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GALAPAGOS ISLANDS / ECUADOR / PERU

Adventures Afloat: The Best of the Galápagos and Peru: From Enchanted Islands to Machu Picchu

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Road Scholar
Program #18484RJ
17 Days | 16 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderately Challenging
Road Scholar has thousands of educational adventures to choose from. A good way to narrow down our list is to browse our collection of "Most Popular" programs.
See all of our Most Popular programs.
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Elevation Note
11,000 ft Cusco, Peru/at 12,330 ft Chincheros, Peru.

Itinerary for Jan 10 — Jan 26, 2014

Expand all
Type: Hotel

Description: The Casa Andina Select hotel is located in Lima's trendy Miraflores neighborhood, within easy access to restaurants and local attractions. The newly constructed hotel has 155 rooms with modern installations and various amenities meant to satisfy the needs of both leisure and business travelers.

Contact info:
Calle Schell 452
Miraflores, Lima, Peru
phone: +51-1-2139739
web: www.casa-andina.com

Room amenities: Comfortable rooms with private baths, hair dryer, AC, safety deposit box, minibar, soundproof windows, direct dial phone, and cable TV.

Facility amenities: Restaurant, Spa, gym, sun terrace with Jacuzzi, conference rooms, business center, high-speed Wi-Fi Internet access, laundry service, valet service, currency exchange, 24 hr front desk, luggage storage, and souvenir shop.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Subject to availability.
Please contact the Program Coordinator, Holbrook Travel, at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com for information on availability and rates.


Day One: Friday, January 10 - Arrive to Lima.
Note: The Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima, Peru is located approximately 45 minutes from the arrival hotel.



Arrive To: Arrivals at Lima's Jorge Chávez International Airport.

Proceed through Immigrations, Baggage Claim and Customs before exiting the secured area of the airport. The Road Scholar representative will be waiting outside the exit door with a Road Scholar sign (only applies to Road Scholar group flights).

Transfer to the hotel and check-in, followed by time at leisure.

Please note that this is an international travel day; no meals or program activities are scheduled on this day. Hotel check-in usually begins at 3PM.

Lodging: Casa Andina Select

Type: Hotel

Description: Country lodge built on the site of a 350 year old monastery.

Contact info:
Plaza Manco II de Yucay 123
Yucay, 0000 Peru
phone: +518-420-1107
web: www.sonesta.com

Room amenities: Heating, direct dial telephones, and in-room safe.

Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar, business center, meeting room, gift shop, and luggage storage.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Two: Saturday, January 11 - Sacred Valley - Flight to Cusco and Transfer to t...
Sacred Valley - Flight to Cusco and Transfer to the Sacred Valley/Introduction to Machu Picchu.

Note: Note: To minimize your chances of experiencing altitude sickness, try to get plenty of rest before you travel, stay hydrated, avoid alcohol and fatty foods, eat high carbohydrate foods, and avoid strenuous exercise at high elevations.

Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.

Morning: Orientation to the program.

Orientation through Lima.

The most important church in any town in Peru is usually called La Catedral (Cathedral). In the case of Lima, La Catedral is also the most important church in all of Peru. This beautiful colonial building in the Plaza de las Armas presumably houses the remains of Francisco Pizarro—whether the bones are authentic or not is a matter of conjecture.

Lima's historic Santo Domingo Church and Convent was built by the Dominican Order in 1540, on land donated by Francisco Pizzaro. Colorful tiles, stained glass windows, catacombs, religious relics, and attractive courtyards are just some of the attractions at this site. Santo Domingo is located at the intersection of Conde de Superunda and Camana Streets, just a block away from the Plaza de Armas in central Lima.


Lunch: Box lunch.

Afternoon: Transfer to the airport for flight to Cusco. Upon arrival transfer to hotel in the Sacred Valley and check-in.

Lecture: Introduction to Inca Culture.


Dinner: Dinner at hotel.

Lodging: Posada del Inca - Yucay

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: Country lodge built on the site of a 350 year old monastery.

Contact info:
Plaza Manco II de Yucay 123
Yucay, 0000 Peru
phone: +518-420-1107
web: www.sonesta.com

Room amenities: Heating, direct dial telephones, and in-room safe.

Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar, business center, meeting room, gift shop, and luggage storage.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Three: Sunday, January 12 - Sacred Valley (Yucay) - Chincheros Town and...
Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Excursion to Chincheros town including a visit to a weaving cooperative, where you will meet with locals and learn about traditional weaving styles and techniques.

Weaving is a way of life in Chincheros, as important for preserving ancient traditions as it is for earning a livelihood. Located in the Peruvian Andes on the Inca road between Cusco and Machu Picchu, Chincheros was an early Inca center built by emperor Tupa Inca as his country estate. During Inca reign, textiles were woven and offered to mark special occasions, from peace treaties and sacrifices to marriage ceremonies and puberty rites. In Chincheros, children grow up playing with their mother's spindle and loom. By age six or seven, most children learn to weave by watching their elders. They begin by weaving jakimas, or narrow ribbons, before moving on to more complicated pieces.

Visit to local farms. Lecture: The Agriculture of the Incas.


Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the ruins at Ollantaytambo, accompanied by a guide who will highlight the engineering genius of the Inca.

The Ollantaytambo Ruins are not ruins in the traditional sense. Ollantaytambo is a town with original buildings of Inca construction where the Inca retreated to make their last stand in the highlands against the Spanish. Running water still flows through the town in aqueducts and the terraces above the town still are farmed. The pinnacle above the town is a small burial ground.


Dinner: Dinner at hotel.

Lodging: Posada del Inca - Yucay

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: Smart and contemporary are the defining elements of this hotel, amidst the commercial village of Machu Picchu Pueblo (Aguas Calientes). The newly remodeled El MaPi (formerly Machu Picchu Inn) provides a wonderful location from which you can admire and interact with the quaint folksy town and get a different perspective

Contact info:
109 Pachacutec Ave.
Machu Picchu Pueblo
Aguas Calientes, Peru
phone: +51.84.211011
web: www.elmapihotel.com/

Room amenities: •8 Superior Deluxe Rooms (30 sq.m./322 sq.ft.) - twin beds or king bed, sitting area and complimentary mini bar. •40 Superior Rooms (20 sq.m./215 sq.ft) – twin beds or king bed. Each room is equipped with blackout curtains, 100% cotton sheets, down duvets, hypoallergenic pillows, cotton bath robes, natural herbal amenities, 32" flat screen TVs and tight-focus reading lights.

Facility amenities: Services Included: - Assistance between Machu Picchu train station and the Hotel - Luggage storage - Personalized Wake up calls - 24/7 reception - Nutritious Buffet breakfast - Welcome signature refreshing lemongrass lemonade - House blends Happy Hour Pisco Sours 5-7pm - DirecTv - Complimentary Wi fi - Turndown services between 6pm- 8pm (local seasonal fruit) - Self guided fern walk - Oxygen upon request - Check-in 1:00 p.m. / Check-out 11 a.m. - Express checkout - Hot Water Pool 6AM – 10PM: Open for adults and supervised children under 12 only. - Gift Shop 8AM – 8PM: The shop offers a wide selection of T-shirts, alpaca knits, outdoors gear and basic travel needs. - Computer Room Two desktop computers and printer available, open 24/7 with complimentary internet

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Four: Monday, January 13 - Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes) - Excursion ...
Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes) -
Excursion to UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Note: There is a weight limit of 11 pounds for luggage on the Peru Rail transfer to Machu Picchu. Plan to pack an overnight bag for one night in the Machu Picchu area. Your bag must weigh no more than 11 pounds and measure no more than 62 inches /157 cm (length height width). Excess luggage can be left with the driver and vehicle, and will be secured until your return to Cuzco.

Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.

Morning: Board a train to Aguas Calientes/Machu Picchu. The train ride follows the Urubamba River and offers spectacular views of the Andes.

Upon arrival, continue with a bus transfer to the Machu Picchu ruins.


Lunch: Lunch at local restaurant near the ruins.

Afternoon: Full afternoon guided field trip in and around Machu Picchu ruins.

This ancient Inca city was rediscovered in 1911 by Hiram Bingham, a Yale graduate and U.S. senator fascinated with Inca archaeology. Bingham found Machu Picchu, with the help of a local farmer who knew about the ruins, while searching for Vilcabamba and Vitcos. He hypothesized that the site was a "citadel," existing for strategic and defense purposes. He also speculated that the site was a refuge for Cusco's Virgins of the Sun, based upon the finding of skulls there, although not scientifically classified as female. Breakthroughs in archaeology since 1985 have, taken as a whole, supported the emerging view of Machu Picchu as a ceremonial and administrative center for a very populous region. Machu Picchu was built, flourished, and fell into demise within a period of 100 years.


Dinner: Dinner on your own for a chance to explore local fare.

Lodging: El Mapi Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Type: Four-Star Hotel

Description: Converted from an 18th century colonial house, the hotel is located 3 blocks away from Cusco’s main square.

Contact info:
Plazoleta de Limacpampa Chico 473
Cusco, Peru
phone: +51-84-232610
web: www.casa-andina.com

Room amenities: 100 rooms with heat, cable television, safe deposit box, direct-dial telephone, coffee making facility and private bathroom with hairdryer. Oxygen available upon request.

Facility amenities: Restaurant and bar, Wi-Fi Internet access, PC with internet access, laundry service, room service, medical assistance and currency exchange.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Five: Tuesday, January 14 - Cusco - Orientation to Aguas Calientes/Trai...
Cusco -
Orientation to Aguas Calientes/Train and Bus to Cusco/Explore Market at Pisac


Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.

Morning: Guided excursion around the town of Aguas Calientes. Visit the local market.

Participants who wish to revisit Machu Picchu are welcome to skip the town excursion and spend the morning at the ruins (at own expense--entrance fee is not included and tickets must be purchased in advance).

Note: Machu Picchu park tickets are not sold on site and must be purchased in advance. Please contact the program coordinator at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com if you are interested in buying Machu Picchu entrance tickets.


Lunch: Lunch at hotel.

Afternoon: Transfer to train station. Board the early afternoon train to Ollantaytambo Station.

Arrive at the Ollantaytambo Station and board a bus for your transfer to Cusco with en route market visit at Pisac.

Pisac is a small, sleepy town nestled in an Andean valley along the Urubamba River. The traditional produce market is held on Sundays, when people from surrounding communities converge on the tiny central plaza to buy and sell produce and other supplies. During other days of the week, the town hosts a handicrafts market where all nature of locally made crafts can be seen on display.

Arrive in Cusco and check-in at hotel.

Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure to enjoy Cusco at your own pace.


Dinner: Dinner on your own for a chance to explore local fare

Lodging: Casa Andina Private Collection – Cusco

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Type: Four-Star Hotel

Description: Converted from an 18th century colonial house, the hotel is located 3 blocks away from Cusco’s main square.

Contact info:
Plazoleta de Limacpampa Chico 473
Cusco, Peru
phone: +51-84-232610
web: www.casa-andina.com

Room amenities: 100 rooms with heat, cable television, safe deposit box, direct-dial telephone, coffee making facility and private bathroom with hairdryer. Oxygen available upon request.

Facility amenities: Restaurant and bar, Wi-Fi Internet access, PC with internet access, laundry service, room service, medical assistance and currency exchange.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Six: Wednesday, January 15 - Cusco - Sacsayhuaman Ruins & Introduction...
Note: The hike up to Sierra Negra Volcano includes walking on a steep, and oftentimes muddy, trail. Walking sticks are particularly helpful at this site.

Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.

Morning: Field trip to the Sacsayhuaman Ruins.

The fortress of Sacsayhuaman forms the head of the Puma design of old Cusco. It is a wonder of technical achievement and a testament to human will. It is a mystery how it was constructed, since the stones are not found in the region, and most of the blocks weigh more than a ton. The largest rock weighs more than 300 tons. Sacsayhuaman is constructed of huge polygonal blocks which interlock with one another. The stones are so precisely placed that a knife blade cannot be inserted between them.

Excursion through the city of Cusco.

The center of Cusco is a history lesson. Modern and colonial buildings are built on top of Inca foundations, and colonial churches dominate the central square.


Lunch: Lunch at a café in the main plaza where you can enjoy the colonial architecture of the city.

Afternoon: Afternoon at leisure.

Pre-dinner presentation by local expert on the history of Inca and Andean musical instruments.


Dinner: Dinner on your own for a chance to explore local fare.


Lodging: Casa Andina Private Collection – Cusco

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Type: Hotel

Description: This attractive hacienda-style property (previously called Hosteria San Jose) is located approximately 15 minutes from Quito’s new international airport. Contemporary sections of the hotel have been carefully designed to mirror the eighteenth century colonial architecture of its original buildings. Modern comforts and historic character blend to create a welcoming atmosphere that is typically Ecuadorian.

Contact info:
Manuel Burbano s/n
Barrio San José
Puembo, Quito, Ecuador
phone: +593-2-2390264
web: http://www.hosteriasanjose.com

Room amenities: Rooms are double occupancy with private bathrooms, free WiFi, cable TV, panoramic windows, and beds with orthopedic mattress and warm duvets.

Facility amenities: Large green spaces, a fitness room, meeting rooms, heated pool, Jacuzzi, dressing rooms, sauna, restaurant, and bar.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Seven: Thursday, January 16 - Quito - Flight to Quito
Breakfast: Breakfast en route.

Morning: Transfer to the Cusco airport for flight to Quito via Lima.

Lunch: Lunch en route.

Afternoon: Upon arrival in Quito transfer to the hotel and check in.

Free time to explore the hotel beautiful grounds or relax by the pool.



Dinner: Dinner at hotel.

Lodging: Garden Hotel San Jose Aeropuerto

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Cruise Ship

Description: The Tip Top IV is a First Class Steel-hulled Motor Yacht, built in Guayaquil/Ecuador in 2006. The yacht can accommodate up to 16 guests in 10 comfortable outside cabins.

Ship Information: The Tip Top IV is the flagship of the Tip Top fleet in the Galapagos Islands. The yacht measures 125 feet in length and has a 25-foot beam and 6-foot draft. The Tip Top IV sails at a cruising speed of 12 knots. Equipment includes: twin main engines, twin electric generators, twin Radars, Eco-sounders and GPS, reverse osmosis water maker, and required coastguard safety equipment.

Contact info:
0000000000000
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
phone: +00000000000
web: www.rwittmer.com

Room amenities: Each of the 10 cabins is fully carpeted and has two single lower berths (no bunks), small closet, porthole or window, and a private bathroom with hair dryer. Biodegradable soap and shampoo/conditioner are provided during the cruise.

Facility amenities: Yacht amenities include a bar, lounge, dining area, and sun-deck. Smoking restricted to outer decks only. Snorkeling equipment (e.g., mask, snorkel, and fins) is provided as part of the cruise. Wetsuits and buoyancy vests are available for rent, but must be reserved prior to the cruise. Please contact the program provider at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com if you would like to reserve a wetsuit for your program. Payment for the wetsuit rental must be made in full upon boarding the yacht. Laundry service is not available on the yacht. In an effort to conserve water, the yacht might ask participants to refrain from hand washing clothing during the cruise. Participants will be able to hang bathing suits and wet clothing to dry on clotheslines on the top deck. Purified drinking water is provided free of charge on the yacht. Participants will be given reusable bottles to refill as needed at the water dispenser in the main lounge.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Eight: Friday, January 17 - Galápagos Islands - Flight to Galápagos. Ba...
Galápagos Islands -
Flight to Galápagos. Baltra and North Seymour.


Note: Note: There is a 44 lb weight limit for checked luggage on the flights to the islands. Please pack accordingly.

Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.

Morning: Transfer to the airport for flight to the Galápagos Islands. Depart for the Galápagos Islands.

Note: Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are determined by the Galápagos National Park. The park reserves the right to change cruise itineraries without prior notice.


Lunch: Light snack on the flight.

Afternoon: Arrive to Baltra Island. Baltra Island hosts one of the two available airports in the Galápagos Islands. The other airport is located on San Cristobal Island. Transfer to pier to board yacht. Welcome orientation and light snack.

Field trip to Playa las Bachas on Santa Cruz Island with a site lecture about local flora and fauna. Visit the flamingo lagoon.

Bachas Beach is an important nesting site for sea turtles and a great place to look for migratory birds, pelagic species and flamingos.

Optional swimming and snorkeling.

Return to the yacht.



Dinner: Dinner onboard.

Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.

Lodging: Tip Top IV

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Cruise Ship

Description: The Tip Top IV is a First Class Steel-hulled Motor Yacht, built in Guayaquil/Ecuador in 2006. The yacht can accommodate up to 16 guests in 10 comfortable outside cabins.

Ship Information: The Tip Top IV is the flagship of the Tip Top fleet in the Galapagos Islands. The yacht measures 125 feet in length and has a 25-foot beam and 6-foot draft. The Tip Top IV sails at a cruising speed of 12 knots. Equipment includes: twin main engines, twin electric generators, twin Radars, Eco-sounders and GPS, reverse osmosis water maker, and required coastguard safety equipment.

Contact info:
0000000000000
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
phone: +00000000000
web: www.rwittmer.com

Room amenities: Each of the 10 cabins is fully carpeted and has two single lower berths (no bunks), small closet, porthole or window, and a private bathroom with hair dryer. Biodegradable soap and shampoo/conditioner are provided during the cruise.

Facility amenities: Yacht amenities include a bar, lounge, dining area, and sun-deck. Smoking restricted to outer decks only. Snorkeling equipment (e.g., mask, snorkel, and fins) is provided as part of the cruise. Wetsuits and buoyancy vests are available for rent, but must be reserved prior to the cruise. Please contact the program provider at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com if you would like to reserve a wetsuit for your program. Payment for the wetsuit rental must be made in full upon boarding the yacht. Laundry service is not available on the yacht. In an effort to conserve water, the yacht might ask participants to refrain from hand washing clothing during the cruise. Participants will be able to hang bathing suits and wet clothing to dry on clotheslines on the top deck. Purified drinking water is provided free of charge on the yacht. Participants will be given reusable bottles to refill as needed at the water dispenser in the main lounge.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Nine: Saturday, January 18 - Galápagos Islands - Genovesa Island (Darwin...
Galápagos Islands -
Genovesa Island (Darwin's Bay & Prince Phillip's Steps).


Note: Note: The visit to El Barranco (a.k.a. Prince Phillip's Steps) includes climbing/descending approximately 20 steep and irregular stone steps (there is a hand rail).

Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.

Morning: Excursion to Prince Phillip's Steps, Genovesa Island for bird watching and site lecture.

Prince Phillip's Steps is a trail which leads up a steep rock staircase through squadrons of frigatebirds and Red-billed Tropicbirds. In March, male frigatebirds begin showing off their inflated red pouches in preparation for mating season which takes place in April. Red-footed Boobies perch on the branches of Palo Santo trees and Storm Petrels, which serve as prey for Short Eared Owls (mating season in June), are found in the open lava fields at the end of the trail. Along the beaches and rocky alcoves, sea lions are the main stars. Females give birth in August and by September, while still nursing their pups, begin searching for new mates. During this time, visitors should be particularly mindful of aggressive males fighting for territory and females protecting their young (pupping continues through November). Return to the yacht.



Lunch: Lunch onboard.

Afternoon: Wet landing in Darwin's Bay, Genovesa Island.

Genovesa's volcanic sea cliffs and salt bush offer a prime habitat for the birds of the Galapagos. August is a particularly active time, with large numbers of Red-footed Boobies congregating on the island while Nazca Boobies (aka Masked Boobies) and Swallow-tailed Gulls go about their nesting rituals.

Darwin Bay is the caldera of an extinct volcano which has been partially eroded and offers superb swimming and snorkeling.

Optional swimming and snorkeling.

Return to the yacht.


Dinner: Dinner onboard.

Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.

Lodging: Tip Top IV

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Cruise Ship

Description: The Tip Top IV is a First Class Steel-hulled Motor Yacht, built in Guayaquil/Ecuador in 2006. The yacht can accommodate up to 16 guests in 10 comfortable outside cabins.

Ship Information: The Tip Top IV is the flagship of the Tip Top fleet in the Galapagos Islands. The yacht measures 125 feet in length and has a 25-foot beam and 6-foot draft. The Tip Top IV sails at a cruising speed of 12 knots. Equipment includes: twin main engines, twin electric generators, twin Radars, Eco-sounders and GPS, reverse osmosis water maker, and required coastguard safety equipment.

Contact info:
0000000000000
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
phone: +00000000000
web: www.rwittmer.com

Room amenities: Each of the 10 cabins is fully carpeted and has two single lower berths (no bunks), small closet, porthole or window, and a private bathroom with hair dryer. Biodegradable soap and shampoo/conditioner are provided during the cruise.

Facility amenities: Yacht amenities include a bar, lounge, dining area, and sun-deck. Smoking restricted to outer decks only. Snorkeling equipment (e.g., mask, snorkel, and fins) is provided as part of the cruise. Wetsuits and buoyancy vests are available for rent, but must be reserved prior to the cruise. Please contact the program provider at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com if you would like to reserve a wetsuit for your program. Payment for the wetsuit rental must be made in full upon boarding the yacht. Laundry service is not available on the yacht. In an effort to conserve water, the yacht might ask participants to refrain from hand washing clothing during the cruise. Participants will be able to hang bathing suits and wet clothing to dry on clotheslines on the top deck. Purified drinking water is provided free of charge on the yacht. Participants will be given reusable bottles to refill as needed at the water dispenser in the main lounge.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Ten: Sunday, January 19 - Galápagos Islands - Santiago (Puerto Egas &...
Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.

Morning: Field trip to Puerto Egas, Santiago Island.

Also called San Salvador, this island is the fourth largest in the Galapagos. Puerto Egas, located on James Bay on the western side of the island, has black volcanic formations that provide shelter to a number of creatures. Here you will see marine iguanas sunning themselves on the rocks while sea birds fly overhead in search of food. Brightly colored Sally Lightfoot crabs live in the rock crevices and tide pools; a sharp contrast to the black lava formations they call home. Galápagos fur seals enjoy the inlets along the western shoreline and have been known to swim with visitors from time to time. Green sea turtles come ashore in January to dig nests and lay eggs. By April and May, the hatchlings emerge and make their perilous journey to reach the sea before being scooped up by seabirds and other predators.

Optional swimming, snorkeling and sea kayaking.

Return to the yacht.


Lunch: Lunch onboard.

Afternoon: Afternoon visit to Buccaneer Cove on Santiago's northwestern tip.

Navigate around the island's craggy cliffs searching for seabirds such as American Oystercatchers that come here to nest July. Travelers visiting Santiago in August should be on the lookout for Galápagos Hawks as they attempt to impress future mates with impressive acrobatic displays. In the 17th and 18th centuries, pirates and whalers reportedly used Buccaneer Cove as a safe place to rest and load up on supplies such as water and food. During that time, passing ships released goats on the island in the hopes that they would multiply and be a source of food for subsequent voyages. However, without any natural predators to hold their numbers in check, the animals became feral and depleted most of Santiago's vegetation. In the 1970s the national park began an extermination program in an effort to eradicate feral goats, pigs, and cats in the islands.

Optional swimming and snorkeling.

Later in the afternoon visit the Minas de Sal located northwest of Santiago Island.

Return to the yacht.


Dinner: Dinner onboard.

Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.

Lodging: Tip Top IV

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Cruise Ship

Description: The Tip Top IV is a First Class Steel-hulled Motor Yacht, built in Guayaquil/Ecuador in 2006. The yacht can accommodate up to 16 guests in 10 comfortable outside cabins.

Ship Information: The Tip Top IV is the flagship of the Tip Top fleet in the Galapagos Islands. The yacht measures 125 feet in length and has a 25-foot beam and 6-foot draft. The Tip Top IV sails at a cruising speed of 12 knots. Equipment includes: twin main engines, twin electric generators, twin Radars, Eco-sounders and GPS, reverse osmosis water maker, and required coastguard safety equipment.

Contact info:
0000000000000
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
phone: +00000000000
web: www.rwittmer.com

Room amenities: Each of the 10 cabins is fully carpeted and has two single lower berths (no bunks), small closet, porthole or window, and a private bathroom with hair dryer. Biodegradable soap and shampoo/conditioner are provided during the cruise.

Facility amenities: Yacht amenities include a bar, lounge, dining area, and sun-deck. Smoking restricted to outer decks only. Snorkeling equipment (e.g., mask, snorkel, and fins) is provided as part of the cruise. Wetsuits and buoyancy vests are available for rent, but must be reserved prior to the cruise. Please contact the program provider at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com if you would like to reserve a wetsuit for your program. Payment for the wetsuit rental must be made in full upon boarding the yacht. Laundry service is not available on the yacht. In an effort to conserve water, the yacht might ask participants to refrain from hand washing clothing during the cruise. Participants will be able to hang bathing suits and wet clothing to dry on clotheslines on the top deck. Purified drinking water is provided free of charge on the yacht. Participants will be given reusable bottles to refill as needed at the water dispenser in the main lounge.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Eleven: Monday, January 20 - Galápagos Islands - Isabela & Fernandina Is...
Galápagos Islands -
Isabela & Fernandina Islands (Punta Vicente Roca & Punta Espinoza).


Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.

Morning: Panga ride to Punta Vicente Roca on Isabela Island in search of seabirds and marine life.

As cold currents flow around the northwestern tip of Isabela, food-rich waters are brought closer to the surface, attracting all sorts of marine life and birds. Galápagos Penguins arrive in Isabela in February, searching for cooler waters. In August they return to Bartolome in preparation for mating season. The cove's rich marine life and well protected bay have made this into a prized diving location in the islands. Flightless Cormorants, Masked Boobies and Blue-footed Boobies can be seen along the cliffs and the water's edge. In July, whales and dolphins can sometimes be spotted swimming off Isabela's western coast.

Optional swimming and snorkeling.

Return to the yacht.


Lunch: Lunch onboard.

Afternoon: Dry landing at Punta Espinoza, Fernandina Island. During this afternoon hike, participants will have a chance to observe the island's unique volcanic formations and search for resident wildlife.

This young island is the third largest in the Galápagos and is also the westernmost; located next to Isabela Island. Fernandina has some of the most dramatic landscapes found in the archipelago. The aa and pahoehoe lava formations create a unique landscape and provide visitors with a great chance to study lava flows and the forces which gave birth to the Galápagos Islands. Although Punta Espinosa is better known for its large colony of marine iguanas (nesting season in March), one can also expect to see sea lions, Flightless Cormorants and Galápagos Penguins (February - July). Flightless Cormorants begin exhibiting courting and nesting behavior in July.

Return to the yacht.


Dinner: Dinner onboard.

Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.

Lodging: Tip Top IV

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Cruise Ship

Description: The Tip Top IV is a First Class Steel-hulled Motor Yacht, built in Guayaquil/Ecuador in 2006. The yacht can accommodate up to 16 guests in 10 comfortable outside cabins.

Ship Information: The Tip Top IV is the flagship of the Tip Top fleet in the Galapagos Islands. The yacht measures 125 feet in length and has a 25-foot beam and 6-foot draft. The Tip Top IV sails at a cruising speed of 12 knots. Equipment includes: twin main engines, twin electric generators, twin Radars, Eco-sounders and GPS, reverse osmosis water maker, and required coastguard safety equipment.

Contact info:
0000000000000
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
phone: +00000000000
web: www.rwittmer.com

Room amenities: Each of the 10 cabins is fully carpeted and has two single lower berths (no bunks), small closet, porthole or window, and a private bathroom with hair dryer. Biodegradable soap and shampoo/conditioner are provided during the cruise.

Facility amenities: Yacht amenities include a bar, lounge, dining area, and sun-deck. Smoking restricted to outer decks only. Snorkeling equipment (e.g., mask, snorkel, and fins) is provided as part of the cruise. Wetsuits and buoyancy vests are available for rent, but must be reserved prior to the cruise. Please contact the program provider at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com if you would like to reserve a wetsuit for your program. Payment for the wetsuit rental must be made in full upon boarding the yacht. Laundry service is not available on the yacht. In an effort to conserve water, the yacht might ask participants to refrain from hand washing clothing during the cruise. Participants will be able to hang bathing suits and wet clothing to dry on clotheslines on the top deck. Purified drinking water is provided free of charge on the yacht. Participants will be given reusable bottles to refill as needed at the water dispenser in the main lounge.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Twelve: Tuesday, January 21 - Galápagos Islands - Isabela Island (Tagus C...
Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.

Morning: Wet landing on Urbina Bay. Search for resident wildlife and observe the remains of a coral reef on land during a walk along the bay.

Urbina Bay is situated approximately two fifths of the way along Isabela's western coast. The flattened area of the bay exhibits signs of a coral reef on land; proof that the flat land we see today in that area was once uplifted from the sea. Cormorants, pelicans, marine iguanas, and Flightless Cormorants frequent this site in addition to marine turtles and rays which are sometimes seen swimming in the bay.

Optional swimming, snorkeling and sea kayaking.

Later this morning, take a panga ride to Tagus Cove for a chance to spot resident seabirds and examine historical graffiti left on cliff walls by early sailors. A walk on the lower slopes of Volcan Darwin provides the perfect opportunity for a site lecture on lava formations.

Some of the most popular sites on Isabela are located on its western coast and take longer to reach (especially on smaller boats), so this island is oftentimes not included on shorter itineraries. Tagus Cove offers visitors the opportunity to see writings (carved and painted) left behind by pirates and whalers who frequented the area in years gone by. A short trail leads to the base of the Darwin Volcano where different lava formations can be studied. The island is home to Flightless Cormorants, Galapagos Penguins, Mangrove Finches, pelicans, marine iguanas and a variety of other birds.

Optional swimming and snorkeling.

Return to the yacht.


Lunch: Lunch onboard.

Afternoon: Panga ride to Elizabeth Bay with site lecture: Marine Species of the Galápagos Islands.

While following the lower western edge of this large island, we will reach a site that is well known for its marine life. Elizabeth Bay is situated in the crook of Isabela’s ‘arm’ as it begins to bulge and form the southern portion of the island. This site is reached by boat and generally does not include land excursions. The bay is home to a large number of sea and shore birds, as well as marine turtles and rays. A short boat ride to the end of the bay, to the nearby Mariela Islands, is a nice option for those who wish to see Galápagos Penguins.

Return to the yacht.


Dinner: Dinner onboard.

Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.

Lodging: Tip Top IV

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Cruise Ship

Description: The Tip Top IV is a First Class Steel-hulled Motor Yacht, built in Guayaquil/Ecuador in 2006. The yacht can accommodate up to 16 guests in 10 comfortable outside cabins.

Ship Information: The Tip Top IV is the flagship of the Tip Top fleet in the Galapagos Islands. The yacht measures 125 feet in length and has a 25-foot beam and 6-foot draft. The Tip Top IV sails at a cruising speed of 12 knots. Equipment includes: twin main engines, twin electric generators, twin Radars, Eco-sounders and GPS, reverse osmosis water maker, and required coastguard safety equipment.

Contact info:
0000000000000
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
phone: +00000000000
web: www.rwittmer.com

Room amenities: Each of the 10 cabins is fully carpeted and has two single lower berths (no bunks), small closet, porthole or window, and a private bathroom with hair dryer. Biodegradable soap and shampoo/conditioner are provided during the cruise.

Facility amenities: Yacht amenities include a bar, lounge, dining area, and sun-deck. Smoking restricted to outer decks only. Snorkeling equipment (e.g., mask, snorkel, and fins) is provided as part of the cruise. Wetsuits and buoyancy vests are available for rent, but must be reserved prior to the cruise. Please contact the program provider at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com if you would like to reserve a wetsuit for your program. Payment for the wetsuit rental must be made in full upon boarding the yacht. Laundry service is not available on the yacht. In an effort to conserve water, the yacht might ask participants to refrain from hand washing clothing during the cruise. Participants will be able to hang bathing suits and wet clothing to dry on clotheslines on the top deck. Purified drinking water is provided free of charge on the yacht. Participants will be given reusable bottles to refill as needed at the water dispenser in the main lounge.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Thirteen: Wednesday, January 22 - Galápagos Islands - Isabela Island (Volcan ...
Galápagos Islands -
Isabela Island (Volcan Chico, Breeding Center & Poza de las Tintoreras).


Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.

Morning: Dry landing on Isabela Island for a field trip to Las Tintoreras, located 10 minutes south of Puerto Villamil.

Las Tintoreras is an islet on Isabela known for its rich marine life. Tide pools provide visitors the perfect chance to view tropical fish as they are temporarily trapped within a crevice. The calm and crystal clear waters make it easy to view the marine life below.

After exploring Las Tintoreras, take an excursion around Sierra Negra Volcano.

Isabela Island, the largest island in the archipelago, is made of a chain of five volcanoes which are periodically active. Volcano Wolf is the highest point on the island and in the archipelago, but Sierra Negra is the largest of the five major volcanoes on Isabela. Sierra Negra is a shield volcano, with a large and shallow caldera and relatively flat slopes. In October of 2005, it erupted after a period of seismic activity and lava from the eruption covered up to 14 square kilometers of the caldera floor. Both old and new lava formations can be spotted in the area including cinder cones, tuff cones, and spatter cones.

Optional swimming, snorkeling and sea kayaking.


Lunch: Lunch onboard.

Afternoon: This afternoon, enjoy a field trip to the Breeding Center Arnaldo Tupiza, where visitors can view tortoises of different ages and sizes and learn about the local captive-breeding project. Be on the lookout for land iguanas exhibiting courtship behavior in preparation for the breeding season in January. The land iguana eggs begin hatching in April, a time when visitors can catch a glimpse of multiple generations of iguanas making their way around the island.

On the way back to the yacht, visit the wetlands or Humedales. Study the flora of this unique ecosystem and look for shorebirds and waders. The lagoons attract many migrant birds--making this site one of the best water-bird areas in the islands. Also nearby is the Wall of Tears, a historically important location where prisoners built a wall with lava blocks as punishment.


Dinner: Dinner onboard.

Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.

Lodging: Tip Top IV

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Cruise Ship

Description: The Tip Top IV is a First Class Steel-hulled Motor Yacht, built in Guayaquil/Ecuador in 2006. The yacht can accommodate up to 16 guests in 10 comfortable outside cabins.

Ship Information: The Tip Top IV is the flagship of the Tip Top fleet in the Galapagos Islands. The yacht measures 125 feet in length and has a 25-foot beam and 6-foot draft. The Tip Top IV sails at a cruising speed of 12 knots. Equipment includes: twin main engines, twin electric generators, twin Radars, Eco-sounders and GPS, reverse osmosis water maker, and required coastguard safety equipment.

Contact info:
0000000000000
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
phone: +00000000000
web: www.rwittmer.com

Room amenities: Each of the 10 cabins is fully carpeted and has two single lower berths (no bunks), small closet, porthole or window, and a private bathroom with hair dryer. Biodegradable soap and shampoo/conditioner are provided during the cruise.

Facility amenities: Yacht amenities include a bar, lounge, dining area, and sun-deck. Smoking restricted to outer decks only. Snorkeling equipment (e.g., mask, snorkel, and fins) is provided as part of the cruise. Wetsuits and buoyancy vests are available for rent, but must be reserved prior to the cruise. Please contact the program provider at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com if you would like to reserve a wetsuit for your program. Payment for the wetsuit rental must be made in full upon boarding the yacht. Laundry service is not available on the yacht. In an effort to conserve water, the yacht might ask participants to refrain from hand washing clothing during the cruise. Participants will be able to hang bathing suits and wet clothing to dry on clotheslines on the top deck. Purified drinking water is provided free of charge on the yacht. Participants will be given reusable bottles to refill as needed at the water dispenser in the main lounge.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Fourteen: Thursday, January 23 - Galápagos - Floreana Island (Punta Cormara...
Galápagos -
Floreana Island (Punta Cormarant, Post Office Bay, Asilo de la Paz).


Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.

Morning: Wet landing at Cormorant Point.

This site hosts a large flamingo lagoon where other birds such as common stilts, White-cheeked Pintails can also be seen. The beaches on this island are distinct: The “Green Beach” named so due to its green color, which comes from a high percentage of olivine crystals in the sand, and the “Four Sand Beach” composed of white coral.

Return to the yacht.


Lunch: Lunch onboard.

Afternoon: Morning field trip to Post Office Bay.

In the 18th century whalers passing through the islands placed a wooden barrel on Floreana Island for use as an unofficial mail box. The tradition continues today as visitors leave addressed postcards in the barrel and sort through left mail to deliver at home.


Dinner: Dinner onboard.

Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.

Lodging: Tip Top IV

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Contact info:
Avenida Naciones Unidas y Republica de el Salvador
Quito, 000 Ecuador
phone: +59322970002
web: www.starwoodhotels.com/fourpoints

Room amenities: Air conditioning, coffee/tea maker, iron/ironing board, hair dryer, mini refrigerator, telephone, free newspaper, and cable TV.

Facility amenities: Fitness and spa facilities, laundry/valet service, gift shop, florist, and meeting rooms.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Fifteen: Friday, January 24 - Quito - Santa Cruz Island (Charles Darwin R...
Quito -
Santa Cruz Island (Charles Darwin Research Station) Baltra/Flight to Quito.


Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.

Morning: Field trip to Charles Darwin Research Station.

Santa Cruz is the most important island in the Galapagos in many respects. It is the second largest island, the most populated, and it is the administrative center of the islands. The National Park Service is based here, but perhaps most important is the Charles Darwin Research Station, the headquarters of all research and conservation efforts on the islands. Giant tortoises can be spotted in the highlands of Santa Cruz in greater numbers from August to May. Nesting tends to take place from June to August and by December the giant tortoise eggs begin hatching (through April). Several species of Darwin's finches make this island home as well. In addition, a dramatic change in vegetation zones can be seen as one travels higher on the island.

Transfer to the airport on Baltra Island to catch a flight to Quito.


Lunch: Light snack on the flight.

Afternoon: Arrive in Quito and transfer to the hotel.

Free afternoon to rest and relax.


Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.

Lodging: Hotel Sheraton Quito

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Contact info:
Avenida Naciones Unidas y Republica de el Salvador
Quito, 000 Ecuador
phone: +59322970002
web: www.starwoodhotels.com/fourpoints

Room amenities: Air conditioning, coffee/tea maker, iron/ironing board, hair dryer, mini refrigerator, telephone, free newspaper, and cable TV.

Facility amenities: Fitness and spa facilities, laundry/valet service, gift shop, florist, and meeting rooms.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Sixteen: Saturday, January 25 - Quito - City Excursion and Field Trip to t...
Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.

Morning: Visit El Panecillo for panoramic views of Quito.

Enjoy a walking exploration of Quito's colonial center. Visit the Independence Square with an informative explanation of the Presidential and Bishop Palace, as well as the Cathedral. Visit La Compañía church, one of the most beautiful churches in Quito, legendary for its gold covered interior. Visit the historic San Francisco church and convent, raised up above a wide stone paved court originally known as "Tiangues," a place used by the indigenous inhabitants of Quito to trade products.


Lunch: Lunch at local restaurant including an introduction to Ecuadorian food products and typical Ecuadorian cuisine.

Afternoon: After lunch, we will leave Quito and travel in a northerly direction to visit the Museo Intinan located on the Equator line, near the Middle of the World complex.

The Intinan Museum has a permanent exposition that details the Andean cosmovision of Ecuador's ancestral cultures. Learn about the indigenous calendar and its accuracy. Visit an ancient home to find out about the way of life and traditions of indigenous people more than a century ago. Acquaint yourself with the important rituals of Amazonian tribes as you educate yourself about the cultures of Ecuador's Oriente region.

Lecture: The Past, Present, and Future of Ecuador.


Dinner: Farewell Dinner at hotel.

Lodging: Hotel Sheraton Quito

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day Seventeen: Sunday, January 26 - Depart from Quito/Flights to the U.S. Arriv...
Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel (dependent on flight time).

Morning: Transfer to the International Airport in Quito for flight to the U.S

Note: Participants with independent travel arrangements and/or scheduled on later flights can keep their hotel rooms until check-out time on this day. Except for breakfast, all other meals are on your own on this day.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
16 nights of accommodations
43 meals: 16 breakfasts, 15 lunches, 12 dinners
10 Expert-led lectures
25 Field trips
1 Performances
4 Flights during the program

Ratings

4.6
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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