Family Getaways for Spring and Summer
What are optimal destinations for families? Three of our Program Managers share their thoughts on what makes Alaska, Costa Rica and the Galapagos ideal for family travel.
A Word from Abby Suplizio
"Alaska is one of my absolute top choices for an amazing, yet easy destination for a family trip. With two children of my own, I know first-hand how nice it is to take a vacation that is not only accessible, but also fascinating and active for people of all ages. My Alaska trip, in May 2010, made me realize how easy and fun a family trip could be. A variety of wildlife, such as the playful sea otters, plentiful bald eagles, whales and enormous sea lions, enchants children of all ages. All of our small ships in this region can travel deep into various glacier arms. They have kayaks for use, diverse hiking options, and a lot of explorations via small boats! This is the only way to see the TRUE Alaska."
Recommended Alaska trips for families:
Inside Passage: Juneau Round-Trip – 8 Days
Why Go: If you want a more comfortable trip on a luxurious vessel, the 22-passenger Safari Quest has an outstanding ‘Kids in Nature’ program. Plus, children 12 and under receive 25 percent off on select departures! The vessel caters to children’s activities, while providing a quality experience for grandparents who may want a less active program.
Exploring Alaska’s Coastal Wilderness – 8 Days
Why Go: The National Geographic Sea Lion and Sea Bird, both 62-passengers, are education focused with families onboard all summer long. The hydrophone and underwater video camera allow you to see and hear what is going on underwater, which is simply fascinating! You really feel like you are in the middle of a National Geographic special.
Alaska Inside Passage: Eastern Coves – 8 Days or Alaska Inside Passage: Western Coves – 8 Days
Why Go: The programs aboard the 49-passenger Wilderness Adventurer have a good price-point, without sacrificing the itinerary or guide quality. ‘Family Discoveries’ are offered on select departures where kids enjoy special child-friendly activities and receive 30 percent off. Children 12 and under save 25 percent on all other 2011 departures.
A Word from Lori Gifford
"Here, at ExpeditionTrips, we like to say that the Galapagos Islands are an ideal destination for kids and kids at heart because there are few places left on earth that can inspire such childlike wonder and enthusiasm for the natural world. For children over the age of five, the Galapagos truly are the Enchanted Isles. Face-to-face encounters with cavorting sea lions, dancing sea birds and peaceful sea turtles offer the chance to observe and even interact with these animals in their natural habitat. With special departures that offer activities for children, kid menus and various discounted rates, a Galapagos cruise can be an ideal family trip that everyone remembers for years to come!"
Recommended Galapagos trips for families:
Galapagos Cruise - Grace – 8 Days
Why Go: Family Cruises are filled with activities for the whole family. Special features include child-oriented guides, a children's menu, snorkeling, kayaking, star-gazing nights, movie nights, board games, video games, and a children’s expedition journal.
Galapagos Cruise – Eric/Flamingo/Letty – 8 Days
Why Go: This company has family departures where they group kids of similar ages on board the same ship. They have a special guide and activities geared towards kids or teens. This ship is a popular family favorite with our clients!
Galapagos Cruise – The Eclipse – 8 Days
Why Go: This is a lovely mid-size ship with family departures offering special activities for children, including beach games, special menus, and faster, but educational walks. Specialist guides can be assigned to groups of children. Guides will help children have their own discoveries about wildlife and the islands, while parents can explore at their own pace.
Galapagos Cruise - National Geographic Endeavour – 10 Days
Why Go: This is one of the best overall programs in the Galapagos due to the quality of the guides and special research equipment. The program has an emphasis on reaching kids onboard with kids’ activities during adult lectures. Also, there is a dedicated kids’ specialist who will devise special experiments to try on shore with a natural history focus.
A Word from April Petersen
"Costa Rica offers a warm, friendly and safe place for families to visit with its spectacular Caribbean and Pacific coastlines, active volcanoes (available for tourists to visit), rainforests and cloud forests lush with wildlife. One of the many things that remain with me from my time in Costa Rica, is how welcoming and kind the Costa Rican people are! As a mom of two children, a three and a five-year-old, and a lover of travel and ‘all places wild,’ I feel one of the greatest things that can be nurtured in children is a respect and admiration of the natural splendors that we have in this world. Costa Rica is one of those places that offer just such a natural beauty, combined with activities that appeal to travelers of all ages. There is so much to experience!"
Recommended Costa Rica trips for families:
Panama Canal & the Wonders of Costa Rica – 8 Days
Why Go: This adventure starts with an impressive transit of the historic man-made wonder, the Panama Canal. Witnessing the ‘skyscraper-like’ container ships from a smaller vessel is absolutely amazing! From Panama’s Isla Coiba National Park to Costa Rica’s Manuel Antonio National Park, families will love wildlife viewing, snorkeling, kayaking and hiking.
Monteverde & Costa Rica to Panama – 11 Days
Why Go: This itinerary includes a three-day extension to the Monteverde Cloud Forest, which protects more than 400 species of birds, 100 species of mammals, and 30 species of hummingbirds. Climb the skywalk, a series of suspension bridges, to get a birds-eye view of the forest canopy, and for the more adventurous, soar above the trees on a zip-line tour!
Panama to Costa Rica + Monteverde, Sarapiqui & Arenal – 15 Days
Why Go: Extend your Costa Rica trip with this Monteverde Cloud Forest, Sarapiquí and Arenal Volcano extension. Enjoy panoramic views of the spectacular Arenal Volcano. Wander Arenal Hanging Bridges where birds fly and primates swing from an eye-level view in the trees. Float the Sarapiquí River and later tour, taste and learn about Sibu Chocolates.