Galapagos family vacations make for an amazing, once-in-a lifetime experience for adults, kids and teenagers alike. With its mix of wildlife, undersea adventures, fresh daily insights and activities to suit all fitness levels and ages, Galapagos offers the perfect chance to disconnect from tech and reconnect with each other and the wonders of the natural world.
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These trips are purely for inspiration. Every Galapagos family vacation we create at Think Galapagos is unique and tailored to match your interests, timescale and budget.
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Travel in a time of uncertainty…
Now travel has resumed, planning your Galapagos vacation should be a source of excitement, but making sense of all the travel regulations can be a headache. We follow developments in Ecuador, Peru and Galapagos incredibly closely so we have all the latest information on hand.
Having all the latest information and expert teams on the ground helps us take the uncertainty out of your planning and give you the confidence to book, secure in the knowledge we have you covered! If you want to find out the latest advice on travel to Ecuador, Galapagos and Peru please contact us
Most families travelling to Galapagos with children will be limited to school vacation times. One of our favourite times for Galapagos family vacations would be to coincide with the Easter vacations or Spring Break. March and April are great months in the Galapagos.
The summer is also a good time but we would recommend trying to schedule the trip as early as you can in the summer vacations in July or early August, as by the end of the month in August the seas start to get choppier reaching their peak in September. For families travelling in July and early August we would usually recommend we look for a cruise with a western itinerary as an added bonus at this time of tear is that you get to see whales and dolphins when navigating and west is the best for this. You also get to see all the other wonderful Galapagos wildlife too!
Christmas / New Year is also a great time for family vacations in Galapagos that coincides with school vacations, however you need to plan this a LONG time in advance as these dates get booked up a long time in advance and are the most popular 2 week period in Galapagos.
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The best way to start planning your Galapagos family vacation is to give us a call or contact us by email. We are always genuinely delighted to answer any questions and help get you started planning your trip. But in case it is helpful, here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about travel with families to the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador.
Most definitely! Kids delight in the close-up encounters with the wildlife in Galapagos. From watching 100 year old giant tortoises amble by to snorkelling with playful sea lions, to kayaking alongside a pod of pilot whales the experiences to be had here for kids are really exceptional. Galapagos really is a laboratory of evolution, and kids can really get the basics of evolution and nature without a text book in sight! Galapagos also works really well as a multigenerational experience as there are activities that suit all fitness levels, and it really does allow the old and young to come together to experience new things.
A very resounding yes to this one! Having travelled with teens to Galapagos on numerous occasions and talking to other parents who have travelled with us to Galapagos with their teenage children, the amazing awakening when teens disconnect from tech and have direct contact with wildlife and natural wonders is quite something. There is also plenty to keep them physically active during the day… which brings us onto the next question!
In a word … yes! In general days on board a Galapagos cruise are fairly structured to ensure you get the most out of your time and are in the right place at the right time to get the very best wildlife viewing. In general it is quite an early start with breakfast around 7am followed by your first land visit. No trials are longer than around 2.5kms with the chance to walk at a very steady pace to enjoy all the wildlife you will be seeing along the way. Often this is followed by a water based activity. This can be swimming, snorkelling or kayaking depending on the specific visitor site.
You then return to the yacht for lunch and usually have some free time to relax after lunch. Then you often have a second chance for a water based activity in the afternoon followed by your afternoon land visit. Each day is always different depending on the islands and visitor sites you are visiting, but generally the days follow this sort of pattern.
If you travel during school vacation times, there is a good chance there will be other families on board the yacht too. However, this isn’t ever guaranteed. If you want to ensure you definitely have other kids on board, the best option is to go on one of the dedicated family departures that some of the yachts we work with offer to coincide with the school vacation season.
We would say, based on our experience that Galapagos vacations are really best for children from around seven years upwards. You can travel with younger children, and we have guests that do, and have experience of doing it ourselves with our children when they were very young. Sometimes for logistical reasons as part of a bigger multigenerational family vacation, families do need to travel with very young children and it works fine and can be a real joy.
However for most families planning a trip to Galapagos our advice would be to wait until kids are a bit older to ensure they really get the most out of their experience. As well as children having a better level of understanding for what they are seeing, they are also physically bigger and more resilient to ensure they get the most out of experiences like snorkelling and walking on the trails on the islands which can often be in strong sun.
No. Our answer to this, as for anyone planning a Galapagos vacation asking for advice about island hopping (that is staying in hotels on inhabited islands and taking day trips out) vs a live aboard cruise would be that a Galapagos cruise is a much better option. Although some people talk about the benefits of island hopping vs a cruise as having more relaxed starts, time on a beach etc, we feel passionately in order to see and experience Galapagos wildlife at its best nothing comes close to a Galapagos cruise. A Galapagos cruise takes you to the most remote parts of the archipelago. Cruises take you away from the areas of human inhabitation and give you a chance to truly experience the pristine wilderness of Galapagos, 97% of which remains completely untouched by humans and largely as it was when Charles Darwin visited.
The Galapagos cruises we work with are perfect for family groups, for up to a maximum of guests, providing the perfect balance of intimacy and independence. You simply don’t get that on island hopping trips which are based out of small towns in the inhabited islands. On island hopping trips to visit uninhabited islands much of your day is spent actually travelling to get there, almost always on small boats which move quite a lot in the water and you don’t get anything like as much time actually enjoying the places you are visiting. Compare this to a cruise when you navigate at night and wake up each morning in a different place so your daytime hours are spent enjoying the wildlife and the remarkable places you are visiting.
Mainland Ecuador itself has a huge number of things that you can tag on at the start or the end of your Galapagos family vacation. Quito itself, Ecuador’s capital city nestled high in the Andes is definitely worth at least one day and an overnight stay. Quito is a beautiful city and gives a great insight into Andean life and culture. All our Quito guides are parents too and so understand what is needed to make a visit fun and informative.
The Andes themselves provide lots of great activities, from horse-back riding, to mountain biking and hiking in beautiful scenery and with some interesting culture too. The cloud forest, which is just 2 hours drive from Quito makes another great add on for families. Not too much travel (which for some kids is important), and offers a fantastic chance to experience pristine tropical forest.
The cloud forest also offers fun activities such as zip wiring and river tubing both of which are great for teenagers. The Amazon is another great add on with some spectacular wildlife viewing and the chance to do some kayaking. We would usually suggest the Amazon is better for older children as it does involve quite a bit of travel to get there, and conditions with humidity can be challenging for small children.
This downloadable pre-trip information document will help you plan for your Galapagos wildlife vacation as well as answering some key questions you may have. Despite being quite long it is by no means exhaustive, so please do get in touch with any questions you may have and we would be delighted to help.
Read more about Galapagos family vacations in our expert blog posts.