If your kids go all soft and squishy at the sight of a puppy imagine how they’ll buckle under the gaze of a wide eyed sea lion pup or how excited they’ll be when they see a marine iguana snorting salty snot out of both barrels. Land based Galápagos vacations with kids are recommended if you’re looking to spend a little less and lessen the stress of getting too close to the edge of a cruise ship or want to be able to spend more time exploring without the worry of upsetting other passengers or sticking to strict itineraries. Along the beaches, safe, crystal clear shallows supply endless opportunities to snorkel, swim and stand, open-mouthed, as an array of exotic fish come close to young ankles to tickle, fascinate and inspire imaginations. Animals are literally everywhere so unlike safaris, where you need to remain quiet whilst animals remain elusive, kids from as young as five years old can join a small group and explore with new found friends rather than having to be hushed all the time.



Watch cruise ships depart and before you know it you’ll have the bays and beaches around Puerto Ayora all to yourselves apart from the local sea lions, of course. There are loads of gorgeous beaches from where to snorkel or soak up the sun as well as numerous shaded forest trails and mangroves leading to secret scenic spots that your young explorers will be able to discover all for themselves.

Kayaking with kids lets the whole family put their paddles through their paces in some seriously scenic waters. Youngsters can explore with parents in two-seaters while older children captain solo crafts, with close encounters with turtles, penguins and marine iguanas bound to make this a memorable highlight.
An hour’s boat ride from San Cristóbal to the uninhabited Isla Lobos will never ring with cries of ‘are we there yet’ as there’s so much to see along the way. Once you arrive you might spot nesting frigates or blue-footed boobies (titter) although the chance to snorkel with sea lion pups, sea turtles and manta rays is certainly something that your kids will be waxing lyrical about for many years to come.


responsible travel asks the experts

Tim Winkworth is a father of three energetic sons as well as working for our tour supplier, the Family Adventure Company: “Most families anticipate that the Galápagos would be out of their price range, but by staying in a hotel you can cut the cost virtually in half. The boats are fine for children, but in my opinion you can actually improve the experience by giving them space – and the parents have more space too. It's just a bit more relaxing, and definitely better to let the kids go a bit wild and still see all the wonderful wildlife. Traditionally it's one of those places that people have believed are out of their reach. And that’s why I'm delighted that there are now tours that they can do."
Morag Prosser, from our supplier ROW Adventures, explains why land based family vacations on the Galápagos work: “Our family tours are only open to family groups – we don’t do couples or singles. So if you have a group of seven- to ten-year-olds, they run the tour at a pace that’s suitable for that group. The kids have other kids to interact and learn with, and you don’t have single adults chomping at the bit to move faster, and feel like the kids are holding them back so that their parents are getting uncomfortable. The wildlife, particularly, is what kids love. The snorkelling with sea lions... most children will start off a little hesitant but our guides are in the water with them so they can begin to feel comfortable. By the end of the day it’s usually the parents who are more nervous about the sharks or sea lions, and the kids are having a blast!"
Photo credits: [Intro: Michael R Perry] [Beaches: daveynin] [Sea lion: daveynin] [Tim: Michael R Perry]
Written by Chris Owen
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