Ecuador Family Vacation Plans: 7 Things to Consider.

Ecuador Family Vacation Plans: 7 Things to Consider.

Ecuador family vacation blog image
Horseback riding near Cayambe, Ecuador.

Ecuador Family Vacation Plans

Many clients ask me if Ecuador is an appropriate destination to bring the kids along, or what the appropriate age maybe for the little ones to get the most out of the experience. For some, this may be the first big trip with the kids, and there are a few lingering doubts or concerns. When considering an Ecuador family vacation there are plenty of things to consider; starting with the length of travel, food options, health concerns, and budget.

For many parents, leaving the kids behind just isn’t an option.  If you and your kids get time off. Do you dare take them out of your country to a developing nation?  Will they behave? Will they like the food? What if they throw a tantrum in the middle of the journey?

Every family is different and the decision of whether to travel with them or not can be difficult. There will always be people that say what a great experience you are giving them and others who will think you are out of your mind to be exposing your child to foreign germs, dangers, and such.

Ecuador is a country that has a bit to offer to everybody.  Whether you want to go secluded places, visit the exotic Galapagos Islands, have a quiet stay in a hacienda, relax in a beach town or find a tour full of adrenaline for your grown-up kids, you will find that Ecuador is full of options.

A few things to contemplate when considering bringing the kids along:

Ecuador Family Vacation: Extra Travel Expenses and Discounts

Your Ecuador family vacation should be well planned out, including skipping options that arent so kid friendly and gravitating to those that are and may even offer discounts. When you bring your kids along, the extra expense is obviously a consideration. Is it worth the added costs? Are there things for them to do? Will they remember the trip anyway? These are understandable concerns, and everyone’s situation is unique.

In Ecuador, most hotels and tours offer discounts or no charge at all for children.  However, the Galapagos yachts have strict guest capacities, which limit their ability to pass savings on to younger passengers. It is unusual to find a discount itinerary, and in the odd case, it may be around 10-20%.  Many yachts will not accept younger children, as most of the activities are not suitable for the little guys.  If you want to take younger kids to the Galapagos, consider a hotel-based package that you can customize to fit your family’s needs.

Ecuador Family Vacation: Safety, Public Infrastructure, and Private Transportation

Considering renting a car for your Ecuador family vacation? We would suggest otherwise, unless you are comfortable with chaotic driving. Its just about the same price to higher a private driver for the day as it is to rent a car and Uber is widespread and extremely inexpensive.

Ecuador is generally a safe and family-friendly travel destination. Tourism is an extremely important aspect of the national economy. Being such, the local authorities put a lot of effort into the development and security of the main destinations.  However, one must always be alert and keep their wits about them when visiting a developing nation.

Ecuadorians are generally very friendly and helpful and are proud to have you as a visitor in their country. There are always a few bad apples, and some neighborhoods to stay away from. Generally speaking, watching out for pick-pocketers is the only real concern for tourists. Stick to the itinerary and advice of your guides a/o travel advisor, and you will most certainly have a safe and hassle-free experience in this beautiful country.

Ecuador Family Vacation: Activities

At the end of the day, most tourism activities in Ecuador are for adults, but finding options for the whole family is not difficult.  Exploring historic centers, craft markets, nature, hot springs, and small villages are great options for anyone. Activities such as horseback riding, rafting or trekking to waterfalls are also good options depending on the age of your kids.

The Galapagos, coastal region, and the Andes offer great options for the entire family. However, when traveling to the Amazon Jungle, you will find yourself with more restrictions with younger children in tow.  There are certainly some options, but you should discuss this with your travel advisor before including this region in your family’s itinerary.

Ecuador Family Vacation: Optimize your time

Space out your Ecuador family vacation, leaving free days and time to explore. This is something that many travelers struggle with, of course, you want to make the best of the time you have, and you want to see as much as you can.  However, in my experience, especially when travelling with young children and family it is necessary to have chill time.  Try to program visits in the morning and have a free afternoon, or after a full day of activities plan a leisure day the next.  Chill time does not necessarily mean doing nothing, when traveling in Ecuador its common that you may be staying in an old Hacienda, or near the beach, so you can walk and discover on your own.  Giving your family some leisure time will greatly contribute to your overall experience.

Ecuador Family Vacation: Food considerations

In one word, RICE.  This is the staple of any true Ecuadorian’s diet. So, if your kids do not mind it you are on the other side. In the main tourist places and cities, you will generally find a selection of international options, from high-end dining experiences to child-pleasing fast food options.  But in some remote areas of continental Ecuador, they will probably be no escaping the rice plate, even in the Galapagos cruises there will normally be rice on the side for whomever wants it.  In general, eating out in Ecuador is healthy and budget-friendly.

Depending on where your family is from there will be a lot of new food dishes, and if your kids are picky eaters, they might not be too willing to give them a try.  I find that buying fruits (inexpensive and readily available in mainland Ecuador) is a good way to balance this out. Bakeries are abundant across the country, apart from fresh bread and pastries, they sell empanadas with chicken or beef that kids normally love.  Most cities have grocery stores where you can find familiar products, so sandwiches and cereal are viable options if need be.  If you are traveling to either the Galapagos or the jungle it is good to let your agent know of any special dietary needs or allergies.

-Quick tip- Skip most street food and tap water, and you should avoid any travel bugs.

Ecuador Family Vacation: Documents

Check your passports’ expiration dates. This seems simple but is oftentimes overlooked.  To travel to Ecuador, you need at least 6 months left on your passport beyond the completion of a trip1.  You can book flights and services with a passport that is less than six months to expire but you will need to get a new one before you start the trip.  And then travel with both passports.

Ecuador Family Vacation: Medicine and HealthCare

There are quality hospitals and clinics all across Ecuador. Most doctor visits and minor treatments are very inexpensive, but you should still consider travel health insurance in the event an emergency arises. Don’t let your Ecuador family vacation get ruined by bypassing a very inexpensive travel policy.

Any prescription medicine, but also over-the-counter medicine that you might need to use is easier to bring with you. There are plenty of pharmacies, but sometimes they do not sell the exact components that you are used to.  Most pharmacists are good at helping you with something similar, however.

Always let your tour guide know of any special medical assistance you may require. In major cities, there are excellent healthcare facilities. When traveling to more remote areas, there is always a plan in place in case of emergencies, but it is helpful that your guide is aware of any special needs you may have.

Go for it.  When traveling with kids, or just traveling, there is a lot to consider and to worry about packing. I can only suggest preparing as much as you can and then go for it.  You can always resupply in a local store, pharmacy, or department store. Your kids will most likely throw a tantrum or cry at some point.  The overall experience should be something that will bring your family closer together while highlighting the strengths and contributions of your kids.  Adventure traveling will allow you to disconnect from your routine and reconnect with the core of your family.

Drop us a line if you have any specific questions about traveling to Ecuador with kids. Keep an eye out for our next post, elaborating on Galapagos travel with kids.

For more information about traveling to the Galapagos Islands with your family check out this post:



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