So you have made the decision to visit Boracay Island, the Philippines’ premier beach destination, and you have a good idea of the different attractions and things to do while visiting this beach paradise (if you haven’t yet, here’s a link that can help you with that). At this point, you need to make another decision, which can make or break your holiday, the decision of where to stay while on Boracay.
Fortunately for you, Boracay has a wide range of accommodation choices due to its popularity, unlike other beach destinations in the Philippines. Here, you can find luxury resorts, boutique hotels, rental apartments and dependable hostels.
Most accommodation facilities on Boracay Island are either along or close to White Beach, the most famous and busiest of the beaches on the island. So when you search for hotels on booking platforms such as Agoda.com and Booking.com, the first accommodation choices that will most likely pop up are the ones in the vicinity of White Beach. White Beach is so long that it is divided into sections called Boat Station 1, Boat Station 2 and Boat Station 3. So when you are searching for Boracay hotels online, you might notice that their locations are classified according to these stations.
Should You Stay on White Beach?
The answer is a “Yes” if your priority is convenience. White Beach has everything: shops, 24-hour stores, bars, tour agencies, restaurants, and banks all within walking distance. In fact, you could spend your entire holiday on White Beach and still have a good time. White Beach is the epicenter of tourism and commercialism on the island. From White Beach, boat and sailing tours depart. You can also easily catch public transport to various attractions on the island from all three Boat Stations.
Just take note that White Beach is the busiest and most crowded beach on the island. Most visitors tend to hang out on the beach.
Here are the different characteristics of White Beach’s boat stations:
Boat Station 3:
This is the closest beach station to the island pier. Boat Station 3 is the quietest and most laidback section of White Beach. The restaurants and bars here are more low-key, although some of them still offer acoustic entertainment. If you want to enjoy a Filipino style seafood buffet by the beach, this is the station to stay near. Hotel and accommodation choices in Boat Station 3 are generally cheaper than the other Boat Stations, and therefore tend to attract more local tourists. So if you want a taste of Filipino culture, stay in Boat Station 3.
Boat Station 2
Boat Station 2 is arguably the busiest part of White Beach, mainly due to the presence of a relatively new shopping complex called “D’Mall”. Filipinos love the indoor mall concept, but this one is set up to be an outdoor complex, and not a huge concrete block (thank God for that). D’Mall has shops, pharmacies and lots of restaurants with varying price ranges. Many tourists come here to eat because it’s easy to locate. Despite its practical purpose, it is (in my opinion) cheesy and touristy, so I have only gone there when I wanted to find a place to eat with reasonable prices. The D’Mall complex has access to the beach and to the main road on the opposite side. Both ends can be crowded. Boat Station 2 is home to some large resorts and it has a number of beachfront restaurants lined right up to the entrance of D’Mall. These bars and restaurants typically start blaring music around 6 pm during sunset.
Boat Station 1
Most of the fancier resorts on Boracay are located in Boat Station 1, some of which cater to divers and/or diving groups. The part Boat Station 1 that is closest to Boat Station 2 has its fair share of bars and restaurants. If you are not in a hurry to go to bed, you can hit up these bars and enjoy some quality live music. But when you go further to the end of Boat Station 1, you will find this area to be quieter and more laidback.
The dance clubs on near White Beach are not all beach front, with some of them being located along the main road parallel to White Beach (roughly 100 meters behind the beach).
Travel Checklist: Do you have everything you need?
If at this point White Beach does not sound appealing to you, you’re in luck as there are other options out there. Bulabog Beach, which is on the opposite side of the island across the main road, also has a number of lodging choices. You can opt for a serene beachfront hotel and resort, or go for a guesthouse or hostel just a few minutes by foot from the beach. The good thing about staying in Bulabog is that it isn’t too far away from White Beach. So if you feel like mingling with the happy beach crowd, you can always walk across the main road and hang out on White Beach during the day or during sunset.
Puka Beach is another jaw-dropping sandy attraction on Boracay that deserves a visit. Although there are no beachfront accommodation choices on Puka Beach (because it is protected), there are a couple of relaxation-oriented resorts close to this beach, in a neighborhood called Baranggay Yapak.
Like other Southeast Asian islands, Boracay’s most exclusive resorts are not located on the most popular beaches. Resort owners perhaps made a conscious decision to build their property in an isolated area away from the crowds, to maximize the luxury and serene experience for their guests. Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort & Spa, for instance, is located in Baranggay Yapak, very close to the Banyugan Beach. The resort location allows guests to get away from the crowd, but it is not too far from the more well-known beaches such as Puka Beach (2.4 kilometers) and Bulabog Beach (6 kilometers).
Where Did We Stay?
We wanted to stay as close to White Beach as possible, but we also preferred a place that suited our trip budget. After researching, we eventually found Hannah Hotel. Hannah Hotel is one of the boutique hotels located on the other side of the main road, just across from White Beach (200 meters from White Beach). The downside of staying here is that it’s not directly on the beach, but a 5-minute walk away. The upside is that it’s in a quiet local neighborhood, so you will have no trouble sleeping at night. Hannah has a decently sized bedroom that was clean and comfortable during our stay. Their interior design makes use of local wood and exudes a rustic vibe. They are a small place with no more than 10 rooms, so it gives you a cozy feel. This family-owned and run place offers breakfast and welcome drinks. The people working there were quite nice and they were always willing to help so we had a pleasant stay. There are many other family-owned boutique hotels and guesthouses in the same area as Hannah’s, so if you’re a couple who is on a budget but wish to avoid noisy dorms and hostels, then places like Hannah’s may be the perfect choice. Take note that we have no direct affiliation with Hannah Hotel, or any of the properties on Boracay Island. Therefore, in an unbiased manner we can say that it was a well-managed property. At the time of writing it had a score of 8.3/10 based on 461 verified guest reviews. We consider this to be a fairly accurate representation of this property based on our experience there.
Find the best hotel deals on Boracay?
Boracay has no shortage of rooms to choose from. Actually, it’s loaded with accommodation choices to suit all budgets. I would recommend using a large booking provider that can offer you the selection and prices that you need. Over the years, we have used three primary sites for our room bookings on Boracay: www.agoda.com, www.booking.com and www.hotelscombined.com. I have created links below to their respective property lists for Boracay to save you some time: