Itinerary #1: Family Fun & Wildlife in the Galápagos: Quito & Isla San Cristóbal
This relaxed-pace itinerary is well-suited to families that want to combine a tour of Quito with wildlife, nature, and watersports on Isla San Cristóbal. There are several opportunities to snorkel, including around Isla Lobos among playful sea lions and at the iconic Kicker Rock. Given that some excursions have age restrictions, this trip is best for families with children six and up.
|Day 1||Arrive in Quito, Explore||Quito|
|Day 2||Quito City Tour, Visit Mitad del Mundo, Games Evening||Quito|
|Day 3||Fly to Isla San Cristóbal & the Galapagos||Isla San Cristóbal|
|Day 4||Explore Isla San Cristóbal's Beaches||Isla San Cristóbal|
|Day 5||Wildlife Discovery at Isla Lobos||Isla San Cristóbal|
|Day 6||Snorkeling Excursion to Kicker Rock||Isla San Cristóbal|
|Day 7||Fly to Quito & Depart|
On the mainland, take the kids up Pichincha volcano on the TelefériQo cable car. Let them try one of the world's highest swings before heading to La Floresta to check out street art and dine in a family-friendly restaurant. Visit Quito's historic sites, including La Compañía de Jesús, a 17th-century church made of volcanic rock; then it's off to Mitad del Mundo, where you can snap a photo of the kids with a foot in each hemisphere. End the evening with a game night at La Bodeguita de los Juegos, a board game café in downtown Quito. Catch a flight on Day 3 to Isla San Cristóbal for your Galápagos adventures.
Take a family hike up Las Tijeretas Hill, then do some snorkeling at La Lobería—wildlife-loving kids will be thrilled to spot marine iguanas and turtles. Spend a day beach hopping and bird watching from Playa Carola to Playa Mann, and end with a sunset at Punta Pitt. Take a boat to Isla Lobos, where you'll snorkel with sea lions, then help the kids spot blue-footed boobies. Make the most of your final day with a snorkeling excursion at Kicker Rock, followed by fishing at Punta Pitt and a swim at Rosa Blanca Beach. Share your favorite memories with each other over a seafood dinner before departure. Learn more
Itinerary #2: Family-Friendly Galápagos
If your family likes to keep busy on vacation and is looking for a mix of adventure, culture, and wildlife, this active itinerary is for you. You'll prepare Ecuadorian food in a cooking class in Quito, then experience some of the best of Isla Santa Cruz and Isla Isabela, including learning about conservation at the Charles Darwin Center, snorkeling at Los Túneles, kayaking to Las Tintoreras, and bird-watching in the wetlands. Intrepid families will also relish getting off the beaten path on a visit to an uninhabited island. Some activities have age restrictions, so this itinerary is best for ages seven and up.
|Day 1||Arrive in Quito, Family Cooking Class||Quito|
|Day 2||Fly to Isla Santa Cruz, Giant Tortoises & Charles Darwin Research Station||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 3||Excursion to an Uninhabited Island||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 4||Speedboat to Isla Isabela, Snorkeling at Los Túneles||Isla Isabela|
|Day 5||Las Tintoreras Kayak & Snorkel Tour||Isla Isabela|
|Day 6||Return to Isla Santa Cruz, Free Afternoon to Explore||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 7||Depart Isla Santa Cruz|
Dive into Ecuadorian cuisine with a kid-friendly cooking class on arrival in Quito. Then it's off to Isla Santa Cruz the next day, where you'll introduce the kids to some of the residents—the giant tortoises you can see up close in the highlands and at the Charles Darwin Center. Adventurous kids will be excited to imagine what it was like to be Charles Darwin as you visit an uninhabited island and search for unique endemic species on a full-day boat trip. Then, take a speedboat to Isla Isabela for a snorkeling excursion through the lava arches at Los Túneles (although the water is shallow, children must be at least seven years old).
Kayak to Las Tintoreras for snorkeling and a walking tour of the islets, reminding the kids to watch for wildlife, including penguins and blue-footed boobies. End the day with a swim in the calm waters at La Playa de Amor or, if you've got birders in the family, take a walk through the wetlands and observe flamingoes and other feathered friends. Then let the kids choose the activities for your final day on Isla Santa Cruz: a hike to Tortuga Bay for a family beach day, wildlife viewing at Playa de los Perros, and souvenir shopping along the Puerto Ayora Malecón are all excellent options. Learn more
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Itinerary #3: Quito & Galápagos Family Cruise
Cruise amid the Galápagos Islands on this itinerary, ideal for families keen to experience Quito and prefer to have one home base once they arrive in the Galápagos. It's also a good choice for those who want to visit some islands that may not be as common on land-based itineraries. And it's a great itinerary for families with younger children as all the activities are kid-friendly, and there is always the option to stay on board the boat if needed.
|Day 1||Arrive in Quito, Explore the City||Quito|
|Day 2||Ride the TelefériQo, Visit the Mitad del Muno Monument||Quito|
|Day 3||Fly to Isla Baltra, Transfer to Cruise Ship, Visit Isla Santa Cruz||Cruise Ship|
|Day 4||Explore El Barranco, Prince Philip's Steps & Darwin Bay on Isla Genovesa||Cruise Ship|
|Day 5||Explore Isla Plaza Sur & Isla Santa Fe||Cruise Ship|
|Day 6||Visit Bachas Beach, Transfer to Baltra Airport, Fly to Quito||Quito|
|Day 7||Depart Quito|
Take the kids to stretch their legs in one of Quito's greenspaces, such as Guangüiltagua Metropolitan Park, then learn some history and snap a family photo in Plaza Grande while wandering around Old Town. Ride the TelefériQo cable car up Pichincha and let the kids test out the highest swing in the world at 13,123 feet (4,000 m) before standing in both hemispheres at Mitad del Mundo. Fly to Isla Baltra, where you'll board your cruise ship and sail to Isla Santa Cruz. Disembark for a walk in the highlands, where the kids can do some bird-watching and meet giant tortoises before returning to the ship.
Find fur seals, red-footed boobies, and more as you explore Isla Genovesa. Task the kids with spotting some of the many birds at Darwin Bay, such as the red-throated frigatebirds. Capture fun family photos with the cacti on Isla Plaza Sur and learn about the birds found here, including Galápagos shearwaters and red-billed tropicbirds. Sail to Isla Santa Fe for some snorkeling alongside sea lions, then invite the kids to search for endemic Santa Fe land iguanas. Give your young photographers a camera so they can snap photos of flamingoes and green turtles on a wildlife walk at Bachus Beach before departure. Learn more
Itinerary #4: Family Adventure in the Galápagos: Snorkeling, Kayaking, & Hiking
With an abundance of active adventures, including kayaking in Tortuga Bay, snorkeling at Los Túneles, and hiking Sierra Negram, this family adventure is best suited to sporty families with energetic kids. It's also a good option for first-time visitors interested in hitting the highlights of Isla Santa Cruz and Isla Isabela.
|Day 1||Arrive in Quito, Explore||Quito|
|Day 2||Fly to Isla Santa Cruz, Visit Giant Tortoises||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 3||Kayak in Tortuga Bay, Boat Tour of Isla Santa Cruz||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 4||Speedboat to Isla Isabela, Snorkel in Los Túneles||Isla Isabela|
|Day 5||Hike the Sierra Negra Volcano, Return to Isla Santa Cruz||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 6||Full-Day Boat Tour to an Uninhabited Island||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 7||Fly to Mainland Ecuador, Depart|
Take it easy with a walk in Quito's Carolina Park and dinner at a family-friendly restaurant in La Floresta while you adjust to the altitude. Fly to the Galápagos on Day 2 and get started on Isla Santa Cruz with lunch and an introduction to the giant tortoises at a highlands farm. Take a hike to Tortuga Bay, then load the kids up in kayaks for a paddle out to search for wildlife, including marine iguanas. Then board a larger boat to La Lobería for a snorkel before heading to Shark Channel, where you can safely observe harmless whitetip reef sharks. End the day counting the sea turtles and colorful fish you find at Canal del Amor.
Head to Isla Isabela for snorkeling at Los Túneles—the geological formations and abundance of marine life are sure to thrill your budding geologists and marine biologists. And if you've got outer space enthusiasts among you, they'll be delighted by a hike across the otherworldly lava landscapes of the Sierra Negra Volcano—a perfect spot to capture a family photo!). Ignite the explorer in all with a wildlife walk on an uninhabited island, and finally, cap off your adventures with a celebratory seafood dinner back on Isla Santa Cruz before returning to the mainland for your flight home. Learn more
Itinerary #5: Relaxed Family Trip to the Galápagos
Families interested in a slower pace and some private experiences, such as a personal yacht trip to Isla Bartolomé and Sombrero Chino, will enjoy this cultural itinerary. The gentle pace and kid-friendly options, including a leisurely beach day at Garrapatero Beach and a gentle walk through the prickly pear cactus forest at Tortuga Bay, also make this a good choice for families with young children.
|Day 1||Arrive in Guayaquil, Gateway to the Galápagos||Guayaquil|
|Day 2||Fly to Isla Santa Cruz, Organic Coffee Farm Visit||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 3||Day Trip to Isla Bartolomé & Sombrero Chino||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 4||Explore the Santa Cruz Highlands & Charles Darwin Station||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 5||Relax on Garrapatero Beach||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 6||Tortuga Bay Kayak & Day Trip||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 7||Visit Chocolápagos, Depart Isla Santa Cruz|
On arrival in Guayaquil, climb the steps up Cerro Santa Ana for sweeping views and a family photo. Catch a flight to the Galápagos and head to Lava Java Organic Coffee Farm for a tour and tasting; parents can get their caffeine fix, and kids can enjoy exploring the grounds and wildlife. Board a private yacht to Isla Bartolomé, where you'll follow the boardwalk up to a view of iconic Pinnacle Rock and then have a wander around the island's lunar landscapes. Back on board your yacht, you're off to Sombrero Chino—encourage the kids to watch for penguins and Galápagos sharks before returning to Isla Santa Cruz.
Little conservationists will love seeing giant tortoises at the Fausto Llerena Breeding Center, learning about efforts to protect wildlife on a visit to Charles Darwin Research Center, and observing tortoises and a variety of birds in the Santa Cruz highlands. Enjoy a family beach day at El Garrapatero on Day 5, where you can swim, snorkel, and spot sea lions and lava lizards. Spend your final full day at Tortuga Bay; let the kids choose from kayaking, snorkeling with the marine iguanas, or walking a trail through the prickly pear cactus forest. Don't forget to grab some sweets from the Chocolápagos shop before departure. Learn more
More Great Galápagos Islands Itineraries
Looking for more inspiration for your trip to the Galápagos? Check out these other one-week Galápagos itineraries, with outdoor adventures, family-friendly trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights.