Wildlife Group Tour

Galapagos Islands with Jonathan Green and New Scientist

11 days

from £5,775pp
  • Explore the central islands and remote Genovesa in the north east
  • Exclusive access at the Charles Darwin Research Centre with a scientist
  • See land and marine iguanas, Galapagos penguin, Darwin finches and all three types of boobies
  • Travel in April when days are warm and visibility in the water is good for snorkelling
  • Spend eight days sailing on the Natural Paradise, a purpose-built yacht for cruising the Galapagos

Join our special Galapagos Island charter in collaboration with New Scientist. Spend eight days exploring the central islands of the Galapagos archipelago in the company of naturalist - Jonathan Green. As well as being a Galapagos National Park guide, Jonathan is a dive master, founder of the Galapagos Whale Shark Project and a passionate wildlife photographer. In addition to Jonathan there will be a regular naturalist guide on board so you can be assured of receiving personalised and insightful narrative on all the wildlife seen.

Travel aboard the Natural Paradise yacht visiting nine different islands within the archipelago. This includes remote Genovesa island, one of the only places to see all three types of boobie bird. Santa Cruz island in the centre which is home to the Charles Darwin Research Centre, and San Cristobal, the first island Darwin went ashore in 1835.

As well as the varied geology which spans this archipelago the highlight will be the wildlife. During your time in this living laboratory of evolution get close to many endemic species that are unafraid of humans. About 97% of the reptiles and land mammals and 80% of the land birds are endemic, and  more than 20% of the marine species are found nowhere but the Galapagos Islands. Highlights should include Galapagos penguins, marine and land iguanas, Nazca, red and blue footed boobies, frigate birds, sea lions, giant Galapagos tortoises and the majority of the 13 Darwin finches.

WHAT IS THE BOAT LIKE?

The Natural Paradise is a spacious and stylish yacht, purpose built to sail around the Galapagos islands. The boat can accommodate 16 people across nine cabins so there will be plenty of space on board. There is a lounge, both indoor and outdoor eating areas and a generous sundeck with loungers and a Jacuzzi.

WILL THERE BE OPPORTUNITIES TO WALK ON THE ISLANDS AND SNORKEL?

Yes, every day there will be a number of excursions to the islands with the naturalist guides. Depending on the visitor site of the day there will be the chance to walk the trails, snorkel or take panga rides

WILL THE SEA BE ROUGH?

Seas are generally calm at this time of year.

WHAT WILL THE WEATHER BE LIKE IN APRIL?

April is a great time of year to travel to the Galapagos islands. The days are generally clear, warm and sunny with temperatures averaging 25 C. Sea temperatures are also at their warmest at this time and visibility is good so snorkelling can be more enjoyable.

KEY WILDLIFE PHENOMENA ON THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS IN APRIL

  • End of hatching season for the giant tortoises
  • Green sea turtle eggs begin hatching
  • Land iguana eggs begin hatching on Isabela

 



Departing on:
  • 1st April 2018
  • 8th April 2018

For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.

STARTFINISHPrice Excluding Flights £Flight cost fromSingle SupplementTour LecturerStatus 
1st Apr 2018 11th Apr 2018 £ 5,775 £ 920 £ 2,995 Jonathan R Green Limited
8th Apr 2018 18th Apr 2018 £ 5,775 £ 920 £ 2,995 Jonathan R Green Full
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • Accommodation and board as per itinerary
  • All transfers
  • Breakfast included in Quito
  • Welcome meal in Quito
  • English speaking National Park guide in the Galapagos
  • Full board meals on the boat in the Galapagos
  • Domestic flights to Galapagos
  • Tourist card $20 and National Park fee $100
  • Tours and excursions as per itinerary

what is excluded

  • Gratuities
  • Travel insurance
  • International flights

TO ALLOW FLEXIBILITY, OUR GROUP TOURS DO NOT INCLUDE INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS AS STANDARD. WE CAN ARRANGE INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS ON YOUR BEHALF AND THE ABOVE IS AN INDICATION OF COST, BASED ON RETURN FLIGHTS DEPARTING FROM LONDON. ALL INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS FROM THE UK ARE ATOL PROTECTED.

Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Fly London to Amsterdam

Fly Amsterdam to Quito


You will be staying at JW Marriott, Bed & Breakfast

Day 2

Half Day Colonial City Tour
This tour starts in the wonderfully preserved colonial area of Quito. Visit Independence Square, San Francisco Plaza and the ornate La Compañía church.

From here continue up to Itchimbía Hill to take in the views of downtown Quito and the surrounding mountains. Visit the modern city stopping at La Capilla del Hombre (Chapel of Man), a cultural complex that describes the history of Latin America's indigenous people from pre-Columbian times to the present. It has an enormous mural painted by the famous artist Oswaldo Guayasamin, the best Ecuadorian painter of all times and founder of the complex. End at Guayasamin's former house and workshop, which has been restored to show the intimate ambience in which Guayasamin lived and worked.

With Pichincha Volcano one side, Machangara Gorge on the other and the equator passing directly through, few can rival Quito's setting. Few also can match the splendour of its old town, with its colonial churches, mansions and plazas.

Quito was named as the first World Cultural Heritage Site in the world by UNESCO in 1978. This historical city sits at 2,850 metres and has the largest and best preserved historic centre and colonial quarters in Latin America.


Welcome meal this evening at a local restaurant


You will be staying at JW Marriott, Bed & Breakfast

Day 3

Fly Quito to San Cristobal Island


Embarkation and San Cristobal Island
This morning fly to San Cristobal in the Galapagos archipelago. After passing through Galapagos National Park inspection the national park guide will be waiting, holding a sign with Natural Paradise, the name of your yacht. The guide will accompany the group on the short bus ride to the waterfront. At the dock board a dinghy (panga) to make the short crossing to Natural Paradise. Only bring carry-on luggage on the panga as the crew will transfer the main luggage to the cabins. Settle into the boat and have lunch and a briefing en route to the first visitor site of Kicker Rock.

This striking rock formation is located a couple of hours off the western shore of San Cristobal. Jutting out of the water, the rocks rise almost 150 metres above the ocean divided by a small channel. Although there are no landing areas, snorkelling and panga rides make spotting a variety of marine life possible, including sharks, turtles and rays. Also find sea birds such as Nazca and blue-footed boobies and frigate birds.

It was Charles Darwin's 1835 exploration of the Galapagos Islands, whilst serving as a naturalist on HMS Beagle, and his subsequent 1859 publication On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection that first brought the world's attention to these fascinating islands.

Today the Galapagos remain a living laboratory of evolution where birds and animals have no fear of man. Blue-footed boobies, flightless cormorants, land and marine iguanas and giant tortoises roam freely and for anyone with an interest in natural history, wildlife and ecology, a visit to these islands is an unforgettable experience.

Located some 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean, the archipelago is now a National Park and has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. There are 13 islands (isles) in total and dozens of smaller islets and rocks - all the result of volcanic activity with exotic plant life, unique wildlife species and an extraordinary landscape fringed with blue sea.


You will be staying at Natural Paradise, Full board

Day 4

North Seymour and Santa Fe Islands
This morning stop on North Seymour Island where sea lions, marine iguanas, blue footed boobies, pelicans and magnificent frigatebirds can be found.

This afternoon visit Santa Fe Island, stop at a small picturesque bay on the north east of the Island. The bay has two trails, one leading to a viewpoint atop a cliff, and the other spanning from a small beach to a tall prickly pear cactus forest. Look out for land iguanas along the trail.


You will be staying at Natural Paradise, Full board

Day 5

Santa Cruz Island
Santa Cruz is the second largest island in the Galapagos and its capital, Puerto Ayora, is the economic centre of the Islands. In the morning travel to the highlands and visit Los Gemelos, or the Twin Craters. The name is only figurative; not real craters, these formations were created by the collapse of surface material in underground fissures and chambers.

In the afternoon visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to visit the Giant Tortoise and Land Iguana Breeding and Rearing Program. Puerto Ayora is also a good spot to buy souvenirs and get laundry done.


Special Reception at the Charles Darwin Research Centre
Visit the Charles Darwin Research Centre in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island. The centre is a not-for-profit organisation that has been working in the Galapagos since 1959, providing science to help conserve the environment and biodiversity of the islands.

Exclusive to Steppes Travel, have a special reception in the Exhibition Hall with a Charles Darwin Foundation staff member, where an explanation of the current projects will be given. End with a talk from one of the scientists in the Hall's Theatre about one of the current projects.


You will be staying at Natural Paradise, Full board

Day 6

Santiago and Bartolome Islands
This morning visit Sullivan Bay located on the southeast part of Santiago Island. This place is interesting for its geology and the chance to walk across a recent lava flow that was formed in the late 19th century and view its structural characteristics.

After lunch visit Bartolome, famous for Pinnacle Rock, a towering spearheaded column that rises from the edge of the sea. Galapagos penguins and sea lions can be found here and sea turtles nest in the sandy beaches. Hike the 600 metre trail to Bartolome's summit and be rewarded with spectacular views of Santiago Island and Sullivan Bay as well as Pinnacle Rock and the beach below. The beach is perfect for snorkelling and possible sightings of the Galapagos penguin.


You will be staying at Natural Paradise, Full board

Day 7

South Plaza and Rabida Islands
In the morning head to South Plaza Island. This small island with steep cliffs was formed by rising lava and is now covered by opuntia cacti. Find colourful yellow and red land iguanas sheltering here. The island is also home to one of the largest sea lion colonies.

In the afternoon visit Rabida Island, one of the most colourful and volcanically varied islands in the archipelago and a great snorkelling site. The island is a birdwatcher's delight with some of the rarest species such as nine varieties of finches, large-billed flycatchers, Galapagos hawks and brown pelicans.


You will be staying at Natural Paradise, Full board

Day 8

Genovesa Island
Genovesa Island is located in the northwest of the Galapagos archipelago, remote but rewarding for wildlife, particularly birds. Here the biggest colony of red footed boobies, many great frigate birds, yellow crowned night herons and swallow tailed gulls can be found.

This morning visit El Barranco also known as Prince Phillips Steps where a steep, rocky path leads up to a high cliff face and a great view point. Red footed and Nazca boobies, short-eared lava owls, Galapagos swallows, and Galapagos doves can all be seen here.

After lunch visit the white sand coral beach of Darwin Bay, a trail winds through mangroves filled with Nazca boobies, red footed boobies, and swallow tailed gulls. Further down the path are tidal pools where sea lions swim playfully.


You will be staying at Natural Paradise, Full board

Day 9

Santiago Island
This morning visit Espumilla beach, a long sandy beach, a popular place for marine iguanas and Sally lightfoot crabs. This is a great spot for swimming and snorkelling.

This afternoon visit Puerto Egas home to the curious Galapagos hawks and quick footed lava lizards. The trail leads to the coast with tide pools with marine iguanas and bright red Sally lightfoot crabs. There is the chance to snorkel and see reef sharks, turtles, rays and sea lions.


You will be staying at Natural Paradise, Full board

Day 10

Santa Cruz Island and Disembarkation
In the morning if time allows, visit Bachas Beach located on the north shore of Santa Cruz. Look for flamingos, Sally lightfoot crabs, hermit crabs, black-necked stilts, and whimbrels.

After this final visit, travel by bus with the guide to Baltra airport in time for your flight back to the mainland.

Fly Galapagos Islands to Guayaquil

Fly Guayaquil to Amsterdam

Day 11

Fly Amsterdam to London

Accommodation

Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Natural Paradise

Natural Paradise

Natural Paradise is a high end 34 metre motor boat which can accommodate 16 passengers....

View Accommodation

For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.

Destination Experts

Our experts have unrivalled firsthand knowledge of Galapagos Islands

James Armitage, Travel Expert

"The help and great knowledge James offered really made the holiday special"

"James listened and managed our expectations and therefore made sure we were prepared for all eventualities when going on our holiday to Brazil"

"James was brilliant and all the advice was spot on."

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John Faithfull, Travel Expert

"Personalised service. Seemed to really want to get it right for us. Very impressed when I first called and John spent 40 minutes finding out what we wanted to do and tailoring it for us."

"The expertise that John has really gave us faith in where we were going, the regions, the hotels, the trips. John knew about it all, he described them in detail, and when we asked for different regions he was straight in there with suggestions and ideas. The way the whole trip was planned and presented to us, never any pressure to book or any problem to change plans /ideas."

"John Faithful was wonderfully helpful and conscientious in arranging the itinerary and was always ready to suggest alternatives or rearrange matters without any hesitation; this and his detailed knowledge gave one great confidence."

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Roxy Dukes, Travel Expert

"Roxy filled us with enthusiasm and came up with some great ideas for a trip. We liked the idea of a slightly 'off the beaten track experience' and some private bespoke activities and that's exactly what we've had. Thank you!"

"Roxy created a wonderfully interesting route which was the basis for a super trip. She also chose lovely places for us to stay and interesting activities for us to participate in, introducing us to the idea of private guided experiences which we thoroughly enjoyed."

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Tour host

Jonathan R Green

Jonathan R Green
Jonathan R. Green is a keen wildlife photographer, qualified naturalist guide and dive master, who has been working in the Galapagos for over 25 years. In 2011 he set up the Galapagos Whale Shark Research Project to monitor and study whale sharks in the Galapagos. He is an elected Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society of London and elected Member International of the Explorer’s Club of New York.

He has led adventure travel trips and photo expeditions to the Amazon, Antarctica, Central America, Patagonia, Peru, and the Galapagos. He has published work in Time, Time Life, GEO, BBC Natural History, and Royal Geographical Magazines.
Enquire about this Wildlife tour:

Group Size:

Min 12 / Max 15

Tour Expert:

Jonathan R Green

Departure Date (S):

  • 1st April 2018
  • 8th April 2018

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