Tailor-Made Holiday

High End Galapagos Cruise & Cloud Forest Adventure

Visit Quito, experience the Cloud Forest and sail the Galapagos Islands

13 days

from £7,250pp (excluding flights)
  • Eight days sailing on board the high-end motor launch Infinity with the best guide to passenger ratio in the Galapagos
  • Get up close to wildlife including all three types of booby, giant tortoise, sea lions and nine species of finch
  • Visit seven different islands including Floreana and Espanola
  • Spend time in the Cloud Forest at the impeccable Mashpi Lodge

This land and water-based itinerary will appeal to those who wish to be surrounded by wildlife in the pristine archipelago of the Galapagos Islands, whilst also having the opportunity to explore the Cloud Forest from the comfort of a contemporary lodge and stroll the cobbled streets of Quito. This combination of a colonial city, dense forest and spectacular island scenery offers the ultimate in South America exploration. 

Why cruise?

Experience the wondrous Galapagos Islands by sea and by land, sailing to some of its most spectacular and other lesser known regions that are only accessible by boat. This cruising voyage through the archipelago offers an immersive insight into the living laboratory that is the Galapagos Islands, and there are plenty of opportunities for up-close-and-personal wildlife encounters along the way.

Pre cruise

Begin your adventure in the beautiful UNESCO city of Quito, a stunning location on the edge of a volcano. Wander the cobbled streets and admire the colonial churches and buildings during the daytime, or watch the sunset from the hotel roof terrace before eating at one of the many fabulous restaurants in the evening.

Also visit the Cloud Forest, an area of thick forest that is shrouded in mist. Explore the wonderful vegetation, home to many ferns, bromeliads and hundreds of orchids as well as monkey and hummingbirds. Stay at the stylish Mashpi Lodge, a cocoon that boasts floor to ceiling windows just a stone's throw away from the forest.

Unique Experiences

Sail on a  49-metre motor yacht that was purpose-built to cruise around these spectacular islands, soaking in the epic landscapes from the comfort of private balconies during navigations or relaxing in the hot jacuzzi while anchored at one of the stunning sites.

Wildlife viewing and photography opportunities are plentiful in the archipelago, owing to the unique relationship between mankind, mammals and reptiles that sees friendly sea lions, fearless marine iguanas and curious birds keenly approaching the new visitors to their islands. Snorkelling equipment, wetsuits and kayaks are available to use during the cruise, enabling passengers to swim with penguins, sharks, dolphins and an array of brightly coloured fish.

What is given back?

Our commitment to the Galapagos Islands goes far beyond our desire to share its wonders with adventurous travellers. As such, we are conscious of the importance of preserving the islands and ensure that for all our sailings we contribute to the Galapagos Conservation Trust (GCT),  a UK non-profit organization that runs a number of research projects geared towards the maintenance of the flora and fauna of the archipelago. The operator of the Infinity boat as well as supporting GCT, also supports an orphanage near Quito.

sustainability

All boats that are granted permission to sail around the Galapagos Islands are subject to a number of carefully managed regulations that are set in place by the Galapagos National Park. Aimed at meeting the best sustainable practices, the Infinity ensures that fresh water is available to all passengers through a decanter, and so avoids unnecessary single-use plastic bottles. Plastic straws are not onboard the vessel and where possible biodegradable toiletries are provided in refillable bottles. Additionally, the yacht boasts its own onboard waste treatment plant as well as a desalination plant to utilise sea water. 

Steppes value adds

We offer a complimentary night in Quito or Guayaquil prior to any sailing on the Infinity, as well as shared transfers between the hotel and the airport.

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

Price Excluding Flights £Flight cost from 
£ 7250 £ 950
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • Accommodation as detailed
  • Breakfast at Casa Gangotena
  • Full board meals at Mashpi Lodge
  • Internal flights
  • Sightseeing as per the itinerary
  • Transfers as detailed

what is excluded

  • Galapagos National Park fees
  • International flights
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas

PLEASE NOTE THE COST SHOWN INCLUDES INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS DEPARTING FROM THE UK, BASED ON AN APPROXIMATE AIR FARE. PLEASE ASK YOUR TRAVEL EXPERT FOR AN ACCURATE INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT QUOTE. INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS DEPARTING FROM THE UK ARE ATOL PROTECTED.

Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Day at leisure in Quito


With Pichincha Volcano on one side and Machangara Gorge on the other with the equator passing directly through, few cities 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 a World Cultural Heritage Site 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.


You will be staying at Casa Gangotena, bed and breakfast

Day 2

Day at leisure in Quito
During your time in Quito, wander the cobbled streets of this historic city, visiting Independence Square and its ornate churches. Alternatively, visit the artisan markets or spend time in some fascinating museums that include Casa del Alabado, the Guayasamin Museum and the Intinan Museum.

Catch the cable car up Pichincha Volcano to take in stunning views of Quito and the surrounding area, or travel further afield to see the equatorial monument and visit the vibrant market town of Otavalo.


You will be staying at Casa Gangotena, bed and breakfast

Day 3

Just an hour and a half north of Quito stands a moss and vine draped, mist shrouded, primeval cloud forest. It is a birders' paradise, without counting the seemingly endless species of hummingbirds, the list of bird species seen here would rival any single location in the world.
Spilling over with lush vegetation, you can find epiphytes, lichens bryophytes, mosses and lichens clinging to the trunks and branches of the trees as growing space is squeezed in. Amongst this web of flora from the forest floor to the canopy, including thousands of varieties of orchid, there is a rich variety of insects, reptiles, mammals and many birds.


Arrive and Explore Mashpi Lodge
Travel from Quito to Mashpi Lodge with visits en route, arriving to the lodge in time for lunch. In the afternoon begin the activities at Mashpi on a shared basis (maximum group of 12 people) with both a naturalist and local guide.

You will be staying at Mashpi Lodge, full board

Day 4

Guided Activities in the Cloud Forest
Activities available at Mashpi:

The "Canopy Gondola" glides through and above the forest canopy on an exploration of the Reserve's ecosystem.
Hike along one of the many different trails at day or night, a great option for birdwatching.
Visit the Life Centre - a place for learning and discovery. A large wooden deck with fruit feeders attracts all sorts of wildlife from birds to rodents and other mammals. This is a great place to relax in hammocks and take in the views.

Climb to the 30 metre observation tower to get close to nature at the top of the canopy.
The hummingbird viewpoint is a fascinating place to watch these hovering creatures.
Sky Bike - this makes for an original and exciting way to explore the forest canopy. Pedal a special bike along a cable stretched between two points in the forest. An activity for children over 8 years-old accompanied by an adult.


You will be staying at Mashpi Lodge, full board

Day 5

Depart Mashpi Lodge
In the morning, more activities at Mashpi Lodge. After an early lunch at the lodge, you'll be collected for your transfer back to Quito with visits en route.


You will be staying at Casa Gangotena, bed and breakfast

Day 6

Fly Quito to Galapagos Islands


Baltra and Santa Cruz Island
This morning fly to Baltra in the Galapagos archipelago. After passing through Galapagos National Park inspection your national park guide will be waiting. The guide will accompany the group on the short bus ride to the waterfront. At the dock board a panga (dinghy) to make the short crossing to Infinity. Settle into the Infinity and have lunch and a briefing en route to the first visitor site of Black Turtle Cove in the northern part of Santa Cruz. This inlet is surrounded by mangroves and is only accessible by panga. The shallow cove is a haven for young marine life, black-tip and white-tip reef sharks, sea turtles and a variety of rays are often spotted here.

There will be two naturalist guides leading the daily excursions and giving evening briefings.

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 making a visit to these islands 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 Infinity, full board

Day 7

Genovesa Island
Today visit Genovesa Island located in the far north east of the archipelago. Visit El Barranco which is also known as Prince Phillip's Steps. It is a steep, rocky path that leads up to a high cliff-face with a marvellous view. This site is home to palo santo vegetation as well as red-footed boobies, short-eared lava owls, Galapagos swallows, and Galapagos doves.

In the afternoon visit the white-sand coral beach of Darwin Bay, a short trail winds through mangroves filled with land birds. Nazca boobies, red-footed boobies, and swallow-tailed gulls can be spotted here. Further down the path find tidal pools where sea lions swim playfully.


You will be staying at Infinity, full board

Day 8

Santiago and Rabida Island
In the morning visit Sullivan Bay on the south east part of Santiago Island, it is one of the most outstanding volcanic sites in the Galapagos. In the nearly 100 years since the Sullivan Bay Flow, only a few plants like mollugo and lava cacti have managed to take root in this harsh environment. Oystercatchers can be seen fishing for crabs and mollusks in the tide pools of Sullivan Bay.

In the afternoon visit Rabida Island which is one of the most colourful and volcanically varied islands in the archipelago as well as a great snorkelling site. Start on Rabida's famous maroon sandy beach, and after a easy hike, arrive at a stunning lookout to take in the amazing landscapes. The island is a birdwatcher's delight, some of the rarest species are in abundance such as nine varieties of finches, large-billed flycatchers, Galapagos hawks, and brown pelicans.


You will be staying at Infinity, full board

Day 9

Santa Cruz Island
This morning visit the Fausto Llerena Tortoise Breeding Centre at the Charles Darwin Research Station, which is home to tortoises ranging from tiny hatchlings to one-metre-long adults. The station runs a giant tortoise breeding program as part of its efforts to preserve this fragile ecosystem. It was home to the famous Lonesome George, for many decades regarded as the rarest creature in the world.

Later set out towards the highlands of Santa Cruz to visit El Chato, a private farm and natural tortoise reserve. Follow a trail through the reserve and observe giant tortoises in their natural habitat. The area is also a good place to spot a plethora of birdlife, including short-eared owls, Darwin's finches, yellow warblers and paint-billed crakes.


You will be staying at Infinity, full board

Day 10

Santa Cruz Island
In the morning visit Dragon Hill on Santa Cruz, located on the north western part of the island, and consists of a trail that runs through three different environments although it is only slightly less than a mile long. At high tide it's a nice place for snorkelling.

In the afternoon visit Bachas Beach, a swimming beach, located on the north shore of Santa Cruz island. You may see flamingos, Sally lightfoot crabs, hermit crabs, black-necked stilts, and whimbrels, sea turtles also nest on the beach.


You will be staying at Infinity, full board

Day 11

Floreana Island
Today visit the famous Post Office Bay, the spot where 18th century whalers placed a wooden barrel that was used as an unofficial post box. The tradition continues today, with visitors leaving addressed postcards in the barrel and sorting through left mail to deliver at home.

In the afternoon head to Cormorant Point, hike to a salt-water lagoon which is home to flamingos. There is the opportunity to swim in the crystal clear waters of the Devil's Crown, an extinct volcano that peaks out of the waters just off of Floreana's coast and offers a magnificent snorkelling experience. Look out for sharks, rays and lots of tropical fish.


You will be staying at Infinity, full board

Day 12

Espanola Island
In the morning visit Suarez Point. On the trail there will be the chance to see blue-footed and Nazca boobies, red billed tropic birds, Galapagos Hawks and the curious Hood mockingbirds. Between April and December each year the island is the breeding site of nearly all of the world's 12,000 pairs of waved albatrosses. See the famous blowhole that spurts water into the air, a fantastic landscape for photography.

In the afternoon, explore the spectacular Gardner Bay. After landing walk across a lovely white sand beach amongst a busy sea lion colony or dive into the water to swim and snorkel with sea lion pups.


You will be staying at Infinity, full board

Day 13

San Cristobal Island
This morning the final landing is at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, capital of the Galapagos Islands, on San Cristobal Island. Visit the Interpretation Centre which explains the natural history of the Galapagos, learn about the archipelago's fragile ecosystem and the conservation efforts currently underway. Afterwards travel by bus with the guide to the airport for the flight back to the Ecuadorian mainland.

Fly Galapagos Islands to Guayaquil

Accommodation

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

Mashpi Lodge

Mashpi Lodge

Seamlessly blending lush jungle with urban comfort, Mashpi Lodge is at once enormously elegant and uniquely natural....

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Casa Gangotena

Casa Gangotena

A spectacular three-story boutique hotel set within a newly-restored historic mansion overlooking Plaza San Francisco, Casa Gangotena boasts an exquisite interior that combines contemporary aesthetics with antiques and fine furnishings....

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Infinity

Infinity

The Infinity is a motorboat, which started sailing in 2018....

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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.

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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.

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