Geography, etc. - Boracay is one of 7,000 or so islands in the Philippines. On a map of the Philippines, Boracay is located about halfway down north to south and about halfway across east to west, just to the north of the northwest corner of a large island named Panay. Boracay is about 7 km long and 2.5 km wide at each end. The island is roughly dumbell-shaped, with the long axis oriented more-or-less north to south. (As far as I know, the USA is the only country in the world which has not gone metric. If you think in miles, a mile is about 1.6 km.)
The middle part of the island is less than a kilometer wide and has beaches on both the east and west sides. The main beach on the west side is about 4 km long, and is called White Beach. On the east side, the main beach is about 1.6 km long and is called Bulabog Beach. There are about ten or so smaller beaches sprinkled around the island, some reachable by road and some not. Boracay's Main Road runs more or less north to south along the island, making a loop on the south end. A number of side roads and paths connect the Main Road with Boracay's various beaches.
Weather, Seasonality, etc. - Boracay generally has two seasons, wet and dry. The wet season is called Habagat, and runs approximately from June through September. The dry season is called Amihan, and runs approximately from October through May. There is some variability in this, and the switch between wet and dry seasons can vary from year to year by as much as a month.
During the dry season, there is a pretty steady wind blowing from east to
west. The north and south ends of the island are a bit hilly, channeling the
wind onto Bulabog Beach and making that beach ideal for windsurfing and kiteboarding. White Beach on Boracay's western side is sheltered from the wind and the water off White Beach is often glassy-smooth. During the wet season, the wind direction reverses, with a steady wind blowing onto White Beach and with Bulabog
Beach being calm.
Partly because of the seasons and the associated wind pattern, tourism is heaviest during the dry season. Most hotels and resorts have Low and High Season price levels, and some have additional Peak Period pricing. Peak periods, periods of heaviest tourist arrivals, include the Christmas/NewYear and Chinese New
Year periods, and the Easter Season.
White Beach is Boracay's main tourism area, and is lined for pretty much its entire length with resorts, hotels, restaurants, bars, stores, souvenir shops, scuba diving centers, etc. The central part of White Beach has a footpath, called the Beachfront Path, running along the back of the beach itself and fronting the businesses. The Beachfront Path begins about 1.5 km south of the northern end of White Beach and runs for about 2 km, ending about half a kilometer north of the southern end of the beach. White Beach faces west, and spectacular tropical sunsets are often seen from it. The sun sets sometime between 5:30 and 6:30 PM, depending on the time of year, and many of Boracay's beachfront bars have a Happy Hour from 5 to 7. Three boat stations located along White Beach serve as Boracay's primary entry points during the dry season.
Bulabog Beach is well known as an international Windsurfing and Kiteboarding destination. As noted above, it normally has a steady onshore wind during Boracay's dry season. The beach is protected by a reef located a few hundred meters offshore, which is great for speed and slalom sailing. Beyond the reef, wave sailors can take advantage of the wind-driven waves. The Boracay International Fun-Board Cup, a competitive leg of the Asian Windsurfing Tour, takes place on Boracay every year. The exact dates for the competition vary from year to year, but generally fall during late January.
Diniwid Beach is located north of White Beach, and is reachable by footpath which runs around the headland separating the two beaches or by road from Boracay's Main Road. Several resorts are located at the northern end of Diniwid Beach and on the south-facing side of the headland at its northern end. Motor-tricycle transport is available between Diniwid Beach and other Boracay locations.
Fairways and Bluewaters Golf and Country Club fronts the Main Road across from the Diniwid Road, with its main entrance just to the south of that point. The 18-Hole Par 72 World-Class Golf Course was designed by Master Golfer and designer Graham V. Marsh. On its east side, the golf course fronts on Lapuz-Lapuz Beach. The club house has a huge swimming pool that overlooks the Sibuyan Sea, and offers snacks, fine food and drinks.
Baling-Hai Beach, site of a beach resort of the same name, is located just north of Diniwid beach but there is no footpath between the two. A foot/vehicle path connects Baling Hai to the Main Road.
Punta Bunga Beach, home of the Club Panoly Resort, is located just
north of Baling-Hai Beach. Again, there is no footpath between the two but there is a foot/vehicle path connecting Punta Bunga with the Main Road.
Puka Shell Beach is located along the north-facing top of Boracay Island, and is home of the Puka
Ilig-Illigan Beach is located at the northern end of Boracay's eastern side, with Lapuz-Lapuz Beach just south of it. It is sometimes possible to walk between the two beaches, but both of these beaches are difficult to reach by road. Round-the-island boat tours sometimes stop for a picnic at one or the other of these beaches.
Lagutan Beach is located just south of Bulabog Beach, but is not easily reachable from there by footpath. This beach is backed by a seawall, and often disappears at high tides. A road connects the seawall area to the Main road, and Tulubhan Beach to the south is reachable by footpath.
Tulubhan Beach is home to Paridise Bay Resort and to several private houses. A good vehicle/foot path connects Tulubhan with the Main Road and with Tambisaan Beach to the south. Some small beaches on the southeastern side of the island are reachable from this path via smaller footpaths.
Tambisaan Beach is located on Boracay's southeastern corner. This beach is several hundred meters long and is quiet and unoccupied for most of its length. During the wet season a boat station on this beach is used as Boracay's primary entry point, replacing the three boat stations on White Beach while they are shut down due to seasonal wind and wave conditions. A good vehicle/foot path connects Tambisaan with the Main Road and with Tulubhan Beach to the north.
Manoc-Manoc Beach one of two beaches on Boracay's southern end, and is largely unoccupied except for private houses.
Cagban Beach, also on Boracay's southern end, has a pier and has been used since late 2006 as Boracay's primary entry and exit point. See the Travel info page for details about this.