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What to do on Boracay

With its pristine beaches and picturesque sunsets, sometimes the best thing to do on Boracay is nothing! When we were planning our trip to the Philippines, I knew I wanted to end in Boracay. I've heard the rumors and read the articles. I knew it provided the perfect balance between serenity and night life. Especially coming from Pangulasian Island (see my blog on staying in El Nido), Ross and I were ready for a bit of a party scene.

Finding a hotel proved to be quite difficult as there were so many to choose from and various beaches to stay on. For example, there are multiple sections of the beaches called Stations. Each station represents a different area of Boracay. Station 1 tends to be the calmer, less crazy nightlife part of the beach but was only a 10 minute walk to Station 2 which is where the main tourist area of Boracay is. No matter which Station you stay on, you won't be disappointed.

After careful research, we opted for The Lind. The Lind was recently built and was the right balance of beauty and modernism without losing Filipino culture. I will note that The Lind was definitely the right choice but our first room had the most fowl smell coming from the bathroom and we were up on the 3rd floor. After speaking with the front desk staff, they sent in a maintenance technician who simply poured bleach down the drain....I guess they didn't understand that masking a smell is not going to prevent it from coming back. We were then told to speak to the Manager who tried putting us in a room that was on the same floor but was over the restaurant and our view was completely blocked. I was not entirely happy with how they handled this and after some quick discussions, we were upgraded to a corner room overlooking the beach and the pool! A welcome upgrade and that room did not have a plumbing issue.

We did a majority of our eating by finding small restaurants along the beach as we walked the white sand up and down the different Stations. The Lind also had some amazing special evenings where they would do a "grill buffet" night which was about $30 USD per person and included fresh grilled fish and meats, a ton of vegetables, a mixture of cuisines including Indian and Asian, and a wide spread of desserts.

It was Ross's birthday (one of the reasons we planned this whole trip) during the week we were on Boracay so I knew I wanted to plan a boat excursion. After researching the many options, I went with a private boat reserved through the hotel. Now I will say that there are no less than 1,000 people (a bit sarcastic but pretty close) trying to sell you day excursions and such. You could negotiate but they wanted deposits made there right away and something just felt unsettling about this. Going through the hotel had a guarantee with it and because it was his birthday, I didn't want to encounter any issues. I highly recommend opting for a private boat as it was only about $75 USD more (in total) vs. a group one which could have upwards of 30 people on board.

The crew picked us up from the hotel in the morning and we spent a wonderful 5 hours cruising around Boracay and because it was private, we were able to cater the destinations as we wanted. We visited various beached including Puka Shell beach, Magic Island, and Crocodile Island (not real crocodiles - just shaped like a crocodile). My favorite was jumping from the 10 meter plank on Magic Island! This ended with a beautiful lunch at a local spot including a whole grilled fish, some chicken and pork, and a ton of vegetables all of which was included in the price. I want to mention that when we stopped at Puka Shell beach I stopped at a small hut which was selling beer and bought beer for the boat staff (including our guide, a captain and his co-captain). Simple, kind gestures can go a long way with people and they were very happy to be sipping on a cold beer while cruising around the ocean.

Some other highlights from Boracay was a fire dancing show we saw one night. Very talented, young artists putting on a great fire dancing show to electronic music. We stayed afterwards and had some beers with the performers and some great conversation. All in all, Boracay was absolutely beautiful and the Filipino people are very kind and willing to mostly go out of their way to help you have a great time.

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