Galápagos Family Travel with Galápagos Unbound takes your family on a vacation you will remember forever. A perfect family adventure for those with 12 people or less, our Galápagos Islands Family Vacations are unique in that they specifically cater to families. For 30 years, Galápagos Unbound has specialized in family adventure vacations and our award winning Galápagos Unbound tour has been designed to fit what you are looking for in a family vacation to the Galápagos Islands.
The Galápagos Islands are one of a few places on earth that allow for such intimate contact with a dazzling array of wildlife. Most Galápagos Islands family vacations are cruise-based and carry between 20-100 people. Galápagos Unbound's journey, the only one of its kind, allows a small group of families (12 people) to visit sites that are not on the main tourist routes. Your family will leave the crowds of visitors and well-worn paths behind to enjoy the peace of walking, snorkeling and paddling your way through this island paradise.
Galápagos Unbound and parent company ROW Adventure's Galápagos Unbound trip was featured in the New York Times and featured as a "Tour of a Lifetime" from National Geographic Traveler magazine. You will find the article entitled "Galápagos Unbound" by Tim Neville here.
So what makes the Galápagos Family Travel Adventure different?
On our award-winning Galápagos Unbound Tour, we have specific dates that are exclusively reserved for families! These dates are geared toward families. This has proven, over many years, to help the group dynamic of the trip. We can also match your families ages with other families and create an ideal Galápagos Family vacation! Plus, we have hand-picked guides who are specifically trained in working with little ones.
These trips are priced based on the number of guests per trip.
Depart home with your family and arrive in Guayaquil. Most flights arrive in the evening and a representative will meet your family at the airport and take you to the hotel.
Take a morning flight from Guayaquil to San Cristóbal, the first of the Galápagos Islands on our trip. Next we take a catamaran to our beach camp to settle in and enjoy watching sea lions, blue footed boobies and more as the sun sets. This is also our first chance on your Galápagos Family Vacation to get in the kayaks and meet some local wildlife.
Today we will take our kayaks and paddle from our camp for roughly three hours, depending on the weather conditions. Our support boat is always close at hand if you need assistance or tire of paddling. We arrive at another pristine beach for lunch, bird watching and wildlife viewing. Then we continue in our catamaran to Kicker Rock.
Once at Kicker Rock, we snorkel through an amazing channel where you are likely to see white-tipped reef sharks, Galápagos sharks, sea turtles and eagle rays. We are sure to see hundreds of fish and sea stars. By late afternoon we return to relax at our beach camp, watch small hermit crabs scuttle along, as well as yellow warblers and other seabirds. Sunset over the Pacific is usually spectacular.
This morning we take an early morning walk before heading to the airport to fly to the island of Isabela and check into our beachfront hotel. After lunch we spend the afternoon visiting the Tortoise Breeding Center which kids of all ages love! Take the family on a stroll along the spectacular white sandy beach before dinner.
This day your family will see a different view of the Galápagos when we drive to the highlands and begin our hike of Isabela’s Sierra Negra. Your family will find this volcano amazing and will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have lunch on a volcano! After the day's hike take your family and enjoy some time on the beach or in town relaxing. Tonight enjoy dinner on your own in town.
In the morning, your family will visit Los Tuneles and snorkel among the amazing lava arches and caves. From the lagoon, your family will travel to El Finado, a place that has been used for years by the fisherman of Galápagos as a resting place. Your family will enjoy snorkeling among the crystal clear waters and around the submerged lava rocks that form small caves and reefs. In the late afternoon, your family will return to the hotel where you can enjoy the beautiful white sand beach of Puerto Villamil.
We wake early and set off for the day’s adventures by sea. We take a speed boat to Isla Santa Cruz, the urban center of the archipelago and the home of the Charles Darwin Research Station, their National Park Headquarters, and Puerto Ayora. Once we land, we drive on Santa Cruz’s main highway into the lush ecosystem of highlands. Wild Galápagos tortoises lumber throughout these dense forests, and we spend some time walking amongst them as they chew on the vegetation and roam slowly through the diverse environment.
After our time with the tortoises, we visit some of Santa Cruz’s lava tunnels created as hot lava once snaked throughout the earth’s crust. We explore the labyrinth of subterranean twists and marvel at the force of nature before returning to the surface. As the afternoon continues, we find our way to white-coral beach and a nearby shallow lagoon where we kayak for about an hour and a half. Watch for sharks, rays, and seabirds as we kayak along the coastline or flamingos enjoying the calm waters of the lagoon.
Later, we return to the hotel where you have some time to rest. You are free to enjoy dinner on your own either at the hotel or take a water taxi and explore the town. Puerto Ayora is a bustling town with lots of dinner choices and the opportunity to enjoy the local night life. Water taxis operate 24/7 and cost around $1 each way.
We begin our day with a hike through the highlands that takes us to a stunning family-owned farm filled with fields of sugar cane and coffee. There, we’re greeted by one of the family who serves as a guide and shares with us the family’s adherence to old-fashioned methods in the creation of quality products. We have the incredible opportunity to see demonstrations of the farming, extraction, and distillation processes that go into the production of “Galápagos Moonshine.”
After our tour of the farm, our travels take us to El Garrapatero Beach whose sandy shores are surrounded by mangroves and adjoined by a freshwater lake. Swim amongst the marine life off the shores, kayak among the mangroves, or explore the lake beyond where herons, stilts, and flamingos enjoy the secluded ambiance. In the afternoon we return to the town of Puerto Ayora and you will have time to do some last minute shopping or relax.
Our day concludes with a unique opportunity to engage with the Ecuadorian people and their culture as we dine with a fisherman and his family. It’s an evening of island flavors, good conversation, and profound insight into the local people of the Galápagos.
In the morning we transfer to the airport on Baltra where the original runway was built during WW II by the United States Navy. Late morning or early afternoon, we fly about two hours by jet back to the mainland city of Guayaquil.
Transfer to the international terminal for your return flight home or continue your travels.
Dates & Rates
These are the dates and rate for this particular award-winning itinerary. If your family is looking for more flexible dates and prices, please see our other Galapagos Islands Vacations.
Please note Christmas Trips have a $150 supplement
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FAQ & More
Galapagos Weather Guide - Month to Month
Whenever your schedule allows! Because it’s on the equator, air temperatures don’t change a lot. However water temperature does fluctuate as much as ten degrees during the year. The cooler Humboldt Current comes up from Antarctica from May to September/October and the sea is cooler and tends to be rougher at this time of year. Cooler water temperatures mean you generally see more sea life because there is more food for the animals that depend on the planktons and other sea nourishment. From November to April, the cooler Panama Current flows from the north and brings warmer water. The sea tends to be calmer at this time of year. If you’re going on our land-based tour then rough water is less of a concern. If you’re doing a cruise, and you are prone to seasickness, you might want to consider coming in the November to April time frame.
The Galapagos Islands (or Archipelago de Colon)are a Province of Ecuador located about 500 miles (800 kilometers) west of the Ecuadorian coast and are located directly on the equator.
Because the Galapagos Islands are on the equator, it’s warm most of the year. The warmest season is usually January to April and average temperatures range from a low of 70F/22C to around of 84F/31C. This is also the “wet season” and there may be afternoon thundershowers. During a severe El Nino year, it’s more likely to rain at any time of day. April to December is considered the “dry season” and is cooler, with average temperatures ranging from around 68F/19C to 82F/27C. At this time of year it is not uncommon to have the "garua" (misty rain) early in the morning and in the highlands of Santa Cruz and San Cristobal. Our experience is that the time of year doesn’t make a lot of difference in terms of the amount of rain as there isn’t enough to impact your trip too much.
From the U.S. and Canada there are daily flights via Houston, Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York and Miami, to both Quito and Guayaquil, Ecuador. If you are short on time flying directly to and from Guayaquil may save you time as our Galapagos Unbound trip begins in Guayaquil.
We do not arrange international air travel but we do have a great air travel specialist we refer you to if you’d like.
Ecuador uses the US dollar which was adopted as the official currency in 2000. Be sure to bring cash bills in good condition because bills with markings or tears won’t be accepted. There are also ATM machines in the larger towns. It’s a good idea to alert your bank that you’ll be traveling to Ecuador so they don’t stop the transactions.
We have been running trips in Ecuador since 1992 and know the country well. We have plenty of ideas for extending your trip whether it be to the Amazon, the Cloud Forest, the highlands in the north or south, or whatever might be your special interest. We can also arrange extensions to Peru and Machu Picchu.
There are a lot of arrangements to be made for a custom trip like our Galapagos Unbound active adventure. It’s very helpful with our planning if you book four to 12 months in advance. However, if you can’t plan that far ahead, then it’s usually not a problem to book up to about two months in advance. If you find yourself looking for last-minute space just call us and check!
There is an opportunity for snorkeling almost every day on this trip and the underwater life is a true highlight of visiting the Galapagos. Our trip offers more opportunities than most, and on some days we stop at two or three locations to snorkel.
If you've never been snorkeling we highly recommend you practice before the trip. It’s best to buy your own mask and snorkel (around $20-$45) so that you have a good fit and for better hygiene. Fins are less necessary but are nice to have in terms of going a little faster.
Yes you can! Snorkel gear is rented in a set, so if you have a favorite mask or fins, you should bring your own. Please let your Adventure Consultant know if you would like to rent your gear and the guide will be able to arrange it for you.
No, a wetsuit is not necessary, but most people appreciate the extra warmth. Just bring a 2mm thick “shorty” meaning one with short sleeves and short legs. A thin one like 2mm won’t take up much room in your luggage.
There are one or two opportunities on our trip to arrange for a separate scuba diving experience at an extra cost. Contact us for details.