New ways to experience the island, from renting a private beach house to exploring the island on horseback, to a taste of the high life at a spa
By Kristine Fonacier Cover photo of White Beach by Wacky Gochoco
Find a home away from home on the island and book a beach house by the cliff off Diniwid Beach. SPR Boracay Travel and Tours rents out the lovely Casa Mika Villa which has two rooms, a kitchenette, a living area that has a 180-degree view of the sea, and laundry and baby sitting services – upon request and for additional fees. Casa Mika rental is from 6,143 (US$137) per night during low season. Tel +6332 288 5798, email [email protected] for inquiries and reservations.
Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort & Spa has 183 rooms and 36 villas, and a spa village built on a 12-hectare complex perched on a secluded hillside on Boracay’s Yapak Beach area. A standard deluxe room for two is P25,735 per night.
Discovery Shores Boracay is an 87-room complex that offers a panoramic view of the island’s White Beach and beautiful sunsets. A standard Junior Suite for two is P19,276 a night. Boat Station 1, Barangay Balabag, Boracay, tel +6336 288 4500 and +632 720 8888, email dsb.discovery.com.ph.
Zuzuni Boutique Hotel is a cozy 14-room boutique hotel situated on the quieter part of the beach but relatively close enough to the island’s popular bars and shops. The hotel has a newly opened Latin bistro serving the best tacos and churros on the island. The standard room rate for two ranges from P3,000 to P5,000 per night. Boat Station 1, White Beach, Boracay, tel +632 288 4477 for reservations.
Boracay Island is known for its variety of international cuisine. Kasbah, at the end of White Beach, brings the colors and flavors of Morocco to these shores. The open-air setup, low tables and floor cushions contribute to a laid-back vibe. The place is also a popular night spot, with its hip bar and Arabic tunes. Boat Station 1, Barangay Balabag, Boracay, tel +6336 288 4790 or email [email protected] for inquiries.
True Food serves Indian food. It has a genuine tandoor oven, which allows the kitchen to cook tandoori chicken, roti and naan in the authentic Indian tradition. Boat Station 2, south of D’Mall, tel +6336 288 3142, email [email protected].
Mañana is a casual dining favorite on White Beach, offering a wide selection of Mexican food. Don’t miss their chicken and beef burritos and chimichangas, washed down with cold, refreshing margaritas. Call +6336 288 5405 for their White Beach branch and +6336 288 1220 for their Main Road, Station branch.
Cyma serves saganaki (a flaming dish made from sheep or goat cheese), moussaka (layers of eggplant and ground lamb with tomato sauce, topped with béchamel), and paidakia (grilled rack of lamb). D’Mall, Boat Station 2, Boracay, tel +6336 288 4283 or +63928 506 9311.
SEE AND DO
Perhaps the most popular activity in Boracay is still to sit by the beach and do little else but soak up the sun but visitors who prefer an active vacation have plenty of sporty options. Kiteboarding is a fast-growing sport on the island, as international kiteboarders discover the ideal conditions at Bulabog Beach. There are seven kiteboarding schools to choose from. For kiteboarding lessons, call Habagat Kite Village, tel +6336 288 5787, email [email protected], or GreenYard Kiteboarding Center, tel +6336 288 3663.
Trek or ride an Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) up Mt. Luho, the highest point on the island, 100 meters above sea level. Ask your hotel to recommend a guide for the walk, or rent an ATV through G1 Island ATV Rental, tel +6336 288 4235 or +63912 904 3240.
If you’re not much for noise or carbon emissions but don’t want to do everything on foot, explore the island trails on horseback instead. Book at Boracay Stables, tel +6336 288 3311 or +63929 169 5272.
Beachside massages can be had cheaply anywhere on White Beach, but for true relaxation and pampering, go to Boracay’s top spas. Mandala Spa & Villas for holistic treatments, original award-winning therapies executed by exceptional therapists, and luxurious accommodation. In 2009, Mandala has launched its on-going Treetment Project, an exercise aimed at “inspiring people to care for the planet as much as they do to themselves”. Mandala Spa staff will plant a tree in Boracay or Aklan mainland for every treatment you from the spa. The standard rate for a villa for two is P10,000 a night. Mandala Spa & Villas, Main Road, Brgy. Manoc-Manoc, Boracay, tel +6336 288 5858, email [email protected].
Shangri-La Boracay’s CHI, The Spa, is a 5,714sqm haven that has smaller suites that can be had for hourly treatments, but clients may also book deluxe villas in the detached spa village complex. CHI’s signature therapies are based on the Oriental tradition of harmonizing the five elements of nature within the body. An online questionnaire allows clients to learn their element sign, which in turn will assist CHI’s therapists in customizing their treatments. Call +6336 288 4988 or email [email protected] for inquiries and reservations.
Originally published in InFlight Traveller April 2010. Updated February 2016.