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A cruise to the Galapagos is one of the most memorable trips anyone can have. Not unlike many other great things in life, experiences like this, have more value when shared with the people you love. While some people prefer to go in pairs or even solo, others want to share this incredible experience with their kids. The Galapagos is a beautiful destination, but there are some considerations to help you get the most out of your trip. Our Galapagos travel specialists are on hand and happy to help if you have any questions just complete the enquiry form on the right to get in touch or give us a call on 0208 546 6222. Otherwise, read on for more.
The most important step of planning a Galapagos family trip is choosing the ship. The boat will be your family's home for a few days, so you will want to make sure that everyone's needs are being met – especially - if you are travelling with little ones.
Even though there are over 70 different Galapagos cruise options, not all of them accept children onboard. Some ships are exclusively for adults (couples, groups or solo travellers), while others are more family oriented. Still, it is important to remember that even if a ship does allow children onboard, this doesn't necessarily mean that the vessel is 'child-friendly'. As we all know, kids don't like to stay in the same place for too long. They love movement and novelty, and sometimes it can be hard to hold their attention on something for more than two seconds. Because of this, you will need a ship that not only allows children onboard but is also able to entertain them (and adapt to their needs) for as long as they are there. For instance, you will need a ship that features large social areas as your children will need the space to play and socialise with other kids while onboard. When it comes to the sleeping facilities, you will need a ship that features connecting cabins with several beds and lots of space, as well as a few entertainment options such as videos or board games. Finally, you also need to ensure that your ship features land activities that are fully compatible with your children and their specifics needs.
To help you out in this process you can speak to one of our Galapagos Travel Specialists any time you would like as they will be able to provide you with special information about all ships, such as minimum age requirements, available itineraries, and much more.
Whether you are bringing your children along or not, safety always comes first. This is why all boats are checked rigorously and regularly to ensure that the safety of all passengers onboard is at its maximum level. Emergencies rarely happen, but if they do, you will be happy to know that any Galapagos vessel features all the necessary safety precautions onboard. Examples of this are - emergency signals, emergency flares, medical equipment, fully-qualified medical staff available all day and all night, as well as impeccable lines of communication thanks to the latest on-board technology.
All crew onboard are also first aid and CPR trained and will be able to give you a comprehensive safety briefing at the beginning of any cruise you take so that you are also aware of all safety measurements and how to prevent unwanted incidents. It is also important to remember that any crew on a Galapagos cruise is highly knowledgeable about the Galapagos Islands and therefore, very familiar with the wildlife on the islands as well as all its limitations (dangerous spots). The crew will guide through all activities onboard and off board smoothly, and should any conditions change; they will also be able to adapt this to your itinerary while ensuring that every excursion you take on the islands is appropriate and safe. The guides are also known to be very patient with children as well as attentive to their needs and will always help you guide them through every activity. This way your children will have the most fun combined with the maximum security.
Adding up to this is the vessel's high-end technology, which also contributes to the immaculate safety onboard. This includes, GPS and sonar (so that the boat is also reachable), emergency flares and signals, VHF and UHF radios, floatplanes as well as speedboats. All of this while being monitored by the experienced captain and crew, who have spent years sailing the waters of the Galapagos. Other safety features are - first aid supplies, satellite phone for emergency calls, life vests for all passengers, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers, lifeboats, as well as (depending on the boat) safe deposit boxes.
Finally, you might also want to take some safety precautions before boarding your cruise. If any of your kids are taking any form of medication, make sure you have the prescribed supply for the whole duration of the trip. Also, make sure that everyone you are travelling with (children included) are up to date with all their routine vaccinations. Book an appointment with your family doctor so that he can best advise you about which vaccines you might need to take. Don't forget to do this at least five months in advance, as some medication/vaccinations might need to be administered some months before your trip.
Don't forget to also pack lots of sun cream as the equatorial sun on the Galapagos Islands is very strong and can harm the skin if you aren't protected. Children tend to have more sensitive skin, so it would be advised to bring along a high factor sunscreen everywhere you go so that you can reapply it on them when necessary. Also, don't let yourself be caught out by the occasional cooler weather, even on breezier or cloudier days the sun can burn so it imperative to apply sunscreen throughout the day.
In the Galapagos, you will never feel bored, and this applies to your children too. You could say that a cruise here, is entertaining just by the way the surroundings look. There is visual stimulation everywhere as the entire archipelago is like nothing you have ever seen before.
As for children, it will be like they are entering a new, fun, reality, where there is something unique and exciting every day to learn. When out exploring they will be so amazed by the wildlife and fun activities, so keeping them busy or distracted will be the least of your concerns. Also, throughout the day everyone will be able to get close to the animals and witness first-hand how they move, feed, and interact with each other in their natural environment. This makes an impression on everyone and even more so on the children. Just imagine how wondrous it will be to be able to bring you and your family in contact with the magnificent Galapagos species. You will see anything from - Galapagos land iguanas, marine iguanas, Galapagos giant tortoises, Darwin's finches, frigate birds, Blue-footed boobies, cormorants, Sally Lightfoot crabs, sea lions, and of course, while onboard, maybe even whales, dolphins and sharks. For children, it will be like a “living laboratory” of land, sea, and sky creatures, which will broaden their perspective of the world in an extraordinary way.
There will be at least two land visits and a snorkelling trip each day so that by the time the day is over, all that your kids will be asking for is bedtime. When onboard, if they are not tired, children can also distract themselves with lots of different DVDs, books, board games, cards as well as other more exclusive activities depending on the ship you choose. This could include cooking classes, towel-folding classes, personalised dinghy tours, the opportunity of getting to know the captain by name, bridge visits, and of course, 24-hour access to the cookie drawer! They will have so much fun in the Galapagos, that it is sure they will beg you to come back.
Let's face it, teenagers can be picky. So, if you are travelling with one (or more) to the Galapagos, make sure to include them in the choosing of the activities. At this age they are already aware of their likes and dislikes, plus, there are so many different possibilities in the Galapagos, that you will want to hear their opinions. Other than that, even the pickiest of the teens will be mesmerised once on the islands. The truth is, visiting the Galapagos is an astonishing experience no matter your age.
The great thing about taking your teens to the Galapagos at this age is that their attention span is longer and allows them to not only have fun during the activities but also to learn from them. Plus, while on the islands they will be able to switch off almost entirely from anything technology related and focus solely on reconnecting with nature. They will see, hear, smell (and sometimes touch) both fauna and flora that is exclusive to this part of the world, while having the expedition leader with them all the way through highlighting the most important details. - This could be an unusual rock, a beautiful plant, birds calling to each other, giant tortoises shading themselves under trees, and so much more.
But nature's beauty is not the only thing that captures teenager’s attention here, the water sports are a big favourite for teens in the Galapagos, as this is an excellent opportunity to have fun while getting in touch with lots of colourful and varied marine life. They could be doing anything from snorkelling with sea lions, surfing along the vast Galapagos shorelines, or spending time on the beaches looking for Galapagos land iguanas or birds.
The options are endless, and they will love it.
One of the most beautiful things about travelling with your kids to the Galapagos is seeing their mesmerised, happy, faces every time they encounter something new. And let's face it, in the Galapagos Islands this can happen every five minutes! Here you will be able to do something that not every parent will be lucky enough to do – providing them with otherworldly memories that will change, and improve their image of our planet, forever.
Children here feel as if they are in a big, natural playground, and their interactions with the wildlife are unique. Sea lions will be diving with them the same way your family dog would, and the land iguanas are so relaxed and unafraid that they won't try to avoid anyone and might even walk over whoever stands by them. Seeing so much beauty and natural balance in one place - aligned with all the important information that your guides will be sharing with everyone - will teach them some of the valuable lessons about nature and the world around them in general. They will also visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and see the famous Galapagos Tortoises, and learn everything there is about the discovery and evolution of the islands and, allowing them to be a part of Darwin's theory.
But the wildlife is not the only thing they will be learning about here, as they will also be in touch with a new culture while in Ecuador. South America is known for its friendly locals, rich history, cultural sights, tasty food, as well as so much more. This can be enjoyed in Quito, before and after your Galapagos cruise.
In the end, just imagine their happy faces back at school, telling their friends about their snorkelling adventures with Galapagos Penguins, their volcano hikes, lava tunnel walks, giant tortoises encounters, crater swims, dinghy rides, or just their overall view of the Galapagos. It will be a trip that they will remember forever!
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