Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

Nature’s Laboratory: Wild Finds in the Galápagos With Your Family

Alongside your family, explore volcanic landscapes, snorkel bright blue waters and learn about exotic animals (and maybe meet a few!), as you discover the Galápagos Islands together.
Rating (5)
Program No. 20873RJ
11 days
Starts at
Flights start at

At a Glance

Spread your wings to South America as you explore one of the best places for exotic wildlife spotting in the world – the Galápagos! These tiny islands off the coast of Ecuador are home to friendly flamingos, the only reptiles that can swim (marine iguanas!), giant tortoises, cute penguins and cheeky Blue-footed Boobies all just waiting for you to find them. As you explore the awesome volcanic landscapes with your family and our expert naturalists, swim in a deep caldera and search for sea lion hangouts on nature walks as you all uncover the wild secrets of the Galápagos together.
Activity Level
Let's Go!
The program begins with flying into Quito, a city at 9,600 feet elevation in the Andes Mountains. Some participants find it helpful to fly into the city a day early to acclimate to the elevation. Daily activities in the remote Galapagos Islands require wet and dry landings, walking on volcanic terrain, and optional swimming and snorkeling in strong currents.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Get up close to the exotic animals that make the islands famous, such as marine and land iguanas, Darwin finches, flamingos and giant tortoises.
  • Grab your goggles! Swim and snorkel with colorful fish, rays and playful sea lions.
  • Venture on fun hikes with an expert on the local terrain to learn first-hand about the incredible volcanic formations on the island, including lava bombs, spatter and cinder cones.

General Notes

This is a Family program for participants, their adult children and grandchildren ages 8 and up. Because the ship has double-sized cabins, when two adults travel with one child, they will be accommodated in two cabins (child and one adult share a cabin and other adult has single cabin). Every effort will be made to room them in adjoining cabins, but can't be guaranteed. During land portion of program in Quito, all three participants will be in one room. Itinerary and islands visited are assigned by Galapágos National Park and can be changed without prior notice. Please refer to the website for the vessel and visitor sites included in your program. The expedition-style Galápagos vessels on this program hold 16 passengers in air-conditioned cabins with en suite facilities. Due to the nature of this program, listening devices are not available.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Diego Quiroga
Dr. Diego Quiroga earned a master’s and Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Illinois. Dr. Quiroga teaches at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito and is an expert in the fields of medical anthropology, human ecology, and marine conservation and fisheries, and he has worked with Galápagos fishermen to learn how they interact with the environment. Dr. Quiroga represented Ecuador as a swimmer in the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

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Diego Quiroga
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Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The History of Ecuador
by George Lauderbaugh
this compact book includes chapters on Ecuador today, Ecuador's indigenous and colonial past, the oil boom and other events.
Galapagos, World's End
by William Beebe
This wry, wonderfully evocative account of a 1924 scientific expedition includes an excellent chapter on the human history of the Galapagos.
The Galapagos, A Natural History
by Henry Nicholls
Editor of the Galapagos Conservation Trust magazine and author of Lonesome George, Henry Nicholls charts the human and natural history of the archipelago from its fiery origins through famous visitors and current conservation challenges.
Galapagos Islands Explorer Map
by Ocean Explorer Maps
Not just handy for keeping track of your Galapagos cruise, this detailed map (1:400,000) of the islands includes illustrated biographies of famous visitors and a wildlife guide.
The Tree of Life: Charles Darwin
by Peter Sis
Sis illuminates Darwin's grand life: his travels, ideas and impact, using watercolor and pen-and-ink illustrations. The richly embellished pages feature a gorgeous gatefold spread as well as diary pages, maps and charts.
Voyage of the Beagle
by Charles Darwin
The wide-eyed tale of a young man on a five-year voyage that changed his life -- and our way of thinking about the world. First published in 1839, it's still a marvelous introduction to the wildlife, nature and allure of South America.
Galapagos, Islands Born of Fire
by Tui De Roy
A stunning celebration of the landscapes, wildlife and habitats of the Galapagos by a photographer who was raised in the archipelago. Tenth anniversary edition.
Galapagos Wildlife, A Visitor's Guide
by David Horwell, Pete Oxford
With chapters on visitor sites, history, conservation and habitats, this compact photographic guide introduces birds, reptiles, marine and other life of the archipelago.
Birds, Mammals and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands
by Andy Swash, Robert Stills
This strikingly compact, comprehensive field guide features 500 color photographs, distribution maps and information on status, habitat and behavior.
Understanding Galapagos: What You'll See and What it Means
by Sehoya Cotner, Randy Moore
An excellent introduction to the flora and fauna of the Galapagos and a stellar overview of evolutionary biography on the islands. Accessible for readers from all backgrounds.
Inside the Beagle with Charles Darwin
by Fiona MacDonald
MacDonald gives detailed accounts of daily life aboard the Beagle, animals and places encountered, as well as excellent illustrations and a balanced discussion of Darwin's ground-breaking scientific theories. Ages 8 and up.
Evolution's Workshop
by Edward J. Larson
A vivid history of the Galapagos and the role of the islands as a crucible of evolutionary ideas, written by a Pulitzer Prize winner. Larson covers Darwin and the discovery of the islands, the visits of Hancock and Beebe, the influence of the United States during WWII and the establishment of the national park.
Charles Darwin
by David King
A new addition to DK's acclaimed Biography series, this is a detailed and accessible chronicle of Darwin's life, sure to grab the interest of younger readers. With more than 100 full-color photographs and illustrations.
The Boy on the Back of the Turtle
by Paul Quarrington
Humorist, novelist and family man on a quest, Quarrington offers an entertaining account of a Galapagos voyage in the company of his seven-year-old daughter and 70-year-old father.
Darwin and Evolution for Kids, His Life and Ideas with 21 Activities
by Kristan Lawson
An interactive, illustrated biography of Darwin for kids ten and up (and their families). The book, which includes hands-on activities, covers Darwin's career from his youth to his mind-expanding voyage aboard the Beagle to the development of the theory of evolution through natural selection.
Galapagos, A Natural History
by Michael Jackson
This comprehensive guide to the natural history of the Galapagos is practically mandatory reading -- the single best introduction to the geology and climate, habitats, plants, birds, animals, ecology and evolution.
Galapagos Wildlife
by Pocket Naturalist
A fold-up, laminated card featuring color drawings and short descriptions of commonly encountered birds, mammals and reptiles of the Galapagos.
Galapagos: The Enchanted Islands, Through Writer's Eyes
by John Hickman (Editor)
Hickman weaves original accounts by Galapagos whalers, gentleman pirates, fitful castaways, settlers and scientists, including Ambrose Crowley, Herman Melville, Charles Darwin and William Beebe, in these tales of the colorful human history of the archipelago.
Insight Guide Ecuador and Galapagos
by Insight Guides
Presenting the natural history, politics, culture, wildlife and attractions of Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands with style and authority.
Boobies, Iguanas and Other Critters
by Linda Litteral
This beautifully illustrated book provides an overview of the Galapagos for ages 10 to 14. Clear, detailed and accurate, it explains the volcanic formation of the islands, ecology, wildlife and scientific research.
Galapagos, The Islands That Changed the World
by Paul D. Stewart (Director)
Also available on Blu-Ray, this stunning three-part BBC documentary captures the rugged beauty, allure, wildlife and history of the archipelago like never before.

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