So you have made it to your hotel and are most likely tired of travel. Worse, you have arrived in a place with a different time zone. And it is humid. What a great time to drink lots of water and get a good meal for some energy, right?
But now is the time that your jet lag starts to kick in. Being a constant traveller, I do my best to stay awake as long as possible so I can get adjusted to the time zone in Boracay.
- Tricycles are the most common type of transportation in Boracay
Getting around Boracay
You have mainly one option for transportation: trikes. They are on the main road 24 hours a day, and fare varies with distance travelled.
Do not ask drivers how much; Check out the Boracay Sun (the island’s newspaper available for free at most establishments) to know the price you should pay to any given destination.
In some ways, these trike drivers remind me of some Manila taxi drivers. When I was first here, I would just pay them what they asked for; but the locals got mad at me, telling me that I was making it hard on them by inflating the prices. I understood what they meant and only paid the suggested rates after that.
When travelling around, your small bills and coins come in handy, since most trike drivers do not have change for large bills. Do not get stuck; have small denominations all the time.
If you want to tour the island, you can opt to rent a van for 350-500 pesos per hour (minimum of two hours). Vans with and without air-conditioning are both available.
Another transportation option is motor scooter. These are also rentable on hourly or daily basis.
Keeping your valuables safe
Passport, credit card, ID- leave them in the safe in your room or at the front desk of your accommodation. You do not need them when you go swimming or shopping. I carry just enough money in my pocket for whatever activity I am going to do, and an extra thousand just in case.
Change money at banks if you have time; otherwise, go to White Beach where money changers abound.
I have heard too many stories of people arriving here on Boracay and forgetting or losing their purses or wallets on the first night. This cannot be stressed enough: Do not carry all your valuables! Losing things is not a good way to start your Boracay experience. These incidents happen, but Boracay is a very safe place; tourist police are friendly and local police will help you out anytime.
Shopping and Activities
When shopping for yourself or buying gifts, take a few days to canvass prices. Once you know the general cost of things, try your bartering skill to get items much cheaper. If you want to shop for pearls, you can find sellers along the beach walk.
Just make sure to test them to check if they’re real; be patient in finding a good deal.
When doing water sports and island hopping, one thing to remember is that such activities use the same barter system. Scuba diving generally costs the same from different providers, but do look for an instructor you like.
When it comes to restaurants and bars, check out the menu to see if their prices include VAT and service charges; some food establishments add 22% to the price. When you get your bill, check if a service charge is included; if not, leaving a moderate tip would not hurt.
One last tip: Like my father always told me—if it sounds too good to be true, it is.