6 DAYS / 5 NIGHTS
We designed our Family Safaris over land and sea to enable your family to have fun together, to connect with each other, and fall in love with the extraordinary natural world of the Galapagos.
Our small size and the fact that we lived and raised our family here over many years means we can craft your perfect family adventure, that is at-once exciting, engaging and educational. The Galapagos combine these elements like few destinations in the world and we’re passionate about getting it right for you — from our private land-based activities, child-friendly guides, pool and menus to our ability to adapt activities on the fly to your needs and interests.
During school holidays, your children can enjoy our Kid’s Club with a series of creative activities at the end of the day.
- from $4,740 per person
Sample Itinerary: In Brief
The below sample itinerary is just that, a sample. We are happy to change the order of activities and add days depending on your needs and interests as much as we can — just get in touch!
- Type of activity:
- LAND EXPERIENCE
- SEA JOURNEY
- DAY 1LAND OF THE GIANT TORTOISE
- DAY 2ACTIVITY DAY
- DAY 3EXPLORE AN UNINHABITED ISLAND
- DAY 4FISHING ADVENTURE
- DAY 5CHARLES DARWIN RESEARCH STATION AND BAY TOUR
- DAY 6SUNRISE WALK AND DEPARTURE
- DAY 6+…OR EXTEND YOUR TRIP TO ISABELA ISLAND
See our Isabela Island Extensions
We are happy to organize:
– Fully-Private Safari: chartered boat and private guide throughout.
– Semi-Private Safari: your guide accompanies you on the shared boat excursions.
Sample Family Safari: Full Itinerary
Designed with our years of experience living, travelling and hosting friends and guests in the Galapagos, our Family Safaris are a combination of activities on Santa Cruz Island and boat excursions to beautiful, uninhabited neighbouring islands.
- Type of activity:
- LAND EXPERIENCE
- SEA JOURNEY
- DAY 1 IN SEARCH OF THE GIANT TORTOISE Welcome to the Galapagos! Your English-speaking naturalist guide meets you at the VIP lounge at Baltra Airport to escort you on your journey across the highlands of Santa Cruz Island to the Camp.
While you settle in, your guide will capture your children's imagination with an overview of the animal species they are soon to encounter.
After a delicious, locally-sourced lunch, we visit eerie lava tunnels and search for giant tortoises roaming the Reserve adjacent to our Camp.
Before sundown, there’s time to explore our 50-hectare farm, pick local tropical fruit, harvest cacao seasonally and spot local birds.
- DAY 2 ACTIVITY DAY After breakfast, we visit a neighbouring organic coffee plantation to learn about responsible small-scale farming in the Galapagos. The children have a chance to pick coffee beans, if the season allows.
We then drive to the enormous Cerro Mesa crater for a short walk in the wetlands, home to a wonderful variety of birds and the occasional bathing tortoise.
After lunch at a local restaurant, we jump on our bikes for a downhill ride to Garrapatero Beach, where the contrast of mangroves, black lava, white sand and turquoise water, along with its birdlife and flamingo lagoon, is magnificent. We can explore the bay in sea kayaks or go for a swim, accompanied by marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies and countless shorebirds.
In the evening, back at the Camp, parents can relax while the children take a private art class with a local artist.
- DAY 3 EXPLORE AN UNINHABITED ISLAND Early morning finds you on a motor yacht to one of the neighbouring, uninhabited islands close to our island of Santa Cruz: North Seymour, Bartolomé, Plazas and Santa Fe.
Each island is an endemic treasure to explore and enjoy. The Galapagos Marine Reserve is among the largest in the world, and snorkelling off the boat is highly recommended.
Please note this is a shared boat excursion. We are happy to arrange for your private guide to accompany you or to charter a yacht for your family.
We design our Family Safaris according to the best experiences possible at any given time of year and around yacht operations. We will confirm the islands you will visit once you get in touch.
- DAY 4 FAMILY FISHING ADVENTURE An excursion with local fishermen is a favourite among children visiting us. This excursion is both a wildlife experience and a cultural exchange opportunity.
The fishermen have very safe and modern speedboats, which we charter privately for the day. With your guide acting as translator, the fishermen share anecdotes from a lifetime at sea, and the children learn local fishing tricks.
After fishing, you'll land on a deserted beach and may snorkel in a spot known only to locals. If you prefer to limit fishing and enhance the snorkelling or beach experience, your guide is there to adapt the day to your preferences.
Back at the Camp in the afternoon, there’s time to go for a walk, enjoy the pool and relax before dinner.
More about our fishing like a local experience.
- DAY 5 CHARLES DARWIN RESEARCH STATION AND BAY TOUR After a leisurely breakfast, we visit the famous Charles Darwin Research Station and the Tortoise Breeding Centre to learn about conservation efforts and scientific research on the islands. The children will have an up-close experience with the tortoises that are the islands' namesake. Parents can enjoy free time to wander around Puerto Ayora, while your guide takes the children to a local playground or on a tour of the local fish market on the waterfront.
After lunch, walk or take a speedboat to Tortuga Bay, a white sandy beach with basking marine iguanas, and shallow turquoise waters teeming with white-tip reef sharks and fish. Or you can join a snorkeling boat that will take you to frolic with sea lions.
- DAY 6 RELAX BEFORE MORNING DEPARTURE Enjoy the serene nature and peace of the Camp this morning. Relax, walk, swim or enjoy the sunrise from our viewpoint before departure to the airport and your next destination. (Here’s where you’ll wish you had extended your journey!).
Please remember that this is just a sample based on some of the options available. Get in touch so we can craft your perfect journey with us!
- DAY 6+ ...OR EXTEND YOUR TRIP TO ISABELA ISLAND
See our Isabela Island Extensions
Land Adventures on Santa Cruz Island
In addition to day trips to neighboring islands, there is a lot for families to see and do on Santa Cruz itself.
As one of the most diverse islands in the Galapagos archipelago, Santa Cruz has a variety of ecosystems; from the forested highlands where our camp is based to the dry, arid coastline, and the transitional zone between the two. These different landscapes offer a multitude of ways to explore the island’s wildlife and geology, making it fun, and above all, easy for families to explore these Galapagos wonders.
LAND OF GIANTS
Close to our camp is a large nature reserve that is home to hundreds of giant tortoises. This highland sanctuary is one of the best places to see these iconic Galapagos reptiles in the wild. There are also a number of underground lava tunnels that are fun for families to explore. If your family vacation is celebrating a special event or milestone, we can also organize a surprise tea party in the lava tunnel.
Our Family Safaris also offer an opportunity of visiting the late Lonesome George, the legendary giant tortoise whom David Attenborough once described as ‘a very important animal. Probably more than any single creature’. The preserved body of this Pinta tortoise – the last of its species – can now be found on display in the Charles Darwin Research Station. It serves as a reminder, particularly to the next generation of leaders, that we must do everything we can to protect endangered species from extinction.
Another top spot for observing giant tortoises is in our camp. They are often seen (or heard) munching leaves under the tents or ambling down one of the camp’s paths.
One of the best beaches in the Galapagos (some say in the world) is on Santa Cruz. Tortuga Bay can’t be accessed on a cruise ship, and is one of the most popular excursions on our Family Safari. White sands, peppered with marine iguanas, stretch for hundreds of meters, making it an ideal playground for children of all ages. We can also arrange a surfing lesson here for adults and/or children. It is not uncommon to see a marine iguana, or sometimes even a sea lion surfing the wave alongside you. At the far end of the beach, is a sheltered cove where we can also arrange kayaking.
Another beach that families enjoy is Garrapatero. Behind this beach sits a lagoon where flamingos are often spotted.
HIKING & BIKING
At our camp, families can borrow bikes to explore quiet lanes of the forested highlands, stopping to admire colourful birds and lumbering tortoises.
Older kids may appreciate a trip into Puerto Ayora, where they can wander its laid-back streets, art galleries and souvenir shops. The fish market is also popular with all ages (and animals!)
BACK AT CAMP
When traveling with children, we believe it’s important to factor in some down time, particularly for younger kids. At our camp, we have a Kids Club (open during school holiday periods) where children can get creative, allowing parents to have some time for themselves. Activities designed to unleash excess energy include treasure hunts, cooking classes and bouncing on our giant trampoline.
We can also offer art classes for all members of the family. These are led by a British artist who has lived on Santa Cruz for more than 30 years. A firm believer of living in the present, she encourages her students to rely on their memories, as opposed to their devices, for capturing moments and putting them to paper.
We also have a small pool for cooling off after a day of adventure.
Safari Day Sea Trips for Families
INTO THE WILD: FAMILY ADVENTURES IN THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS
Our Family Safari typically includes two days at sea – one day exploring an uninhabited island and one day’s Fishing Adventure. As with all our safaris however, they can be customized according to your needs and preferences.
On our day trips we visit the islands of North Seymour, Bartolomé, South Plaza or Santa Fe (one island per day). On all our island tours, your visit includes a nature walk along a designated trail and a snorkeling, or swimming experience.
Navigation time: 2 hours, each way
Walking difficulty: Moderate-Hard
In Bartolome, the walk is a fairly steep climb, up wooden walkways and steps, to the viewpoint at the apex of the island. On the way up, your guide will make a number of stops to point out the islands’ flora and fauna. The view from the top, overlooking the famous Pinnacle Rock and surrounding islands is spectacular, and worth the effort.
After lunch (served on board your boat), there is time for you to snorkel around the coastline, near the base of Pinnacle Rock. These waters are often frequented by Galapagos penguins, and swimming alongside one of these friendly little water birds is an undisputable highlight for most kids.
Navigation time: 30 minutes – 1 hour, each way
Walking difficulty: Easy
North Seymour is one of the closest islands to Santa Cruz, making it an easy day trip for families. Despite its small size, the island is brimming with wildlife, including frigatebirds, blue-footed boobies, marine iguanas, land iguanas and sea lions.
The circuit walk first heads inland on a little path, before turning towards the coast and then back towards the boat. Your guide will stop frequently along the way to discuss the various wildlife.
This day trip also includes a visit to the beautiful white sands of Bachas beach on Santa Cruz, which is only accessible by boat. Here families will get an opportunity to snorkel in the calm waters of its bay.
Navigation time: 1 hour each way
Walking difficulty: Easy
Upon arriving at South Plaza, you and your family may have to make your way around a large colony of sea lions on the stone jetty. From here, you will walk among prickly cactus and carpets of bright red plants. Watch out for the land iguanas, marine iguanas, and if you are exceptionally lucky, the exclusive hybrid iguana – a cross between land and marine, only ever found on this island.
After lunch you can snorkel in a nearby cove where you may encounter sea lions, turtles and lots of colorful fish.
Navigation time: 1.5 hours each way
Walking difficulty: Easy
Again, you may be greeted by a large colony of sea lions as you are transferred by dingy from your boat to the beach. After spending some time observing these playful Galapagos mammals you will be guided inland, along a little path, with giant Opuntia cacti towering above you. Again, look out for the land iguanas – a particular species that is endemic to the island of Santa Fe itself. You may also spot Galapagos hawks, the islands’ top predator.
After lunch on the boat you will be invited to snorkel in the bay of Santa Fe, where you will likely be checked out by curious sea lions, and all sorts of other marine wonders.
A Family Fishing Adventure
Experience a day with local artisan fishermen on the seas around Santa Cruz Island. Our fishing experience has become a firm favourite with families, as it combines wildlife experiences and cultural exchanges, as well as swimming, snorkelling and visiting secluded beaches.
We charter very safe and modern speedboats from local fishermen, who share their anecdotes from a lifetime at sea, and their skills and tricks with the children — your guide acting as translator all the time.
After fishing, you’ll land on a deserted beach and may snorkel in a spot known only to locals. If you prefer to limit fishing and enhance the snorkelling or beach experience, your guide is there to adapt the day to your preferences.
This program is part of an initiative with the Galapagos National Park aimed at giving fishermen an alternative means to support themselves while reducing the strain caused on the islands’ marine ecosystems by overfishing. It can be enjoyed by guests young and old, no matter if they’re seasoned fishermen or complete novices. The important thing is to be sharing time and experiences on the seas and making new friends in the process.
Beginning early, we reach the dock on the coast where, accompanied by our English-speaking guide, a dinghy takes us over to the fisherman’s boat. The captain and crew then navigate to a spot where the best fishing can be enjoyed (times vary). There’s always a chance to swim and snorkel, as well as explore a secluded beach. Lunch is served on-board.
The fishermen are happy to prepare sashimi for you on board, if you like. Or you can take the days’ catch with you and discuss the preparation with our chefs. They will be happy to indulge you!
We design our Safaris according to your interests and needs; the best experiences possible at any given time of year; yacht operations; and the rules of the Galapagos National Park.
- English-speaking naturalist guide
- All meals: our chef has a substantial repertoire of kid-friendly meals and we prepare plenty of healthy snacks for each day’s outings
- Airport VIP services
- Transfers & ground transportation
- Boat excursion with snorkelling on a shared basis (additional option to take a private guide or to charter the boat for a fully private experience)
- Wetsuits and snorkelling equipment
- Chartered fishing experience
- Activities and visits detailed in the itinerary
- Flights (all flights from mainland Ecuador to the Galapagos Islands can be arranged upon request)
- Galapagos National Park entrance fee (US $100 per adult/$50 per child under 12; subject to change)
- Visitor transit card (US $20 per person; subject to change)
- Laundry service
- Insurance (please check your travel insurance is valid in your country of origin prior to your journey)
…picnic in the wilds, art classes, surf classes, ceviche-making and more!
VOICES OF GALAPAGOS
Our Experts Say
“Santa Cruz is among the most diverse islands in the Galapagos. We love combining explorations of the forested highlands with time at the beaches.”
“I’m particularly fond of the fishing trips we’ve created with local fishermen. They’re an authentic way to explore the Galapagos and are always a lot of fun.”
A few of our
Few days stay after a boat trip to 4 islands What an amazing place! Outstanding food and service. Our nutritional challenges were made special for us and every meal was... read more
THE Place to Stay on Santa Cruz Island We spent four nights of our Ecuador trip at Galapagos Safari Camp and, taking into consideration a culmination of factors,... read more
The most wonderful place to stay in paradise! We stayed here for 4 nights at the beginning of our honeymoon. It was beyond everything we could have hoped... read more