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Exploring the Galapagos Islands

The Pacific Ocean is home to thousands of islands. However, none of them compare in unique wildlife and varied landscapes to the Galapagos Islands off Ecuador. Jim and I were fortunate to take our kids Andrew and Abby to the islands and expose them to aspects of nature that exist nowhere else in the world.

There are several ways to visit the islands – expedition cruise, private charter boat and land-based excursions are all great and different ways to experience the Galapagos. We chose to see them on Silversea’s expedition ship.

This seven-day journey started when we flew from Quito, Ecuador out to Baltra and boarded our ship, the Silver Galapagos. We loved the fact that it was an intimate crowd...we only had about 75 passengers, with 100 being the maximum guest count on any sailing.

Throughout that week, we had incredible encounters with wildlife including, snorkeling with sea lions, walking within feet of giant tortoises and iguanas, observing rare bird life such as the blue-footed boobies, frigate birds and more.

Each day we would do a couple excursions off the ship, typically a water-based activity (snorkeling, kayaking or just exploring in the zodiacs) and a landing on one of the islands. The topography was very unique and different on each island we visited. From red sand beaches to black molten lava we hiked on various terrain.

Our experiences were centered around this seven-day cruise, which could sail at night and take us to different places at an efficient pace. If your group doesn’t have seven days, some people choose to rent a private boat charter. This option gives you ultimate flexibility in how many days you sail, when you want to do your activities, etc. If you’re traveling with another family or two, a few couples or a multi-generational group, this is a great consideration.

Some travelers prefer a land-based Galapagos visit. Accommodations are sparse within the islands so provide a little more limitation. We encourage guests who do this type of island experience to understand that having a base on land, is limiting on how far away the day-trips can travel within a normal day.

The Galapagos are a fascinating destination and experience for young travelers, or travelers young at heart. The educational component of this type of trip is high, which is appealing across generations. It’s great for families or well-traveled guests who are looking for something more unique and off the beaten path.

Want to learn more about the Bendt Family journey to the Galapagos, or itinerary ideas for you? Email Linda at

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