Practical things first. Many families find that the medium-sized boats, with 20-50 passengers, work well for them. They have scope to mix people in different groups, in holiday seasons there is usually a good chance that there will be another family on board, and the guides and crew will be adept at looking after a variety of ages at the same time. There will usually be a good range of activities that active teenagers can get involved in. At the same time their relatively small size encourages a good expedition atmosphere on board.
Best of all are the boats that sail in pairs (Eric and Letty, Coral I and II) who have the option of putting families on the same boat. Eric and Letty run special family departures.
Large boats offer a small-scale cruise liner experience with even more facilities, particularly for younger children.
Some boats (not necessarily the largest) offer family suites and connecting cabins.
It can be tricky to find the right balance for everyone in the family. Talk to one of our specialists. They know the islands firsthand and they can help judge which boats and which cruises you should consider.
There are a lot of options on the practical side ... cabins, facilities, activities ... but the real reason for going to the Galapagos is always the experience of nature itself. Sometimes this gets lost. Your family might prefer a simpler style: a nice boat with sufficient space, good food and good wildlife guides, a well-designed itinerary, and the chance to put everything else aside for a few days in Eden that will live in the mind forever.
We would generally advise against staying on the islands in a lodge or hotel. They offer a very different and more limited experience of the islands. The range of accessible locations is inevitably rather small and much time can be lost travelling each day, especially at sea when day trips on small launches can be quite long and very bumpy on the water - not great for kids. It's a shame to journey to the Galapagos and not experience the islands in the best way. If your family really would not like to be on a boat there are a couple of lodges we can recommend.
While the Galapagos will always be a highlight, you will also want to think about the other places for your family to experience on their trip to this part of the world. There are some fantastic things to see in Ecuador, and this would always be the first choice. There are good flight connections via Ecuador to Peru if you have time.
We are always saying this, but the best thing to do is to call us and talk things through.