So you’re heading to Boracay? Lucky you! Boracay is one of the top destinations in the Philippines for a reason. Picture-perfect sand beaches, unbelievably blue water and frequent flights from Manila to Boracay make this island a popular choice for international and domestic tourists.
Boracay has distinct tourist areas, each with its own character. When deciding where to stay in Boracay, it’s good to understand what every area has to offer.
The best place to stay in Boracay is different for everyone, depending on your budget and travel style. It may be a small island but it fits a multitude of accommodation options, from party hostels to five-star resorts and boutique hotels.
TIP: Not completely sure yet whether you want to visit Boracay or El Nido? In that case, we recommend to first check out our post on the pros and cons of staying in Boracay vs El Nido.
How do the Boracay hotel areas (stations) work?
Before we spill the tea on the best places to stay in Boracay, it’s important to understand how the island is divided into areas.
The west side of the island is where you’ll find the famous White Beach. This is the beach that made Boracay famous in the first place and rightly so — it’s glorious.
White Beach is divided into three areas, called stations: Station 1, 2 and 3. Why such an odd name? People used to orient themselves on the beach according to the three boat stations that were here in the past. The boat docks are no more but the name remained.
Even though it’s the same beach, each station on White Beach has a different vibe and even different price points (read on to find out which Boracay station is the best for you).
Then, on the east side of the island, you’ve got Bulabong Beach. This is where all the watersports action is. It only takes 15 minutes to cross from Bulabong Beach to White Beach.
Station 1 — best for luxury hotels
Arguably, Station 1 claims the most beautiful stretch of White Beach. It’s also home to picturesque Willy’s Rock, one of the most iconic spots on the island.
With prime location come premium prices. Station 1 is where you’ll find many of Boracay’s luxury resorts. If you’re looking for a true resort experience, Henann Crystal Sands Resort has a gorgeous poolside area, a swim-in bar and an infinity pool. For a more low-key option, check out Jony’s Beach Resort, a cosy boutique hotel with only 21 rooms.
Station 1 is generally quieter and less busy than Station 2, which makes it a great place for honeymooners and families with kids. The buzzing nightlife in Station 2 is just far enough so it doesn’t disturb you, but still easily accessible if you want to go partying.
Station 2 — best for nightlife
If you pick Station 2, you’ll be right in the middle of the action. This is the busiest part of Boracay with D’mall, the shopping centre, and tons of shops and restaurants.
Station 2 is also the epicentre of Boracay nightlife, where you’ll find bars with live music and proper nightclubs. The beach here can get very busy around sunset when people hit the beach bars for drinks. Is that a pro or a con? You decide!
Station 2 has a real mix of hotels: from luxury through mid-range to budget options. If you’re looking for budget accommodation, Frendz Resort & Hostel Boracay is a hostel with dorms and private rooms, and an outdoor pool (it’s technically located between Stations 1 & 2).
The 4-star Feliz Hotel Boracay has stunning European-style interiors but you’ll need a more generous budget for that.
Station 3 — best for budget accommodation
Are you backpacking the Philippines? Station 3 is the most budget-friendly part of White Beach. If you want those iconic views at a lower price tag, this is the place.
It’s also the quietest, especially the more south you go (aka the further away you move from Station 2). But there are still a few bars and some lovely beachfront restaurants to enjoy.
Surfside Boracay Resort is a budget beachfront resort — yes, budget resorts are a thing! It even has a sauna, hot tub and spa offering various body treatments and massages.
Bulabog Beach — best for watersports and the young crowd
The vibes on Bulabog Beach are totally different than on the other side of Boracay.
For starters, it’s windy. Bulabog Beach is the best watersports spot on the island, with great windsurfing and kitesurfing. But it’s not the best swimming beach due to algae (don’t worry, White Beach is just 10min away).
Top tip: The best time for kitesurfing and windsurfing is from November until April, when it’s most windy.
The active atmosphere and budget accommodation attract a different type of crowd, mainly backpackers and younger travellers. Stay at Levantin Boracay Resort for a fantastic beachfront location that won’t hurt your wallet. The Lazy Dog Bed & Breakfast is a Boracay classic, with friendly owners and a social atmosphere — dorms and private rooms available.
So, where should you stay in Boracay?
If you’re on a budget or want to meet other travellers, you’ll find good options in Station 2, Station 1 and Bulabog Beach. The choice depends on whether you like to be right in the centre of the action or prefer more chill vibes.
And don’t forget that Boracay is seriously small. If you stay in Bulabog Beach, you’re just 10min away from White Beach, and vice versa. You can still enjoy the best of what Boracay has to offer from any location.