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Discovering the Galápagos Islands by Yacht

Program Number: 14812RJ
Start and End Dates:
12/6/2013 - 12/15/2013; 9/26/2014 - 10/5/2014; 10/24/2014 - 11/2/2014; 11/7/2014 - 11/16/2014; 12/5/2014 - 12/14/2014; 2/26/2015 - 3/7/2015; 3/26/2015 - 4/4/2015; 5/7/2015 - 5/16/2015; 5/21/2015 - 5/30/2015; 9/24/2015 - 10/3/2015; 11/5/2015 - 11/14/2015; 11/19/2015 - 11/28/2015; 12/3/2015 - 12/12/2015;
Duration: 9 nights
Location: Ecuador
Price starting at: $4,990.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Small Ship Cruising Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 22; 8 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 7 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Surround yourself with incredible natural beauty as you sail to the Galápagos Islands. Experience the famous biodiversity of these undisturbed islands as you encounter tortoises in the mossy highlands, dolphins leaping above the waves, shockingly bright-colored crabs and many more.




Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles per day on uneven, rocky and sandy surfaces. Climbing in and out of Zodiac boats. Optional snorkeling and swimming activities. The exact routing for our stops depends on the National Park Service and is determined by the Galapagos National Park Service and is subject to change during the program.



Please note that this programs runs in conjunction with #20974 which includes a pre-cruise land portion in Peru. 2014 program dates run on the National Geographic Endeavour. 2015 program dates run on the luxury expedition yacht La Pinta.



Itinerary At-a-Glance

Guayaquil (Ecuador), 1 night; aboard La Pinta luxury yacht, 7 nights San Cristobal, Espanola, Floreana, Santa Cruz Island, Bartolome & Santiago, Genovesa, Baltra.



Day 1: Arrival Guayaquil (Ecuador):

Lodging: Five-star hotel.



Flight to San Cristobal/ embark the ship:

San Cristobal is a wonderful introduction to the Galápagos. Wet landing on a green, olivine beach for a hike and spectacular scenery - tuff stone cliffs created by sea and wind. Zodiac rides along the coastline reveal blue-footed and red-footed boobies.



Day 3: Española Island:

Explore Española, home to Darwin’s finches, Hood Mockingbirds, and Blue-footed Boobies. See marine iguanas, which develop vivid green and red coloration from their food, coastal seaweed that blooms in iguana mating season.



Day 4: Floreana Island:

During an early morning hike at Punta Cormorant you’ll observe flamingos and shore birds, a turtle nesting beach and fascinating vegetation. Later, while at Champion Islet, you’ll snorkel among sea lions in clear waters, and then spend time looking for the endangered Charles mockingbird from our Zodiacs.



Day 5: Santa Cruz Island:

After landing on a black sandy beach, enjoy hikes against the backdrop of the youngest Galápagos volcanoes as we look for colorful endemic land iguanas. Later, snorkel in deep water among sea turtles, or kayak and take Zodiac rides in search of flightless cormorants and Galápagos penguins.



Day 6: Dragon Hill and Guy Fawkes/El Eden and Daphne Major (Santa Cruz Island):

Today you will hike through giant cactus and incense tree forests to reach Dragon Hill, the habitat of the colorful Santa Cruz land iguanas that have been brought back from the brink of extinction. Later you will have the opportunity to snorkel along the steep, invertebrate-coated walls of the islets of Guy Fawkes.



Day 7: Bartolomé and Santiago Islands:

On Bartolomé, discover enchanting landscape where lava, mangroves and golden sand converge. Search the pools and caverns of Santiago for Galápagos Fur Seals, sea lions, and Sally Lightfoot crabs.



Day 8: Genovesa Island:

On our last full day in the enchanted islands we visit Genovesa Island, the crown jewel of the archipelago.
The National Geographic Endeavour sails into the caldera of Genovesa, known as “bird island”, where you’ll enjoy hikes among nesting colonies of swallow-tailed gulls, frigate birds, red-footed and Nazca boobies all while keeping a look out for hunting short-eared owls.



Days 9-10: Disembark Baltra Island / flight to Guayaquil / departure:

Overnight flight back to the US.



National Geographic Endeavour

This premier expedition ship is operated by a company dedicated to environmental conservation. It is fully stabilized, ensuring its 96 passengers smooth passage from one island to the next. Complimentary wetsuits and snorkeling gear are provided for your use and a fleet of Zodiacs, kayaks and a glass-bottom boat bring you closer to shore. Public areas include a lounge, library, fitness center, sauna and pool.


Ecuador

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



Meals and Lodgings
   Hilton Colon Guayaquil
  Guayaquil, Ecuador 1 night
   National Geographic Endeavour
  Galapagos Islands, Ecuador 7 nights
 Hilton Colon Guayaquil
Type: Hotel
  Description: Elegance, comfort, security and personalized service are just some of the characteristics that make Hilton Colón Guayaquil, a real five-star city resort hotel. The splendid building is located only five minutes away from José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport and dominates the city's new booming commercial and financial zone in Ecuador. Our hotel is surrounded by the main shopping centers and offers easy access to the downtown district area.
  Contact info: Av. Francisco de Orellana Mz. 111,
Guayaquil,   Ecuador
phone: +593-4-2689000
  Room amenities: All of our rooms have A/C with individual control, plasma TVs with cable system, modern work area with three phone sets, answer machine, broadband and wireless internet, hair dryer, mini bar, safe, soundproof windows, sprinklers and smoke detectors.
  Facility amenities: 294 fully renovated rooms Five restaurants and two bars Room service available 24-hours Business center Refurbished meeting rooms, congress, and convention facilities with capacity up to 1800 people Renovated outdoor pool and fitness area with a health spa
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: $180 Single/$198 Double (2011) Please contact the program provider at programinfo@roadscholar.org or call 1-866-359-5966
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 National Geographic Endeavour
Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: Don’t let her accommodating public and private spaces, the posh quiet and rich collection of books in her Library, or the lavish observation space on her decks fool you — the National Geographic Endeavour is an expedition ship, designed for discovery and active exploration, not just passing-by. The National Geographic Endeavour heads out equipped with a fleet of Zodiacs, enabling us to make landfall in all the remote and riveting locations that beckon! We offer kayaking opportunities wherever possible and frequent walks or hikes. We can set a pace for more demanding walkers and simultaneously provide a rewarding experience for strollers, too. There’s no age limit to our adventurous opportunities — anyone who feels fit and is interested is welcome to participate. And because navigation is an underlying theme, our “Open Bridge” policy will provide you with one of the more gratifying memories of the many you’ll make. The spontaneity and flexibility that characterizes our expedition style means there is literally something new to experience and enjoy daily.
  Ship Information: Registry: Ecuador Public Areas: Ship is fully air-conditioned. Covered deck with chairs and tables; Doctor's Office; Fitness Center; Global Gallery; LEXspa; Library; Lounge with full-service bar and facilities for films, slide shows and presentations; Sauna and small Swimming Pool. Capacity: 96 guests Meals: Served in single seatings with unassigned tables for an informal atmosphere and easy mingling. Menu is international with Ecuadorian flair. Cabins: All cabins face outside with windows or portholes. Each has private facilities and climate controls. Expedition Equipment: Glass-bottom boat, hydrophone, kayaks, snorkeling gear, Splash-Cam, underwater video camera, video microscope, and Zodiac landing craft. Special Features: Guest internet access and laundry service. A ship's doctor, Undersea Specialist, and Video Chronicler are also onboard. Wellness: The vessel is staffed by a Wellness Specialist and features an outdoor stretching area and a floating massage platform.
  Contact info: N/A
N/a,   Ecuador
phone: + n/a
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
This program begins after evening arrivals in Guayaquil, Ecuador, with the overnight at the Hilton Colon Hotel. You will be staying at Hilton Colon Guayaquil that night.
  End of Program:
This program ends after breakfast with flights to the Ecuador mainland. You will be staying at National Geographic Endeavour the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. If you are a U.S. citizen wishing to enter Ecuador, you must present a U.S. passport with at least six months remaining validity. Under Ecuadorian law, U.S. citizens traveling for business or tourism on a tourist passport can enter Ecuador for up to 90 days per calendar year without a visa.
  Parking availability:
N/A
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Guayaquil
  Nearest airport:  GYE
  Transportation to site: The Hilton Colon Guayaquil is located approximately 5 minutes from the airport. The hotel offers a complimentary shuttle available 24 hours a day, for participants who are unable to make the group transfer.
  From End of Program
  Location: Guayaquil
  Transportation from site: All participants will be transferred from the ship to the airport in Baltra upon the conclusion of your program. When departing Ecuador, all guests will be required to pay an Ecuadorian Departure Tax. Those departing from Guayaquil will be charged $25.00 (subject to change). All fees are in U.S. dollars and must be paid at the airport prior to clearing immigration .
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Equipment Requirements: Bringing binoculars is highly recommended. Snorkeling equipment will be provided, but participants may want to bring their own.
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: US Departure / Arrival Guayaquil, Ecuador
(Friday, December 6)
   
 Arrive To: Late arrival in Guayaquil. Late evening group transfer to the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hilton Colon Guayaquil

Day 2: Fly Guayaquil to the Galapagos Islands / Board the National Geographic Endeavour
(Saturday, December 7)

Note: The exact routing for this cruise will depend upon the National Park Service of the Galapagos and local conditions. The published itinerary is a representation of a typical Galapagos itinerary, however the order of the islands visited may vary.



   
 Breakfast: Early breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: After breakfast at the hotel this morning, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to the Galapagos Islands. Upon your arrival, you will immediately embark the National Geographic Endeavour. Your airline tickets for the flights between Ecuador and the Galápagos are issued in Ecuador. PLEASE NOTE: Please remember that on the flight between Guayaquil and Galápagos, your checked luggage may be weighed and cannot exceed 40 pounds (per person). This regulation is not always enforced, but you should be prepared.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: You will have time for lunch and to settle into your cabins before arriving at your first stop, Cerro Brujo. You may choose to swim or snorkel from the lovely white sand beach, enjoy the first kayaking opportunity of the expedition or just stroll along the shore looking for marine iguanas and sea lions.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: National Geographic Endeavour
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Galapagos Islands: Espanola
(Sunday, December 8)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Although the itinerary is fixed, the activities in the Galapagos will be kept flexible, allowing you to take the best advantage of your time in the region. The following stops are planned for your voyage: Today you are scheduled to stop and Explore ESPANOLA: Española is home to Darwin’s finches, Hood mockingbirds, and blue-footed boobies. You’ll also see Española marine iguanas, which develop vivid green and red coloration from their food, coastal seaweed that blooms in iguana-mating season.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Galapagos Islands exploration continues.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: National Geographic Endeavour
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Galapagos Islands: Floreana
(Monday, December 9)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Although the itinerary is fixed, the activities in the Galapagos will be kept flexible, allowing you to take the best advantage of your time in the region. The following stops are planned for your voyage: Today you are scheduled to explore FLOREANA: Floreana's Champion Islet, just off the eastern shore of Floreana, is a wonderful snorkeling site and home to a large colony of sea lions. You may hike to a pristine white-sand beach, a favorite nesting site for sea turtles. You can take a zodiac ride to Post Office Bay – tradition states that if you find a letter there addressed to your hometown, you must take it home with you and hand-deliver it to its recipient.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Galapagos Islands exploration continues.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: National Geographic Endeavour
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Galapagos Islands: Santa Cruz
(Tuesday, December 10)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Although the itinerary is fixed, the activities in the Galapagos will be kept flexible, allowing you to take the best advantage of your time in the region. The following stops are planned for your voyage: Today you are scheduled to explore SANTA CRUZ: Santa Cruz is home to the Charles Darwin Research Station and a highly successful captive breeding program for endangered species of Galápagos giant tortoises and land iguanas. You’ll learn about the science and conservation work undertaken in the islands. Later, you’ll travel into the lush highlands where wild tortoises forage, to explore some very different ecosystems to those encountered in the lowlands.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Galapagos Islands exploration continues.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: National Geographic Endeavour
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Galapagos Islands: Dragon Hill and Guy Fawkes/El Eden and Daphne Majo
(Wednesday, December 11)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Although the itinerary is fixed, the activities in the Galapagos will be kept flexible, allowing you to take the best advantage of your time in the region. The following stops are planned for your voyage: Today you are scheduled to explore DRAGON HILL: Today you will hike through giant cactus and incense tree forests to reach Dragon Hill, the habitat of the colorful Santa Cruz land iguanas that have been brought back from the brink of extinction. Later you will have the opportunity to snorkel along the steep, invertebrate-coated walls of the islets of Guy Fawkes. You will learn about the ground-breaking research of scientists Peter and Rosemary Grant into Natural Selection among the finches of Daphne Major as the ship circumnavigates the famous islet.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Continue Santa Cruz exploration.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: National Geographic Endeavour
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Galapagos Island: Bartolome and Santiago
(Thursday, December 12)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Although the itinerary is fixed, the activities in the Galapagos will be kept flexible, allowing you to take the best advantage of our time in the region. The following stops are planned for your voyage: In the morning you are scheduled to stop in BARTOLOME: This morning you will visit Bartolomé, an enchanting landscape where lava, mangroves and golden sand converge. You will have the opportunity for an early morning hike to the summit of the cone, with stunning views of the famous Pinnacle Rock and the surrounding volcanic landscape. Later in the morning, you will enjoy some wonderful snorkeling from the beach, where you might encounter sea lions, small reef sharks and even Galápagos penguins.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: In the afternoon you will continue to explore some of the small islets just off the coast of Santiago Island, this time a small volcano called “Sombrero Chino”, due to its resemblance to a Chinese hat. The stark lava flows form tubes and caves that are an important nesting area for Galápagos penguins, and the waters bathing the shore are rich in fish life. Options include time ashore, deep-water snorkeling and Zodiac rides to take in the other-worldly landscapes.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: National Geographic Endeavour
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Galapagos Islands: Genovesa
(Friday, December 13)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Although the itinerary is fixed, the activities in the Galapagos will be kept flexible, allowing you to take the best advantage of your time in the region. The following stops are planned for your voyage: This morning you are scheduled to stop and explore GENOVESA: On our last full day in the enchanted islands we visit Genovesa Island, the crown jewel of the archipelago. The National Geographic Endeavour sails into the caldera of Genovesa, known as “bird island”, where you’ll enjoy hikes among nesting colonies of swallow-tailed gulls, frigate birds, red-footed and Nazca boobies all while keeping a look out for hunting short-eared owls. You’ll ride Zodiacs and kayak along the base of the caldera wall, and snorkel among large schools of parrot fish and other tropical species.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: This afternoon continue your Galapagos Islands exploration of Genovesa Island.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: National Geographic Endeavour
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Galapagos / Departures
(Saturday, December 14)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Morning transfer from the ship to the airport in Baltra for flights returning to North America.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 10: Flights Arrive in the U.S.
(Sunday, December 15)
   
 Arrive To: Flights from Ecuador arrive in the U.S.
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


Birds, Mammals and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands


Author: Andy Swash, Robert Stills


Description: This strikingly compact, comprehensive field guide features 500 color photographs, distribution maps and information on status, habitat and behavior.



Ecuador, Galapagos Islands Adventure Map


Author: National Geographic Society


Description: This double-sided, waterproof map covers Ecuador in splendid detail (1:750:00) and also includes a Galapagos map (1:1 million).



Evolution's Workshop


Author: Edward J. Larson


Description: A vivid history of the Galapagos and the role of the islands as a crucible of evolutionary ideas, written by a Pulitzer Prize winner. Along with Darwin, it covers the discovery of the islands, the visits of Hancock and Beebe, the influence of the United States during WWII and the establishment of the national park.



Flowering Plants of the Galapagos


Author: Conley McMullen, Ghillean Prance (Introduction)


Description: Indispensable for the botanically minded, this excellent guide features color photographs of 436 species, an overview of ecology and habitats, and a plant checklist for each visitor site.



Galapagos Islands Explorer Map


Author: Ocean Explorer Maps


Description: Not just handy for keeping track of your Galapagos cruise, this detailed map (1:400,000) of the islands includes illustrated biographies of famous visitors and a wildlife guide.



Galapagos Wildlife


Author: Pocket Naturalist


Description: This fold-up, laminated card guide, with color drawings, will appeal to the whole family.



Galapagos Wildlife, A Visitor's Guide


Author: David Horwell, Pete Oxford


Description: With chapters on visitor sites, history, conservation and habitats, this compact photographic guide introduces birds, reptiles, marine and other life of the archipelago.



Galapagos, A Natural History


Author: Michael Jackson


Description: This comprehensive guide to the natural history of the Galapagos is practically mandatory reading, the single best introduction to the geology and climate, habitats, plants, birds, animals, ecology and evolution.



Galapagos, A Novel


Author: Kurt Vonnegut


Description: In this madcap classic Vonnegut looks back from a future where the human race has been wiped out - all except for a small group stranded in the Galapagos on the Nature Cruise of the Century.



Galapagos, Exploring Darwin's Tapestry


Author: John Hess


Description: Professor Hess pulls off the rare trick of being both scientifically accurate and inviting in this illustrated coffee-table primer on Galapagos, its geology, evolution and magnificent wildlife.



Galapagos, Islands Born of Fire


Author: Tui De Roy


Description: Author, naturalist, photographer and friend Tui de Roy's original stunning celebration of the landscapes, wildlife and habitats of the archipelago, out in a 10th anniversary edition.



Galapagos, The Islands That Changed the World


Author: Paul D. Stewart (Director)


Description: Also available on Blue-Ray, this stunning three-part BBC documentary captures the rugged beauty, allure, wildlife and history of the archipelago like never before. We also carry the companion book to the BBC series (GPS78, $29.95).



Galapagos, World's End


Author: William Beebe


Description: This wry, wonderfully evocative account of a 1924 scientific expedition includes an excellent chapter on the human history of the Galapagos.



Galapagos: The Enchanted Islands, Through Writer's Eyes


Author: John Hickman (Editor)


Description: John Hickman weaves original accounts by Galapagos whalers, gentleman pirates, fitful castaways, settlers and scientists, including Ambrose Crowley Herman Melville, Charles Darwin and William Beebe, in this these tales of the colorful human history of the archipelago.



Insight Guide Ecuador and Galapagos


Author: Insight Guides


Description: Presenting the natural history, politics, culture, wildlife and attractions of Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands with style and authority. Contributors include Tui de Roy (Galapagos photography), Lynn Meisch (arts, crafts and customs) and Rob Rachoweicki (Oriente/Amazon).



The Beak of the Finch


Author: Jonathan Weiner


Description: This Pulitzer Prize-winning work is an accessible look at the modern debate on the mode and rhythm of evolution, using the story of Peter and Rosemary Grant and their field work on Daphne Major as an example.



The Boy on the Back of the Turtle


Author: Paul Quarrington


Description: Humorist, novelist and family man on a quest, Quarrington offers an entertaining account of a Galapagos voyage in the company of his seven-year-old daughter and seventy-year-old father.



The Panama Hat Trail


Author: Tom Miller


Description: An entertaining and insightful social history of Ecuador -- as told through its hat-making history. It's a classic example of travel writing, and one of the best things written on Ecuador.



Voyage of the Beagle


Author: Charles Darwin


Description: The wide-eyed tale of a young man on a five-year voyage that changed his life -- and our way of thinking about the world. First published in 1839, it's still a marvelous introduction to the wildlife, nature and allure of South America.



Wildlife of the Galapagos


Author: Julian Fitter, Daniel Fitter, David Hosking (Photographer)


Description: A compact identification guide to Galapagos nature and wildlife, featuring 400 color photographs, an overview of the history, climate, evolution and geology of the islands, and helpful full-color visitor site maps.





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