Road Scholar : Home
The Galápagos: Natural and Cultural History

Program Number: 6043RJ
Start and End Dates:
2/27/2015 - 3/9/2015; 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: Low Fat; Low Salt; Vegetarian; 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.


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
   Sheraton Quito Hotel
  Quito, Ecuador 2 nights
   Yolita II
  Galapagos Islands, Ecuador 7 nights
   Hosteria Rincon de Puembo
  Quito, Ecuador 1 night
 Sheraton Quito Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Sheraton Quito Hotel is located in the capital's financial and commercial zone and also nearby the Colonial Old Town, a UNESCO Cultural World Heritage Site. Enjoy the on site restaurants featuring fusion foods and live piano music in the lounge. Relax your soul, mind, and body or workout in the fitness center located on the 11th floor with breathtaking views of the modern Quito.
  Contact info: Avenida Naciones Unidas y Republica de El Salvador
Quito,   Ecuador
phone: +593-2 2970002
  Room amenities: Private bathroom, hair dryer, air conditioning, coffee/tea maker, iron/ironing board, Internet access, mini bar, telephone, free newspaper, and cable TV.
  Facility amenities: Restaurants, 24-hr room service, complimentary WiFifi in public areas, fitness and spa facilities, laundry/valet service, tour desk, gift shop, florist, business center, and meeting rooms. The hotel offers airport transfer services for an additional cost. Guests can request this service by calling the hotel directly or by emailing The hotel needs flight details in order to confirm the service.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Subject to availability. Additional hotel nights are subject to availability. Please contact the program coordinator, Holbrook Travel, at 1-800-866-7111 or for information on availability and prices.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 Yolita II
Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: The Yolita II is an expedition-sized vessel in the true tradition of the smaller boats that sail the island of the Galapagos. At 114 feet long and 26 feet wide and cruising at 10 knots, it can carry 16 passengers.
  Contact info: N/A
Guayaquil,   Ecuador
phone: +000-000-0000
  Room amenities: All cabins are compact (approximately 112 square feet) with porthole, private bathroom with shower, air-conditioning, and limited closet space. Double occupancy rooms feature two single beds. Single cabins have one bed and are located on the top deck. Electrical outlet accepts 110V appliances with US-style plugs.
  Facility amenities: Public areas include a dining room, common room, bar, sun/sky deck and small library. A steep set of stairs from the Main Deck to the cabins have to be carefully negotiated. All cabins and public areas are fully carpeted. Internet service is not available. Masks, snorkels and fins are provided as part of the cruise, though avid snorkelers might wish to bring their own gear to guarantee a perfect fit. Full wetsuits can be rented for the duration of the cruise and payment is due, in cash, upon embarkation. Prices range from $35-$70 depending on the length of the cruise. Please note that the yacht has a limited selection of suits and these are available on a first-come basis. If you require a petite or XL size, please contact the program provider at 1-800-866-7111 or to check if the yacht carries your size. The yacht only accepts cash for additional expenses (e.g., alcoholic beverages, wetsuits, etc.) during the cruise.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Hosteria Rincon de Puembo
Type: Hotel
  Description: The hotel is located conveniently near the Quito international airport in the beautiful village of Puembo.
  Contact info: Manuel Burbano N6-66 y Francisco Ruiz
Puembo,  00000 Ecuador
phone: +593-2-2391106
  Room amenities: Air conditioning, iron/ironing board, hair dryer, telephone, Wi-Fi, and cable TV.
  Facility amenities: Restaurants, large gardens, heated pool, sauna, Jacuzzi, gym
, business center, Wi-Fi, laundry service, room service, a chapel, and a TV and reading room. The hotel also provides a number of entertainment options such as: billiards, table football, karaoke room, and soccer, basketball, and volleyball courts.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Additional nights after: Subject to availability Additional hotel nights are subject to availability. Please contact the program coordinator, Holbrook Travel, at 1-800-866-7111 or 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 Sheraton Quito Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
Departures from the international airport in Quito, Ecuador. Hotel check-out by 11 a.m. You will be staying at Hosteria Rincon de Puembo the night before.
  Required documents:
The 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. Participants who wish to hire a taxi, can do so at the Airport Taxi Service booth located after clearing Customs. Please stop at the booth and stop at the booth and let the representative know that you need a taxi to take you to your hotel (give hotel name) in Quito. The representative will give you a ticket that notes your destination and fare, from there you will exit the airport and look for a taxi service representative wearing an official airport badge who will direct you to the next available taxi. The driver will assist you with your luggage, collect your ticket, and drive you to your hotel. The taxis are not metered; the fare is a set rate, calculated based on your final destination. Payment to the driver must be made in US dollars, cash, and tipping is optional. Ecuador’s currency is the US dollar. The new Mariscal Sucre International Airport is located approximately one hour from downtown Quito.
  From End of Program
  Location: Quito
  Transportation from site: Taxi services are available for hire at the hotel. Please ask for assistance at the hotel's front desk.
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Elevation Note: Quito is at an elevation of approximately 9,400 feet.

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

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrive to Quito.
(Friday, February 27)

Note: The new Mariscal Sucre International Airport is located approximately one hour from downtown Quito. Elevations in Quito range from 9,223 ft - 9,883 ft. 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.

 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: Sheraton Quito Hotel

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

(Saturday, February 28)

Note: Trail Conditions: Easy. This leisurely-paced day in Quito is very important as it will give the group time to acclimate to highland elevations. 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.

 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.

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 local restaurant including an introduction to Ecuadorian food products.
 Afternoon: After lunch, continue to the famous Middle of the World and celebrate the ability to be in both hemispheres at the same time - a once in a lifetime experience. Learn important facts, myths and legends about the Geography of Earth while visiting the Equator as well as the history of the first group of scientists who had the hard mission to determined Earth’s shape in 1743. Visit the Ethnographic museum where you will get a general vision about Ecuador’s demography, geography and economy.

Return to the hotel.

Lecture: The Past, Present, and Future of Ecuador.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
 Evening: Time at leisure. Get a good night's rest in preparation for early morning activities the following day.
Accommodations: Sheraton Quito Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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

(Sunday, March 1)

Note: North Seymour Island: dry landing, moderate to difficult trail conditions due to uneven terrain. There is a 44 lb weight limit for checked luggage on the flights to the islands. Please pack accordingly. Note: Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are determined by the Galápagos National Park. The park reserves the right to change cruise itineraries without prior notice.

 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to the airport where you will be assisted by your Quito group leader. 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: Light lunch served on the flight.
 Afternoon: Upon arrival to Galápagos Islands, 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 guide and transferred to the yacht.

Board and set sail.

Enjoy an orientation, safety drill and a light snack.

Dry landing on North Seymour Island.

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

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

(Monday, March 2)

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

 Breakfast: Onboard the yacht.
 Morning: This morning we will pay a visit to Leon Dormido, for optimal swimming and snorkeling activities.

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

Later in the morning, navigate to nearby Cerro Brujo.

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

Return to the yacht.
 Lunch: Onboard the yacht.
 Afternoon: Wet landing on Isla Lobos.

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

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

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

(Tuesday, March 3)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Return to the yacht.
 Dinner: Onboard the yacht.
 Evening: Orientation of next day's activities and lecture.
Accommodations: Yolita II
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Galapagos -
Santa Fe and South Plaza Island.

(Wednesday, March 4)

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

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

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

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

Return to the yacht.
 Lunch: Onboard the yacht.
 Afternoon: Dry landing on Plaza Sur Island.

Walking field trip to explore local flora and fauna. Follow the trail to a cactus forest to get a close look at land iguanas and their habitat before continuing 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.

The small island is a great place to view seabirds in flight. A walk along the cliff offers good 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: Yolita II
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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

(Thursday, March 5)

Note: Charles Darwin Research Station: 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.

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

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

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

Santa Cruz is the second largest island in the archipelago. It is the administrative center of the islands and the most populated. The National Park Service is based here, but perhaps the most important is the Charles Darwin Research Station, the headquarters of all research and conservation efforts on the islands. Giant tortoises can be spotted on the island at certain times of year and several species of Darwin's finches reside here. A dramatic change in vegetation zones can be seen as one travels into the highland region of the island.

Visit Cerro Chato and Los Gemelos ("The Twins") craters.

The twin craters found in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island are actually large sinkholes--not volcanic formations. They were created as a result of the collapse, or the sinking, of surface materials into cracks. The surrounding Scalesia forest is a great place to view vegetation that is unique to this island and search for land birds.

Return to the yacht.
 Dinner: Onboard the yacht.
 Evening: Orientation of next day's activities and lecture.
Accommodations: Yolita II
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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

(Friday, March 6)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mirador de la Baronesa is a basaltic tuff formation located in la Olla Bay, between Punta Cormorant and Post Office Bay. Boat rides along the formation provide great opportunities to spot golden eagle rays, sea turtles, mullets, Galapagos Penguins, and sea lions. The site earned its name from letters written by Baroness Eloisa Von Wagner describing the area.

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

Day 9: Galapagos -
Sombrero Chino and Santa Cruz Island (Dragon Hill).

(Saturday, March 7)

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

 Breakfast: Onboard the yacht.
 Morning: Navigate around Sombrero Chino to observe resident wildlife.

This small island can be seen a short distance from Santiago Island’s southeastern tip. The name, meaning Chinese hat, describes the volcanic cone’s unique hat shape. A cove on the northern side of the island offers good conditions for swimming and snorkeling; it is also a favored sea lion hangout. Other species frequently seen in and around the island include American Oystercatchers, Brown Noddys, Galápagos Hawks, Sally Lightfoot crabs, spotted eagle rays, whitetip reef sharks, Galápagos Penguins, marine iguanas, Lava Herons, lava lizards, and Brown Pelicans.
 Lunch: Onboard the yacht.
 Afternoon: Dry landing on Santa Cruz for a field trip to Cerro Dragon.

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

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

Day 10: Galapagos and Quito-
Santa Cruz Island (Black Turtle Cove)/Flight to Quito

(Sunday, March 8)

Note: Black Turtle Cove: no landing.

 Breakfast: Onboard the yacht.
 Morning: Excursion to Black Turtle Cove on Santa Cruz Island.

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

Return to the yacht for a farewell snack.

Sail to Baltra Island and transfer to the airport to board your flight for the mainland. Say Farewell to your Galápagos group leader.
 Lunch: Light snack served on the flight.
 Afternoon: Late afternoon arrival in Quito.
Transfer to the hotel.

Time at leisure to finish packing or relax before joining the rest of the group for dinner.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: Hosteria Rincon de Puembo
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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

(Monday, March 9)

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

Galapagos, World's End

Author: William Beebe

Description: A wry, wonderfully evocative account of a 1924 scientific expedition, including an excellent chapter on the human history of the Galapagos by Ruth Rose. A contemporary reviewer wrote, "Galapagos is a glorious book. It is high romance, exact science and wild adventure." Originally published in 1924, it includes several color plates and maps.

Insight Pocket Guide Ecuador and Galapagos

Author: Peter Frost

Description: Written and photographed by South America expert Peter Frost, this handy pocket guide features a pullout map of Ecuador, hundreds of color photographs and suggested itineraries.

Voyage of the Beagle

Author: Charles Darwin

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

Galapagos Wildlife, A Visitor's Guide

Author: Bradt Travel Guides

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

Evolution's Workshop, God and Science on the Galapagos Islands

Author: Edward J. Larson

Description: A vivid history of the Galapagos -- and the role of the islands as a crucible of evolutionary ideas. It covers not just Darwin but the discovery of the islands, visits of Hancock and Beebe, influence of the United States during WWII, and the establishment of the national park. Pulitzer Prize-winning Larson, a historian of science, has also written about the Scopes trial (Summer for the Gods) and the creationist controversy in the United States (Trial and Error).

Galapagos Islands Explorer Map

Author: Ocean Explorer Maps

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

The Panama Hat Trail

Author: Tom Miller & Tony Hillerman

Description: An accurate and wonderfully descriptive picture of Ecuador and its people. The author tells the story of the Panama hat and the lives it touches; from growing the straw, processing it, and weaving it, to the final product that is exported worldwide.

Charles Darwin Slept Here

Author: John Woram

Description: John Woram recounts with verve and humor the human history of the archipelago, featuring a colorful cast of buccaneers, scientists and adventurers. With ar-chival drawings, maps and extensive notes.

Galapagos: The Enchanted Islands, Through Writer's Eyes

Author: John Hickman

Description: John Hickman weaves original accounts by Galapagos whalers, gentleman pirates, fitful castaways, settlers and scientists, including Ambrose Crowley Herman Melville, Charles Darwin and William Beebe, in this these tales of the color-ful human history of the archipelago.

The Boy on the Back of the Turtle

Author: Paul Quarrington

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

Galapagos, A Novel

Author: Kurt Vonnegut

Description: In this madcap novel, a classic, Vonnegut looks back from the future (alas, the human race has been wiped out except for a small group stranded in the Ga-lapagos) on the Nature Cruise of the Century.

Galapagos, Preserving Darwin's Legacy

Author: Tui De Roy

Description: Tui de Roy corralled researchers and friends for this stunning survey of the natural history, ecology and conservation of the Galapagos. With 450 breath-taking color photographs and chapters by Jack Grove (fishes), Peter and Rose-mary Grant (finches), Dennis Geist (geology) and many other scientists.

Galapagos, Exploring Darwin's Tapestry

Author: John Hess

Description: Professor Hess pulls off the rare trick of being both scientifically accurate and inviting in this illustrated coffee-table primer on Galapagos, its geol-ogy, evolution and magnificent wildlife.

Reef Identification, Galapagos

Author: Paul Humann

Description: Sturdy enough to take along on a boat, this comprehensive photographic guide includes a map, checklist and brief overview of the archipelago.

Flowering Plants of the Galapagos

Author: Conley McMullen, Ghillean Prance

Description: Indispensable for the botanically minded, this excellent guide features color photographs of 436 species, an overview of ecology and habitats, and a plant checklist for each visitor site.

Galapagos Wildlife

Author: Pocket Naturalist

Description: This fold-up, laminated card includes color drawings and short descriptions.

Galapagos, Discovery on Darwin's Islands

Author: David Steadman

Description: All the birds, mammals, reptiles and other vertebrates of the Galapagos are beautifully illustrated in this insightful overview of natural history and evolution by a researcher who has worked throughout the islands. Steadman's brother Lee provides the full-color, full-page water color illustrations.

Birds, Mammals and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands

Author: Andy Swash, Robert Stills

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

The Beak of the Finch

Author: Jonathan Weiner

Description: This Pulitzer Prize-winning work is an accessible look at the modern debate on the mode and rhythm of evolution, using the story of Peter and Rosemary Grant and their field work on Daphne Major as an example.

Galapagos, The Islands That Changed the World

Author: Paul D. Stewart

Description: This stunning three-part BBC documentary captures the rugged beauty, allure, wildlife and history of the archipelago like never before

Galapagos, A Natural History Guide

Author: Michael Jackson

Description: This comprehensive overview of the habitats, plants, birds, and animals of the islands, written with the curious visitor in mind, is practically mandatory reading. It's the single best overview of the archipelago. Jackson also includes a useful bibliography, wildlife checklists and a list of plants by vegetation zone. Illustrated with many charts and maps, we refer to the book often.

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