When traveling to the Galapagos Islands with children, you may wonder if the wildlife and scenery will be enough to keep young boys and girls interested. The truth is, this small and incredibly special region of our planet has more than enough to keep children of nearly all ages fascinated and happy, thanks in large part to a wide array of activities that will allow them to interact with several different aspects of the archipelago. So, if you’re considering a family vacation in this mesmerizing corner of the world, our recommendation is to stop hesitating and just go for it!
Check out the list we’ve crafted for you, with once-in-a-lifetime activities for kids in the Galapagos Islands below!
Available on both expedition vessels and at expedition hotels
If your kids are comfortable swimming around in the water, snorkeling will be the perfect fit for them! The Galapagos Islands are home to hundreds of fascinating species, such as whitetip reef sharks, sea lions, rays, green sea turtles, Galapagos penguins, and so on. That being said, you can rest assured that you’ll see something exciting and wonderful every single day! Snorkeling opportunities are available throughout the archipelago. Also, when families visit the National Park and their kids choose to go snorkeling, parents can have greater peace of mind knowing they’ll be supervised by an expert naturalist guide. Some cruises and hotels may include the usage of snorkeling equipment in their fee, so make sure you ask your tour operator before booking!
Available on both expedition vessels and at expedition hotels
Who can resist the charm of a beautiful beach bathed in turquoise waters? During your time in the Galapagos Islands, you’ll be able to find red, white, and black sand beaches that will not only offer you and your kids the chance to take a refreshing dip, but will also offer you even more chances to experience the local wildlife. After all, there’s something magical about building a sandcastle while a nearby penguin watches you! If you opt for a cruise-based option, every day will offer you the possibility to discover new and exciting beaches. On the other hand, if you choose a land-based option, you’ll get access to amazing public beaches like Tortuga Bay on Santa Cruz Island, Punta Carola on San Cristobal Island, or Puerto Villamil Beach on Isabela Island.
Did you know?
The Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel is the only beachfront hotel in Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz Island). If you book your stay here, you’ll have 24/7 access to a gorgeous beach where you can often find curious, and completely harmless, whitetip reef sharks!
Available on select expedition vessels and at expedition hotels
Long day? Say no more! Kayaking will offer your kids the chance to enjoy the wonderful coasts of the Galapagos Islands in a relaxed and tranquil way. Watch your kids slowly glide across crystal clear waters, alongside dramatic volcanic landscapes, and playful wildlife as they enjoy the refreshing sea breeze! Some expedition vessels (like the Santa Cruz II, Yacht La Pinta, and Yacht Isabela II) offer guided kayaking activities at no additional cost!
Available on expedition cruises and at select hotels
The Galapagos Islands are a true paradise for young explorers, because every island is like a little world of its own! Even Buzz Aldrin, one of the first astronauts to set foot on the moon, acknowledged the fact that some islands in Galapagos resemble the surface of our bright and rocky neighbor. While hiking in the archipelago, your kids will also be able to learn more about how volcanic islands are formed while making their way across lava fields, tuff cones, craters, and sunken calderas. If you are traveling aboard a cruise, you’ll hike on a different island every day; if you’re planning to stay at a hotel, make sure you choose one that offers daily excursions to nearby islands!
Available on select expedition vessels
During this activity, your kids will get to take a peek at the rich marine life of the Galapagos Islands from the comfort of a glass-bottom boat. All they need to do is sit tight and stay alert – you never know when a green sea turtle is going to greet you from below the surface! During this ride, your kids will be accompanied by a naturalist guide that will make sure the experience is both fun and educational.
When it comes to activities for kids on a Galapagos cruise, what do we do each day?
Our vessels in Galapagos have two different excursions per each half of the day. These excursions will keep the kids mentally and physically entertained via: hiking, kayaking, snorkeling, paddleboard or – in the case of those that prefer not to take a dip – coastal explorations (aboard an inflatable dinghy) and admiring the underwater wonders via our glass-bottom boat rides! Depending on how many kids we have onboard, we also offer our Pirates Aboard Program on all of our vessels.
Our Santa Cruz II Expedition Vessel even has an Explorer Room that’s equipped with a flat screen TV, stocked with blu-ray movies and even board games too! And, shh! Don’t tell the kids just yet, but there’s an unlimited supply of cookies in the Expedition Lounge & Library over by the refreshments/snack area!
What about night activities for kids on a Galapagos cruise?
Trust us when we say that, after all of the things the kids have seen and done throughout their excursions and adventures during, we have not a single drop of doubt that they’ll immediately hit the hay at the end of the day. You won’t be needing to worry about keeping them entertained as the evening rolls in, which just might be the perfect moment for the adults to take a nice, relaxing dip in the hot tubs aboard our vessels or head to bar lounge for a delicious nightcap.
On a closing note: Ecuador in general offers a rich cultural learning experience for the little ones, which means you might want to consider adding the wonderful city of Quito (the first UNESCO World Heritage Site) as part of your travels, either before or after you Galapagos trip! These offer great learning experiences with the rich cultural history of this gorgeous Andean nation, adding an even richer dimension to your whole vacation.
Destination expert tip: Only a few expedition cruises in the Galapagos Islands offer this activity. Make sure yours does!
The Galapagos Islands also offer you and your family a chance to enjoy the oh-so-sweet and intriguing island life! Expedition vessels tend to make a stop at Santa Cruz Island for an entire day so that their guests can explore the following:
Charles Darwin Research Station
This center is home to all types of wildlife, including tortoises and land iguanas, providing you with the chance to a great deal about the animals on the island as well as the ongoing conservation efforts.
Explore these natural formations with your family to get even deeper insight on the volcanic nature of the archipelago. After walking through these amazing natural caves, your kids will definitely feel like true adventurers!
Giant Tortoises in the wild
These peaceful and lush places are natural sanctuaries for giant tortoises to eat, relax (inside refreshing puddles of mud), or just take a long stroll. Here, your kids will be able to follow their lumbering footsteps through lush and verdant fields.
If you choose a land-based option for your Galapagos family vacation, you’ll get to explore the island life even more! Check out this handy blog on activities you can do on your own from one of the best hotels on Santa Cruz Island!
So, are the Galapagos Islands a kid-friendly destination?
Ultimately, yes! There are not only plenty of activities for kids to enjoy but a paradise of tame and beautiful iconic Galapagos species that they will have the opportunity to discover and get close to through all the fore-mentioned activities! Apart from this, initiatives aboard select expedition vessels, like Metropolitan Touring’s , makes traveling with your little ones even more enjoyable!
If you’re interested in finding out more about traveling with children in the Galapagos, be sure to read our 5 important things you need to know about exploring the Galapagos with children.
We also recommend that, before traveling to the Galapagos Islands, you talk to your kids about the Galapagos National Park Rules and how these help preserve the beauty and wonders of the archipelago. All in all, there’s more than enough entertainment here to delight children of all ages! The Galapagos Islands will allow you to create memories that will last a lifetime!