Road Scholar : Home
The Galápagos: Natural and Cultural History

Program Number: 6043RJ
Start and End Dates:
7/5/2015 - 7/15/2015; 9/23/2015 - 10/3/2015; 10/4/2015 - 10/14/2015; 10/18/2015 - 10/28/2015; 11/8/2015 - 11/18/2015; 12/6/2015 - 12/16/2015; 1/1/2016 - 1/11/2016; 1/15/2016 - 1/25/2016; 1/20/2016 - 1/30/2016; 2/17/2016 - 2/27/2016; 2/24/2016 - 3/5/2016; 3/2/2016 - 3/12/2016; 3/9/2016 - 3/19/2016; 4/3/2016 - 4/13/2016; 4/10/2016 - 4/20/2016; 4/29/2016 - 5/9/2016; 5/25/2016 - 6/4/2016; 6/1/2016 - 6/11/2016; 8/24/2016 - 9/3/2016; 9/18/2016 - 9/28/2016; 10/5/2016 - 10/15/2016; 11/30/2016 - 12/10/2016; 12/7/2016 - 12/17/2016;
Duration: 10 nights
Location: Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Price starting at: $4,395.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Small Ship Cruising Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 28; 10 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 9 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Salt; Low Fat; Gluten Free    

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




Activity Particulars

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

Wet and dry landings involve transferring in potentially rough waters from the yacht into a zodiac and stepping into either knee-deep water or onto rocky shores. Daily walks on sharp volcanic rocks and loose stones add another level of difficulty. Please view the Galápagos video "Galapagos Fitness Information - What to Expect" in preparation for your program activities: 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 date-specific detailed itinerary on the Road Scholar website to check on the vessel and visitor sites included in your program. The expedition-style Galápagos vessels offered on this program can hold between 16 to 20 passengers in comfortable cabins with en suite facilities.



Itinerary At-a-Glance

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



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

Explore Quito's historic colonial center including a visit to La Compania and San Francisco Church and learn about pre-Columbian art at a local museum housed in a 17th century building. 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. View giant tortoises and learn about their evolution. 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.
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
   Hotel 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. A small number of kayaks are available, free of charge, for use during the cruise. 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

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


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

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrive to Quito.
(Sunday, July 5)

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. Check-in usually begins between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.
   
Accommodations: Hilton Colon Quito Hotel

Day 2: Quito –
Otavalo Market/Andean Cuisine/Indigenous Traditions.

(Monday, July 6)

Note: Bus transfer from Quito to Otavalo takes approximately 2 hours.



   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Get to know 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.

Orientation to the program.

Board the Road Scholar bus in preparation for a two-hour journey to Otavalo and its famous market. The scenic journey will take us northward, through breathtaking Andean landscapes and small communities. Once at the market, we will join our group leader on a walking orientation of the plaza and its many stalls to learn about local handcrafting traditions.

Otavalo is a largely indigenous town in the Imbabura Province of Ecuador. The highland town is situated in a valley surrounded by imposing volcanoes. The Otavalo Indians have become famous for the weaving of textiles, a tradition that dates back more than 400 years. The town's famous market has traditionally been held on Saturdays, but its popularity has been so great that many local vendors set up their wares throughout the week in the Plaza de los Ponchos. The area was traditionally made up of farming communities but the focus has changed with the growth of tourism and the demand for handicrafts.

 Lunch: At a local restaurant featuring Andean cuisine.
 Afternoon: Lecture: A History of the Indigenous People of Otavalo - Independence and Entrepreneurial Expertise.

Our afternoon activities will include a visit to a local indigenous community. Meet one of the Quichua families who will share with us some of their native customs and traditions. Interact with locals while learning the traditional style of bread baking.

Transfer back to Quito.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
   
Accommodations: Hilton Colon Quito Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Galápagos -
Flight to San Cristobal Island/Board Yacht/Puerto Chino or Gordillo Breeding Center.

(Tuesday, July 7)

Note: Puerto Chino or Jacinto Gordillo Breeding Center: dry landing, moderate to difficult trail conditions due to rocky, uneven terrain. There is a (44 lb weight limit for checked luggage, please pack accordingly). Excess luggage can be stored at the hotel in Quito. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are always subject to change by the Galápagos National Park. Itineraries are not guaranteed.



   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to the airport to board a morning flight to the Galápagos Islands.

Once at the airport, your Quito group leader will provide the domestic airline tickets and assist participants during the check-in process.

**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: Arrive to San Cristóbal, Galápagos Islands.

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

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

Board and set sail.

Enjoy an orientation, safety drill and a light snack.

Dry landing on the east side of San Cristobal Island at Puerto Chino.

The beautiful white sands of the beach are surrounded by dry forest habitat where you are likely to see both blue footed boobies and frigatebirds diving in to the turquoise waters. The Jacinto Gordillo Breeding Center is a new center where hatchling turtles can be viewed from birth to four years old.

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

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

(Wednesday, July 8)

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

Day 5: Galápagos -
Santa Cruz Island (Fausto Llerena Breeding Center and Los Gemelos).

(Thursday, July 9)

Note: Fausto Llerana 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: Onboard the yacht.
 Morning: Dry Landing on Santa Cruz Island for a visit to the Fausto Llerena Breeding Center, located inside the Charles Darwin Research Station. It is home to tortoises ranging from three inches to four feet long. At four years of age the tortoises are strong enough to survive on their own and are repatriated to their respective islands.

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

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

(Friday, July 10)

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



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

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

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

Later in the morning, visit the Tortoise Breeding Center.

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

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

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

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

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

Day 7: Galápagos -
Isabela Island (Moreno Point and Tagus Cove).

(Saturday, July 11)

Note: Moreno Point: dry landing, moderate to difficult trail conditions due to volcanic rock and uneven terrain. Tagus Cove: dry landing, moderate to difficult trail conditions due to rocky, uneven terrain.



   
 Breakfast: Onboard 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.

Swimming and snorkeling activities.

Return to the yacht.
 Lunch: Onboard the yacht.
 Afternoon: In the afternoon we will make a dry landing at Tagus Cove begin our walking exploration of this unique site.

Learn about the eruption of five volcanoes that formed Isabela, the largest island in the archipelago. Hike the trail to Darwin's salt water lagoon and an excellent view of the lava fields and volcanic formations. Observe marine life during a dinghy ride while you search for the Galápagos Penguin.

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.

Opportunity for swimming and snorkeling before we board a panga and return to the yacht.
 Dinner: Onboard the yacht.
 Evening: Orientation of next day's activities and lecture.
   
Accommodations: Galaven
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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

(Sunday, July 12)

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



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

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

(Monday, July 13)

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

Playa Espumilla is located on the northwestern coast of Santiago Island in James Bay. During the last presence of the El Nino phenomenon, one of the two lagoons at this site underwent a process of sedimentation, which led to the disappearance of a resident colony of flamingos. The main attractions here are a palo santo forest, beach and the landscape. 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: Onboard 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: Onboard the yacht.
 Evening: Orientation of next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: Galaven
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Galápagos and Quito-
North Seymour Island and Baltra Island/Flight to Quito.

(Tuesday, July 14)

Note: North Seymour Island: dry landing, moderate to difficult trail conditions due to uneven terrain.



   
 Breakfast: Onboard the yacht.
 Morning: Dry landing on North Seymour Island.

North Seymour is well known to birders. It has one of the most active seabird breeding colonies in the archipelago. In April and May, Blue-footed boobies begin to perform their amusing mating dance. They oftentimes nest very near the trails, giving visitors the opportunity to get a closer view during the walks. Sea lions have a busy season from August to December, with females either mating, giving birth or tending to their pups. Watch out for protective mothers and aggressive males defending their harems.

Return to the yacht for a farewell snack.

Sail to Baltra Island and transfer to the airport to catch a flight to Quito.
Say Farewell to your Galápagos group leader.
 Lunch: Light snack served on the flight.
 Afternoon: Late afternoon arrival in Quito. Collect your luggage and exit the baggage claim. A Road Scholar representative will be waiting with a sign as you leave the restricted area.

Transfer to the hotel.

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

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

(Wednesday, July 15)

Note: Participants with independent travel arrangements and/or scheduled on later flights can keep their hotel rooms until check-out time on this day. Except for breakfast, all other meals are on your own on this day.



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

This concludes the program. We hope you enjoyed your Road Scholar adventure! When you get home, remember to stay in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network; share memories, pictures, and comments about your recent travels.
 Breakfast: Early morning breakfast at the hotel restaurant (dependent on flight times).
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


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 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. Larson covers Darwin and 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.



Galapagos Bedtime Stories


Author: Paula Tagle Saad


Description: These delightful children's stories, organized by island, were inspired by Saad's many trips as an expedition leader. Each illustrated tale revolves around an animal or incident in the islands, including a newly hatched Waved Albatross, a sea lion pup and a nesting Flightless Cormorant.



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: A fold-up, laminated card featuring color drawings and short descriptions of commonly encountered birds, mammals and reptiles of the Galapagos.



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's narrator lives in a future where the human race has been wiped out -- all except for a small group who boarded the "nature cruise of the century" only to get stranded in the Galapagos.



Galapagos, Islands Born of Fire


Author: Tui De Roy


Description: A stunning celebration of the landscapes, wildlife and habitats of the Galapagos by a photographer who was raised in the archipelago. Tenth anniversary edition.



Galapagos, The Islands That Changed the World


Author: Paul D. Stewart


Description: Stewart and co-authors, associated with the BBC natural history unit, present the natural and human history of the islands in this wide-ranging, beautifully illustrated book, the companion to the BBC series.



Galapagos, The Islands That Changed the World


Author: Paul D. Stewart (Director)


Description: Also available on Blu-Ray, this stunning three-part BBC documentary captures the rugged beauty, allure, wildlife and history of the archipelago like never before.



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: 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 these tales of the colorful human history of the archipelago.



Inside the Beagle with Charles Darwin


Author: Fiona MacDonald


Description: MacDonald gives detailed accounts of daily life aboard the Beagle, animals and places encountered, as well as excellent illustrations and a balanced discussion of Darwin's ground-breaking scientific theories. Ages 8 and up.



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.



Satan Came to Eden


Author: Dore Strauch


Description: The original memoir of Dore Strauch, early settler to the Galapagos and participant in the fascinating unsolved mystery known as The Galapagos Affair, the subject of a new documentary. First published in 1936, it's back in print after 80 years.



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 70-year-old father.



The Galapagos, A Natural History


Author: Henry Nicholls


Description: Editor of the Galapagos Conservation Trust magazine and author of Lonesome George, Henry Nicholls charts the human and natural history of the archipelago from its fiery origins through famous visitors and current conservation challenges.



The History of Ecuador


Author: George Lauderbaugh


Description: this compact book includes chapters on Ecuador today, Ecuador's indigenous and colonial past, the oil boom and other events.



The True Adventures of Charley Darwin


Author: Carolyn Meyer


Description: Meyer turns the facts of Darwin's early life in Shrewsbury and his transformation aboard the Beagle into a novel for young adults.



Understanding Galapagos: What You'll See and What it Means


Author: Sehoya Cotner, Randy Moore


Description: An excellent introduction to the flora and fauna of the Galapagos and a stellar overview of evolutionary biography on the islands. Accessible for readers from all backgrounds.



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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