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

Program Number: 18484RJ
Start and End Dates:
2/10/2013 - 2/26/2013; 8/14/2014 - 8/30/2014; 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: $5,998.00 - 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.





Galaven

The Galaven is an 88 ft. expedition yacht equipped to carry up to 20 passengers in 11 air conditioned cabins. She was built in 2000 has spacious outdoor seating areas, dining room, and library with audiovisual equipment for onboard presentations. All cabins are air conditioned and have private bathrooms and ocean views.


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
   Galaven
  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
  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 allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Galaven
Type: Other
  Description: The Galaven is an 88 ft. expedition yacht equiped to carry up to 20 passengers in 11 air conditioned cabins.
  Ship Information: Year built:2000 Length: 88 ft Beam: 22 ft Draft: 6 ft Gross tonage: 171 tons Capacity: 20 passengers Crew: Captain, 2 bilingual naturalist guides, and 8 other crew members Safety & navigation: GPS, sonar, naval radars, fire detection and prevention systems, and life vests.
  Contact info: 265 Foch Street and 6 de Diciembre. 3rd floor. Sonelsa Tower.
Quito,   Ecuador
phone: +593-2-2524438
web: www.galavengalapagos.com
  Room amenities: All cabins are air conditioned and have private bathrooms and ocean views. Biodegradable shampoo and soap is provided in each cabin.
  Facility amenities: Spacious outdoor seating areas, dining room, and library with audiovisual equipment for onboard presentations.
  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
web: www.oroverdehotels.com/gye
  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

 Posada del Inca - Yucay
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 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). 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 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 starts 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 for the transfer from the hotel to the airport. Please ask the hotel's front desk for assistance.
Elevation Note: Cusco, Peru at 11,000 ft/Chincheros, Peru at 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: Arrivals in Quito, Ecuador.
(Sunday, February 10)
   
 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, 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 3 p.m.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Sheraton Quito

Day 2: Quito -
City Excursion and Field Trip to the Equator.

(Monday, February 11)
   
 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 feet) 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-degree 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 Intinan located on the Equator line, near the Middle of the World complex.

The IntinanMuseum 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: "Galapagos: A Natural Laboratory of Evolution and its Threats."
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Sheraton Quito
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Galapagos Islands -
Flight to Baltra Island/Board Yacht/North Seymour.

(Tuesday, February 12)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to the airport for flight to the Galápagos Islands.
Depart for the Galápagos Islands.

Note: There is a 44-pound weight limit for checked luggage on the flights to the islands. Please pack accordingly.
 Lunch: Light snack on the flight.
 Afternoon: Arrive to Baltra Island.
Upon arrival you will be met by your naturalist and transferred to the yacht.

Baltra Island hosts one of the two available airports in the Galapagos Islands. The other airport is located on San Cristobal.

Board the vessel and enjoy an orientation and a light snack.

Our first activity in the Galapagos will be a visit to North Seymour Island (dry landing).

North Seymour is well-known to birders. It has one of the most active seabird breeding colonies in the archipelago. Blue-footed boobies will oftentimes nest very near the trails, giving visitors the opportunity to get a closer view during the walks.

Optional swimming and snorkeling.

Return to the yacht.

Please note: Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are always subject to change by the Galapagos National Park. Itineraries are not guaranteed.

 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
 Evening: Orientation to the next day’s activities.
   
Accommodations: Galaven
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Galapagos Islands -
Genovesa Island (Darwin's Bay and El Barranco).

(Wednesday, February 13)
   
 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 Galapagos. Darwin Bay is the caldera of an extinct volcano that 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's 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 feeds during the night, and the other is the endemic Galapagos 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: Galaven
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Galapagos Islands -
Santiago Island (Sullivan Bay) and Rabida Island.

(Thursday, February 14)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Wet landing at Sullivan Bay.
Enjoy a walking field trip to observe the unique geological features of this island. Good walking shoes are a must because the volcanic terrain is sharp and rough.

Santiago, or San Salvador, is the fourth-largest island in the Galapagos. A volcanic eruption that took place in the early 1900s formed huge lava flows in the area that is now Sullivan Bay. As the lava cooled off, it solidified into a black sheet of interesting shapes and textures that made its way to the sea. The rope-like lava seen on this island is called pahoehoe lava. Other interesting formations include lava bubbles and tree shapes, ghosts of Santiago's past. Few plant species have been able to root in this harsh environment.

Optional swimming and snorkeling.

Return to the yacht.

 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: Wet landing on Rabida Island.

This afternoon, spend time on one of the most colorful and volcanically varied islands in the archipelago, Rabida (Jervis) Island. Its famous maroon sandy beach and stunning lookouts provide wonderful landscapes and it is also a great snorkeling site. The island is a birdwatcher's delight. Some of the rarest species are in abundance, such as nine varieties of finches, Large-billed Flycatchers, Galapagos Hawks and Brown Pelicans.

Enjoy optional swimming and snorkeling activities.

Return to the yacht.

 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
 Evening: Orientation of the next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: Galaven
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Galapagos Islands -
Santa Cruz Island (Charles Darwin Research Station and Garrapatero Beach).

(Friday, February 15)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Dry landing on Santa Cruz Island and field trip to the Charles Darwin Research Station.

The Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) is a biological research station operated by the Charles Darwin Foundation. The objective of the CDRS is to conduct scientific research and environmental education for conservation. The Station has a team of over 100 scientists, educators, volunteers, research students and support staff from all over the world. At the CDRS you will be able to observe giant tortoises at all stages of growth, from a few days to close to 100 years old!

Travel to the mist-shrouded highlands of Santa Cruz Island to view El Gemelo ("The Twins") craters.

The twin craters found at the highest point on Santa Cruz are actually giant sinkholes, and do not owe their existence to volcanic activity. They were created by erosion and the collapse of surface material into cracks and underground caves. Scalesia forests surround the sinkhole and are home to unique cloud forest vegetation.

Return to the yacht.

 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: Afternoon visit to Garrapatero Beach (dry landing).

El Garrapatero is an attractive beach located on the north side of Santa Cruz Island. Surrounded by mangroves and blessed with a fresh-water lake, the site is a favorite hangout for flamingos and all nature of shore birds. Good water visibility and plentiful marine life make this a nice spot for snorkelers.

Enjoy optional swimming and snorkeling activities.

Return to the yacht.

 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
 Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: Galaven
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Galapagos Islands -
Santa Cruz Island (Cerro Dragon and Eden Islet).

(Saturday, February 16)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Dry landing on Santa Cruz and walk on trails up to the lookout on Cerro Dragon.

Cerro Dragon ("Dragon Hill"), located on a northwestern corner of Santa Cruz, was named after a colony of land iguanas that inhabited the site in the 1970s. Flamingoes and shorebirds seasonally visit the lagoons in search of shrimp, appearing in larger numbers during the dryer season when the crustaceans are more plentiful. The rocky beach provides good snorkeling opportunities when the tide is high.

Return to the yacht.

 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: Navigate the waters of Eden Islet to view wildlife. Enjoy optional swimming and snorkeling.

Return to the yacht.

 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
 Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: Galaven
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Galapagos Islands -
Floreana Island (Post Office Bay, Punta Cormorant and Devil's Crown).

(Sunday, February 17)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Wet landing at Post Office Bay.

The infamous Post Office Bay can be found on the northern side of Floreana Island. This is the site where whalers used to "mail" their correspondence. A barrel was used as a makeshift postbox, and held letters from sailors across the globe. If a passing ship happened to be heading where the mail was addressed to, the captain would collect and deliver it. Although the barrel is no longer the original one, the system still works since visitors continue to collect and drop off their letters and postcards.

Return to the yacht.

 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: Wet landing on Floreana Island at Punta Cormorant.

Floreana Island is the sixth-largest island in the archipelago. It has a colorful history, with varying accounts of how the island was settled and how its first residents (German immigrants) died or mysteriously disappeared. The only family remaining from the original settlements are the Wittmers, who continue to live on the island.

A wet landing at Punta Cormorant will take us through a beach of greenish sand where sea lions like to congregate. The beach's unusual color is a result of the olivine crystals present in the sand. From here, a trail leads us to a lagoon where flamingoes can be found wading with other birds such as oystercatchers and Black-necked Stilt. A white sandy beach near the lagoon is good for swimming and is sometimes used by turtles as nesting site.

Optional swimming and snorkeling activities at Devil's Crown.

Return to the yacht.

 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
 Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: Galaven
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Galapagos Islands -
Espanola Island (Suarez Point and Gardner Bay).

(Monday, February 18)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Dry landing at Punta Suarez.

Our walking exploration will take us over loose boulders and challenging rocky ground as we make our way to view nesting boobies and the famous blowhole.

Punta Suarez, on the western side of Espanola Island, is home to the Galapagos Hawk and the red form of the Marine Iguana. Espanola is also the breeding site of most of the archipelago's Waved Albatrosses, so be on the look-out for these large and graceful flyers!

Return to the yacht.

 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: Wet landing at Gardner Bay.

Gardner Bay is situated on Espanola's eastern coast. Its beautiful white sand beach is usually dotted with sunbathing sea lions. The soft sand and clear waters make this a perfect location for snorkeling and swimming.

Optional swimming and snorkeling activities.

Return to the yacht.

 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
 Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: Galaven
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Guayaquil -
San Cristobal Island (Interpretation Center)/Flight to Guayaquil/Walk Along the Malecon.

(Tuesday, February 19)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Dry landing on San Cristobal Island and visit to the Interpretation Center.

San Cristobal Island, also known as Chatham Island, is one of the oldest islands in the archipelago and the first island visited by Darwin during his famous voyage on the HMS Beagle in 1835. It is also the easternmost and the fifth-largest island in the Galapagos, covering an area of 558 square kilometers. Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, located on the southwestern side of San Cristobal, is the provincial capital and the second-largest populated area in the Galapagos.

Transfer to the airport to catch a flight to Guayaquil.

 Lunch: Light snack on the 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 attractions. The two-mile river walk along the Guayas River, known as the Malecon, has become a favorite spot for locals and visitors 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 and Market Day at Pisac.

(Wednesday, February 20)
   
 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 a market visit at Pisac en route.

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.

 Lunch: Box lunch en route.
 Afternoon: Arrive at hotel and check-in.

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 and Ollantaytambo Ruins.

(Thursday, February 21)
   
 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 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 hotel.
 Afternoon: Stroll through the ruins at Ollantaytambo accompanied by an expert 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.

(Friday, February 22)
   
 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 expert-led 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.
   
Accommodations: El Mapi Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

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

(Saturday, February 23)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Expert-led 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.

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
   
Accommodations: Casa Andina Private Collection – Cusco
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

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

(Sunday, February 24)
   
 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 that 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.
   
Accommodations: Casa Andina Private Collection – Cusco
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

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

(Monday, February 25)

Note: Participants enrolled in the extension, "Tracing an Empire: Colca Canyon to Lake Titicaca" (#20472), will fly from Cusco to Arequipa on this day for the start of their extension program.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Morning flight from Cusco to Lima.

Arrive in Lima.
Transfer to the hotel and check-in.

Transfer to local restaurant for a presentation on Peruvian cuisine by a local culinary expert.
 Lunch: Farewell lunch at local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Orientation through Lima with an excursion to La Catedral.

The most important church in any town in Peru is usually called La Catedral ("The 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 one final chance to explore Lima's culinary delights.
 Evening: Depending on flight schedules, some participants will transfer to the airport this evening for a late-night or early morning flight to the U.S.
   
Accommodations: Casa Andina Select
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

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

(Tuesday, February 26)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel (dependent on flight time).
 Morning: Transfer to the Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima 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: 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.





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