By Sara Thomas, WWF Senior Director of Integrated Marketing and Activism

Tucked away in the Pacific Ocean exists a wildlife enthusiast’s paradise—one that many conservationists and travel experts alike have on their bucket list: The Galapagos Islands.    

Traveling to Ecuador’s biodiverse Galapagos Islands has the promise of being the trip of a lifetime. Combine that with Nat Hab’s seamless travel experience, and you’ll set yourself and your family up for an incredible adventure.  

From the vibrant cuisine of Ecuador to the untouched habitats of the islands, my elementary school-aged son and I basked in our days guided by local experts, soaking in every drop of knowledge shared. We embraced the unknown, asking questions, stopping to appreciate the small details of the landscape and, most memorably, living—for a moment in time—among the giants.  

Here are five of my top reasons to consider an exploration-filled journey to the Galapagos with your children 

1. Experience wildlife in their natural habitat

From sleeping in a treehouse above burrowed resting giant tortoises to sitting on soft waves as penguins zipped by us and sea lions played in the surf, the wildlife my son had previously only read about in books was now before his eyes. The wonder and excitement of watching these species in their ecosystem sparked new curiosity and hope for a future where our natural world remains healthy. 

A child taking a photo of a turtle in the distance in the Galapagos

© Sara Thomas / WWF

2. Learn from local experts

I certainly can read, learn and give answers to my son’s questions as we walk through new landscapes. However, someone who grew up on the islands, born with the freedom of this natural world flowing through their veins, can provide the insight and feed his hunger to understand at depths I would never be able to satisfy. He asked questions as they came up, often igniting a conversation among the group and fueling curiosity many of us had overlooked.

A guide and child walking on a boardwalk in the Galapagos

© Sara Thomas / WWF

3. Dive into the experience (literally!)

As our guides reminded us with each review of the daily itinerary, this was an adventure—and they did not disappoint! We snorkeled among solidified lava runs, around corals and alongside some of the most diverse underwater ecosystems I’ve had the joy of experiencing. From the Galapagos shark to green sea turtles and rays, sea lions, countless fish, eels and more, we witnessed the beauty of a protected sea. 

Mother and son snorkeling

© Sara Thomas / WWF

4. Find hidden treasures

When you travel with local guides, gifts seem to present themselves at every corner. On one sunset hike, our group of 10 people was alone on Santiago Island, watching blue-footed boobies and sea lions fish for dinner off the cliffs. Suddenly, our guide started expressing excitement about seeing one of the few native land mammals to inhabit the Galapagos Islands: the Santiago Galapagos mouse.

Wouldn’t you know, as my son and the guide slowly walked behind the group, hoping not to miss a detail, they spotted it. For the first time in the guide’s life—and ours, too!—he identified a rare species thought to be extinct before 1997 and nearly unseen by even those who visit the islands often.  

A guide pointing to a child where they found a Santiago Galapagos Mouse

© Sara Thomas / WWF

Santiago Galapagos Mouse in Galapagos

© Sara Thomas / WWF

5. Cultivate an even deeper curiosity for nature

One of the reasons I chose to take our son on this incredible journey was his love for nature, science and all things wild. This trip opened excitement and interest in him beyond my wildest dreams. It’s an investment worth making and one I’m forever grateful we chose to make!  

A guide pointing in the distance in the Galapagos