This Unlikely, Tiny Island Was Just Voted Best in the World

White Beach Boracay | © Valerie Caulin
White Beach Boracay | © Valerie Caulin
Photo of Valerie Caulin
20 October 2017

With more than 7000 islands, the Philippine archipelago needs no introduction when it comes to stunning coastlines. Among the many beautiful destinations this Southeast Asian country is home to, there is one island that you should visit at least once. Boracay in Western Visayas has been voted 2017’s Best Island in the World by Condé Nast Traveler, beating locations in Greece and even other contenders in Asia.

Puka Beach | © Valerie Caulin

What makes Boracay the best island?

For a small island of less than four square miles, Boracay is blessed with 12 beaches, although the main draw of Boracay is its two-and-a-half-mile main beach. Known as White Beach, it is divided into three Stations – Stations 1, 2, and 3 – and is a perfect location to spread your beach towel, play frisbee, or to take the kids to make sand castles. The talcum-like sand is one of a kind.

On the other side of the island, running parallel to White Beach, is Bulabog Beach, where you can enjoy a variety of water sports, from banana boat rides to kitesurfing. If you’re looking for a truly special place from which to see the sunrise, this is the beach to go to.

Bulabog Beach | © Valerie Caulin

Then there is Puka Beach, named after the presence of puka shells, for those who want to escape the crowds of White Beach. If you want to go off the beaten path in Boracay, head to Ilig Iligan Beach in upper north of Boracay.

Boracay never runs out of activities to take part in

There’s scuba diving, helmet diving, snorkeling, and island hopping. Go parasailing or paddle boarding, brave cliff jumping, or simply start your day with a good run along the beach. Sail away with a paraw, a local sailboat. And if you’re feeling stressed, enjoy a good massage under the coconut trees or at the comfort of your hotel room.

Paraw and Sunset | © Ray Caulin

Then there’s the food. You’ll find an array of international cuisine here, so asides from local delicacies, enjoy Italian, Spanish and Swiss fare. Don’t miss out on D*Talipapa’s Chori burger (made from chorizo, a local sausage) fruit shakes, and market-to-table seafood.

It’s the vibe that also makes Boracay different. Though it is undeniably a party island, Boracay is still a kid-friendly destination with its safe beach and amenities. You’ll often find families with little children visiting the beaches as the party animals sleep. Facilities like hotels also cater to different preferences; you’ll find everything from luxury establishments to smaller cosy spots.

Kid-friendly Boracay | © Valerie Caulin

Condé Nast Traveler’s annual Reader’s Choice Awards, a survey of best islands in the world outside the US, is just one of the many accolades Boracay has recieved in recent times. Over 300,000 travelers submitted more than 100,000 comments and millions of personal experiences, and the island came out on top, with its sister islands Cebu and Palawan coming in second and third. Beat that!

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