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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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  • 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.

A group of tourists walk on a rocky peninsula with their naturalist guide in the Galapagos Islands

Roberto Plaza

My Expertise

  • Galapagos Islands

More than a guide, Roberto is truly an ambassador of the Galapagos Islands. At the forefront of conservation efforts in the archipelago, he holds an important place in the modern history of the archipelago.

A local Galapagueno who saw the potential for problems developing in the islands in the early 2000s, Roberto was recruited by Conservation International to join a specialist group that was tasked with recalculating the capacity of visitors that the Galapagos Islands could safely sustain.

Assigned the task of devising a structure that would juggle conservation with the travel industry, Roberto took the wildly unpopular stance of placing the archipelago before his own livelihood by recommending a complete overhaul in island tourism. The implementation of an entirely new structure, whereby each boat could only visit a landing site once every 15 days, followed shortly after. Describing himself to us as “the most unpopular person in the industry at the time”, Roberto’s decision meant that all vessels had to be monitored and passenger numbers were restricted.

From that point onward, anyone joining a sailing around the archipelago would have to choose from two itineraries – itinerary A and itinerary B – with no exceptions. Today, owing in large part to Roberto, the Galapagos Islands are as pristine and enchanting as ever… and what was once viewed as a highly restrictive visitor deterrent transpired to improve both tourism and the condition of the islands.

Montemar, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos Islands
Montemar, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos Islands
Yoga, Montemar, Galapagos Islands
Yoga, Montemar, Galapagos Islands
Family, Montemar, Galapagos Islands
Family, Montemar, Galapagos Islands

Stay at Montemar

Consisting of just three superbly constructed eco villas that are the first of their kind in the Galapagos, Montemar is the sustainable passion project of Roberto and his wife Reyna. Beyond any doubt, Montemar is the place to visit if you want to support sustainable environmental practices in the Galapagos Islands. From water to energy, from food to waste, and from location to construction materials, every single aspect of Montemar has been carefully selected in order to yield the lowest possible environmental impact.

Stay at Montemar

Thoughts. Opinions. Experiences

Waved albatross coming in to land Galapagos Islands
Opinion
Galapagos Islands – The Great Tourism Debate
Steppes Travel
On Sunday 10 June, The Observer published a piece written by Carol Cadwalladr on the negative effects of tourism in the…
Blue-footed boobies diving for fish
Stories
An Eco visit to the Galapagos
Steppes Travel
This was my first visit to the Galapagos in a few years and I was delighted to see that the islands…
Galapagos Darwin Finch with orange beek looking down
Stories
Darwin Finches show evolution in action
Steppes Travel
Daphne Major Island, one of the most restricted islands in the Galapagos, is home to two species of Finches. It was…
Galapagos Tortoise, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos Islands
Q & A
An Adventurer’s Insight – Q & A with Liz Bonnin
Steppes Travel
Liz Bonnin is a biochemist, wild animal biologist and television presenter.  She presented the spectacular three-part BBC One series Galapagos that…
Family, South Plaza Island, Galapagos Islands
Client Reviews
Ecuador and Galapagos: The Land that Time Forgot
Steppes Travel
No glossy travel brochure, no TV documentary, not even the fulsome description of friends' visits, can prepare you for the extraordinary…
Land Iguana, Galapagos Islands
Stories
Charles Darwin Foundation respond to The Observer
Steppes Travel
A letter written in response to a piece published in the Observer on June 10th, written by Carol Cadwalladr on the…
Landscape, Santiago Island, Galapagos Island
Sustainability
Galapagos: Expect the Unexpected in the Galapagos
Charles Clover
This article is an excerpt from our new Steppes Traveller magazine – please get in touch with us to receive your…

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