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Traveling to the Galapagos with Infants and Toddlers: A Complete Guide

Traveling with toddlers at the Galapagos

The Galapagos Islands are an incredible destination for travelers of all ages, including infants and toddlers. However, it’s important to recognize that traveling to the Galapagos with a toddler may require some extra planning and preparation. The Galapagos Islands is a remote destination about 2 hours from the mainland of Ecuador. The Archipelago is known for its amazing wildlife and in this blog I, Rebecca, will share my experiences with you.

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Flying to the Galapagos with toddlers

Infants and toddlers boarding the plane.

Rebecca’s family boarding the airplane.

  • Remember, you won’t receive any drinks or food during your flight, so ensure you pack enough. Additionally, while food and drinks are typically available for purchase, they may be sold out, as happened when my daughter wanted a sandwich.
  • Furthermore, it’s important to note that all flights from Quito to Galapagos have a stop in Guayaquil. This stop is necessary for refueling and allows for the boarding and disembarking of passengers. During the refueling, restrooms cannot be used, and all electrical devices must be switched off. Fortunately, we brought a book, but it can still be challenging to keep your child entertained for the 45-minute duration.
  • Book first-row seats (if possible). These places have lots of playing & sleeping spaces for the kids.
  • Lastly, there is a one-hour time difference between the mainland and the Galapagos Islands, so be sure to consider that when planning your trip.

Here are some tips to help you plan a successful toddler vacation in the Galapagos:

  • Choose a family-friendly tour: When selecting the day trips, look for one that caters specifically to families with young children.
  • Remember toddlers have a short attention span so make sure to have lots of short activities during the day like kayaking, walking, going to the research center, swimming, playing at the beach, etc.
  • Transportation plan: Be aware that getting around the islands may require walking on uneven terrain or taking small boats between islands. Plan accordingly by bringing a sturdy stroller or carrier that can handle these conditions.
  • Pack appropriately: Be sure to pack all the essentials your toddler will need for the trip, such as sunscreen, insect repellent, hats, snacks, toys, water bottles, and a baby carrier.
  • The Galapagos Islands are a protected natural area, and there are strict rules in place to help preserve the unique ecosystem. Make sure you and your toddler follow these rules, such as staying on designated paths and not touching any wildlife.
Rebecca Kids

Rebecca’s Toddlers at the boat.

Best toddler itinerary for Galapagos

Based on my personal experience traveling with infants and toddlers, I highly recommend an itinerary that starts on San Cristobal Island. After a long flight, toddlers usually crave swimming or playtime. Luckily, the San Cristobal airport is just a 5-minute drive from the village, allowing you to start quality time immediately.

Day 1

Arrive on San Cristobal Island. In the afternoon, enjoy the village’s playgrounds, observe sea lions, swim at Playa Mann or Playa de Oro, or join an organized activity.

Day 2

Take a boat trip to Kicker Rock. Despite my initial nervousness, my toddlers loved the day-long navigation. We stopped at Playa Grande, a beautiful white beach with crystal blue waters, for swimming, wildlife sightings, and a short hike. Next, we headed to Kicker Rock for snorkeling—an absolute delight for my toddlers. The onboard lunch was also a hit.

Day 3

Start with a morning kayaking adventure, interacting with sea lions in the harbor. After lunch, catch a flight to Isabela Island (40 minutes). Bask in Paradise with its long beaches, flamingos, and penguins. Stroll along the shore, savor delicious seafood, and witness the breathtaking sunset.

Father and toddler at beach

Andres and his daughter enjoying the sunset at the beach.

Day 4

Explore Isabela Island, visiting beaches, the Flamingo Lagoon, the giant tortoise breeding center, and biking to the Wall of Tears. Snorkel at Concha de Perla or spot penguins at the harbor. While the Sierra Negra volcano tour involves extensive driving and hiking, it may not be suitable for toddlers.

Day 5

Embark on Los Tuneles snorkeling tour on Isabela Island, where the chance of seeing sharks is nearly guaranteed. Snorkeling around lava tunnels is easier than at Kicker Rock and includes a snack onboard.

Day 6

Take a ferry to Santa Cruz Island (2.5 hours). Opt for the early morning departure for calmer seas. Arriving at Santa Cruz (Puerto Ayora), explore the village, visit the shops, fish market, Charles Darwin Center, and Tortuga Bay.

Rebecca's Family at the ferry.

Rebecca’s Family at the ferry.

Day 7

Consider a day trip for diving (if parents are divers) or an extended tour to islands like Bartolome, North Seymour, Santa Fe, or Pinzon. Alternatively, explore the highlands of Santa Cruz for a few hours to observe giant tortoises at your own pace. The highland lunch is delicious.

Day 8

Relaxation day. Unwind at Tortuga Bay, Garrapatero Beach, or any other beach of your choice. Reflect on the experiences shared with your family. Pack your bags, snacks, entertainment, and necessities for your flight the next day.

Day 9

Depart from Baltra Airport. The journey from Puerto Ayora village to Baltra Airport takes around 2 hours and involves a taxi ride, a ferry trip, and a bus transfer.

Where to stay in the Galapagos with infants and toddlers?

When choosing your accommodation in the Galapagos Islands when traveling with toddlers I would recommend a couple of things:

  • Ensure you have ample space available, as many hotels feature compact rooms and limited common areas. Small spaces tend to make toddlers restless, causing stress for parents as well.
  • Personally, I prefer staying in family-owned hotels as they provide a homely atmosphere, which resonates positively with me. Moreover, the service quality is generally superior in such establishments.
  • Let’s not forget the swimming pool! While it may not align with sustainability goals, it serves as a fantastic source of entertainment for my kids. Whether in the late afternoon or right after breakfast, the pool always proves to be a delightful option for leisure and enjoyment.
Rebecca's Kids at the hotel

Rebecca’s Kids at the hotel

Kid-friendly hotels in Santa Cruz

  1. Galapagos Safari Campo
  2. Hotel Ikala
  3. Finch Bay

Kid-friendly hotels in San Cristobal

  1. Golden Bay
  2. Seaside Inn
  3. Casa Opuntia

Kid-friendly hotels in Isabela

  1. Hotel Casa de Marita
  2. Hotel Albemarle
  3. Hotel Iguana Crossing

Galapagos Experience with Infants and Toddlers

Our experience traveling with toddlers to the Galapagos Islands was truly remarkable. The priceless experiences we had left us feeling exhausted by the end of the day, retiring to bed at 8 PM, only half an hour after the kids. However, the fulfillment derived from these experiences is so immense that I highly recommend embarking on this adventure. With meticulous planning and preparation, a toddler vacation in the Galapagos can become an unforgettable and cherished experience for the entire family.

Mother and infant at the beach.

Rebecca and her happy son in San Cristobal.

Regenerative travel or family volunteering

If you are looking to enrich your family trip with volunteering or any type of community-based activities take into account that there are numerous options available at the Galapagos Islands. You can learn with your toddlers about national park conservation, organic farming or help the community with beach cleaning. I did a ceviche workshop with my toddlers to show them the local kitchen and to support a local female-owned restaurant and we all loved it.

Start Your Family Adventure Today!

Contact us and book your tour today and embark on an unforgettable Galapagos Adventure with your toddlers! If you need more information regarding your trip to the Galapagos Islands or Ecuador one of our Destination Experts will be more than happy to help!

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