Road Scholar : Home
The Best of the Galápagos and Peru: From Enchanted Islands to Machu Picchu

Program Number: 18484RJ
Start and End Dates:
11/16/2012 - 12/2/2012; 10/8/2014 - 10/24/2014; 10/9/2014 - 10/25/2014; 10/30/2014 - 11/15/2014; 11/20/2014 - 12/6/2014; 12/4/2014 - 12/20/2014; 12/17/2014 - 1/2/2015; 1/16/2015 - 2/1/2015; 2/6/2015 - 2/22/2015; 2/20/2015 - 3/8/2015; 3/6/2015 - 3/22/2015; 3/20/2015 - 4/5/2015; 4/10/2015 - 4/26/2015; 4/17/2015 - 5/3/2015; 4/24/2015 - 5/10/2015; 5/1/2015 - 5/17/2015; 5/8/2015 - 5/24/2015; 5/22/2015 - 6/7/2015; 6/5/2015 - 6/21/2015; 7/17/2015 - 8/2/2015; 8/14/2015 - 8/30/2015; 9/25/2015 - 10/11/2015; 10/2/2015 - 10/18/2015; 10/16/2015 - 11/1/2015; 10/23/2015 - 11/8/2015; 10/30/2015 - 11/15/2015; 11/6/2015 - 11/22/2015; 11/20/2015 - 12/6/2015; 12/4/2015 - 12/20/2015; 12/11/2015 - 12/27/2015; 12/18/2015 - 1/3/2016;
Duration: 16 nights
Location: Galapagos Islands/Ecuador/Peru
Price starting at: $5,883.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Small Ship Cruising Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 42; 16 Breakfasts, 15 Lunches, 11 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Vegetarian; Low Salt    

Few other places inspire such wonder and awe as the Galápagos Islands and the Incan Lost City of Machu Picchu. Experience both of these destinations, as well as the UNESCO World Heritage site of Quito in an intimate group setting that allows for optimal time to learn from Road Scholar's acclaimed experts.




Activity Particulars

Quito, Ecuador has an elevation between 9,350 ft and 9,500 ft. Some participants find it helpful to fly into the city a day early in order to have extra time to rest and acclimate to the altitude. It also gives participants an extra day to catch-up to the program if there are unexpected travel delays—especially during busy travel seasons and times of year when bad weather is expected.

Wet and dry landings involve transferring in potentially rough waters from the yacht into a zodiac and stepping into either knee-deep water or onto rocky shores. Daily walks on sharp volcanic rocks and loose stones add another level of difficulty. Please view the Galápagos video "Galapagos Fitness Information - What to Expect" in preparation for your program activities: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U93d0TxTOQA&feature=youtu.be



Due to the remote nature of the islands, listening devices are not available for the Galapagos Islands portion of the program.



Itinerary At-a-Glance

Quito (Ecuador), 2 nights; aboard vessel, 7 nights; Lima, 1 night; Sacred Valley (Peru), 2 nights; Machu Picchu, 1 night; Cusco, 2 nights; Lima, 1 night.



Days 1-2: Arrival Quito (Ecuador)

Discover the pre-Columbian and colonial heritage of Quito.
Lodging: Comfortable hotel.



Days 3-9: Flight to Galápagos Islands / embark vessel:

Sail from island to island to view the amazing biodiversity and rare species found only in these islands. Look for sea lions and flamingos, observe a colony of the famous land iguanas and learn about the endearing Galápagos Penguin. Observe giant tortoises in their natural habitat and learn about a tortoise breeding project. Don a snorkeling mask to look for sea turtles, rays and a variety of colorful fish below the surface.



Days 10-13: Flight to Lima via Guayaquil / flight to Cusco / coach to Sacred Valley / train and coach to Machu Picchu:

Journey to Peru, where you’ll ride through the Sacred Valley into the clouds of Peru’s Andes Mountains to discover Machu Picchu. With an expert, walk the ruins and discuss the spiritual and mystical significance of the ancient sites.
Lodging: Country lodge in Yucay; comfortable hotel near Machu Picchu.



Days 14-17: Train and coach to Cusco / flight to Lima / departure:

Delve deeper into the story of the Inca Empire as you explore the walled complex of Sacsayhuaman and the Inca capital of Cusco. Lodging: Comfortable hotels.





Yolita II

The Yolita II is a 114-foot, expedition-sized vessel that can accommodate 16 passengers in 10 cabins. Public areas include a dining room, common room, bar and sun deck. Single cabins have one bed, a porthole, and are located on the bottom deck.


Accommodations
Comfortable, centrally located hotels, selected to allow optimal access to surrounding areas. Rooms in Peru may seem smaller than expected. The Yolita II and the Tip Top III can carry up to 16 passengers and the Galaven I can carry up to 20 passengers. Each yacht has air-conditioned cabins with private baths.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Edgar Vargas (Galapagos)

Edgar Vargas was born and raised in Ecuador's famous Galápagos Islands. He attended college in Guayaquil, on the mainland, with additional studies at the University of Colorado. Prior to becoming a naturalist in the Galápagos in 1990, Edgar taught environmental education for the Charles Darwin Research Station as well as biology and chemistry classes at a local high school. In the mid 1990's, Edgar became the head of tourism for the Galápagos National Park. Being a PADI diver, he is just as comfortable exploring the underwater world as he is living on land.
 
Gustavo Leon

As a musician and a native of Cusco, Gustavo Leon found himself deeply drawn to the rich musical traditions of the Andean highlands. This special affinity led him to devote his life to the research and preservation of Peru's folkloric Andean music. His extensive research has focused on the origins of Andean music, its different forms, regional influences, and instruments. Gustavo is a talented musician and an expert on native Andean woodwind, percussion, and string instruments including the siku, domingacha, and charango. His interactive educational style will get your toes tapping as he introduces, through musical performances, the various song styles and instruments of the Andes.
 
Diego Quiroga

Dr. Diego Quiroga received his B.A. from U.C. Berkeley and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign. Dr. Quiroga is an expert in the fields of medical anthropology, human ecology, and marine conservation and fisheries. He teaches at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (U.S.F.Q.) and also serves as the vice president for external and student affairs. Research projects led him to travel to the Galápagos Islands, where he has worked with fishermen and other local professionals to understand how they interact with the environment. While in the Galápagos, he began writing about the history of scientists and other people who have visited the archipelago. As a member of the national swimming team he represented Ecuador in the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow.
 
Fredy Vargas Castillo

Fredy Vargas Castillo grew up in the Galapagos and received his college degree from Quito University. He began working with scientists at the Charles Darwin Research Station, and it was during this time that he developed his interest in wildlife. Fredy then decided to take the naturalist course given by the Galapagos National Park in 1984, and has worked as a naturalist ever since. He currently resides in Guayaquil while his children attend college, and plans to return to Galapagos permanently one day.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Hotel Sheraton Quito
  Quito, Ecuador 2 nights
   Yolita II
  Galápagos Islands, Ecuador 7 nights
   Hotel Oro Verde
  Guayaquil, Ecuador 1 night
   Posada del Inca - Yucay
  Yucay, Peru 2 nights
   El Mapi Hotel
  Machu Picchu, Peru 1 night
   Casa Andina Private Collection – Cusco
  Cusco, Peru 2 nights
   Casa Andina Select
  Lima, Peru 1 night
 Hotel Sheraton Quito
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Sheraton Quito is situated in the city’s financial and commercial zone, with easy access to the airport.
  Contact info: Avenida Naciones Unidas y Republica de el Salvador
Quito,  000 Ecuador
phone: +593-2-2970002
web: www.starwoodhotels.com
  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 allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Subject to availability. Please contact your program provider, Holbrook Travel, for additional information. Phone: 1-800-866-7111/Email: roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 Yolita II
Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: The Yolita II is a motorized yacht in the true tradition of the smaller boats that sail the island of the Galapagos. At 115 feet long and 26 feet wide and cruising at 10 knots, it can carry 16 passengers.
  Ship Information: Motorized yacht which carries up to 16 passengers in 11 cabins all with private baths. The ship is 115 feet long and 26 feet wide. Public areas include a dinning room, bar, sun/sky deck, and library. Rooms include private bathroom (toilet, shower, washbasin and vanity); locker and drawers. All cabins and public areas are fully carpeted.
  Contact info: N/A
Guayaquil,   Ecuador
phone: +000-000-0000
  Room amenities: All cabins are compact (approximately 112 square feet) with porthole, private bathroom with shower, air-conditioning, and limited closet space. Double occupancy rooms feature two single beds. Single cabins have one bed and are located on the bottom deck.
  Facility amenities: Public areas include a dining room, common room, bar, sun deck and small library. A steep set of stairs from the Main Deck to the cabins have to be carefully negotiated.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Hotel Oro Verde
Type: Hotel
  Description: Oro Verde Hotel Guayaquil is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World in Ecuador. Strategically located in the downtown commercial and banking heart of the city, only eight minutes from the José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport.
  Contact info: 9 de Octubre Street
Guayaquil,   Ecuador
phone: +593-4-2327999
web: www.oroverdehotels.com/gye
  Room amenities: Mini bar, radio, direct-dial telephone, safety deposit box, cable TV, broadband Internet connection, reading lights, remote control air conditioner, and hair dryer.
  Facility amenities: Restaurants, bar, delicatessen, 24 hr room service, a luxurious Club Floor, swimming pool, fitness center, laundry services, safety deposit boxes, meeting rooms, business center, casino, and shops.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Posada del Inca - Yucay
Type: Lodge
  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: +51-84-201107
web: www.sonesta.com
  Room amenities: Climate control, TV, direct dial telephones, and in-room safe.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar, business center, meeting room, chapel, laundry service, gift shop, and luggage storage.
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 El Mapi Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: Smart and contemporary are the defining elements of this hotel, amidst the commercial village of Machu Picchu Pueblo (Aguas Calientes). 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: 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: Luggage storage, 24/7 reception, bar, DirecTv, WiFi, turndown services, self guided fern walk, oxygen upon request, hot water pool, gift shop, and computer room.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Casa Andina Private Collection – Cusco
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 allowed: Yes

 Casa Andina Select
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 allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: 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.


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
All day arrivals at the Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito, Ecuador. Hotel check-in begins at 3 p.m. You will be staying at Hotel Sheraton Quito that night.
  End of Program:
Departures from the Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima, Peru. Hotel check-out by 11 a.m. You will be staying at Casa Andina Select the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
N/A
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: N/A
To Start of Program
  Location:  Quito
  Transportation to site: Taxi transportation is available at the international airport in Quito. If transferring to/from the airport by taxi, please be sure to only use official licensed taxis. This includes checking to make sure that the cab is in good physical condition, and that it has orange license plates as well as an orange placard on the driver's-side doors and windshield with the registration number. Taxis are payable in dollars (Ecuador’s currency is the U.S. dollar).
  From End of Program
  Location:  Lima
  Nearest airport:  Jorge Chaves Lima Callo International Airport
  Transportation from site: Taxi services are available at the hotel. Please ask for assistance at the hotel's front desk if you wish to hire a taxi.
Elevation Note: Cusco 11,000 ft/Chincheros 12,330 ft.

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrive to Quito.
(Friday, November 16)
   
 Arrive To: Arrive at the Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito, Ecuador.

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.

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 3 p.m.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Sheraton Quito

Day 2: Quito –
City Excursion & Field Trip to the Equator

(Saturday, November 17)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Orientation to the program.

Visit El Panecillo for panoramic views of Quito.

Before the Spanish arrived, the hill known as El Panecillo (small bread roll) was used by the Inca for sun worshiping. In the early 1800s, the Spanish military took advantage of El Panecillo's strategic location and elevation (9,843 ft), and built a fortress to protect and monitor the city. In present times, the hill is the site of a city monument and lookout point where visitors can get 360° views of Quito. On clear days, it is even possible to spot Cotopaxi's snowy peak in the distance.

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 Intiñan located on the Equator line, near the Middle of the World complex.

The Intiñan 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: Dinner at hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Sheraton Quito
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Galápagos Islands -
Flight to Baltra Island/Board Yacht/
Santa Cruz Island (Playa de las Bachas)

(Sunday, November 18)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to the airport for flight to the Galápagos Islands.

Depart for the Galápagos Islands.

There is a 44-pound weight limit for checked luggage on the flights to the islands. Please pack accordingly.
 Lunch: Lunch en-route.
 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.

Upon arrival you will be met by your naturalist guide and transferred to the yacht.

Board and set sail.
Enjoy an orientation and a light snack.

Sail to Playa de las Bachas on Santa Cruz Island.
Field trip to view a flamingo lagoon.

Bachas Beach represents one of the main nesting sites of sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) on Isla Santa Cruz. It is a good place to see flamingos, as well as migratory and aquatic birds. The name Las Bachas originates from the Second World War, when the American army left two barges discarded on the beach, the first settlers could not pronounce the name correctly in English, which resulted in the name "Las Bachas."

Note: Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are always subject to change by the Galápagos National Park. Itineraries are not guaranteed.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
 Evening: Orientation to the next day’s activities.
   
Accommodations: Yolita II
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Galápagos Islands -
Genovesa Island (Darwin's Bay & El Barranco)

(Monday, November 19)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Dry landing on Genovesa Island at Darwin’s Bay.

Genovesa is a great place for a bird watching walk plus optional swimming or snorkeling. The island's volcanic sea cliffs and salt bush offer a prime habitat for the birds of the Galápagos. Darwin Bay is the caldera of an extinct volcano which has been partially eroded and offers superb swimming and snorkeling.

Return to the yacht.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: Visit El Barranco on the southern part of Darwin Bay, Genovesa Island.

The youngest area of the island, from a geological point of view, lies in this area. The cliffs located in the south are composed of very fragile lava. The natural erosion that has occurred in these lava flows has become the ideal place for nesting Storm Petrels.

Two species of petrels can be seen here, nesting in cavities and holes in the lava. One is the Wooden Petrel, which feed during the night, and the other is the endemic Galápagos Petrel that is active during the day. During the panga rides along the cliffs, look for fur seals and several species of seabirds.

Return to the yacht.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
 Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: Yolita II
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Galápagos Islands -
Bartolomé Island & Santiago (Sullivan Bay)

(Tuesday, November 20)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Dry landing on Bartolomé Island.
Bartolomé Island is home to Pinnacle Rock, the "Guardian of the Isles" which rises sharply from the coast. The lunar-like landscape is home to one of the islands' most endearing residents: the Galápagos Penguin. The penguins make their home here, fishing in the waters nearby.

View volcanic formations such as lava bombs, spatter, and cinder cones. Hike to the summit to enjoy a great view of the surrounding islands, including Pinnacle Rock's eroded tuff cone. On the way to the summit, watch for colonies of marine iguanas, lava lizards, tiquilla and various cacti.

Opportunity to snorkel and spot Galápagos Penguins, sea turtles, and white tipped reef sharks (from a safe distance).
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: Wet or dry landing at Sullivan Bay.

Visit to Sullivan Bay to observe fascinating geological features. The landing can be performed either on the rocky shore (dry landing) or the white sand beach (wet landing).

The area is covered by Pahoehoe lava flows (solidified lava in corrugated or accordion form). It was very active in the last 25 years of the nineteenth century, making this flow geologically very young. The magma formed is flat, but the movement of underground lava, the rapid cooling and other eruptions led to the break in many places.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
 Evening: Orientation of the next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: Yolita II
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Galápagos Islands –
Isabela Island (Wetlands, Wall of Tears & Breeding Center “Arnaldo Tupiza,” & Sierra Negra Volcano)

(Wednesday, November 21)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: In the morning, visit the visitor site "Wetlands", a complex of trails that consist of numerous sites that form spectacular scenery. The trails travel through lava rock paths, tombs, a mangrove forest, volcanoes, and beaches and also offer great opportunities to observe local flora and fauna.

From the Wetlands' trails, continue your visit wth a stop at the infamous "Wall of Tears" or "Muro de las Lagrimas". This wall was erected by convicts in the first half of this century when that area served as a penal colony. Many prisoners died during the work and the construction earned its infamous name.

Later in the morning, visit the Tortoise Breeding Center.

The Tortoise Breeding Center of Isabela contains 330 juvenile and adult tortoises that populate south Isabela. It houses many breeds in danger of extinction. The Breeding Center also has beautiful gardens consisting of native plants.

Return to the yacht.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: Afternoon excursion to the Sierra Negra Volcano.

Take a bus ride to the Paradero Sierra Negra to enjoy the spectacular scenery. From there continue to the summit of the Sierra Negra Volcano, one of the oldest volcanoes on Isabela. The sulfur, iron and volcanic rock formations make up a colorful landscape. Follow the trail to Volcán Chico on the northeastern side of Sierra Negra. Volcán Chico is the fissure of some parasitic cones, composed of slag and lava, with an elevation of approximately 2,820 ft.

The Sierra Negra volcano is believed to be the oldest volcano on Isabela. According to some geologists, the wider and shallower a caldera, the more ancient. This conclusion is based on research that indicates that the ongoing volcanic processes in calderas tend to file and break down their edges over thousands and millions of years.

Return to the yacht.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
 Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: Yolita II
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Galápagos Islands -
Isabela Island (Elizabeth Bay & Tagus Cove).

(Thursday, November 22)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Small boat excursion to Elizabeth Bay to observe marine life.

Elizabeth Bay, located on Isabela's west shore, is an extremely interesting site for observing marine life. It is also one of the best areas to spot and photograph the elusive Galápagos Penguin. A colony of these unique birds inhabits a rocky islet at the entrance to the bay. A small passage lined with mangroves leads into an enclosed cove. The sheltered waters host marine turtles, rays, flightless cormorants, and sea lions. Although the marine life is the star of this visitor's site, don't forget to look up once in a while and scan the skies; Galápagos Hawks are oftentimes seen circling overhead.

Return to the yacht.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: Dry landing on Isabela Island.

Learn about the eruption of five volcanoes that formed Isabela, the largest island in the archipelago. Hike the trail to Darwin's salt water lagoon and an excellent view of the lava fields and volcanic formations.

Observe marine life during a dinghy ride while you search for the Galápagos Penguin.

Opportunity for swimming and snorkeling.

Return to the yacht.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
 Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: Yolita II
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Galápagos Islands –
Isabela Island (Urbina Bay) & Fernandina Island (Punta Espinoza)

(Friday, November 23)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Morning field trip to Urbina Bay on Isabela Island.

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.

Return to the yacht.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: Dry landing on Fernandina Island.

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, one can also expect to see sea lions, Flightless Cormorants and Galápagos Penguins.

Return to the yacht.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
 Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: Yolita II
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Galápagos Islands –
Santiago Island (Playa Espumilla & Caleta Bucanero) and Rábida Island

(Saturday, November 24)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Wet landing on Espumilla Beach.

Playa Espumilla is located on the northwestern coast of Santiago Island in James Bay. During the last presence of the El Niño phenomenon, one of the two lagoons at this site underwent a process of sedimentation, which led to the disappearance of a resident colony of flamingos. The main attractions here are a palo santo forest, beach and the landscape. The beach is an important site for nesting marine turtles (Chelonia midas agassizi).

Navigate around Buccaneer Cove (Caleta Bucanero).

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.

Return to the yacht.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: Wet landing on Rabida Island.

Also known as Jervis, this island has a dark red beach where visitors can view sea lions and nesting pelicans. A salt water lagoon located a small distance from the beach is home to flamingoes and the occasional white-cheeked pintail. Palo santo trees cover the island's volcanic peak, which can be seen from a short trail (approximately ½ mile).

July through September is a good time to observe brown pelicans nesting in the salty bushes. Boobies and 9 species of Darwin's finches can also be observed.

Take a dinghy ride or snorkel above the reefs.

Return to the yacht.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
 Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: Yolita II
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Guayaquil -
Daphne Island & Baltra Island
Flight to Guayaquil/Walk Along the Malecon.

(Sunday, November 25)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Wet landing on Daphne Island, located off the coast of Santa Cruz.

The Daphne Islands can be found north of Santa Cruz Island and west of Seymour and Baltra. The larger of the two, Daphne Major, has retained its distinctive volcanic shape (tuff cone). It has a visitor landing site and a steep trail that leads to the top of the cone where Blue-footed Boobies and Masked Boobies like to nest. Red-billed Tropicbirds can be seen nesting in the rocky island walls.

Visit Mosquera Islet on your way back to Baltra.

Mosquera Islet is located between North Seymour and Baltra Islands, and is a convenient site to enjoy one last shore activity before heading to Baltra to catch a flight back to the mainland. The flat, sandy island attracts a large number of sea lions as well as shorebirds.

Return to the yacht for a farewell snack.

Sail to Baltra Island and transfer to the airport for flight to Guayaquil.
 Lunch: Lunch during flight.
 Afternoon: Arrive in Guayaquil and transfer to the hotel.

Late afternoon excursion to the Malecon (river walk).

A revitalization project in the 1990s reshaped Guayaquil, turning it into a beautiful and vibrant city with many tourist attractions. The two mile river walk along the Guayas River, known as the Malecon, has become a favorite spot for locals and tourists to take a stroll and visit restaurants, art galleries, stores, and museums.

Return to the hotel.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Oro Verde
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Sacred Valley -
Flight to Cusco via Lima and Transfer to the Sacred Valley/Introduction to Machu Picchu & Pisac Market.

(Monday, November 26)
   
 Breakfast: Early breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to the airport for morning flight to Lima, Peru to connect with your flight to Cusco.

Arrive to Cusco.

Transfer to hotel in the Sacred Valley with en route visit to the Pisac Market.

The Pisac Market dates back to the ancient Peruvian days when people in the highlands depended on trade. The natives trade vegetables, herbs and potatoes for other goods like matches, oranges and medicines. Here you will see colorful fruits, vegetables, dyes, spices and locals in their native dress.
 Lunch: Box lunch en-route.
 Afternoon: Arrive at hotel and check.

Lecture: Early evening tea with an expert on Machu Picchu who will discuss the spiritual and mystical significance of the ancient Inca sites.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
   
Accommodations: Posada del Inca - Yucay
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Sacred Valley (Yucay) -
Chincheros Town & Ollantaytambo Ruins.

(Tuesday, November 27)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Visit to Chincheros town including a visit to a weaving cooperative, where you will meet with locals and learn about the 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 hotel.
 Afternoon: Visit to Ollantaytambo Ruins 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. The terraces above the town still are farmed. The pinnacle above the town is a small burial ground.

 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
   
Accommodations: Posada del Inca - Yucay
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes) –
Excursion to UNESCO World Heritage Site.

(Wednesday, November 28)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Train to Machu Picchu following the Urubamba River with 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 to explore local fare.
   
Accommodations: El Mapi Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 14: Cusco -
Orientation to Aguas Calientes/Train and Bus to Cusco

(Thursday, November 29)
   
 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, on their own, at the ruins (tickets are an additional expense and must be purchased in advance). Please contact the Program Provider at 1-800-866-7111/roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com for more information.
 Lunch: Lunch at hotel.
 Afternoon: Transfer to train station.

Early afternoon train to Ollantaytambo station.

Arrive at the Ollantaytambo station and board a bus for your transfer to Cusco.

Arrive in Cusco and check-in at the 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.
   
Accommodations: Casa Andina Private Collection – Cusco
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 15: Cusco -
Sacsayhuaman Ruins & Introduction to Cusco.

(Friday, November 30)
   
 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 expert on the history of Inca and Andean musical instruments.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own for a chance to explore local fare.
   
Accommodations: Casa Andina Private Collection – Cusco
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 16: Lima -
Orientation to Lima/Presentation on Peruvian Cuisine

(Saturday, December 1)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Morning flight from Cusco to Lima.
Arrive to Lima.
Transfer to hotel and check-in.
Transfer to local restaurant for a presentation on Peruvian cuisine by a local culinary expert.
 Lunch: Lunch at local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Orientation through Lima with an excursion to the Cathedral.

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.

 Dinner: Dinner on your own for a chance to explore local fare.
 Evening: Depending on flight schedules, some participants will transfer to the airport this evening for a late night/early morning flight to the U.S.
   
Accommodations: Casa Andina Select
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 17: Depart from Lima.
Arrive to the U.S.

(Sunday, December 2)
   
 Depart From: Transfer to Lima's Jorge Chávez International Airport.
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.
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel (dependent on flight times).
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


South American Birds: A Photographic Aid to Identification


Author: John Stewart Dunning


Description: This comprehensive South American bird guide has over 1400 color photos and more than 2700 species described with habitat and identification information. A very helpful range map is included for each bird.



Lonely Planet Phrasebooks: Latin American Spanish


Author: Roberto Esposto


Description: This portable phrasebook provides a useful mix of everyday phrases, words and expressions used in different Spanish speaking countries in Latin America. Learn the nuances of the Spanish language as it is spoken in Puerto Rico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Ecuador, Peru, and Chile.



Voyage of the Beagle


Author: Charles Darwin


Description: FAVORITE The wide-eyed tale of a young man on a five-year voyage that changed his life -- and our way of thinking about the world. First published in 1839, this book is still essential reading. Darwin's South American chapters are an excellent introduction to the Galapagos, Beagle Channel, Chile, Tierra del Fuego, the Chilean fjords and the Brazilian coast. With maps and appendices.



Galapagos, A Natural History Guide


Author: Michael Jacks


Description: HARD TO FIND This comprehensive overview of the habitats, plants, birds, and animals of the islands, written with the curious visitor in mind, is practically mandatory reading. It's the single best overview of the archipelago. Jackson also includes a useful bibliography, wildlife checklists and a list of plants by vegetation zone. Illustrated with many charts and maps, we refer to the book often.



Archaeological Map of Machu Picchu


Author: Wright Water Engineers


Description: Ken Wright's full color site plan shows monuments, topography and physical features of the Inca sanctuary in exquisite detail.



Ecuador Map


Author: Berndtson & Berndtson


Description: A detailed laminated map of Ecuador at a scale of 1:1,000,000, with detailed insets of Quito, Guayaquil, Galapagos and the Ecuadorian Amazon on the reverse.



Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, Travellers' Wildlife Guides


Author: David Pearson, Les Beletsky


Description: An excellent guide to Ecuador's wildlife, featuring concise descriptions and color illustrations of 500 frequently encountered reptiles and amphibians, birds, mammals and insects. The Galapagos Islands get a separate chapter and section of illustrations.



Ecuador in Focus, A Guide to the People, Politics, and Culture


Author: Wilma Roos, Omer van Renterghem


Description: This slim guide provides a lively overview of Ecuador’s history, cultural heritage and political, environmental and economic challenges.



Galapagos Islands Explorer Map


Author: Ocean Explorer Maps


Description: A detailed map of the Galapagos archipelago for the traveler at a scale of 1:400,000, including illustrated biographies of famous visitors, a brief wildlife guide with color photographs, a map of Darwin's route.



Galapagos Wildlife, A Visitor's Guide


Author: Bradt Travel Guides


Description: FIELD GUIDE: A compact guide to the birds, reptiles, insects, plants and marine life of the archipelago featuring a very good selection of large color photographs. Separate chapters cover visitor sites, history, conservation and habitats. The authors present key information on the flora, fauna and places in Galapagos for the traveler.



Infinite Ecuador


Author: Sebastian Crespo


Description: The Andes, Amazon, Pacific, Galapagos, historic cities, remote villages and farms are all on display in this collection of photographs.



Insight Guide Peru


Author: Insight Guides


Description: Panoramic in scope, this illustrated overview brings Peru to life in hundreds of color photographs and vivid essays by a team of experts writing on history, archaeology and culture.



The Conquest of the Incas


Author: John Hemming


Description: This well-researched book provides a historical account of the 16th century Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire in Peru and neighboring countries. John Hemming is an anthropologist, writer, and explorer with an extensive travel background. He is also a member of the Royal Geographic Society.



The Incas and their Ancestors, The Archaeology of Peru


Author: Michael Moseley


Description: An outstanding illustrated survey of the archaeology of the Inca, Moche and Nasca civilizations. With hundreds of color illustrations and line drawings, it's an in-depth look at the ancient cultures and history of Peru. A great general introduction.



The Incas, People of the Sun


Author: Carmen Bernard, Paul Bahn (translator)


Description: Featuring hundreds of drawings and photographs, a chronology and long excerpts from the journals of early explorers, this is a colorful pocket encyclopedia of Inca history and archaeology.



The Last Days of the Incas


Author: Kim Macquarrie


Description: MacQuarrie tackles the personality, aspirations and greed of Francisco Pizarro in this vivid account of the conquest of a continent.





You can't find a better value than Road Scholar.


As a not-for-profit organization, we are dedicated to providing all-inclusive educational programs at great value. From lectures to gratuities to field trips to accommodations - the tuition you pay up front is all that you pay.



Specifically, this program includes:

Plus these special experiences...

View the Daily Schedule to see more

And included with all Road Scholar programs:


© Road Scholar 2014 | Call toll-free: 1-800-454-5768