Make a dent in your family bucket list with this two-week trip that combines fun and relaxation in Ecuador with plenty of wildlife excursions and beach time in the Galápagos. Your mini conservationists will adore their voyage of discovery through treetop canopies, flamingo-filled lagoons, and sea lion-packed islands. Along the way, you'll learn the art of Ecuadorian cuisine, snorkel the archipelago's best spots, and relax in picture-perfect thermal pools.


  • Sharpen your family's tastebuds with an Ecuadorian cooking class
  • Discover the artisanal woodcarvers at San Antonio de Ibarra
  • Fly through cloud forest canopies in Mindo 
  • Make pals with the sea lions and giant tortoises in the Galápagos
  • See unique marine wildlife on a snorkeling excursion to Kicker Rock

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Quito, Family Cooking Class Quito
Day 2 Meet the Reptiles at the Quito Vivarium Quito
Day 3 San Antonio de Ibarra Arts & Crafts Day Trip Quito
Day 4 Mindo Cloud Forest Experience & Zipline Quito
Day 5 Fly to Isla San Cristóbal & the Galápagos Isla San Cristóbal
Day 6 Explore Isla San Cristóbal's Beaches Isla San Cristóbal
Day 7 Wildlife Discovery at Isla Lobos Isla San Cristóbal
Day 8 Snorkeling Excursion to Kicker Rock Isla San Cristóbal
Day 9 Fly to Isla Isabela, Explore the Island by Bike Isla Isabela
Day 10 Coffee & Fruit Plantation Tour & Tasting, Dinner by the Sea Isla Isabela
Day 11 Family Snorkel at Concha Perla  Isla Isabela
Day 12 Fly to Quito, Afternoon at Termas de Papallacta Quito
Day 13 Explore La Mariscal Handicrafts Market Quito
Day 14 Visit Mitad del Mundo, Depart Quito  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Quito, Family Cooking Class

Get to grips with Ecuadorian Cuisine at this evening's cooking class
Get to grips with Ecuadorian cuisine at this evening's cooking class

Welcome to Ecuador, the gateway to the Galápagos Islands! Your flight lands in the capital city of Quito, located in the foothills of the Andes and home to a rich cultural history, impressive culinary scene, and an array of picturesque plazas and market stalls. Upon arrival, your driver will collect you from the airport. Settle in at your hotel, and head out to explore after a refresh and a regroup.

If the kids are buzzing with excitement after the flight, then head straight to Parque La Carolina. With 65 acres (66 ha) of green space, and plenty of lakes, fountains, and children's play areas to explore, it's an excellent way for kids to burn off some energy. Take advantage of the park's food stalls to grab a bite to eat and stop in at the on-site botanical gardens. A network of paths takes you through the gardens and to the greenhouses, where you'll find a wide variety of beautiful orchids on display.

This evening, combine dinner plans and a fun activity with the kids as you take a deep dive into local traditions and gastronomy with a family cooking class. Step into the kitchen of a local chef and learn to prepare some typical Ecuadorian dishes, including empanadas and guaguas de pan (sweet rolls filled with chocolate or jam). During the class, your instructors will also share stories about the history behind each recipe. There's a special menu for younger family members, and at the end of the class, you'll sit down together and enjoy the meal you created. 

Day 2: Meet the Reptiles at the Quito Vivarium

Discover the reptiles at Quito's Vivarium
Discover the reptiles at Quito's Vivarium

Start your morning with a relaxed breakfast, then head out to explore the city some more. Browse the shops, or, if you like, head uphill to the Yaku Water Museum. You'll get great views over the historic center, and there are plenty of interactive exhibits for the kids. Take a break at the outdoor café and then head up to the Bubble Room—true to its name, the kids will have a great time making and popping bubbles with the different tools available.

In the afternoon, head to the city's Vivarium, the flagship project of the Gustavo Orcés Herpetological Foundation, a center specializing in the management of amphibians and reptiles—it's an excellent opportunity for the kids to appreciate the wonders of these creatures. A guide will explain how the lizards, snakes, and turtles are cared for and give you and the kids a rare close-up look at two of the specimens there. After your tour, head out for a family dinner and back to your accommodation to relax.

Day 3: San Antonio de Ibarra Arts & Crafts Day Trip

Ecuadorian woodcarving
Spend time with the woodcarvers in San Antonio de Ibarra

Today you and your family will take a private transfer 43 miles (70 km) northeast of Quito to the small village of San Antonio de Ibarra. Nestled in the foothills of the Imbabura volcano and on the left bank of the Río Tahuando, San Antonio is famous as Ecuador's woodcarving capital and full of colonial charm. You'll find over 15 artisanal workshops here, preserving centuries-old traditions and producing world-renowned religious and secular carvings.

Stroll the peaceful streets and let the kids take the lead in spotting the numerous galleries that line the street, many of which look just like houses from the outside. Inside you'll find artisans at work and have the opportunity to learn about the traditional methods used in woodcarving. Spend time admiring the intricate details of various handcrafted figures, including horses, angels, and saints, many of which can be purchased as souvenirs directly from the woodcarvers. Afterward, you'll return to Quito, where the evening is yours to relax and dine out at leisure.

Day 4: Mindo Cloud Forest Experience & Zipline

Canopy Ride in Mindo
Zipline through the canopies in the Mindo cloud forest

Take a break from the city today as you and your family set off on a day trip to the Mindo-Nambillo Ecological Reserve. Your destination is the cloud forest in the subtropical Mindo Valley, at the Choco Lowlands intersection and the Andean highlands' tropical western slopes. Thanks to its location and position (the forest lies at around 4,100 ft/1,250 m), this region is famous for its incredibly high biodiversity, with over 400 species of birds, including hummingbirds, woodpeckers, and the elusive cock of the rock. 

Explore the forest and let the little ones keep a tally of the countless birds, butterflies, and insects that call the region home. The reserve's zipline is an excellent opportunity to experience the beauty of the forest from above and is sure to be a hit with the kids as you soar between the treetop canopies and catch a glimpse or two of one of the many resident birds. Back on solid ground, you'll accompany your guide to a beautiful stretch of the river where you and the kids can enjoy a refreshing dip. After enjoying several more activities in the forest, you'll return to Quito.

Day 5: Fly to Isla San Cristóbal & the Galápagos

Welcome to the Galapagos!
It's off to the Galápagos today to meet rare and wonderful wildlife like the giant tortoise

It's off to Isla San Cristóbal in the Galápagos today! At the appointed time, your driver will pick you up from your hotel and take you to the airport, where you'll catch a 3.5-hour flight to the famed volcanic archipelago roughly 621 miles (1,000 km) off Ecuador's Pacific coast. Upon arrival, a private transfer will take you to your hotel. Settle in with the kids and then head out to explore. 

Start your exploration of the Galápagos' natural wonders with a visit to the island's Interpretation Center. The museum is a great starting point for families to discover the island's volcanic origins, climate, and the different species of animals that call San Cristóbal home. You'll see several of these as you hike to Las Tijeretas Hill, including the local frigatebirds, after which the hill is named. The male birds are known for their balloon-shaped large red chests, making them an easy spot for the kids. 

End your day at La Lobería, a beach home to sea lions and marine iguanas. It's the perfect spot for a family snorkel, where you'll likely encounter the famous Galápagos sea turtle and a variety of colorful fish. As dusk falls, dine out on sparkling fresh seafood and toast the start of your island adventure.

Plan your trip to Galapagos Islands
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 6: Explore Isla San Cristóbal's Beaches

Beach day at San Cristobal Island with children
Explore the white-sand beaches of Isla San Cristóbal at your own pace

Enjoy relaxed island life today and explore Isla San Cristóbal's natural beauty and stunning beaches at your own pace. Head first to Playa Carola, a perfect spot for families with gorgeous views and plenty of activities. Relax while the kids snorkel in the clear, calm waters and discover the sea stars and local marine life. If you fancy a stretch of the legs and some shade, there's a small forest nearby where the kids can run and play. 

For a change of scene, head to Playa Mann. Surrounded by cliffs, the area is renowned as a great place to bird-watch. Here you can observe the seabirds nesting on the cliffs or diving for a meal in the ocean. The beach's white sands and shallow waters are a perfect introduction for first-time snorkelers, and the various marine creatures will transfix the kids.

An hour's hike from Playa Mann is Punta Pitt, where you'll find a lookout with breathtaking views of the bay and an excellent place for a memorable family photo. Task the kids to watch for the lava lizards lounging on the rocks and the brightly-colored finches flitting around the trees. Stroll back to the beach, where locals flock to watch the sunset, before returning to your hotel and heading out for dinner.

Day 7: Wildlife Discovery at Isla Lobos

San Cristobal sea lion
Discover the cute sea lions at the aptly named Isla Lobos

Rally the kids and pack a picnic as this morning, you and the family head out on a memorable boat trip to Isla Lobos, or "Sea Lion Island." Located 6 miles (10 km) north of Isla San Cristóbal, this island is famous for its noisy, jolly sea lions, and the adorable creatures are sure to elicit plenty of oohs and ahhs from the kids with their playful antics. Spend a few hours snorkeling around the island where, as well as rays and turtles, you may see the brightly-colored Sally Lightfoot crab and perhaps even harmless whitetip sharks.

Back on shore, stroll the island's two sandy beaches and explore the lush vegetation as you follow one of the several hiking trails that lead to breathtaking views of the surrounding area. There's plenty of exotic birdlife for the kids to discover, including the blue-footed and Nazca boobies. Choose a spot to enjoy lunch before returning to the beach for one final dip. In the afternoon, you'll transfer back to your hotel.

Day 8: Snorkeling Excursion to Kicker Rock

Snorkeling at Kicker Rock
Enjoy a family snorkel trip to Kicker Rock, famed for its incredible marine life

 After breakfast, pack your swimsuits and head out with the kids for an excursion to Kicker Rock, a large rock formation just off Isla San Cristóbal's coast. On today's guided snorkel tour, you'll drop anchor and experience the majestic marine life as you and the kids swim among the turtles, rays, and tropical fish. 

When you're ready, hop back on the boat and head to Cerro Brujo (Witch's Hill), where you'll have time to relax on the beautiful beach of Bahía Sardina. Kids will love visiting nearby Punta Pitt, where your guide will show you how the locals fish before letting the kids try reeling one in for themselves. Back on the boat, enjoy a delicious lunch before heading to the white sands of Rosa Blanca for a final swim before returning to the pier. 

Day 9: Fly to Isla Isabela, Explore the Island by Bike

Tour Isla Isabela by bike
See the quiet backroads and empty beaches of Isla Isabela by bike

Get ready for the next leg of your Galápagos adventure this morning with a transfer to the airport for your short flight to Isla Isabela, the largest island in the archipelago. Your private transfer will collect you from the airport and transfer you to your accommodation in the island's main town of Puerto Villamil. After settling in, head out to discover the island's charms at your own pace on a leisurely cycle ride. Your bikes will be waiting for you at your hotel, and with very little traffic on the island, the kids will have a blast exploring their surroundings on their own set of wheels.

See the marine iguanas lounging in the sun near the beaches of Playa del Amor and tempt the kids on a longer ride with stunning coastal views to Galapaguera, where they'll be delighted to see giant tortoises and their offspring. Closer to home is the Muro de las Lagrimas (Wall of Tears), a historic landmark built by prisoners of the penal colony once part of the island. If the kids are keen to see more wildlife, the Flamingo Lagoon, a coastal lagoon home to a vast flamingo nesting ground, is a great option. 

Day 10:  Coffee & Fruit Plantation Tour & Tasting, Dinner by the Sea

Spend time in Isla Isabela's highlands this morning
Spend time in Isla Isabela's highlands this morning

Today you and the kids will get to see (and taste) a rural slice of island life as you transfer to a hacienda in the highlands, a thirty-minute drive from Puerto Villamil. You'll start your visit with a tour of the estate's coffee and fruit plantations. The kids will have great fun guessing the fruits and connecting with nature and the local wildlife while you tour the trails that connect the plantations and hear about life on the farm. Afterward, you'll enjoy refreshments, including coffee and delicious food from the hacienda's fresh produce. 

Back in Puerto Villamil, you'll have the afternoon to relax at your hotel, head to the beach, or take a gentle stroll through the streets. In the evening, dine on mouth-wateringly fresh seafood and delicious fish dishes at a nearby restaurant. The beautiful sea view is one to linger over as you and the kids recount the day's highlights.

Day 11: Family Snorkel at Concha Perla 

Make new friends with a relaxed snorkel
Make new friends with a relaxed snorkel in the waters around Concha Perla
This morning, make the most of Isla Isabela's beautiful beaches and calm shallow waters with a day trip to Playa Concha Perla. It's one of the best areas on the island for swimming and snorkeling and the perfect place to discover graceful sea turtles, majestic rays, and even playful penguins on the nearby rocks. When the kids have had their fill of aquatic fun, head back to Puerto Villamil for dinner and a laid-back evening at your hotel. 

Day 12:  Fly to Quito, Afternoon at Termas de Papallacta

Papallacta Hot Springs
Bathe in the turquoise waters of the Papallacta hot springs

It's time to say your goodbyes to the Galápagos this morning as you take one final stroll through the town and then head to the airport with your family. You'll catch a two-hour flight to Isla Santa Cruz and won't want to miss the fantastic aerial view of the islands. Wave goodbye to the archipelago as you board your connecting flight back to Quito. Upon landing, a driver will be waiting to take you to the small village of Papallacta, an hour away from Ecuador's capital and a popular day trip for visitors from Quito. Surrounded by lush mountain slopes, the little town is famous for its eight natural geothermal pools.

Unwind after the morning's travel in the beautiful Termas de Papallacta hot springs and enjoy a soak with the kids in the soothing thermal waters. On a clear day, you can take in the views of the vast glacier-covered Antisana volcano. Indulge in one of the on-site spa treatments, or if you're fully rejuvenated and the kids are clamoring for adventure, spend the afternoon exploring the nearby Laguna Papallacta. In the evening you'll return to your accommodation in Quito.

Day 13: Explore La Mariscal Handicrafts Market

Pick up some souvenirs from the local handicrafts market
Shop for one-of-a-kind souvenirs and keepsakes at La Mariscal Indigenous market
Relax with the family in Quito today and have fun exploring the enormous La Mariscal handicrafts market. The colorful stalls adorned with a huge variety of textiles, jewelry, alpaca rugs, plates, and wood carvings are a feast for the eyes and the perfect place to pick up authentic and affordable souvenirs. You'll find plenty to entertain the kids, with artists displaying their work in the open air and several playgrounds if they need some time out from the hustle and bustle. Fuel up on delicious street food for lunch and spend your last night in one of the city's family-friendly restaurants.

Day 14: Visit Mitad del Mundo, Depart Quito

Equatorial Monument
Hop between hemispheres at the Mitad del Mundo monument
The time has come to say farewell to Ecuador, but before you depart, there's one last adventure in store. Head north of the city where you'll find the famous Mitad del Mundo, a monument marking the point where the Northern and Southern Hemispheres meet and divide. It's a brilliant place for a photo op as you capture the little ones hopping between hemispheres! Depending on your flight times, you can also visit the nearby attractions, including a planetarium, a fun scale model of Quito, and several museums.
At the appointed hour, your driver will pick you up and transfer you to the airport for your flight home. Safe travels! 

More Great Galápagos Islands Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to the Galápagos? Check out these other Galápagos itineraries, discover different ways to spend two weeks in the Galápagos with your family, or explore the best time to visit the Galápagos


Map of Family Fun in Ecuador & the Galápagos - 14 Days
Map of Family Fun in Ecuador & the Galápagos - 14 Days