Santa Cruz Galapagos Bay Tour With Kids – New For 2024

Throughout our family adventures, we’ve yet to encounter a destination where wildlife is as abundant and accessible as the Galapagos Islands. Everything from sharks to sea turtles can be found within just a few minutes of Puerto Ayora, and one of the best ways to experience this abundance of biodiversity is to take the Santa Cruz Bay Tour with kids.

A sea turtle grazing on mossy rocks on the Santa Cruz Galapagos bay tour with kids
A top down shot of a reef shark sleeping on the sea bed on the Santa Cruz Galapagos bay tour with kids.
Experiencing the Santa Cruz Galapagos Bay Tour with your children will be something you will never forget!

The half-day tour departs and returns to Puerto Ayora. It is a mixture of land and water-based activities, and with a little luck, you will see marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, colourful fish, reef sharks and even sea turtles!

Where To Book Santa Cruz Galapagos Bay Tour with Kids

As a rule, when booking any day trip on the Galapagos, try to book it from the tour operator, not a booking agent, as steep markups are often added.

For example, we saw the Bahia Tour offered for $50 in our hotel and $40 from the tour operators around Av. Padre Julio Herrera. In the end, we paid $35 for the adults and $30 for our kids by booking on the harbour front with Chamacos Tours.

Most tour operators on Santa Cruz Island will accept credit cards but add a hefty charge for the privilege. The highest we saw was an additional 25% fee for using AMEX! Therefore, as with most places on the Galapagos Islands, cash is king.

'Chamaco Tours' kiosk advertising various tours and ferry tickets on boards out the front in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, Gallapagos.
Booking direct with the agency is often cheaper.

There is no shortage of companies offering this trip, so shop around if you have time. Children under 12 often have reduced rates that are not advertised, so be sure to ask.

Planning a family vacation to Santa Cruz, Galapagos? Don’t miss our complete guide to making the most of this extraordinary island. Whether it’s wildlife encounters, stunning beaches, or adventure activities you’re after, our guide has it all covered.

Discovering Santa Cruz Galapagos With Kids

Our Map of the Santa Cruz Galapagos Bay Tour with Kids

What To Bring On Santa Cruz Galapagos Bay Tour with Kids

Water, snacks, suncream and good sandals/shoes!

You will spend a good portion of the tour in the water, so slapping on plenty of suncream is essential. Also, don’t forget to apply it to the bottom of your children’s feet, as their soles will spend a lot of time exposed to the sun when they swim!

We also brought our rash vests for when we were in the water. As good as suncream is, we firmly believe that having a physical layer on is always better.

The Spencer family wearing life jackets, snorkels and masks in the water at Las Grietas on Santa Cruz Galapagos bay tour with kids.
Long sleeve “rashie” vests give excellent protection from the sun.

Finally, the tour’s last visit to Las Grietas involves a 500m walk on a very rough, uneven path of sharp volcanic rock. Rather foolishly, we did this in flip flops, which were unsuitable as our feet slipped and were caught on the jagged rock. Ideally you need walking shoess or walking sandals for this section of the trip.

Finally, if you have one, a waterproof camera like a GoPro is a must! The tropical fish are too beautiful not to take a video!

What To Expect on Santa Cruz Galapagos Bay Tour with Kids

This day trip offers families an unforgettable journey into the Galapagos’ vibrant marine world, kids will delight in seeing the wildlife up close. This tour blends education with adventure, creating a memorable experience for all ages.

Canal Del Amor

The first stop is at Canal Del Amor. A tectonic shift created this channel and is so named as it was a favourite spot for local couples to go for a bit of… privacy.

Looking down on blue waters of Canal Del Amor with the surronding volcanic rocks.
Canal Del Amor

After exploring around the channel, you then take a short walk to Playa De Los Perros.

Playa De Los Perros

Georgia and Eva walking along the red sand path amongst bushes and cacti to Play De Los Perros.
The girls on the trail to Playa De Los Perros.

The walk to Playa De Los Perros (dog beach) takes about 10 minutes through a rugged cactus forest. This beautiful white sand beach is home to some incredible wildlife, including marine iguanas and sally lightfoot crabs, and we had our first sighting of blue-footed boobies here as well!

A Blue-footed Boobie standing on volvanic rocks at Playa de los Perros on the Santa Cruz Galapagos Bay Tour With Kids.
Beautiful boobies.

According to our guide, the beach is so named as the pinch of the crabs that live here leaves marks on your skin that look like dog bites. Once you have finished here, you then walk back to Canal Del Amor.

Snorkelling at Punta Caamaño Islet

After another short boat trip, you arrive at the first spot for snorkelling. This was a little tricky with our daughters (aged eight and nine), but with some planning, you can make it a great experience with kids.

The snorkelling is in reasonably deep water, certainly too deep to put your feet down, so you need to be sure your children are comfortable with this. We had a practice snorkel at Playa Mansa the day before the trip to get Georgia and Eva into the swing of things.

A smiling Georgia and Eva sat on steps in their snorkeling gear with a marine iguana lurking in the background.
Georgia and Eva ready to go snorkelling!

To make things as easy as possible, we all kept our life jackets on when we went in which was a big help, and the captain gave us a lifebuoy to use as well. 

The tour company provided child-sized snorkelling equipment for the girls. 

Within ten minutes, both our girls had found their confidence and were away exploring the sea bed and marine wildlife.

We were incredibly lucky with the wildlife we saw, including our first sea turtle (Tortuga!) of our Galapagos trip! It was amazing!

We snorkelled for about 30 minutes and then boarded the boat to head to Las Grietas.

Las Grietas

Las Grietas (“The Cracks” in English) are an incredible geological formation.

Like Canal Del Amor, Las Grietas is a split caused by a tectonic shift that has flooded with a mixture of seawater and fresh water. It is perfectly calm and is great to snorkel in. It is also surprisingly deep when you get away from the dock, but don’t worry; there are plenty of spots along the edge where you can take a break. 

It is also colder than other areas, so make sure you take the towel off the boat to wrap yourself in when you get out.

People swimming in Las Grietas with the tall rocks either side of the channel.
Not often you can swim between two tectonic plates.

As we mentioned above, the only thing to be careful of here with kids is the walk to Las Grietas. This is only a 10-minute hike, but the rocks you walk over are incredibly sharp, especially with feet made soft by time in the water. 

Avoid tackling this walk-in flip flops if you can; a walking shoe or Teva type of sandal is ideal.

We spent about 45 minutes at Las Grietas before making the (uncomfortable) walk back to the boat to return to Puerto Ayora.

Have We Missed Anything?

We had a fantastic day trip exploring the bays around Puerto Ayora, certainly a family highlight of our trip to the Galapagos Islands.

If you think we have missed anything or any information here needs an update, please let us know in the comments below.

The Spencer Family

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About the authors

Our lives have been intertwined with a passion for exploration and a shared love for travel. Our adventures began long before we met, as we individually embarked on daring expeditions across the globe. Our paths finally converged, and we soon realized that our adventures were much more meaningful when shared!

After a brief hiatus to start a family, we eagerly embarked on a new chapter of our travel saga. Determined to instil in Georgia and Eva the values of discovery and open-mindedness, our goal is to embark on exciting escapades and explore breathtaking landscapes, bustling cities, and remote corners of the world. From hiking through mist-laden forests to snorkelling in turquoise seas, every adventure is an opportunity to create lasting memories as a family.

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