Ecuador is an educational, culturally enriching and adventurous choice for your next family vacation. It’s also a great way to introduce your kids to Latin America. Ecuador straddles the equator on South America’s Pacific Coast, making weather here beautiful throughout the year so no matter if your family is thinking about traveling for Winter Break or Summer Vacation there isn't a bad time to go.
A fascinating land of distinct ecosystems from the Andes, jungles and the coast to the Galapagos Islands. All of these regions are crammed into an area the size of Nevada, which makes it an especially easy to navigate country for families. No little ones will get bored and grumpy during long car rides. And there’s an abundance of activities for families, no matter your interest. Ecuador is a country filled with impressive volcanoes, picturesque colonial towns, colorful markets and lush Amazonian rainforest. Then, head to the Galapagos for the unique opportunity for your family to meet an astonishing array of friendly wildlife. Ecuador and the Galapagos are small, safe, effortlessly traversable destinations for your next family vacation.
Before exploring the rich natural offerings of Ecuador and the Galapagos, uncovering Ecuador’s enchanting capital city, Quito is a must. It’s a charming colonial gem, where your family can climb rickety ladders up the spire to the imposing Basilica del Voto Nacional, marvel at the ornate gold detailing in the San Francisco Monastery or tuck into a delicious dinner in one of the regal plazas.
Colorful market stalls spill out onto cobbled streets and smiling, friendly shop owners will welcome your family in to look at their vivid wares. And a trip to Quito wouldn’t be complete without visiting the famous Otavalo Market. Three hours north of Quito, the main market is held on Saturday, but your family can find a smaller version on Tuesday, which may be a better option if you’re traveling with young children. Stands with heaps of vibrant knit sweaters, Ecuadorian musical instruments and intricately designed souvenirs will draw your family in. This is a great place for your kids to find something special and unique to bring home with them.
Once your family has gotten their culture fix, nature and wildlife are next on the list. Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest is a rich tapestry of snaking rivers, crashing waterfalls and bright flora, all offering a myriad of exciting adventures. Set deep in the steamy jungle, full of dense vegetation, your family will find a high concentration of unusual and wonderful creatures from giant otters to howler monkeys. You can also choose to meet the Huaorani and Kichwa tribes and learn blow-pipe hunting or partake in invigorating night safaris.
Just off the coast of Ecuador are the Galapagos Islands which is the perfect place to head after exploring mainland Ecuador. The wildlife in the Galapagos is phenomenal and the landscape, hauntingly beautiful – filled with craters, lava fields, mangrove swamps and black sand beaches. This is an exciting and educational region for adults and kids alike.
The best way for families to get around the Galapagos is by boat. There are many small, family-friendly boat options that offer interconnecting cabins, plenty of space to hang out and a wide range of activities to keep both young kids and teens entertained. These boats also offer experienced guides, giving your family the choice of which activity you’d like to do. And you certainly won’t have to worry about your children getting restless while on-board. Many ships offer a “Pirates Aboard” program where special kid-centric menus and activities are offered. Since many of these boats are geared towards families, your children will likely meet other youngsters, forming friendships that will last way beyond your trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos.