Embark on the family adventure of a lifetime with this two-week, multi-island exploration of the Galápagos. Hop between the archipelago's three main islands, discovering the unique ecosystems of each with an itinerary of fun wildlife encounters, kid-friendly active excursions, and plenty of laid-back beach time. Kayak alongside friendly sea lions on Isla Santa Cruz, hike to volcanic craters and cycle the backroads of Isla Isabela, and snorkel through the underwater wonders of Isla San Cristóbal.


  • Befriend giant Galápagos tortoises 
  • Follow in Darwin's footsteps and set sail to a deserted island
  • Snorkel the archipelago's best spots and swim alongside sea lions
  • Hike the lunar landscape of a 500,000-year-old volcano
  • Enjoy plenty of family time on picture-perfect white sandy beaches

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in the Galápagos, Transfer to Isla Santa Cruz Isla Santa Cruz
Day 2 Kayak Adventure in Tortuga Bay, Tour the Bay by Boat Isla Santa Cruz
Day 3 Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station & Tortoise Breeding Center Isla Santa Cruz
Day 4 Boat Trip to an Uninhabited Island, Dinner by the Sea Isla Santa Cruz
Day 5 Cycling at Cerro Mesa Reserva, Snorkeling at Garrapatero Beach Isla Santa Cruz
Day 6 Speedboat to Isla Isabela, Tortoise Breeding Station Visit Isla Isabela
Day 7 Excursion to Los Túneles Isla Isabela
Day 8 Hike the Sierra Negra Volcano Isla Isabela
Day 9 Puerto Villamil Kayak Adventure, Biking in Cave Sucre Isla Isabela
Day 10 Fly to Isla San Cristóbal Isla San Cristóbal
Day 11 Snorkeling at Kicker Rock  Isla San Cristóbal
Day 12 Isla Española Wildlife Encounter Isla San Cristóbal
Day 13 El Junco Lagoon, La Galapaguera & Puerto Chino Beach Isla San Cristóbal
Day 14 Depart Isla San Cristóbal  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in the Galápagos, Transfer to Isla Santa Cruz

Arrival to Santa Cruz Island
Welcome to the Galápagos Islands!

Welcome to the Galápagos Islands! A volcanic archipelago off the coast of Ecuador, the Galápagos National Park is home to 19 main islands, each with its distinctive wildlife and scenery. Your first destination is Isla Santa Cruz, the second-largest and most central island in the archipelago. Upon arrival at Isla Baltra, you'll transfer to the Itabaca Canal, where a small ferry will take you to your island. Meet your guide and driver and continue to your accommodation in Puerto Ayora, the main town on Isla Santa Cruz.

After a refresh at your hotel and a bite to eat, the rest of the day is yours to explore at leisure. Take a stroll around the compact town, wander down to the harbor to see sea lions greeting fishermen bringing in the day's catch, or head straight for the beach to let the kids blow off some steam in the shallow waters.

Day 2: Kayak Adventure in Tortuga Bay, Tour the Bay by Boat

See the playful seal pups on La Loberia
See the playful seal pups on La Lobería

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast, then rally the kids, grab your swimsuits, and hike along the easy 45-minute trail from Puerto Ayora to Tortuga Bay. Famous for its soft coral sand and spectacular scenery, this stretch of coast is considered one of the archipelago's most picturesque spots. Enjoy a leisurely family kayak around the bay and nearby coves as you paddle the calm waters while the kids keep their eyes peeled for the resident flamingoes, pelicans, and finches.

After lunch, you and the kids will explore the bay with a guided boat tour. First up is the enchanting islet of La Lobería, named after its colony of sea lions. These playful creatures will happily accommodate you and the kids as you snorkel alongside and witness their balletic grace. Back on board, you'll sail over to Shark Channel to catch sight of the harmless whitetip sharks and the comical blue-footed boobies, sure to elicit a giggle or two. Finish your aquatic adventure with a trip to see the sea turtles and tropical fish at the Canal del Amor and the breathtaking cliffs at Las Grietas.

Day 3: Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station & Tortoise Breeding Center

Discover the highlands on Isla Santa Cruz
Learn about the conservation of giant tortoises on today's excursions

Set off with your guide for a fascinating morning at the world-renowned Charles Darwin Research Station. The center is dedicated to research and conservation in the Galápagos, and there's plenty here to captivate the kids. You and your mini conservationists will learn about the facility's efforts to protect threatened wildlife and the island's unique ecosystems. Next is a visit to the adjacent Fausto Llerena Breeding Center, the best place in the Galápagos to see the famous giant tortoises before being released into the wild.

The rest of the day is yours to explore or relax. Head to the island's highlands to see more ancient tortoises in the wild or explore the lava fields that dot the landscape—a wonderful natural playground for the kids. Stroll the streets of Puerto Ayora and pick up some souvenirs, then head back to your hotel before dining at one of the great seafood restaurants. 

Day 4: Boat Trip to an Uninhabited Island, Dinner by the Sea

Boat to an uninhabited island like Isla Plaza Sur, known for its unique cactus forests
Plan your trip to Galapagos Islands
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

It's a day full of adventure as you and the kids channel your inner explorer and take a boat trip to one of the archipelago's uninhabited islands. Depending on the permit granted, you'll cruise to either Santa Fé, Plaza Sur, Bartolomé, or Seymour Norte—strict control by the National Park authorities keeps these islands pristine. Set sail across the turquoise waters before a gentle hike over the untouched island. Alongside the giant tortoises synonymous with the archipelago, the kids will discover a host of other animals, including iguanas and all manner of marine birds.

After a morning of exploration, hop back on the boat for a mouthwatering lunch before enjoying your own slice of paradise for a relaxed few hours. Enjoy a family swim or kick back on the immaculate beaches before returning to Puerto Ayora. In the evening, recount the day's highlights as you and the kids dine at one of the town's sea-fronted restaurants. Back at your hotel, enjoy a nightcap after tucking in the exhausted but happy kids.

Day 5: Cycling at Cerro Mesa Reserva, Snorkeling at Garrapatero Beach

Explore the island's charms by bike
Explore the island's backroads and beaches by bike

This morning discover the island's charms at your own pace with a guided cycle ride. The kids will love exploring their scenic surroundings on their own set of wheels as you head first to the protected Cerro Mesa Ecological Reserve. Enjoy a guided nature walk and grab a family selfie at the lookout point as you spot Darwin's finches and Galápagos hawks. It's the perfect spot to enjoy a relaxing picnic and admire the scenic views of the volcanic craters, lush forests, and coastline. 

Afterward, head to the pristine white-sand beaches of Garrapatero. There's plenty more wildlife to spot, including slender lava lizards basking on the nearby rocks as you and the kids stroll to the beach from the trailhead. How you spend the afternoon is up to you. Snorkel among the colorful reef fish, enjoy a family kayak around the bay and see the flamingoes and mallards among the mangroves. End your day with a visit to the Santa Cruz Brewery, and discover the first craft beer made on the Galápagos Islands while the kids take advantage of the thoughtfully provided board games.

Day 6: Speedboat to Isla Isabela, Tortoise Breeding Station

Who will be first to spot a blue footed booby?
Who will be the first to spot a blue-footed booby?

Rally the kids this morning and board a speedboat for the 2.5-hour ride from Isla Santa Cruz to Puerto Villamil, the main town on the archipelago's largest island of Isabela. Meet your guide and take a short journey to the famous Muro de Las Lagrimas (Wall of Tears), a historic landmark built by prisoners of the penal colony once part of the island. The nearby wetlands are home to saltwater lagoons that attract vast numbers of flamingoes, a must-see for kids enthused by the extraordinary wildlife of the Galápagos. 

Next is the Centro Crianza Armando Tupiza, a giant tortoise breeding center working with the Charles Darwin Research Station to protect these majestic creatures. You and your family will have plenty of opportunities to get up close and admire the animals before returning to Puerto Villamil later in the afternoon to check into your hotel.

Day 7: Excursion to Los Túneles

Spot the sea turtles in Los Tuneles
Swim with the sea turtles at  Los Túneles

After a leisurely breakfast at your hotel, you and the kids will head out on an excursion to Los Túneles, one of Isla Isabela's best snorkeling spots. The stunning islet's geological formation of distinct rock arches and tunnels is great fun for a family snorkel. Explore the island's unique underwater world as you spot tropical fish, rays, sea turtles, and seahorses. Back on land, there's plenty more wildlife to discover, including the little penguins, sure to be a highlight for the kids. You'll return to your hotel in the afternoon, where the rest of the day is yours to relax.

Day 8: Hike the Sierra Negra Volcano

Hiking the Sierra Negra Volcano
The kids are sure to be impressed by the lava fields of the Sierra Negra volcano
Fill up at breakfast this morning as you and your family prepare to hike the crater of the Sierra Negra volcano. This 500,000-year-old wonder is one of the world's largest shield volcanoes, with a nearly 6-mile (10 km) diameter crater. You'll set out on your guided hike from Puerto Villamil, and younger ones will have a blast exploring the lava landscapes as you approach the crater. Enjoy the panoramic views of Isla Isabela and Isla Fernandina from the summit, then end your day with some family relaxation and aquatic fun at Playa Concha Perla.

Day 9: Puerto Villamil Kayak Adventure, Biking in Cave Sucre

Take a bike ride around the island
See the island by bike with a cycle to Cave Sucre

Get ready for a relaxed day of fun and sightseeing as you explore Isla Isabela by kayak and by bike. Meet your guide this morning and head to one of the island's best spots for a family kayak around the town's port area. Keep your eyes peeled for the wildlife around the bay, including the adorable little Galápagos penguins. Relax with a well-earned lunch back at your hotel, and when you're ready, grab your wheels and cycle with the kids to Cave Sucre, the Mango viewpoint, and Campo Duro at the top of the island. 

Enjoy the breathtaking views at the top and spend time with the giant tortoises here as they go about life in their natural habitat. The lava tunnels at Cave Sucre are worth an explore, and the volcanic cave is a must for all intrepid family adventurers. Return to Puerto Villamil at your own pace, where the rest of the day is yours to relax. 

Day 10: Fly to Isla San Cristóbal

A quick flight takes you to the easternmost island of San Cristóbal

This morning you and your family will wave goodbye to Isla Isabela and catch a flight east to Isla San Cristóbal, the last stop on your Galápagos adventure. After you've checked in and grabbed a bite to eat, the rest of the day is yours to explore. No doubt, the kids will be eager for the beach, and nearby Playa Carola is a perfect spot for families. With gorgeous views and plenty of activities, relax after the flight while the little ones snorkel the calm, clear waters and discover the sea stars and local marine life. 

Budding ornithologists will love the birdlife at Playa Mann. Surrounded by cliffs, the area is a great place to observe the seabirds nesting on the cliffs or diving for a meal in the ocean. If you fancy a stretch of the legs, head to Punta Pitt, a lookout with breathtaking bay views and an hour's hike from Playa Mann. It's a special spot for a family picnic, and the kids will be entranced by 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 to dinner. 

Day 11: Snorkeling at Kicker Rock 

Kicker Rock (San Cristobal Island)
Enjoy a family snorkel to Kicker Rock, famed for its wonderful marine life

Pack your swimsuits and sunscreen this morning and head out with the kids for an excursion to Kicker Rock, a large rock formation just off the coast that earns its nickname from its shoe-like shape. Drop anchor and explore one of the archipelago's most popular snorkeling spots and home to plenty of colorful marine life. Make memories with the kids as you get kitted out with the proper equipment and swim among the turtles, rays, and tropical fish. You'll likely be accompanied by playful sea lions and perhaps some harmless whitetip sharks

Day 12: Isla Española Wildlife Encounter

Meet the marine iguanas on Española Island
Meet the marine iguanas on Isla Española

Today's boat trip takes you and the kids on a scenic two-hour ride to Isla Española, home to some of the most iconic wildlife in the Galápagos. Immerse yourselves in the island's natural beauty as you embark on a guarded hike, and keep your camera close at hand as you see Nazca boobies, Española iguanas, and the resident albatross. 

After a couple of hours of exploring with the kids, you'll head to Gardner Bay, where a refreshing dip awaits. Swim with the playful sea lion pups, schools of fish, and fascinating marine iguanas before hopping back on the boat for an al fresco lunch. Later, you'll sail back to Isla San Cristóbal, where you can relax at your hotel.

Day 13: El Junco Lagoon, La Galapaguera & Puerto Chino Beach

Make memories with the kids on the glorious white sand beaches
End today's adventures on the white sands of Puerto Chino

Today you and your family will venture into the highlands to spend some quality time with the giant Galápagos tortoises! At the La Galapaguera breeding center, you'll be able to see tortoises of all shapes and sizes, from tiny hatchlings all the way up to impressive adults. From here, you'll continue on to El Junco Lagoon, a freshwater lake approximately 2,300 feet (700 m) above sea level. Help the kids spot the cute frigatebirds showering in the freshwater to remove salt from their feathers, and keep your eyes peeled for white-cheeked pintails in the surrounding vegetation.

Afterward, head southeast of the island until you reach Playa Puerto Chino, a remote stretch of coast with a variety of winged and flippered inhabitants. Relax on the white sand or join the kids for a splash about in the calm sea. If the little ones are keen to explore, follow the sounds of the chattering finches into the mangroves that lie behind the dunes. When you're ready, return to your hotel before heading out to a nearby restaurant for a final, memorable meal in the Galápagos. 

Day 14: Depart Isla San Cristóbal

Bid Farewell to the Galapagos
Sadly it's time to say goodbye to the beautiful Galápagos Islands

The time has come to say farewell to the Galápagos. After one last stroll with full hearts and memories to last a lifetime, take a private transfer to the airport in time for your onward flight. 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 Ultimate Family Trip to the Galápagos: Santa Cruz, Isabela & San Cristóbal - 14 Days
Map of Ultimate Family Trip to the Galápagos: Santa Cruz, Isabela & San Cristóbal - 14 Days