The Galapagos Islands are a bucket list destination for many people from all walks of life. The Galapagos have welcomed backpackers, professional photographers, scientists, and tourists from all over the world.
It’s understandable that you will want to visit with your family and friends and share this incredible journey together. Young children will particularly love seeing all the interesting creatures that can be found in the Galapagos. Due to the absence of natural predators, the wildlife is playful and so used to visitors that anyone can get up close to admire them.
However, before making the trip to the Galapagos, here are some travel tips on how to get there and the climate to prepare yourself, particularly if you are planning to travel to Galapagos with children (very young ones).
The Galapagos Islands are beautiful throughout the entire year, and they have their location right on the Equator to thank for that. However, there are certain times in the year when the weather may not be ideal for those who are traveling with young children depending on the climate that the kids are most comfortable with.
The dry season: From June to December, the water is cooler as the Southern tradewinds bring in the colder Humboldt Current. Expect blue skies and mid-day showers during this season. Your children will be happy to see many sea mammals and land birds during these months as they are most active.
However, if you are traveling with small children, do note that this is the busiest tourist months. Some families prefer to visit during these months so that they can meet other families with kids. But if you were looking for quiet time with your little ones, best you plan your trip during less busy months. Prices are also highest during these months.
Additionally, the seas are rougher during this season, and it may not be advisable to go any boat rides with younger kids during this time.
The warm season: Between December and May, expect cloudier skies and tropical weather with daily rain. The temperature of the water is warmer and perfect for swimming with your young kids. During this time, the island birds will be particularly active.
If your children love the beach, this is the ideal time to go. There may be a daily shower, but the sea and land temperatures remain high. This means sunny skies and clear water after a brief episode of rain.
This weather also brings out all the sea lions, turtles, and tortoises that will be a treat for your kids to see. Also expect to see spring flowers blossoming at this time.
The type of tour and activities
There are various modalities in which you can travel to Galapagos: a live aboard cruise, a land tour and a self-arranged trip. It is very important to consider all your options and what best suites you and your young children. Explore you options widely before deciding; ask your trip planner all the activities involved. Take in mind that snorkeling is a major activity in most of the tours in Galapagos, so consider if your children are okay with this and have basic swimming skills.
Cruises will take you to different spots in the islands and navigate during the night. You will eat, chill and sleep on the boat most of the time. Take in mind that this might involve seasickness, depending on the kind of ship you take, bigger ships usually wobble the less.
Land Tours will take you to different islands in the Galapagos while lodging at land-based hotels in different islands. You may visit up to four islands, depending on the tour and day. Take in mind that to travel from island to island you must take a speedboat for a two hour ride (approx.). Some families find this tour modality more suitable for small children, as staying in land allows travelers to skip certain activities and just shill around the island with the family. Just like with cruises, land tours involve a moderate amount of walking in nature and snorkeling activities, make sure your young children are prepared for this. You may find more info on land tours here.
Self-arranged trips are good option only if you got a lot of time in the islands. However, I would not recommend on-site organization if you don’t have plenty of time. Usually with kids, it will be hard to move around the town looking for day-trips. Certain sites are already filled and it will be hard to go on and improvise with children. A self-arrange trip is doable in Galapagos, but it is a travel modality which requires time and a lot a rambling. It would be better to organize everything ahead of time.
Take in consideration
- Amount of walking distance: Most tours in Galapagos (for both cruises and land tours) involve walking tours in uneven terrains and under the sun and/or mild showers
- Amount of swimming: as explained, snorkeling is a big thing in Galápagos, make sure your young children enjoy this activity
- Amount of navigation time and sea sickness: in a cruise, navigatiosn will happen constantly. In land tours it takes place mostly during transfer from island to island (2.30 hrs. approx.
- It might be better to have a health and travel insurance for your children.
How To Get to the Galapagos Islands
There are no international flights that will take you directly to the Galapagos. The only way to get to Galapagos is to first arrive in Ecuador. From Ecuador, the only way to proceed to Galapagos is by airplane.
You will first need to get to either the cities of Quito and Guayaquil on mainland Ecuador. Once you are in mainland Ecuador, you can reach the Galapagos by traveling by plane to either Baltra Island or San Cristobal Island. From the Galapagos Islands airports, you will then transfer to the hotels in the port towns of the islands.
The flight from Quito to the Galapagos is about two and half hours. Once you are on the mainland, you will probably travel a few more hours to reach your hotel by land or boat. These are all things you should take into account when you travel with your young children so that you can prepare your travel essentials.
We hope this guide has been informative and gets you excited to visit the Galapagos with your loved ones.