Galapagos Family holiday
Follow in the footsteps of Darwin on this family holiday, to see close up the unique wildlife of the Galapagos and visit Colonial Quito on mainland Ecuador. The haunting beauty of these barren volcanic islands and the extraordinary tameness of their animal population, create a uniquely memorable experience for all the family it is rather like a real life wildlife park with no fences. Starting and ending with the capital, Quito, you have a little time to explore the colonial heart of the city. Then you head far out into the islands visiting Isabella and Santa Cruz and enjoy the varied wildlife experiences each island has to offer from giant tortoises to colourful fish and playful sealions.
Take your flight and arrive same day into Quito. Bienvenidos! Welcome to Ecuador. Take your transfer from the airport to the hotel where you will have your welcome meeting. Sitting at an altitude of 2,850 m under the gaze of Volcan Pichincha, Quito is one of the most attractive cities in South America. Long and incredibly thin, the city stretches along a central valley formed by the east and west ranges of the Andes. Although compact, Quito's Old Town is full of historic buildings - there are more than 30 churches to explore, not to mention the fascinating museums. As this trip spends very little time in Quito, we recommend you spend a few extra days before or after your trip to experience all the city has to offer.
Cafe Cultura Hotel
Isla San cristobal
Early in the morning you are transferred to Quito airport for your flight to Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos (approx 3.5 hrs). Departure time will be between 8.20am and 10.30am depending on flight schedule time.
We land at about midday, then meet our naturalist guide who will transfer us to our hotel.In the afternoon we head to the Interpretation centre where we will learn about the history of the islands and the challenges face in the conservation of the islands. Next we make our way to The Cerro Tijeratas ( Frigatebird Hill) which is located 2 km from the interpretation centre, southwest of Isla San Cristobal. It is a bit of a climb to the top, however well worth the effort with amazing views of the bay, including Kicker Rock , one of the icons of these islands as 2 Volcanic rocks tower 140 metres tall. Soon after we will travel to La Loberia where we'll try on our snorkeling gear for the first time as we go for a swim with sea lions and sea turtles if we are lucky.
Blue Marlin Hotel - Breakfast included- Swimming pool
Isla San Cristobal
Our second day in Isla San Cristobal begins with a short boat ride to Isla Lobos (this will take approximately 45 minutes to one hour) observing the abundant sea life that the Galapagos is renowned for on our way. We may be lucky enough to spot nesting frigate birds and blue-footed boobies or swim and snorkel with playful young Sea Lions. On arrival we can snorkel and swim with Sea Lion, turtles, Manta Rays and maybe the odd harmless Galapagos Shark. We then return back to our home and relax.
Casa de Nelly - Breakfast Included
Isla Santa Cruz
Early in the morning we take off to Floreana Island by private speed boat (The journey will take approximately 2 1/2 hours). We have a pre-lunch snorkel before going ashore to a black and sand beach at the home of the Witmer's, one of the island's first settlers. Floreana island has less then 200 people and was the first of the Galapagos islands to be settle and has a rich human history filled with intrigue and mystery, including whalers, wildfires and wildlife. Here you can read up on how life can to be on Floreana and how some lives mysteriously ended.
We wave goodbye as we continue onto Santa Cruz Island, the biggest town in the Galapagos islands in our private speedboat which will take approximately one and a half hours.
Lobo de Mar - Breakfast and lunch included
Isla Santa Cruz
Today after breakfast we will go to the Charles Darwin Research Station. The station's visitor centre is an essential stop for anyone interested in the archipelago's natural and human history, and keen to learn more about conservation efforts to preserve the unique ecosystems of the Galapagos. It also offers a great chance for close-up encounters with giant tortoises, and you can see many newborn and young giant turtles - part of the breeding program to reintroduce them to their natural habitat.
In the afternoon we are heading to the higher part of Santa Cruz islands to observe giant tortoises roaming in their natural habitat.
Lobo de Mar - Breakfast and dinner included
Isla Santa Cruz
Today is a free for your family to continue to explore Santa Cruz island. You can opt to take different options in Santa Cruz like walk to Tortuga Bay beach that takes about 45 minutes or visit the incredible fish market or just stay in town exploring Puerto Ayora.
Lobo de Mar Hotel or similar including breakfast
On day 7 you are transferred to the airport in time for your flight to Quito. You can expect to arrive at your hotel by 3-4pm where you can head out and explore any highlights of Quito you didn't visit first time around. Quito is a cultured city with a wonderous Old Town, a dynamic nightlife and atmospheric streets showcasing Ecuadorian life in all its splendour.
Enjoy an evening exploring Quito and looking back on your time in the Galapagos.
Cafe Cultura Hotel - Breakfast included Cafe Cultura Hotel or similar including breakfast
There are no activities planned for the last day of the trip and you will be transported to the airport for your flight home, which will arrive into the UK the following morning.
A trip to the Galapagos islands is one of the most unforgettable experiences you are ever likely to have as a family holiday. Kids will love getting up close to the animals, and do remember they are not tame although they may appear so. You can see tightly packed marine iguanas, marvel at the size of giant tortoises and watch blue-footed boobies dance whilst the pterodactyl-like frigate birds soar overhead. This trip is a land based program which allows families more space and freedom to relax, explore the islands and enjoy the beaches too.
Swim with the wildlife
The Galapagos Islands offer a unique wildlife experience on land and in the water and are simply a nature lover’s paradise. The wildlife has no fear of humans - you can swim with penguins and turtles as friendly sea lions twist and turn around you, their inquisitive pups frolicking in the surf. Don your mask and snorkel and look at the stunning underwater world of brightly coloured fish.
Our Galapagos Family Adventure trip is just one of our many Americas Family tours. To find out more visit our Americas holidays page.