Just an hour-long flight from the hustle and bustle of Manila is Boracay, a tropical paradise known for its stunning beaches, tantalizing sunsets, and enchanting nightlife. The island boasts of fine and powdery white sand in every shoreline, and when those teal ocean waves crash over it, it’s pure magic. The beauty of the island is the envy of every other coast in the world.
Until a couple of years ago, the island was known as a party town. So much so that it was left completely trashed by careless tourists and teenagers on summer vacation who didn’t care what they threw into the island’s waters. But the government rehabilitated the area to restore order, cleanliness, and its authentic tropical beauty. Today, it’s nothing but white sand, salty ocean breeze, and the hot sun shining down at you. Its rehabilitated state is a reminder for tourists to care for the island as if it were their own.
Hotels are the obvious choice if you have a penchant for luxury and five-star service, especially since the island is known for its outstanding resorts and amenities therein. But if you want something a little more private and don’t necessarily need to be waited on hand and foot, an Airbnb would be perfect.
In this Airbnb guide to Boracay:
- Is Airbnb legal in Boracay?
- Where should I stay in Boracay Island?
- Best Airbnbs in Boracay
- Is Airbnb cheaper than hotels in Boracay?
Is Airbnb legal in Boracay?
The province’s government follows strict rules when it comes to accommodations within the island. For one thing, no guest is allowed to set foot in Boracay unless they show proof of where they’re staying, and their hotel or resort needs to be accredited by the local government. This is a way to ensure that the island doesn’t become overcrowded again, and it’s a terrific quality control strategy for the island’s roster of accommodations.
While Airbnb isn’t exactly illegal, you still have to make sure your host’s place is accredited by the government. Many Airbnbs will have that information readily available in the listing’s description, but you can always ask your host straight up to be sure.
Where should I stay in Boracay Island?
What area you should stay in really just depends on your appetite for adventure and privacy. The most popular beach is White Beach, which sits along the west coast of the island. This beach is divided into three “mini-villages”, also known as stations.
Station 1 (1) is where your high-end, luxurious resorts are, so it’s a no-brainer for those who want a taste of life on the fast lane. Station 2 (2) is where your mid-range hotels and hostels can be found. It’s also where the nightlife gets a bit crazy, so if you’re up for a wild night, this might be the station for you. Station 3 (3) is a quieter area with hostels and rooms perfect for those on a tighter budget. The nightlife and services might not be as insane, but beach accessibility is still top-notch.
If you’d rather go somewhere a bit more low-key than White Beach, you can always travel a bit further north to Yapak (4), where some of the most expensive resorts are. If you want to be on higher ground to take the island’s sunset views one step further, you can opt for a place in Mt. Luho (5).
- Quiet and peaceful
- A lot of luxurious accommodations to choose from
- Many beachfront hotels
- Not exactly budget-friendly
- You have to travel to the neighboring station to party
This part of White Beach is always less crowded than the two stations closest to the jetty port. In this area, there are many chic and luxurious resorts, from The Lind to upscale villas you only see in movies.
This area straddles Diniwid Beach, a less popular beach that is just as beautiful as the main strip. So if you don’t feel like sharing your sunset, you can always head to Diniwid instead.
It’s definitely not a party scene, but if you’re after rest, relaxation, and gorgeous views of the coast, there’s no doubt that this is the spot for you.
- So many stores you can shop at
- The best area for partying
- Many seafood restaurants
- Budget-friendly accommodations
- Can get a bit loud, so it might not be best for children
- Very crowded since many tourists prefer this station
If you’re on vacation to party your worries away, then Station 2 will be it for you. It’s the best area to go on your pub crawl at night, and you can rest assured you’ll wake up to the beautiful blues and whites of the sea from your beachfront hotel view.
Station 2 is known as the “center” of the island. It even boasts of the only open-air mall in the island, fondly referred to as D’Mall. This is also the shopping haven of the island, where you can find the best souvenirs and eat the yummiest delicacies and seafood specialties from an array of restaurants.
- Affordable accommodations
- Very close to the port of entry
- Peaceful and quiet
- Lack of nightlife
- Have to travel to the next station for shopping
If you don’t really care for opulent displays or reckless partying but still want to enjoy the most popular beach, Station 3 might do the trick. It’s the quietest station by the main beach, so you can enjoy all of the island’s glory without the crowds and excessive price tags.
Station 3 is known for it’s more budget-friendly rates, especially for accommodations. Here is where you can find the best hostels for you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the simple life.
- Private and less crowded
- More laidback vibe
- Home to the most luxurious hotels and resorts
- Expensive accommodations
- Farthest point of the island from the port
- You’ll have to travel quite far to get to the main strip
If you’re willing to pay a (huge!) premium to pamper and treat yourself to a couple of nights at a five-star resort, Yapak is the spot for you. It’s only a 20-minute car ride from the main “stations,” but there’s a world of difference between these areas.
Yapak is more calm and serene, and definitely more laidback. The beaches are a lot emptier by comparison because the only ones around are those check into luxury villas and lavish hotels.
One of the most popular beaches in Yapak is Puka Beach, which sits at the northern tip of the island. It has the island’s signature white sand and clear, glistening waters, except you have a greater chance of having it all to yourself day in and day out.
- Magnificent views from higher ground
- Has hiking trails for you to squeeze in a workout
- Not as crowded as beachy areas
- May need to trek up and down to get to your accommodations
- No beachfront accommodations
- Takes some time to get to the main beaches
Mt. Luho is the highest point on the island. It’s an underrated yet exquisite little nook in the island that’s often overlooked by beach lovers. But if you’re a fitness junkie or have a sporty side, you’ll love Mt. Luho for it’s hiking trails and trekking excursions. The best part? You’ll always be rewarded with a breathtaking view of Bulabog Beach when you finish your trail (or even just look out your window!).
This spot also makes for a great side trip if you’ve spent a few days on the beach and want to spice things up by going to higher ground for a day. It’s a great way to see stunning views without having to book an exorbitant penthouse suite.
Best Airbnbs in Boracay
Here’s a quick guide for tourists who may need extra help looking for a nice place to book. The island has a plethora of vacation rentals to choose from, whether it’s an entire villa for a family or a quiet loft for two.
Best Airbnb budget hostel in Boracay
Beachfront and Budget-friendly
Being on a tight budget doesn’t mean you can’t be front and center of all the beach action. This dormitory-type hostel sits comfortably right in front of the beach at Station 2. It has full air conditioning, and if you don’t mind sharing bathrooms with other people, it’s a dream hostel. It’s also walking distance from D’Mall and all the best souvenir shops the island has to offer.
The hostel has a young, party vibe with bean bags and open-air balconies right in front of the beach. It’s a fantastic choice if you want to meet new people and clink a few glasses with them in common areas.
Best Airbnb transient house
One minute from the beach, spacious room with independent entrance
This house is run by a sweet Italian lady who came to the island years ago and made it her home. It feels super cozy and a lot less intimidating to come home to this house than a swanky hotel.
You get a very spacious bedroom, a private bathroom, and a large balcony. There’s also a kitchenette and mini-bar for your perusal. While there’s no sea view when you look out from your windowsill, Diniwid Beach is a stone’s throw away from the porch.
Best Airbnb apartment
Fully furnished apartments in the quiet, peaceful hilltop
Experience a calmer, more serene side of the island without traveling far from the white sand beaches. Bianca’s Garden is located in one of the hilltops near Station 3, so you can see gorgeous views of Bulabog Beach (it’s absolutely exquisite if you’re more of a sunrise person!).
The entire apartment is good for two guests, but you’ll have a lot of space to come by. The apartment has two floors and is fully furnished, from the spacious bedroom to the modern, colorful living area, to the fully equipped kitchen.
It’s an awesome choice for couples on their honeymoon who want to experience white sand and crystal clear waters but still have some private time.
Best Airbnb luxury villa
White sand beach all to yourself
If you want a taste of the sweet life and have extra cash saved up and ready to burn, treat yourself to a few nights at Nezima Beach House. It’s nestled at the northern tip of Station 1, so there are a lot fewer guests closeby and can have the white sand beach to yourself.
The house has two casitas and two master bedrooms that can be rented on their own, but you can also opt to have the entire villa all to yourself if you’re vacationing with friends and family. It also has a gorgeous private pool, luxe and sleek bathrooms, and a complete kitchen and dining area. The best part is that it’s 5-10 minutes away from the beach!
Is Airbnb cheaper than hotels in Boracay?
In many cases, hotels and resorts may be more expensive than Airbnbs. But that’s only because this island is home to some of the most luxurious and costly resorts for those with expensive taste, such as the Shangri-La or Discovery Shores hotels, which go hundreds of dollars per night at the very least.
Sometimes, luxury villas with immense private pools on Airbnb can cost twice as much as five-star hotels, so scouting for affordable listings is really key if you want to save a few bucks through Airbnb. But overall, Airbnbs are a good way to enjoy the leisure and luxury the island has to offer without breaking the bank.
Boracay is an island you can’t sleep on if you’re taking a trip to the Philippines. Its gorgeous beaches are to die for, and its amazing white sand can’t be beaten. Whether you want to experience pink-sky sunsets while partying in Station 2 or having the shores to yourself in serene yet luxurious Yapak, there’s always an awesome Airbnb for you.
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