Ecuador and Galapagos family holidays
South America’s best kept secret, Ecuador has the WOW factor for any truly exciting family holiday. This remarkable country offers incredible wildlife encounters, explosive volcanic landscapes, lush tropical scenery, colourful markets, time at the beach, time in the jungle – what more could you want?!
The fabulous Galapagos Islands earn their description as a totally unique and unforgettable environment – here you can swim with marine iguanas (or sharks for the daredevil teenagers), snorkel with sea turtles, sunbathe with sea lions and wallow in the endless variety of birdlife such as blue-footed boobies and the ‘puffed up’ frigate bird. Enjoy leisurely walks along sandy beaches (at the slow pace of the giant tortoise perhaps?), climb volcanic cliffs and cruise through mangrove swamps in search of stingrays.
Mainland Ecuador is often overshadowed by the allure of the Galapagos. However it certainly holds its own in terms of scenery, experiences and attractions. Drive down the jaw-dropping ‘Avenue of Volcanoes’ with snow-capped, steaming volcanic peaks on either side, dropping down to gorgeous green patchwork-quilt terraced fields. Take a horse-ride through the rolling hills from a delightful estancia or wander ancient cobbled city streets surrounded by faded colonial architecture.
Not forgetting the Amazon of course…. Ecuador has jungle experiences to rival Peru or Brazil. You can choose to enjoy a brief foray on the edge of the Amazon or fly deep in the heart of this incredible rainforest, staying at suitably exciting lodges where the sounds of the jungle completely surround you.
Without the crowds of Peru or the price tag of Brazil, Ecuador has fantastic appeal for adventurous families. With Quito, its capital city, lying at nearly 3,000m, a family holiday here will leave you quite literally breathless…
Why take the kids?
Shall we swim with penguins today or hike through a lava tunnel? Climb a live volcano or take a night walk through the jungle? The dilemmas facing you on a family holiday in Ecuador…
Starting with the Galapagos, what child would not delight in watching whales and dolphins cavort in the sea, scampering along sandy beaches in the company of playful seal pups or snorkelling in an underwater coral-filled crater. Hike the expansive lava fields of Isabela Island, send a postcard from an old wooden barrel at Post Office Bay on Floreana, walk through a forest of Prickly Pear on Sante Fe and enjoy the clash between pink flamingos and the rust-coloured sand of Rabida. Swimming and wildlife – the ultimate combination for any child.
Hop across to the mainland (and you need to fly via here anyway so why not make the most of your visit?) and your trip heads to new heights. Quito is an extremely hilly city with a live volcano on one side and the Equatorial Line running across the top. Kids can stand in both hemispheres, have fun balancing an egg on a nail and then get out of breath walking the colonial streets of Old Quito as they learn to cope with the altitude.
Barter in the colourful Andean markets to the sound of the pan pipes. Wander cobbled streets past restored colonial buildings and let the children race around pedestrianised alleyways and squares. Travel one of the most scenic highways in the world – the famous Avenue of Volcanoes – with smoking, snow-capped peaks running down to lush patchwork quilt fields on either side.
Children will come into their own in the Amazon jungle. Even those who usually squeal at the sight of a spider at home will be fascinated by creepy crawlies in the rainforest. Head out on night safaris and spot luminous frogs hiding under monster vines and tree trunks. Learn how to deal with coughs, tummy upsets or sunburn from a local guide explaining the medicinal benefits of various plants. Enthusiastic ‘hunters’ will master the skill of the blowpipe and all ages will love falling asleep to the magical sounds of the jungle, guessing which animal or insect is making which noise (and it IS noisy!), cosy under mosquito nets under thatched rooves. Jungle lodges are so much more exciting than city hotels….
Our top activities on an Ecuador and Galapagos family holiday include:
- Swimming and snorkelling alongside your first seal, penguin or turtle. Or shark…
- Lounging on the beach on Espanola Island mimicking the antics of the sea lions
- Seeing the Giant Tortoise wade laboriously through the Prickly Pear Cactus on Santa Cruz Island
- Acting like a pirate of old at Buccaneer Cove on Santiago Island in the company of boobies, iguanas and fur seals
- Standing between both north and south hemispheres on the Equator outside Quito
- Enjoying some exciting adrenaline activities beneath a live volcano in Banos
- Hiking down to the emerald green Quilotoa crater lake, riding a donkey back up then learning to make tasty empanadas at your hacienda – quite a day!
- Driving the Avenue of Volcanoes, surrounded by 5,000m+ snow-capped peaks
- Exploring the Amazon jungle by canoe and on foot, spotting monkeys, toucans and crocodiles
Example Ecuador and Galapagos itineraries
All of our Ecuador and the Galapagos family holidays are bespoke, which means that they are tailor-made for your own specific family, taking into account the ages of your children, your interests, your budget and so on.
Also check out some of the other places that you might like to visit on your family holiday to Ecuador and the Galapagos and if you need further inspiration, have a look at our photo gallery at the top right hand side of this page.
Lastly, don’t forget to see what the weather will be like at the time that you want to travel. Or simply give us a ring and we’ll be delighted to advise you on the best holiday to Ecuador and the Galapagos for your family.
PS. If you have booked with us, have a look at our handy Ecuador and Galapagos packing list.
Call us and we will be happy to provide you with a free-of-charge no obligation itinerary and quotation designed for you.
Ecuador & Galapagos in pictures
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From our blog
“The guides were wonderful – very professional and we saw so many birds, sea lions, iguanas and sharks – swimming with the sea lions was fantastic”