BORACAY – TOO MUCH TOURISM OR A MUST SEE?

Beautiful Boracay I was told is a must see despite the massive tourism that has inundated the island as of late. I took a 300 peso transfer to my morning flight back to Cebu on Cebu Pacific and then on to Caticlan (MPH) Airport for Boracay.  I’m really hoping it is not the tourist trap that Thailand has become as some people have intimated. The cost for the flight was about $72 USD. For budget travelers, I think it’s much cheaper (like $24USD) if you fly to Kalibo and then catch a bus to Boracay. As always, each traveler must balance time against money and make the decision for themselves.

Upon arrival in Caticlan, you must get to the port to take the ferry to Boracay Island and then another transport to your accommodation. Be careful when picking transportation here as it’s really a 3 min drive to the ferry port and you can either walk it or have a habal-habal take you for next to nothing. Then, you pay the same 175 pesos for the ferry just like everyone who takes the expensive transport offered pays. If you do that, you just get another habal-habal upon arrival at Boracay Island to your hotel or hostel for 150 pesos. I’m guessing you can save probably 250 pesos doing it this way.

I picked an accommodation in the center where the action supposedly is and near where friends were staying but also paid a little extra (like $16/dorm/night at the W Hostel vs what I paid – $32/private hotel room/night at the Zen). After being at both, I highly recommend the W. There’s even a pool on the roof, curtains and lights on the bed and each room gets a router plus some tricky art to photograph with.

Of course, you can also pay more a night here in Boracay as I’ll discuss later when I discuss the Fairways and Blue Water Resort. You have over 250 choices on tourist highway a/k/a Boracay. Look at the blue dots in photo above! Oh and when I say tourist highway, this time I actually mean tourist highway. It is truly a tiny strip of land on an island with nothing but resorts/accommodations, tourists, tourists and more tourists but when you head just a little north on the island where there are fewer people, step out on that Boracay beach, you will see why it’s a must see.

After I’ve recovered from the Asian Flu (which you can read about in another post), it was time to enjoy the Fairways and Blue Waters Resort (which I highly recommend). I sprawled out on a  huge comfortable lounge chair next to the greatest infinity pool I’ve seen yet (a close second was in Ushuaia, Argentina and the fact that I can say that IS a blessing). I look out across the pool which appears to be connected to the ocean (well done Fairways) at the dimly lit sky filled with a rainbow of parasailers. I’m listening to music, drinking a Mango fruit shake, dressed in nothing but a thinly clad bathing suit and a whole lot of peace. Boracay is looking better all the time.

I have to do something I never thought I would do and that is recommend a resort to you and a little later, I’ve a confession to make. So let’s discuss the resort first. Fairways and Bluewater, Newcoast, Boracay got it right (www.fairewaysandbluewater.com). If you take all the things one might like about a resort from the people, the service, the pools, the private beach, the rooms, transfers/transportation, cost, activities, etc., toss it into a pot and stir and you will be serving Fairways and Bluewater for dinner and people will be coming back for seconds and thirds. I’ve stayed at more resorts, hotels, hostels and Airbnbs throughout the world than probably anyone and I can say Fairways nailed it. And for $68/night.

Imagine it if you can (Americans and Europeans probably can’t and won’t believe this) paying $68/night with taxes, service fees, etc. and staying in a huge premium suite with a rain shower, a huge balcony overlooking a golf course or a pool or the sea with a king size bed that is so comfortable you may never want to leave. Imagine having a beautiful 18 hole championship golf course, a spa, salon, four separate pools one of which will blow your mind, door to door transfer service in the complex or even into town with a 24 hour security guard named Lester to call you that transfer, restaurants galore with all kinds of delicious variety and even a cake shop (just as examples) at your disposal.

Imagine having any activity at your disposal you can think of from horseback riding on the beach to kayaking, sailing, zip lining, golf, segways that work on the sand.…I mean anything right there on the property. Imagine seamlessly transferring to and from the airport on the resort’s own boat so you miss the nightmare traffic at the port. Imagine a grocery store on site, peace and quiet at one pool and an absolute jammin’ DJ at the other pool where you can’t help but dance. Imagine being serviced by some of the nicest, most genuine race of people on the planet. And all just for $68/night.

So I confess, I have changed my mind. I’m a woman. I’m entitled. When I first arrived in Boracay I hated it. I thought it was the perfect example of how tourism strangles the life out of a beautiful place. And that’s still true about Boracay – at least that strip referred to as Station 1 in Balabag. Boracay is Thailand on crack. The infrastructure isn’t even remotely capable of handling the people, the trash, the internet usage, the traffic, the new construction, etc. But after spending time here, lunching at the famous Spider House, walking the white sand beaches (surpassed only by Thailand, The Bahamas and the Maldives), sunset sailing the coast, I think Boracay is lovely. Just plant yourself away from Station 1 in Balabag. Stay at Fairways and Blue Waters and explore from there.  Definitely try to get to the other side of the island for kite surfing! I’m told the wind is perfect for kite surfing there. I was sick so I had to cancel that adventure but will definitely remedy that next chance I get. And, like General Douglas MacArthur said, (look it up folks, he was famous in WW II), I will return!

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