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Discovering the Galápagos Islands by Yacht

Program Number: 14812RJ
Start and End Dates:
12/5/2014 - 12/14/2014; 2/26/2015 - 3/7/2015; 3/26/2015 - 4/4/2015; 5/7/2015 - 5/16/2015; 5/21/2015 - 5/30/2015; 9/24/2015 - 10/3/2015; 11/5/2015 - 11/14/2015; 11/19/2015 - 11/28/2015; 12/3/2015 - 12/12/2015;
Duration: 9 nights
Location: Ecuador
Price starting at: $6,327.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Small Ship Cruising Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 21; 7 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 7 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Fat; Low Salt; Gluten Free    

Surround yourself with incredible natural beauty as you sail to the Galápagos Islands. Experience the famous biodiversity of these undisturbed islands as you encounter tortoises in the mossy highlands, dolphins leaping above the waves, shockingly bright-colored crabs and many more.




Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles per day on uneven, rocky and sandy surfaces. Climbing in and out of Zodiac boats. Optional snorkeling and swimming activities. The exact routing for our stops depends on the National Park Service and is determined by the Galapagos National Park Service and is subject to change during the program.



Please note that this programs runs in conjunction with #20974 which includes a pre-cruise land portion in Peru. 2014 program dates run on the National Geographic Endeavour. 2015 program dates run on the luxury expedition yacht La Pinta.



Itinerary At-a-Glance

Guayaquil (Ecuador), 1 night; aboard La Pinta luxury yacht, 7 nights San Cristobal, Espanola, Floreana, Santa Cruz Island, Bartolome & Santiago, Genovesa, Baltra.



Day 1: Arrival Guayaquil (Ecuador):

Lodging: Five-star hotel.



Flight to San Cristobal/ embark the ship:

San Cristobal is a wonderful introduction to the Galápagos. Wet landing on a green, olivine beach for a hike and spectacular scenery - tuff stone cliffs created by sea and wind. Zodiac rides along the coastline reveal blue-footed and red-footed boobies.



Day 3: Española Island:

Explore Española, home to Darwin’s finches, Hood Mockingbirds, and Blue-footed Boobies. See marine iguanas, which develop vivid green and red coloration from their food, coastal seaweed that blooms in iguana mating season.



Day 4: Floreana Island:

During an early morning hike at Punta Cormorant you’ll observe flamingos and shore birds, a turtle nesting beach and fascinating vegetation. Later, while at Champion Islet, you’ll snorkel among sea lions in clear waters, and then spend time looking for the endangered Charles mockingbird from our Zodiacs.



Day 5: Santa Cruz Island:

After landing on a black sandy beach, enjoy hikes against the backdrop of the youngest Galápagos volcanoes as we look for colorful endemic land iguanas. Later, snorkel in deep water among sea turtles, or kayak and take Zodiac rides in search of flightless cormorants and Galápagos penguins.



Day 6: Dragon Hill and Guy Fawkes/El Eden and Daphne Major (Santa Cruz Island):

Today you will hike through giant cactus and incense tree forests to reach Dragon Hill, the habitat of the colorful Santa Cruz land iguanas that have been brought back from the brink of extinction. Later you will have the opportunity to snorkel along the steep, invertebrate-coated walls of the islets of Guy Fawkes.



Day 7: Bartolomé and Santiago Islands:

On Bartolomé, discover enchanting landscape where lava, mangroves and golden sand converge. Search the pools and caverns of Santiago for Galápagos Fur Seals, sea lions, and Sally Lightfoot crabs.



Day 8: Genovesa Island:

On our last full day in the enchanted islands we visit Genovesa Island, the crown jewel of the archipelago.
The National Geographic Endeavour sails into the caldera of Genovesa, known as “bird island”, where you’ll enjoy hikes among nesting colonies of swallow-tailed gulls, frigate birds, red-footed and Nazca boobies all while keeping a look out for hunting short-eared owls.



Days 9-10: Disembark Baltra Island / flight to Guayaquil / departure:

Overnight flight back to the US.



La Pinta

Explore the Galapagos on this luxury motor yacht. La Pinta holds a maximum of 48 passengers in 24 cabins – each with floor-to-ceiling, oceanview windows. Across the three public decks you will find such amenities as a fitness room, hot tub, sky bar, boutique gift shop, a Natural History Library, and an observation lounge.


Ecuador

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



Meals and Lodgings
   La Pinta Yacht
  Galapagos Islands, Ecuador 7 nights
 La Pinta Yacht
Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: Snorkeling Equipment Wet Suits 24 hour coffee and tea station Natural History Library Gift Shop Fitness Room Hot Tub Satellite internet connection and wireless in designated areas
  Ship Information: - A total of 24 outside cabins on the same deck, with twin or queen size beds. - Three public decks include an ample bar, salon, dining room, natural history library, sky bar, and sun deck. - Jaccuzi and fitness room - Medical Officer on board
  Contact info: Av. De las Palmeras N45-74 y De las Orquideas
Quito, NA  Ecuador
phone: +59322988300
  Room amenities: - Twin or Queen size beds - Central air conditioning with individual controls in each cabin - In-room safe deposit box - Telephone with direct international dialing - Multi channel sound system for closed circuit music and connection for personal iPods, MP3 players - Hair dryer in each cabin
  Smoking allowed: No


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
This program begins with morning arrivals in Baltra on Day 2. You will be staying at La Pinta Yacht that night.
  End of Program:
This program ends after breakfast with flights to the Ecuador mainland. You will be staying at La Pinta Yacht the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. If you are a U.S. citizen wishing to enter Ecuador, you must present a U.S. passport with at least six months remaining validity. Under Ecuadorian law, U.S. citizens traveling for business or tourism on a tourist passport can enter Ecuador for up to 90 days per calendar year without a visa.
  Parking availability:
N/A
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Galapagos Islands
  Transportation to site: Group transfer information for Baltra arrivals will be confirmed in the final program materials approximately 5 weeks prior to departure. If you booked your flights with Road Scholar, the group airfare has a forced overnight in Quito due to air schedules. The hotel overnight and transfers in Quito are included in your Road Scholar air. If you arranged your own airfare, you may or may not require an overnight in Quito. If flights arranged on your own do require an overnight, you will be responsible for arranging this on your own at an additional cost.
  From End of Program
  Location: Galapagos Islands
  Transportation from site: Participants who are unable to make the group transfer to the airport at the end of the program must arrange private transfers. When departing Ecuador, all guests will be required to pay an Ecuadorian Departure Tax. Those departing from Guayaquil will be charged $25.00 (subject to change). All fees are in U.S. dollars and must be paid at the airport prior to clearing immigration .
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Equipment Requirements: Bringing binoculars is highly recommended. Snorkeling equipment will be provided, but participants may want to bring their own.
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: US Departures
(Thursday, September 24)
   
 Arrive To: Overnight flights to Baltra. If you booked your flights with Road Scholar, the group airfare has a forced overnight in Quito due to air schedules. The hotel overnight and transfers in Quito are included in your Road Scholar air. If you arranged your own airfare, you may or may not require an overnight in Quito. If flights arranged on your own do require an overnight, you will be responsible for arranging this on your own at an additional cost.

Day 2: Arrive in Baltra, Galapagos Islands / Board La Pinta Yacht / North Seymour Island
(Friday, September 25)

Note: The exact routing for the cruise will depend upon the National Park Service and local weather conditions. The published itinerary is a representation of a typical Galapagos Itinerary.



   
 Morning: Upon arrival into Baltra, you will transfer directly to La Pinta Yacht for embarkation. Join your group for an introductory welcome briefing, boat drill and cabin assignment.
 Lunch: Served on board the ship.
 Afternoon: You will have time for lunch and to settle into your cabins before arriving at your first stop, North Seymour. Following an afternoon disembarkation, we enjoy a walk along the coast and the interior of the beautiful flat island, observing numerous bird colonies as well as sea lions and land iguanas. There are opportunities for coastal exploration by dinghy. Prior to dinner we have our cocktail party and our evening briefing.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: La Pinta Yacht
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Galapagos Islands: Punta Vincete Roca / Punta Espinoza
(Saturday, September 26)

Note: The exact routing for the cruise will depend upon the National Park Service and local weather conditions. The published itinerary is a representation of a typical Galapagos Itinerary.



   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Punta Vincete Roca (Isabela Island)

Since there is no landing site at this location, the coastal exploration is by dinghy, while the naturalist guide explains the dramatic geology of the area, with remains of lava flows and tuff stone layers. There is abundant wildlife and, depending on the conditions of the ocean, we'll be able to snorkel along the cliffs, hopefully in the company of green sea turtles.

 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Punta Espinoza (Fernandina Island)

In the afternoon, we visit the youngest and most pristine island of the archipelago. Fernandina, one of many people's all time favourites. Punta Espinoza has an amazing combination of barrenness and abundant wildlife. Highlights include hawks, penguins, the flightless cormorant and astounding views of the surrounding volcanic landscapes.

 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: La Pinta Yacht
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Galapagos Islands: Urbina Bay / Tagus Cove
(Sunday, September 27)

Note: The exact routing for the cruise will depend upon the National Park Service and local weather conditions. The published itinerary is a representation of a typical Galapagos Itinerary.



   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Urbina Bay (Isabela Island)

After breakfast, we disembark at Urbina Bay, on the western side of Isabela Island, the result of an uplifting of the ocean floor. Here you can find corals, shells, and large and very colorful Galapagos land iguanas, giant tortoises (occasionally). navigating the Bolivar Channel, there are good chances of spotting species of whales.

 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Tagus Cove (Isabela Island)

On the northwest of Isabela, secluded Tagus Cove provided a favourite anchorage for pirates and whalers over the centuries, and today makes a great visitor site. An uphill hike takes us to the back of Darwin Crater, filled with salt water. We can snorkel or ride kayaks amid the dramatic landscape before our hike.

 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: La Pinta Yacht
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Galapagos Islands: Red Beach / Cerro Dragon
(Monday, September 28)

Note: The exact routing for the cruise will depend upon the National Park Service and local weather conditions. The published itinerary is a representation of a typical Galapagos Itinerary.



   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Red Beach (Rabida Island)

In the morning, we disembark at Rabida Island's red-colored beach. A stroll along the beach allows us to observe marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers and several species of Darwin's finches. This is a great place to snorkel from the beach. For those non-snorkelers, we can ride our glass-bottom boat for a submarine exploration.

 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Cerro Dragon - Dragon Hill (Santa Cruz Island)

The north shore of Santa Cruz hosts the fascinating landscapes of Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill). Our walk includes circling a brackish water lagoon frequented by lagoon birds, while further inland, the trail offers a beautiful view of the bay and the western islands of the archipelago, as well as the chance of observing land iguanas.

 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: La Pinta Yacht
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Galapagos Islands: Charles Darwin Research Station / Twin Craters
(Tuesday, September 29)

Note: The exact routing for the cruise will depend upon the National Park Service and local weather conditions. The published itinerary is a representation of a typical Galapagos Itinerary.



   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Charles Darwin Research Station (Santa Cruz Island)

The morning visit heads to the Charles Darwin Research Station and the giant tortoise pens within an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest. These are headquarters of scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park administration.

 Lunch: A delicious lunch is served poolside of the Finch Bay Eco Hotel.
 Afternoon: Twin Craters Highlands (Santa Cruz Island)

After lunch, we wind up to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island by vehicle. This is a great place to look for the brilliant Vermillion Flycatcher and the endemic Scalesia trees. From December to mid-April and July to December a visit to observe giant tortoises in the wild may be included, if weather conditions allow.

 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: La Pinta Yacht
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Galapagos Island: Post Office Bay / Punta Cormorant & Champion Inlet
(Wednesday, September 30)

Note: The exact routing for the cruise will depend upon the National Park Service and local weather conditions. The published itinerary is a representation of a typical Galapagos Itinerary.



   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Post Office Bay (Floreana Island)

After breakfast, we land at Post Office Bay to visit the historic barrel that has served as a post office within the archipelago for over two centuries. Panga rides along the maze of channels on Floreana's north shore can also be enjoyed. There's great snorkeling from the beach as well.

 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Punta Cormorant (Floreana Island)

Before disembarking at Punta Cormorant we can snorkel or ride our glass-bottom boat along the coast of an extinct cone called "Champion Islet". Our visit to Punta Cormorant takes in an olivine-crystal beach for an easy walk by a brackish water lagoon where bird species like greater flamingos may be observed. On the other side of the island, we come to a white sand beach where sea turtles come out at night to nest.

 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: La Pinta Yacht
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Galapagos Islands: Santa Fe / South Plaza
(Thursday, October 1)

Note: The exact routing for the cruise will depend upon the National Park Service and local weather conditions. The published itinerary is a representation of a typical Galapagos Itinerary.



   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Santa Fe Island

We take the dinghy over to this idyllic sandy white beach populated by colonies of sea lions. Galapagos hawks are often easily observed, perched atop salt bushes. The endemic land iguana, unique to this island, may be spotted during the walk. Following the walk, we can snorkel and swim along a natural wave barrier.

 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: South Plaza Island

The turquoise waters of the channel here contrast brilliantly with the white sand and black lava of the shoreline, while a carpet of scarlet sesuvium succulents serves as groundcover for a grove of luminescent green prickly-pear cactus beyond, populated by yellow-gray land iguanas. Along the coastline one finds sea lion colonies, while sea birds play with the thermals that form along the cliffs of this small but amazing island.

 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: La Pinta Yacht
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Galapagos / Departures
(Friday, October 2)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: After breakfast aboard the ship, we transfer to the airport in San Cristobal, Galapagos for flights returning to North America. If you arranged your own air for this program, you are welcome to join this transfer. All passengers must disembark the ship by 9 am.
   
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


Birds, Mammals and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands


Author: Andy Swash, Robert Stills


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



Ecuador, Galapagos Islands Adventure Map


Author: National Geographic Society


Description: This double-sided, waterproof map covers Ecuador in splendid detail (1:750:00) and also includes a Galapagos map (1:1 million).



Evolution's Workshop


Author: Edward J. Larson


Description: A vivid history of the Galapagos and the role of the islands as a crucible of evolutionary ideas, written by a Pulitzer Prize winner. Along with Darwin, it covers the discovery of the islands, the visits of Hancock and Beebe, the influence of the United States during WWII and the establishment of the national park.



Flowering Plants of the Galapagos


Author: Conley McMullen, Ghillean Prance (Introduction)


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 Islands Explorer Map


Author: Ocean Explorer Maps


Description: Not just handy for keeping track of your Galapagos cruise, this detailed map (1:400,000) of the islands includes illustrated biographies of famous visitors and a wildlife guide.



Galapagos Wildlife


Author: Pocket Naturalist


Description: This fold-up, laminated card guide, with color drawings, will appeal to the whole family.



Galapagos Wildlife, A Visitor's Guide


Author: David Horwell, Pete Oxford


Description: With chapters on visitor sites, history, conservation and habitats, this compact photographic guide introduces birds, reptiles, marine and other life of the archipelago.



Galapagos, A Natural History


Author: Michael Jackson


Description: This comprehensive guide to the natural history of the Galapagos is practically mandatory reading, the single best introduction to the geology and climate, habitats, plants, birds, animals, ecology and evolution.



Galapagos, A Novel


Author: Kurt Vonnegut


Description: In this madcap classic Vonnegut looks back from a future where the human race has been wiped out - all except for a small group stranded in the Galapagos on the Nature Cruise of the Century.



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 geology, evolution and magnificent wildlife.



Galapagos, Islands Born of Fire


Author: Tui De Roy


Description: Author, naturalist, photographer and friend Tui de Roy's original stunning celebration of the landscapes, wildlife and habitats of the archipelago, out in a 10th anniversary edition.



Galapagos, The Islands That Changed the World


Author: Paul D. Stewart (Director)


Description: Also available on Blue-Ray, this stunning three-part BBC documentary captures the rugged beauty, allure, wildlife and history of the archipelago like never before. We also carry the companion book to the BBC series (GPS78, $29.95).



Galapagos, World's End


Author: William Beebe


Description: This wry, wonderfully evocative account of a 1924 scientific expedition includes an excellent chapter on the human history of the Galapagos.



Galapagos: The Enchanted Islands, Through Writer's Eyes


Author: John Hickman (Editor)


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 colorful human history of the archipelago.



Insight Guide Ecuador and Galapagos


Author: Insight Guides


Description: Presenting the natural history, politics, culture, wildlife and attractions of Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands with style and authority. Contributors include Tui de Roy (Galapagos photography), Lynn Meisch (arts, crafts and customs) and Rob Rachoweicki (Oriente/Amazon).



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.



The Boy on the Back of the Turtle


Author: Paul Quarrington


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



The Panama Hat Trail


Author: Tom Miller


Description: An entertaining and insightful social history of Ecuador -- as told through its hat-making history. It's a classic example of travel writing, and one of the best things written on Ecuador.



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, it's still a marvelous introduction to the wildlife, nature and allure of South America.



Wildlife of the Galapagos


Author: Julian Fitter, Daniel Fitter, David Hosking (Photographer)


Description: A compact identification guide to Galapagos nature and wildlife, featuring 400 color photographs, an overview of the history, climate, evolution and geology of the islands, and helpful full-color visitor site maps.





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