Activities for Kids in the Galapagos Islands
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 fact is that this region has more than enough to keep children of all ages fascinated and happy. Consider some of these once-in-a-lifetime activities for kids in the Galapagos Islands.
Swimming With the Sea Turtles
97% of the land surface of the Galapagos Islands are designated as a national park, and there are strict rules that visitors must follow. Adults and children alike are not allowed to come within 2 meters of any wildlife, but the animals don’t always follow that rule. The sea turtles will swim right past your kids in the Galapagos Islands, and baby sea lions may even come up to play.
Snorkeling and Diving Expeditions
If your kids are more comfortable in the water, consider a snorkeling or diving expedition. The area is home to hundreds of endemic species that you cannot see elsewhere, so you’re all bound to see something new and wonderful. Snorkeling opportunities are available throughout the region, and you may even see some of the famous Galapagos penguins at the Bolivar Channel, Bartolome, Floreana or at Chinese Hat Islet.
Kids in the Galapagos Islands – Playing on the Beach
Most kids in the Galapagos Islands love playing in the sand and surf, and there’s something magical about building a castle while a penguin watches you. In addition to scheduling some excursions in the water, be sure to plan for some down time just relaxing on the beautiful beach.
The Charles Darwin Research Center
This center is home to all types of wildlife, including tortoises and iguanas. Staff members offer a wealth of knowledge, and you can learn a great deal about the animals on the island. It’s a good idea to start the tour here so that you can go out and recognize the wonderful animals in the wild.
Kayak Through Tortuga Bay
Tortuga Bay is one of the highlights of the islands. You can rent surfboards or take the family out in kayaks to enjoy the marine life without getting too wet. In addition to turtles and iguanas, you might see rays, baby sharks, herons even sea turtle nests.
Your son or daughter will love going through a volcanic crater. The Sierra Negra is the second-largest crater in the world with a diameter of 6 miles. You can rent horses or take a hike around the crater, and the views are breathtaking. Otherwise, a walk along the various formations of Bartolome Island, becomes a stroll along Volcanology 101- a true open book of volcanic features!
The Lava Tunnels
These volcanic islands are also home to underwater stone tunnels that were once lava tubes. After you go through a maze of tunnels, you’ll have the chance to travel across one of the tunnels above ground. This region is also known for its marvelous snorkeling, so be sure to bring some swimming gear along with you.
Marine Iguanas at Playa De Los Perros
The marine iguanas will surely be at the top of the list for any child who loves reptiles. The only species known to live and feed in the sea, the iguanas frequently come out to nap on the lava rocks. They sneeze out the salt from ingested seawater, which your children may find entertaining if they’re able to see it.
Post Office Bay
Whaling ships routinely visited the island in the last century, and they set up a barrel as a type of post office. The barrel is still there, and you can even drop in a postcard for future travelers. Check through for addressed cards to see if there are any in your area, and you can make a delivery for someone and carry on an 18th-century tradition.
Close to the Moon
Astronaut Buzz Aldren described Bartolome Island as the closest thing to a moonscape he had ever found on Earth. There aren’t too many animals here, but the views are amazing, and you’ll have the chance to climb up an extinct volcano. Don’t worry about the steep climb; stairs have been carved into the side of the mountain to make the trek a little easier.
Baby Sea Lions
Children love seeing baby animals, and Espanola Island is basically a sea lion nursery center. The mother sea lions leave their young here while they scout for food in the water. While remaining at an appropriate distance, you and your kids can watch the babies wiggle around and play with their peers while they wait for the mothers to return.
Ideally, you should wait until your children are old enough to reliably follow directions before taking them on a trip to the Galapagos Islands. Seasoned travelers also remind parents that the kids in the Galapagos Islands should have reasonable impulse control because of the strict no-touching rule regarding the wildlife. There’s a good deal of walking on the island, and it’s a natural habitat, so it’s not very conducive to strollers. However, there’s more than enough entertainment here to delight children of all ages, and you’ll come home with family memories that will last a lifetime.