The Galapagos Islands for Families

Beach in the Galapagos

The Galapagos Islands for Families

Seeing the world through the eyes of your children has got to be one of the most rewarding parts of being a parent. If you are looking to take the family on the ultimate holiday of discovery and exploration while still enjoying sun, sea, sand and luxury lodges, then look no further than the Galapagos. This collection of islands off the coast of Ecuador is where some of the most important jigsaw pieces of our very being have been uncovered, thanks to Charles Darwin and the studies of flora and fauna species that have followed over the years. You can enjoy precious family time while also exposing your children to some of nature’s great triumphs, teach them about the benefits of eco-tourism and experience some of the best snorkelling on earth! If you are thinking of visiting the archipelago with your brood, read on as we take a look at what to do, where to stay and how to get there in the first place.

The Galapagos | Discover Your South America Blog
Surtrek, Beach in the Galapagos

How to get to the Galapagos Islands with kids

When planning a big trip with children, no matter how old they are, the journey to and from your chosen destination can sometimes be the most daunting part of the whole holiday. When travelling to the Galapagos Islands you have several options available to you. In terms of where to fly to in Ecuador, you can either touch down in Quito or Guayaquil on the mainland. You may decide to stay here for a day or so to recover from your flight before making the onward journey to the island themselves; or alternatively, combine your Galapagos adventure with an exciting journey through mainland Ecuador. Whatever you decide, both Quito and Guayaquil are great places to visit in their own right, particularly as they are so very different to anything you will see on the Galapagos Islands. It takes roughly half an hour to fly from Quito to Guayaquil where most flights stop before taking off again to the islands. A quick two-hour flight will then see you landing on either Baltra or San Cristobal, ready to start your adventure.

Touchdown in the Galapagos | Discover Your South America Blog
Michael R Perry, “Galapagos Islands – Baltra arrival” [CC by 2.0]

What’s the best age for taking children to the Galapagos Islands?

Clearly, when it comes to holidaying with little ones, their age is a major component in terms of working out what to do on a day-to-day basis. It is easy to tailor-make your holiday to the Galapagos Islands to ensure not only that the younger members of the group have the time of their lives, but that you do too. While many recommend that you don’t take children under the age of five or six, it is not impossible to take younger children if you so desire. Hikes can be managed if you have slings and baby carriers, and there are plenty of shallows in which you can paddle. However, in order to really get the most of the full-day cruises, snorkelling, the fascinating research centres and wildlife watching, you may benefit by waiting until the youngest member of the family is of school-going age, particularly if this is a trip you only plan to do once. At the other end of the spectrum, there’s no chance of your teenagers complaining of being bored. Teens can really throw themselves into life here, be it surfing at Punta Carola, kayaking off the coast of Santa Cruz or spending a day hiking at Sierra Negra and grabbing an impressive Instagram-worthy selfie as they go. In the Galapagos Islands, it is less a case of ‘what can we do?’ and more of a case of ‘what shall we do first?’

Family sailing in the Galapagos
Surtrek, Family sailing in the Galapagos

Family-friendly activities in the Galapagos Islands

Think of the Galapagos Islands and perhaps the first thing that will spring to mind is a cruise, peacefully sailing from one island to the next. However, with young children in mind, we recommend you opt for a land-based holiday instead. This will give you more freedom in so many ways rather than having to stick to the strict itinerary that a cruise needs to adhere to. Your days on these magical islands will be filled with new and exciting activities, all at a pace that suits you. Snorkel with Sea Lions, Turtles and fish of all shapes and sizes, while exploring the surrounding reefs. Introduce the children to animals they will instantly recognise such as the cute Galapagos Penguins, while also coming face to face with creatures they may have never even imagined, like the Marine Iguana; guaranteed to thrill children of all ages. Then, how about a spot of birdwatching? Get them to practice their ‘indoor voices’ as you take a breather and spend some time with the Blue-footed Booby, Frigate Birds and Darwin’s Finches, opening their eyes to an avian world like no other. Speaking of the great man himself, be sure to take a trip to the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz. Here you can all learn about the biodiversity of the islands as well as visiting the breeding centre for the famous Galapagos Tortoise. Where else on earth could your children meet living creatures older than their grandparents?

Galapagos with kids | Discover Your South America Blog
Aaron_M, “Two Young Galapagos Tortoises” [CC BY 2.0]

Where to stay in the Galapagos Islands with children

The Galapagos Islands are brimming with hotels that welcome families with open arms. Teens will love the Galapagos Safari Camp on Santa Cruz, where you can bed down under the stars each night; should Mum and Dad prefer a little more comfort, luxury tents are also available. If you are travelling with younger children, the Family Suite has been created with you in mind, even featuring its own playroom. Heading to San Cristobal Island? Arena Blanca Eco Hotel offers a generously sized family room, a kids pool, games room and evening entertainment so you can all let your hair down after a day of being out and about. Finally, for five-star accommodation take a look at the Royal Palm Hotel where you can escape to your own private villa in the highlands. Situated on a huge estate, you have nature walks on your doorstep and can even plant a tree during your stay, meaning you and your children are able to play an important part in the continued protection of this fragile eco-system. Wherever you choose to stay on the Galapagos Islands, you will find that the variety of accommodation is as rich and varied as the islands themselves.

Galapagos Safari Camp | Discover Your South America Blog
Galapagos Safari Camp

There is no place in the world like the Galapagos Islands, so where better to embark on an unforgettable family adventure holiday? Start planning your Galapagos trip today with Discover Your South America, personalising your itinerary by handpicking the hotels, activities and length of stay according to your preferences. You can also call Surtrek on 1 866 978 7398 (Canada and USA) or 080 8189 0438 (UK) to talk to a Galapagos expert.

If we have inspired you, take a look at our other Galapagos articles including the Wildlife Calendar to help plan your trip further. This way you can make sure you don’t miss any of the wildlife spectacles that you wish to see; be it baby Turtles, migrating birds or juvenile Sea Lions.

Leave a Comment