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Challenge: Traveling with Kids

Cultivating Curiosity in the Galapagos Islands

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How can you increase curiosity in your family? While it is an human innate trait, we can inspire more of it. We wonder, we ask questions and we explore our surroundings. Taking your family to the place which was designated as the first World Heritage Site by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 1978 is definitely on the right path.

galapagos-MAP-.jpgGalapagos Islands

Nearly 200 years ago, Charles Darwin began his five-year voyage circumnavigating the globe as ship’s naturalist on the H.M.S Beagle. He was only 22 years old when he left in 1831 and he observed and collected in every location from fossils, to birds and especially rocks.

In 1835, he reached the Galapagos Islands and noticed the “differences between the inhabitants of the different islands.” Darwin was very curious and Sir Kenneth Robinson, who speaks often about creativity and the lack of it in schools, says that: “Curiosity is the engine of achievement.”

Blue Footed Booby on North Seymour Island, Galapagos by Lisa NiverBlue Footed Booby on North Seymour Island, Galapagos, Photo by Lisa Niver

There is great value in exploration and seeing new sights. I have wanted to see the Blue Footed Boobies since I was a twelve year old girl. When I went off to summer camp, my mom packed Darwin’s book, On the Origin of Species, in my luggage and ever since then, I have always wanted to go.

Last month, I had the opportunity to sail like Darwin in the Galapagos Islands with Origin & Theory by Ecoventura, on their newest mega-yacht, Theory. With fifteen other passengers who soon became fast friends (the yachts host a maximum of 20 passengers), each day we were delighted to discover new species (well, new to us!). We observed, we took photos, we asked questions and we were immersed in learning.

Nazca Boobies on Punta Suarez, Espanola, Galapagos Islands, Photo by Lisa NiverNazca Boobies on Punta Suarez, Espanola, Galapagos Islands, Photo by Lisa Niver

We saw not only the blue footed booby I was waiting for, but I learned that there is also a red footed booby and the Nazca booby! I saw sea lions suckling, giant tortoise mating and penguins danced around us when we were snorkeling in the deep waters.

Sea lion and her baby at Gardner bay, Espanola, Galapagos Islands, Photo by Lisa NiverSea lion and her baby at Gardner bay, Espanola, Galapagos Islands, Photo by Lisa Niver

It was truly one of the most magical bucket-list journeys I have been on. The two amazing naturalists answered all of our questions and shared our excitement at seeing marine iguanas swimming, yellow land iguanas eating prickly pear cactus, and red tropic birds flying over the cliff at South Plazas Island.

Yellow land iguana on South Plaza, Galapagos Islands, Photo by Lisa NiverYellow land iguana on South Plaza, Galapagos Islands, Photo by Lisa Niver

They also have special itineraries designed for teen guests with longer hikes with a faster pace and even more kayaking and snorkeling opportunities. There are opportunities for cultural exchange with local Galapagueño students through Ecology Project International. I participated in Pack with a Purpose and brought stationary supplies that Captain Jhon brought to a local school.


I was entranced by our seven day South and Central Islands itinerary and would return again to visit the North and West Islands. I loved the kayaking, hiking and snorkeling but I hope to return and go scuba diving at Wolf and Darwin Islands someday.

Want to inspire your family to wonder about our world? Take them somewhere where the memories will last a lifetime.

Sunset at Bartolomé Island in the Galapagos, Photo by Lisa NiverSunset at Bartolomé Island in the Galapagos, Photo by Lisa Niver

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