: The best thing to do on this short side trip is to ask a local to tell you supernatural tales about the Dead Forest. They believe that this place turns into a meeting ground for goblins, ghosts, and demons during the full moon!
- Travel tips: Set your expectations right—this place isn’t meant to be exuberant or luxurious, but eerie, creepy, and all around interesting!
Just a couple of minutes away from the busy beaches of Boracay is Crystal Cove. Boasting of equally pristine beaches and a more calming view of the sea, this area has an array of sights and sounds to enjoy. You can walk along the interconnected pathways that will lead you to different areas of the two-hectare island. And as its name suggests, there are 3 coves you can explore, each holding different rock formations brought about by the mingling of the earth’s natural elements.
- Type: Beach, Cove, Island hopping
- Location: Boracay Island
- Directions: Ride a Bangka/boat for 20 minutes from the North-eastern part of Boracay Island. You can try riding a boat from Caticlan airport, but not a lot of them pass by so better to go to the main hub on the island. Your landmark is the jetty port.
- Budget: P600 to P1,000
- Activities to do: Explore the beach, explore the coves, check out the museum, snorkeling, have a picnic, do a hiking trail tour, or if you’re feeling really wealthy, you can even rent the entire island!
- Don’t miss: Feeding the pigeons around the island, Checking the chemical rock formations in the coves, Taking a guided tour around the island
If you want something a bit more exciting aside from parasailing and beach hopping, try the infamous bat caves in Boracay! A boat will take you across the water that traverses the caves of inhabiting fruit bats, some with wing spans longer than your arms!
- Type: Tourist activity, Excursion, Beach bumming
- Location: Ilig-Iligan Beach, East of Yapak
- Directions: From Boracay Island, go to any jetty port and ask to be taken to the Bat Caves near Ilig-Iligan Beach. There are other bat caves by Punta Buga Beach and Baling-Hai, but this one is the most accessible.
- Budget: P50 to P100
- Activities to do: Trekking near caves, watching the “flying foxes” aka the bats, diving for advanced divers
- Don’t miss: The stalactite and stalagmite formations that characterize the bat caves. Keep your eyes peeled for the bats too!
- Travel tips: Prepare yourself for a certain stench in these caves, as bat droppings are commonplace. Bring comfortable shoes, be aware of your surroundings all the time, and don’t flash light if you see bats hanging from the ceiling!
This is Boracay Island’s quieter sister. Don’t let the serenity fool you—Carabao Island has some of the bluest and calmest waters in the nearby province of Romblon. Not a lot of people know that this place exists, opting instead to spend their time in the main hub at White Beach, but for those who are aware of its sandy shores, Carabao Island is a secret escape that delights all of your senses!
- Type: Beach
- Location: Carabao Island, Romblon
- Directions: As soon as you get to Caticlan Airport, grab a tricycle to take you to the port with all the boats going to Hambil (San Jose)—Hambil is what the locals call the island. The boats leave 8:30 AM daily, and usually have just one trip per day. The passenger boat back to Caticlan leaves at 5:30 PM.
- Budget: P1,000
- Activities to do: Beach bumming, watch the sunrise or sunset, go swimming, explore more of Romblon islands using a tour guide on the beach, go caving in nearby caves like Angas and Ngiriton, and check out the other beaches of Carabao Island like Tinap-an and Lanas Beach.
- Travel tips: Electricity in this island runs from 1:00 PM to 11PM, and 4AM to 6AM only. You can rent a motorbike for around P200-300 per hour if you want to explore the island. Bring lots of insect repellant.
Hidden in Aklan’s main province, away from the party scene of Boracay Island, is Hurom Hurom’s cold springs, a side-trip for those who need to refresh themselves after a long, hot day by the beach! Their main pool is actually a basin which directly catches the cascading waters from a spring, flowing from the mountain. No wonder it’s so refreshing here!
- Type: Resort-type cold spring, Swimming pool
- Location: Laserna, Nabas, Aklan
- Directions: There are now 4 cold spring resorts at Nabas, but Hurom Hurom is the original. From Boracay, go back to Caticlan and take the Ceres bus bound for Iloilo. This will pass through Nabas, but you must get off at the crossing before Nabas itself. Ask the conductor to drop you off at the highway crossing to Hurom Hurom, then take a tricycle all the way to the cold springs.
- Budget: P450-P500 per head, inclusive of land transportation when you’re in Caticlan, and use of a picnic hut for rent. (inclusive also of the entrance fee)
- Activities to do: Swim by the cold springs or bring food and eat at the picnic hut you rented.
- Travel tips: Ask your tour guides or front desks in Boracay Island for a map of the area, if available, so you don’t get lost.
If Carabao Island is Boracay Island’s quieter sister, then Diniwid Beach is White Beach’s calmer cousin. This isn’t the top of mind beach for most tourists, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth visiting. Quite the contrary, Diniwid Beach is smaller than White Beach, but that means it’s more intimate. It’s quieter, it has blue waters and white sand, and you get to relax without throngs of people rubbing elbows with you every second!
- Type: Beach
- Location: Diniwid Beach Road, Malay
- Directions: Located right next to Boracay’s White Beach. It’s a 15-minute walk through a semi-hidden Cliffside trail, which is close to Station 1. If you’re not in the mood to walk, you can pay for a P100 special tricycle ride from D’Mall in Station 2.
- Budget: Besides the P100 fee, one way, from Station 1 or 2, coming here is free!
- Activities to do: Best activity to do here is something you can’t do in White Beach because of all the people—be luxurious and drink champagne by the shore! Go to Nami Restaurant, named one of the best restos in Boracay by the Philippine Tatler in 2013, and choose a P650 champagne brunch that can cap off any tiring day.
- Don’t miss: The Spider House, which can be used as a cliff-diving point for people who are still new to the practice, but may not be open to non-paying resident.
Kick back and relax at the Aklan mainland with help from a royal spa experience! Rejuvenate your senses and indulge yourself at Tirta Spa, which has won multiple awards for best Day Spa in the Asia Pacific region. “Tirta” translates to “Holy Water” in Hindu Sanskrit, and it may as well be because you come out of here feeling fresh and reborn, ready for more activities on the island!
- Type: Resort, Spa
- Location: Sitio Malabunot, Brgy. Manoc-Manoc
- Directions: Just take a cab to Manoc-Manoc, which is closest to Station 3 along White Beach.
- Budget: P2,000 to P4,000 per head
- Activities to do: Vichy Shower, signature Tirta massage, foot scrub, oil massage
- Don’t miss: You can ask the receptionist for different kinds of oils for whatever ails your body!
Taste what the 80’s had to offer for Boracay dwellers in Nigi Nigi Nu Noos Garden, a beach front establishment that boasts of a genuine Polynesian vibe, surrounded by greenery as far as the eye can see. This is also one of the first ever resorts built on the island. Although it’s overshadowed by its more mainstream counterparts in Stations 1 and 3, this is still a landmark in Boracay that offers affordable packages for any tourist.
- Type: Resort, Spa, Lodging
- Location: Beachfront, Balabag
- Directions: Walking distance from White Beach, Station 2
- All-in-budget: P2,000 to P3,000
- Activities to do: Ride the banana boat, book a package for water sports activities
Called “Paradise in Seclusion,” you will pass by this cultural hub before Boracay, near the area of Aklan. It may not offer a beach front property like the rest, but Ibajay has festivals and events that can rival any other province around! To cap off a trip with off-the-beaten path areas, this is a must-visit!
- Type: Town
- Location: Ibajay, Aklan
- Directions: From Boracay Island, take the Aklan West Road/Western Nautical Highway, and just go straight till you hit Ibajay.
- All-in-budget: This is a town that’s wedged between Kalibo and Caticlan. Come from either airport, then travel through the Aklan West Road via private car to drop by.
- Activities to do: If you visit on the right time of the year, you can witness the Ati-Atihan festival, visit the Katunggan it Ibajay Mangrove Park, pay respects to the ancient tree in Ibajay’s center, a quick visit to Snibaa Falls, and but native crafts like their famous bamboo and pottery.
- Don’t miss: The old Ibajay Bridge that has since been repaired for tourists.
- Travel tips: Book this in advance so you won’t have a problem with the private car.
Explore Boracay now and bookmark fun activities, great restaurants, and stylish hotels!