The Galapagos are teeming with approachable wildlife and thrilling to kids of all ages. Imagine taking your kids to watch salt-sneezing marine iguanas or snorkel with playful baby seals. Swim next to hundreds of tropical fish, nonthreatening sharks and tropical penguins, or walk through volcano calderas and lava fields that make you feel like you are taking a trip to the moon.
Scheduling a Galapagos family tour is a little like giving a child keys to a magical kingdom, where strange animals get up close and personal because they are not afraid of humans. It’s a bonding and awe-inspiring experience that makes even the most techie of kids put down their electronics to connect with the earth and its ecosystem.
Galapagos Activities with Kids
Kids find swimming and snorkeling fascinating due to the dreamlike underwater world filled with interactive sea lions, ocean turtles, penguins, manta rays, friendly sharks, marine lizards and hundreds of tropical fish. If swimming underwater isn’t their favorite thing to do, then a glass bottom panga (dinghy) ride will still let you view the aquatic paradise. Kayaking, stand up paddle boarding (SUP) or surfing are also options for the more adventurous children, and will allow them to experience the dynamic water world while cruising through the shimmering waters.
Walking, hiking and mountain biking along trails are great options for children who enjoy discovering wildlife treasures in the natural habitat. Wander along the Galapagos's otherworldly volcanic craters and breathtaking lava trails. Climb through mazes of lava tubes and lava tunnels before jumping into the dazzling waterways hidden amongst the trails.
On slow days, let your kids explore the black, white or green sand of the extraordinary beaches, and run through the glittering waters and mangroves while interacting with the animals and marine life. Or, visit some of the unique local shops and eat tasty delicacies in the vibrant street markets (no fast food here–sorry, folks).
Ecosystem and Safe Tourism
Planning a Galapagos family tour will help your children become worldly and wise by experiencing other traditions and help them to develop an appreciation for protecting our natural resources.
One thing to note is that the Galapagos Islands are designated as a National Park, and there are many strict rules enforced for the protection of the environment (many tour operators require a minimum age of 7). All visitors must be accompanied by a naturalist guide in protected areas, remain on marked trails and respect signs at all times, as well as maintain a distance of at least six feet (two meters) from wildlife.
Make sure you realize that there are a lot of places to walk on the islands, and very few are conducive to strollers. However, there are certainly enough activities for children of all ages. And don’t forget to bring loads of sunscreen, hats and insect repellent for everyone.
Travel to Galapagos with Kids
When traveling to the Galapagos, make sure you plan your trip well in advance because many of the tour and hotels fill up very quickly. Also, consider at least 7-10 days for your trip. This will allow for two nights in Quito, which breaks up the multiple trips it will take to reach your destination. There are no international flights the Galapagos, and you must fly through Quito or Guayaquil in Ecuador to catch a flight to the islands.
After flying to the Galapagos, expect another lengthy land or boat ride to the hotels or cruises. Make sure to arrive in the Quito or Guayaquil airport 2-3 hours before your flight to the Galapagos because you will have to stand in line to purchase a transit card for each person ($20 cash). Another unexpected fee is the National Park Fee ($100 per person, $50 children under 12).
A few other travel requirements for your trip are round-trip tickets for proof of exit off the island, reservations for a hotel or a cruise, a passport that is valid for 6 months longer than your stay, and travel health insurance for your whole family.
Neotropic Expeditions Land-based Tours
We craft one-of-a-kind journeys that were made for you. Neotropic will help you plan your perfect Galapagos Family Tour, and will hand-pick each activity according to your desires, including biking, kayaking, hiking, food, culture, natural history or a mixture of all of these.
Neotropic offers the most comprehensive selection of adventure travel options in the Galapagos Islands, and offers the very best nature-friendly activities with top-of-the-line equipment. We don’t cut corners on safety, and we offer you peace of mind through our liability insurance coverage. Plus, we are the direct managers of the hotel where you stay. Most importantly, we simply love what we do and want to make your stay the experience of your life.