Wildlife Group Tour
Join our special Galapagos Island charter in collaboration with New Scientist. Spend eight days exploring the central islands of the Galapagos archipelago in the company of naturalist - Jonathan Green. As well as being a Galapagos National Park guide, Jonathan is a dive master, founder of the Galapagos Whale Shark Project and a passionate wildlife photographer. In addition to Jonathan there will be a regular naturalist guide on board so you can be assured of receiving personalised and insightful narrative on all the wildlife seen.
Travel aboard the Natural Paradise yacht visiting nine different islands within the archipelago. This includes remote Genovesa island, one of the only places to see all three types of boobie bird. Santa Cruz island in the centre which is home to the Charles Darwin Research Centre, and San Cristobal, the first island Darwin went ashore in 1835.
As well as the varied geology which spans this archipelago the highlight will be the wildlife. During your time in this living laboratory of evolution get close to many endemic species that are unafraid of humans. About 97% of the reptiles and land mammals and 80% of the land birds are endemic, and more than 20% of the marine species are found nowhere but the Galapagos Islands. Highlights should include Galapagos penguins, marine and land iguanas, Nazca, red and blue footed boobies, frigate birds, sea lions, giant Galapagos tortoises and the majority of the 13 Darwin finches.
The Natural Paradise is a spacious and stylish yacht, purpose built to sail around the Galapagos islands. The boat can accommodate 16 people across nine cabins so there will be plenty of space on board. There is a lounge, both indoor and outdoor eating areas and a generous sundeck with loungers and a Jacuzzi.
Yes, every day there will be a number of excursions to the islands with the naturalist guides. Depending on the visitor site of the day there will be the chance to walk the trails, snorkel or take panga rides
Seas are generally calm at this time of year.
April is a great time of year to travel to the Galapagos islands. The days are generally clear, warm and sunny with temperatures averaging 25 C. Sea temperatures are also at their warmest at this time and visibility is good so snorkelling can be more enjoyable.
For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.
what is included
what is excluded
PLEASE NOTE THE ABOVE FLIGHT COST IS A SUGGESTED FROM PRICE. FLIGHT COSTS WILL BE CONFIRMED AT TIME OF BOOKING. ALL FLIGHTS ARE ATOL PROTECTED.
Fly London to Amsterdam
Fly Amsterdam to Quito
You will be staying at JW Marriott, Bed & Breakfast
Half Day Colonial City TourThis tour starts in the wonderfully preserved colonial area of Quito. Visit Independence Square, San Francisco Plaza and the ornate La Compañía church. From here continue up to Itchimbía Hill to take in the views of downtown Quito and the surrounding mountains. Visit the modern city stopping at La Capilla del Hombre (Chapel of Man), a cultural complex that describes the history of Latin America's indigenous people from pre-Columbian times to the present. It has an enormous mural painted by the famous artist Oswaldo Guayasamin, the best Ecuadorian painter of all times and founder of the complex. End at Guayasamin's former house and workshop, which has been restored to show the intimate ambience in which Guayasamin lived and worked.With Pichincha Volcano one side, Machangara Gorge on the other and the equator passing directly through, few 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 the first World Cultural Heritage Site in the world 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.
Welcome meal this evening at a local restaurant
Fly Quito to San Cristobal Island
Embarkation and San Cristobal IslandThis morning fly to San Cristobal in the Galapagos archipelago. After passing through Galapagos National Park inspection the national park guide will be waiting, holding a sign with Natural Paradise, the name of your yacht. The guide will accompany the group on the short bus ride to the waterfront. At the dock board a dinghy (panga) to make the short crossing to Natural Paradise. Only bring carry-on luggage on the panga as the crew will transfer the main luggage to the cabins. Settle into the boat and have lunch and a briefing en route to the first visitor site of Kicker Rock.This striking rock formation is located a couple of hours off the western shore of San Cristobal. Jutting out of the water, the rocks rise almost 150 metres above the ocean divided by a small channel. Although there are no landing areas, snorkelling and panga rides make spotting a variety of marine life possible, including sharks, turtles and rays. Also find sea birds such as Nazca and blue-footed boobies and frigate birds.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 and for anyone with an interest in natural history, wildlife and ecology, a visit to these islands is 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
North Seymour and Santa Fe IslandsThis morning stop on North Seymour Island where sea lions, marine iguanas, blue footed boobies, pelicans and magnificent frigatebirds can be found.This afternoon visit Santa Fe Island, stop at a small picturesque bay on the north east of the Island. The bay has two trails, one leading to a viewpoint atop a cliff, and the other spanning from a small beach to a tall prickly pear cactus forest. Look out for land iguanas along the trail.
Santa Cruz IslandSanta Cruz is the second largest island in the Galapagos and its capital, Puerto Ayora, is the economic centre of the Islands. In the morning travel to the highlands and visit Los Gemelos, or the Twin Craters. The name is only figurative; not real craters, these formations were created by the collapse of surface material in underground fissures and chambers.In the afternoon 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 and get laundry done.
Special Reception at the Charles Darwin Research CentreVisit the Charles Darwin Research Centre in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island. The centre is a not-for-profit organisation that has been working in the Galapagos since 1959, providing science to help conserve the environment and biodiversity of the islands.Exclusive to Steppes Travel, have a special reception in the Exhibition Hall with a Charles Darwin Foundation staff member, where an explanation of the current projects will be given. End with a talk from one of the scientists in the Hall's Theatre about one of the current projects.
Santiago and Bartolome IslandsThis morning visit Sullivan Bay located on the southeast part of Santiago Island. This place is interesting for its geology and the chance to walk across a recent lava flow that was formed in the late 19th century and view its structural characteristics. After lunch visit Bartolome, famous for Pinnacle Rock, a towering spearheaded column that rises from the edge of the sea. Galapagos penguins and sea lions can be found here and sea turtles nest in the sandy beaches. Hike the 600 metre trail to Bartolome's summit and be rewarded with spectacular views of Santiago Island and Sullivan Bay as well as Pinnacle Rock and the beach below. The beach is perfect for snorkelling and possible sightings of the Galapagos penguin.
South Plaza and Rabida IslandsIn the morning head to South Plaza Island. This small island with steep cliffs was formed by rising lava and is now covered by opuntia cacti. Find colourful yellow and red land iguanas sheltering here. The island is also home to one of the largest sea lion colonies.In the afternoon visit Rabida Island, one of the most colourful and volcanically varied islands in the archipelago and a great snorkelling site. The island is a birdwatcher's delight with some of the rarest species such as nine varieties of finches, large-billed flycatchers, Galapagos hawks and brown pelicans.
Genovesa IslandGenovesa Island is located in the northwest of the Galapagos archipelago, remote but rewarding for wildlife, particularly birds. Here the biggest colony of red footed boobies, many great frigate birds, yellow crowned night herons and swallow tailed gulls can be found. This morning visit El Barranco also known as Prince Phillips Steps where a steep, rocky path leads up to a high cliff face and a great view point. Red footed and Nazca boobies, short-eared lava owls, Galapagos swallows, and Galapagos doves can all be seen here.After lunch visit the white sand coral beach of Darwin Bay, a trail winds through mangroves filled with Nazca boobies, red footed boobies, and swallow tailed gulls. Further down the path are tidal pools where sea lions swim playfully.
Santiago IslandThis morning visit Espumilla beach, a long sandy beach, a popular place for marine iguanas and Sally lightfoot crabs. This is a great spot for swimming and snorkelling.This afternoon visit Puerto Egas home to the curious Galapagos hawks and quick footed lava lizards. The trail leads to the coast with tide pools with marine iguanas and bright red Sally lightfoot crabs. There is the chance to snorkel and see reef sharks, turtles, rays and sea lions.
Santa Cruz Island and DisembarkationIn the morning if time allows, visit Bachas Beach located on the north shore of Santa Cruz. Look for flamingos, Sally lightfoot crabs, hermit crabs, black-necked stilts, and whimbrels. After this final visit, travel by bus with the guide to Baltra airport in time for your flight back to the mainland.
Fly Galapagos Islands to Guayaquil
Fly Guayaquil to Amsterdam
Fly Amsterdam to London
Phone: +44 (0)1285 885 333
Phone: +44(0) 1285 885 333
For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.
+44 (0)1285 885 333
+44(0) 1285 885 333
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