Wildlife Group Tour

Galapagos Cruise with Steven Pinker and Rebecca Goldstein

Travel to the Galapagos Islands with two of the USA's most celebrated thinkers

Limited OfferPrice includes £3500 discount per twin cabin

11 days

from £6,750pp
Limited Offer
  • Call our Galapagos experts to find out about this last minute saving.
  • Visit the Galapagos Islands with psychologist and linguist, Steven Pinker
  • Eight days sailing on the M/V Evolution, a spacious and elegant motor yacht
  • The best ratio of guide to passengers in the Galapagos Islands of 1: 10
  • Explore the wildlife rich island of Floreana and the remote Genovesa

Join our exclusive Galapagos holiday travelling with Steven Pinker, professor of psychology at Harvard University and one of the world’s foremost writers on language, mind, and human nature and Dr Rebecca Goldstein, recipient of a MacArthur 'Genius' award, author of ten books, NYU professor and recipient of the National Humanities Award from President Obama for “bringing philosophy into conversation with culture”. Steven and Rebecca will escort all excursions during the cruise and will give lectures when on board.

Spend eight days on our private charter, the M/V Evolution, and visit islands such as the remote Genovesa, North Seymour, Floreana and Santa Cruz. There are few places on earth that can rival the wildlife of Galapagos, with an abundance of colourful creatures seemingly unafraid of humans. There will be many opportunities to get close to the islands' unique wildlife, either on foot, by kayak, by panga or when snorkelling. With three naturalist guides on board in addition to Steven Pinker you can be assured of receiving personalised and insightful narrative on all the wildlife seen. Wildlife highlights include  flightless cormorant, land and marine iguanas, two types of booby (blue-footed and Nazca), giant tortoises, frigate birds and sea lions.

How Can I make a difference?

Steppes Travel is a Gold Corporate member of the Galapagos Conservation Trust, which means anybody joining this private Galapagos charter will receive a year's membership to the Galapagos Conservation Trust. Membership helps the ongoing efforts to preserve and protect the Galapagos Islands and their unique wildlife.
A contribution of $17,500 will also be made to a combination of the Richard Dawkins Foundation and the hosts preferred charities.


The M/V Evolution is a 58 metre (192ft) elegant motor yacht which provides plenty of space for just 32 passengers. The Evolution provides a high standard of comfort and is designed to take you back to the romantic era of the 1920s. There are 13 staterooms with portholes and on the upper deck there are three suites with windows. All cabins have air conditioning and are furnished to a high level.

Social areas are plentiful with large indoor and outdoor dining areas, a bar area, a small library and an infirmary. On the sun deck is a jacuzzi and loungers for watching the marine life and islands during navigation. Attention to detail is high with a cruise director on board and on our exclusive charter with Steven Pinker, Steppes has arranged for an extra naturalist to be on board, meaining a ratio of one guide to every ten clients. Snorkelling equipment and kayaks are available to use during the trip.


In partnership with:

Departing on:
  • 9th March 2017

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

DEPART UKARRIVE UKPrice Excluding Flights (£)Flight cost fromSingle SupplementTour LecturerStatus 
9th Mar 2017 19th Mar 2017 £ 6,750 £ 950 £ 5,950 Available
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • Travel with Steven Pinker and Rebecca Goldstein
  • Accommodation and transfers throughout
  • Breakfast included in Quito
  • Tours and excursions as per itinerary
  • Domestic flights to the Galapagos Islands
  • English speaking National Park guides in the Galapagos
  • Tourist card $20 and National Park fee $100
  • Full board meals on the boat in the Galapagos
  • Snorkelling gear, wetsuits, kayaks in the Galapagos
  • All non-alcoholic beverages in the Galapagos

what is excluded

  • International flights to Ecuador unless supplement paid
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visa


Itinerary at a glance

Collapse all
Day 1

Fly London to Amsterdam

Fly Amsterdam to Quito

You will be staying at Swissotel Quito

Day 2

Half Day Colonial City Tour and Casa del Alabado Archaeological Museum
Begin this exploration of Quito by exploring La Ronda Street, considered the oldest street in the city. Continue to San Augustin convent for a short visit of Chapter Hall, where the first declaration of independence of Ecuador was signed in 1809. Continue to Independence Square and La Compania church, known as the best example of baroque style in the country. Explore the wonderful pre-Columbian art museum Casa del Alabado displaying more than 5,000 archaeological pieces from most indigenous communities.

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 has the largest and best preserved historic centre and colonial quarters in Latin America.

As old gives way to new, broad avenues and parks host international hotels, restaurants and shopping centres.

You will be staying at Swissotel Quito

Day 3

Fly Quito to San Cristobal

San Cristobal Island
Upon arrival, board the Evolution for lunch and a quick briefing en route to the first visitor site of Kicker Rock, a spectacular rock formation that rises 152 metres out of the sea, said to take the form of a sleeping lion. At the end of the day take a welcome cocktail, followed by the first briefing and dinner.

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 Evolution

Day 4

South Plaza, Punta Carrion & Mosquera Islet
Start the day with a visit to South Plaza, one of the smallest yet most colourful islands in the archipelago. Yellow land iguanas wander amongst the red sesuvium and green prickly pear cactus, all set against a turquoise channel. Visit the bachelor sea lion colony at the crest of the island where swallow tailed gulls nest and red-billed tropicbirds, frigate birds and shearwaters fly in dancing displays. There is the opportunity for snorkelling and kayking at this site.

Early afternoon go snorkeling at Punta Carrion followed by a visit to Mosquera Islet, located between North Seymour and Baltra. It is one of the smallest islands and boasts one of the largest sea lion colonies in the Galapagos archipelago.

You will be staying at Evolution

Day 5

Chinese Hat & Santiago Island
Tiny Sombrero Chino (Chinese Hat) Island is named for the resemblance its shape has to a traditional Chinese hat. Land at a tiny crescent cove with sandy white beach, home to sally lightfoot crabs, marine iguanas, sea lions and further along the coast, Galapagos penguins. There is another chance to see the penguins and sea lions during a panga ride and snorkelling experience.

Afternoon visit to James Bay on the western shores of Santiago. Land on a black beach offering excellent snorkeling with sea turtles and tropical fish. A trail leads to a series of crystal-clear grottos formed of broken lava tubes, home to fur seals, sea lions and marine iguanas that feed in tidal pools. Keep your eyes open for Galapagos hawk that frequent the area.

You will be staying at Evolution

Day 6

Genovesa (Tower) Island
Genovesa Island is located in the northwest of the Galapagos Archipelago, remote but rewarding for wildlife, particulary birds. Here the biggest colony of red-footed boobies, many great frigate birds, yellow-crowned night herons and swallow-tailed gulls, can be found. Genovesa Island is a low, flat island with a huge sunken crater into which the Evolution will sail. The caldera walls form high 25 metre cliffs above the water but plunge down over 60 metres below.

This morning land on the white coral sands of Darwin Bay with bustling activitity of the great frigate birds. There is the opportunity to go deep-water snorkelling to look for the giant manta rays that frequent the inner bay. For those not wanting to snorkel then kayaking and panga rides are on offer.

In the afternoon visit Prince Phillips Steps where red-footed and masked boobies can be found. There is further opportunity for snorkelling, kayaking and panga rides here.

You will be staying at Evolution

Day 7

North Seymour & Santa Fe
Morning visit to North Seymour Island which is teaming with wildlife. Cliffs only a few metres high form the shoreline and are home to swallow-tailed gulls. A tiny forest of silver-grey Palo Santo trees stands just above the landing site. During the trail look for sea lions, marine iguanas, blue footed boobies, pelicans, magnificent frigatebirds and land iguanas. Snorkel here with sea lions and rays.

Afternoon visit to Santa Fe Island, one of the oldest islands in the Galapagos and home to one of the most beautiful and sheltered bays with fantastic snorkelling. This is one of the best locations to see sea turtles, swim with sea lions and get a glimpse of the Galapagos white-tipped shark. After a wet landing walk up to a nearby cliff to see the land iguanas through an area of Opuntia Cactus. Other animals likely to be present are the Galapagos hawk, owls, frigatebirds, pelicans and mockingbirds.

You will be staying at Evolution

Day 8

Floreana Island
Visit Post Office Bay, where in 1793 British whalers set up a barrel as the island's Post Office, to send letters home on passing ships. The tradition continues to this day; drop a post card into the barrel without a stamp on the condition that you must take a post card from the barrel and see that it gets to the right place.

Afternoon visit to Punta Cormorant which offers two highly contrasting beaches; a green-olivine beach and an iron-red beach. Between the two beaches is a salt lagoon frequented by flamingoes, pintails, stilts and other wading birds. Late afternoon snorkelling at Devil's Crown, home to a myriad of marine species including a variety of corals, pencil sea urchin, wrasses, angelfish and amberjacks.

You will be staying at Evolution

Day 9

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 highlands, where the dry coastal vegetation transitions to lush wet fields and forests overgrown with moss and lichens. Visit the Wild Land Tortoise Reserve, where the tortoises are easy to spot, lumbering around eating grass and leaves and wallowing in the small pools that are common in the reserve. In the afternoon, return to Puerto Ayora to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. See the giant tortoise and land iguana breeding and rearing program. The Fausto Llerena Centre receives about 7,800 visitors a month and currently houses about 900 youth and 70 adult tortoise. There will also be time in town to shop for souvenirs or sit and people watch in a cafe.

You will be staying at Evolution

Day 10

Santa Cruz & Baltra
Today the Galapagos cruise comes to an end. If time allows before leaving the Evolution, pay a visit to Black Turtle Cove. Drift in a panga through a mangrove estuary to see spotted eagle rays, diamond shaped mustard rays, white-tipped reef sharks, pacific green sea turtles and a large variety of shore birds. Next head to Baltra Island airport for your flight back to the Ecuadorian mainland.

Fly Galapagos Islands to Guayaquil

Fly Guayaquil to Amsterdam

Day 11

Fly Amsterdam to London


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



Evolution is a 58m (192ft) elegant motor yacht which provides plenty of space for just 32 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

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"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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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."

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Guest Lecturer

Dr Rebecca Goldstein

Dr Rebecca Goldstein
Rebecca Goldstein studied at Barnard College, receiving the Montague Prize for Excellence in Philosophy. She then continued her studies, at Princeton University, receiving her Ph.D. in philosophy. While in graduate school she was awarded a National Science Foundation Fellowship and a Whiting Foundation Fellowship.

After receiving her Ph.D. she went onto teach philosophy of science and philosophy of mind and philosophy of mathematics.

During her tenure at Barnard, she used a summer to write her first novel, The Mind-Body Problem. Further novels include The Late-Summer Passion of a Woman of Mind; The Dark Sister, which received the Whiting Writer’s Award, Mazel, and Properties of Light: A Novel of Love, Betrayal, and Quantum Physics. Her book of short stories, Strange Attractors, received a National Jewish Book Honour Award.

Since Barnard, Dr Goldstein has taught in the Columbia MFA writing program and in the department of philosophy at Rutgers, she has been a visiting scholar at Brandeis University, and taught for five years as a Visiting Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. In 2006-2007 she was a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and a Guggenheim Fellow. She was also appointed a Visiting Professor of Philosophy at the New College of the Humanities in London, U.K. in 2011, and continues to lecture there.

In September of 2015 she was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Obama in a ceremony at the White House.

Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker
Steven Pinker is an experimental psychologist and one of the world’s foremost writers on language, mind, and human nature.

Currently Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, Pinker has also taught at Stanford and MIT. His research on vision, language, and social relations has won prizes from the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Institution of Great Britain, the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, and the American Psychological Association. He has also received eight honorary doctorates, several teaching awards at MIT and Harvard, and numerous prizes for his books The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works,The Blank Slate, and The Better Angels of Our Nature.

He is Chair of the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary, and often writes for The New York Times, Time, and other publications. He has been named Humanist of the Year, Prospect magazine’s “The World’s Top 100 Public Intellectuals,” Foreign Policy’s“100 Global Thinkers,” and Time magazine’s “The 100 Most Influential People" in the World Today.

Enquire about this Wildlife tour:

Group Size:

Min 24 / Max 28

Tour Expert:

Dr Rebecca Goldstein, Steven Pinker

Departure Date (S):

  • 9th March 2017

The cruise may involve day visits off the ship to various Islands, and the itinerary will be at a moderate pace.

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