Travelling in Ecuador with kids

There are plenty of adventure activities – from kayaking and snorkelling to zip lining and biking – along with wildlife-filled forests, llama farms and beaches. The Galápagos are well equipped for families, and could have been designed for impatient young visitors – who can admire the iguanas, tortoises and sea lions without having to embark on epic searches. Add to this the country’s tasty food, decent roads and welcoming Latino culture, and travelling in Ecuador with kids can be considered a visit to a fabulous, family-sized playground. Parents should be aware of the elevation – as well as altitude sickness, it results in faster sunburn. It may be chilly but you’re still on the equator! Consult your operator about any specific age restrictions to ensure you book the best trip for everyone.
Warmer and more compact than Peru and more developed than Colombia, Ecuador is one of the Andes' best family destinations.

Activities for families in Ecuador

Stay in a haçienda

The Andes are dotted with majestic old haçiendas, grand homes once belonging to colonial landowners. Today, many have been converted into intimate, boutique guesthouses. We recommend a stay if you are travelling in Ecuador with kids; they have horses to ride, llamas to feed, craft stalls stocked by local artisans, swimming pools, well-tended gardens and access to fantastic scenery on private reserves, for hiking or cycling.

Head to the beach

Which child doesn’t enjoy splashing in the warm ocean, building castles in the sand, looking out for whales and hunting for exotic shells? Add to this a warm, dry climate, a laid-back tropical vibe and fresh coconuts to sip from – and this is paradise for the whole family.

Explore Mindo Cloud Forest

Where the Andean foothills meet lowland jungle, Mindo is a labyrinth of cloud forests, whitewater, cascades and hiking trails – it’s a dream destination for spirited kids. Base yourself out of one of the many family-friendly lodges and try rafting, canyoning, hiking, wildlife-spotting – and making and sampling your own chocolate.
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Ecuador or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.

Travel tips for families in Ecuador

Tim Winkworth is a family travel specialist with our supplier, the Family Adventure Company. He has travelled extensively in Ecuador and Galápagos – and is enjoying seeing travel in a new way with his three young sons. Here's his cultural tips for travelling in Ecuador with kids:
"The Inca culture is not as prevalent in Ecuador as it is in Peru as it doesn't have the ruins but there are traditional communities, and where you really get that feel is in the markets and in the highlands. You have farmers working in a traditional way, with horses and other animals to assist in their daily grind, and it's a great way to show the children what's outside of the spoilt, technological world that they live in. The excited, colourfully dressed children are happy to see people, you can kick a football around with them, it's a wonderful opportunity, a lovely thing to do.
It's great to take the kids to the markets too – some of them are more like car boot sales. They can have a look at the different trinkets and see all the people - it's a fantastic people watching experience and kids are very interested in that."
Some markets are more like car boot sales. It's great to take the kids, have a look at the different trinkets and see all the people – it's a fantastic people watching experience
David Orrock, from our supplier Pura Aventura, shares his advice for travelling in Ecuador with kids: "The first thing I would say to families is: tell us what you like. There's so much stuff to do in Ecuador. You've got horse riding, Cotopaxi, biking, hiking in the Andes, kayaking in the jungle... You can do stuff like tubing too. Everyone associates these activities with somewhere like Costa Rica. But you can even go rafting – Peru's much more famous for rafting but it's better in Ecuador."
Morag Prosser, from our supplier ROW Adventures:
"Guayaquil is not a city I recommend anyone spends any time in. But if you do have a day before your Galapagos flight and want to get out of the hotel, the one thing parents should do is take their kids down to iguana park by the cathedral and walk around. The kids will say "But there are no iguanas!" – but they’re all up in the trees. Kids go crazy for that. I recommend they do that and then walk along the waterfront – which has been recently renovated – but that’s it, you’re done."
Written by Vicki Brown
Photo credits: [Page banner: Longjourneys] [Kayaking: NAParish] [Hacienda: Rinaldo Wurglitsch] [Ecuadorian children and an alpaca: University of Colorado Boulder Alumni Association]