What to do in Boracay in 3 days

Boracay, a small island in The Philippines, has repeatedly been declared as one of the Top 10 world's best islands in several travel forums and publications across the planet. Postcard-perfect white sandy beaches, lined with palm trees, stunning blue waters and a vibe that is unmatched in any other part of the country, Boracay has seen a tsunami of tourists in the last 5 years. While the focus is now slowly moving towards the more remote and pristine Palawan, for those looking to enjoy a vibrant beach vacation, pulsating nightlife and a buzzing atmosphere in a gorgeous setting, Boracay is the place to be! 3 days is a good amount of time to spend on this island, and here's everything you need to know for planning a trip, including what to do in Boracay.


How to get to Boracay

The island itself does not have an airport of its own. However, the closest airport in on the neighbouring island - Caticlan Airport. You can easily find flights from the main hubs in The Philippines to Boracay such as Cebu, El Nido and Manila.

Once you land at Caticlan Airport, you need to take a tricycle to the pier (5 minutes away) and board the ferry to Boracay. The ferry ride from Caticlan Airport's pier to Boracay takes about 15 minutes, runs every 30 minutes from the pier and accommodates about 25 people at a time. It is not the most convenient to store large luggage so try to carry small bags with you, if possible.

What to do in Boracay
The Philippines Tricycle


Where to stay in Boracay

Before talking about what to do in Boracay, you need to decide where you want to stay. By far, the most popular and happening place to stay in Boracay is the White Beach. This 5-km stretch of white sandy beaches is divided into 3 main areas -

Station 1

This is the area where you'll find the maximum luxury resorts. Although it is not as loud as Station 2, you're still in the centre of all action and you'll find several pubs, beach bars, clubs and restaurants, one next to the other in this area. This is also where one of the most popular visual landmarks of Boracay is located - Willy's Rock. As you walk along the beach in this area during the day, you will find several bars offering Happy Hours on their drinks along with providing sun loungers on the beach. The beach here is slightly quieter than that of Station 2.

Station 1, Boracay

Recommended budget hotel to stay in Station 1, Boracay: Willy's Beach Hotel

Station 2

This is the epicentre of all the action. A walking path parallel to the beach takes you through several boutiques, shops selling watersports and other experiences, restaurants, bars, diving centres, supermarkets, hotels, henna tattoo designer shacks and beach massage centres. This is, by far, the most crowded part of the White Beach and also the most lively.

The White Beach, Boracay
The White Beach, Boracay

To book your stay in Station 2, click here.

Station 3

This is the quietest part of the White Beach. This is where a lot of budget and backpacker hostels are located here, however, since the water becomes much deeper, this isn't the best area for swimming. There are some laid-back bars and restaurants in this area but it is not as lively or crowded as the other two stations. It calls for a peaceful time amidst nature, away from the crowds.

What to do in Boracay
White Beach, Boracay

To book your stay in Station 3, click here.


What to do in Boracay

Day 1: Explore the White Beach

This is the number one thing to do in Boracay. There's a lot to do on this 5-km stretch of pristine white sandy beaches and turquoise blue waters. If you're here in Boracay, you can look forward to a lot of sunbathing (the sun can be strong, don't forget to carry your hats and sunblock creams), inexpensive cocktails, fresh seafood, music on the beach, shopping in colourful & vibrant markets, watersports and a good amount of relaxation. Here are the top things to do on the White Beach:

 1. Watersports

In such gorgeous and clear blue waters, you will want to take a dip or get a little more adventurous and try one of several watersports available here. As you walk along the White Beach, you will be approached by several touts selling island hopping tours, diving experiences, sailing adventures and other water sports. Do negotiate with them! Some of the popular activities you'll find are - stand up paddle boarding, diving, island hopping, banana boat rides, parasailing, helment diving, speed boat hire and snorkelling. Although the diving sites in Boracay are known to be quite amazing, if you're planning to continue your journey to Palawan, you'd want to choose to go diving there instead of Boracay.

Stand Up Paddle Boarding

2. DMall

An open-air collection of several shops and restaurants, DMall is not anything like a mall! Expect lanes of shops selling colourful summer and beachwear clothes, accessories, electronics (waterproof iPhone covers, accessories for Go Pro), sunglasses, fridge magnets and other souvenirs. As common with most other southeast Asian countries, this is where you must exercise your bargaining skills! Don't forget to buy the famous Philippines Dry Mango and sip on some refreshing coconut juice - something I highly recommend to do in Boracay.

What to do in Boracay
DMall, Boracay

3. Beach Massage

In as less as USD10, you can enjoy a very relaxing massage, right on the beach and this is one of the best things to do in Boracay. Choose from a variety of pampering treatments such as foot massage, pedicure, manicure, head massage and full body oil massage in the incredible backdrop of the picturesque blue waters.

4. Henna Tattoo

Ever wondered what a tattoo would really look like on you but didn't really have the courage to get it? Why not get a temporary henna tattoo that stays for over 10 days! Several tattoo artists line the White Beach and will whip up some amazing designs for you, within a span of 15 minutes! I couldn't resist, I got 'inked (more like henna-d)' all over!

Henna Tattoo in Boracay

5. Sand carvings

You don't really need to go searching for these. As you walk along the White Beach, you will see several beautiful sand carvings with 'Boracay' and the date written. You might even catch some of the artists at their job if you venture out early in the day. You will have to pay for a few pictures with the carvings, which is fair considering the amount of hard work that's been put into making it!

6. Willy's Rock

This is one of the most iconic visual treats located on this stretch, at Station 3. A little statue of Virgin Mary on a rocky outcrop in the middle of the water, Willy's Rock can be reached by just walking across as the water is not very deep. Alternatively, you might want to just grab a sun lounger right across on the beach and enjoy the incredible views. The volcanic rocks stand in a sharp contrast to the crystal clear waters and a small flight of stairs can take you to the top where the statue is, providing some pretty amazing views of the beach.

Willy's Rock, Boracay
Willy's Rock, Boracay

7. Incredible Sunsets

I have seen some of the most amazing sunsets in my life, on the White Beach in Boracay. As the sun goes down the horizon, the sky turns into a fiery orange that reflects stunningly in the transparent waters, and the small boats with their distinct sails in a distance carve a majestic black shape in contrast to the bright orange skies. The dusk colours are even prettier, as the sky mellows into a magical pink before dying out into profound darkness.

What to do in Boracay
Sunset at White Beach, Boracay

8. Pulsating Nightlife

Picture this - flashy disco lights, loud music, live bands, bean bags, free-flowing San Miguel, people in a vacation mood, the sound of the waves and great food! Boracay is lively and happening 7 days a week, not just on weekends. From wild parties to clubs and lounges with live music places, you can decide what you like and you'll find it there! Unfortunately, I did not find too many parties happening right on the beach (rather, people dancing on the beach) but some of my favourite places were- Epic for a late night DJ party, Club Cocomangas if you want to get really drunk and have fun, Club Paraw if you want to mingle with the locals, Kalinga Bar for a laid-back vibe with amazing sea views and Bom Bom bar for live music. The nightlife here is unlike any other island in the Philippines and hence, it is one of the highly recommended things to do in Boracay.

9. Fresh seafood

Needless to say, if you're in The Philippines, you must try the fresh seafood. I always make it a point to taste the local cuisine when I am in a foreign country and many times, I've fallen in love with the food so much that I've come back home and looked for places locally where I can find the same dishes. Two of my favourite Filipino dishes, which you will find easily in Boracay, are Spicy Shrimp Gambas and Crocodile Sisig. 


Day 2: Move away from the crowds

Puka Shell Beach, Boracay

Don't get me wrong- I absolutely loved the vibe of White Beach and if you're limited on time, that's where I'd suggest you spend most of it. However, if you're looking to move away from the crowds towards a more peaceful, beautiful and laid-back place, visit one of the more off-beat beaches such as the Puka Shell Beach.

What to do in Boracay
Puka Shell Beach

There isn't a lot to do on this beach in terms of bars, clubs and restaurants but it has a few beach shacks that offer snacks and drinks, albeit overpriced, because they include the charge for the sun loungers and the usage of the kayaks and the floats. I was pleasantly surprised on arriving here as the beach is gorgeous and quite isolated, so you can enjoy a massive stretch of white sand and blue waters, all to yourself. This is also where I found the glass-bottom kayak and going out far into the sea, where the corals are, with that kayak, what quite an amazing experience and a must to do in Boracay.

What to do in Boracay
Glass-bottom kayaking, Boracay

A small street market at the entrance of Puka Shell Beach sells some really cool shell-based souvenirs and decorations for the home. Swimming in the waters here can be a bit challenging as the currents are quite strong and the water also gets deep faster than it does on the White Beach. Due to the lack of many options for food and overpriced beverages, it might be a better idea to carry your own picnic to this beach.

Puka Shell Beach, Boracay


Day 3: Cliff Jumping or Scuba Diving

Once again, I'd like to stress that although Boracay does have some pretty amazing dive sites for scuba diving enthusiasts, if you're visiting Palawan on your trip, it might be a better idea to experience the diving there instead. Calypso Diving and New Wave Divers and two popular companies that organise dive trips for certified scuba divers.

Alternatively, a popular activity in Boracay is the cliff diving at Ariel's Point. You can book your tickets for this experience at the White Beach 'Ariel's House' on Station 1. It is a full day activity, with tours departing from White Beach at 11 am and returning at 5 pm. Make sure to carry your sunscreen lotion, hats, waterproof bag and swimwear, of course. Even if you're not interesting in jumping off a cliff, the day-trip is quite an exciting way to be on a boat which offers alcohol (unlimited San Miguels), BBQ lunch and access to a lovely beach where you can go kayaking or snorkelling.

As for cliff jumping, there are 4 levels you can attempt to jump off from, depending on how brave you are. The trip costs $40 for a full day of fun. As you get off your boat, you will have to climb some slippery rocks to the top, where there are three bars offering views of the jumping people and the dark blue waters below. You can choose to have a few drinks here before mustering the courage to jump or just watch the brave divers take the plunge.

114 thoughts on “What to do in Boracay in 3 days”

  1. Ok Boracay is now on my must-visit list! It looks stunning! I’ve never tried SUP but I would love to try it, and here looks like the perfect place to give it a go.

  2. Boracay looks like such a lovely destination. The turquoise waters are utterly stunning, and looks like there is plenty to do. I love the look of the sand carvings, and I’d definitely want to pootle in DMall. And fresh seafood always has my name on it!

  3. Lovely article! The glass bottom kayaks are certainly the most interesting way to explore the water body. I should also try stand up paddle boat too sometime 🙂 and henna tattoo and the market and the massage ….. omg … got to go soon 🙂 🙂

  4. The most isolated beach looks the most appealing to me. Enjoy massive white sand, plus the chance to boat in a glass-bottom kayak, sounds really fun. Even though I’ve never kayaked!

  5. I guess this post is a case of a good post published at the wrong time! I read only this week that the government of the Philippines has decide to close off Boracay to all future tourist visitors. It’s a rather sad story that places can become so popular that the environment suffers – until drastic steps are taken, like in this case.

    1. They’ve shut it only for 6 months to ‘rehabilitate’, they’ll be re-opening thereafter, hopefully cleaner and better!

  6. Thanks for this post. It was really interesting to learn all the different things to do here. Station 3 sounds like my favourite with less people around as I’m definitely not into the pulsating nightlife at all! And those fiery orange sunsets too look just incredible. Would love to visit someday.

  7. I was just reading about how Boracay has been shut down to tourists! I hope they can get it cleaned up soon, because it looks beautiful and deserves to be preserved.

    1. Yeah, they’ve shut it down for 6 months this summer for the rehabilitation. Let’s see what it’s like when it re-opens.

  8. We chartered a plane from El Nido when we went to Boracay, long and funny story behind that one! Puka Beach was my favourite when I was in Boracay, so much nicer than the main White Beach… we stayed there till sunset many days, it was paradise!

    1. Puka Shell Beach was a great way to get away from the crowds! I’d love to hear the story of your chartered flight 🙂

  9. I’ve heard of lots of good things in Boracay, but this is such a comprehensive list if I ever visit! I love the idea of visiting Willy’s Rock, it’s so cool you can just wade out there! Love it. I’ve heard good things about the night life too.

  10. I was supposed to be in Boracay a couple weeks ago and I feel so sad now that I missed it. I love the Philippines and this is the one island I havent spent time in that I was really looking forward to. Thanks for this guide – I will need it when I do go!

  11. The Philippines has always attracted us so much and the country has so much to offer. I think for us one week time will be less. You are balancing that boat so well. The sand art looks beautiful. We would love staying at Station 3 and walk over to the station 1 and 2 for some fun.

  12. I don’t think I can consider traveling to Philippines for a short trip. I guess I need to stay there for atleast a month to feel the bountiful blessings of nature that the country has!!!
    The water look pristine and I’d love to do some watersports.
    That said I might just spend the entire time in quieter places like Puka Shell beach!

    1. Puka Shell beach was a good change, after spending almost 2 days at the noisy, crowded and lively White Beach.

  13. So jealous, I’m reading this post on a snowy day although it’s officially springtime here in the UK. Makes me want to book a one-way flight to my homeland, never return and spend my days in Boracay. Your post was highly informative and will serve those planning to go in good stead. The sand and waters are so inviting and the sunset is gorgeous. I prefer fresh and ripe mangoes over dried and terribly missing sipping coconut juice and savouring its meat.

    1. It’s such a contrasting weather between the city you’re living in and the country you’re from 🙂 I love ripe mangoes too, but the dried mangoes are easy to carry and bring home, I bought so many packs! And the coconut juice, of course, is amazing! Wish I could carry loads of that!

  14. “Pulsating nightlife” isn’t exactly our style but the beaches look incredible especially with that sunset. Dry Philippines mango and fresh coconut juice along with the fresh seafood and iconic sites like Willy’s Rock would provide plenty to see and do.

  15. Ohh I’m in love with Philippines! 😀 and I always wanted to treat myself with henna tattoo but I’m somehow scared I don’t know really why.

  16. The glass bottom kayaks looks so cool, I would definitely do it when I visit Boracay. The adventure activities along with beautiful beaches sound like a perfect osland vacation. Hope to include Boracay to my itinerary when I visit Philippines.

    1. I found the glass bottom kayak only on the Puka shell beach, and nobody seemed to have an idea where I could find it, I just stumbled upon it 🙂

  17. I love how informative you are in your comments (and your henna tattoo). I know that I want to go to Philippines but haven’t really started looking at the logistics. You make Palawan sound like it’s more our speed, but Boracay is beautiful too. Ironically, I did a dive in Long Beach California to the wreck of the Palawan. Perhaps that’s fate telling me to go there (or stay away, the dive wasn’t 100% successful)

    1. Oh no, sorry that it wasn’t successful! But you might be right, you’ll love Palawan more than Boracay if you like nature, beauty and diving. Boracay, although lovely, is more for people looking at vibrant beach destinations rather than quieter and more remote ones.

  18. Always love reading your posts, as you write so detailed about those far away (well far away for me) places 🙂 Willy’s Rock looks so cute! 😀 Can definitely see me hanging out there all day haha. The water in your pictures looks kinda green – is it just the light or does it really always look like that? It’s cool!

    1. It is green! It’s much clearer and prettier on a clear day though, it was overcast the few days I was there, only got half a day of sunshine!

  19. I think they are shutting down Boracay for a wile to do some cleaning? Or so I’ve heard. I heard there are a lot of activities but because of it, the beach has been compromised.

  20. Station 1 sounds like my jam. As much as Station 2 seems fun and lively, I’m personally not a fan of busy crowds. And the sand carving is beautiful!!! I don’t think I’d mind paying for a picture because like you said that’s some hard work for sure!!!

    1. I’ve never done the glass bottom kayaking before, such an amazing experience when you see the corals from the bottom of your boat!

  21. Boracay looks so gorgeous. I don’t know if I’d be into cliff diving, but everything else sounds amazing! I hear they’re closing the beach to tourists for a bit, so they can clean it up!

  22. Nice! Although Boracay is not really in our priority list, it would be nice to visit the island to check out its party scene. As of this writing though, Boracay is closed for rehabilitation. That, in a way, is good news so that the island can recover.

  23. Brilliant guide Medha with everything I needed to know 🙂 Puka Shell beach looks especially adorable and cliff diving and scuba diving are high on my list for Boracay!

    1. I’ll be writing soon about Palawan Alice, I’m sure you’ll love that too because it has some amazing diving sites!

  24. This island is on my bucket list!!! I truly want to visit here so bad and the blue water is so pretty. I will be putting it on my bucket list for sure

    1. I guess you’ll have to wait for it to re-open after the 6-month rehabilitation that is going to take place in summer this year 🙂

  25. I love Boracay thus, I am having mixed feelings about being closed for the next few months. But, thinking it’s for the best — I am just looking forward to seeing it better and fully rehabilitated.

    Will definitely try cliff diving once we’re back. For now, we’re heading to Siargao to catch some waves.

    1. There are so many cool activities – helmet diving (which is also called undersea walk in some parts of the world) and mermaid swimming are two unique things you could try there 🙂

  26. What an amazing place! It looks like a paradise! I would like to see one of these incredible sunsets and try fresh seafood 🙂 Beautiful pictures and many useful tips.

  27. Such a lovely island! I have heard of this place and wanna go it since a long time ago, and reading this makes me wanna go more! Willy’s Rock looks really interesting, and I love observing the sunset there as well.

  28. Alright I’m sold – booking my ticket now. Haha but seriously Boracay looks amazing. I love your photo of Willly’s Rock and the sand art. And I’d totally want to do all the water sports there. Great tip about bargaining down with them though.

  29. I’m learning about this place thanks to your article and it sounds incredible, so many things to see and do! Cheap massages by the sea, incredible sunsets, amazing beaches and a lively night scene…what else?! 🙂

  30. Boracay looks so beautiful. I would love to visit Phillippines and explore all these wonderful beached, get a temporary tattoo and do all the crazy stuffs. Thanks for the lovely post.

  31. I would love to travel to the Philippines, and this post would be excellent to help plan that trip. I’d probably want to stay in both locations! And those beaches look like they would be a relaxing way to spend my vacation.

    1. I suggest Boracay to people who love vibrant and happening places. If you like nature and peace, Palawan is a better choice! I’ll be writing about Palawan too, soon 🙂

  32. Boracay sounds like an amazing bucket list destination! I dont know which I would stay at..sounds like Station 2 is the best of all but Station 1 is right up my alley too.
    I would love to explore Willy’s Rock & go cliff diving though I would probably be a wee bit nervous. That water looks amazing!

  33. I’ve heard really mixed reviews about Boracay, but your post is in the “makes me want to go” category! I would LOVE to try a glass bottom kayak! That’s seriously cool! Did you see any sharks or anything (other than the coral) in your kayak?

    1. Haha I wish! But no, the only exotic animals I saw were when we went scuba diving in Palawan. That too, no sharks or ‘big’ fish.

  34. I must admit I haven’t thought Boracay is this beautiful. I love the white beach but I’m not the party person so I would prefer to stay near station 3. I don’t know how to swim, so the deep waters there will not intimidate me, and I can enjoy the views 🙂

    1. We stayed at Station 2 and it was right in the middle of the most happening area. I liked that 🙂 But yeah if you want more peace, station 3 is a great choice!

  35. Who doesn’t love Boracay?! And yes to the sunsets there! There are so many things to do in Boracay no matter what a person’s interest is! May I add that one can dress up and learn how to swim like a mermaid in Boracay? Oh and helmet diving!

    But I’ve heard on the news, the president in the PH is looking at closing down Boracay.. is that true?

    1. I heard about the mermaid dress up and swim thing too, haha, sounds so cute though I didn’t see anyone doing it while I was there 😀 I’ve also heard that they’re planning to close down Boracay completely for 2 months during the rainy season to destroy the illegal establishments that have come up in certain areas. They say the process of ‘rehabilitation’ will take about 6 months but the complete shut down will last only 2 months (this year).

  36. Thank you for sharing amazing information and pictures of Boracay. Thinking of including this beautiful place in my next travel plans. Thanks.

  37. I must have visited the Philippines a Bazillion times over the past decade. However, nearly all of my visits were work related, and I’m yet to make make my way towards Boracay. Thank you for reminding me that there is a very good reason to go back.

  38. Have always heard of Boracay as the best beach destination. Interesting to know they have numbered their beaches or regions as stations. Dmall would be my favorite place there to chat up with locals and travelers.

    1. To be honest, if it’s about the beaches, nature and diving, Palawan is a better option. However, if you like vibrant places with a good nightlife, Boracay is the obvious choice 🙂

  39. Aye for scuba Diving and hoping to do this sometime soon. The water looks so clear and I can imagine the colors that you will find beneath. Aye to Paddle boating too….Seems like Boracay is calling out to me. Thanks for the inspiration.

  40. It would be a hard choice on where to stay, all the locations look and sound so beautiful. And of course, we would have to try the glass bottom kayaking. That sounds almost as fun as snorkeling. Borcay does look absolutely wonderful.

    1. Luckily, all 3 stations are only a walk away from each other, so you could choose to stay in any of them 🙂

  41. I’ve heard so much about Boracay but am not sure what the island truly has to offer. I’m not into the typical kind of beach vacation but rather am into scenic natural landscapes, so will you recommend that I visit this part of the Philippines? The sand structure at Willy’s Rock looks extraordinary and must have taken lots of effort to build – making for an amazing photo opportunity!

  42. I stayed in Station 1 of Boracay and loved it – particularity for the watersport opportunities, the stunning sunsets, and the seafood. We did a bit of sailing while we were there, though didn’t jump on the glass bottom kayaks – they look like incredible fun, will have to do that on our next trip 🙂

    1. Sailing also must’ve been pretty cool! There are so many activities to choose from, and all are pretty amazing 🙂

  43. I think it will be impossible for me to decide between Station 1 and 2 – hope there are some places which are also a mix of both 🙂

    Water sports and sunsets would be my favorite things to explore in Boracay! Plus I would love to shoot at the mall too 🙂

  44. Boracay is a must for the water-babies! 🙂 . I think my preference would be for Station 1 , which cuts a fine balance between being in the centre and having a reasonably quite beach. Unless I am meditating , in which it shall be Station 3 🙂
    Prevalence of henna in that part of the world is interesting to know.

    1. They had very interesting devices for applying the henna, I was impressed! Easy to use, convenient and quick application. I wish we had the same back home in India!

  45. Boracay is really gorgeous. I can’t believe that it doesn’t have an airport! I’m not much for nightlife, but I would definitely want to go there for the food. Dry mango and seafood is my cup of tea!

    1. If you don’t care much for nightlife and crowds, you might want to head to other parts of The Philippines such as Palawan and Cebu!

  46. I’d also never heard of Boracay before but you’ve sold it to me. It looks and sounds amazing! Great tips. I will definitely be checking out th spicy prawn gambas if and when I get there!

    1. It’s paradise – from the food to the lovely beaches, the vibrancy in Boracay specifically (it’s the only island in The Philippines with such a vibe), nature, the sea life, everything is so amazing about this country!

  47. Well I will take Station 3 because I like peace and quiet over crowds. I wonder how far apart the Stations are? I love that you can bargain with them, that is something I wish more places in America did. $10 for a massage! I so need to visit Boracay, like right now. The glass-bottom kayak sounds amazing. Great photos by the way.

    1. Thanks, Chris. The entire stretch of the beach is about 4.5 – 5 kms so the stations are not very far apart. You can easily walk from one to another. One of the best things about The Philippines (which is also true for most other southeast Asian countries) is how cheap it is!

  48. I loved loved my time in Boracay, but hear now it’s very different and probably overcrowded. Still, if I ever go back, I’d like to see Willy’s Rock, it looks awesome and very photogenic too! I didn’t go too nuts on the wildlife when I was there, but may do next time! A wonderful island for sure!

    1. It is quite crowded, no doubt. It’s hard to get any part of the beach to yourself with so many people around unless you go the more remote beaches like the Puka Shell Beach. Yet, I quite like the vibe. It’s very lively and happening, unlike any other islands I visited in The Philippines.

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