As far as dream beach holidays go, you can't get better than the beautiful island destination of Boracay, Philippines.
Boracay boasts miles and miles of long white sandy beaches, crystal clear sea, delicious local cuisine, fascinating culture and plenty of activities and excursions to keep everyone entertained.
Situated off the coast from Manila it takes just an hours flight from the Philippine capital to reach the island paradise of Boracay. You'll fly from Manila to Caticlan on the mainland and then take a short boat trip to reach the island. Simply hop on one of the regular boats that come every few minutes to Cagban, Boracay's small port.
When you arrive at Cagban there will be lots of rickshaws waiting to take you where you need to go. Simply tell the driver your hotel and he'll take you there and help you with your bags. These rickshaws are a wonderful way to begin to see the wonderful culture of Boracay as soon as you arrive.
Once there visitors can enjoy an amazing selection of water sports or simply lay on the beach admiring the lush surrounding landscapes!
Watersports fans are in for a big treat with a holiday to Boracay because it's beaches and surrounding sea offer some of the best surfing and windsurfing spots out of all the Philippine islands. If you arrive between November and April for the dry season you'll want to pack up your board and head straight for Bulabog Beach or any of the other beaches on the island's east coast. That's where you'll find the big waves!
On Bulabog beach you can also try your hand at kiteboarding. This beach is actually the number one kiteboarding site in the whole of Asia! Winds can get up to 30 knots during the November-April kiteboarding season so this beach is very popular with thrill seekers and sports junkies.
On the western side of the island is a huge white sand beach called White Beach. This is the ideal place to soak up the sun rays or take a dip in the warm, tropical waters of the Sulu Sea.
During the rainy season between June and October there is a typhoon risk on Boracay therefore swimming in the sea is not recommended.
Boracay has recently made a real effort to make sure that all who stay on the island are safe whilst enjoying the paradise of the beaches on offer by bringing in a team of qualified lifeguards. The Malay government have provided 17 lifeguards kitted out with whistles, radios and buoyancy aides.
White Beach is really the hub of activity on Boracay because it's the most popular beach with tourists, plus it's also the commercial centre.
Usefully, White Beach is divided into 3 areas called stations 1, 2 and 3. Section 1 is where all the top hotels are situated right on the beach front. The atmosphere here is calm and tranquil with palm trees blowing in the breeze and cafes and restaurants dotted around.
Puka Beach is Boracay's other popular white sand beach. Quieter than White Beach it looks like a true tropical beach postcard scene and is the chosen sea side spot for locals. In fact it is on Puka Beach that many of the locals find Puka shells to make jewellery from.
Puka Beach is located at the north end of the island and so it's seas are slightly rougher but just as blue! It can be a struggle to get back from Puka Beach on a quiet day so it's a good idea to arrange a pick-up point and time with the driver who takes you there.
Another top tourist destination on Boracay is 'The Bat Cave'. The Bat Cave is right at the western end of the island and visitors will find that local people are happy to show them around the area for a price. First you'll go on a mini-hike through the glorious forested area that leads to the cave opening, once there you'll be lead into the cave to view the bats.
Horse Riding is also available on Boracay and the authentic regional horses are a must see for animal lovers. If you want to see the real Boracay horseback is the best way to do it. On a horse you can visit quiet villages and see untouched tropical landscapes.
It's important to be aware that The Bat Cave has no clear path or handrail and it can be very slippery. Also because the cave is on a hillside the floor of the cave is very steep. Locals who show you around are bound to know which way to go and where is safe to step, but this excursion may not be suitable for everyone no matter how interesting it is!
As far as getting around goes, travel by motor-tricycle taxi is the most popular form of transport for tourists. Taxis are cheap and will take you anywhere on Boracay from White Beach. It's worth noting that the passenger seats on the tricycles are pretty close to the exhaust pipe so the ride can get a bit smoggy. If you feel worried by this, pack a handkerchief to place over your mouth.
There are other options for tourist travel but they are at the individuals discretion. For example you can hire a scooter to ride around the island's roads on but the traffic and chaotic driving style of the locals can be taxing!
White Beach is a car and motor-tricycle free zone so if you want to travel around there you'll have to get a bicycle.
Mountain bikes are a smart green way to see all the island paradise of Boracay has to offer and there are lots of businesses operating up and down White Beach that will rent you one for a fee.
If it's freedom to explore that you crave then it's well worth renting a motorboat or 'banca' as they're known locally. This will give you the opportunity to visit beaches on Boracay that only reachable by sea.