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7 great reasons to take the family on a Galapagos expedition cruise

Leaping dolphins, darting penguins, lumbering giant tortoises, diving boobies, graceful rays and eerie iguanas – these are just a few of the unforgettable sights you can expect to share with your children on a Galapagos family cruise.   The islands were tailor made to provide a diversity of once-in-a-lifetime moments you’ll reminisce about for years to come.   Just as Darwin was forever impressed at the remarkable volcanic landscapes and the unusually fearless animals, your children will be astonished at what they will encounter on a daily basis. Here are some compelling reasons for taking your family to the islands:   1. First and foremost, for you, the parents I am a parent too, and to be honest, though it’s important to expose my children to experiences they will never forget, my wife and I also need some time to let go and just enjoy.  A Galapagos family cruise is ideal in this regard.  The remote other-worldliness of the landscape and the cruise ship approach to visiting the islands will transport you away from any routine reference points of your life.   Your five senses will be subjected to new, exotic stimulation, culminating in a mind trip you would be hard pressed to experience anywhere else. Also, this up front and personal, “in your face” nature of Galapagos brings out the child in everyone and can restore a sense of wonder that has perhaps atrophied under the multiple burdens of adulthood. In the Galapagos environment, it can be so easy to drop that façade of adulthood, and let the child in you emerge again – more so if you’re in the company of children… 2. For your children While an African safari can be great fun – it is inadvisable to walk right up to the lions.  In Galapagos, children will be absolutely thrilled at the close-up interactions they will have with the animals.  For those of you with teens, no matter how jaded they may seem to be at times, chances are that you’ll watch them drop their “coolness” guard on more than one occasion, giving you a glimpse of how they were like just a few years ago (author’s note:  I know what I’m talking about here!) If you choose to participate in a family cruise, or to charter the whole ship, naturalist guides will incorporate child-friendly activities into the daily excursions for youngsters, pre-teens and teens – ensuring they (and their parents should they be so inclined) get to shake some of their sillies out. Building sand-castles, engaging in a bit of friendly horseplay, simply loafing about on a variety of pristine beaches, or snorkeling, kayaking, guitar in the evenings, jumping off the top deck into the sea… The next generation will have all kinds of stimulation on offer.  Their days will be packed with adventure, offering stimulation for the body, the senses and the mind.  Typically, they will be asleep by 8PM every night (and so might you). 3. Built-in child minding If you choose to join a family dedicated cruise, or if you bring along a good group of children on your own charter, you’ll find that the kids will be keen to interact with other kids, making new friends and sharing their experiences with them. While children usually like to have others in their age range to with whom to interact (not always being with boring adults), this has a secondary benefit of freeing you, the parent, for more quiet ponderings on the upper deck, admiring the sun set over the Pacific. Between children enjoying themselves together, and activities organized by the naturalist guides, parents can expect to have a fair bit of time free from parental duties. 4. Share moments with adults at the same life stage On a family cruise, you’ll be with people like yourselves – mid-career, raising children.  You’ll have plenty of opportunities to commiserate and swap stories.   You children might even make some lasting friendships. Perhaps most importantly, there won’t be any adults striving to conceal their annoyance in having to share the ship with boisterous young ones, and nor will you be surrounded those smug retirees / empty nesters who constantly tell stories of the marvelous carefree lives they are living, traveling the world, lapping it all in (patience, just a few more years before you join them….). 5. Child friendly guides and crew On dedicated family cruises, or if you charter a ship and request child friendly service, the naturalist guides will ensure that they gear some of their talks and interpretation towards a younger audience (and sometimes that’s just fine with the parents too!).   This will keep them engaged and ensure they get as much out of the experience as possible.   Ecuadorians are generally warm and very kind to children – and you can expect as much out of the crew. Fun lessons on evolution and biodiversity, supervised snorkeling with sea lions, sand castles on the beach and just having unstructured fun and adventures, your children will be in experienced hands. 6. Explore local culture and history While you are in Ecuador, you can consider a variety of extensions that will expose your children to local culture, nature and history.  A short distance from Quito, you’ll find yourself in the Amazon basin – where jungles lodges can give you a glimpse of this vast ecosystem.  Or take a 2 hour drive to the cloud forest, and marvel at the tree ferns, the giant earthworms and many species of hummingbirds. Quito alone is a World Heritage Site – considered the prettiest capital city in Latin America, and well worth exploring.  Otherwise, there is the Otavalo indian crafts market, condor spotting in the Andes, or if you wish, a side trip to Machu Picchu and Cuzco in neighbouring Peru. 7. Child friendly pricing Important price reductions are usually offered for children under 12.   Depending on the ship you choose, the time of year, there may be discounts of up to 25% on the ship, and up to 50% on the park entrance fee and the flight from the continent. Marc Patry is Co-owner of Cultural & Natural Heritage (CNH) Tours. CNH Tours provides an unmatched personalized service in helping people organize a Galapagos holiday best suited to their particular interests. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

Marc Patry

Marc Patry owns the specialty Galapagos travel agency “Cultural and Natural Heritage (CNH) Tours” along with his wife Heather Blenkiron (the TripAdvisor destination expert for Galapagos). Marc worked at the Charles Darwin Research Station and the Galapagos National Park Service for 4 years before embarking on a career with UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre. During his 12 years there he was responsible for monitoring the state of conservation of Latin American World Heritage sites – including Galapagos. Few travel agents know Galapagos better than Marc and Heather.

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One Comment

  1. Apart from the reasons that you provide, your photos make it clear that visiting the Galapagos look a tremendous destination to head to with a camera. I really like your photos.

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