The Galapagos Islands are one of the world’s top family travel destinations, and a family cruise is a great way to experience the amazing archipelago. The weather is pleasant, the activities are not so strenuous or difficult that they can’t be enjoyed by multiple age groups at once, and the wildlife viewing is out of this world!
Ecoventura, the owner operator of 3 Galapagos naturalist yachts – the Eric, Letty, and Flamingo I – knows this, and they have been offering fantastic Galapagos cruises for families for years. Because they run three sister ships at the same time, they are able to put together groups of similar ages and interests onto the same ship, so that one yacht might have families with kids under 18 (kids 12 and up are welcome all year long), another will have 30-50 year old adults only, and the third will be filled with the 60+ crowd. Ecoventura does more than just put families together, however – they offer set departures for families, with the dates selected for when kids are out of school: March for Spring Break, Easter, Summer Holidays, and Christmas/New Years breaks. These trips cater to families with kids as young as seven, and offer age-appropriate activities depending on the age and number of kids onboard. Naturalists on family trips know how to make learning about the Galapagos fun for kids, and understand what kids will enjoy, while still engaging with the adults. Of course, one of the biggest benefits is having other kids to interact with, helping to make the trip fun for all.
On Family trips, special kid activities include visiting the bridge to learn about navigational charts and tie nautical knots with the Captain. There are special parties that include games with prizes, there are drawing contests, ice cream sundae socials, and a King Neptune costume party and talent show. There are also kid appropriate board games, books, and DVDs in the lounge to entertain kids during down time. The yachts have kid-sized masks, fins, and snorkels, as well as kid sized wetsuits and lifejackets on board. There are even separate briefings for kids as well, so that both kids and adults get the best possible experience in the islands.
Family Teen and Family Teen Graduation trips are more physically active than an all-adult or family departures with younger children. The guides take advantage of the longest trails for longer, more strenuous walks, and all kayaking and snorkeling opportunities are utilized.
Of course, keeping kids happy on a trip also means serving familiar kid-friendly meals and snacks in addition to the regular menu for adults. Here is a sample menu from and Ecoventura Galapagos Family Trip:
Breakfast: hot chocolate, milk, apple juice, fruit loops, lucky charms, pancakes, fresh fruit, bagels with crème cheese, muffins,
Lunch: hot dogs, hamburgers, turkey or tuna sandwich, plain pastas, mac and cheese.
Dinner: spaghetti with marinara sauce, chicken fingers, steaks, French fries or baked potato, vegetables. Desert: Ice crème, Jello, cakes.
Snacks: pizzas, pop corn, pretzels, chips.
On FAMILY departures, 1 of the 3 yachts is designated for families traveling with children, and these trips are ideal for kids aged 5-12. On FAMILY TEEN departures, 1 of the 3 yachts is designated for families traveling with teens, ideal for kids aged 13-21. Most of Ecoventura’s Galapagos family departures are for families with teenaged children. Families who want to be on the same deck as their children need to book both cabins on the dolphin deck. On Family departures, iguana deck cabins are used to confirm children and triples only, as adult parents are only confirmed on the booby or dolphin decks.
Best of all, Ecoventura is a leader in sustainable tourism, and is at the forefront of providing green trips in the Galapagos Islands. Their yachts are Smart Voyager Certified and Rainforest Alliance Verified, and they support many eco travel organizations and initiatives.