Just the other day I heard Brad Pitt talking about kitesurfing in Boracay. He was raving about it and that reminded me of just how great and really how untraveled the Philippines really are. Not only are they some of the most beautiful islands int eh world, they’re also some of the cheapest. So once you’re on them Â you can settle back and enjoy instead of freak out like you would say on Bora Bora where a salad will put you back $50. I looked up the best time to kitesurf and what do you know? It’s now, so no more excuses.
So hereâ€™s what you have to do nextâ€” book a cheap flight to Manila and then book a hop to Boracay for the best kite surfing in the world. Itâ€™s referred to as the boarding capital of Asia. In fact, the Boracay International Funboard Cup (usually held in January) is one of the biggest windsurfing events inÂ SoutheastÂ Asia and was recently picked by CNN as one of the ‘suggested weekend destinations in the world’. Any beginner can kite-surf after just a short lesson and with the right equipment.
The good news is, itâ€™s cheap.
Prices are around US$20-$60 for rental per day depending on the brand. Most kite-surfing schools in Boracay rent out equipment and some lessons already come with free use of the schoolâ€™s wipika.
Another good thing is that kite-surfing, like scuba diving, is regulated, so if youâ€™ve never wind surfed before youâ€™ll need to take a short course in Boracay, which usually lasts three days and costs anywhere from US$100-$350. This keeps accidents way down because its controlled.
Some of the best kite-surfing and windsurfing schools are:
Bulabog BeachÂ kite-surfing
Bulabog Beach on the islandâ€™s east side is a great place to start. Because of its windy location, Bulabog Beach is known as the ‘best place to enjoy kite-surfing in Asia’. Peak season runs from November to April, with onshore winds varying from 12 to 30 knots. At Bulabog Beach, you can find lots of reputable kite-surfing schools too.
Isla Kiteboarding School: Isla Kite-boarding School is one of the most well-known schools. Whether you’re a beginner or already on the advanced level, thereâ€™s a course for you and you will be assisted by IKO-certified.
Habagat Kiteboarding Centre: The Habagat Kiteboarding Centre is also IKO-certified to provide kite-surfing lessons and assistance to both beginners and advanced kite surfers. www.kiteboracay.com.
Pinas Kite Boarding: Another company that offers lessons is Pinas Kite Boarding, which is actually a kite-boarding shop that also happens to offer Level 1, 2, and 3 courses for kite-surfing. The instructors at Pinas Kite Boarding are also IKO-certified.Â www.news.pinaskiteboarding.com.
Other kite-surfing areas in Boracay
Aside from Bulabog Beach, you can also enjoy kite surfing elsewhere on Boracay Island. White Beach has its own kite-surfing center In fact, theÂ White Beach kitesurfing facility is the only one in Asia that is recognized by the British Kitesurfing Association (BKSA) and the International Kiteboarding Association (IKO). The kite-surfing center is near dive boats, just a two-minute walk from the hotels of White Beach. www.kiteboracay.com.
Hangin Kiteboarding: Boracayâ€™s first ever kite-surf shop and school. There are currently two Hangin centers on the island – Hangin North and Hangin Cabrinha. Both are able to provide the top kite-surfing products and brands. Hangin KiteboardingÂ also offers visits to Siko Island and lessons range from short, day courses and two-day courses to a full-course IKO Kiteboarder, levels 1 and 2. If you are already familiar with the ins and outs of kitesurfing, you can also take up a refresher course while supervised by a professional instructor, which is a great way to get an idea of the current, the sea, the coastline. Itâ€™s always good, no matter what your level, to take a refresher course whenever youâ€™re arriving on a new island.
ven though Boracay began life as a backpacker haven, itâ€™s hard to see that today with the plethora of high-end resorts that occupy seemingly every inch of White Beach. Most of the budget places have been pushed farther back inland where property prices are not so at a premium, but a two-minute walk to the sand means a massive saving on room costs.
Sleepinâ€™ in Boracay
Good news is it can be as expensive or as cheap as you want it to be. For the budget traveller, there are inns and guesthouses with beds under US$10 per night.
Veliâ€™s Inn: Known as ‘The Paradise Within Paradise’ this inn lies right along the beachâ€™s shoreline and the view makes you wish you never had to leave. Room rates are also a blessing hereâ€”ranging fromÂ US$40-US$60. No wonder so many people donâ€™t leave.
Turtle Inn Resort Boracay: A standard room in the Turtle Inn features a queen-size bed and all the amenities. Some rooms have balconies, too. Room rates are from US$57 and go as high as US$74Â a night.
Melindaâ€™s Garden: Melindaâ€™s Garden is surrounded by plants and trees. Room rates per night start at US$30 and offers more of a hidden refuge feel to it. This is a great place for those of you craving quiet.
Serendipity Boracay: The peaceful Serendipity House is set in a beautiful garden close to the beach. The houseâ€™s rooms are also well-spaced out to give you enough privacy, and are with the usual amenities. Room rates start at $32
Blue Mango Inn: This little island house is a nice place for lying around after a fun and exhausting swim in the ocean. Everything you would wish for in good accommodation is in the Inn, and for a reasonable price. Room rates in the Blue Mango start from US$38 and go as high as US$165.
Banana Saging Guesthouse: The rooms in Banana Saing are all made of wood and bamboo, giving guests a taste of what itâ€™s really like to live in the tropics. Fan Room go as low as US$25 per night during high season, and you can get air conditioned rooms for as low as US$37 even during high season.
Coffeeâ€™s Guesthouse: This guesthouse offers rooms for roughly US$35 per night. Guests can also arrange extended stays at negotiable rates. The rooms are clean and air-conditioned.
Ocean Breeze Inn: The inn is within a 10-minute walk of nightlife central and just three minutes from White Beach. It has clean cottages big enough for two people, and the staff is friendly. The hotel also serves good coffee and tea everyday for free, and has all the needed amenities. Rooms from US$50.
Tan’s Guest House: This is one of the cheapest lodging houses in Boracay, with rates starting at just US$20. The rooms are Japanese-style, cozy, and comfortable, plus attendants are also friendly and helpful.
So you see there’s not excuse not to think about kitesurfing in Boracayâ€”we’ve got tons of cheap flights to Manila and you could never ask for better priced lodging, equipment and lessons. Think about it a one day lift ticket in Aspen in $120! And look at all you can get for this. No wonder so many people never come back- they just open guest houses on the island.