Many who want to visit the beauty of the famous island of Boracay need not worry about going on a budget. For this group and my liking I’ll gladly take the ‘other road’ to prosperity so I’m sure not to leave a legacy of that ‘rich guy’ who visited here last week. My times and travels in the past few years have all been on a budget and anything over that was just a waste of time, money and effort to outdo all others.
Getting to Boracay is easy as the main airport to the island is accessible by many airlines (the airport is not on the island itself). Those looking for a budget flight for the perfect time can check out this site https://www.facebook.com/
We’ve all heard the stories about Boracay and the upscale resorts and fine dining etc.etc. In 2013 Boracay was named the #2 Beach in the entire world by Leisure and Travel Magazine. With these notations it’s no wonder that ½ the world probably believes Boracay to be a very expensive place to vacation in. Like most places I’ve traveled in the Philippines a good place to stay and some great food and drinks are just a short walk away from all the upscale high-end places that many are lured to.
Room and small hostels can be found in the alleyways and places that are not on the tourist paths or drives. It’s rare to get a real deal on the beach but let me tell you, it is possible. Tree House Resort and Bar is one place you can enjoy the beach front accommodations on the cheap. This place is quite unique and is just a stone’s throw from White Beach Diver’s. A basic room at Tree House is 500 peso but if you want to stay in the unique tree-house rooms the price is only 800 peso for 2. This room has a shared CR-shower but the front porch view is amazing.
Some of the best deals on the island are not found on websites, the internet or in any form of advertising. Like many great places to travel and stay in the Philippines some of the best and cheapest are family owned and run by word of mouth and repeat business. Boracay is no different and going there without reservations is not a problem if you stay away from the peak seasons and holidays. Peak season in this region is November to June and any major holiday like Holly Week, Christmas, New Years and more. During this time alone the prices will be double for accommodations.
White Beach is divided by Stations with Station 1 being the ‘hot spot’. Some of the best deals will be down by Station 3 and the beach is less crowded and less crazy people running around. If Station 1 and 2 are more your style you can still stay in Boracay on a budget in these zones. The main road that leads into White Beach is only a 5 to 10 minute walk. Head out to the roadway and check the prices, you’ll easily see that many are nowhere near as expensive as the ones sitting by the sand. I always make it a point to stay cheap as possible as Boracay is an island that never really sleeps much. Those who love the late night entertainment, midnight swims or just the peace and comfort of the outdoors will spend little time in their rooms.
The “Tree House Resort” mentioned above is in the Station 3 zone. This resort is very unique and has sleeping rooms as cheap as 300php but in hostel type dorms. “White Beach Diver’s” has many options including dorm beds as slow as 200php and various rooms which range from 400-600 and 800php. The higher priced rooms come with TV and the entire complex has a very suitable Wi-Fi system. “The Orchids” is another place in Station 3 that has very nice accommodations, is well cared for and is only 600php with a room and a fan. “Sundown Resort” and “Cena’s Guesthouse” are two lower budget options in Station 3 area. Both range in price from 500 to 600php with fan only. Cena’s is a bit far from any hot spot so if tranquility is your must then choose Cena’s. From Cena’s to get to Station 1 or 2 you only need to take a tricycle ride for 15 to 20php to get there.
Other various places to stay include the “Banana Saging Guesthouse” which offers rooms at just 500php and is in a nice region of Bulabog Beach. Another one “Bambooz House” is in Station #1 but not beachfront but offers very nice rooms at off season times for 600php. Last but not least give “Boracay Actopia Resort” at Cagban Jetty Port a try. This resort offers rooms which are good for 4 people for 700 peso, now tell me that isn’t cheap vacationing.
All prices that are noted are per night. If you plan on staying longer than a week then a little haggle is in order. If you plan on staying a month in low season then be sure to bargain your way around 40% less in price for the entire stay.
Food is the next big expense when vacationing in Boracay. Again this will take you a little time to get use to but keep in mind, cheap eating means more fun and maybe one more beer on that night out on the town (in this case town means=Beach). There are numerous places who serve very nice food throughout the island. From Filipino food to some foreign favorites as well, this place is packed full of good eats for the right price. “Smoke Resto” is a place everyone going to Boracay should visit. Items from 80 peso Pancit to Chili Chicken for 120php will give you a good fill and for sure bring you back for the price. Shenna’s Beachfront Resort and Restaurant is a ‘must go’ for food. Pancakes, omelets and crepes are outstanding and all under 100php. Several cocktails are available for those out for the night which cost 60php each and the normal local beers that are very competitive in prices. Shenna’s is a great hang out to sip on a drink and watch the sun go down.
When it comes to food there are many others. Testing those for taste and portions is not easy but the two mentioned above are good examples. For those looking for a snack, the usual Laylam Shawarma with rice for 65php is an all time favorite. Master Siomai 4 pieces for 40php and Julie’s Bakeshop where an endless selection of baked goods from 5php to 50php can be had. Most of these places are opened 24 hours and have several outlets throughout the island and at DMall. Hanging out at Julie’s is another spot to have a coffee, eat a little pastry and watch the day go by.
Cheap drinks can be had in many places but my personal favorite is Exit Bar and Shenna’s. Both have a relaxed mode and attract expats and other like minded people who are there just to enjoy themselves. Many clubs throughout Boracay have Happy Hour specials to get the night going so if that is your idea of starting off the night then by all means head out and get started early. If drinking a few on the backstreets is more your style find a store with a few chairs and a few litro drinks and hang out until the wee hours of night, they’ll love your company for sure.
A good week in Boracay can be had for around $150 a week. Stay smart and don’t fall for the tours or the hype (don’t fall for the ‘free dinner’ deals either, remember, nothing in life is free). If you really want someone to do you a favor, ask a local where to stay for cheap money. They will not ask you for money as many of the resorts will tip them for bringing you to them. If you are use to this practice then by all means use it, but if you are not you might want to run your own gauntlet and make sure you are headed in the right direction.
Take a trip, have some fun and best of all hang out in the #2 rated beach around the world for little to no money. Not only will you thank me for leading you in the right direction, you’ll thank yourself for not spending like a fool. Put Boracay on your next trip to the Philippines and look out along the water’s edge, you might see me out there drinking one of those foofy drinks that I just paid $1 dollar for!