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

Program Number: 18484RJ
Start and End Dates:
3/31/2014 - 4/16/2014; 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: $6,199.00 - 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.
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
   Hilton Colon Quito Hotel
  Quito, Ecuador 2 nights
   M/V Santa Cruz
  Galápagos Islands, Ecuador 5 nights
   Finch Bay Eco Hotel
  Galápagos Islands, Ecuador 2 nights
   Ramada Airport Costa del Sol Hotel
  Lima, Peru 1 night
   Casa Andina Private Collection – Cusco
  Cusco, Peru 2 nights
   El Mapi Hotel
  Machu Picchu, Peru 1 night
   Posada del Inca - Yucay
  Yucay, Peru 2 nights
   Casa Andina Select
  Lima, Peru 1 night
 Hilton Colon Quito Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Hilton Colon Quito hotel enjoys spectacular views of the city and surrounding mountains. The historic colonial section of the city (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) can be reached within a 10 minutes' walk. The hotel is well equiped to meet the needs of both the vacation and business traveler, with 15 meeting rooms, an executive lounge, and wireless internet access throughout.
  Contact info: Amazonas N 1914 Y Patria Avenida 1
Quito,   Ecuador
phone: +593-2-2560666
web: www.hilton.com
  Room amenities: Private bathroom, hairdryer, air conditioning, Hilton Serenity Bed, LCD Flat Panel TV, TV-Cable, iron/ironing board, safety deposit box, and coffee maker.
  Facility amenities: Tour desk, automated teller (ATM), baggage storage, barber shop, concierge desk, florist, foreign currency exchange, gift shop, laundry/valet service, lounge, news stand, on-site convenience store, room service, safety deposit box, business center, fitness room, and pool.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Subject to availability. Type of accommodations and rates are subject to hotel availability. Please contact the program provider at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com for assistance in booking additional nights.
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 M/V Santa Cruz
Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: Large 90 passenger deluxe cruise ship at 237 ft.long with 44 spacious cabins.
  Ship Information: Construction : Bilbao, Spain, 1979 Reconstruction : Talcahuano, Chile, 1998 Category : First Class Gross Tonnage : 1675 Capacity : 90 guests Length : 72.35 meters (237.3 feet) Beam : 11.85 meters (38.86 feet) Speed : 13 knots Electricity : 110 Volts in the cabins with 220 Volt sockets available in Reception and Dining area. Engines : 2 Sulzer engines, 1620 BHP each Navigation : Gyrocompass, auto pilot, radar, echo-sounders, Equipment : GPS and Radio Director Finder Safety Classification : ABS classification +A1E + AMS #7907 853 SOLAS (safety of life at sea) ISM certificate Complying with the IMO resolution A.788(19) Automatic fire controls Life Jackets : In each cabin Lifeboats : Two 66-man, two 25-man, Life Rafts : Two 16-man, two 10-man Zodiacs : 5 for ship to shore transportation Boston Whaler : 1 with glass-bottom with for underwater observation Owner : ETICA / Metropolitan Touring Decks : 4 (Sun deck, Boat deck, Upper deck, Main deck) Crew : 52 Naturalist : 6 multilingual (includes Chief Naturalist) Medical Officer : Permanently on board
  Contact info: Av. De Las Palmeras N45-74 y De Las Orquídeas
Quito,   Ecuador
phone: +(593-9) 9921 5719
web: www.metropolitan-touring.com
  Room amenities: AC in cabins, private bath with hot water, hair dryers, safety deposit boxes.
  Facility amenities: M/V Santa Cruz features Jacuzzi, sun deck, bar, lounge, observation platform, Natural history library/reading room, gift shop.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Finch Bay Eco Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: Unique beachfront hotel in Galápagos awarded for it's Eco friendly operations and low impact environmental effect to the islands sensitive ecosystem.
  Contact info: Barrio Punta Estrada
Galápagos
Puerto Ayora,   Ecuador
phone: +593 2-298-8311
web: http://www.finchbayhotel.com/galapagos-islands-hotel.html
  Room amenities: Garden and ocean view rooms. Rooms have wooden blinds, black out curtains, tile floors, AC, private bathroom with hot water, hair dryers, biodegradable soap and shampoo, telephone, hammocks.
  Facility amenities: Garden and ocean view rooms. Hotel features on-site desalination and purification plant, grey and black water treatment plants. Solar panels for water heating. Organic vegetable garden supplies the restaurant. Recycling and composting systems for the entire hotel. Supports local community initiatives. Connecting ocean rooms. Swimming pool with bar. Free wi-fi, 4 guest computers in public area. Ice machine, laundry and massage service.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Ramada Airport Costa del Sol Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Contact info: Av. Elmer Faucett s/n Aeropuerto
Internacional Jorge Chávez
Lima,   Peru
phone: +5117112000
web: www.costadelsolperu.com/lima/esp/index.php
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Casa Andina Private Collection – Cusco
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Converted from a beautiful 18th century colonial house, with 5 stately courtyards, and featuring their restaurant "Alma" with creative, regional cuisine. 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

 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

 Posada del Inca - Yucay
Type: Hotel
  Description: New: Former 18th century colonial style monastery surrounded by beautiful gardens.
  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

 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 Hilton Colon Quito Hotel 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.
(Monday, March 31)

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. 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.



   
 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: Hilton Colon Quito Hotel

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

(Tuesday, April 1)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Orientation to the program.

Visit El Panecillo for panoramic views of Quito.

Before the Spanish arrived, the hill known as El Panecillo (small bread roll) was used by the Inca for sun worshiping. In the early 1800s, the Spanish military took advantage of El Panecillo's strategic location and elevation (9,843 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: Hilton Colon Quito Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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

(Wednesday, April 2)

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



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

Depart for the Galápagos Islands.

NOTE: There is a 44 lb weight limit for checked luggage on the flights to the islands. Please pack accordingly. Upon arrival to Baltra Island, you will be met by your naturalist guide and transferred to the M/V Santa Cruz.

 Lunch: Lunch on board the boat
 Afternoon: After an orientation to the boat including the safety drill, set sail to North Seymour Island. This is a great introductory site to the islands and their wildlife, full of colonies of blue footed boobies, two species of frigate birds, swallow tailed gulls, as well as, sea lions and marine iguanas.

Return to the vessel.

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

 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
 Evening: Orientation to the next day’s activities.
   
Accommodations: M/V Santa Cruz
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Galapagos Islands -
Isabela Island (Punta Vicente Roca) Fernandina Island (Punta Espinoza).

(Thursday, April 3)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: After breakfast, we explore the coast by panga, while our naturalist guide explains the dramatic geology of the area, nesting place for a Galápagos highlight: flightless cormorants. Depending on weather conditions, we can snorkel along the cliffs of this area rich in marine life, seasonally-visited by green sea turtles and oceanic sun fish (Mola mola).

Return to the boat.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: The afternoon is dedicated to exploring the youngest island of the archipelago, Fernandina, which, having no introduced mammals, boasts a very unique environment with a very high density of marine iguanas, who share their space with sea lions, Sally light-foot crabs, hawks, penguins and the flightless cormorants.

Return to the boat.

 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
 Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: M/V Santa Cruz
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Galapagos Islands -
Isabela Island (Tagus Cove/Urbina Bay)

(Friday, April 4)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: After breakfast, we land at this cove on the northwest side of Isabela. It provided a favorite anchorage for pirates and whalers over the centuries. An uphill hike takes guests to the rim of a crater, Darwin lake, filled with salt water and to a dramatic viewpoint. After our walk, we take a panga ride to spot local wildlife, with the possibility of swimming or snorkeling.

 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: After lunch we disembark at Urbina Bay, the fascinating result of an uplifting of the ocean floor in 1954. Here we can admire corals, shells and many other calcareous organisms exposed above water. First we enjoy a snorkel from the beach, with the chance of swimming with flightless cormorants. This area is also home to a large and very colorful Galápagos land iguanas, and occasionally to giant tortoises. Return to the boat.

 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
 Evening: Orientation of the next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: M/V Santa Cruz
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Galapagos Islands -
Santa Cruz Island (Puerto Ayora/Charles Darwin Research Station) & Highlands

(Saturday, April 5)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: In the morning, we disembark (dry landing) for our visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station. These are the headquarters of scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park administration. Following our visit, we will transfer to El Trapiche to visit a small, family run farm for organic coffee. We will then continue to the cooler highlands of Santa Cruz Island, a completely different ecosystem.

 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant at the highlands
 Afternoon: After lunch we will visit the lava tunnels and look for giant tortoises in the wild. Return to Puerto Ayora and embark on the Santa Cruz.

 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
 Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: M/V Santa Cruz
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Galapagos Islands -
Floreana Island (Post Office Bay/Champion Islet and Cormorant Point).

(Sunday, April 6)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: A short walk leads us to the historic barrel where postcards are traditionally left for guests from other vessels to hand-deliver to their destinations. Near Post Office Bay, we explore the north shore of Floreana along narrow channels teeming with life. We then head back on board for lunch.

Return to the yacht.

 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: Following lunch and a siesta, we take to the pangas and glass-bottom boat to explore the underwater wonders around Champion Islet, an extinct shield volcano, regarded as one of the best snorkelling spots in the archipelago. From there, it’s on to Cormorant Point, beginning with a wet landing on the olivine-crystal beach for an easy walk that includes a brackish water lagoon where bird species such as greater flamingos, pintail ducks, common stilts, herons, sandpipers, and others gather. We continue our walk over to a white-sand beach, where sea turtles emerge from the sea at night to nest (from December to May).

Return to the boat.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
 Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: M/V Santa Cruz
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Galapagos Islands -
Transfer to Puerto Ayora via Ithabaca Channel/Finch Bay

(Monday, April 7)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Disembark from boat and transfer to Puerto Ayora via Ithabaca Channel. En route we will visit the Twin Craters and Manzanillo Ranch.

At Twin Craters enjoy a walk through the interior of the Scalesia forest, one of seven genus of plants endemic to Galapagos. The Pit Craters are, geologically speaking, seen as craters and its formation is not directly due to volcanic action. They were created as a result of the collapse or sinking of surface materials into cracks or manholes. at Manzanillo Ranch we will have a chance to observe giant tortoises in their natural environment and a lake that depending on the time of the year changing its color. The trees and bushes around the lake are well labeled and mostly endemic of the island. we will then continue to our hotel.
 Lunch: At the hotel.
 Afternoon: We will have the afternoon free to enjoy the town of Puerto Ayora or simply remain at the hotel and enjoy the pool and/or the beach.
 Dinner: At local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Finch Bay Eco Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Galapagos Islands -
Day trip to South Plaza Island onboard Sea Lion or Sea Finch yacht.

(Tuesday, April 8)

Note: Please bring with you your camera, Bathing suit, Jacket / windbreaker, Comfortable walking shoes and sandals, sun protection (sun block, cap, sunglasses) even if it is overcast and bottle of water. Snorkeling opportunities will be available. Upon arrival to South Plaza, this will be a dry landing: participants will step from the dinghy directly onto rocks or a dock.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel. Breakfast will be ready starting at 6:30 am. Our departure is at 8:15 am, so please enjoy your breakfast accordingly.
 Morning: Departure from the Hotel Finch Bay to the public pier to take a bus to Ithabaca Chanel, then set sail on aboard your yacht to Plazas Islands.

This is the southern part of two small crescent-shaped islands that lie just a few hundred meters off the east coast of Santa Cruz. The northern island is used for scientific purposes only. South Plaza is one of the smallest yet richest islands in the archipelago. Only 130 meters wide (426 feet), it was formed from uplifted seabed, giving it a tilted tabletop quality. Our landing is in the channel between North and South Plaza, where the island tilts toward the water.

The approach makes for a lavishly colorful sight! The turquoise waters of the channel contrast brilliantly with the white sand and black lava of the shoreline. The rocks have grown thick with green seaweed in places, speckled with bright orange “Sally lightfoot” crabs. Further up the shore a carpet of scarlet sesuvium succulents serves as ground cover for a grove of luminescent green prickly-pear cactus. Yellow-gray land iguanas sit beneath, waiting patiently for pears to drop.

The trail gradually follows the tilt of the island to the cliffs that overlook the ocean to the south, where swallow-tailed gulls nest. Red-billed tropic birds, masked and blue-footed boobies ride the windy currents. The overlook is a great place for spotting large marine life, including manta rays. Surf pounds an inlet at the western corner of the island, where a colony of sea lion bachelors make their home, where the surface of the rocks is polished by the oils of their fur.

Your guide will find the right spot to snorkel, whether on Plazas Island or Punta Carrion. The shoreline of Las Plazas makes for excellent snorkeling in a sea lion colony of nearly a thousand. Punta Carrion is a small bay where you can snorkel from the boat to see a variety of fish, rays and possibly white tip reef sharks.
 Lunch: Lunch will be on board the yacht.
 Afternoon: Disembark from the yacht at Ithabaca Channel and transfer back to Puerto Ayora to return to your hotel arriving at about 4:30 pm.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel
   
Accommodations: Finch Bay Eco Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Lima -
Farewell to the Galápagos/Flight to Lima via mainland Ecuador

(Wednesday, April 9)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel
 Morning: Transfer to the airport for your flight to the mainland.
 Lunch: Snacks on the flight.
 Afternoon: Arrive to mainland Ecuador, collect your luggage and check in for your international flight to Lima. Upon arrival to Lima, Peru meet the local Road Scholar representative outside the baggage claim area and walk to your airport hotel located just across from the main terminal.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Ramada Airport Costa del Sol Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Cusco -
Flight to Cusco/Korikancha Temple

(Thursday, April 10)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Orientation to the program.

Walk across the road to reach the terminal for flight to Cusco. A Road Scholar representative will be together with the group to help with the check-in and luggage.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Enjoy a visit to Koricancha.

Koricancha, also spelled Qorikancha, is an important Inca temple located in downtown Cusco. Built in honor of their sun god, Inti, the site was once an important religious center. Conquistadors reported that the temple originally held a statue of the sun, made of gold weighing approximately two tons and inlayed with gems. The structure was built with enormous boulders and is considered one of the most outstanding examples of this type of Inca construction. Unfortunately, very little remains of this architectural wonder since the Spaniards did their best to destroy it during their conquest of Cusco. The grand, Baroque church known as Santo Domingo was built on Koricancha’s foundations and came to be viewed by the Spanish as a symbol of Christian triumph over heathen religion.

Arrive at your hotel and enjoy the remainder of the afternoon at your leisure to rest and relax.

Lecture: Introduction to Inca Culture.
 Dinner: On your own for a chance to explore local fare.
   
Accommodations: Casa Andina Private Collection – Cusco
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 12: Cusco -
Sacsayhuaman Ruins & Introduction to Cusco.

(Friday, April 11)
   
 Breakfast: At the 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: 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: On your own for a chance to explore local fare.
   
Accommodations: Casa Andina Private Collection – Cusco
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

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

(Saturday, April 12)

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.

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: On your own for a chance to explore local fare.
   
Accommodations: El Mapi Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

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

(Sunday, April 13)
   
 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.

Arrive in Cusco and check-in at hotel.

Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure to enjoy Cusco at your own pace.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Posada del Inca - Yucay
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Sacred Valley (Yucay) -
Chincheros Town and Ollantaytambo Ruins.

(Monday, April 14)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at 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: At 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.
   
Accommodations: Posada del Inca - Yucay
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Lima -
Presentation on Peruvian Cuisine.

(Tuesday, April 15)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 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.

(Wednesday, April 16)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel (dependent on flight time).
 Morning: Transfer to the Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima for flight to the U.S.

Note: Participants with independent travel arrangements and/or scheduled on later flights can keep their hotel rooms until check-out time on this day. Except for breakfast, all other meals are on your own on this day.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


South American Birds: A Photographic Aid to Identification


Author: John Stewart Dunning


Description: This comprehensive South American bird guide has over 1400 color photos and more than 2700 species described with habitat and identification information. A very helpful range map is included for each bird.



Lonely Planet Phrasebooks: Latin American Spanish


Author: Roberto Esposto


Description: This portable phrasebook provides a useful mix of everyday phrases, words and expressions used in different Spanish speaking countries in Latin America. Learn the nuances of the Spanish language as it is spoken in Puerto Rico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Ecuador, Peru, and Chile.



Voyage of the Beagle


Author: Charles Darwin


Description: FAVORITE The wide-eyed tale of a young man on a five-year voyage that changed his life -- and our way of thinking about the world. First published in 1839, this book is still essential reading. Darwin's South American chapters are an excellent introduction to the Galapagos, Beagle Channel, Chile, Tierra del Fuego, the Chilean fjords and the Brazilian coast. With maps and appendices.



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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