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Extension: The Best of the Galapagos

Program Number: 20185RJ
Start and End Dates:
3/4/2013 - 3/8/2013;
Duration: 4 nights
Location: Galapagos, Ecuador
Price starting at: $2,362.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Natural History
Meals: 13; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Vegetarian; Low Salt    

Continue the adventure by discovering one of the natural world’s greatest treasures: the Galápagos Islands. On a three-night voyage aboard an expedition ship, visit several islands in the volcanic archipelago and encounter the diversity of wildlife — colorful birds, enormous iguanas, playful sea lions and multihued crabs — made famous by Charles Darwin on his expedition aboard the "Beagle."


• Observe birdlife including Blue-footed Boobies, Red-billed Tropicbirds, Frigatebirds, pelicans and more.
• On Santa Fé Island, walk among the tallest stands of opuntia cacti in the Galápagos and hike into the highlands to view a colony of land iguanas.
• Sail in comfort aboard the 301-foot-long MV "Legend," one of the larger vessels operating in the Galápagos and featuring abundant space and amenities.

Activity Particulars

Wet and dry landings on islands. Walking and standing for up to three hours on uneven, rocky terrain. Optional swimming and snorkeling in strong currents.

This program is designed as an extension to Program #16488, The Many Faces of Ecuador: The Coast, Highlands and Amazon.

Flight to Baltra Island (Galápagos Islands, Ecuador)
Embark MV "Legend"
3 nights
Flight to Guayaquil
1 night

Fly to Baltra Island and board the ship. Land at Playa las Bachas on Santa Cruz Island, a sea turtle nesting site and a great location for viewing migratory and aquatic birds. Venture to South Plaza Island for a chance to view sea lions and search for fascinating flora. At the east end of San Cristóbal Island, find the only site where all three species of boobies and two species of frigates nest in the same area. Walk along the lovely white sand beach of Cerro Brujo to search for colorful Sally Lightfoot crabs and visit the local lagoon to view migratory bird species or enjoy swimming and snorkeling. Visit the San Cristobal Interpretation Center to learn about the geological and human history of the islands. Fly back to mainland Ecuador for your return home.


In a delicate balance, man, animal, and plant cohabitate Ecuador’s mountains, rainforests, and shores. Among such a range of wildlife and fauna, Charles Darwin was inspired to spark his revolutionary theory of evolution in 1859 in the country’s Galapagos Islands. Coupled with its natural beauty, Ecuador’s animated culture can be seen in its varied dishes and the excitement of soccer fans rooting for El Nacional.

Expedition ship: comfortable cabins. Guayaquil: Centrally located hotel.
Meals and Lodgings
   M/V Legend
  Galápagos Islands, Ecuador 3 nights
   Hotel Oro Verde
  Guayaquil, Ecuador 1 night
 M/V Legend
Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: The M/V Legend is a 301 ft long expedition ship. It has 58 comfortable cabins and can accommodate up to 100 passengers. As one of the larger vessels operating in the Galápagos Islands, the M/V Legend is able to provide an added level of space, comfort, and amenities not available on expedition yachts.
  Ship Information: Length: 301 ft (92 mts) Wide: 47 ft (15 mts) Decks: 5 Made in: Germany Refurbished: September 2007 Cabins: 58 Passengers: 100 Crew: 60 Guides: 7 multilingual naturalists Speed: 17 knots Cruise speed: 15 knots
  Contact info: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Galápagos Islands,   Ecuador
phone: +59399456205
  Room amenities: Staterooms are fully air-conditioned with private baths (with showers), closet space, phones, safety deposit boxes, and TVs. Cabins vary in size and amenities based on category.
  Facility amenities: The ship has a spacious dining room, bar and lounge, sun deck, pool, jacuzzi, jogging track, sauna, massage services, gift shop, infirmary, library, and auditorium.
  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. Oro Verde offers 230 luxury rooms, three restaurants, bar, delicatessen, room service, a luxurious Club Floor, swimming pool, fitness and business center, casino and shops.
  Contact info: 9 de Octubre Street
Guayaquil,   Ecuador
phone: +59342327999
  Room amenities: Equipped with a mini bar, radio, direct dialing telephone, safe for valuables, cable TV, broadband Internet connection, reading light over each bed, a remote control air conditioner, hair dryer.
  Facility amenities: Internet, 24 hour room service, Laundry / dry cleaning, Safety boxes, Three versatile meeting rooms that can accommodate groups of 4 to 20 people.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: Subject to availability Please contact your program provider, Holbrook Travel, for additional information. 1-800-451-7111.

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Conclude program #16488 in Guayaquil and transfer to the airport to begin your extension program to the Galápagos Islands. You will be staying at M/V Legend that night.
  End of Program:
Departures from the José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Program concludes with breakfast. Hotel check-out by 11 a.m. You will be staying at Hotel Oro Verde the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Galápagos Islands
  Nearest airport:  Baltra Is. Airport or San Cristóbal Is. Airport
  Transportation to site: Participants taking part in this extension cruise to the Galápagos will be transferred from the Road Scholar hotel in Guayaquil to the local airport to catch a flight to the islands.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Guayaquil
  Nearest city or town:  Guayaquil
  Nearest airport:  International Airport in Guayaquil
  Transportation from site: Taxi services are available for hire at the hotel in Guayaquil. Please ask the hotel's front desk for assistance if you plan to use this service.
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: Galápagos Islands -
Flight from Guayaquil to Baltra Island/Bachas Beach (Santa Cruz Island).

(Monday, March 4)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Program #16488 concludes with participants going to the airport to catch their flights back to the U.S.

Participants taking part in the Road Scholar extension program will transfer to the airport to catch a flight (2.5 hours) to the Galápagos Islands.

Note: Luggage allowance on the flights to and from the Galápagos is 44 lb per person for checked luggage, plus one carry-on item. Please pack accordingly.
 Lunch: Lunch on the flight.
 Afternoon: Arrive on Baltra Island.

After completing arrival procedures, meet your Galápagos guide (bearing a Klein Tours/MV Legend sign) and transfer to the M/V Legend.

Dry landing on Playa las Bachas on Santa Cruz Island.

Apart from being an important nesting site for sea turtles, Bachas Beach is also a great location for viewing migratory and aquatic birds. The name of this location dates back to WWII, when the U.S. army abandoned two barges on the beach. Locals found it hard to pronounce the word "barges" in English; over time, the common mispronunciation of the word became the norm, resulting in the name Playa las Bachas.

Return to the ship.

Orientation of the next day's activities.
 Dinner: Dinner on the ship.
Accommodations: M/V Legend
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 2: Galápagos Islands -
South Plaza Island/Santa Fé Island.

(Tuesday, March 5)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on the ship.
 Morning: Dry landing on South Plaza Island with opportunity to view sea lions. Search for local flora and fauna during a walking field trip.

South Plaza is the largest of two islands located just off the east coast of Santa Cruz. It is populated by land iguanas and sea lion colonies, and its waters offer good snorkeling opportunities (possibly in the company of sea lions). A walk along the cliff top provides perfect views of seabirds in flight such as Red-billed Tropicbirds, Frigatebirds, pelicans, Swallow-tailed Gulls, and others.

Return to the ship.
 Lunch: Lunch on the ship.
 Afternoon: Wet landing on Santa Fé Island.
Field trip and site lecture: Visit the nearby cactus forest and hike into the highlands to view a local colony of Santa Fé land iguanas.

This island, located southeast of Santa Cruz, has some of the tallest stands of opuntia cacti in the Galápagos. Some have been reported to grow as high as 33 feet! A trail into the highlands of Santa Fé Island leads visitors to the only place in the archipelago where the illusive Santa Fé land iguana can be found. In addition to its unique land attractions, the island also offers great opportunities for swimming and snorkeling.

Return to the ship.
 Dinner: Dinner on the ship.
Accommodations: M/V Legend
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Galápagos Islands -
Punta Pitt & Cerro Brujo (San Cristobal Island).

(Wednesday, March 6)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on the ship.
 Morning: Wet landing at Punta Pitt.

Punta Pitt is located at the east end of San Cristóbal Island. This is the only site on the islands where visitors can watch all three species of boobies and two species of frigates nesting in the same area. The abundant supply of food in the area makes it unnecessary for the birds to compete, leading to a peaceful coexistence among the species. Blue-footed Boobies generally nest in the interior areas of the island, while Red-footed boobies nest on bushes, and Masked Boobies nest along the cliffs.

Return to the ship.
 Lunch: Lunch on the ship.
 Afternoon: Wet landing at Cerro Brujo, a great place for watching wading and coastal birds.

Cerro Brujo (Wizard Hill) has one of the nicest white-sand beaches found in the islands, situated in a secluded spot on the western side of San Cristóbal, with beautiful views of Leon Dormido standing proudly in the distance. The hill is actually an eroded tuff cone that under closer examination, presents many examples of AA type lava. Visitors can walk along the beach trail in search of marine iguanas, colorful Sally Lightfoot crabs and sea lions, visit the local lagoon to view migratory bird species, or enjoy swimming and snorkeling off the beach.

Return to the ship.
 Dinner: Dinner on the ship.
Accommodations: M/V Legend
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Guayaquil -
Interpretation Center (San Cristobal)/Flight to Guayaquil.

(Thursday, March 7)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on the ship.
 Morning: This morning, enjoy a field trip to the Cerro Colorado Tortoise Reserve.

The Reserve lies 13.8 miles from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristobal Island and bears the name of a nearby landmark, the Cerro Colorado. The Cerro Colorado Tortoise Reserve strives to preserve and increase the population of endemic San Cristobal tortoises (Geochelone chatamensis) by breeding and raising them in an environment that mimics their natural habitat. The on-site visitors' center provides detailed information about the giant tortoises of the Galápagos Islands and an interpretive trail exhibits various native plant species including cat's claw, Manzanillo, lechoso and Galapagos guaya.

Return to the ship before disembarking and transfering to the airport on San Cristobal.

Board a flight back to Guayaquil.
 Lunch: Light lunch provided on the flight to Guayaquil.
 Afternoon: Arrive in Guayaquil and transfer to the hotel.

The rest of the afternoon will be at your leisure to relax at the hotel or explore the city on your own.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
 Evening: Depending on the international flight schedules, some participants might be transferred to the airport this night in order to catch an overnight flight to the U.S. Participants will not miss any program activities.
Accommodations: Hotel Oro Verde
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Departures/Flight to the U.S.
(Friday, March 8)
 Depart From: Transfer to the international airport for flight home.

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 at the hotel, all other meals are on your own on this day.
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the 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

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.

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.

Galapagos, A Natural History Guide

Author: Michael Jacks

Description: 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.

Voyage of the Beagle

Author: Charles Darwin

Description: 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.

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