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Live the rock-star lifestyle in the Boracay, the Phillippines

Boracay is a great place if you’re looking for a low-cost, fun place to have a tropical island vacation. The beaches are gorgeous, the nightlife is fun, and there are opportunities everywhere for adventures.

If you Google Boracay, Philippines, you’ll find a whiny article on the first page describing it as “the worst tourist trap evarrr”.

Since it’s hip in the travel blog-scene to hate on popular, touristy destinations, don’t let that fool you. There’s a lot to like about the place.

I enjoyed every second of the beach lifestyle, the wonderful weather, the gorgeous views, the nice food, the partying, and the crystal clear water.

Like any place you go to, it’s all about managing your expectations.

Reality check: Boracay is a low-cost party-island destination, located in a third-world country.

Of course the main beaches are going to be crowded, of course everyone will try to rip you off and sell you plastic crap, and of course the main places will be overrun by Chinese tourists and drunk assholes.

If you’re looking for a deep, meaningful, experience that will change your life, mannnn, there’s a slim chance you’ll find it here.

If you’re looking for a place to have some laid-back fun, enjoy constant sunshine every day, and basically live like Hunter S. Thompson in The Rum Diary (read it, it’s brilliant), this is a good place for it.

Food and especially booze costs very little here, and it’s always five o’ clock somewhere on Boracay. Many tourists pick up in the morning where they left off the day before, and that isn’t strange or inappropriate here. No one bats an eye when you have a Corona with your breakfast.

Once the sun starts sinking into the horizon, a general vibe of debauchery rises up. Instead of selfie-sticks, bracelets, and plastic necklaces, panhandlers will try to drag you into night clubs and sell you drugs.

Stick around long enough, and the hookers start to come out. The ladyboys are the ones getting the most attention, because they demand it through aggression. As you walk by, they’ll straight-up grab you and try to pull you aside.

I saw one drunken British guy getting his ass kicked by five ladyboys after he shoved one of them to the ground after he got his crotch grabbed. That was some funny shit. It was right in front of a busy bar, too, and all of his friends were literally falling over laughing while watching it. Luckily a security guard showed up and sent everyone on their way.

And that’s the kind of stuff you’ll find in a place like this.

It’s a little bit crazy. It’s a little bit out of control. Law and order has different meaning here when it’s present at all. It’s probably not the safest place in the world. But, it’s easy to have fun here, and you’ll have a bag filled with memories by the time you’ll leave, for sure.

Photos from Boracay, the Philippines

The main beach on Boracay, the Philippines
The main beach is crowded, fair enough. Don’t worry, you’ll survive.


If you go out of your way to find the nice, quiet parts, you will find them. There are several stunning beaches all over the island, and this is also where you’ll meet locals and the more curious travelers. On a side-note, if you don’t go out of your way to find the best places wherever you are, you’re doing it wrong.

Puka shell beach

This beach is a 15-minute tuk-tuk ride away from the main beach. $2 to get there.

Puka Shell Beach on Boracay, the Philippines
Boats on Puka Shell Beach in Boracay, the Philippines
A little beach bar
Dennis Rodman has his thing in North Korea, Kobe Bryant has his franchise in the Philippines.


A little beach bar
This is what your average beach bar looks like here. It’s all very small scale and chilled out.


A restaurant on Puka Shell Beach
A little restaurant on the beach. Once you get away from the mass-tourism areas, you can find quirky places like this. Everyone here is nice and doesn’t hassle you.


Boats on Puka Shell Beach

Ilig Iligan Beach

This beach is another 5 minutes away. There’s almost no-one here. Paradise. Try to keep this one a secret.

Ilig Iligan Beach is gorgeous

A man hanging out on Ilig Iligan Beach

Another amazing view of Ilig Iligan Beach on Boracay, the Philippines

A pump boat on Ilig Iligan Beach

Ilig Iligan Beach is peaceful, quiet, and beautiful

Coconut with straw and rum
Fresh coconut water with a shot of rum in it. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It will cost you around $1.50 – $2.00, depending on your haggling skills.


Palm trees and a blue sky. What a place to be.
One of my favorite views in the world.

Spider House

Spider House on Boracay
This place was one of my favorite parts of the island. Spider House is really nice bar/restaurant with some of the best views I’ve ever seen. The general vibe couldn’t be more chilled out. Just everything about it was great.


A dog taking a nap
The dog that hung around the bar, chilling out


Another great view from Spider House
Another great view from Spider House


The sun sets on Boracay
Like a postcard.

Nightlife in Boracay

A fishing boat with the setting sun

Boracay Station 1
The main beach is basically one long strip of restaurants and bars. If you’re looking for a party, this is where you should be.


Ragga Marv
Some live music was happening. This guy was named “Ragga Marv”. I bought a CD off him as a souvenir. His album was called “Whatever happens in Boracay, Stays in Boracay”. Quite the song-smith.


The Boracay Pub Crawl
The Boracay Pub Crawl. A good way to get the night rolling and meeting some people. The guy who ran it had no trouble bringing the energy, as he was coked out of his skull. It was good fun, and we ended up with a cool little crew that stuck together for the remainder of the week.


The Super Submarine Sandwich Shop

The mall

The mall
The mall. Also, one of the best names and pay-offs for a restaurant I’ve ever seen: “Bite Club – we fight hunger”


The mall
Sure, it’s all busy and commercialized, but that also means I can get a hamburger at 2AM.


Fire show on the beach
A couple of Asian tourists got dragged into the center of a fire-show. They had no idea what they were getting into, and yes, those ladies with the fire-balls are dudes.


One of my friends was mostly glad he wasn’t the one to get up there.


Area 51 on Boracay
Area 51 is the open-air night-club of the island. Crazy rave vibe and pretty much everyone was bouncing around high on pills. Not exactly my cup of tea, but the general crowd there seemed to love it.

Crystal Cove

The view from a boat on Boracay. The white building is a fancy hotel that’s actually carved into the rock, James Bond-villain style.


Crystal Cove, the Philippines
Crystal Cove. Nice views, but very touristy.




The color of the water here is something else.


Boat traffic jam




These “pump boats” are the vessels that take you from island to island. Some of them are pretty nerve-wrecking as they are in rough shape, but like anything, you get used to it.



We also took a boat to another island called Caticlan. It was definitely more rural than Boracay, and the reality of where we really were shined through more than ever.

Shacks in Caticlan, the Philippines

Empty cases of San Miguel beer

A street in Caticlan, the Philippines

Shacks in Caticlan, the Philippines
This place is definitely different than the main tourist areas.


Shacks in Caticlan, the Philippines


Boracay: a third-world beach destination

Make no mistake, despite the beautiful beaches, nice hotels and resorts, there’s no getting around the poverty and misery that comes with any third world country.

The further you get away from the main tourist areas, the more you’ll see the reality of it. Many people live in shacks, you’ll see stray dogs everywhere, and there’s a general sense of lawlessness and chaos. As a rule of thumb, you always take a taxi/tuk-tuk if you travel from place to place, especially at night.

Coming from Western civilization, it takes some getting used to, for sure. You’ll be fine if you keep your eyes open, walk tall, trust your gut, and don’t do anything stupid. In the end, these are also just people living their lives.

This was the road that lead to our hotel.


The streets of Boracay
The streets of Boracay


The streets of Boracay

A tricycle-taxi driver
Most tyicycle-taxi drivers are cool dudes who seem to have a lot of fun doing their job. It’s the go-to way to get around for short distances, and it’s dirt-cheap.


Tricycle-taxi’s aren’t factory-built vehicles. They’re basically a motorcycle with a sidecar welded to it, and the drivers drive those things HARD. The engine, clutch, and brakes are constantly pushed way beyond what they were designed for, and yet they just keep on going. Honda makes a solid motorcycle.

Tricycle taxis driving down the street

A bunch of stores


Locals playing some basketball
Locals playing some basketball


Club Ten on Boracay
Our hotel “Club Ten”. It’s quite nice.

In conclusion

Would I recommend you visiting Boracay?

The answer is: definitely. As long as you’ve got the right mindset, you can have a great time here.

The beaches are beautiful, the people are generally friendly, there is plenty of stuff to do, and you can party like a rock-star without breaking the bank. San Miguel, the local beer, is really nice, too. Reminded me of Corona.

If you need to wind down in a different kind of place, Boracay is nice to spend a week or so.


And now, it’s your turn to go there.

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About Diederik

Diederik is a guy from Rotterdam, The Netherlands. He quit his job when he was 29 years old and traveled the world for over 18 months as a digital nomad and bartender. On this website, he posts his travel photos and experiences, records podcasts with interesting people, and shares his general thoughts.

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