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

Program Number: 18484RJ
Start and End Dates:
1/10/2014 - 1/26/2014; 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: $6,149.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Small Ship Cruising Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 43; 16 Breakfasts, 15 Lunches, 12 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.
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
   Casa Andina Select
  Lima, Peru 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
   Garden Hotel San Jose Aeropuerto
  Quito, Ecuador 1 night
   Tip Top IV
  Galápagos Islands, Ecuador 7 nights
   Hotel Sheraton Quito
  Quito, Ecuador 2 nights
 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 prior: 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.

 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

 Garden Hotel San Jose Aeropuerto
Type: Hotel
  Description: This attractive hacienda-style property (previously called Hosteria San Jose) is located approximately 15 minutes from Quito’s new international airport. Contemporary sections of the hotel have been carefully designed to mirror the eighteenth century colonial architecture of its original buildings. Modern comforts and historic character blend to create a welcoming atmosphere that is typically Ecuadorian.
  Contact info: Manuel Burbano s/n
Barrio San José
Puembo, Quito,   Ecuador
phone: +593-2-2390264
web: http://www.hosteriasanjose.com
  Room amenities: Rooms are double occupancy with private bathrooms, free WiFi, cable TV, panoramic windows, and beds with orthopedic mattress and warm duvets.
  Facility amenities: Large green spaces, a fitness room, meeting rooms, heated pool, Jacuzzi, dressing rooms, sauna, restaurant, and bar.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Tip Top IV
Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: The Tip Top IV is a First Class Steel-hulled Motor Yacht, built in Guayaquil/Ecuador in 2006. The yacht can accommodate up to 16 guests in 10 comfortable outside cabins.
  Ship Information: The Tip Top IV is the flagship of the Tip Top fleet in the Galapagos Islands. The yacht measures 125 feet in length and has a 25-foot beam and 6-foot draft. The Tip Top IV sails at a cruising speed of 12 knots. Equipment includes: twin main engines, twin electric generators, twin Radars, Eco-sounders and GPS, reverse osmosis water maker, and required coastguard safety equipment.
  Contact info: 0000000000000
Galapagos Islands,   Ecuador
phone: +00000000000
web: www.rwittmer.com
  Room amenities: Each of the 10 cabins is fully carpeted and has two single lower berths (no bunks), small closet, porthole or window, and a private bathroom with hair dryer. Biodegradable soap and shampoo/conditioner are provided during the cruise.
  Facility amenities: Yacht amenities include a bar, lounge, dining area, and sun-deck. Smoking restricted to outer decks only. Snorkeling equipment (e.g., mask, snorkel, and fins) is provided as part of the cruise. Wetsuits and buoyancy vests are available for rent, but must be reserved prior to the cruise. Please contact the program provider at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com if you would like to reserve a wetsuit for your program. Payment for the wetsuit rental must be made in full upon boarding the yacht. Laundry service is not available on the yacht. In an effort to conserve water, the yacht might ask participants to refrain from hand washing clothing during the cruise. Participants will be able to hang bathing suits and wet clothing to dry on clotheslines on the top deck. Purified drinking water is provided free of charge on the yacht. Participants will be given reusable bottles to refill as needed at the water dispenser in the main lounge.
  Smoking allowed: No

 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


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Arrivals at the Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima, Peru. Hotel check-in starts at 3 p.m. You will be staying at Casa Andina Select that night.
  End of Program:
Departures from the Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito, Ecuador. Hotel check-out by 11 a.m. You will be staying at Hotel Sheraton Quito 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:  Lima
  Nearest airport:  Jorge Chaves Lima Callo International Airport
  Transportation to site: Taxi transportation is available from the international airport in Lima to the hotel. If you choose to use a taxi, please select a regulated taxi service. Please ask for help at the airport information desk if you require assistance. The new Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima, Peru is located approximately 45 minutes from the arrival hotel.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Quito
  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: 11,000 ft Cusco, Peru/at 12,330 ft Chincheros, Peru.

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 Lima.
(Friday, January 10)

Note: The Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima, Peru is located approximately 45 minutes from the arrival hotel.



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

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

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

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

Day 2: Sacred Valley - Flight to Cusco and Transfer to the Sacred Valley/Introduction to Machu Picchu.
(Saturday, January 11)

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



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Orientation to the program.

Orientation through Lima.

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

Lima's historic Santo Domingo Church and Convent was built by the Dominican Order in 1540, on land donated by Francisco Pizzaro. Colorful tiles, stained glass windows, catacombs, religious relics, and attractive courtyards are just some of the attractions at this site. Santo Domingo is located at the intersection of Conde de Superunda and Camana Streets, just a block away from the Plaza de Armas in central Lima.
 Lunch: Box lunch.
 Afternoon: Transfer to the airport for flight to Cusco. Upon arrival transfer to hotel in the Sacred Valley and check-in.

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

Day 3: Sacred Valley (Yucay) -
Chincheros Town and Ollantaytambo Ruins.

(Sunday, January 12)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Excursion to Chincheros town including a visit to a weaving cooperative, where you will meet with locals and learn about traditional weaving styles and techniques.

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

Visit to local farms. Lecture: The Agriculture of the Incas.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the ruins at Ollantaytambo, accompanied by a guide who will highlight the engineering genius of the Inca.

The Ollantaytambo Ruins are not ruins in the traditional sense. Ollantaytambo is a town with original buildings of Inca construction where the Inca retreated to make their last stand in the highlands against the Spanish. Running water still flows through the town in aqueducts and the terraces above the town still are farmed. The pinnacle above the town is a small burial ground.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
   
Accommodations: Posada del Inca - Yucay
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes) -
Excursion to UNESCO World Heritage Site.

(Monday, January 13)

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



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

Upon arrival, continue with a bus transfer to the Machu Picchu ruins.
 Lunch: Lunch at local restaurant near the ruins.
 Afternoon: Full afternoon guided field trip in and around Machu Picchu ruins.

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

Day 5: Cusco -
Orientation to Aguas Calientes/Train and Bus to Cusco/Explore Market at Pisac

(Tuesday, January 14)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Guided excursion around the town of Aguas Calientes. Visit the local market.

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

Note: Machu Picchu park tickets are not sold on site and must be purchased in advance. Please contact the program coordinator at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com if you are interested in buying Machu Picchu entrance tickets.
 Lunch: Lunch at hotel.
 Afternoon: Transfer to train station. Board the early afternoon train to Ollantaytambo Station.

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

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

Arrive in Cusco and check-in at hotel.

Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure to enjoy Cusco at your own pace.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own for a chance to explore local fare
   
Accommodations: Casa Andina Private Collection – Cusco
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6: Cusco -
Sacsayhuaman Ruins & Introduction to Cusco.

(Wednesday, January 15)

Note: The hike up to Sierra Negra Volcano includes walking on a steep, and oftentimes muddy, trail. Walking sticks are particularly helpful at this site.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Field trip to the Sacsayhuaman Ruins.

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

Excursion through the city of Cusco.

The center of Cusco is a history lesson. Modern and colonial buildings are built on top of Inca foundations, and colonial churches dominate the central square.
 Lunch: Lunch at a café in the main plaza where you can enjoy the colonial architecture of the city.
 Afternoon: Afternoon at leisure.

Pre-dinner presentation by local expert on the history of Inca and Andean musical instruments.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own for a chance to explore local fare.
   
Accommodations: Casa Andina Private Collection – Cusco
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7: Quito -

Flight to Quito

(Thursday, January 16)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast en route.
 Morning: Transfer to the Cusco airport for flight to Quito via Lima.
 Lunch: Lunch en route.
 Afternoon: Upon arrival in Quito transfer to the hotel and check in.

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

 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
   
Accommodations: Garden Hotel San Jose Aeropuerto
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Galápagos Islands -
Flight to Galápagos. Baltra and North Seymour.

(Friday, January 17)

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



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

Note: Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are determined by the Galápagos National Park. The park reserves the right to change cruise itineraries without prior notice.
 Lunch: Light snack on the flight.
 Afternoon: Arrive to Baltra Island. Baltra Island hosts one of the two available airports in the Galápagos Islands. The other airport is located on San Cristobal Island. Transfer to pier to board yacht. Welcome orientation and light snack.

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

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

Optional swimming and snorkeling.

Return to the yacht.

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

Day 9: Galápagos Islands -
Genovesa Island (Darwin's Bay & Prince Phillip's Steps).

(Saturday, January 18)

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



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

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

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

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

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

Optional swimming and snorkeling.

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

Day 10: Galápagos Islands -
Santiago (Puerto Egas & Buccaneer Cove).

(Sunday, January 19)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Field trip to Puerto Egas, Santiago Island.

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

Optional swimming, snorkeling and sea kayaking.

Return to the yacht.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: Afternoon visit to Buccaneer Cove on Santiago's northwestern tip.

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

Optional swimming and snorkeling.

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

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

Day 11: Galápagos Islands -
Isabela & Fernandina Islands (Punta Vicente Roca & Punta Espinoza).

(Monday, January 20)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Panga ride to Punta Vicente Roca on Isabela Island in search of seabirds and marine life.

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

Optional swimming and snorkeling.

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

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

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

Day 12: Galápagos Islands -
Isabela Island (Tagus Cove & Elizabeth Bay).

(Tuesday, January 21)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Wet landing on Urbina Bay. Search for resident wildlife and observe the remains of a coral reef on land during a walk along the bay.

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

Optional swimming, snorkeling and sea kayaking.

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

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

Optional swimming and snorkeling.

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

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

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

Day 13: Galápagos Islands -
Isabela Island (Volcan Chico, Breeding Center & Poza de las Tintoreras).

(Wednesday, January 22)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Dry landing on Isabela Island for a field trip to Las Tintoreras, located 10 minutes south of Puerto Villamil.

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

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

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

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

On the way back to the yacht, visit the wetlands or Humedales. Study the flora of this unique ecosystem and look for shorebirds and waders. The lagoons attract many migrant birds--making this site one of the best water-bird areas in the islands. Also nearby is the Wall of Tears, a historically important location where prisoners built a wall with lava blocks as punishment.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
 Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: Tip Top IV
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Galápagos -
Floreana Island (Punta Cormarant, Post Office Bay, Asilo de la Paz).

(Thursday, January 23)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Wet landing at Cormorant Point.

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

Return to the yacht.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: Morning field trip to Post Office Bay.

In the 18th century whalers passing through the islands placed a wooden barrel on Floreana Island for use as an unofficial mail box. The tradition continues today as visitors leave addressed postcards in the barrel and sort through left mail to deliver at home.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
 Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: Tip Top IV
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Quito -
Santa Cruz Island (Charles Darwin Research Station) Baltra/Flight to Quito.

(Friday, January 24)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Field trip to Charles Darwin Research Station.

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

Transfer to the airport on Baltra Island to catch a flight to Quito.
 Lunch: Light snack on the flight.
 Afternoon: Arrive in Quito and transfer to the hotel.

Free afternoon to rest and relax.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Sheraton Quito
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Quito -
City Excursion and Field Trip to the Equator.

(Saturday, January 25)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Visit El Panecillo for panoramic views of Quito.

Enjoy a walking exploration of Quito's colonial center. Visit the Independence Square with an informative explanation of the Presidential and Bishop Palace, as well as the Cathedral. Visit La Compañía church, one of the most beautiful churches in Quito, legendary for its gold covered interior. Visit the historic San Francisco church and convent, raised up above a wide stone paved court originally known as "Tiangues," a place used by the indigenous inhabitants of Quito to trade products.
 Lunch: Lunch at local restaurant including an introduction to Ecuadorian food products and typical Ecuadorian cuisine.
 Afternoon: After lunch, we will leave Quito and travel in a northerly direction to visit the Museo Intinan located on the Equator line, near the Middle of the World complex.

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

Lecture: The Past, Present, and Future of Ecuador.
 Dinner: Farewell Dinner at hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Sheraton Quito
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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

(Sunday, January 26)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel (dependent on flight time).
 Morning: Transfer to the International Airport in Quito for flight to the U.S

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



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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