It’s been called the “most cosmopolitan strip of sand in the world,” and it is easy to see why – there is no shortage of places to stay, eat, shop and have a good time.

Having visited Boracay countless of times, this island is a "must visit" destination for all sun seekers and even local tourists as well. After all, how many islands in the world offer over 4 kilometers of pure powdery white sand, and on its north coast, the shore is strewn with shiny, white seashells called "puka" that are said to be the best in the world according to several international guidebooks - hence the name "Puka Beach". It's beautiful turquoise waters deepen so gradually that you may find yourself 50 meters from the shore, but the water will only be up to your waist. And though it offers activities like scuba diving, parasailing, skim boarding, sailing, snorkeling and even kayaking, the action really in on the white sands of Boracay itself.

The convenient stop of tourists is D Mall, which has more than a hundred shops and restaurants, including Mongkok Chinese dim sum restaurant, Cyma (Greek), Aria (Italian), McSandro (Filipino), Lonely Planet clothing and furniture shop, Nothing but Water Swimwear shop, Smoke Café and a host of other specialty boutiques. So successful is the mall that they are thinking of expanding some more. For new competition, there is also the Plazoleta - the latest shopping destination near station 2 which could eventually give D Mall new competition, and the original talipapa (market) near station 3. The proliferation of pirated DVDs has also reached the shores of this island paradise.

Boracay Island is also getting popular not just for its white sands but also for its spa offerings. From Nami’s Spa to Pearl of the Pacific’s Neo Spa to local favorites Bora Spa and Mandala spa along station 3, new spa resorts are coming up like the proverbial mushrooms. Although there are still the tourist favorites, which can be found along the shorelines of the three station stations, local masseurs provide a welcome respite to tired bodies after island hopping or scuba diving and snorkeling in nearby Puka Beach or Crocodile Island. For first timers, please note that freelance masseurs roam the length of the beach

So when to go? Some say its from November to June, and especially in January when nearby Kalibo’s Ati-atihan festival, the International Funboard Cup and the Paraw Regatta are simultaneously held. Longtime residents say they prefer the low season, roughly from July to October when, White beach endures onshore winds and soaking afternoon rains.

However, there is usually enough sun to keep most people happy, the sandy pedestrian walkway becomes passable, hotels lower their rates drastically and it’s possible to find a quiet part of the beach away from vendors.

If you plan on visiting during Holy Week, (Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday), please keep in mind that the island is at it's most crowded point during that short time and many places enact peak-pricing again for the week.