Wildlife Group Tour

Cruise the Galapagos Islands with Jo Ruxton

A Cruise with marine conservationist and producer of A Plastic Ocean, Jo Ruxton

10 days

from £6,695pp
  • Travel with Jo Ruxton, marine conservationist and producer of documentary A Plastic Ocean
  • Exclusive Telegraph charter with like-minded people on a small, luxury boat
  • Explore nine of the Galapagos Islands including Isabela and Fernandina
  • Two naturalist guides on board means an excellent ratio of 1 guide to 10 clients

This is a fantastic opportunity to explore the Galapagos Islands, with marine conservationist and producer of the documentary A Plastic Ocean, Jo Ruxton.  Jo has worked with the BBC Natural History unit and was part of the celebrated Blue Planet team. Over the past 18 years Jo has been involved in numerous underwater filming projects around the world, from Antarctica to the pristine reefs of the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean. More recently Jo co-founded the Plastic Oceans Foundation, a way to raise the problem facing our oceans, and from this has produced a documentary feature, A Plastic Ocean. 

Spend eight days exploring the archipelago with opportunities to explore a selection of islands on foot, by panga (dingy) and snorkelling, all accompanied by expert Galapagos National Park guides.

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 flightless cormorant, land and marine iguanas, two types of booby (blue-footed and Nazca), giant tortoises, Galapagos penguins, frigate birds, sea lions and many finches. With two naturalist guides on board in addition to Jo Ruxton, you can be assured of receiving personalised and insightful narrative on all the wildlife and islands seen.

The Infinity is a luxury motor-boat, chartered exclusively for Steppes Travel and The Telegraph. With a maximum capacity of only 20 passengers on board, Infinity offers a very personal service and provides a luxury platform from which to discover the Galapagos islands.

What wildlife can be seen in October in the Galapagos?

The Galapagos Islands are a wildlife haven, both on and off the islands. October is one the best months for wildlife, the cooler temperatures mean it is one of the most active times for mating and breeding and the Humboldt current brings nutrients and therefore an abundance of marine life.

During October in the Galapagos Islands, you may be able to witness

  • Galapagos fur seals begin their mating period
  • Whale and dolphin watching is at its best
  • Lava herons start nesting from now until March
  • Blue-footed boobies begin raising chicks
  • Flightless cormorants and penguins are breeding and nesting
  • Giant tortoises continue laying eggs in the wild
  • One of the best months for snorkelling

Will the sea be rough in October in the Galapagos?

The southern trade winds do bring some wind from the south, which can be felt around the western islands of Isabela. This also brings the Humboldt current making nutrients in the water more abundant and marine life more active. Be prepared for cooler water temperatures at this time of the year however the Infinity crew will provide you with a wet-suit when snorkelling.

What is the Infinity boat like?

The Infinity is the latest addition to a luxury fleet.  Providing eight double cabins and two suites, all cabins boast private balconies. Cabins onboard Infinity are some of the largest that can be found in the Galapagos, especially for a motorboat. Her sleek modern interior is of a minimalist style and the floor to ceiling windows allow for exceptional views and wonderful light.  An outdoor dining area and bar make for a very convivial atmosphere onboard.

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

The Galapagos is a great destination to visit year-round. While it sits on the equator, the weather is not tropical, and temperatures sit in the early twenties most of the year. The western islands are generally dry at this time of year, they do often start misty but this can produce some beautiful sunrises with clear summits and low-lying fog. Further east you can get some occasional drizzle during the day. October is in the cooler season but this does mean it is the active breeding season for many sea and shore birds, marine iguanas, sea lions and fur seals and the addition of the Humboldt current means marine life is also at its most active.

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. 

Galapagos Conservation Trust



Departing on:
  • 20th October 2019

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

STARTFINISHPrice Excluding Flights £Flight cost fromSingle SupplementTour ExpertStatus 
20th Oct 2019 29th Oct 2019 £ 6,695 £ 1,000 £ 4,500 Jo Ruxton Available
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • Travel with Jo Ruxton throughout
  • Bed and breakfast accommodation in Quito
  • Welcome meal and city tour in Quito
  • Group transfers throughout
  • Domestic flights between mainland Ecuador and the Galapagos
  • Full board meals and snorkelling equipment on the Infinity boat
  • Two English speaking National Park guides in the Galapagos
  • Tourist card $20 and national park fee $100

what is excluded

  • International flights to and from Ecuador
  • Gratuities
  • Visa and travel insurance

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 the Patio Andaluz. 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 Colonial Quito Tour
This half day tour includes a panoramic view of the modern city and surrounding mountains from Panecillo Hill at 10,200 ft, followed by a visit to the colonial area. Visit buildings from the 16th century, including Independence Square and the Presidents Palace. See San Francisco Square, church and monastery, the oldest catholic complex in Ecuador built between 1535 and 1650, and La Compania de Jesus church, considered to be a perfect example of the baroque style in Latin America.


Welcome Meal
This evening a welcome meal for the group will be hosted at a local restaurant.


You will be staying at Patio Andaluz, bed and breakfast

Day 3

Fly Quito to San Cristobal Island


San Cristobal
Arrive on San Cristobal Island in the Galapagos archipelago. After passing through Galapagos National Park inspection your national park guide will be waiting to meet you and 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 the Infinity yacht. Settle into your cabin before lunch and an introdution briefing.

After lunch visit the Jacinto Gordillo Breeding Centre, a new visitor site in the northeast part of San Cristobal Island. At the Breeding Centre you will be able to admire the hatchling tortoises from their birth until they are four years old when the grown tortoises are taken to their natural habitat. Later visit Puerto Chino, this walk takes approximately 30 minutes to the white sandy beach where you are likely to find sea birds and maybe have the opportunity for snorkelling.

There will be two naturalist guides leading the daily excursions and giving evening briefings. Jo Ruxton will give two lectures on board during the voyage as well as accompanying the daily excursions.

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 4

Santa Fe and South Plaza Island
Step ashore at Santa Fe Island, and walk through an endemic cactus forest, looking out for the Santa Fe land iguana. The largest iguana species in the region, this endemic lizard is noticeably paler than other species. Whilst exploring, hope to spot Galapagos hawks, a variety of finches and Galapagos mockingbirds.

In the afternoon visit South Plaza Island. Take a hike through an impressive cactus forest, surrounded by land and marine iguanas. Continue upwards and, at the highest point, look out for tropicbirds and the bachelor sea lion colony. The island is also home to a large colony of smaller land iguanas, which survive on the fruits and flowers of the prickly pear during the dry season.


You will be staying at Infinity, 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 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.

In the afternoon travel to the highlands and visit Los Gemelos, or the Twin Craters- the name is only figurative in that the craters are not real craters, these formations were created by the collapse of surface material in underground fissures and chambers.


You will be staying at Infinity, full board

Day 6

Isabela Island
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 6.2 miles. 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 25 metres high and an important piece of the island's history. 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

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 Infinity, full board

Day 7

Isabela Island
In the morning visit Moreno Point located southwest of Elizabeth Bay. The once flowing lava has 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, and common gallinules, white-tip reef sharks and sea turtles. Snorkelling and panga rides are possible here.

In the afternoon visit Tagus Cove on Isabela Island, located across from Fernandina Island. This spot has been frequented by ships since the 1800s, using the area as an anchorage site. Trails winding by Lake Darwin up to a ridge with wonderful views. This site is an excellent place for viewing land birds, including ground and tree finches, hawks, yellow warblers, large-billed flycatchers and even sometimes the woodpecker finch.


You will be staying at Infinity, full board

Day 8

Fernandina and Isabela Island
In the morning visit Fernandina island, the youngest in the archipelago and one of the world's most pristine island ecosystems, no foreign species have ever invaded the island. Land at Espinosa Point, walk past a colony of marine iguanas and a group of sea lions to reach the island's highlight: the flightless cormorant nesting site. This area provides a great opportunity to see the Galapagos hawk too.

In the afternoon cross the Bolivar Channel that divides Fernandina and Isabela Islands, and 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, 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.


You will be staying at Infinity, full board

Day 9

Santiago and Bartholomew Island
This morning visit Espumilla Beach where marine iguanas lounge and the Sally lightfoot crabs attract the hunting herons performing the dance of predator and prey right before your eyes. Snorkelling is highly recommended as you could find yourself face to face with an octopus, moray eel, shark and a variety of other species of tropical fish.

In the afternoon head to Bartholomew Island, home of the famous Pinnacle Rock. Bartholomew consists of an extinct volcano with a variety of red, orange, black and even green volcanic formations. Take a trail to the summit of the volcano (30 - 40 minutes) where you will see one of the best views of the islands. Also visit a small beautiful beach surrounded by the only vegetation found on this barren island. The beach is perfect for snorkelling where you may see reef shark, rays, colourful fish and even Galapagos penguin.


You will be staying at Infinity, full board

Day 10

North Seymour and Baltra Island
This morning, time allowing, stop on North Seymour Island where sea lions, marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies, pelicans and magnificent frigate birds can be found. After this visit head to Baltra. Disembark the Infinity and travel by bus with the guide to the airport for the flight back to the Ecuadorian mainland.

Fly Baltra to Guayaquil

Accommodation

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

Patio Andaluz

Patio Andaluz

Patio Andaluz is a beautiful hotel, declared a Cultural Patrimony of Humanity by UNESCO in 1978....

View Accommodation

Infinity

Infinity

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

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.

Experts

Jo Ruxton

Jo Ruxton
Jo began her work in marine conservation back in 1990 when she joined WWF in Hong Kong to begin their Marine Conservation Programme; a significant task in a place that had no laws to protect the coastal waters and where massive development was taking place before the handover to China. During her seven years with WWF, she was instrumental in bringing in new legislation and setting up four Marine Protected Areas.

Jo joined the BBC Natural History Unit in 1997 and was part of the celebrated Blue Planet team. Over the past 18 years she has been involved in numerous underwater filming projects around the world, from Antarctica to the pristine reefs of the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean. After leaving the BBC, Jo decided to combine both careers and produced a documentary feature, A Plastic Ocean, after initially learning about the plastic problem in 2009. She began raising the funds to start filming and the film was released globally in January 2017. She co-founded the Plastic Oceans Foundation in 2010 not only to help the fundraising process but more importantly to take the message of the film beyond its release.

Enquire about this holiday:

Group Size:

Min 10 / Max 18

Tour Expert:

Jo Ruxton

Departure Date (S):

  • 20th October 2019

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