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

Program Number: 18484RJ
Start and End Dates:
11/20/2014 - 12/6/2014; 12/4/2014 - 12/20/2014; 12/17/2014 - 1/2/2015; 1/16/2015 - 2/1/2015; 2/6/2015 - 2/22/2015; 2/20/2015 - 3/8/2015; 3/6/2015 - 3/22/2015; 3/20/2015 - 4/5/2015; 4/10/2015 - 4/26/2015; 4/17/2015 - 5/3/2015; 4/24/2015 - 5/10/2015; 5/1/2015 - 5/17/2015; 5/8/2015 - 5/24/2015; 5/22/2015 - 6/7/2015; 6/5/2015 - 6/21/2015; 7/17/2015 - 8/2/2015; 8/14/2015 - 8/30/2015; 9/25/2015 - 10/11/2015; 10/2/2015 - 10/18/2015; 10/16/2015 - 11/1/2015; 10/23/2015 - 11/8/2015; 10/30/2015 - 11/15/2015; 11/6/2015 - 11/22/2015; 11/20/2015 - 12/6/2015; 12/4/2015 - 12/20/2015; 12/11/2015 - 12/27/2015; 12/18/2015 - 1/3/2016;
Duration: 16 nights
Location: Galapagos Islands/Ecuador/Peru
Price starting at: $6,599.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Small Ship Cruising Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 42; 16 Breakfasts, 15 Lunches, 11 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Salt; Low Fat; Gluten Free    

Few other places inspire such wonder and awe as the Galápagos Islands and the Incan Lost City of Machu Picchu. Experience both of these destinations, as well as the UNESCO World Heritage site of Quito in an intimate group setting that allows for optimal time to learn from Road Scholar's acclaimed experts.




Activity Particulars

Quito, Ecuador has an elevation between 9,350 ft and 9,500 ft. Some participants find it helpful to fly into the city a day early in order to have extra time to rest and acclimate to the altitude. It also gives participants an extra day to catch-up to the program if there are unexpected travel delays—especially during busy travel seasons and times of year when bad weather is expected.

Wet and dry landings involve transferring in potentially rough waters from the yacht into a zodiac and stepping into either knee-deep water or onto rocky shores. Daily walks on sharp volcanic rocks and loose stones add another level of difficulty. Please view the Galápagos video "Galapagos Fitness Information - What to Expect" in preparation for your program activities: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U93d0TxTOQA&feature=youtu.be



Due to the remote nature of the islands, listening devices are not available for the Galapagos Islands portion of the program.



Itinerary At-a-Glance

Quito (Ecuador), 2 nights; aboard vessel, 7 nights; Lima, 1 night; Sacred Valley (Peru), 2 nights; Machu Picchu, 1 night; Cusco, 2 nights; Lima, 1 night.



Days 1-2: Arrival Quito (Ecuador)

Discover the pre-Columbian and colonial heritage of Quito.
Lodging: Comfortable hotel.



Days 3-9: Flight to Galápagos Islands / embark vessel:

Sail from island to island to view the amazing biodiversity and rare species found only in these islands. Look for sea lions and flamingos, observe a colony of the famous land iguanas and learn about the endearing Galápagos Penguin. Observe giant tortoises in their natural habitat and learn about a tortoise breeding project. Don a snorkeling mask to look for sea turtles, rays and a variety of colorful fish below the surface.



Days 10-13: Flight to Lima via Guayaquil / flight to Cusco / coach to Sacred Valley / train and coach to Machu Picchu:

Journey to Peru, where you’ll ride through the Sacred Valley into the clouds of Peru’s Andes Mountains to discover Machu Picchu. With an expert, walk the ruins and discuss the spiritual and mystical significance of the ancient sites.
Lodging: Country lodge in Yucay; comfortable hotel near Machu Picchu.



Days 14-17: Train and coach to Cusco / flight to Lima / departure:

Delve deeper into the story of the Inca Empire as you explore the walled complex of Sacsayhuaman and the Inca capital of Cusco. Lodging: Comfortable hotels.





Yolita II

The Yolita II is a 114-foot, expedition-sized vessel that can accommodate 16 passengers in 10 cabins. Public areas include a dining room, common room, bar and sun deck. Single cabins have one bed, a porthole, and are located on the bottom deck.


Accommodations
Comfortable, centrally located hotels, selected to allow optimal access to surrounding areas. Rooms in Peru may seem smaller than expected. The Yolita II and the Tip Top III can carry up to 16 passengers and the Galaven I can carry up to 20 passengers. Each yacht has air-conditioned cabins with private baths.

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

Dr. Diego Quiroga received his B.A. from U.C. Berkeley and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign. Dr. Quiroga is an expert in the fields of medical anthropology, human ecology, and marine conservation and fisheries. He teaches at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (U.S.F.Q.) and also serves as the vice president for external and student affairs. Research projects led him to travel to the Galápagos Islands, where he has worked with fishermen and other local professionals to understand how they interact with the environment. While in the Galápagos, he began writing about the history of scientists and other people who have visited the archipelago. As a member of the national swimming team he represented Ecuador in the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow.
 
Fredy Vargas Castillo

Fredy Vargas Castillo grew up in the Galapagos and received his college degree from Quito University. He began working with scientists at the Charles Darwin Research Station, and it was during this time that he developed his interest in wildlife. Fredy then decided to take the naturalist course given by the Galapagos National Park in 1984, and has worked as a naturalist ever since. He currently resides in Guayaquil while his children attend college, and plans to return to Galapagos permanently one day.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Sheraton Quito Hotel
  Quito, Ecuador 2 nights
   Yolita II
  Galápagos Islands, Ecuador 7 nights
   Casa Andina Select
  Lima, Peru 1 night
   Posada del Inca - Yucay
  Yucay, Peru 2 nights
   El Mapi Hotel
  Machu Picchu, Peru 1 night
   Casa Andina Private Collection – Cusco
  Cusco, Peru 2 nights
   Casa Andina Select
  Lima, Peru 1 night
 Sheraton Quito Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Sheraton Quito Hotel is located in the capital'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 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: +593-2 2970002
web: www.starwoodhotels.com
  Room amenities: Private bathroom, hair dryer, air conditioning, coffee/tea maker, iron/ironing board, Internet access, mini bar, telephone, free newspaper, and cable TV.
  Facility amenities: Restaurants, 24-hr room service, complimentary WiFifi in public areas, fitness and spa facilities, laundry/valet service, tour desk, gift shop, florist, business center, and meeting rooms. The hotel offers airport transfer services for an additional cost. Guests can request this service by calling the hotel directly or by emailing guestservice@sheraton-quito.com. The hotel needs flight details in order to confirm the service.
  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

 Casa Andina Select
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Casa Andina Select hotel is located in Lima's trendy Miraflores neighborhood, within easy access to restaurants and local attractions. The newly constructed hotel has 155 rooms with modern installations and various amenities meant to satisfy the needs of both leisure and business travelers.
  Contact info: Calle Schell 452
Miraflores, Lima,   Peru
phone: +51-1-2139739
web: www.casa-andina.com
  Room amenities: Comfortable rooms with private baths, hair dryer, AC, safety deposit box, minibar, soundproof windows, direct dial phone, and cable TV.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, Spa, gym, sun terrace with Jacuzzi, conference rooms, business center, high-speed Wi-Fi Internet access, laundry service, valet service, currency exchange, 24 hr front desk, luggage storage, and souvenir shop.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: Subject to availability. Please contact the Program Coordinator, Holbrook Travel, at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com for information on availability and rates.

 Posada del Inca - Yucay
Type: Hotel
  Description: New: Former 18th century colonial style monastery surrounded by beautiful gardens.
  Contact info: Plaza Manco II de Yucay 123
Yucay,   Peru
phone: +518-420-1107
web: www.sonesta.com
  Room amenities: Heating, direct dial telephones, and in-room safe.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar, business center, meeting room, gift shop, and luggage storage.
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 El Mapi Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: Smart and contemporary are the defining elements of this hotel, amidst the commercial village of Machu Picchu Pueblo (Aguas Calientes). The newly remodeled El MaPi (formerly Machu Picchu Inn) provides a wonderful location from which you can admire and interact with the quaint folksy town and get a different perspective.
  Ship Information: n/a
  Contact info: 109 Pachacutec Ave.
Machu Picchu Pueblo
Aguas Calientes,   Peru
phone: +51.84.211011
web: www.elmapihotel.com/
  Room amenities: •8 Superior Deluxe Rooms (30 sq.m./322 sq.ft.) - twin beds or king bed, sitting area and complimentary mini bar. •40 Superior Rooms (20 sq.m./215 sq.ft) – twin beds or king bed. Each room is equipped with blackout curtains, 100% cotton sheets, down duvets, hypoallergenic pillows, cotton bath robes, natural herbal amenities, 32" flat screen TVs and tight-focus reading lights.
  Facility amenities: Services Included: - Assistance between Machu Picchu train station and the Hotel - Luggage storage - Personalized Wake up calls - 24/7 reception - Nutritious Buffet breakfast - Welcome signature refreshing lemongrass lemonade - House blends Happy Hour Pisco Sours 5-7pm - DirecTv - Complimentary Wi fi - Turndown services between 6pm- 8pm (local seasonal fruit) - Self guided fern walk - Oxygen upon request - Check-in 1:00 p.m. / Check-out 11 a.m. - Express checkout - Hot Water Pool 6AM – 10PM: Open for adults and supervised children under 12 only. - Gift Shop 8AM – 8PM: The shop offers a wide selection of T-shirts, alpaca knits, outdoors gear and basic travel needs. - Computer Room Two desktop computers and printer available, open 24/7 with complimentary internet
  Smoking allowed: No

 Casa Andina Private Collection – Cusco
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Converted from a beautiful 18th century colonial house, with 5 stately courtyards, and featuring their restaurant "Alma" with creative, regional cuisine. The hotel is located 3 blocks away from Cusco’s main square.
  Contact info: Plazoleta de Limacpampa Chico 473
Cusco,   Peru
phone: +51-84-232610
web: www.casa-andina.com
  Room amenities: 100 rooms with heat, cable television, safe deposit box, direct-dial telephone, coffee making facility and private bathroom with hairdryer. Oxygen available upon request.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant and bar, Wi-Fi Internet access, PC with internet access, laundry service, room service, medical assistance and currency exchange.
  Smoking allowed: Yes


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 Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima, Peru. Hotel check-out by 11 a.m. You will be staying at Casa Andina Select the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
N/A
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: N/A
To Start of Program
  Location:  Quito
  Transportation to site: Taxi transportation is available at the international airport in Quito. Participants who wish to hire a taxi can do so at the Airport Taxi Services booth located after clearing Customs. Please stop at the booth and tell the representative that you need a taxi to take you to your hotel (give the 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 take 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. The new Mariscal Sucre International Airport is located approximately one hour from downtown Quito.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Lima
  Nearest airport:  Jorge Chaves Lima Callo International Airport
  Transportation from site: Taxi services are available for the transfer from the hotel to the airport. Please ask the hotel's front desk for assistance.
Elevation Note: Cusco, Peru at 11,000 ft/Chincheros, Peru at 12,330 ft

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: Arrivals in Quito, Ecuador.
(Friday, August 14)

Note: The new Mariscal Sucre International Airport is located approximately one hour from downtown Quito. To minimize your chances of experiencing altitude sickness, try to get plenty of rest before you travel, stay hydrated, avoid alcohol and fatty foods, eat high carbohydrate foods, and avoid strenuous exercise at high elevations.



   
 Arrive To: Arrive at the international airport in Quito, Ecuador.

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

Transfer to the hotel and check-in, followed by time at leisure.

Please note that this is an international travel day; no meals or program activities are scheduled on this day. Hotel check-in usually begins at 3PM.
   
Accommodations: Sheraton Quito Hotel

Day 2: Quito -
City Excursion and Field Trip to the Equator.

(Saturday, August 15)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at 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.

Visit El Panecillo for panoramic views of Quito.

Before the Spanish arrived, the hill known as El Panecillo (small bread roll) was used by the Inca for sun worshiping. In the early 1800s, the Spanish military took advantage of El Panecillo's strategic location and elevation (9,843 ft), and built a fortress to protect and monitor the city. In present times, the hill is the site of a city monument and lookout point where visitors can get 360° views of Quito. On clear days, it is even possible to spot Cotopaxi's snowy peak in the distance.

Enjoy a walking exploration of Quito's colonial center. Visit the Independence Square with an informative explanation of the Presidential and Bishop Palace, as well as the Cathedral. Visit La Compañía church, one of the most beautiful churches in Quito, legendary for its gold covered interior. Visit the historic San Francisco church and convent, raised up above a wide stone paved court originally known as "Tiangues," a place used by the indigenous inhabitants of Quito to trade products.
 Lunch: Lunch at local restaurant including an introduction to Ecuadorian food products and typical Ecuadorian cuisine.
 Afternoon: After lunch, we will leave Quito and travel in a northerly direction to visit the Museo Intinan located on the Equator line, near the Middle of the World complex.

The Intinan Museum has a permanent exposition that details the Andean cosmovision of Ecuador's ancestral cultures. Learn about the indigenous calendar and its accuracy. Visit an ancient home to find out about the way of life and traditions of indigenous people more than a century ago. Acquaint yourself with the important rituals of Amazonian tribes as you educate yourself about the cultures of Ecuador's Oriente region.

Lecture: The Past, Present, and Future of Ecuador.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
   
Accommodations: Sheraton Quito Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Galápagos Islands -
Flight to Baltra Island/Board Yacht/ North Seymour Island.

(Sunday, August 16)

Note: North Seymour: dry landing and moderate to difficult trail conditions due to volcanic, rocky terrain. 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: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to the airport for flight to the Galápagos Islands.
Depart for the Galápagos Islands.

 Lunch: Light snack on the flight.
 Afternoon: Arrive to Baltra Island.

Upon arrival, proceed through Immigration. Have your passport ready at the immigration counter before proceeding to baggage claim.


Board and set sail. Enjoy an orientation, safety drill and a light snack.

Dry landing on North Seymour Island.

North Seymour Island is conveniently located next to Baltra Island. North Seymour has a major nesting colony of Blue-footed Boobies and Magnificent Frigate Birds. During April-May the Blue-footed Boobies can be spotted performing their comical mating dance. Blue-footed boobies oftentimes nest very near the trails, giving visitors the opportunity to get a closer view during the walks. From August-November sea lions are giving birth and it is possible to view pups of all sizes. Just remember to stay at a safe distance as females tend to be very protective of their young. A walk near known iguana nesting sites offers a good opportunity to view marine iguanas and land iguanas.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
 Evening: Orientation to the next day’s activities.
   
Accommodations: Yolita II
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Galápagos Islands -
San Cristobal Island (Leon Dormido, Cerro Brujo and Isla Lobos).

(Monday, August 17)

Note: Leon Dormido: no landing. Cerro Brujo: wet landing and easy, flat trail conditions. Isla Lobos: dry landing and easy to moderate trail conditions.



   
 Breakfast: On board the yacht.
 Morning: This morning we will pay a visit to Leon Dormido for snorkeling activities. Also known as Kicker Rock, this is an excellent place to see schools of reef fish such as surgeonfish or angelfish, as well as hammerhead or Galápagos sharks. Possibly sight rays and turtles, also common in this area. Those who do not want to snorkel can remain on the boat.

Leon Dormido (aka Kicker Rock) is a vertical cone formation which rises almost 500 feet from the ocean. It has eroded to give it the shape seen as a shoe or a sleeping lion. You can usually see Blue-footed Boobies, Masked Boobies, and frigatebirds on its cliffs, as well as sea lions on its shores. Around March, male frigatebirds begin to prepare for courtship by inflating their iconic red pouches--hoping to capture the attention of an available female (mating season in April).

Later in the morning, navigate to nearby Cerro Brujo.

Cerro Brujo ("Wizard Hill") is one of the nicest white-sand beaches found in the islands. It is situated in a secluded spot on the western side of San Cristobal, with beautiful views of Leon Dormido standing proud in the distance. Visitors to this site can either walk along the beach trail in search of marine iguanas, sea lions, and colorful crabs, or enjoy swimming and snorkeling off the beach.
Optional swimming, snorkeling.

Retun to the yacht.
 Lunch: On board the yacht.
 Afternoon: Wet landing on Isla Lobos.

This small rocky island can be reached by boat, approximately one hour northeast of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, off the coast of San Cristobal Island. Its name in Spanish means "sea lion island" due to a large colony of sea lions that reside on the isle. Oftentimes, the loud and lively barks can be heard long before reaching the island. These vocal and playful mammals enjoy sunning themselves on the rocky outcroppings, providing visitors with a great opportunity to observe their social antics. In addition to sea lions, the island is also home to a colony of Blue-footed Boobies and a number of frigatebirds. This is also a good snorkeling site and a good place to possibly see manta rays and sea turtles.
 Dinner: On board the yacht.
 Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities and lecture.
   
Accommodations: Yolita II
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Galápagos Islands -
Espanola Island (Gardner Bay, Islote Osborn and Punta Suarez).

(Tuesday, August 18)

Note: Gardner Bay: wet landing and easy, sandy trail conditions. Punta Suarez: dry landing and difficult trail conditions due to rocky, uneven terrain.



   
 Breakfast: On board the yacht.
 Morning: Wet landing at Gardner Bay, Espanola Island.

This morning you will enjoy a beach walk, followed by a panga ride around Gardner and Osborn islets.

Espanola is the southernmost island in the Galapagos. It is best known as the nesting place of the rare Waved Albatross. The majestic birds begin courtship rituals in April, by May they are laying eggs, and in December the young fledge and leave the islands for a few months (return in March). Gardner Bay, on the northeastern tip of the island, has a beautiful white-sand beach where sea lions like to sun themselves. In January, green sea turtles come ashore during night hours to lay their eggs. Hatchlings begin their perilous journey from nest to sea around April and May.

There will be an opportunity for swimming and snorkeling. Try to spot marine species like the king angelfish, creole fish, damsel fish, parrot fish, manta rays, and white tipped reef sharks.

Optional swimming, snorkeling.

Return to the yacht.
 Lunch: On board the yacht.
 Afternoon: Afternoon field trip to Punta Suarez on Espanola Island.

Punta Suarez, on the western end of Espanola Island, is home to the Galapagos Hawk (courtship in August) and is also the best place to see the red form of the marine iguana. In January, marine iguanas adopt bright skin colors to try and attract mates. Also, look for mockingbirds, finches, and boobies. Learn about the lava terrain and cross the inactive lava fields.

Later, visit the famous blowhole, where water shoots 50-70 feet into the air.

Optional swimming, snorkeling.

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

Day 6: Galápagos Islands -
Santa Fe and South Plaza Island.

(Wednesday, August 19)

Note: Santa Fe: wet landing and moderate difficulty due to rocky, uneven trail conditions. South Plaza: dry landing and moderate difficulty due to slippery rocks and uneven trail conditions.



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

The island has one of the best locations for swimming with sea lions and is also a great place to catch a glimpse of white tipped reef sharks and sea turtles.

Field trip to cactus forest to see some of the tallest opuntia cacti in the archipelago, and search for a colony of Santa Fe Iguanas.

Return to the yacht.
 Lunch: On board the yacht.
 Afternoon: Dry landing on Santa Cruz Island and walking exploration of Dragon Hill.

Dragon Hill, Santa Cruz Island is one of the newest visitor sites accessible to tourists in the Galàpagos Islands. One of the lengthier Galàpagos walking trails will lead visitors along a beach and up a trail to the lagoon lookout, where bright flamingos, pintail ducks, and land iguanas can be spotted.

Optional swimming and snorkeling.

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

Day 7: Galápagos Islands -
Santa Cruz Island (Charles Darwin Research Station and Los Gemelos).

(Thursday, August 20)

Note: Santa Cruz Island: dry landing and easy to moderate trail conditions.



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

This morning, visit the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island to learn about conservation efforts throughout the islands.

The Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) is a biological research station operated by the Charles Darwin Foundation. The objective of the CDRS is to conduct scientific research and environmental education geared to conservation. The station has a large team of scientists, educators, volunteers, research students and support staff from all over the world. At the CDRS, visitors have the opportunity to observe giant tortoises at all stages of development, from a few days old to close to one-hundred years of age.

Return to the yacht.
 Lunch: On board the yacht.
 Afternoon: After lunch, enjoy a field trip into the highlands of Santa Cruz Island.

Giant tortoises can be spotted on the island at certain times of year and several species of Darwin's finches reside here. A dramatic change in vegetation zones can be seen as one travels into the highland region of the island.

Visit Cerro Chato and 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.

Return to the yacht.
Before dinner enjoy a lecture on Galápagos Islands.
 Dinner: On board the yacht.
 Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities and lecture.
   
Accommodations: Yolita II
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Galápagos Islands -
Floreana Island (Punta Cormorant, Devil's Crown, Post Office Bay and Mirador de la Baronesa).

(Friday, August 21)

Note: Punta Cormorant: wet landing and easy trail conditions. Post Office Bay: wet landing and easy trail conditions.



   
 Breakfast: On board the yacht.
 Morning: Wet landing on the greenish colored beach on Floreana.

Hike from the black mangrove beds to a lagoon. This large, brackish lagoon holds one of the largest flamingo (nesting in February) populations in the Galapagos. Floreana Island is best known for its endemic plant life like the Galapagos millwork, passion flower, and button mangrove.

Novice snorkelers can practice their skills on the main beach in the company of playful sea lions.

Take a dinghy ride along the coast to observe Blue-footed Boobies, sea lions, marine iguanas, and Swallow-tailed Gulls.

Later in the morning, snorkel or swim at Devil's Crown.

Devil's Crown is a shallow sunken crater that makes for one of the best snorkeling sites in the islands. The largely submerged volcano has clear blue waters and a variety of colorful fish. Sea lions are sometimes seen frolicking in the waters and seabirds nest in the crevaces. This site is only suggested for good swimmers as the currents can be very strong.

Return to the yacht.
 Lunch: On board the yacht.
 Afternoon: Afternoon excursion to Post Office Bay.

The infamous Post Office Bay can be found on the northern side of Floreana Island. This is the site where whalers used to "mail" their correspondence. A barrel was used as a mail box and held letters from sailors across the globe. If a passing ship was heading where the mail was addressed, the captain would collect and deliver it. Although the barrel is no longer the original one, the system still works since visitors continue to collect and drop off mail.

A short walk from the famous barrel will take us to a tunnel formed by laval flows.

Later in the afternoon, embark on a short dinghy ride followed by a dry landing. From the lookout point we will be able to enjoy great views of resident seabirds.

Mirador de la Baronesa is a basaltic tuff formation located in la Olla Bay, between Punta Cormorant and Post Office Bay. Boat rides along the formation provide great opportunities to spot golden eagle rays, sea turtles, mullets, Galapagos Penguins, and sea lions. The site earned its name from letters written by Baroness Eloisa Von Wagner describing the area.
 Dinner: On board the yacht.
 Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: Yolita II
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Galápagos Islands -
Santa Cruz Island (Bahia Ballena, Bahia Eden and Dragon Hill).

(Saturday, August 22)

Note: Bahia Ballena: easy. Bahia Eden: easy. Dragon Hill: dry landing and easy to moderate conditions due to rocky, uneven terrain.



   
 Breakfast: On board the yacht.
 Morning: Enjoy a visit to Bahia Ballena ("Whale Bay").

The cove of green sand is located at the base of Cerro Dragon ("Dragon Hill") on the west coast of Santa Cruz Island. The beach contains a large amount of olivine crystals, formed from volcanic materials, which give its sand a special greenish color.

Later in the morning, enjoy a chance to swim and snorkel at Bahia Eden.

Return to the yacht.
 Lunch: On board the yacht.
 Afternoon: Dry landing on Santa Cruz for a field trip to Cerro Dragon.

Walk to a saltwater lagoon which is occasionally visited by pink flamingoes. Hike up to Cerro Dragon for a beautiful view of the bay. This area has an interesting Scalesia forest and is the nesting site for numerous reintroduced land iguanas.

Optional swimming, snorkeling.
 Dinner: On board the yacht.
 Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: Yolita II
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Lima -
Santa Cruz Island (Black Turtle Cove)/Flight from Baltra Island to Guayaquil/Walk Along the Malecon/Flight to Lima.

(Sunday, August 23)

Note: Black Turtle Cove: no landing.



   
 Breakfast: Early breakfast on board the yacht.
 Morning: Excursion to Black Turtle Cove on Santa Cruz Island.

Take part in a quiet dinghy ride through the mangroves. During this activity, the motor will be turned off to allow close observation of marine turtles, white tipped reef sharks, yellow rays and other marine species.

Return to the yacht for a farewell snack.

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 on the flight.
 Afternoon: Arrive in Guayaquil, collect your luggage and meet the local Road Scholar representative outside the baggage claim area.

Flight times permitting, enjoy a short exploration of Guayaquil before checking-in for the flight to Peru. Your Road Scholar representative will assist you with your connecting flight.

Check-in for evening flight to Lima, Peru.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
Please note that depending on flight times, group might have an early dinner at Guayaquil. The Road Scholar representative will advise at the site.
 Evening: Upon arrival in Lima meet your Peruvian group leader.
Transfer to the hotel and check-in.
   
Accommodations: Casa Andina Select
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Sacred Valley -
Flight to Cusco and Transfer to the Sacred Valley/Introduction to the Inca Culture.

(Monday, August 24)

Note: There is a weight limit of 23 kg (approximately 50 lb) for checked luggage on the internal flights in Peru.



   
 Breakfast: Early breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Orientation to the program.

Brief Orientation through Lima.

The most important church in any town in Peru is usually called La Catedral (Cathedral). In the case of Lima, La Catedral is also the most important church in all of Peru. This beautiful colonial building in the Plaza de las Armas presumably houses the remains of Francisco Pizarro—whether the bones are authentic or not is a matter of conjecture.

Lima's historic Santo Domingo Church and Convent was built by the Dominican Order in 1540, on land donated by Francisco Pizzaro. Colorful tiles, stained glass windows, catacombs, religious relics, and attractive courtyards are just some of the attractions at this site. Santo Domingo is located at the intersection of Conde de Superunda and Camana Streets, just a block away from the Plaza de Armas in central Lima.
 Lunch: Box lunch en-route.
 Afternoon: Transfer to the airport for flight to Cusco. Upon arrival transfer to hotel in the Sacred Valley and check-in.

Lecture: Introduction to Inca Culture.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
   
Accommodations: Posada del Inca - Yucay
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Sacred Valley (Yucay) -
Chincheros Town and Ollantaytambo Ruins.

(Tuesday, August 25)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Excursion to Chincheros town including a visit to a weaving cooperative, where you will meet with locals and learn about traditional weaving styles and techniques.

Weaving is a way of life in Chincheros, as important for preserving ancient traditions as it is for earning a livelihood. Located in the Peruvian Andes on the Inca road between Cusco and Machu Picchu, Chincheros was an early Inca center built by emperor Tupa Inca as his country estate. During Inca reign, textiles were woven and offered to mark special occasions, from peace treaties and sacrifices to marriage ceremonies and puberty rites. In Chincheros, children grow up playing with their mother's spindle and loom. By age six or seven, most children learn to weave by watching their elders. They begin by weaving jakimas, or narrow ribbons, before moving on to more complicated pieces.

Visit to local farms.
Lecture: The Agriculture of the Incas.
 Lunch: Lunch at local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Stroll through the ruins at Ollantaytambo accompanied by a guide who will highlight the engineering genius of the Inca.

The Ollantaytambo Ruins are not ruins in the traditional sense. Ollantaytambo is a town with original buildings of Inca construction where the Inca retreated to make their last stand in the highlands against the Spanish. Running water still flows through the town in aqueducts. The terraces above the town still are farmed. The pinnacle above the town is a small burial ground.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
 Evening: Time at leisure.
   
Accommodations: Posada del Inca - Yucay
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes) –
Exploring a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

(Wednesday, August 26)

Note: There is a weight limit of 11 pounds for luggage on the Peru Rail transfer to Machu Picchu. Plan to pack an overnight bag for one night in the Machu Picchu area. Your bag must weigh no more than 11 pounds and measure no more than 62 inches /157 cm (length height width).



   
 Breakfast: Early breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Board a train to Aguas Calientes/Machu Picchu. The train ride follows the Urubamba River and offers spectacular views of the Andes.

Upon arrival, continue with a bus transfer to the Machu Picchu ruins.
 Lunch: Lunch at local restaurant near the ruins.
 Afternoon: Full afternoon guided field trip in and around Machu Picchu ruins.

This ancient Inca city was rediscovered in 1911 by Hiram Bingham, a Yale graduate and U.S. senator fascinated with Inca archaeology. Bingham found Machu Picchu, with the help of a local farmer who knew about the ruins, while searching for Vilcabamba and Vitcos. He hypothesized that the site was a "citadel," existing for strategic and defense purposes. He also speculated that the site was a refuge for Cusco's Virgins of the Sun, based upon the finding of skulls there, although not scientifically classified as female. Breakthroughs in archaeology since 1985 have, taken as a whole, supported the emerging view of Machu Picchu as a ceremonial and administrative center for a very populous region. Machu Picchu was built, flourished, and fell into demise within a period of 100 years.

Board the bus back to Aguas Calientes and transfer to hotel.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own for a chance to explore local fare.
   
Accommodations: El Mapi Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

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

(Thursday, August 27)

Note: Participants who plan to return to Machu Picchu this morning will need to purchase their entrance tickets in advance. Park tickets are not sold on site. Please contact the program coordinator at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com if you are interested in buying Machu Picchu entrance tickets.



   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Guided excursion around the town of Aguas Calientes. Visit the local market.

Participants who wish to revisit Machu Picchu are welcome to skip the town excursion and spend the morning at the ruins (at own expense--entrance fee is not included and tickets must be purchased in advance).
 Lunch: Lunch at hotel.
 Afternoon: Transfer to train station.
Board the early afternoon train to Ollantaytambo Station.

Arrive at the Ollantaytambo Station and board a bus for your transfer to Cusco.

Arrive in Cusco and check-in at hotel.

Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure to enjoy Cusco at your own pace.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own for a chance to explore local fare
   
Accommodations: Casa Andina Private Collection – Cusco
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 15: Cusco -
Sacsayhuaman Ruins and Introduction to Cusco.

(Friday, August 28)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Field trip to the Sacsayhuaman Ruins.

The fortress of Sacsayhuaman forms the head of the Puma design of old Cusco. It is a wonder of technical achievement and a testament to human will. It is a mystery how it was constructed, since the stones are not found in the region, and most of the blocks weigh more than a ton. The largest rock weighs more than 300 tons. Sacsayhuaman is constructed of huge polygonal blocks which interlock with one another. The stones are so precisely placed that a knife blade cannot be inserted between them.

Excursion through the city of Cusco.

The center of Cusco is a history lesson. Modern and colonial buildings are built on top of Inca foundations, and colonial churches dominate the central square.
 Lunch: Lunch at a café in the main plaza where you can enjoy the colonial architecture of the city.
 Afternoon: Afternoon at leisure.

Pre-dinner presentation by local expert on the history of Inca and Andean musical instruments.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own for a chance to explore local fare.
   
Accommodations: Casa Andina Private Collection – Cusco
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 16: Lima -
Presentation on Peruvian Cuisine.

(Saturday, August 29)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Morning flight from Cusco to Lima.

Arrive in Lima and meet your Road Scholar representative.

Transfer to local restaurant for a presentation on Peruvian cuisine by a local culinary expert.
 Lunch: Farewell lunch at local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Transfer to the hotel and check-in.

Free time. Spend your last evening in Peru with your new Road Scholar friends, finish your packing, or get a good night's sleep in preparation for international departures tomorrow.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own for one final chance to explore Lima's culinary delights.
 Evening: Depending on flight schedules, some participants will transfer to the airport this evening for a late night/early morning flight to the U.S.
   
Accommodations: Casa Andina Select
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 17: Depart from Lima/Flights to the U.S.
Arrive to the U.S.

(Sunday, August 30)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel (dependent on flight time).
 Morning: Transfer to the Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima 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.

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

Suggested Reading List


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.



South American Birds: A Photographic Aid to Identification


Author: John Stewart Dunning


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



Lonely Planet Phrasebooks: Latin American Spanish


Author: Roberto Esposto


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



Voyage of the Beagle


Author: Charles Darwin


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



Archaeological Map of Machu Picchu


Author: Wright Water Engineers


Description: Ken Wright's full color site plan shows monuments, topography and physical features of the Inca sanctuary in exquisite detail.



Ecuador Map


Author: Berndtson & Berndtson


Description: A detailed laminated map of Ecuador at a scale of 1:1,000,000, with detailed insets of Quito, Guayaquil, Galapagos and the Ecuadorian Amazon on the reverse.



Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, Travellers' Wildlife Guides


Author: David Pearson, Les Beletsky


Description: An excellent guide to Ecuador's wildlife, featuring concise descriptions and color illustrations of 500 frequently encountered reptiles and amphibians, birds, mammals and insects. The Galapagos Islands get a separate chapter and section of illustrations.



Ecuador in Focus, A Guide to the People, Politics, and Culture


Author: Wilma Roos, Omer van Renterghem


Description: This slim guide provides a lively overview of Ecuador’s history, cultural heritage and political, environmental and economic challenges.



Galapagos Islands Explorer Map


Author: Ocean Explorer Maps


Description: A detailed map of the Galapagos archipelago for the traveler at a scale of 1:400,000, including illustrated biographies of famous visitors, a brief wildlife guide with color photographs, a map of Darwin's route.



Galapagos Wildlife, A Visitor's Guide


Author: Bradt Travel Guides


Description: FIELD GUIDE: A compact guide to the birds, reptiles, insects, plants and marine life of the archipelago featuring a very good selection of large color photographs. Separate chapters cover visitor sites, history, conservation and habitats. The authors present key information on the flora, fauna and places in Galapagos for the traveler.



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.



Infinite Ecuador


Author: Sebastian Crespo


Description: The Andes, Amazon, Pacific, Galapagos, historic cities, remote villages and farms are all on display in this collection of photographs.



Insight Guide Peru


Author: Insight Guides


Description: Panoramic in scope, this illustrated overview brings Peru to life in hundreds of color photographs and vivid essays by a team of experts writing on history, archaeology and culture.



The Conquest of the Incas


Author: John Hemming


Description: This well-researched book provides a historical account of the 16th century Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire in Peru and neighboring countries. John Hemming is an anthropologist, writer, and explorer with an extensive travel background. He is also a member of the Royal Geographic Society.



The Incas and their Ancestors, The Archaeology of Peru


Author: Michael Moseley


Description: An outstanding illustrated survey of the archaeology of the Inca, Moche and Nasca civilizations. With hundreds of color illustrations and line drawings, it's an in-depth look at the ancient cultures and history of Peru. A great general introduction.



The Incas, People of the Sun


Author: Carmen Bernard, Paul Bahn (translator)


Description: Featuring hundreds of drawings and photographs, a chronology and long excerpts from the journals of early explorers, this is a colorful pocket encyclopedia of Inca history and archaeology.



The Last Days of the Incas


Author: Kim Macquarrie


Description: MacQuarrie tackles the personality, aspirations and greed of Francisco Pizarro in this vivid account of the conquest of a continent.





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