Bringing Children to the Galapagos Islands
Many people wonder whether bringing their children to South America and the remote Galapagos Islands is such a good idea. The truly unique islands off the coast of Ecuador are an experience unlike any other, and one that children will never forget. Home to a number of endemic species that you and your kids will never see anywhere else, an epic and unpredictable wilderness, and plenty of adventure, the Galapagos Islands will be unlike any family vacation they have ever had. These special experiences last a lifetime and can even positively influence children going forward. If you are still a little unsure, then here's our guide to bringing your kids on a Galapagos Cruise:
Choose a Family Friendly Galapagos Cruise
Not every cruise will accept children on the ship. Make sure you check with the cruise operator before you book with regards 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 boardgames, 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.
Is it Safe for my Children?
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. To find out more about the safety precautions in place on our cruises read our Galapagos Cruise Safety Guide.
What will they gain from a trip to the Galapagos Islands?
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 most unique land masses on Earth? 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 ideal place to spend a relaxing family day on the islands, with black, white and even green sandy 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. Read more Reasons to Take a Galapagos Cruise.