Planning a family vacation in the Galapagos Islands can be a little daunting. After all, there are 127 islands within this archipelago. Thankfully, only 13 of those islands are considered major islands. There are also 6 smaller islands. All the others are mostly remote or perfect for a quick day visit. As a travel advisor, I can help you figure out which Galapagos Island, or Islands, is best for your next family vacation. To get you started thinking, I am going to share a little information about a few of the best Galapagos Islands.
Santa Cruz Island is almost always at the top of the list for many families. It is the second largest island within the Galapagos. This island is where the Charles Darwin Research Station is located. Of course, you won’t be able to resist spending a little time at Tortuga Bay. That is the perfect beach for when you want to check out giant tortoises, marina iguanas, whitetip sharks, and the Galapagos crabs.
Another amazing beach on this island is Garrapatero Beach.
When you need to spend time away from the sand, the town of Puerto Ayora will be waiting for you. This large town has numerous shops and restaurants.
A few of the more popular activities on Santa Cruz include kayaking, hiking, snorkeling, and boat rides to nearby islands.
San Cristobal is considered the main island. It is where the major airport is located. Therefore, plan on flying to this Galapagos Island and then heading out to your island of choice for your family vacation.
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is the capital of the Galapagos Islands. It is located on San Cristobal. It is a touristy area. However, it is possible to learn a lot about the history of the islands there. Especially when you visit the museum of natural history.
The best beaches on San Cristobal include Cerro Brujo, Ochoa Beach, Sapho Cove, and Puerto Chino.
A family vacation on this Galapagos Island can be spent snorkeling and scuba diving. Just make sure you head over to La Galapaguera. It is a giant tortoise sanctuary. You won’t want to miss spending time with the tortoises.
The largest of all the Galapagos Islands is Isabela. Despite being such a large island, it is not visited by too many people. This is perfect if you truly want to escape the crowds during your next family vacation!
There are six volcanoes on this island. Volcan Wolf is the tallest of them all. The others include Cerro Azul, Darwin, Sierra Negra, Alcedo, and Ecuador. One of the most popular activities on this Galapagos Island is hiking to the top of the Sierra Negra Volcano. This volcano has the second largest caldera in the entire world.
If you want to spend more time near the water, head over to Las Tintoreras. It is a lagoon that is often visited by white tip sharks.
The most popular attraction on Isabela is the Wall of Tears. Prisoners moved rocks to construct this wall between 1945 and 1959. I recommend taking a three-hour guided hike that includes the wall. The hike will allow you to learn more about the wall and the entire island.
Floreana is one of the least visited of the Galapagos Islands. One of the reasons for this is transportation to the island is limited. However, it is perfect if you want to check it out for a day or two. I highly recommend this if your family wants to go snorkeling in Devil’s Crown. It is considered the best place to snorkel on the islands.
Post Office Bay is also located on Floreana. If you do visit this island, participate in a centuries long tradition of taking mail from the island and delivering it on the next island you visit.
Santa Fe is another island that is best visited for a day or two. This is one of the smaller of all the Galapagos Islands. The entire island is filled with native wildlife. Barrington Bay is one of the best places to see the marine iguanas, leaf-toe geckos, and the Santa Fe rice rats. Oh, and sea lions love to lounge on the sandy shoreline of the bay!
Instagram-worthy shots are everywhere on Bartolome. The scenery is one of the reasons why people choose to visit this island. I recommend beginning your visit by climbing to the top of the volcanic cone. Up there, you can see panoramic views of the surrounding islands.
Another option is to venture out to Pinnacle Rock. Swimming and snorkeling are best in that spot. Although, you may want to go just to see the penguins.
Española Island is the oldest of the Galapagos Islands. Scientists believe the island is more than four million years old. Snorkeling and diving amongst white tip sharks are best at Tortuga Rock. Sea lions are everywhere on the sand at the beach at Gardner Bay.
It is all about the beaches and wildlife on Santiago Island. Puerto Egas is where Galapagos fur seals, dolphins, sharks, and sea lions can be seen. Although, snorkeling is best over at James Bay. If you venture over to the end of the bay, you will discover Playa Espumilla. Mangroves surround the sandy beach. Flamingos live within those mangroves.
These are the best Galapagos Islands to choose from for your next family vacation. Some of these islands are perfect for long vacations. Others are best for day trips when you are island hopping. I can help you determine which Galapagos Islands should be on your must-see list. Once we figure that out, I can book a fabulous family vacation in the Galapagos Islands.
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