Road Scholar : Home
The Galapagos: Natural and Cultural History

Program Number: 6043RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/21/2014 - 10/1/2014; 10/12/2014 - 10/22/2014; 10/19/2014 - 10/29/2014; 10/26/2014 - 11/5/2014; 11/9/2014 - 11/19/2014; 11/23/2014 - 12/3/2014; 12/7/2014 - 12/17/2014; 1/23/2015 - 2/2/2015; 2/22/2015 - 3/4/2015; 2/27/2015 - 3/9/2015; 3/1/2015 - 3/11/2015; 3/8/2015 - 3/18/2015; 3/22/2015 - 4/1/2015; 3/29/2015 - 4/8/2015; 4/5/2015 - 4/15/2015; 4/12/2015 - 4/22/2015; 4/26/2015 - 5/6/2015; 5/3/2015 - 5/13/2015; 5/6/2015 - 5/16/2015; 5/27/2015 - 6/6/2015; 6/7/2015 - 6/17/2015; 7/5/2015 - 7/15/2015; 8/9/2015 - 8/19/2015; 8/26/2015 - 9/5/2015; 9/23/2015 - 10/3/2015; 10/4/2015 - 10/14/2015; 10/18/2015 - 10/28/2015; 10/21/2015 - 10/31/2015; 11/1/2015 - 11/11/2015; 11/8/2015 - 11/18/2015; 11/11/2015 - 11/21/2015; 11/29/2015 - 12/9/2015; 12/6/2015 - 12/16/2015;
Duration: 10 nights
Location: Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Price starting at: $4,395.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Small Ship Cruising Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 28; 10 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 9 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Salt; Low Fat; Gluten Free    

Study unique animal and plant species on this small ship voyage in one of the world’s most extraordinary settings — the Galápagos Islands. Encounter the fascinating wildlife that inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.




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



Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galapágos National Park and can be changed without prior notice. The park carefully monitors and controls the number of visitors to each site in order to minimize damage to local wildlife and habitats. Please refer to the detailed itinerary for the program date on the Road Scholar website to see which ports are visited.



Itinerary At-a-Glance

Quito (Ecuador), 2 nights; Galápagos cruise, 7 nights; Quito, 1 night; departure.



Days 1-2: Arrival in Quito (Ecuador):

Explore the city of Quito, visit the historic colonial center of town and pay a visit to the Middle of the World Monument. Lodgings: Modern hotel.



Days 3-9: Embark on the Galápagos cruise:

Sail from island to island to view the amazing biodiversity and rare species found only in this area. Look for sea lions and flamingoes, search for the illusive land iguanas, and learn about the endearing Galápagos Penguin. At the Charles Darwin Research Station, view giant tortoises and learn about their evolution through interactive displays. Swim and snorkel off sandy beaches looking or sea lions, rays, and a variety of colorful fish.



Days 10-11: Disembark/Quito/Departure:

After a morning field trip, disembark and fly to Quito. Lodgings: Hotel located in a town near the airport.



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.



Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Diego Quiroga

Dr. Diego Quiroga received his B.A. from U.C. Berkeley and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign. Dr. Quiroga is an expert in the fields of medical anthropology, human ecology, and marine conservation and fisheries. He teaches at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (U.S.F.Q.) and also serves as the vice president for external and student affairs. Research projects led him to travel to the Galápagos Islands, where he has worked with fishermen and other local professionals to understand how they interact with the environment. While in the Galápagos, he began writing about the history of scientists and other people who have visited the archipelago. As a member of the national swimming team he represented Ecuador in the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Sheraton Quito Hotel
  Quito, Ecuador 2 nights
   Yolita II
  Galapagos Islands, Ecuador 7 nights
   Hotel Rincon de Puembo
  Quito, Ecuador 1 night
 Sheraton Quito Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Sheraton Quito Hotel is strategically located in the city’s financial and commercial zone and also nearby the Colonial Old Town, a UNESCO Cultural World Heritage Site. Enjoy the on site restaurants featuring fusion foods and live piano music in the lounge. Relax your soul, mind, and body or workout in the Sheraton Fitness Center located on the 11th floor with breathtaking views of the modern Quito.
  Contact info: Avenida Naciones Unidas y Republica de El Salvador
Quito,   Ecuador
phone: +593-22970002
web: www.starwoodhotels.com
  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
  Additional nights prior: Subject to availability. Additional hotel nights are subject to availability. Please contact the program coordinator, Holbrook Travel, at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com for information on availability and prices.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 Yolita II
Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: The Yolita II is an expedition-sized vessel in the true tradition of the smaller boats that sail the island of the Galapagos. At 114 feet long and 26 feet wide and cruising at 10 knots, it can carry 16 passengers.
  Ship Information: Motorized yacht which carries up to 16 passengers in 9 cabins all with private baths. The ship is 114 feet long and 26 feet wide. Public areas include a dinning room, bar, sun/sky deck, and library. Rooms include private bathroom (toilet, shower, washbasin and vanity); locker and drawers. All cabins and public areas are fully carpeted.
  Contact info: N/A
Guayaquil,   Ecuador
phone: +000-000-0000
  Room amenities: All cabins are compact (approximately 112 square feet) with porthole, private bathroom with shower, air-conditioning, and limited closet space. Double occupancy rooms feature two single beds. Single cabins have one bed and are located on the top deck. Electrical outlet accepts 110V appliances with US-style plugs.
  Facility amenities: Public areas include a dining room, common room, bar, sun deck and small library. A steep set of stairs from the Main Deck to the cabins have to be carefully negotiated. Wetsuit and snorkeling gear: Masks, snorkels, and fins are provided as part of the cruise, though avid snorkelers might wish to bring their own gear to guarantee a perfect fit. Wetsuits can be rented for the duration of the cruise and full payment is due, in cash, upon embarkation. Prices range from $35-$70 depending on the length of the cruise. Please note that the yacht has a limited selection of suits and these are available on a first-come basis. If you require a petite or XL size, please contact the program provider at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com to check if the yacht carries your size. The yacht only accepts cash for additional expenses (e.g., alcoholic beverages, wetsuits, etc.) during the cruise.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Hotel Rincon de Puembo
Type: Hotel
  Description: The hotel is located conveniently near the Quito airport in the beautiful village of Puembo.
  Contact info: Manuel Burbano N66 y Francisoc Ruiz
Puembo,   Ecuador
phone: +593-22391106
web: www.rincondepuembo.com/en/
  Room amenities: Air conditioning, iron/ironing board, hair dryer, telephone, wi-fi, and cable TV.
  Facility amenities: Las Cúpulas Restaurant
, El Grill Bar and Restaurant, large gardens, heated pool, sauna, Jacuzzi, gym
, business center, soccer, basketball, and volleyball courts. Billiards, table football, karaoke room, TV and reading room, laundry service, cable television, 24 wi-fi.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Additional nights after: Subject to availability Additional hotel nights are subject to availability. Please contact the program coordinator, Holbrook Travel, at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com for information on availability and prices.


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
All-day arrivals at the international airport in Quito, Ecuador. Hotel check-in starts at 3 p.m. You will be staying at Sheraton Quito Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
Departures from the international airport in Quito, Ecuador. Hotel check-out by 11 a.m. You will be staying at Hotel Rincon de Puembo the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required from travelers arriving from an endemic area and those traveling to the Amazon region of Ecuador. For more information about entry requirements, please contact the Embassy of Ecuador in Washington, D.C. at (202) 234-7166 or visit www.ecuador.org.
  Parking availability:
N/A
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Quito
  Nearest city or town:  Quito
  Nearest airport:  International Airport in Quito
  Transportation to site: Taxi transportation is available at the international airport in Quito. If transferring to/from the airport by taxi, please be sure to only use official licensed taxis. This includes checking to make sure that the cab is in good physical condition, and that it has orange license plates as well as an orange placard on the driver's-side doors and windshield with the registration number. Taxis are payable in dollars (Ecuador’s currency is the U.S. dollar). The new Mariscal Sucre International Airport is located approximately one hour from downtown Quito.
  From End of Program
  Location: Quito
  Transportation from site: Taxi services are available for hire at the hotel. Please ask for assistance at the hotel's front desk.
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Elevation Note: Quito is at an elevation of approximately 9,400 feet.

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, January 23)

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

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



   
 Arrive To: Arrive at Quito's international airport.

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

Transfer to the hotel and check-in.

Please note that this is an international travel day; no meals or program activities are scheduled on this day.
   
Accommodations: Sheraton Quito Hotel

Day 2: Quito –
Colonial Quito, the First UNESCO World Heritage Site and the Equator

(Saturday, January 24)

Note: Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.



   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Meet your Quito group leader and fellow Road Scholar participants during a welcome and introduction session at the hotel. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have.

Orientation to the program.

Explore Quito’s colonial center; the best preserved colonial and historic center in Latin America, starting with a panoramic view of the city at El Panecillo hill. 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.

Afterwards continue to the colonial center. While walking through the narrow streets, you will learn about Quito’s rich history going from pre-Hispanic times, through the Colonial period, to the Republican era. Admire the wonderful architecture of its colonial buildings and the uniqueness of religious art pieces from the famous Quitenian School of art that combines the European Renaissance and Baroque styles with the indigenous and mestizo influences.

 Lunch: At a local restaurant including an introduction to Ecuadorian food products.
 Afternoon: After lunch, continue to the famous Middle of the World and celebrate the ability to be in both hemispheres at the same time - a once in a lifetime experience. Learn important facts, myths and legends about the Geography of Earth while visiting the Equator as well as the history of the first group of scientists who had the hard mission to determined Earth’s shape in 1743. Visit the Ethnographic museum where you will get a general vision about Ecuador’s demography, geography and economy.

Return to the hotel.

Lecture: The Past, Present, and Future of Ecuador.

 Dinner: At the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Sheraton Quito Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Galápagos -
Galápagos Islands - Flight to Baltra Island/Board Yacht/ Santa Cruz (Playa de las Bachas).

(Sunday, January 25)

Note: Playa de las Bachas: easy, sandy trail conditions. There is a 44 lb weight limit for checked luggage on the flights to the islands. Please pack accordingly. Note: Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are determined by the Galápagos National Park. The park reserves the right to change cruise itineraries without prior notice



   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to the airport where you will be assisted by your Quito group leader. Depart for the Galápagos Islands.

**Note: The Galápagos airline tickets are issued in Ecuador and held by the group leader for safekeeping. The airline tickets will be distributed to participants on-site.**
 Lunch: Light lunch served on the flight.
 Afternoon: Upon arrival to Galápagos Islands, proceed through Immigration. Have your passport ready at the immigration counter before proceeding to baggage claim.

Upon arrival you will be met by your Galápagos guide and transferred to the yacht.

Board and set sail.

Enjoy an orientation, safety drill and a light snack.

Sail to Santa Cruz Island and disembark at Playa de las Bachas for a field trip to a flamingo lagoon.
Apart from being an important nesting site for sea turtles (Chelonia mydas), Bachas Beach is also a great location 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.

Return to the yacht.
 Dinner: Onboard the yacht.
 Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: Yolita II
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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

(Monday, January 26)

Note: Note: Dry, difficult landing and moderate difficulty due to steep, rocky trail conditions. The visit to El Barranco (a.k.a. Prince Phillip's Steps) includes climbing/descending approximately 20 steep and irregular stone steps (there is a hand rail).



   
 Breakfast: Onboard the yacht.
 Morning: Wet landing at Darwin's Bay, Genovesa Island.

Genovesa is a great place for a bird watching walk (0.9 miles) plus optional swimming or snorkeling. The island's volcanic sea cliffs and salt bush offer a prime habitat for the birds of the Galapagos. Darwin Bay is the caldera of an extinct volcano which has been partially eroded and offers superb swimming and snorkeling.

Optional swimming, snorkeling.

Return to the yacht.
 Lunch: Onboard the yacht.
 Afternoon: Challenging dry landing at El Barranco, Genovesa Island. This is another site where sturdy footwear, with good rubber soles is a necessity! El Barranco, also known as Prince Phillip's Steps, is a trail which leads up a steep rock staircase through squadrons of Frigatebirds and Red-billed Tropicbirds. Red-footed Boobies perch on the branches of Palo Santo trees and Storm Petrels, which serve as prey for Short Eared Owls, are found in the open lava fields at the end of the trail. While navigating around the cliffs, look for fur seals lounging on jutting rocks and seabirds nesting in the craggy shores.

Return to the yacht.
 Dinner: Onboard the yacht.
 Evening: Orientation of next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: Yolita II
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Galápagos -
Bartolome Island and Santiago Island - Sullivan Bay

(Tuesday, January 27)

Note: Bartolome Island: dry or wet landing with moderate to difficult trail conditions, including a long stairway, 375 steps. Sullivan Bay: dry or wet landing with easy trail conditions.



   
 Breakfast: Onboard 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.

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).

Return to the yacht.
 Lunch: Onboard the yacht.
 Afternoon: Wet or dry landing at Sullivan Bay.

Visit to Sullivan Bay to observe fascinating geological features. The landing can be performed either on the rocky shore (dry landing) or the white sand beach (wet landing). The area is covered by Pahoehoe lava flows (solidified lava in corrugated or accordion form). It was very active in the last 25 years of the nineteenth century, making this flow geologically very young. The magma formed is flat, but the movement of underground lava, the rapid cooling and other eruptions led to the break in many places.

Optional swimming, snorkeling.

Return to the yacht.

 Dinner: Onboard the yacht.
 Evening: Orientation of next day's activities and lecture.
   
Accommodations: Yolita II
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Galápagos -
Isabela Island (Sierra Negra Volcano and Wetlands, Wall of Tears, Tortoise Breeding Center).

(Wednesday, January 28)

Note: Sierra Negra Volcano and Wetlands: dry landing, moderate to difficult trail conditions due to steep, rocky terrain. Wall of Tears or Tortoise Breeding Center: dry landing, easy trail conditions.



   
 Breakfast: Onboard the yacht.
 Morning: Dry landing on Isabela Island.

In the morning, explore the wetlands, a complex of trails that consist of numerous sites that form spectacular scenery. The trails travel through lava rock paths, tombs, a mangrove forest, volcanoes, and beaches and also offer great opportunities to observe local flora and fauna.

From the wetlands' trails, continue your visit with a stop at the infamous Muro de las Lagrimas ("Wall of Tears"). This wall was erected by convicts back in the days when the island housed a penal colony. Numerous prisioners died in the course of building the stone wall, leading many locals to give it the now famous name. According to local lore, it is possible to hear the convicts' cries emanating from the area from time to time.

Later in the morning, visit the Tortoise Breeding Center.

The Tortoise Breeding Center of Isabela contains 330 juvenile and adult tortoises that populate south Isabela. It houses many breeds in danger of extinction. The center also has beautiful gardens consisting of native plants.

During your land explorations, also be on the look-out for resident land iguanas. January marks the start of their breeding season. By April the eggs beging to hatch and visitors have the opportunity to view mature iguanas and their hatchlings.

Return to the yacht.

 Lunch: Onboard the yacht.
 Afternoon: Dry landing on Isabela. Afternoon excursion to the Sierra Negra Volcano.

The Sierra Negra volcano is believed to be the oldest volcano on Isabela. According to some geologists, the wider and shallower a caldera, the more ancient. This conclusion is based on research that indicates that the ongoing volcanic processes in calderas tend to file and break down their edges over thousands and millions of years.

Note: Those participants who do not wish to participate in this hike can spend the afternoon at Puerto Villamil exploring town on their own.

Return to the yacht.
 Dinner: Onboard the yacht.
 Evening: Orientation of next day’s activities.
   
Accommodations: Yolita II
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Galápagos -
Isabela Island (Elizabeth Bay and Tagus Cove).

(Thursday, January 29)

Note: Elizabeth Bay: no landing. Tagus Cove: dry landing with moderate to difficult trail conditions due to steep, rocky terrain.



   
 Breakfast: Onboard the yacht.
 Morning: Morning dinghy excursion to Elizabeth Bay, Isabela Island. Navigate around the mangrove forests and rugged coastline to observe marine life and shorebirds.

Elizabeth Bay, located on Isabela's west shore, is an extremely interesting site for observing marine life. It is also one of the best areas to spot and photograph the elusive Galapagos Penguin. A colony of these unique birds inhabits a rocky islet at the entrance to the bay. A small passage lined with mangroves leads into an enclosed cove. The sheltered waters host marine turtles, rays, Flightless Cormorants, and sea lions. Although the marine life is the star of this visitor's site, don't forget to look up once in a while and scan the skies; Galapagos Hawks are oftentimes seen circling overhead.

Return to the yacht.
 Lunch: Onboard the yacht.
 Afternoon: Dry landing on Isabela Island at Tagus Cove.

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

Return to the yacht.

 Dinner: Onboard the yacht.
 Evening: Orientation of next day's activities and lecture.
   
Accommodations: Yolita II
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Galápagos -
Isabela Island (Urbina Bay) and Fernandina (Punta Espinoza).

(Friday, January 30)

Note: Urbina Bay: wet landing and easy to moderate trail conditions due to uneven terrain. Punta Espinoza: dry landing and moderate to difficult rocky trail conditions.



   
 Breakfast: Onboard the yacht.
 Morning: Wet landing at Urbina Bay on Isabela Island.

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

Return to the yacht.

 Lunch: Onboard the yacht.
 Afternoon: Dry landing at Punta Espinoza, Fernandina Island. Good walking shoes are a must for the 1.2 mile walk on sharp volcanic rocks.

Fernandina has some of the most dramatic landscapes found in the archipelago. The aa and pahoehoe lava formations create a unique landscape and provide visitors with a great chance to study lava flows and the forces which gave birth to the Galapagos Islands. Although Punta Espinosa is better known for its large colony of marine iguanas, one can also expect to see sea lions, Flightless Cormorants and Galapagos Penguins.

Return to the yacht.

 Dinner: Onboard the yacht.
 Evening: Orientation of next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: Yolita II
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Galápagos -
Santiago Island (Playa Espumilla and Caleta Bucanero) and Rabida Island.

(Saturday, January 31)

Note: Playa Espumilla: wet landing and easy, sandy trail conditions. Caleta Bucanero: wet landing and easy to moderate trail conditions due to uneven terrain.



   
 Breakfast: Onboard the yacht.
 Morning: Wet landing on Espumilla Beach.

Playa Espumilla is located on the northwestern coast of Santiago Island in James Bay. During the last presence of the El Nino phenomenon, one of the two lagoons at this site underwent a process of sedimentation, which led to the disappearance of a resident colony of flamingos. The main attractions here are a palo santo forest, beach and the landscape. The beach is an important site for nesting marine turtles (Chelonia midas agassizi).

Disembark at Caleta Bucanero ("Buccaneer Cove") to enjoy a short walk along the beach (less than 0.6 miles).

Optional swimming and snorkeling.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, pirates and whalers reportedly used Buccaneer Cove as a safe place to rest and load up on supplies such as water and food. During that time, passing ships released goats on the island in the hopes that they would multiply and be a source of food for subsequent voyages. However, without any natural predators to hold their numbers in check, the animals became feral and depleted most of Santiago's vegetation. In the 1970s the national park began an extermination program in an effort to eradicate feral goats, pigs, and cats in the islands.

Return to the yacht.

 Lunch: Onboard the yacht.
 Afternoon: Wet landing on Rabida Island.

Rabida (also known as Jervis) has a dark red beach where visitors can view sea lions and nesting pelicans. A salt water lagoon located a small distance from the beach is home to flamingoes and the occasional White-cheeked Pintail. Palo santo trees cover the island's volcanic peak, which can be seen from a short trail (approximately a .5 mile walk).

Optional swimming, snorkeling.

Return to the yacht.

 Dinner: Onboard the yacht.
 Evening: Orientation of next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: Yolita II
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Galápagos and Quito-
Daphne Island and Mosquera Islet/ Flight from Baltra Island to Quito.

(Sunday, February 1)

Note: Daphne Island: no landing.



   
 Breakfast: Onboard the yacht.
 Morning: Navigate around Daphne Island, located off the coast of Santa Cruz.

Located just north of Santa Cruz Island and west of Baltra Island, Daphne Major is a volcanic island consisting of a tuff crater rising 394 ft. above sea level. Biologists Peter and Rosemary Grant conducted extensive studies of Darwin’s finches and their results have strongly supported Darwin’s theory of evolution. Daphne offers a large variety of other birds including the Galápagos Martins, Blue-footed Booby, Nazca Booby, Short-eared Owls, Red-billed Tropicbirds and Magnificent Frigate birds. Visitors are not allowed on the island but can only observe from the banks

Weather and time permitting we will visit Mosquera Islet.

Mosquera Islet is located between North Seymour and Baltra Islands, and is a convenient site to enjoy one last shore activity before heading to Baltra to catch a flight back to the mainland. The flat, sandy island attracts a large number of sea lions as well as shorebirds.

Sail to Baltra Island and transfer to the airport to board a flight to Guayaquil. Say Farewell to your Galápagos group leader
 Lunch: Light snack served on the flight.
 Afternoon: Late afternoon arrival in Quito.
Transfer to the hotel.

Free time. Spend your last evening in Ecuador with your new Road Scholar friends, finish your packing, or get a good night's sleep in preparation for international departures tomorrow.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Rincon de Puembo
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Depart from Quito.
Arrive to the U.S.

(Monday, February 2)

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.



   
 Depart From: Transfer to the international airport for flight to the U.S.

This concludes the program. We hope you enjoyed your Road Scholar adventure! When you get home, remember to stay in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network; share memories, pictures, and comments about your recent travels.
 Breakfast: Early morning breakfast at the hotel restaurant (dependent on flight times).
   
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


Galapagos, A Natural History Guide


Author: Michael Jackson


Description: This comprehensive overview of the habitats, plants, birds, and animals of the islands, written with the curious visitor in mind, is practically mandatory reading. It's the single best overview of the archipelago. Jackson also includes a useful bibliography, wildlife checklists and a list of plants by vegetation zone. Illustrated with many charts and maps, we refer to the book often.



Galapagos, World's End


Author: William Beebe


Description: A wry, wonderfully evocative account of a 1924 scientific expedition, including an excellent chapter on the human history of the Galapagos by Ruth Rose. A contemporary reviewer wrote, "Galapagos is a glorious book. It is high romance, exact science and wild adventure." Originally published in 1924, it includes several color plates and maps.



Insight Pocket Guide Ecuador and Galapagos


Author: Peter Frost


Description: Written and photographed by South America expert Peter Frost, this handy pocket guide features a pullout map of Ecuador, hundreds of color photographs and suggested itineraries.



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, this book is still essential reading. Darwin's South American chapters are an excellent introduction to the Galapagos, Beagle Channel, Chile, Tierra del Fuego, the Chilean fjords and the Brazilian coast. With maps and appendices.



Galapagos 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.



Evolution's Workshop, God and Science on the Galapagos Islands


Author: Edward J. Larson


Description: A vivid history of the Galapagos -- and the role of the islands as a crucible of evolutionary ideas. It covers not just Darwin but the discovery of the islands, visits of Hancock and Beebe, influence of the United States during WWII, and the establishment of the national park. Pulitzer Prize-winning Larson, a historian of science, has also written about the Scopes trial (Summer for the Gods) and the creationist controversy in the United States (Trial and Error).



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.



The Panama Hat Trail


Author: Tom Miller & Tony Hillerman


Description: An accurate and wonderfully descriptive picture of Ecuador and its people. The author tells the story of the Panama hat and the lives it touches; from growing the straw, processing it, and weaving it, to the final product that is exported worldwide.



Charles Darwin Slept Here


Author: John Woram


Description: John Woram recounts with verve and humor the human history of the archipelago, featuring a colorful cast of buccaneers, scientists and adventurers. With ar-chival drawings, maps and extensive notes.



Galapagos: The Enchanted Islands, Through Writer's Eyes


Author: John Hickman


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 color-ful human history of the archipelago.



The Boy on the Back of the Turtle


Author: Paul Quarrington


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



Galapagos, A Novel


Author: Kurt Vonnegut


Description: In this madcap novel, a classic, Vonnegut looks back from the future (alas, the human race has been wiped out except for a small group stranded in the Ga-lapagos) on the Nature Cruise of the Century.



Galapagos, Preserving Darwin's Legacy


Author: Tui De Roy


Description: Tui de Roy corralled researchers and friends for this stunning survey of the natural history, ecology and conservation of the Galapagos. With 450 breath-taking color photographs and chapters by Jack Grove (fishes), Peter and Rose-mary Grant (finches), Dennis Geist (geology) and many other scientists.



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 geol-ogy, evolution and magnificent wildlife.



Reef Identification, Galapagos


Author: Paul Humann


Description: Sturdy enough to take along on a boat, this comprehensive photographic guide includes a map, checklist and brief overview of the archipelago.



Flowering Plants of the Galapagos


Author: Conley McMullen, Ghillean Prance


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 Wildlife


Author: Pocket Naturalist


Description: This fold-up, laminated card includes color drawings and short descriptions.



Galapagos, Discovery on Darwin's Islands


Author: David Steadman


Description: All the birds, mammals, reptiles and other vertebrates of the Galapagos are beautifully illustrated in this insightful overview of natural history and evolution by a researcher who has worked throughout the islands. Steadman's brother Lee provides the full-color, full-page water color illustrations.



Birds, Mammals and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands


Author: Andy Swash, Robert Stills


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



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.



Galapagos, The Islands That Changed the World


Author: Paul D. Stewart


Description: This stunning three-part BBC documentary captures the rugged beauty, allure, wildlife and history of the archipelago like never before



Understanding Galápagos: What You'll See and What It Means


Author: Randy Moore and Sehoya Cotner


Description: A comprehensive, and easy to read guide on the biology, geology, climate, and history of the Galápagos Islands.





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