Traveling in Ecuador with kids

What does responsible travel recommend?

There are plenty of adventure activities – from kayaking and snorkelling to zip lining and biking – along with wildlife-filled forests, llama farms and beaches. The Galápagos are well equipped for families, and could have been designed for impatient young visitors – who can admire the iguanas, tortoises and sea lions without having to embark on epic searches. Add to this the country’s tasty food, decent roads and welcoming Latino culture, and traveling in Ecuador with kids can be considered a visit to a fabulous, family-sized playground. Parents should be aware of the elevation – as well as altitude sickness, it results in faster sunburn. It may be chilly but you’re still on the equator! Consult your operator about any specific age restrictions to ensure you book the best trip for everyone.

Activities for families in Ecuador

What to do with little ones

The Andes are dotted with majestic old haciendas, grand homes once belonging to colonial landowners. Today, many have been converted into intimate, boutique guesthouses. We recommend a stay if you are traveling in Ecuador with kids; they have horses to ride, llamas to feed, craft stalls stocked by local artisans, swimming pools, well-tended gardens and access to fantastic scenery on private reserves, for hiking or cycling.
Head to the beach! Which child doesn’t enjoy splashing in the warm ocean, building castles in the sand, looking out for whales and hunting for exotic shells? Add to this a warm, dry climate, a laid-back tropical vibe and fresh coconuts to sip from – and this is paradise for the whole family.
Where the Andean foothills meet lowland jungle, Mindo is a labyrinth of cloud forests, whitewater, cascades and hiking trails – it’s a dream destination for spirited kids. Base yourself out of one of the many family-friendly lodges and try rafting, canyoning, hiking, wildlife-spotting – and making and sampling your own chocolate.

Travel tips for families in Ecuador

responsible travel asks the experts

Tim Winkworth is a family travel specialist with our supplier, the Family Adventure Company. He has travelled extensively in Ecuador and Galápagos – and is enjoying seeing travel in a new way with his three young sons. Here's his cultural tips for traveling in Ecuador with kids:
"The Inca culture is not as prevalent in Ecuador as it is in Peru as it doesn't have the ruins but there are traditional communities, and where you really get that feel is in the markets and in the highlands. You have farmers working in a traditional way, with horses and other animals to assist in their daily grind, and it's a great way to show the children what's outside of the spoilt, technological world that they live in. The excited, colourfully dressed children are happy to see people, you can kick a football around with them, it's a wonderful opportunity, a lovely thing to do.
It's great to take the kids to the markets too – some of them are more like car boot sales. They can have a look at the different trinkets and see all the people - it's a fantastic people watching experience and kids are very interested in that."
David Orrock, from our supplier Pura Aventura, shares his advice for traveling in Ecuador with kids:
"The first thing I would say to families is: tell us what you like. There's so much stuff to do in Ecuador. You've got horse riding, Cotopaxi, biking, hiking in the Andes, kayaking in the jungle... You can do stuff like tubing too. Everyone associates these activities with somewhere like Costa Rica. But you can even go rafting – Peru's much more famous for rafting but it's better in Ecuador."
Morag Prosser, from our supplier ROW Adventures:
"Guayaquil is not a city I recommend anyone spends any time in. But if you do have a day before your Galapagos flight and want to get out of the hotel, the one thing parents should do is take their kids down to iguana park by the cathedral and walk around. The kids will say "But there are no iguanas!" – but they’re all up in the trees. Kids go crazy for that. I recommend they do that and then walk along the waterfront – which has been recently renovated – but that’s it, you’re done."
Photo credits: [Top box - girl in jungle: Intrepid Travel] [Zip wiring in the jungle: Rinaldo Wurglitsch] [Rafting: Intrepid Travel]
Written by Vicki Brown
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