Start planning your family vacation in the Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos Islands are truly one of the world's most family-friendly destinations, with so many activities to choose from and wildlife to see that that they should certainly be on your list if they’re not already. Teenagers and children alike will love wandering freely around the islands encountering and photographing incredible native animals around every corner. What makes a trip to the Galapagos Islands unique is the fact that the animals, due to a lack of apex predators on the island, are not afraid of humans. This means that you and your kids will be able to get a close-up look of all your favorite species, so make sure they pack their cameras!
Best things to see and do in the Galapagos Islands with kids
It’s no surprise that The Galapagos is widely considered the top destination for animal and nature-loving families. Ever since Darwin’s first publication centered around this beautiful group of islands of the coast of South America, The Galapagos islands have been known as a Mecca for all things nature and wildlife. Most families choose to couple their trip to the Galapagos Islands with a few days exploring Ecuador, first. That way, your children benefit from seeing the best of both countries in one trip. Travelling to the Galapagos Islands requires a fair amount of time on a boat, but there are also many domestic flights between the islands if you're looking to reduce your cruise time to a minimum.
To learn all about the natural history of the islands, we recommend a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Centre for an educational yet enjoyable experience and a great introduction to evolution and natural biology for younger travelers. Once you know all about the famous species here, head off to explore Seymour or Isabela Island, where you can see the famous Galapagos Tortoises, Blue Footed Boobies and Fur Seals as they bask in the sun on the rocks. You can even go offshore on a boat ride to see dolphins, seals and even whales as they swim and play in the water surrounding the islands. Santa Fe and Santa Cruz Islands are also fantastic options for families. Here, you can go snorkeling to get up close and personal to turtles, sea lions and manta rays; an experience you and your family will never forget. If snorkeling isn’t your thing, you can choose to go kayaking instead, or stay on land on a cycling tour of the islands. Alternatively, if you head inland, older kids will love the range of adventurous activities that await them, like taking a bike ride along the beach or going climbing, trekking or zip-lining.
Best time to visit the Galapagos Islands as a family
Since the main reason for families to visit the Galapagos Islands are the animals species that can be found all over the island, travelers will be delighted to hear that there are very few migratory species here, meaning that no matter when you and your family plan your visit, you won’t be disappointed by the wildlife on view. Weather-wise, The Islands’ unique weather system is split into two season; hotter and wet or cooler and dry, with the former being the most popular of the two. The hotter season falls between the months of December and June. This period is the perfect time to visit, since rain showers are often very brief and the seas are at their calmest, meaning that the water is clear for snorkeling and diving. Whenever you decide to visit, you will have to make the decision based on what you and your family’s needs and what you want to get out of your trip.
Family vacation tips for traveling to the Galapagos Islands
With a little research and knowledge you can ensure that you are as prepared as possible for your family trip to The Galapagos Islands, here a few tips and tricks to ensure that everything runs smoothly on your holiday.
- First and foremost, it is worth bearing in mind that The Galapagos Islands are very expensive compared to other Latin American destinations. The incredible animals and scenery however, means that this price tag is completely worth it. It is worth thinking about when you travel in order to save money on accommodations, leaving you free to save up for more unforgettable activities with your family during your time here.
- ATMs are also few and far between on the island, so its worth thinking about bringing a fair bit of cash. Be careful with where you keep it though; we recommend investing in a money belt or hidden bag to ensure that cash and important documents stay safe. Crime here is very low though, so you won’t need to worry too much. The official currency is also US dollars, making for an easy conversion for Europeans and an incredibly convenient trip for US travelers.
- In some parts of the island, you’ll be required by law to hire a tour guide to look around. This isn’t a scam but a way to ensure the protection of this beautiful area and its wildlife.
- Check in with your GP before leaving to see what vaccinations and medications you will need before and during your trip. Make sure you pack sea sickness medication for children or adults who don’t quite have their sea legs steady yet, since a lot of trips can be had by boat and it would be a shame to miss out.