The island of Boracay is a compact little destination in the Philippines, with a total land area of just over 10 square kilometres (4 square miles) and a population of less than 40,000. But despite its small size, the island packs a big punch in terms of family appeal.
Boracay has won numerous awards for its resort, including ‘Best Island in the World’ in 2012 by Travel + Leisure, Best Island in the World by Conde Nast in 2014, and was readers’ choice for Best Island in the World from Conde Nast in 2022.
That most recent award is significant as the island was shut down to tourism for six months in 2018. Prior to this, Boracay had experienced rapid visitor growth, with infrastructure added at an unsustainable rate. As a result, the island started experiencing the impact of being over-touristed, including pollution and environmental destruction.
In 2022, the Philippine government declared that the closure was successful in rehabilitating the island’s environment. Businesses are more controlled, natural environments are protected, and the number of tourists per year is limited. Boracay is back, and its natural beauty, flora and fauna and extensive options for fun activities make it a real bucket list item for a family getaway.
Why Boracay is so great for families
A visit to Boracay is highly recommended whether you’re traveling with big kids or tiny tots. The safe, friendly community on the island guarantees a warm welcome, and there are plenty of options for accommodation whether your jam is top end luxury or bargain budget.
The most famous luxury resort on the island is probably Shangri-La Boracay, a secluded hideaway on a hillside overlooking the ocean. However, there are also two Henann branded hotels that also offer some incredible facilities for a top end experience.
Family stays to suit every holiday budget
If you prefer something a little more personal, there are several small boutique hotels across the island, and at the other end of the spectrum you’ll find plenty of hostels and backpacker bunkhouses for a bargain stay. A good option when visiting Boracay with kids is to rent out an apartment or villa, where you can self-cater when you wish and have a bit more personal space.
Aside from the extensive accommodation options, you won’t struggle to find food that your little ones love on the island of Boracay. Alongside typical Filipino dishes like lechon and chicken adobo, the island is well-known for its stunningly fresh seafood – think giant langoustines and fresh snapper, cooked to perfection on a charcoal barbecue – heaven.
The safety of the island extends to the calm waters of the ocean surrounding it. Warm, crystal-clear water, small, safe waves and miles of pristine white sand beaches make every day a perfect beach day. And, of course, for those adrenaline seekers out there, there’s plenty to do to fill your days with fun too.
Top things to do in Boracay with kids
The main attraction on Boracay is the beach, with the most famous being White Beach, ranked by Trip Advisor as one of the 25 best beaches in the world. Flanked by hotels and restaurants in some places, the beach stretches for 4 km along the island, so you can always find a quiet, secluded spot.
There are several other beaches to visit on the island, notably Puka Beach, Bulabog Beach and Diniwid Beach. All have their own character and charm, but for those days when chilling on the beach just won’t cut it, here are some of the other top things to do on Boracay with kids.
Our top family activity picks
- Slides n’splash water park: Filled with inflatables and slides, this water park is just 15 minutes from White Beach and guarantees fun and giggles. It’s suitable even for novice swimmers as there are life vests for both adults and kids.
- Glass bottomed boat tour: The snorkelling in Boracay is out of this world, but if you’re not quite ready for the solo experience, a glass bottomed boat tour is a great way to get a window into the underwater world without getting wet.
- Watersports: From kite surfing and stand up paddleboarding to banana boats and kayaking, there’s always a new way to enjoy the ocean on Boracay.
- Island hopping: Boracay is a wonderful jumping off point to explore some of the neighbouring islands. Take an exhilarating speedboat ride or a more sedate paraw to places like Magic Island, Crocodile Island and Crystal Cove to discover more of this beautiful region.
- Bat Cave: On the northeastern end of Boracay Island is Bat Cave. You’ll need a guide to get there and back safely, as a short jungle trek is in order to reach the cave. Once there, you’ll discover a deep cave filled with fruit bats and some smaller species resting during the day.
- Learn to dive: Scuba diving taster sessions are offered throughout the island, and it’s one of the safest and easiest places to experience scuba diving for the first time. If the full scuba experience is not for you, check out the options for diving helmet experiences, where you can walk along the seabed with no risk.
Essential advice for family holidays in Boracay
Boracay is a fabulous choice at any time of the year, but for the best experience it’s wise to avoid the June to October period when typhoons are more common. The peak season is November to April, but if you’re hunting a bargain, go in the shoulder month of May when the peak rush has calmed and the rains haven’t arrived yet.
Be warned that Boracay can experience ‘brownouts’ fairly frequently. These power cuts are common, so don’t rely on local power to keep you connected. If you’re worried about being in touch with work or family, get a SIM card from a local company and use your hot spot to keep your other devices connected.
It’s also good to keep in mind that the ATMs often run out of money later in the day. Most small vendors still demand cash, so it’s worth visiting early in the morning and taking out more than you expect to need so you don’t get caught short.
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