Visiting the Galapagos Islands with children may feel like a daunting prospect, but numerous families do so every year with great success. It’s an amazing place for your children to experience and learn about wildlife.
These tips will help you plan a trip your children will remember for the rest of their lives.
Although it is often recommended to take only children who are seven years or older – simply so that they can fully appreciate the trip – it is certainly more than possible to go with younger children. Note though that not all cruises allow young children on board: Some operators specify that children must be a minimum of 6 or 7 years old, so check in advance.
Choosing a Cruise
If you choose to take your family on a multi-day cruise through the Galapagos Islands, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Some operators offer family-friendly cruises with vessels reserved solely for people traveling with children, including activities especially tailored for young people. This can be great for making friends and keeping kids busy.
- Know exactly what’s on the itinerary before booking a tour or cruise. You need to know what activities are planned so you can decide if your children are able to join in.
- If you’re concerned about your children getting seasick, choose a larger boat, as they’re more stable.
- Larger capacity ships (which take between 32-100 passengers) also have more space and generally have better and more varied facilities, and so can be more suitable for children.
A land-based tour (where you island-hop by day and stay in hotels by night) is an alternative way to know the Galapagos Islands and its natural wonders. This type of tour can be easier with children. Why? It means less time cooped up on the boat, and allows for more space and more flexibility.
Your Children’s Interests
You know your kids best. Carefully consider you kids’ abilities and interests before and when planning a trip.
- Are they avid wildlife fans? Are there any animals they really want to see?
- Do they enjoy the water? (If not, a multi-day cruise may not be the best option for them.)
- Do your children have any special talents? A project – like creating a scrapbook, being the family’s “official” photographer, keeping a journal – will be a lasting reminder of their Galapagos adventure.
Bring along your children’s favorite game, a book or other items to pass the time in evenings or while cruising between the islands. Also pack some of their favorite snacks or sweets. Remember also to bring clothes that will keep them cool on sunny, hot days and warm on cool evenings. Don’t forget a good sunscreen to protect your young ones’ delicate skin. For more necessities, check our packing list.
Make Sure They’re Prepared
Much of the experience of visiting the Galapagos Islands is, of course, about the sea. Therefore, if your kids can’t swim, they’re going to miss out. Before you travel to the islands, make sure they’re comfortable in the water. If you can get them practicing snorkeling, even better!
With a bit of planning, your children will have an incredible adventure in the Galapagos Islands – and memories that they can pass on to their children.