You may think traveling long distances and spending extended time in a different country is not suitable for a family, but there are places that are worth the headache. If you want your children to learn and explore different cultures, traveling outside the country is the key. Children who begin learning and understanding cultures other than theirs at an early age have an increased sense of self and worldly perspective. Getting a connection to nature and exploring gets them out of the house and away from electronics allowing them to learn about reality.
Traveling with kids benefits the family. Parents get more out of their vacation and change their kids’ lives forever. You’ll never get bored with them around and exploring with children can be an exciting and interesting experience. We all turn into kids when it comes to visiting extraordinary islands like the Galápagos Islands. Outdoor adventures and trips are the most memorable as there are so many things to do and places to traverse. Activities like kayaking and delving into research facilities will have every member of the family intrigued by the impressive Galápagos Islands.
The Galápagos is home to many unique animals that will not compare to those you’ve seen at home. To witness an animal in its natural habitat is a true learning experience as you see what animals may do in their time and how they interact with other species, themselves, and with you.
The wildlife and getting up close and personal with special reptiles like lava lizards, geckos, and iguanas, make the visit to these islands so remarkable. These animals have evolved over thousands of years and did not survive on harsh, dry, and isolated lands by becoming diverse. The Galápagos Islands are like no other because when it comes to wildlife, there have almost never been any invasions of outside species.
There are a number of centers that are specifically focused on one type of animal. The El Chato Tortoise Reserve on Santa Cruz Island is dedicated to the preservation of giant turtles. At this reserve, you come face to face with animals like the tortoise, but also the Darwin finch and short-ear owl.
Take a cruise
There are only a few cruise lines that sail to the Galápagos archipelago due to most lines not being skilled in traveling to these South American islands. A cruise would not only offer a price-efficient voyage but also a fun way to travel for your kids. On most ships that are kid-friendly, there are countless activities for them to enjoy the sail across the ocean. Most children will enjoy experiencing the ocean surrounding them and seeing the whales and dolphins leap out of the water as the ship gets closer to the destination. Parents will enjoy these encounters as much as their children will.
There is so much to learn when you choose a cruise package that has excursions included. Some may think getting a family onto a cruise ship in one piece is difficult, but it is worth every struggle. With growing accommodations on the islands, it is easier to explore without having to keep up with excursion times.
The cheapest and most fun experience for the entire family is visiting one of the many beautiful beaches. Hang out with the sea lions, iguanas, and birds on the whitest beach sands you’ve seen. Observe pink flamingoes, whales, and blue-footed boobies on the various shores and water. Tortuga Bay is the most popular beach on Santa Cruz Island and features baby turtles to large turtles. This place is where you should be to witness the turtle nesting season.
The Red Sand beach located on Rabida Island has bright-colored sand that brings tourists from around the world. Not only will this sand look cool as it spreads through your toes but also is a perfect destination for taking photos of you and your family. You wouldn’t particularly relax here as you would at Bachas Beach in Santa Cruz, but hiking through would be ideal.
Other beautiful beaches to visit:
- Bartolome Island beach
- El Garrapatero, Santa Cruz Island
- Post Office Bay, Floreana Island
- Puerto Chino, San Cristobal
- Puerto Villamil
Located on Santa Cruz island, a pair of volcanic sinkholes called Los Gemelos, or the twins, divide the dry forests from the humid agricultural lands. Take your family to explore and learn about these sinkholes as the geological structures are a sight to see. The contrast of the gray and black volcanic rocks with the bright green of the forest creates a beautiful and unique image. Capture photos along the Los Gemelos trail. Although the average time spent here is around 30 minutes, the memory of this distinctive landscape will last forever.
Outside nature activities will get every member of your family involved and active. Finding fun activities that are kid-friendly will make the trip more memorable for your family. Highlight your trip and take the chance to get up close with the marine mammals when you go snorkeling in the seas of the Galápagos. You don’t need any training to do this activity, unlike scuba diving, which allows you to bring your family along and explore safely.
Related read: How To Plan A Galapagos Trip Without Breaking The Bank
Kayaking is another activity that requires the participation of every member of the family. Grab a boat and paddle along the rugged shorelines and explore the bright beaches and secret coves. This is guaranteed to get you active and may become tiresome for your kids, but also makes you excited about your trip to the Galapagos. Non-aquatic activities like horseback riding and panga rides will give you a variety of learning experiences.
Charles Darwin Research Station
Santa Cruz is home to the Charles Darwin Research Station, which was founded in 1959 after Darwin explored and researched the finch bird to help illustrate his Theory of Evolution. This is a great learning experience for you and your family. Although there is an amount of information taught in schools about Charles Darwin, actually visiting the place where he conducted his research and learning about his work from the source is educational to any learning style.
It is also the home to the Lonesome George, the last remaining Pinta Island giant tortoise. Many tourists come to the research center specifically to see him. Animals like iguanas and several large tortoises are placed there for study and protection. Take memorable photos with animals only a percentage of the population has been given the chance to see up close.