As a thoughtful parent, the idea of traveling to the Galapagos Islands with kids rightfully brings up a multitude of questions with regards, suitability, safety, family-friendly facilities and more. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to family travel in the Galapagos to answer those questions and more that you hadn’t thought of!
Home to limitless adventure, tales of pirates and the opportunity of close wildlife encounters with endemic species that you and your kids will never see anywhere else, the Galapagos Islands will be unlike any family vacation you have ever had.
Not every cruise will accept children on the ship. Make sure you check with the cruise operator before you book with regard their minimum age requirements. Even if a boat says they allow children of a certain age on board, that does not necessarily mean their cruise is child-friendly. Some cruises are exclusively for adults and couples, while others are more family orientated. Some of the best boats for families are ones that have large social areas for the kids to socialize, spacious or connecting cabins with many beds, and plenty of board games, videos and activities to entertain the children whilst on board. Ask one of the Rainforest Cruises team to help you identify those Galapagos Cruises that suit your family’s needs best.
Generally much slower and therefore more stable than other smaller and faster types of boat, cruise ships are one of the most popular and safest modes of transport. With the right guidance and knowledge, both adults and kids can have a thoroughly enjoyable and safe time, both on board the cruise ship and on excursions on the islands themselves.
All of our boats are checked rigorously and regularly to ensure the safety of all passengers on board, what’s more, every boat has all of the necessary safety precautions on board in case of an emergency, including emergency signals and flares, medical equipment with fully qualified medical staff and excellent lines of communication and GPS using the latest technology.
Personally, we think a whole lot. The complete ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands is like a science and history lesson in one, but a lot more fun. Kids can take part in a number of water activities, including kayaking, swimming and snorkeling for the older kids. On these activities they are likely to experience close-up encounters with animals they have never seen before, especially not in the wild, including sea turtles and sea lions. If your kids prefer land-based activities or a bit too young for those adventures then there are plenty of those too, including hiking and safari trips.
The guides are extremely informative, and kids will learn a lot from the staff on the boat and on the island that know and love the islands. Where better for children to learn and understand about conservation and the environment than in one of the world’s most sustainable ecotourism destinations? The great experiences your children will have with their family on the Galapagos Islands will also start to foster a sense of care for the environment in them. An invaluable lesson that is difficult to teach elsewhere.
A trip to the Charles Darwin Research Station to visit the Galapagos Tortoises and learn about the discovery of evolution on the islands will also be enlightening. Instead of learning about evolution in the classroom, your kids will get to really be a part of Darwin’s theory.
The Galapagos beaches are also an ideal place to spend a relaxing family day on the islands, with black, white, and even green sand beaches, these are generally safe environments where kids can play and snorkel. All areas of the Galapagos are clearly mapped for visitors, so before you visit any area of the islands be sure it is a designated area first and always check with your guide.
Kids will not only learn and gain a lot from the wildlife and the environment on the Galapagos Islands, but also from the culture. South American people, particularly the native populations of Ecuador, have a rich cultural history and their stories offer great learning experiences. These can be enjoyed in the city of Quito before and after a Galapagos cruise and will add another dimension to your vacation, and also on the islands themselves.
The people on the Galapagos Islands, on the cruise ships and in the mainland cities are also extremely welcoming and caring and are especially receptive to children. South American culture is very family-centric and locals are usually thrilled to see young tourists exploring their country.
If you want an unforgettable family adventure then there is nothing else like it. The Galapagos Islands are famous all over the world, and their reputation will give your children the credence and education to shock and amaze their friends on their return. With the right attitude, that of patience, interest and an enthusiasm for adventure, a family vacation to the Galapagos Islands is the ultimate experience. These truly unique islands off the coast of Ecuador are an experience, unlike any other, and one that your kids – and you – will never forget.
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