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

Program Number: 18484RJ
Start and End Dates:
3/7/2014 - 3/23/2014; 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: $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: 42; 16 Breakfasts, 15 Lunches, 11 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Salt; Low Fat; Gluten Free    

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




Activity Particulars

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

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



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



Itinerary At-a-Glance

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



Days 1-2: Arrival Quito (Ecuador)

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



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

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



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

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



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

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





Yolita II

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


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

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

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

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

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

Fredy Vargas Castillo grew up in the Galapagos and received his college degree from Quito University. He began working with scientists at the Charles Darwin Research Station, and it was during this time that he developed his interest in wildlife. Fredy then decided to take the naturalist course given by the Galapagos National Park in 1984, and has worked as a naturalist ever since. He currently resides in Guayaquil while his children attend college, and plans to return to Galapagos permanently one day.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Hotel Sheraton Quito
  Quito, Ecuador 2 nights
   M/Y Eric, Flamingo I, Letty
  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

 M/Y Eric, Flamingo I, Letty
Type: Other
  Description: Built in 1991 and refurbished annually, these identical superior first-class sister yachts accommodate no more than 20 guests and feature three decks of spacious staterooms with polished teak interioiors. Accommodations include ten double outside-facing cabins with a window or porthole view, one double bed or two twin lower beds, fully air-conditioned with private bathroom, bio-degradable soap/shampoo dispensers, hair dryer, closet, drawers, intercom and separate climate controls for your comfort. Dining room, well-stocked bar and conference area with a flat screen TV, library and panoramic picture windows.
  Ship Information: Type: Superior first class motor yachts Year Built: 1990-1993 specifically for Galapagos Islands cruising Capacity: 20 exclusive guests in ten double cabins Crew: 11 including your Captain and two naturalist guides Cruising Speed: 8 knots L.O.A.: 83 feet / 25 meters BEAM: 24 feet / 7 ½ meters DRAFT: 6 feet / 1.8 meters GROSS TONS: 240 Engines: (2) 402 HP Caterpillar, 8-cylinder turbo diesel Generators: (1) Perkins 90 KW and (1) John Deere 65KW Water Capacity: 5,000 gallons / 18,921 liters Watermaker Production: 1,200 gallons per day/ 4536 liters per day Fuel Capacity: 5,400 gallons / 20,435 liters Navigational Equipment: 24 mile Furuno radar, Furuno GPS, Electronic compass, magnetic compass, barometer Communication: VHF-DSC CH70 and MF/HF with DSC radios Safety Equipment: Viking 25-person inflatable capsule lifeboat (SOLAS certified) 40 life vests Type I approved with whistles and lights, 6 circular buoys with emergency lights, Portable fire extinguishers, CO2 fix station, smoke detectors, SART (radar transponder) EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicator Radio Beacon)
  Contact info: KM 1.5 Via Samborondón
Edificio Samborondon Business Center, Torre A Piso 3
Quito,   Ecuador
phone: +59342839390
web: http://www.ecoventura.com/expeditionyachts.aspx
  Room amenities: Spacious staterooms with polished teak interiors. Accommodations include ten double outside-facing cabins with a window or porthole view, one double bed or two twin lower beds, fully air-conditioned with private bathroom, bio-degradable soap/shampoo dispensers, hair dryer, closet, drawers, intercom and separate climate controls for your comfort.
  Facility amenities: •20-guest superior first-class motor yacht •10 fully air-conditioned outside staterooms with private bathrooms •Dining room featuring Ecuadorian and international cuisine •Fully-stocked bar •Conference room for briefings with TV, DVD player and library •Observation areas and open sun deck •Three meals daily, snacks and non-alcoholic beverages •Captain’s welcome and farewell cocktail parties •House wine and local beer served during dinner •Guided excursions with English-speaking naturalist •Low guide to passenger radio (max 10 guests per guide) •Complimentary snorkeling equipment, 3mm custom wet suits and kayaks Purchases on board: Every passenger has an open tab at the bar and boutique, which are paid the last day of the cruise. The yacht accepts cash (US Dollars), Master Card or VISA credit cards. Preference of payment is in that order. Wetsuits: Men: XS, S, M, ML, L, XL, XXL, XXXL, Women (US dress size): 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14,16, Children: 10 (S), 12 (M), 14 (L).
  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 and 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: +593-4-2327999
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, and hair dryer.
  Facility amenities: Internet, 24 hour room service, laundry/dry cleaning, safety deposit boxes, and meeting rooms.
  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:
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 from the international airport in Quito 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 Mariscal Sucre International Airport is located approximately one hour from downtown Quito.
  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: 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 Quito.
(Friday, March 7)

Note: The new Mariscal Sucre International Airport is located approximately one hour from downtown Quito.

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.



   
 Arrive To: Arrive at the 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 3PM.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Sheraton Quito

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

(Saturday, March 8)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant.
 Morning: Orientation to the program.

Visit El Panecillo for panoramic views of Quito.

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

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

Day 3: Galapagos Islands -
Flight to San Cristobal Island/Board Yacht/Cerro Tijeretas and Leon Dormido.

(Sunday, March 9)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant.
 Morning: Transfer to the airport for flight to the Galápagos Islands.
Depart for the Galápagos Islands.

NOTE: There is a 44 lb weight limit for checked luggage on the flights to the islands. Please pack accordingly.
 Lunch: A light snack is provided on the flight.
 Afternoon: Arrive to San Cristobal.

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

Upon arrival you will be met by your naturalist guide and transferred to the yacht anchored at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.

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

Dry landing on San Cristobal's southwestern shore. Walking field trip to Tijeretas Hill.

The leisurely walk to Tijeretas Hill culminates with beautiful views of the bay and the town below. Be on the lookout for Magnificent Frigatebirds and Giant Frigatebirds doing their aerial acrobatics.

Navigate around Leon Dormido (aka Kicker Rock) to view sea birds.

This volcanic rock formation, likened to a sleeping lion or shoe, is a tuff cone (the effect created by magma reacting with water) that eroded into two separate pieces, creating a channel between the main island and a smaller formation that juts sharply out of the water. There is just enough space through the channel to allow small boats to navigate between the sheer rock walls, allowing visitors to get a closer look at this volcanic monument. Although there are no landing sites on the island, it is a good location for snorkeling (advanced level) and for viewing pelagic birds such as frigates, boobies, and tropic birds.

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

 Dinner: On board the yacht.
 Evening: Orientation to the next day’s activities.
   
Accommodations: M/Y Eric, Flamingo I, Letty
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Galapagos Islands -
San Cristobal Island (Cerro Brujo and Punta Pitt).

(Monday, March 10)
   
 Breakfast: On board the yacht.
 Morning: After a wet landing, disembark at Cerro Brujo's beach on San Cristobal Island's northern shore.

Cerro Brujo has one of the nicest white-sand beaches found in the islands. Walk along the beach trail in search of marine iguanas, colorful Sally Lightfoot crabs and sea lions, or enjoy swimming and snorkeling off the beach.

Return to the yacht and set sail to Punta Pitt.
 Lunch: On board the yacht.
 Afternoon: Wet landing at Punta Pitt. Join your naturalist guide on a walking exploration in search of local flora and fauna.

Punta Pitt is located at the northeast end of San Cristóbal Island. This is the only site in 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. The wind-carved landscape of this seemingly barren island is quite breathtaking. A closer look reveals a surprising array of plant life that, against all odds, continues to thrive here. Look for Palo Santo trees, small cacti, saltbush, and red Vesuvius.

Enjoy swimming and snorkeling opportunities.

Return to the yacht.
 Dinner: On board the yacht.
 Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: M/Y Eric, Flamingo I, Letty
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Galapagos Islands -
Española Island (Punta Suarez and Gardner Bay).

(Tuesday, March 11)
   
 Breakfast: On board the yacht.
 Morning: Dry landing at Punta Suarez on Española Island. A walking field trip will take us through colonies of nesting Blue-footed and Nazca Boobies, near a Waved Albatross breeding colony, and past a blow hole that periodically shoots water more than 10 feet into the air.

Española (aka Hood Island) is the southernmost island in the Galapagos. It is best known as the nesting place of the rare Waved Albatross. In fact most of the world’s population of these majestic birds nest here. Punta Suarez, on the western side, is home to the Galapagos Hawk and is also the best place to see the red form of the marine iguana. In January, marine iguanas adopt bright skin colors to try and attract mates.

Return to the yacht.

 Lunch: On board the yacht.
 Afternoon: Wet landing at Gardner Bay for walking and snorkeling.

Gardner Bay, located on the northeastern tip of Española, is often called the most beautiful part of the archipelago. Sea lions enjoy basking in the sun along the white-sand beach and green sea turtles come ashore to nest January - March. Three species of Darwin’s finches and Española Mockingbirds, the only carnivorous mockingbird species, may be seen at this site. This site does not include an inland trail and explorations must all be done from the beach.

Return to the yacht.

 Dinner: On board the yacht.
 Evening: Orientation of the next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: M/Y Eric, Flamingo I, Letty
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Galapagos Islands -
Floreana Island (Punta Cormorant, Post Office Bay, Devil's Crown or Champion).

(Wednesday, March 12)
   
 Breakfast: On board the yacht.
 Morning: A wet landing at Punta Cormorant (Floreana Island) 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.

There will be an opportunity to snorkel at Devil's Crown or at Champion Islet before returning to the yacht.

Devil's Crown is one of the Galapagos Islands' premier snorkeling sites. The eroded volcanic crater is partly submerged; within its depths exists a small coral reef that attracts rays and all nature of tropical fish.

Champion Islet is another favored location for snorkelers and divers in the archipelago. The site offers opportunities for viewing coral, sea turtles, sea lions, sea horses, and a high diversity of fish.
 Lunch: On board the yacht.
 Afternoon: Disembark at Post Office Bay on Floreana Island. Visit the barrel used as a mail box and learn about its interesting history. A short walk from the famous barrel will take us to a tunnel formed by laval flows.

The infamous Post Office Bay can be found on the northern side of the island. This is the site where whalers used to “mail” their correspondence. A barrel was used as a postbox, and held letters from sailors across the globe. If a passing ship was heading where the mail was addressed, 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 mail.

Return to the yacht.

 Dinner: On board the yacht.
 Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: M/Y Eric, Flamingo I, Letty
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Galapagos Islands -
Santa Cruz (Highlands and Charlest Darwin Station).

(Thursday, March 13)
   
 Breakfast: On board the yacht.
 Morning: Dry landing at Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz for a field trip into the highlands.

Santa Cruz is the second largest island in the archipelago. It is the administrative center of the islands and the most populated. The National Park Service is based here, but perhaps the most important is the Charles Darwin Research Station, the headquarters of all research and conservation efforts on the islands. Giant tortoises can be spotted on the island at certain times of year and several species of Darwin's finches reside here. A dramatic change in vegetation zones can be seen as one travels into the highland region of the island.

Return to the yacht.

 Lunch: On board the yacht.
 Afternoon: After lunch, enjoy a field trip to the Fausto Llerena Tortoise Center to learn about their giant tortoise breeding program and repatriation effort in the islands.

The Fausto Llerena Tortoise Center is jointly run by the Galapagos Islands National Park and the Charles Darwin Research Station. The center was first founded in 1965 with a mission to protect the giant tortoise populataion at Pinzon--but it now includes other areas where tortoises are vulnerable. While at the center visitors can observe tortoises in all stages of development--from hatchlings to juveniles to mature adults.

Return to the yacht.

 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
 Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: M/Y Eric, Flamingo I, Letty
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Galapagos Islands -
Bartolome/Santa Cruz (Playa de las Bachas or Black Turtle Cove) or Sombrero Chino.

(Friday, March 14)

Note: The 1.2 mile walk to the top of the volcano on Bartolome includes a climb up a long wooden staircase (375 steps) with railings.



   
 Breakfast: On board the yacht.
 Morning: Dry or wet landing on Bartolome Island. The 1.2 mile walk to the top of the volcano includes a climb up a long wooden staircase (375 steps) with railings. The views are worth the effort!

Bartolome Island is home to Pinnacle Rock, the "Guardian of the Isles" which rises sharply from the coast. The lunar-like landscape is home to one of the islands' most endearing residents: the Galapagos Penguin. The penguins make their home here, fishing in the waters nearby and going through their courtship rituals in September.

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

Opportunity to snorkel and spot Galapagos Penguins, sea turtles, and white tipped reef sharks (from a safe distance). In September, the penguins can be seen going through their courtship rituals.

Return to the yacht.

 Lunch: On board the yacht.
 Afternoon: This afternoon we will have the opportunity to experience one of the following sites: Playa de las Bachas, Black Turtle Cove, or Sombrero Chino.

Apart from being an important nesting site for sea turtles, Playa de las Bachas (Santa Cruz Island) is also a great place to view 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 de las Bachas.

A dinghy ride into the mangrove shrouded cove at Black Turtle Cove (Santa Cruz Island) reveals a quiet spot frequented by sea turtles, spotted rays, 3 species of shark, and a variety of sea birds.

Sombrero Chino can be seen a short distance from Santiago Island’s southeastern tip. The name, meaning Chinese hat, describes the volcanic cone’s unique hat shape. A cove on the northern side of the island offers good conditions for swimming and snorkeling; it is also a favored sea lion hangout. Because of very tight restrictions on the number of visitors allowed to this site, it is oftentimes not included in most cruise itineraries in the Galápagos.

Return to the yacht.
 Dinner: On board the yacht.
 Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: M/Y Eric, Flamingo I, Letty
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Galapagos Islands -
South Plaza Island and North Seymour.

(Saturday, March 15)
   
 Breakfast: On board the yacht.
 Morning: Dry landing on South Plaza Island.

Walking field trip to explore local flora and fauna. Follow the trail to a cactus forest to get a close look at land iguanas and their habitat before continuing our hike in search of local sea lion colonies. Sea lions usually give birth from August - November and females begin mating within weeks of having their young.

The small island is a great place to view seabirds in flight. A walk along the cliff offers good views of Red-billed Tropicbirds, frigatebirds, pelicans, Swallow-tailed Gulls, and other pelagic species.

Return to the yacht.
 Lunch: On board the yacht.
 Afternoon: Dry landing on North Seymour Island.

North Seymour Island is conveniently located next to Baltra Island. North Seymour has a major nesting colony of Blue-footed Boobies and Magnificent Frigate Birds. During April-May the Blue-footed Boobies can be spotted performing their comical mating dance. Blue-footed boobies oftentimes nest very near the trails, giving visitors the opportunity to get a closer view during the walks. From August-November sea lions are giving birth and it is possible to view pups of all sizes. Just remember to stay at a safe distance as females tend to be very protective of their young. A walk near known iguana nesting sites offers a good opportunity to view marine iguanas and land iguanas.

Return to the yacht.

 Dinner: On board the yacht.
 Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: M/Y Eric, Flamingo I, Letty
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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

(Sunday, March 16)
   
 Breakfast: On board the yacht.
 Morning: Dry landing at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, capital of the Galapagos Islands for a visit to the Interpretation Center.

The Interpretation Center features interactive displays that provide information about the volcanic origins of the islands, the arrival and colonization of plant and animal species, ocean currents, and human history in the archipelago.

Transfer to the airport to board a flight to Guayaquil.

 Lunch: Light lunch 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 tourist attractions. The two mile river walk along the Guayas River, known as the Malecon, has become a favorite spot for locals and tourists to take a stroll and visit restaurants, art galleries, stores, and museums.

Return to the hotel.
 Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.
   
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 & Market Day at Pisac.

(Monday, March 17)
   
 Breakfast: Early breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to the airport for morning flight to Lima, Peru to connect with your flight to Cusco.

Arrive to Cusco.

Transfer to hotel in the Sacred Valley with en route 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.

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

Lecture: Introduction to Inca Culture.

 Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Posada del Inca - Yucay
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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

(Tuesday, March 18)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant.
 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: At the hotel restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Posada del Inca - Yucay
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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

(Wednesday, March 19)

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: At the hotel restaurant.
 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.

Train journey from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes/Machu Picchu takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. The bus drive from Aguas Calientes Town to the Machu Picchu ruins takes about 20 minutes (3.7 miles).
 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 14: Cusco -
Orientation to Aguas Calientes/Train and Bus to Cusco.

(Thursday, March 20)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant.
 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: At the hotel restaurant.
 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 & Introduction to Cusco.

(Friday, March 21)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant.
 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 16: Lima -
Orientation to Lima/Presentation on Peruvian Cuisine.

(Saturday, March 22)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant.
 Morning: Morning flight from Cusco to Lima.

Arrive in Lima.

Transfer to local restaurant for a presentation on Peruvian cuisine by a local culinary expert.
 Lunch: Farewell lunch at local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Transfer to the hotel and check-in.

Free afternoon to explore Lima on your own.

 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/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.

(Sunday, March 23)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant (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.



Archaeological Map of Machu Picchu


Author: Wright Water Engineers


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



Ecuador Map


Author: Berndtson & Berndtson


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



Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, Travellers' Wildlife Guides


Author: David Pearson, Les Beletsky


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



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


Author: Wilma Roos, Omer van Renterghem


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



Galapagos Islands Explorer Map


Author: Ocean Explorer Maps


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



Galapagos Wildlife, A Visitor's Guide


Author: Bradt Travel Guides


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



Infinite Ecuador


Author: Sebastian Crespo


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



Insight Guide Peru


Author: Insight Guides


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



The Conquest of the Incas


Author: John Hemming


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



The Incas and their Ancestors, The Archaeology of Peru


Author: Michael Moseley


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



The Incas, People of the Sun


Author: Carmen Bernard, Paul Bahn (translator)


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



The Last Days of the Incas


Author: Kim Macquarrie


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





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


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



Specifically, this program includes:

Plus these special experiences...

View the Daily Schedule to see more

And included with all Road Scholar programs:


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