Road Scholar : Home
The Galapagos: Natural and Cultural History

Program Number: 6043RJ
Start and End Dates:
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: $3,999.00 - 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. There are two different vessels offered for this program. The Galaven (lower price point) is an expedition-style vessel and holds 20 passengers—comfortable, well-priced but without extra frills. The Seaman Journey (higher price point) is recommended for participants who want an affordable, small group experience with an extra layer of comfort. It features larger cabins and holds only 16 passengers.



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.



Galaven

The Galaven is an 88 ft. expedition yacht equipped to carry up to 20 passengers in 11 air conditioned cabins. She was built in 2000 has spacious outdoor seating areas, dining room, and library with audiovisual equipment for onboard presentations. All cabins are air conditioned and have private bathrooms and ocean views.



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

Franklin Guaranda was born in the Santa Elena province on Ecuador’s mainland. In 1992, he moved to the Galapagos Islands. After high school, Franklin began his studies through the Galapagos National Park and in partnership with the Charles Darwin Research Station and San Francisco University of Quito to become a Licensed Galapagos Naturalist Guide. Since then, he has worked with visitors from all over the world sharing his knowledge of Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands. Franklin is the father of a young daughter and loves spending time with his family. In his free time, he also enjoys swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, tennis and photography.
 
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
   Galaven
  Galapagos Islands, Ecuador 7 nights
   Hosteria Rincon de Puembo
  Quito, Ecuador 1 night
 Hilton Colon Quito Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: Just 20 minutes from Mariscal Sucre International Airport, the Hilton Colon Quito hotel is 10 minutes' walk from the colonial Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Relax in our Fitness Center & Spa, complete with outdoor heated pool. Choose from 5 dining experiences, including gourmet Mediterranean at Portofino and Japanese at Kioto.... more Just 20 minutes from Mariscal Sucre International Airport, the Hilton Colon Quito hotel is 10 minutes' walk from the colonial Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Relax in our Fitness Center & Spa, complete with outdoor heated pool. Choose from 5 dining experiences, including gourmet Mediterranean at Portofino and Japanese at Kioto. All Hilton Colon Quito hotel rooms have wireless internet access. Choose a Suite for mountain views or an Executive Room for Executive Lounge access. In the business district, 5 miles from the airport, the hotel has 15 meeting rooms for up to 700, an Executive Lounge and wireless internet access throughout. The Hilton Colon Quito hotel enjoys spectacular views of the city. Enjoy the fitness center and spa treatments then relax with a massage. Have a flutter at our late-night casino.
  Contact info: Amazonas N 1914 Y Patria Avenida 1
Quito,   Ecuador
phone: +593-2-2560666
web: www.hilton.com
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Please call for pricing .
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 Galaven
Type: Other
  Description: The Galaven is an 88 ft. expedition yacht equiped to carry up to 20 passengers in 11 air conditioned cabins.
  Ship Information: Year built:2000 Length: 88 ft Beam: 22 ft Draft: 6 ft Gross tonage: 171 tons Capacity: 20 passengers Crew: Captain, 2 bilingual naturalist guides, and 8 other crew members Safety & navigation: GPS, sonar, naval radars, fire detection and prevention systems, and life vests.
  Contact info: 265 Foch Street and 6 de Diciembre. 3rd floor. Sonelsa Tower.
Quito,   Ecuador
phone: +593-2-2524438
web: www.galavengalapagos.com
  Room amenities: All cabins are air conditioned and have private bathrooms. Biodegradable shampoo and soap is provided in each cabin.
  Facility amenities: Outdoor seating areas, dining room, and library with audiovisual equipment for onboard presentations. Snorkeling equipment (e.g., mask, snorkel, and fins) is provided as part of the cruise. Wetsuits can be rented for the duration of the cruise and payment is due in full (cash) upon boarding the yacht. Prices range from $35-$70 depending on the length of your cruise. The yacht has a limited selection of suits and these are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Please contact the program provider at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com if you require a petite or XL size in order to verify 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

 Hosteria Rincon de Puembo
Type: Hotel
  Description: The hotel is located conveniently near the Quito international airport in the beautiful village of Puembo.
  Contact info: Manuel Burbano N6-66 y Francisco Ruiz
Puembo,  00000 Ecuador
phone: +593-2-2391106
web: www.rincondepuembo.com/en/
  Room amenities: Air conditioning, iron/ironing board, hair dryer, telephone, Wi-Fi, and cable TV.
  Facility amenities: Restaurants, large gardens, heated pool, sauna, Jacuzzi, gym
, business center, Wi-Fi, laundry service, room service, a chapel, and a TV and reading room. The hotel also provides a number of entertainment options such as: billiards, table football, karaoke room, and soccer, basketball, and volleyball courts.
  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 Hilton Colon 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 Hosteria 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. Participants who wish to hire a taxi, can do so at the Airport Taxi Service booth located after clearing Customs. Please stop at the booth and stop at the booth and let the representative know that you need a taxi to take you to your hotel (give hotel name) in Quito. The representative will give you a ticket that notes your destination and fare, from there you will exit the airport and look for a taxi service representative wearing an official airport badge who will direct you to the next available taxi. The driver will assist you with your luggage, collect your ticket, and drive you to your hotel. The taxis are not metered; the fare is a set rate, calculated based on your final destination. Payment to the driver must be made in US dollars, cash, and tipping is optional. Ecuador’s currency is the US 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.
(Sunday, November 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: Hilton Colon Quito Hotel

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

(Monday, November 24)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Orientation to the program.

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. 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.

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.
 Evening: Time at leisure. Get a good night's rest in preparation for a full day tomorrow.
   
Accommodations: Hilton Colon Quito Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Galapagos -
Flight to San Cristobal Island/Board Yacht/Puerto Chino or Galapaguera.

(Tuesday, November 25)

Note: Puerto Chino or Jacinto Gordillo Breeding Center: Dry landing, moderate to difficult trail conditions due to rocky, uneven terrain.



   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to the airport.
Flight to San Cristobal, Galápagos (44 lb weight limit for checked luggage, please pack accordingly). Participants will have the option to store excess luggage in Quito for the duration of the cruise. The extra luggage will be collected from participants on the day the group flies to the Galapagos Islands. After taking participants to the airport, the Road Scholar driver will drop off the extra luggage at the last program hotel so that it can be safely stored until the group returns from the 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 the Galápagos Islands, proceed through Immigration. Have your passport ready at the immigration counter before proceeding to baggage claim. 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.

Our first activity in the Galapagos will be a visit to Puerto Chino or Jacinto Gordillo Breeding Center on San Cristobal Island.

Puerto Chino is located approximately 15 miles from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. A trail leads from the coast, across an attractive white sand beach, and further inland. The full trail usually takes approximately 5 hours to complete. In addition to being a good location from which to observe marine birds, this visitor's site is one of the few places where one can spot the Calandrinia galapagosa and the Lecocarpus leptolobus--two endangered flowering plants native to the islands.

The Jacinto Gordillo Breeding Center was inaugurated in 2004 and is located in the northeastern section of the island. The center was established to help protect and restore the endemic tortoise populations. Tortoises are bred in captivity and then later returned to their natural habitats once they reach a certain level of maturity. Here, visitors have the opportunity to view tortoises at various stages of development before they are released back into the wild.

Opportunity for swimming and snorkeling.

Return to the yacht.

*Please note: Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are always subject to change by the Galapagos National Park. Itineraries are not guaranteed.
 Dinner: On board the yacht.
 Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: Galaven
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Galapagos -
Santa Fe Island and South Plaza Island.

(Wednesday, November 26)

Note: Santa Fe Island: Dry landing, moderate trail conditions due to uneven, rocky terrain. South Plaza Island: Dry landing, moderate trail conditions due to uneven, rocky terrain.



   
 Breakfast: On board the yacht.
 Morning: Dry landing on Santa Fe Island.

Santa Fe is located southeast of Santa Cruz and has some of the tallest stands of opuntia cacti in the Galapagos. Some have been reported to grow as high as 33 feet! A trail into the highlands of Santa Fe Island leads visitors to the only place in the archipelago where the illusive Santa Fe land iguana can be found.

Return to the yacht.
 Lunch: On board the yacht.
 Afternoon: Dry landing at South Plaza Island.

South Plaza is the larger of two islands located off the east coast of Santa Cruz. A dry landing on a jetty will lead us to a cactus forest where we will take a close look at land iguanas and their habitat before contiuing our hike in search of local sea lion colonies. Sea lions usually give birth from August - November and females begin mating within weeks of having their young.

This small island is known as a great place to watch seabirds in flight. A walk along the cliff top provides perfect views of Red-billed Tropicbirds, frigatebirds, pelicans, Swallow-tailed Gulls, and other pelagic species.

Return to the yacht.
 Dinner: On board the yacht.
 Evening: Orientation of next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: Galaven
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Galapagos -
Santa Cruz Island (Charles Darwin Research Station and Los Gemelos).

(Thursday, November 27)

Note: Fausto Llerena Breeding Center: Dry landing, easy trail conditions. Los Gemelos: Transfer by bus to the highlands, easy to moderate trail conditions due to uneven terrain.



   
 Breakfast: On board the yacht.
 Morning: Dry Landing on Santa Cruz Island for a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station followed by a brief field trip to Los Gemelos ("The Twins") craters in the highlands of Santa Cruz.

Disembark early for a visit to the famous Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS), a biological research station operated by the Charles Darwin Foundation. The objective of the CDRS is to conduct scientific research and environmental education for conservation. The Station has a team of over a hundred scientists, educators, volunteers, research students and support staff from all over the world. At the CDRS you will be able to observe giant tortoises at all stages of growth, from a few days to close to one hundred years old!

Return to the yacht.
 Lunch: On board the yacht.
 Afternoon: After lunch, enjoy a field trip into the highlands of Santa Cruz Island to view Los Gemelos ("The Twins") craters.

The twin craters found in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island are actually large sinkholes--not volcanic formations. They were created as a result of the collapse, or the sinking, of surface materials into cracks. The surrounding Scalesia forest is a great place to view vegetation that is unique to this island and search for land birds. Wild giant tortoises begin nesting from June to August. Their eggs begin to hatch with the arrival of the warmer season (December-April).

Return to the yacht.
 Dinner: On board the yacht.
 Evening: Orientation of next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: Galaven
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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

(Friday, November 28)

Note: Sierra Negra: The hike to the volcano lookout point can be very challenging due to the trail's incline and oftentimes muddy conditions. Misty and/or rainy weather is the norm at this site, so dress accordingly.



   
 Breakfast: On board 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: On board 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.

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

Day 7: Galapagos -
Isabela Island (Moreno Point and Urbina Bay).

(Saturday, November 29)

Note: Punta Moreno: Moderate to difficult hike on sharp, accordion-like Pahoehoe lava. Wear comfortable tennis shoes with good ankle support. Please take steps to remain hydrated during this hike as the black lava absorbs and radiates the heat from the sun. Urbina Bay: Strong waves can make disembarkation tricky at this site. Use a zip-lock bag to protect cameras and binoculars from splashes during the wet landing. Please take steps to remain hydrated during this approximately 2-mile hike.



   
 Breakfast: On board the yacht.
 Morning: Dry landing at Moreno Bay on Isabela Island. A hike to tide pools and a dinghy ride along the island's rocky shores will highlight some of the island's diverse marine and bird life.

Optional swimming and snorkeling activities.

Return to the yacht.
 Lunch: On board the yacht.
 Afternoon: Wet landing at Urbina Bay on Isabela Island and walking field trip.

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.

In February, the Galápagos Penguins that live most of the year on Bartolomé migrate to the cooler waters around Isabela and Fernandina. In July, whales and dolphin can often be spotted off Isabela's western coast.

Optional swimming and snorkeling.

Return to the yacht.
 Dinner: On board the yacht.
 Evening: Orientation of next day's activities and lecture.
   
Accommodations: Galaven
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Galapagos -
Fernandina Island (Punta Espinoza) and Isabela Island (Punta Vicente Roca).

(Sunday, November 30)

Note: Punta Espinoza: dry landing, moderate trail conditions due to slippery rocks at low tide and uneven terrain. Punta Vicente Roca: no landing.



   
 Breakfast: On board the yacht.
 Morning: Dry landing at Punta Espinoza on Fernandina Island.

Field trip to Punta Espinoza to see the biggest marine iguanas mingling with Sally lightfoot crabs, Galapagos Penguins (starting in February), Galapagos Hawks, sea lions and Flightless Cormorants. In January and February look for brightly colored marine iguanas as they go through courtship rituals. Nesting begins in March. Travelers visiting the island around July might catch a glimpse of Flightless Cormorants exhibiting courtship and nesting behaviour.

During land explorations among the flora and volcanic formations, look for brachycereus cactus, pa-hoe-hoe lava and AA lava formations.

Return to the yacht.
 Lunch: On board the yacht.
 Afternoon: Navigate to the coves at Punta Vicente Roca, Isabela Island.

Take a dinghy ride to the marine site of Punta Vicente Roca to observe sea lions, marine iguanas, Blue-footed and Masked Boobies, and Flightless Cormorants.

Optional swimming and snorkeling.

Return to the yacht.
 Dinner: On board the yacht.
 Evening: Orientation of next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: Galaven
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Galapagos -
Santiago Island (Playa Espumilla) and Bartolome Island.

(Monday, December 1)

Note: Espumilla Beach: wet landing, easy trail conditions. Bartolome Island: dry and wet landings, moderate to difficult trail conditions due to a long walkway of 375 wooden steps rising 374 ft. (114 meters) up to the lookout point.



   
 Breakfast: On board 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. In January, under cover of night, green sea turtles cautiously make their way ashore to nest. The eggs begin to hatch aorund April and May and infant turtles begin their perilous journey from nest to sea.

Optional swimming and snorkeling activities.

Return to the yacht.
 Lunch: On board the yacht.
 Afternoon: Dry or wet landing on Bartolome Island for a hiking field trip up a dormant volcano.

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. During part of the year, they leave the island in search of cooler waters found around Fernandina and Isabela. Once the penguins return to Bartolome in August, they waste no time in getting ready for romance. By September they can be observed going through courtship rituals.

On Bartolome Island we will be able to view volcanic formations such as lava bombs, spatter, and cinder cones. Hike to the summit (375 wooden steps) 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.

Optional swimming and snorkeling activities.

Return to the yacht.
 Dinner: On board the yacht.
 Evening: Orientation of next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: Galaven
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Galapagos and Quito-
Daphne Island and Baltra Island/Flight to Quito.

(Tuesday, December 2)
   
 Breakfast: On board the yacht.
 Morning: Wet or dry landing (dependent on the tide) on Daphne Island, located off the coast of Santa Cruz.

The Daphne Islands can be found north of Santa Cruz Island and west of Seymour and Baltra. The larger of the two, Daphne Major, has retained its distinctive volcanic shape (tuff cone). It has a visitor landing site and a steep trail that leads to the top of the cone where Blue-footed Boobies and Masked Boobies like to nest. Red-billed Tropicbirds can be seen nesting in the rocky island walls.

Return to the yacht for a farewell snack.

Sail to Baltra Island and transfer to the airport to catch a flight to Quito.
 Lunch: Light snack served on the flight.
 Afternoon: Late afternoon arrival in Quito.
Transfer to the hotel.

Time at leisure to finish packing or relax before joining the rest of the group for dinner.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at the hotel.
 Evening: Enjoy your last evening in Ecuador at your leisure, among your new Road Scholar friends.
   
Accommodations: Hosteria Rincon de Puembo
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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

(Wednesday, December 3)
   
 Depart From: Transfer to the 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, 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



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.





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


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



Specifically, this program includes:

Plus these special experiences...

View the Daily Schedule to see more

And included with all Road Scholar programs:


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