Boracay is one of the best resort beaches in the world. White stunning sand beaches and clear blue waters are what makes it compete with other world-class beaches in the South Pacific, Caribbean and neighboring Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.
But let’s face it, there’s no absolute paradise on Earth. There are always scams, annoyances and other inconveniences revelers and adventurers often stumble upon. Let’s list them down so everyone will be aware and find a way to get past them.
- Sand arts photo. These pieces of artwork contains the distinctive Boracay text, with current date and additional designs made for posterity of visitors. While an unsuspecting tourist takes a pose, it is possible to be approached by locals claiming to be the ones carving out these sand arts and asking for money. They’re not harmful but can be a bit annoying if you decide to give them a snub.
- Prostitution. Foreign tourists, especially men walking alone at night could get solicited for sex by gays or women. They will try to convince you to take their offer. Otherwise they’ll try to hang out with you while you’re outdoors.
- Tricycle rides. Before taking any ride to take you to your intended destination, make sure you know how much you’ll be paying or you’ll end up getting charged expensive fares. If in doubt, ask locals the typical fare.
- Touts. Locals selling “genuine pearls,” shirts or any piece of souvenir items can be annoying to those not used to them. Simply wave no, and they might just go away.
- Bat cave. While it’s an exotic adventure to try, a slight slip could spell disaster in your trip. Once you fall from climbing the rocks in the cave, emergency assistance available is likely inadequate. Also, it is required to get a tour guide which costs you money.
- Hiring equipment. Be firm to agree with the rental fees for equipment such as life vest and snorkeling, diving, etc. with the boatman if this is inclusive or paid separately. While you feel shortchanged when he says you’ll have to pay for the boat ride or other extras, the amount is likely worth it especially if you enjoy the experience.
- Meeting strangers. It is possible to meet “someone” waiting to meet you at a bar, or a lonely table. Before you think this is your destiny to fall in love in the making, it’s more likely that it’s all about the money. Be aware that some “girls” are actually boys.
- Porters asking for tips. Even if you look healthy enough to manage to carry your small luggage, people still insist on doing it for you. It’s not about the Filipino hospitality; it’s about how can they make money. Even if you insist you can handle things, they might still ask you for money.
- Drinks. You have to be aware every drink you take, never accept a drink offered by a stranger, unless you trust this person very much or leave your drink on the table (like when you’re going to the toilet). Lots of Boracay tales have involved people losing their minds and properties after sip or gulf of drinks the night before.
If you’re fine with the list above, Boracay is for you. But if you despise huge crowds, annoying touts, or overcharging folks, this is not unique only to Boracay. You may lower your expectations and maybe this helps.