Road Scholar : Home
Amazing Ecuador: The Andes and the Galápagos

Program Number: 21548RJ
Start and End Dates:
5/26/2014 - 6/7/2014; 10/27/2014 - 11/8/2014;
Duration: 12 nights
Location: Galapagos, Ecuador
Price starting at: $4,840.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Small Ship Cruising Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 34; 12 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 11 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Salt; Low Fat; Gluten Free    

Explore two wonderful worlds as you journey high into the Andes — then from island to island in the Galápagos. Meet indigenous people that have called the highlands home for centuries, visit a flower-growing hacienda and discover the grand colonial center of Quito. Then fly over 575 miles of Pacific Ocean to the volcanic archipelago Charles Darwin called “a little world within itself.” A seven-night small ship voyage gives you plenty of opportunities for up-close encounters with iguanas, tortoises, sea lions, turtles, Galápagos Penguins and more.




Activity Particulars

Wet and dry landings by Zodiac boat. Walking for up to three hours at a time over rough, potentially slippery terrain. Elevations of up to 9,800 feet on the mainland.



Itinerary At-a-Glance

Quito, 2 nights; Otavalo, 2 nights; aboard Tip Top III, 7 nights; Quito, 1 night.



Days 1-2: Arrival Quito (Ecuador):

Situated high in the Andes, Quito boasts what UNESCO calls “the best-preserved, least altered historic center in Latin America.” Discover the city’s colonial heart on a walking excursion and step inside some of its most beautiful buildings. Lodging: Stylish Art Deco hotel with spectacular views.



Days 3-4: Coach to Otavalo:

Continue to Imbabura, a province of dramatic highland lakes. At a private hacienda learn about Ecuador’s flower-growing industry. In Otavalo, meet some of the indigenous local people, who are famed for their fine textiles. Take a mountain train to the town of Salinas to meet members of its Afro-Ecuadorian community. Lodging: 17th-century hacienda converted into a comfortable hotel.



Day 5: Flight to Baltra Island / embark Tip Top III / Santa Cruz Island:

Fly to the Galápagos and embark the motor yacht, your home for the next seven nights. Sail to Santa Cruz to search for flamingos, sea turtles and migratory birds.



Days 6-11: Bartolomé, Fernandina, Genovesa, Isabela and Santiago Islands:

The ship will follow an itinerary set by the Galápagos National Park Service that allows for maximum wildlife viewing while protecting this treasured environment. Learn about the creatures that live among Santiago’s lava flows. Meet the endearing Galápagos Penguin on Bartolomé. Walk up Prince Philip’s Steps through colonies of frigatebirds and Red-billed Tropicbirds. See marine iguanas sunning themselves on the rocks. Scan steep sea cliffs for Flightless Cormorants, Masked Boobies and Blue-footed Boobies. And experience many other natural wonders of this magic archipelago.



Days 12-13: Baltra Island / disembark / flight to Quito / departure:

Lodging: Comfortable hotel in a village near the airport.



Tip Top III

The Tip Top III is specially designed and built to accommodate 16 guests in comfortable cabins. With 100 feet of length, 22 feet of beam and a 5 feet Draft, the Tip Top III is a very comfortable, well known yacht in the Galapagos Islands. Public areas are linked by stairs including a large sun deck.


Galapagos

In a delicate balance, man, animal, and plant cohabitate Ecuador’s mountains, rainforests, and shores. Among such a range of wildlife and fauna, Charles Darwin was inspired to spark his revolutionary theory of evolution 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.




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
   Hilton Colon Quito Hotel
  Quito, Ecuador 2 nights
   El Monasterio de Cusin
  Otavalo, Ecuador 2 nights
   Tip Top III
  Galapagos Islands, Ecuador 7 nights
   Hotel Rincon de Puembo
  Quito, Ecuador 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

 El Monasterio de Cusin
Type: Hotel
  Description: This charming hotel is housed in a restored 17th century Andean estate. The equatorial line and snowcapped Cayambe Mountains are only 30 minutes away. Winding cobblestone pathways, fountain courtyards, and perennial gardens offer inviting spaces where guests can relax and enjoy the fresh mountain air.
  Contact info: P.O. Box # 123
Otavalo - Imbabura
San Pablo del Lago, Imbabura,   Ecuador
phone: +593-6-2918013/17
web: www.elmonasteriodecusin.com
  Room amenities: Rooms have wood-beamed ceilings and log burning Kiva fireplaces, and are decorated with Andean crafts. Private bathrooms have thick cotton towels and hairdryers. Hot water bottles on request.
  Facility amenities: Horseback riding, stables with arena, mountain biking, an internet cafe, basketball, squash and volleyball courts, a game room for pool, table-tennis and darts, and two television viewing rooms with an extensive and highly selective video library. 24 hour laundry service is available.
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 Tip Top III
Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: Twin main engines, twin electric generators, twin Radars, Eco-sounders and GPS, Reverse Osmosis Water Maker, coastguard required safety equipment and twelve knot cruising speed.
  Ship Information: The Tip Top III is a First Class Steel-hulled Motor Yacht built in Guayaquil/Ecuador in 2001. Dimensions: 100 feet of length, 22 feet of beam and a 5 feet Draft.
  Contact info: 000
Galapagos,   Ecuador
phone: +0000000000
web: www.rwittmer.com
  Room amenities: All cabins have private bathrooms, porthole or window, and a/c.
  Facility amenities: The Tip Top III accommodates up to 16 guests in 10 cabins, each with private bathroom. The Upper Deck features four cabins with one double lower berth and one single lower berth. Cabins, Bar, dining room and lounge are fully carpeted. A beautiful teak floored sun deck creates a delightful place for resting and relaxing on board.
  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,  00000 Ecuador
phone: +593-22391106
web: http://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 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 Mariscal Sucre International Airport, 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 services are available at the airport. If transferring to/from the airport by taxi, please be sure to 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 available outside the arrivals hall at the Quito International Airport and are payable in dollars (Ecuador's currency is the U.S. dollar).
  From End of Program
  Location: Quito
  Transportation from site: Taxi services are available for the transfer from the hotel to the airport. Please ask the front desk for assistance.
    (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.
(Monday, May 26)

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



   
 Arrive To: Arrive at Quito's Mariscal Sucre 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: Hilton Colon Quito Hotel

Day 2: Quito –
City Excursion to Colonial Quito.

(Tuesday, May 27)
   
 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.
 Afternoon: After lunch, return to the hotel for the rest of the afternoon to relax.

Lecture: Ecuador; Ten Thousand years of History by Diego Quiroga PHD. A review of the most important events in Ecuador's history and its influence in today's' political and social situation.

 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hilton Colon Quito Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Otavalo -
Exploring Ecuador's Highlands
Discover the Otavalo Indigenous Culture.

(Wednesday, May 28)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hacienda.
 Morning: This morning we make our way to the province of Imbabura, also known as the Lakes Province, due to its numerous aquatic formations.

Depart early in the morning to visit a private hacienda dating back from the republican times for a country style breakfast. Here you will receive an introduction to one of the major economic activities in Ecuador, the floral industry. Learn about Ecuadorian roses, known worldwide for their beauty and fine quality.

Continue to the town of Otavalo to meet the Kichua-Otavalos, an indigenous group known for their fine textiles and tapestries.
 Lunch: Lunch with local family.
 Afternoon: After lunch return to the hotel for free time to relax.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
   
Accommodations: El Monasterio de Cusin
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Otavalo -
Train ride through Andean landscapes and sugarcane plantations
Meet Afro Ecuadorian community.

(Thursday, May 29)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast a the hotel.
 Morning: This morning we board a locomotive taking us through the natural landscapes formed by mountains and sugarcane plantations.

Arrive to the town of Salinas to meet the Afro-Ecuadorian community. Learn about the history of their ancestors who were brought as slaves during the colonial period and their struggles and liberation.

 Lunch: Have lunch at local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Visit a local handicraft project with an inspiring story of success and over coming adversity.

 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: El Monasterio de Cusin
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Galapagos -
Flight to Galapagos.
Baltra and Santa Cruz (Bachas Beach)

(Friday, May 30)

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



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to the airport.
Flight to Baltra Island, Galápagos (44 lb weight limit for checked luggage, please pack accordingly).

**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 snack served on the flight.
 Afternoon: Arrive to Baltra Island.

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

Transfer to pier to board yacht.
Welcome orientation and light snack.

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

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

Optional swimming and snorkeling. The yacht also has 2 kayaks that may be utilized during this time which are on a first come, first serve basis.

Return to the yacht.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard and welcome cocktail with the crew.
 Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: Tip Top III
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Galapagos -
Santiago and Bartolomé islands

(Saturday, May 31)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Field trip: Wet landing on the white sand beach in Sullivan Bay, Santiago Island. Enjoy a walking exploration of the lava flows to observe and learn about the island's fascinating geological features.

A volcanic eruption that took place on Santiago Island in the early 1900’s formed huge lava flows in the area that is now Sullivan Bay. As the lava cooled off, it solidified into a black sheet of interesting shapes and textures that made their way to the sea. The rope-like lava seen on this island is called pahoehoe lava. Other interesting formations include lava bubbles and tree shapes; ghosts of Santiago’s past. Few plant species have been able to root in this harsh environment.

Optional swimming and snorkeling.

Return to the yacht.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: Dry landing on Bartolomé for a hiking field trip up a dormant volcano with a site lecture. View volcanic formations such as lava bombs, spatter, and cinder cones. From the summit, we will be able to enjoy post card views of Pinnacle Rock and nearby islands.

Pinnacle Rock, the "Guardian of the Isles" rises sharply from the coast of Bartolomé. 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. After spending part of the year in the cooler waters off of Isabela and Fernandina, the penguins return in August in order to prepare for courtship in September.

Optional swimming and snorkeling.

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

Day 7: Galapagos -
Genovesa Island (Darwin's Bay & Prince Phillip's Steps)

(Sunday, June 1)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Field trip to Prince Phillip's Steps, Genovesa Island for bird watching and site lecture.

Prince Phillip's Steps is a trail which leads up a steep rock staircase through squadrons of Frigatebirds and Red-billed Tropicbirds. 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. Along the beaches and rocky alcoves, sea lions are the main stars. Females give birth in August and by September, while still nursing their pups, begin searching for new mates. During this time, visitors should be particularly mindful of aggressive males fighting for territory and females protecting their young (pupping continues through November).

Optional swimming, snorkeling and sea kayaking.

Return to the yacht.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: Wet landing in Darwin's Bay, Genovesa Island.

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

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

Optional swimming and snorkeling.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
 Evening: Orientation of next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: Tip Top III
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Galapagos -
Santiago (Puerto Egas/James Bay & Buccaneer Cove)

(Monday, June 2)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Field trip to Puerto Egas, Santiago Island.

Also called San Salvador, this island is the fourth largest in the Galapagos. Puerto Egas, located on James Bay on the western side of the island, has black volcanic formations that provide shelter to a number of creatures. Here you will see marine iguanas sunning themselves on the rocks while sea birds fly overhead in search of food. Brightly colored Sally Lightfoot crabs live in the rock crevices and tide pools; a sharp contrast to the black lava formations they call home. Galápagos fur seals enjoy the inlets along the western shoreline and have been known to swim with visitors from time to time.

Optional swimming and snorkeling and sea kayaking

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

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

Optional swimming and snorkeling.

Later in the afternoon visit the Minas de Sal (Salt Mines) located northwest of Santiago Island.

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

Day 9: Galapagos -
Isabela & Fernandina Islands (Punta Vicente Roca & Punta Espinoza)

(Tuesday, June 3)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Excursion: Panga ride to Punta Vicente Roca, Isabela Island in search of seabirds and marine life.

As cold currents flow around the northwestern tip of Isabela, food-rich waters are brought closer to the surface, attracting all sorts of marine life and birds. Punta Vicente Roca's coves, rich marine life, and well protected bay have turned this into a prized diving location in the islands. Flightless Cormorants, Masked Boobies and Blue-footed Boobies can be seen along the cliffs and the water's edge.

Optional swimming and snorkeling.

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

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

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

Day 10: Galapagos -
Isabela Island (Tagus Cove & Elizabeth Bay)

(Wednesday, June 4)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Wet landing on Urbina Bay. Search for resident wildlife and observe the remains of a coral reef on land during a walk along the bay.

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

Optional swimming and snorkeling.

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

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

Optional swimming and snorkeling.

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

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

 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
 Evening: Orientation of next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: Tip Top III
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Galapagos -
Isabela Island (Volcan Chico, Breeding Center & Poza de las Tintoreras)

(Thursday, June 5)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Dry landing on Isabela Island for a field trip to Las Tintoreras, located 10 minutes south of Puerto Villamil.

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

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

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

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

On the way back to the yacht, visit the wetlands or Humedales. Study the flora of this unique ecosystem and look for shorebirds and waders. The lagoons attract many migrant birds--making this site one of the best water-bird areas in the islands. Also nearby is the Wall of Tears, a historically important location where prisoners built a wall with lava blocks as punishment.

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

Day 12: Galapagos -
Santa Cruz Island.
Flight to Quito.

(Friday, June 6)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Morning instruction for the return to Quito. Transfer to the airport on Baltra Island to catch a flight to Quito.
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 Lunch: Light lunch served on the flight.
 Afternoon: Arrive to Quito.
Transfer to the hotel.

 Dinner: Farewell dinner at the hotel.
 Evening: Depending on the international carrier used, participants will either check-out of the hotel and transfer to the international airport for a late night/early morning flight or spend the night at the hotel and depart early the next morning.

Participants who depart on the evening of Day 10 will not miss any program activities.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Rincon de Puembo
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Depart from Quito.
Arrive to the USA.

(Saturday, June 7)
   
 Depart From: Transfer to Quito's Mariscal Sucre International Airport 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.
 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 Jacks


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





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