We recently checked a big destination off my bucket list with a visit to Boracay, Philippines. We loved getting to explore the island, and especially ESPECIALLY the ultra-fine sand of White Beach on the west side of the island. It’s so amazingly soft, I just wanted to bring it all home with us (and actually, after checking our swimsuits, it looks like we did!).
Step 1: Where to stay Boracay’s west-facing White Beach is broken up into 3 stations running north to south: Station 1 in the north and Station 3 in the south can be a bit quieter, while Station 2 is where most of the shops and restaurants are located. We stayed at COAST Boracay between Station 2 and 3 and found it to be the perfect mix of “in the middle of everything” without being too noisy or crazy. COAST was perfect for us because of its amazing staff and fun family-friendly vibe.
From the moment you meet the staff at the airport until you say goodbye as they’re dropping you off, every person here treats you with genuine warmth and kindness. Case in point, I stepped on a sea urchin in the water and immediately had the undivided attention of my two new friends, Ben and Franco, for an hour. They helped me soak my foot, kept me company on the beach, helped me move into a shadier spot, got me water…everything! I should step on sea urchins more often! But aside from that, the amazing staff here always greeted us with smiles, asked us how we were Thank doing and treated Lulu like a princess.
The entire property at COAST has a fun, beachy decor with great modern finishes. I basically want to take this hotel and recreate it in our home someday. It was that good. Adding to the fun vibe, they have a popcorn and soft serve ice cream machine near the pool, so you get yummy snacks all day long! Even the restaurant joins in the fun with personalized pancakes for every guest on the first morning! AND they dropped off a bedtime snack to our room every night. We had truffles, ubi, and my personal favorite: a mini smore! They also have kids activities every afternoon. Liesel and I got to make a puppet together (I made a puppet, Liesel colored and ate popcorn)!
Step 2: Hit the beach The entire island of Boracay was recently closed for seven months to compete a re-nourishment program, focusing on cleaning the beaches and the ocean. Boracay is now open and as beautiful as ever! However, you should be aware that there are are strict rules about beach chairs and umbrellas, as well as littering and smoking.
We loved walking the beach and there are numerous spots to put down a beach towel along the way, but shade under a palm tree can be limited.
COAST solved this problem for its guests with beach mats, plenty of beach towels and pillows under shady palm trees to make you feel as if you’re in your own private cabana. They bring you water, popcorn, and even sand toys! As if that wasn’t enough, you get to spend your days under the shade of a palm tree in the softest, and now cleanest, sand in the world, with water so blue it literally sparkles in front of you until the sun sinks into the ocean.
Cha Cha’s overlooks to beach toward the ocean and features an extensive, reasonably priced menu. We loved the traditional Filipino offerings as well as the tacos.. and of course… the thin crust pizzas! Happy hour here is a must, with great “buy one take one” deals on their slushees of the day. Your best bet is to get here for happy hour and sit on the patio during sunset. You’ll get to enjoy the purpley pink afterglow in the sky while you finish up your margarita and nachos!
Step 4: Protect the environment I need to take a moment to vent here. One of the biggest eye-openers of our time in Southeast Asia is the lack of proper waste management. There are limited recycling opportunities, garbage EVERYWHERE and piles of burning burning trash that you can see from airplanes as you land in each destination. All that considered, it’s not surprising that Boracay (and other beautiful destinations) needed to close completely for a re-nourishment program. It’s admirable that the government chose to forgo the easy tourism dollars in order to invest in the future of this beautiful destination!
That said, we were so excited to visit White Beach and see RECYCLING CONTAINERS along the beach! There’s also limited plastic on White Beach and a super strict “no littering” policy to protect the efforts of the months-long cleanup.
My favorite touch in sustainability efforts is the reusable bamboo straws that COAST gives all their guests on arrival! The straws are such a cool gift because not only are they reusable, but COAST even includes a little cleaning brush so you can really take it everywhere with you! We are happy to take ours with us as we continue our lap around the world!
White Beach has been at the top of my list for years and it was even better in person. I have to admit that I was nervous after hearing it referred to as a “cesspool” before the cleanup, but we can attest that this is one beach you don’t want to miss!
Tell us, are you interested in visiting the Philippines?
Note: Lodging was provided by COAST Boracay, but all opinions are always my own!