If you’re coming to Boracay, you will most likely spend some time at White Beach. If it’s your first time, you kinda have to do it: need to see what the hype is all about! If you’ve been before, the place is more polarizing. Some people love it. Some people would rather not go there.
White Beach is divided north to south into three areas, simply named Station 1, Station 2 and Station 3. Station 1 has the best sand, the best beach, and therefore the most expensive resorts. Station 2 is mid-level for budget and beach, but nothing beats it on the island for bars, music, things to do… and crowds. Station 3 is least popular because the beach isn’t as great, but you’ll likely find the most affordable accommodations there. Below is a very basic map of the island from Wikitravel:
What We Liked
What are my impressions of white beach? Well, the sand itself is gorgeous. Believe the hype: it was the finest sand I’d ever seen. And it is indeed white, sometimes painfully so. Don’t forget your sunglasses!
The water is calm, warm and fairly shallow even when the tide is in. You can wade pretty far out and you really have to if you want to actually swim. There is almost nothing to hinder your progress in the water, at least near Station 1 and 2: no seaweed, rocks, algae, starfish. You can walk anywhere in the water without fear of stepping on something. However, that means there’s also very little to see underwater. Leave your goggles and snorkel gear at home: this is most definitely a swimming and relaxing beach.
And the sunsets here are gorgeous.
Other Stuff Near the Beach
Food and drink abound on White Beach. In some cases, it’s touristy overpriced crap, or at least things that looked so much like touristy overpriced crap that we didn’t even go near them. In other cases, it’s touristy, slightly less overpriced, fairly good deals.
One of the latter places is Willy’s Beach Hotel. They’re located right in front of Willy’s Rock between Station 1 and 2. We did not stay there, but we did hang out for an afternoon. They had a fantastic deal on lounge chairs and happy hour. For I believe 350 PHP, you got a lounge chair and a towel, and 300 of it was consumable for food and drink (Disclaimer: those numbers might not be accurate). Drinks were 2 for 1 at happy hour which, during our stay, was 9 AM – 9 PM, crazy! Prices range from 80-150 or something for a cocktail. The 2 for 1 deal means you have to get the same type of thing, unfortunately, but it was okay. Food prices were on the high side, but we found the Filipino dishes pretty tasty and well done, and also you’re paying for the view.
Another cool thing was D’Talipapa. This is a wet market at Station 2. The idea is that you pick out whatever seafood you want, buy it, and then take it to one of the many stalls around that offer cooking services. The seafood is market priced and it’s up to you to bargain and choose, but the variety is astounding and I thought the prices were pretty fair. Cooking services range in price too, depending on what the seafood is, but they’re usually by the kilo and cost an average of 120 PHP. You definitely want to look around and find the best bargain. More seafood means a better bargain and this is definitely ideal for big groups. We enjoyed it so much that we did it twice.
What We Didn’t Like
All this comes with a price. Crowds are intense at White Beach, particularly in the afternoon. Station 1, 2 or 3… it doesn’t really matter where you go. Resorts line the beach, and at Station 2 and 3, shops and restaurants abound as well.
D’Mall, the shopping central at Station 2, is always crowded. It was impossible to avoid, because all the hotel shuttles pick up there, and it was the central area to catch a tricycle too. We often wanted to grab snacks and beer from the convenience store and the one here definitely has the best selection. But yeah, it was a little much at times. Tip: we found that shopping for souvenirs was far better at D’Talipapa.
During the day, vendors roam the beach hawking various products: hats, selfie sticks, sunglasses, toys, trinkets. We found that it didn’t matter if you were already sporting a product; they would approach anyway, in case you wanted a second one maybe? They also didn’t care if you refused the guy selling the exact same thing two feet away. It got a bit tiring after a while.
At night, the beach turns into party central. The restaurants turn into clubs or karaoke bars. Performers play live music up and down the beach.
So, Should You Go?
White Beach can be an enjoyable place depending on what you are looking for. If you want to party and enjoy that kind of vibe, this place is for you! You could spend all day and night here and never need to leave. Food, drinks, people watching, and a lovely beach.. all of that is within easy reach.
If, however, you are looking for a more quiet, relaxing time, I cannot honestly recommend White Beach. You should check it out once, and definitely go to D’Talipapa for a meal or two. Otherwise, you’ll want to either come to White Beach very early in the day, before the crowds swarm. Or come and check it out, but stay only for a little while. My next post will have some alternatives for you!