Our People
  • Amy Waters snow biking Our Team

    Steppes Travel is made by the people who work here. Incredible holidays are made possible because of their vast travel experience and the great enthusiasm they bring to their work.

  • William Dalrymple Our Tour Experts

    We carefully select our experts based on their knowledge, companionship and influence, ensuring that you can travel with the most knowledgeable leaders in the field.

  • Liz Bonnin Heroes and Heroines

    the people who lead the way when it comes to those things which matter to us: exploration, the environment, women’s empowerment and education

Cruise the Galapagos Islands with Macarena Iturralde

  • EXPERT-LED CRUISE
Start date End date Days
Prices from
Single Supplement Tour Expert Group Size Status
12/06/22 22/06/22 11 days £6,995 ex. flights £4,500 Macarena Iturralde 15 Max LIMITED Reserve place

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

Macarena Iturralde 1

Expert naturalist

Explore the biodiverse western islands of the Galapagos with naturalist, Macarena Iturralde

Natural Paradise, Galapagos Islands 2

Excellent guide ratio

Spend eight days on the motor yacht, Natural Paradise, with a guide ratio of 1:8.

Snorkelling with Penguin, Galapagos Islands 3

One of the greatest snorkelling destinations

Swim with sea lions and Galapagos penguins at the island’s premier snorkelling sites.

Land Iguana, Galapagos Islands, Excellent Illustration 4

Photographic opportunities

Photograph iguanas, sea lions, penguins, giant tortoise – all seemingly unafraid of humans.

Explore our suggested itinerary

  • Day 1

    Quito

  • Day 2

    Quito

  • Day 3

    Quito to Santa Cruz Island

  • Day 4

    North Seymour & South Plaza

  • Days 5

    Rabida & Bartolome

  • Day 6

    Santiago & Santa Cruz

  • Day 7

    Santa Cruz Island

  • Day 8

    Genovesa Island

  • Day 9

    Santiago Island

  • Day 10

    San Cristobal to Guayaquil

  • Day 11

    Guayaquil

Day 1

Quito

Arrive into Quito, a historical city sitting at 2,850 metres. The city is known for having the largest and best-preserved historic centre and colonial quarters in Latin America.

Day 2

Quito

Explore Quito on a city tour visiting Independence Square, the President’s Palace and San Francisco Church. Finish the tour ends with a visit to Itchimbia Hill, from where the views of downtown Quito and the surrounding mountains are spectacular.

Day 3

Quito to Santa Cruz Island

Fly from Quito to Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos. On arrival, you will be met by a national park guide who will accompany you on the dock, to embark the Natural Paradise. Set sail towards Eden Islet.

Day 4

North Seymour & South Plaza

This morning, stop on North Seymour Island where sea lions, marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies, pelicans and magnificent frigate birds can be found. North Seymour was formed by a series of submarine lava flows containing layers of sediment that were uplifted by tectonic activity. The island is characterised by its arid vegetation zone.

This afternoon visit South Plaza Island, this small island with steep cliffs formed by rising lava and now covered by opuntia cacti. It is also home to one of the largest sea lion colonies as well as colourful yellow and red land iguanas.

Days 5

Rabida & Bartolome

This morning 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.

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 with possible sightings of the Galapagos penguin.

Day 6

Santiago & Santa Cruz

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.

This afternoon visit Dragon Hill on Santa Cruz Island. This is one of the newest visitor sites accessible to tourists in the Galapagos Islands. One of the lengthier Galapagos walking trails will lead you along a beach and up a trail to the lagoon lookout where bright flamingos, pintail ducks and land iguanas can be spotted.

Day 7

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. 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.

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.

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.

Day 10

San Cristobal to Guayaquil

This morning disembark early and visit Balchas Beach. Fly to Guayaquil and stay at Wyndham Guayaquil.

Day 11

Guayaquil

Free day to explore at your leisure before departing on your international flight home.

Our travel experts can tailor this itinerary to suit you.

Natural Paradise, Galapagos Islands
Natural Paradise, Galapagos Islands
Social area, Natural Paradise, Galapagos Islands
Natural Paradise, Galapagos Islands, Galapagos Islands
Suite 1, Natural Paradise, Galapagos Islands
Natural Paradise, Galapagos Islands, Galapagos Islands
Suite, Natural Paradise, Galapagos Islands
Natural Paradise, Galapagos Islands, Galapagos Islands
Sundeck, Natural Paradise, Galapagos Islands
Natural Paradise, Galapagos Islands, Galapagos Islands
Sundeck, Natural Paradise, Galapagos Islands
Natural Paradise, Galapagos Islands, Galapagos Islands

Natural Paradise

A high-end 111-foot-long yacht which can accommodate 16 passengers, Natural Paradise is made up of nine cabins that vary from standard cabins with porthole windows to suites with private balconies.

With a spacious dining area, a bar and large sundeck with loungers, jacuzzi and a covered alfresco dining area, the yacht balances luxurious surroundings with plenty of space to unwind and relax. Snorkelling equipment and sea kayaks are available to use during the trip.

Galapagos Tortoise, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos Islands
Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Conservation Trust

Steppes is a Gold Corporate Member of the Galapagos Conservation Trust, the only UK charity that is focussed solely on conservation in the archipelago. As such we continue to support ongoing conservation projects in the archipelago and recently donated to the development of a citizen’s science website on which the public can post information about single-use plastic pollution in the Galapagos.

When you book a trip to the Galapagos Islands with Steppes Travel, you will also benefit from a complimentary, six-month membership with the Galapagos Conservation Trust.

Expert-led Cruise FAQs

Why travel to the Galapagos with Steppes Travel?

In Macarena Iturralde, Steppes Travel is confident to have found one of the best guides in the Galapagos. Macarena Iturralde is a renowned Galapagos expert with over 35 years’ experience working in the islands. She trained as a Marine Biologist with the Universidad Catolica de Quito and her field is marine invertebrates.

In addition to Macarena, there will be a resident Galapagos National Park guide on board, meaning a ratio of one guide per eight passengers, you can be assured of receiving personalised and insightful narrative on all the wildlife seen.

What happens on a typical day on a Galapagos cruise?

Wake up for breakfast at around 07:00. There may then be a morning land-based excursion. This may include a short hike, a research centre visit, or searching for local wildlife. Return to your boat for lunch. Afterwards, there will be some time at leisure before your water-based excursion. This could include a Panga (small boat) cruise, or a chance to see the marine life from the water with a snorkel trip. Return to the boat for pre-dinner drinks and a short briefing on the plan for the following day. After dinner, enjoy a talk by one of your expert Naturalists or specialist expert.

Are June good times to visit the Galapagos?

June is the beginning of the cool season so the time when all marine life is thriving. Good opportunities of seeing whales, marine birds are in a frenzy of courtship and first chicks hatching. Great time to see Albatross on Española. Sea lions also birthing and on the west Penguins are courting. First signs too of marine iguana territorial behaviour and male battling. All in all a very active time of the year. Love is in the air.

What is the wildlife in the Galapagos like?

There are few places on earth that can rival the wildlife of Galapagos, with an abundance of colourful creatures seemingly unafraid of humans. Wildlife highlights include land and marine iguanas, blue-footed and Nazca boobies, giant tortoises, Galapagos penguins, frigate birds, sea lions and many finches.

Haven’t found what you’re looking for?


VISIT OUR FAQ PAGE

Includes / Excludes

Important Information

Activity Level
Moderate Activity
Single Supplement

Travelling on your own? Our group tours are perfect for solo travellers, as travelling as part of an organised group in faraway places provides security and peace of mind. We handle all of the arrangements for you and there will be a local tour guide on hand throughout to provide advice and help if needed, as well as the expertise of a Tour expert.

Flexibility

To allow flexibility, our group tours do not include international flights as standard. We can arrange international flights on your behalf, please get in touch with our travel experts for a quote. All international flights from the UK are ATOL protected.

What is included

  • Accompanied by Macarena Iturralde in the Galapagos
  • Six-month membership to the Galapagos Conservation Trust
  • Pre-cruise accommodation in Quito and then aboard the Natural Paradise boat
  • Domestic flights between mainland Ecuador and Galapagos Islands
  • Full board meals and snorkelling equipment on the boat
  • English speaking National Park guide in the Galapagos
  • Drinks on board
  • Transfers throughout
  • £25 contribution to ‘Trees and Science’ in mitigation of your carbon emissions
  • £25 to help fund the communities, conservation agencies and NGOs that we work with

What is excluded

  • International Flights to and from Ecuador
  • Gratuities for the onboard crew, drivers and porters
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visa

Why a Steppes expert-led group tour

1.Experience matters

We have been running insightful and groundbreaking group tours since our inception in 1989. We have worked with institutions such as the British Museum and Victoria & Albert Museum and run wildlife tours in conjunction with conservation agencies such as Fauna & Flora International, Wildlife Conservation Society, the Orangutan Foundation, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and the Jane Goodall Institute.

2.Like-minded travellers

Steppes Travellers are like-minded people; interesting, interested and curious. Our group tours, usually consisting of eight to ten travellers, aim to create an easy and informal atmosphere – we have a lot of fun on our tours and many friendships have been formed.

4.Peace of mind

When you travel on one of our group tours, you will be looked after by our local agents and your tour expert with the back-up of our 24-hour emergency number and duty manager. All our holidays are fully bonded and protected – our ATOL number is ATOL 6495.

3.It’s about who you know

We have developed an enviable pool of expertise from which to choose our tour experts, who we carefully select based on their knowledge, companionship and personality. Often, these experts can use their influence to facilitate private access to sites not typically open to the public.

Our future tour dates

For further information about any of these tours please call 01285 880 980

Start date End date Days
Prices from
Single Supplement Tour Expert Group Size Status
12/06/22 22/06/22 11 days £6,995 ex. flights £4,500 Macarena Iturralde 15 Max LIMITED Reserve place

Reserve your place on this group tour

Our travel experts have a wealth of first-hand knowledge, so if you have any questions about this expert-led group tour, please get in touch. They would love to help. We hope you can join us on this tour.

01285 880 980

Send us an enquiry

Send us a message and one of our travel experts
will get right back to you.

Enquire Today

Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise set us apart. So too our curiosity. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you, all the while ensuring we travel and operate sustainably.

Are you ready to discover extraordinary once again?


More about Steppes

F L E X I B I L I T Y P R O M I S E B O O K W I T H C O N F I D E N C E

Get in touch

  • By sending your enquiry you are stating that you agree to our T&C

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.