Retire on $1420 USD per Month on Boracay Island in the Philippines

This is my Retire on $1420 USD per Month on Boracay Island in the Philippines report. 

October 21, 2023. My name is Dan. I have lived in or visited 67 countries. I have over 195 reports on teaching people how to retire early for cheap overseas and how to slowly travel the world for half of what you may have thought possible.

In this report, I will share our estimated basic recurring costs of living on what I am now calling the most beautiful beach in the world to retire. Of course, you may think another beach is more beautiful and we can still be friends.

You can even send me an email explaining why your favorite beach is better and I may even go there and declare your beach better if I agree with you. Just remember, I am really cheap, so if your beach is more expensive, that matters too.

You may have seen my recent video interview with Michael and Bianca who recently moved from Boracay Island to another city in the Philippines. They were able to live on Boracay for about $500 USD per month less than I estimate below. Here is that video:

Here is another guest star we met while we were in Boracay.  

Here is a third guest star from Boracay!

Some people prefer to just visit Boracay Island instead of living there. Boracay is more expensive than smaller towns in the Philippines, plus it is too touristy for some people. But most tourists hang out at Station 1 and Station 2, so stay away from that area if you are looking for a calmer experience. For that reason, we prefer station 3.

Google Map

The Philippines have become increasingly popular over the last 10 years because it is so easy to stay here long term under their visa laws. Luckily it is a big country and there are many places you can live depending if you want to have more foreigners around you or more locals, or if you like a nice mix of everyone.

We have lived in more than 20 cities in the Philippines and have videos and reports about our favorites. We travel by land as we explore the world because you can’t see anything from a mile high in the sky.

How to Get to Boracay Island by Land

We traveled by bus and ferry from Iloilo City to Boracay Island in the Philippines.

From this bus terminal in Iloilo City, we jumped on a bus headed north towards Boracay Island. The bus took us here in Caticlan City. We jumped out of the bus and took a tricycle taxi to the Pier where the ferry takes you to Boracay.

There are actually two Piers, but the tricycle driver will know which ferry is running that day based on weather conditions, etc. Buy your ticket at the Pier and take the ferry to Boracay. Once on Boracay Island, there will be electric tricycles that will take you to your accommodations for about 150 pesos ($2.72 USD).

Upon arrival in Boracay Island, it was immediately obvious to us why everyone raves about Boracay Island in the Philippines. Some things can only be appreciated by seeing them with your own eyes. But you are invited to watch my above video of Boracay.

Now, I will share our favorite markets, restaurants, and things to do in Boracay Island. Then I will give you a line item estimate of the basic costs of living here on a tight budget. Okay, here we go.

Our Favorite Markets, Restaurants, Services on Boracay

Boracay Island Markets

Boracay Public Market: This is where we would buy fruits, vegetables, and rice while on Boracay Island. They also have meat and fish. These prices are generally lower than the supermarkets listed below.

Heidiland Deli: Imported food, wine, cheeses, meats, and specialty foods from Europe.

This is an expensive smaller imported grocery store. We would shop here for imported wines and cheese and that sort of thing.

City Mall Boracay: This is a typical mall in the Philippines with retail stores, restaurants, and a supermarket. The food is generally more expensive here and the fruits and vegetables are not as fresh as the public market. We go here for things we can’t find in the public market.

Robinsons Supermarket Station B Mall: This is another typical mall in the Philippines with a Robinsons supermarket. The food is generally more expensive here and the fruits and vegetables are not as fresh as the public market. We go here for things we can’t find in the public market.

Orange Market: We found the best deal on tofu here and it has a longer shelf life.

Collins Coffee: We found our favorite coffee beans here and they have a grinder for you.

Boracay Island Restaurants

Local-ish (Pesos and USD)

Kolai Mangyan: 9-9pm, Local food, meal under 100p/ garlic kangkong/spinach 50p, Bulasing is the best soup for drunks on the island.

Foreign-ish (Pesos and USD)

Nonie’s Restaurant (Veg and Non-veg): Loved this place. Tempeh salad 350 ($6.36), vegan chorizo bowl 390 ($7.09).

Bistro des Amis: Loved breakfast here. French toast 245 ($4.45), Vege omelet 350 ($6.36).

Giuseppe Boracay: Loved the margarita pizza here 390 ($7.09).

Little Taj (Indian Food): Veg and non-veg: Palak Panner 450 pesos ($8.18) USD, vegetable korma 400 ($7.27), beer 100 ($1.81).

Congas Bar and Restaurant (Thai Veg and Non-Veg): Red Thai Tofu 320 ($5.81), Thai Basil Chicken 390 ($7.09).

Mr.D La Bettola Boracay: Margarita pizza 300 ($5.45), Caprese 180 ($3.27).

Meze Wrap: Hummus pita 270 ($4.90), Chicken + turmeric 320 ($5.81).

Falafel Boracay: 6 Falafel 160 ($2.90), 12 pcs 260 ($4.72).

Kombu Japanese Bistro: Expensive authentic Japanese restaurant.

Nagisa Japanese Restaurant: Shoyu Ramen Pork 315 ($5.72), fried vege 150 ($2.72).


Other Favorite Services on Boracay Island

Tiger Foot Spa & Massage: 700php ($12.72) for 1-hour foot massage

A-KON LAUNDRY: 300php ($5.45) per load, delivery 100php ($1.81).

Boracay Island Nightlife

Nigi Nigi Nu Noos Station 2 Boracay: Expat hangout with an excellent live rock band that plays 70s and 80s hits. The band starts around 8 pm. Full of a bunch of tourists also.

Levantin Boracay: This is a more exclusive ex-pat hangout on the backside of the island (but the prices are still fair). The long-term ex-pats meet here after about 4 p.m. and drink, laugh, and play bocce ball. Local beers are 80 pesos ($1.45).

Muchos Boracay: Go here to watch the sunset and have a delicious margarita for happy hour 3-6 P.M. The food is nice also.

Surf Beach Bar Boracay: Great for happy hour sunset. Best place for sunset Cocktail 2 for 1.

OM Boracay: This place has house, trance, and other electronic music and dance and people go late into the night.

Party Area: If none of the above places are what you are looking for just walk along bars and nightclubs in the station 2 to station 3 area and listen for the music that matches your mood.

Boracay Island Hoping Tour

This guided island hopping tour by Simple Travel & Leisure can be bought for about 1800 pesos ($33 USD) per person and visits Puka Beach, Alligator Island snorkeling reserve, and Crystal Cove Island, and includes lunch. It is the boat tour we show in our above video of Boracay.

Boracay Walking Tour

If you are like me you probably like to walk around a place to get a feel for what it might be like living there. This walk would take me about an hour and a half if I strolled slowly and took in all the sights and sounds.

Google Map

Cost of Living in Boracay Island in the Philippines

Here is our estimated basic recurring costs of living converted into US dollars if the two of us moved to Boracay Island on a tight budget. This estimate does not include everything that it would cost you to live here since we don’t know your lifestyle and needs.

But I will give you a link to other optional costs that you can add that are more specific to your personal lifestyle and needs.

Rents: You will see furnished apartments on Airbnb starting from about from about $723 to $1254 USD per month including utilities and wifi for properties offering the monthly rates.

But if you moved here and were willing to sign a long-term lease, you should be able to beat that price since the landlord would have no vacancy. I estimate around $400 to $600 per month for a more local-style apartment but you would have to pay your own utilities.

A man named Gump that we interviewed was paying $400 per month for his studio apartment and another couple we interviewed has similar costs. Look for the Boracay interviews on this page.

So, for this estimate, I will use $500 per month for rent for a long-term rental which does not include utilities but does include a furnished 1 bedroom apartment rather than just a studio. Make sure to read how I find perfect apartments around the world.

Utilities: Boracay Island is at sea level, so, we would need to run our air conditioner to sleep for most of the year. Our electricity will run about $60 USD per month and gas and water would be another $20 per month so about $80 USD per month for our estimated utilities. I will add $20 extra because someone who wants to live in Boracay may want more airconditioning also.

Groceries: Based on our time here and the money we spent on groceries, we estimate about $400 USD per month on groceries for the two of us. We would shop mostly in the public market where the vegetables, fruits, rice, and meats are cheaper. We would cook and eat mostly at home.

Restaurants: If we went out to eat twice per week, once for date night and once for lunch somewhere, plus some street food, we would spend around $65 per week or $260 per month in restaurants for the two of us. We would eat in mom-and-pop-style restaurants when possible but also in the expensive tourist restaurants once a week or so.

Cell Phone Data: The cost to recharge our prepaid service is about $10 per month. My Android phone will act as a hotspot so we can both be on the internet at the same time when we are out of the house together.

Laundry: We paid about $10 per week for drop off and pick up wash, dry, and fold laundry, so $40 per month for laundry.

Water: R/O water in twenty-liter bottle jugs delivered would be about 50 pesos per month per jug or about $20 USD per month.

Internet: Our Internet would be about $40 per month.

Transportation: Boracay Island is very walkable so we would not need to buy a scooter or car. We would mostly walk but take electric tricycle taxis a few times per week when it is raining and bring groceries home. We estimate around $40 per month on transportation.

Alcohol (Optional): San Miguel Pilsen Grande beers are about 160 PHP or $2.90 USD each in stores. The Grande is about 2 beers so that makes beers about $1.45 each in stores. But you will see regular-sized San Miguel Pilsen beers in restaurants for about 100 PHP or $1.81 USD each. The sunsets are beautiful but you can’t drink on the beach so we would spend more in bars than in other places in the Philippines. So, we would spend about $160 per month on alcohol for the two of us.

Entertainment (Optional): We would budget about $200 per month for entertainment for the two of us.

Retire Early $1420 USD Per Month on Boracay Island Philippines

Boracay Island

Expense (USD)









Cell Data




R/O Water






Recurring Total




Alcohol (Optional)


Optional Total




Entertainment (Optional)


Optional Total


This is our estimated cost of living if the two of us move to Boracay Island in the Philippines on a tight budget. To fully understand what it would cost you to live here, you must do an exploratory visit and put your feet on the ground.

To get a better understanding of things you should add to our estimated cost of living watch this video: 9 Reasons You Can’t Retire on $1000 Month Overseas.

You should also add anything to the above table that you spend money on in your home country that is not listed in the above table. Presumably, you find those things necessary in life. To do that, visit the Numbeo Boracay Island webpage and add anything not mentioned in the table.

Never move anywhere until you have visited first personally to verify the living costs for your lifestyle and needs. I am not guaranteeing these prices. These are just my notes and estimates from the time of my visit and this post. Your costs will likely be drastically different depending on your lifestyle and the time since this post.

More typical ex-pat living costs in the Philippines range from about $1400 to $2400 per month. But people spending that much also have higher incomes or pensions. They often report spending more on entertainment, eating out, and alcohol. Many also have more expensive cars, houses, or apartments.

But many of you will likely be unable to retire on so little here. I give example reasons why in this report.

This next report explains how to avoid coming home early with your tail between your legs.

Also, if you are going to try to retire cheap offshore, make sure to read my report, the Two Biggest Risks of Retiring Early for Cheap Offshore, which explains why you should have emergency funds available for unexpectedly large expenses.

Where We Stayed

We stayed here in Boracay Island for only 14 nights at $31.00 per night. That is not enough time to negotiate the kind of deals we can when we stay for a month or longer.

But if you decide to live or retire here for a year or more, and if you will be attempting to live within the budget we are estimating in this report. You are going to have to put your feet on the ground and look for more local less expensive long-term accommodations. Here is our process for finding places as we slowly travel: How to find great apartments around the world.

Boracay Island Livability Factors and Retirement Desirability Score

Here are the factors I think about when I consider a place for early retirement potential. After I discuss each factor, I will assign an overall retirement desirability score to Boracay Island. I am writing the following based on my personal experience here.

Walkability: High Desirability. Boracay Island is really walkable area where we could live and almost everything is within walking distance. So, we would walk mostly and jump on tricycle taxis if we were in a hurry or to bring groceries home. We might buy bicycles but we would not need a car or scooter.

Internet: Medium Desirability. It is possible to get about 25 MBPS up and down in Boracay Island for about $40 USD per month. We used our smartphones as hot spots when the electricity was down which only happened twice for about an hour each while we were in town.

Food: Medium. Boracay Island has an amazing assortment of international foods for an island this size. But they are kind of expensive. We didn’t find many local food choices but hopefully, we would find more if we moved here.

Transportation: High. We saw electric tricycle taxis running all over the island. They cost 100-150 pesos ($1.80 to $2.72 ) for a private one to go anywhere on the island, But you could jump on public shared ones for about 30 pesos ($0.50 USD) per person.

Weather: High. The average daily temperatures range very little from nighttime lows of 77F, 25C in January to evening lows of 79F, 26C in May. The average daily highs range very little from 84F, 29C in January to average daily highs of 90F, 32C in May. The most rain falls from June through December.

Things to Do: There is dining, fishing, scuba, swimming, boating, yoga, partying, live music, etc. Just normal life. If you get bored, grab a ferry to any of the thousands of other islands in the Philippines. Many ferries are large enough to transport your motorcycle or your car as you travel around the Philippines.

Healthcare: Low. When we interviewed Michael and Bianco who recently lived in Boracay for about 8 months, they were not generally happy with the healthcare facilities. They recommend traveling to Iloilo City across on the ferry on the mainland for better healthcare. More generally, the best health care in the Philippines is in Cebu City and Metro Manila. The top hospital on Cebu Island in Cebu City is called Chong Hua Hospital.

Expats: High. Although this was a small island, we found many energetic and positive expats living in Boracay. Normally, we recommend visiting expat webpages on Facebook for more information about what it is like living here. But we met many just walking around the island and they were very friendly. But, make sure to make friends with both locals and ex-pats for a richer experience. I explain why in my report, The Top 10 Mistakes International Retirees Make.

Real Estate: I never recommend buying real estate until you have lived somewhere for at least 2 to 3 years. I have a report explaining Why Retired Expats Should not Buy Real Estate Overseas for the first 2 to 3 years of living somewhere new overseas. Make sure to read that before deciding to buy real estate overseas. In the Philippines, you can’t own land directly in your name. Some foreigners get a long-term lease on land before they build, others take the title in a corporate name, and others get married and put the property in their Filipino wife or husband’s name. But do hire a local lawyer if you decide to invest in real estate. Do not use a lawyer referred to you by someone with a conflict of interest with you, such as a new local spouse, a real estate broker, or your spouse’s family.

Visa: High. For your exploratory visit to the Philippines, citizens of many countries can obtain a 30-day free visa stamp upon arrival at the international airports. Plus, you can extend your tourist visa for a total of 36 months in the Philippines without bothering with a retirement visa. The monthly visa extensions cost about $40 USD per month. After the 36 months, you just leave the Philippines and go to another country and then fly back to start the whole 36-month process over again. For this reason, almost nobody I have met in the Philippines bothers to get a retirement visa.

Boracay Island Overall Retirement Desirability Score: High. If you would like to live on a smaller tropical island with one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and you love being surrounded by beautiful water and an assortment of great restaurants, this place is for you. There is also a great group of expats here that can help give you a soft landing.

Thanks for reviewing my report, Retire on $1420 USD per Month on Boracay Island in the Philippines.

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