Kids in the Galapagos Islands will enjoy many exciting adventures and sites to see.
The Galapagos are volcanic islands that are located about 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador. There are 18 main islands, and only five of them are permanently inhabited. Formed from volcanic activity, the islands were never attached to the mainland, and therefore, there are species of plants and animals found on the Galapagos that are not found anywhere else in the world. This makes the islands a very special place for children and adults to visit.
Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station
This research station is a great introduction for kids in the Galapagos Islands. Kids can learn how the islands formed as well as the history of the islands in a fun and interactive way. Additionally, the station has many educational programs focusing on conservation efforts on the islands. Next, visit the turtle breeding ground area, which is home to many baby giant tortoises. Children will love watching these creatures that actually move quite quickly when they are young.
Incredible Bird Sightings
One thing kids in the Galapagos Islands will love seeing are all of the bird species that are endemic to the archipelago. Birds such as Darwin’s finches, penguins, and cormorants are species found only in the Galapagos. Since birds are all over the land, shore, and sea, bird watching is a great kid-friendly activity. Birding tours are planned by experienced naturalists, so everyone can view the maximum number of birds on each trek.
Go Snorkeling and Kayaking with Sea Creatures
Snorkeling tours are a remarkable experience for kids in the Galapagos Islands. Champion Islet in Floreana Island is a spot where you are likely to find clear waters and a plethora of sea life that will swim right up to you. Kids can swim alongside animals like sea lions, sea turtles, penguins, stingrays, white-tipped reef sharks and many others. Those who would rather be above the water can explore the ocean with kayaks and skim across the surface while viewing various sea life.
Many Educational Opportunities
The Galapagos really are like a living museum, chock full of “teachable moments.” You will find that your kids actually like learning here because the immersive experience makes it so much fun. They can learn about plants, animals, the environment, habitats, and so much more while they are on vacation. They probably won’t even realize how much they are learning.
Amazing Animal Encounters
Wherever you go on the Galapagos, there are many different animals. While the rules say that you are not supposed to go within 6 feet of any of them, you can still get close enough to see them in their natural habitats. Never having encountered any natural predators, the animals are generally not scared of humans and will often approach them. Children will remember the penguins and sea lions in an up-close kind of way.
Beautiful Beaches Abound
Beautiful sunny days are perfect for beach-loving kids, and the beaches in the Galapagos are a very relaxing place to hang out with your kids. They will enjoy swimming or snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters and sunbathing and building castles in the sand. The unique sands of the area can be black, white and even green in some areas, something kids will definitely love and remember.
Hike the Islands
A hike is the best way to experience much of what the Galapagos has to offer. Children who like birds, for example, may see new species, and those who love flowers and plants will see many of them. Kids in the Galapagos Islands will experience terrain like they’ve never seen before. One tour, Prince Philips Steps on Genovesa Island, starts with an 82-foot long set of rocky stairs. Others explore the huge, underground lava tubes of Santa Cruz.
Take a Glass-Bottom Boat Tour
A variety of glass-bottom boat tours are available for those who want to see what’s in the water without getting wet. Sightings of turtles, tropical fish, rays and even sharks are all sure to excite the kids. In addition, many of the boat tours offer other activities for kids to participate in, making this an adventure not to be missed.
Visit the Cities with kids in the Galapagos Islands
There are a variety of small cities on the Galapagos. Children can experience the culture of these unique islands by visiting these cities and taking part in festivals and celebrations. Santa Cruz, the largest city of the islands, has hotels, restaurants and shops for picking up souvenirs. The 12,000 residents live in small villages, and all around you can find interesting architecture to see. Santa Cruz is the center of most tourism and the social heart of the islands. Children will enjoy the various cultural aspects of the cities.
Carry on an 18th Century Tradition
Stop on the island of Florena at Post Office Bay. Here, you can purchase a post card, write a message and address it to any recipient. Then, drop it in the barrel without a stamp and wait to see it delivered to its destination by a fellow visitor. In return, you can deliver a card left by a previous visitor, just as they have done since the 18th century.
No matter what activities you engage in with your kids, the Galapagos Islands are a great vacation option. Children are sure to learn a lot and have many memorable adventures. The best time to visit the Galapagos is anytime of the year; from December through May, you will find warm, tropical weather that is perfect for swimming and water activities for kids of all ages, and then from June through November cooler waters come to the islands, and this is the time when species reproduce. The only bad time in Galapagos is when you’re not there!
Read about our Pirate Aboard programme designed for your kids!
Blog Reviewed & Edited by: Francisco Dousdebés
All Images: Francisco Dousdebés