Road Scholar : Home
The Galápagos: Natural and Cultural History

Program Number: 6043RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/21/2015 - 10/31/2015; 3/2/2016 - 3/12/2016; 3/9/2016 - 3/19/2016; 4/3/2016 - 4/13/2016; 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; 11/17/2016 - 11/27/2016; 11/30/2016 - 12/10/2016; 12/7/2016 - 12/17/2016; 1/19/2017 - 1/29/2017; 1/26/2017 - 2/5/2017; 2/2/2017 - 2/12/2017; 2/9/2017 - 2/19/2017; 2/16/2017 - 2/26/2017; 2/23/2017 - 3/5/2017;
Duration: 10 nights
Location: Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Price starting at: $5,490.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Small Ship 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:

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.

Seaman Journey

The M/C Galapagos Seaman Journey is a 90-foot expeditionary first-class catamaran able to accommodate up to 16 passengers. Polished teak interiors, quality furnishings, and spacious cabins provide a superior level of comfort while cruising in the Galápagos.

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 earned a master’s and Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Illinois. Dr. Quiroga teaches at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito and is an expert in the fields of medical anthropology, human ecology, and marine conservation and fisheries, and he has worked with Galápagos fishermen to learn how they interact with the environment. Dr. Quiroga represented Ecuador as a swimmer in the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow.
Meals and Lodgings
   Hilton Colon Quito Hotel
  Quito, Ecuador 2 nights
   M/C Galapagos Seaman Journey
  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
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Please call for pricing .
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 M/C Galapagos Seaman Journey
Type: Other
  Description: The M/C Galapagos Seaman Journey is a 90-foot expeditionary first-class catamaran able to accommodate up to 16 passengers. Polished teak interiors, quality furnishings, and spacious cabins provide a superior level of comfort while cruising in the Galápagos.
  Ship Information: Type: Motor Catamaran Category: Boutique Yacht Naturalist Liveaboard Material construction: Fiberglass Length: 90 feet (27.6 meters) Beam: 36.08 feet (11 meters) Draft: 4.75 feet (1.45 meters) Year build: 2007 Main engines: 2x Cummins 350 hp IMO Electric system: 2x 50 kw IMO Electric power: 110v and 220v AC/DC Cruising Speed: 10 knots Water capacity: 3000 gallons Diesel capacity: 2500 gallons Passengers: maximum 16 Crew: 9 members Diving: Sport platform Equipment for sports: Snorkeling (free use of equipment), sea kayaking and surfing
  Contact info: Isla Española #144, between Av. General Rumiñahui and Av. Ilalo
Quito,   Ecuador
phone: +593-2-2867832
  Room amenities: Spacious outside cabins with A/C, picture window or porthole, closet, safety deposit box, hair dryer, and private bathrooms with full hot/cold shower. Cabins have dual 110/220 V outlets. No smoking allowed in the cabins.
  Facility amenities: Bar, lounge, dining area, and a spacious sun deck with chaise lounge chairs. Bar tabs and any other additional onboard purchases must be paid in full in USD at the end of the cruise. The vessel has four double kayaks available for guest-use during visits to specially designated sites within the national park (e.g., Tagus Cove, Chinese Hat, Gardner Bay, etc.). Snorkeling equipment such as fins, masks, and snorkels are provided free of charge during the cruise. Avid snorkelers sometimes prefer to bring their own equipment in order to guarantee a perfect fit. Wetsuits are available for rent ($30 USD payable in cash upon embarkation) for the duration of the cruise. Suits are available in women's and men's sizes ranging from small to extra large. Small and medium suits are available in children's sizes.
  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.
  Ship Information: N/A
  Contact info: Manuel Burbano N66 y Francisoc Ruiz
Puembo,  00000 Ecuador
phone: +593-22391106
  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 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
  Parking availability:
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. After completing Customs you will see a counter marked AIRPORT TAXI SERVICES. Please advise the representative which hotel you need to go to and they will issue you a ticket for that destination. Once outside, a taxi service representative wearing the official airport taxi badge will direct you to the next available taxi. Check to see that the taxi is in good physical condition with a registration number placard in the windshield. Taxis are payable in dollars (Ecuador’s currency is the U.S. dollar). If transferring to/from the airport by taxi, please be sure to only use official licensed taxis. 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.
(Wednesday, October 21)

Note: To minimize your chances of experiencing altitude sickness while in Quito, try to get plenty of rest before you travel, stay hydrated, avoid alcohol and fatty foods, consume high carbohydrate foods, and avoid strenuous exercise at high elevations.

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

 Arrive To: Arrive at Quito's international airport.

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

Transfer to the hotel and check-in.

Please note that this is an international travel day; no meals or program activities are scheduled on this day.
Accommodations: Hilton Colon Quito Hotel

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

(Thursday, October 22)
 Breakfast: At the 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.

Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

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

Afterwards continue to the colonial center. While walking through the narrow streets, you will learn about Quito’s rich history going from pre-Hispanic times, through the Colonial period, to the Republican era. Admire the wonderful architecture of its colonial buildings and the uniqueness of religious art pieces from the famous Quitenian School of art that combines the European Renaissance and Baroque styles with the indigenous and mestizo influences.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant including an introduction to Ecuadorian food products and typical Ecuadorian cuisine.
 Afternoon: After lunch, continue to the famous Middle of the World and celebrate the ability to be in both hemispheres at the same time - a once in a lifetime experience. Learn important facts, myths and legends about the Geography of Earth while visiting the Equator as well as the history of the first group of scientists who had the hard mission to determined Earth’s shape in 1743. Visit the Ethnographic museum where you will get a general vision about Ecuador’s demography, geography and economy.

Return to the hotel.

Lecture: The Past, Present, and Future of Ecuador.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
 Evening: Time at leisure.
Accommodations: Hilton Colon Quito Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Galápagos -
Flight to Baltra Island/Board Yacht/Twin Craters/Highlands.

(Friday, October 23)

Note: 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 for flight to the Galápagos Islands. Your Quito group leader will assist you with the check-in process before bidding you farewell at the airport.

Depart for the Galápagos Islands.
**Note: The Galápagos airline tickets are issued in Ecuador and held by the group leader for safekeeping. The airline tickets will be distributed to participants on-site.**
 Lunch: Depending on flight times, a light lunch will be served on the flight or on the boat.
 Afternoon: Upon arrival to Galápagos Islands, proceed through Immigration. Have your passport ready at the immigration counter before proceeding to baggage claim.

After collecting your luggage and going through Customs, you will be met by your Galápagos group leader and transferred to the harbor. Board a "panga" (motorized boat) and enjoy a short ride to the Galapagos Seaman Journey.

Enjoy an orientation, safety drill and a light snack.

Dry landing on Santa Cruz Island. Transfer to the highlands to view Los Gemelos ("The Twins") craters and look for Galápagos tortoises living in the wild.

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 contains unique vegetation and is home to a number of birds including the vibrantly colored Vermilion Flycatcher and Yellow Warbler.

Most of the island's wild population of giant tortoises lives in the highlands. In June to August the tortoises make their way to lower ground to begin nesting. The eggs start to hatch with the arrival of the warmer season (December - April).

Return to the boat.
 Dinner: On board the boat.
 Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.
Accommodations: M/C Galapagos Seaman Journey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Galápagos -
Isabela Island (Tintoreras and Wall of Tears).

(Saturday, October 24)


 Breakfast: On board the boat.
 Morning: Board a panga and navigate to Las Tintoreras islet to look for white-tipped reef sharks, sea lions, Galapágos Penguins, and other local residents.

Las Tintoreras is located just south of Puerto Villamil, Isabela. The islet's name means "sharks" in Spanish--a reference to the many reef sharks that like to rest in the surrounding shallow waters. A small bay and a connecting crevice provide shelter to a multitude of small fish as well as turtles, sharks, rays, and marine iguanas. The island is a prime nesting site for marine iguanas because it lacks non-native predators.

Return to the boat.
 Lunch: On board the boat.
 Afternoon: Dry landing on Isabela and field trip to the Wall of Tears.

The historic Wall of Tears is located approximately 3.7 miles from Puerto Villamil. The path that leads to the wall first passes through a cemetery where some of the first settlers were buried, then it continues through an area of mangroves, lagoons, and a white-sand beach before reaching the 16-20 ft wall that was built by prisoners back when the island hosted a penal colony (1944-1959).

Return to the boat.
 Dinner: Onboard the boat.
 Evening: Orientation of next day's activities and lecture.
Accommodations: M/C Galapagos Seaman Journey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Galápagos -
Isabela Island (Punta Moreno and Elizabeth Bay).

(Sunday, October 25)

Note: Punta Moreno: Moderate to difficult hike on sharp, accordion-like, Pahoehoe lava. Wear comfortable tennis shoes with good ankle support. Please take steps to remain hydrated during this hike as the black lava absorbs and radiates the heat from the sun.

 Breakfast: On board the boat.
 Morning: Dry landing and walking field trip to Punta Moreno.

Punta Moreno is situated on Isabela Island’s northern coast and includes a 1.3-mile trail through a Pahoehoe lava flow and past lagoons and mangroves. The seemingly barren landscape at Punta Moreno is home to three kinds of cacti. Numerous coastal lagoons in the area attract an abundance of bird species, while lookout points afford panoramic views of the active Sierra Negra, Cerro Azul, and La Cumbre (located on nearby Fernandina) volcanoes. Be on watch for flamingoes, Paint-billed Crakes, White-cheeked Pintails, and Common Gallinules that commonly frequent the area.

Return to the boat.
 Lunch: Onboard the yacht.
 Afternoon: This afternoon board pangas to navigate the mangroves at Elizabeth Bay and view the penguin colony at nearby Mariela Islets.

Elizabeth Bay is situated in the crook of Isabela’s ‘arm’ as it begins to bulge and form the southern portion of the island. The bay is home to a large number of sea and shore birds, as well as marine turtles and rays. A short boat ride to the end of the bay, to the nearby Mariela Islands, is a nice option for those who wish to see Galápagos Penguins.

Opportunity for swimming and snorkeling.

Return to the boat.
 Dinner: Onboard the boat.
 Evening: Orientation of next day's activities.
Accommodations: M/C Galapagos Seaman Journey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Galápagos -
Fernandina (Punta Espinoza) and Isabela (Urbina Bay).

(Monday, October 26)

Note: Punta Espinoza: Challenging landing when the tide is low. Visitors cannot disembark at the dock during low tide and must land on rocks instead. Urbina Bay: Strong waves can make disembarkation tricky at this site. Use a zip-lock bag to protect cameras and binoculars from splashes during the wet landing. Please take steps to remain hydrated during this approximately 2-mile hike.

 Breakfast: Onboard the yacht.
 Morning: Dry landing at Punta Espinoza.

Punta Espinoza, Fernandina’s only land visitor site, is a thin strip of sand and lava that stretches from the sea to the base of La Cumbre Volcano. This young island is the third largest in the Galápagos and is also the westernmost; located next to Isabela Island. Fernandina has some of the most dramatic landscapes found in the archipelago and is also one of the best places to see the lava cactus. The aa and pahoehoe lava formations create a unique landscape and provide visitors with a great chance to study lava flows and the forces which gave birth to the Galápagos Islands. Although Punta Espinosa is better known for its large colony of marine iguanas (January - June is nesting season), one can also expect to see sea lions, Flightless Cormorants and Galápagos Penguins.

Return to the boat.
 Lunch: Onboard the yacht.
 Afternoon: Wet landing at Urbina Bay for a walking exploration on local trails and along the beach.

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

Swimming and snorkeling opportunities.

Return to the boat.
 Dinner: Onboard the boat.
 Evening: Orientation of next day’s activities and lecture.
Accommodations: M/C Galapagos Seaman Journey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Galápagos -
Santiago Island (Playa Espumilla, Buccaneer Cove and Puerto Egas).

(Tuesday, October 27)
 Breakfast: Onboard the boat.
 Morning: Wet landing at Espumilla Beach. Look for land and wading birds druing a walk on the visitor's trail, followed by swimming and snorkeling opportunities.

Playa Espumilla is located on the northern side of James Bay and is a known nesting site for green sea turtles. A looping visitor’s trail passes by a seasonal lagoon that is sometimes visited by ducks and flamingoes and a dry zone that is frequented by many land birds.

Wet landing with a short beach walk at Buccaneer Cove.

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

Return to the boat.
 Lunch: On board the boat.
 Afternoon: Wet landing at Puerto Egas.
Puerto Egas, located on the northwestern side of Santiago, has black volcanic formations that provide shelter to a number of creatures. Here you will see marine iguanas sunning themselves on the rocks while sea birds fly overhead in search of food. Brightly colored Sally Lightfoot Crabs live in the rock crevices and tide pools; a sharp contrast to the black lava formations they call home. Galápagos fur seals enjoy the inlets along the western shoreline and have been known to swim with visitors from time to time.

Return to the boat.
 Dinner: On board the boat.
 Evening: Orientation of next day's activities.
Accommodations: M/C Galapagos Seaman Journey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Galápagos -
Rábida Island and Chinese Hat.

(Wednesday, October 28)

Note: Rábida: Easy to moderate walking on relatively flat terrain. Trail is approximately .6 miles long.

 Breakfast: On board the boat.
 Morning: Wet landing on Rábida.

Disembark on Rábida's dark red beach--a favorite spot for snoozing sea lions and nesting pelicans. A salt water lagoon located a small distance from the beach is home to flamingoes and the occasional white-cheeked pintail. Palo santo trees cover the island’s volcanic peak, which can be seen from a short trail (approximately ½ mile).

Swimming and snorkeling opportunities.

Return to the boat.
 Lunch: On board the boat.
 Afternoon: After lunch, board pangas and navigate to Chinese Hat to see its coastal volcanic formations and resident wildlife.

Sombrero Chino (or Chinese Hat) is a small, hat-shaped, island located a short distance from Santiago's southeastern tip. A cove on the northern side of the island offers good conditions for swimming and snorkeling; it is also a favored sea lion hangout. A short trail along the coastline allows for closer inspection of lava formations and native vegetation such as Sesuvium, Opuntia, lava cactus, saltwort, saltbush and more.

Swimming and snorkeling opportunities.

Return to the boat.
 Dinner: On board the boat.
 Evening: Orientation of next day's activities.
Accommodations: M/C Galapagos Seaman Journey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Galápagos -
Santiago Island (Sullivan Bay) and Bartolomé.

(Thursday, October 29)

Note: Sullivan Bay: Wet landing and moderate difficulty due to rocky, volcanic terrain. The looping visitor trail is approximately 1 mile in length. Wear comfortable tennis shoes with good ankle support. Bartolomé: The walk to the lookout point at the top of the volcano involves climbing 375 steps up a long wooden staircase. The stairs have railings, but there are no sitting areas along the way.

 Breakfast: On board the boat.
 Morning: Dry or wet landing at Sullivan Bay, Santiago for a walking exploration of the island.

A volcanic eruption that took place in the early 1900’s formed huge lava flows in the area that is now Sullivan Bay. As the lava cooled off, it solidified into a black sheet of interesting shapes and textures that made its way to the sea. Interesting formations include Pahoehoe lava, lava bubbles and tree shapes; ghosts of Santiago’s past. Few plant species have been able to root in this harsh environment.

Return to the boat.
 Lunch: On board the boat.
 Afternoon: Dry or wet landing on Bartolomé for an exhilarating hike up to the lighthouse look out point and swimming/snorkeling opportunities.

Pinnacle Rock, the “Guardian of the Isles” rises sharply from the coast of Bartolomé. The lunar-like landscape is home to one of the islands’ most endearing residents: the Galápagos Penguin. The penguins make their home here, fishing in the waters nearby. Do not be surprised if a playful sea lion decides to join you for a swim in the shallow waters off the northern beach. Other common visitors include colorful tropical fish, rays, sea turtles, and white-tipped sharks.

Return to the boat.
 Dinner: On board the boat.
 Evening: Orientation of next day's activities.
Accommodations: M/C Galapagos Seaman Journey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Galápagos and Flight to Quito-
Santa Cruz Island (Bachas Beach).

(Friday, October 30)

Note: Bachas Beach: Easy walk, approximately .6 miles, over sandy terrain. Please be mindful of sea turtle nests in the sand dunes.

 Breakfast: On board the boat.
 Morning: Wet landing at Bachas Beach.

Apart from being an important nesting site for sea turtles, Bachas Beach is also a great location from which to view migratory and aquatic birds. The name of this location dates back to WWII, when the U.S. army abandoned two barges on the beach. Locals found it hard to pronounce the word "barges" in English; over time, the common mispronunciation of the word became the norm, resulting in the name Playa Las Bachas. The sand dunes at this site are nesting grounds for Galápagos Green Turtles and a nearby lagoon is home to flamingoes, White-cheeked Pintail ducks, Common Stilts, and some migratory species.

Transfer to the airport to catch a flight to Quito.
Say farewell to your Galápagos group leader and board a flight back to the mainland.
 Lunch: Light snack served on the flight.
 Afternoon: Late afternoon arrival in Quito. Meet your Road Scholar representative at the airport after collecting your luggage and exiting the secured area.

Transfer to the hotel.

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

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

(Saturday, October 31)
 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.

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

Suggested Reading List

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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