Wildlife Group Tour

Cruise the Galapagos Islands with Jonathan Green

Departing 12th - 22nd April 2020

11 days

from £6,995pp
  • Explore the biodiverse western islands of the Galapagos with naturalist, Jonathan Green
  • Spend eight days on the motor yacht, Natural Paradise, with a guide ratio of 1:8
  • Swim with sea lions and Galapagos penguins at the island's premier snorkelling sites
  • Photograph iguanas, sea lions, penguins, giant tortoise, finches and two types of booby

Spend eight days exploring the western and southern islands of the Galapagos archipelago in the company of seasoned naturalist, Jonathan Green. Explore eight distinct islands from the comfortable platform of the motor yacht, Natural Paradise.

Discover the marine-rich Isabela Island, home to blue-footed boobies, marine iguanas and the largest concentration of flamingos in the Galapagos while also boasting some of the island’s most spectacular snorkelling sites. Explore Fernandina, the youngest and most pristine of islands having never been invaded by foreign species. Visit Espanola island home to the critically endangered waved albatross. Spend your days off the boat exploring the islands and surrounding waters with your guides, either on foot, by kayak, panga (a small motorised boat) or when snorkelling.

In Jonathan Green, Steppes Travel is confident to have found one of the best guides in the Galapagos. As well as being a Galapagos National Park guide, Jonathan is a dive master, a passionate wildlife photographer and founder of the Galapagos Whale Shark Project that featured on BBC Blue Planet II. In addition to Jonathan, 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.

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.

Why should I join this tour?

This is a perfect opportunity to visit the Galapagos Islands with two expert Galapagos National Park guides. This will be the fifth trip Jonathan will have led for Steppes Travel, with excellent feedback from past clients –

Jonathan Green was excellent. Very well informed with regards to geology and wildlife. Also an excellent snorkelling guide, pointing out the fish and discovering sharks under rock ledges! Good company at dinner and always happy to inform and educate’

‘Jonathan Green is fantastic! He made all the difference to the Galapagos experience.’

What is the Natural Paradise boat like?

The Natural Paradise is a spacious and stylish yacht providing nine double cabin suites and staterooms, some boast private balconies. She was purpose-built to sail around the Galapagos Islands with plenty of space and large picture windows. There is a lounge, both indoor and outdoor eating areas and a generous sundeck with loungers and a hot tub.

Is April a good month to travel to the Galapagos Islands?

April is a great time of year to travel to the Galapagos islands, it is the end of the rainy season and the islands are looking green and lush. The days are generally clear, warm and sunny with temperatures averaging 25 C. Seas are normally calm at this time of year with temperatures are at their warmest and visibility good so snorkelling can be more enjoyable.

What wildlife can be seen in April in the Galapagos?

  • End of hatching season for the giant tortoises
  • Green sea turtle eggs begin hatching
  • Land iguana eggs begin hatching on Isabela
  • Waved albatross continue to return to Espanola Island and begin their courtship ritual

MAKING A DIFFERENCE | 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. 



Departing on:
  • 12th April 2020

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

STARTFINISHPrice Excluding Flights £Flight cost fromSingle SupplementTour ExpertStatus 
12th Apr 2020 22nd Apr 2020 £ 6,995 £ 900 £ 4,500 Jonathan R Green Available
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • 24-hour assistance while travelling
  • Accommodation aboard the Natural Paradise boat
  • Accompanied by Jonathan Green in the Galapagos
  • Bed and breakfast accommodation in Quito
  • Domestic flights between mainland Ecuador and Galapagos Islands
  • Drinks onboard
  • English speaking National Park guide in the Galapagos
  • Full board meals and snorkelling equipment on the boat
  • Tourist card $20 and national park fee $100
  • Transfers throughout
  • Welcome lunch and city tour in Quito

what is excluded

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

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

Arrive in Quito
Today arrive in Quito, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The day is free to rest and relax after your flight or begin to explore the city.

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 Patio Andaluz, bed and breakfast

Day 2

Half Day Quito City tour
Your city tour of Quito features a panoramic view of the modern city, as welll as a visit to the colonial area which is home to buildings from the 16th century. Visit Independence Square, the President's Palace, and San Francisco Church, the first Catholic church built by the Spaniards in Quito. Also included is a visit to La Compania church, known as the best example of baroque style architecture in the country. The tour ends with a visit to Itchimbia Hill, from where the views of downtown Quito and the surrounding mountains are spectacular.


Welcome Lunch
End your city tour at the Theatrum Restaurant for lunch. A transfer will be provided back to your hotel at the end of lunch, or if you would prefer, you can walk the ten-minute journey on your own.


You will be staying at Patio Andaluz, bed and breakfast

Day 3

Fly Quito to Baltra


Embarkation and Santa Cruz Island
On arrival in the Galapagos you will be met by a national park guide who will accompany you on the short bus ride to the waterfront. At the dock, board a panga (dinghy) to make the short crossing to Natural Paradise. After settling into your cabin, there will be some time to relax before lunch and a welcome briefing.

Today, visit Eden Islet off the western coast of Santa Cruz Island, the second largest island in the Galapagos. There is the chance to take a panga ride or get in the water and go snorkeling for your first glimpse of the underwater world. Wildlife highlights today include reef sharks, Nazca and blue footed boobies.

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 Natural Paradise, full board

Day 4

Isabela Island and Fernandina Islands
In the morning, explore Vicente Roca Point. Comprised of two separate coves, this site is a large bay with spectacular sea life. Snorkelling and panga rides are possible this morning, so keep a look out for Galapagos penguins, seahorses, sea turtles, and the strange yet fascinating mola mola (sun fish). Other wildlife includes blue-footed and Nazca boobies, terns and sea lions

In the afternoon, sail across the Bolivar Channel that divides Isabela and Fernandina islands and land at Espinosa Point. After walking past a colony of marine iguanas and a group of sea lions, reach the island’s highlight: the flightless cormorant nesting site. This area also provides a great opportunity to see the Galapagos hawk.


You will be staying at Natural Paradise, full board

Day 5

Isabela Island; Urbina Bay and Moreno Point
In the morning, walk to Urbina Bay which is located at the base of Alcedo Volcano on the west coast between Tagus Cove and Elizabeth Bay. This area experienced a major uplift in 1954 causing the land to rise over five metres. The coast expanded almost a kilometre out, leaving marine life stranded on the new shore. Wildlife that can be seen includes land iguanas, hawks, giant tortoises and turtles. This area is also a great place for snorkelling.

In the afternoon, visit Moreno Point located southwest of Elizabeth Bay. The once flowing lava left craters in its wake, which formed crystal tide pools. In the brackish pools of this area, it is possible to see pink flamingos, white-cheeked pintails, common gallinules, white-tip reef sharks and sea turtles. Snorkelling and panga rides are possible here.


You will be staying at Natural Paradise, full board

Day 6

Isabela Island; Sierra Negra volcano and The Wall of Tears
This morning, land on Isabela Island to explore the Sierra Negra volcano which is the largest basaltic caldera in the Galapagos with a diameter of 10 kilometres. The site offers impressive views and the opportunity to observe up to seven species of finches and a rich display of vegetation. The north side of the caldera provides evidence of its most recent volcanic activity in 2005.

This afternoon, visit The Wall of Tears which is a 25 metre-high wall built by prisoners incarcerated on the island back in the 1950s. Afterwards, head to the wetlands of Isabela island which are located just outside of Puerto Villamil. The wetlands consist of lagoons, swamps, and mangroves and are home to a variety of unique bird species such as common stilts, whimbrels, white-cheeked pintails and gallinules. The wetlands can be visited on foot via a path through the swamps. Later today, there will also be the chance to visit the Arnaldo Tupiza Breeding Centre were there are 330 juvenile and adult tortoises.


You will be staying at Natural Paradise, full board

Day 7

Chinese Hat and Mosquera Islets
This morning visit Chinese Hat islet. This small islet is located near the southeast coast of Santiago Island. Its name comes from the distinct shape of the islet's summit. This is a great location to view many geological formations such as lava tubes and lava flows. Some of the lava flows were formed underwater and subsequently raised above sea level. The presence of coral heads on the lava flow indicates this phenomenon. This is also a great site for snorkelling with an abundance of marine species such as marine iguanas and sea lions. After lunch visit Mosquera Islet, located between the islands of Baltra and North Seymour in the central part of the archipelago. This reef of rocks and coral (the result of an uprising) is only 160 metres across at its narrowest width. This island has one of the largest populations of sea lions and is home to many shorebirds.There is great snorkelling here.


You will be staying at Natural Paradise, full board

Day 8

Floreana Island
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 and 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 Floreana's coast and offers a magnificent snorkelling experience. Look out for sharks, rays and lots of tropical fish.
Afterwards, visit Champion Islet, a small island located close to Floreana Island in the southern part of the archipelago where sea lions and Nazca boobies can be seen. This is another great place for snorkelling.


You will be staying at Natural Paradise, full board

Day 9

Espanola Island
In the morning visit Suarez Point.where it is likely you will 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. Suarez Point is home to a 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 Natural Paradise, full board

Day 10

San Cristobal, disembarkation

There will be an early start today to make one last visit before going to the airport. If time allows, visit Lobos Island, home to a noisy, playful sea lion colony. This island also offers great snorkelling opportunities as well as the chance to see frigate birds, blue-footed and Nazca boobies.


After this final visit, you will be transferred to San Cristobal’s airport in time for your flight back to the mainland.

Fly San Cristobal to Guayaquil


You will be staying at Wyndham Guayaquil, bed and breakfast

Day 11

Day at leisure in Guayaquil


Guayaquil is Ecuador's largest city and its chief seaport. Although it was founded in 1535, pirates and fires took their toll, leaving the city devoid of any real colonial feel. However it is a city in the midst of a major urban revival and the most forward thinking and modern rival to Quito. It is fast paced, up and coming and an exciting gateway to several of the country's highlights including the Galapagos Islands.

Accommodation

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

Patio Andaluz

Patio Andaluz

A truly charming boutique hotel that has been declared a Cultural Patrimony of Humanity by UNESCO, Patio Andaluz is a former 17th century mansion house that offers visitors to Quito the opportunity to stay just minutes away from the hubbub of the city's historic centre while being encapsulated in an old-world piece of architecture....

View Accommodation

Wyndham Guayaquil

Wyndham Guayaquil

Situated just steps from the historic Santa Ana Hill and its famous lighthouse, as well as mere minutes to the impressive Malecon 2000 boardwalk, Wyndham Guayaquil is a contemporary river-view property close to many attractions and eateries....

View Accommodation

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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Paul Bird, Travel Expert

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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."

Read More

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 10 / Max 15

Tour Expert:

Jonathan R Green

Departure Date (S):

  • 12th April 2020

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