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    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.

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Kate Wharton

Kate Wharton

  • The Americas

My Expertise

  • Belize
  • Costa Rica
  • El Salvador
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • USA
  • Canada
  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • Galapagos Islands

My desire to travel arose from two childhood passions. The first was riding. At every opportunity I disappeared for hours on end roaming the Hampshire countryside. I loved the companionship of my horse and I loved the freedom.

The second, was fishing. I was taught to fly-fish by my maternal grandfather. There is nowhere more beautiful than the banks of a chalk-stream on a warm May day. Then one Christmas, I was given a beautiful coffee-table book by my aunt and uncle, entitled something along the lines of ‘100 must-see places to visit before you die.’ It was all the prompting I needed. I resigned from my job and set my sights on Latin America.

I enrolled in a language school in Guatemala to obtain a grounding in Spanish and then took a job in Argentina, which offered the sparkling trout rivers and wide-open spaces I had so loved as a child. I quickly discovered that learning Spanish in Guatemala is a bit like learning English in the home counties, and then moving to Glasgow, but what followed was an incredible year travelling across Central and South America. I gained some truly life affirming experiences including living with the Kuna in Panama, climbing volcanoes in Guatemala and surfing the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.

Returning to London, I longed to be back in the Spanish speaking world and had the good fortune to join Steppes Travel just a few months later. At 24 I packed up for the sleepy market town of Cirencester to feed my wanderlust and I never looked back. 15 years later, married with three children and many more countries visited, I am still happily part of the Steppes family. Over the years through regular fact-finding trips I have acquired a wealth of knowledge across Mexico, Central and South America, and most recently, Canada.

Sunset, Tikal National Park, Guatemala
Sunset, Tikal National Park, Guatemala

Home from Home

My travels began in Guatemala and it is a country that will always remain close to my heart. Living with a local Mayan family gave a true insight into the workings of the household, the culture and mindset of a nation ravaged by civil war. Not far below a sometimes steely exterior are a hospitable and fun-loving people with a dazzling country to show. The colonial town of Antigua, surrounded by smoking volcanoes, is home to charming boutique hotels and high-end restaurants. The scenic highlands are the land of indigenous communities where traditional dress is still worn. The steamy lowland jungles are rich in wildlife and ancient sites. When I think of Guatemala it is the bustling markets, colourful textiles and dramatic landscapes that always spring to mind.

Whale Shark, La Paz, Baja California, Mexico
Whale Shark, La Paz, Baja California, Mexico

Swimming with Whale Sharks

“This is not an everyday experience” reminded our guide when asked if we want to go in again. The last time I went snorkelling, I was in Belize. There, I achieved an impressive Arab spring out of the water into the boat when my husband mentioned there was a large black grouper approaching my right foot. So, in the name of duty, I signed up to put myself in the way of a 30-foot-long whale shark on my recent visit to Mexico.

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Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica
Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

Rediscovering Honduras, El Salvador & Nicaragua

I have just returned from a fantastic familiarisation trip to Central America – my home from home, visiting three fascinating countries Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua. Each country offered its own delights and there was always something new and exciting to visit. I travelled south crossing the borders overland from Honduras (briefly into Guatemala – a faster route) and on into El Salvador before ending my journey, all too soon, in Nicaragua.

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Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, Clayoquot Sound, Canada
Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, Clayoquot Sound, Canada

Bottoms Up, Bear Cubs

“If you could find us a bear and cub that would be really fantastic,” I said casually to our skipper, Alan, stepping on to the boat. We set off on a beautiful May day from the mouth of the Bedwell River, the location of Clayoquot Wilderness Resort on the British Columbian coast, in search of wildlife. Any wildlife. May is considered early for bear viewing. The prime months are in the autumn when the bears come in high numbers down to the rivers to feast on salmon, a final feeding hurrah before hibernation.

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My Most Memorable Experiences

Saddle Up

Don a fringe poncho and saddle up for a horseback ride across the pampas in the company of a gaucho.

Tikal Mayan Ruins

Discover the Maya ruins at Tikal which are surrounded by jungle and the screech of monkeys fills the air.

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Discover Costa Rican Wildlife

A number of National Parks offer the opportunity to seek out crocodiles, spider monkeys, scarlet macaws and poison arrow frogs.

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Swim with Whale Sharks

Swim beside these epipelagic fish during the cooler winter months, when they arrive in the Gulf of Tadjourah to feed.

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Search for Grizzly Bears

Stay in a floating lodge and spend the days on the lookout for grizzly bears.

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My Hand-Picked Holiday Ideas

Scroll to discover my pick of great journeys in the Americas. From spending long days on horseback with Argentinian gauchos to scouting for bear cubs in British Columbia, I hope that this small selection of holiday ideas inspires an adventure of your own.

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Meet the Americas & Polar Experts

With a combined total of more than 180 years working in travel, we are a small and immensely knowledgeable team of experts. Having driven vintage cars in Havana, climbed granite domes in Yosemite, snorkelled with sea lions in the Galapagos and camped in Antarctica, our passion lies in curating bespoke journeys for our clients, balancing our in-depth local knowledge with a penchant for picking up on the little details that make you tick.

Why Choose Steppes?

These may be uncertain times but they are, without a doubt, still full of opportunity to discover the extraordinary safely. Through knowledge and expertise, we can connect you to those destinations embracing travellers with the added confidence of flexible booking and decades of insight.

Are you ready to discover extraordinary once again?

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