loading spinner
18484
Galápagos Islands/Ecuador/Peru

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

The Galápagos and Machu Picchu are two of Latin America’s most renowned icons. Come see for yourself as you discover the unique wildlife and preserved ruins of these two sacred places.
Rating (5)
Program No. 18484RJ
Length
18 days
Starts at
7,499
Flights start at
750
Galápagos Islands/Ecuador/Peru

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

The Galápagos and Machu Picchu are two of Latin America’s most renowned icons. Come see for yourself as you discover the unique wildlife and preserved ruins of these two sacred places.
Length
18 days
Starts at
7,499
Flights start at
750
Length
18 days
Rating (5)
Starts at
7,499
Flights start at
750
Program No. 18484RJ

Your well-being is our #1 priority

To make your experience as safe as possible, we require all participants to be fully vaccinated. See our Safety Roadmap

Enroll with Confidence

We want your Road Scholar learning adventure to be something to look forward to—not worry about. Learn more

Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
airfare
Need airfare?
Our airfare tool can help. Check it out
climate
Plan ahead.
What kind of weather can you expect? Take a look!
itinerary
Please Note:
The itinerary for this program is different on certain dates.
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.

DATES & PRICES

Ship Outside
Accommodation Details

A cabin with a window or porthole to view the outside.

Nov 16 - Dec 3, 2022
SOLD OUT
Ship Outside 7,499
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Quito and ends in Lima and sails on the Tip Top V. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Gálapagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Nov 17 - Dec 3, 2022
SOLD OUT
Ship Outside 7,499
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Lima and ends in Quito and sails on the Tip Top IV. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Nov 25 - Dec 11, 2022
SOLD OUT
Ship Outside 7,499
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Lima and ends in Quito and sails on the Galaxy I. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Dec 4 - Dec 20, 2022
Ship Outside 7,499
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Lima and ends in Quito and stays at a lodge on Isabela Island for 4 nights and sails on the Tip Top IV for 3 nights. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Dec 8 - Dec 24, 2022
Ship Outside 7,499
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Lima and ends in Quito and sails on the Tip Top V. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galapágos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Jan 11 - Jan 28, 2023
Ship Outside 8,199
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Quito and ends in Lima and sails on the Tip Top II. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Jan 29 - Feb 14, 2023
Ship Outside 8,199
Itinerary Note

This 17-day program starts in Quito and ends in Lima and spends 6 nights in the Galápagos Islands; 3 nights at a lodge on Isabela Island and 3 nights sailing on the Tip Top V. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Feb 1 - Feb 18, 2023
Ship Outside 8,199
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Quito and ends in Lima and stays at a lodge on Isabela Island for 3 nights and sails on the Tip Top V for 4 nights. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Feb 22 - Mar 11, 2023
SOLD OUT
Ship Outside 8,199
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Quito and ends in Lima and sails on the Tip Top II. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Feb 26 - Mar 14, 2023
Ship Outside 8,199
Itinerary Note

This 17-day program starts in Quito and ends in Lima and spends 6 nights in the Galápagos Islands; 3 nights at a lodge on Isabela Island and 3 nights sailing on the Tip Top V. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Mar 8 - Mar 25, 2023
SOLD OUT
Ship Outside 8,199
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Quito and ends in Lima and sails on the Tip Top V. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Mar 22 - Apr 8, 2023
SOLD OUT
Ship Outside 8,199
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Quito and ends in Lima and sails on the Tip Top II. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Apr 5 - Apr 22, 2023
SOLD OUT
Ship Outside 8,199
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Quito and ends in Lima and sails on the Tip Top V. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Apr 19 - May 6, 2023
SOLD OUT
Ship Outside 8,199
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Quito and ends in Lima and sails on the Tip Top II. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Apr 23 - May 9, 2023
Ship Outside 8,199
Itinerary Note

This 17-day program starts in Quito and ends in Lima and spends 6 nights in the Galápagos Islands; 3 nights at a lodge on Isabela Island and 3 nights sailing on the Tip Top V. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

May 10 - May 27, 2023
SOLD OUT
Ship Outside 8,199
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Quito and ends in Lima and sails on the Tip Top V. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

May 17 - Jun 3, 2023
Ship Outside 8,199
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Quito and ends in Lima and sails on the Tip Top V. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Jun 14 - Jul 1, 2023
Ship Outside 8,199
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Quito and ends in Lima and sails on the Tip Top V. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Jun 28 - Jul 15, 2023
Ship Outside 8,199
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Quito and ends in Lima and sails on the Tip Top II. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Aug 23 - Sep 9, 2023
Ship Outside 7,999
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Quito and ends in Lima and sails on the Tip Top V. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Aug 30 - Sep 16, 2023
Ship Outside 7,999
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Quito and ends in Lima and sails on the Tip Top V. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Sep 13 - Sep 30, 2023
Ship Outside 8,199
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Quito and ends in Lima and sails on the Tip Top V. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Sep 27 - Oct 14, 2023
Ship Outside 8,199
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Quito and ends in Lima and sails on the Tip Top V. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Oct 18 - Nov 4, 2023
Ship Outside 8,199
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Quito and ends in Lima and sails on the Tip Top V. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Oct 22 - Nov 7, 2023
Ship Outside 8,199
Itinerary Note

This 17-day program starts in Quito and ends in Lima and spends 6 nights in the Galápagos Islands; 3 nights at a lodge on Isabela Island and 3 nights sailing on the Tip Top V. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Nov 15 - Dec 2, 2023
Ship Outside 8,199
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Quito and ends in Lima and sails on the Tip Top V. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Nov 16 - Dec 2, 2023
Ship Outside 8,199
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Lima and ends in Quito and sails on the Tip Top V. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Nov 30 - Dec 16, 2023
Ship Outside 8,199
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Lima and ends in Quito and stays at a lodge on Isabela Island for 3 nights and sails on the Tip Top V for 4 nights. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Dec 13 - Dec 30, 2023
Ship Outside 8,199
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Quito and ends in Lima and sails on the Tip Top V. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

DATES & PRICES

Ship Outside
Accommodation Details

A cabin with a window or porthole to view the outside.

Nov 16 - Dec 3, 2022
Ship Outside 9,499
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Quito and ends in Lima and sails on the Tip Top V. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Gálapagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Nov 17 - Dec 3, 2022
Ship Outside 9,499
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Lima and ends in Quito and sails on the Tip Top IV. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Dec 4 - Dec 20, 2022
Ship Outside 9,499
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Lima and ends in Quito and stays at a lodge on Isabela Island for 4 nights and sails on the Tip Top IV for 3 nights. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Dec 8 - Dec 24, 2022
Ship Outside 9,499
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Lima and ends in Quito and sails on the Tip Top V. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galapágos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Jan 11 - Jan 28, 2023
SOLD OUT
Ship Outside 10,199
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Quito and ends in Lima and sails on the Tip Top II. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Jan 29 - Feb 14, 2023
Ship Outside 10,199
Itinerary Note

This 17-day program starts in Quito and ends in Lima and spends 6 nights in the Galápagos Islands; 3 nights at a lodge on Isabela Island and 3 nights sailing on the Tip Top V. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Feb 1 - Feb 18, 2023
Ship Outside 10,199
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Quito and ends in Lima and stays at a lodge on Isabela Island for 3 nights and sails on the Tip Top V for 4 nights. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Feb 22 - Mar 11, 2023
SOLD OUT
Ship Outside 10,199
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Quito and ends in Lima and sails on the Tip Top II. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Feb 26 - Mar 14, 2023
Ship Outside 10,199
Itinerary Note

This 17-day program starts in Quito and ends in Lima and spends 6 nights in the Galápagos Islands; 3 nights at a lodge on Isabela Island and 3 nights sailing on the Tip Top V. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Mar 8 - Mar 25, 2023
SOLD OUT
Ship Outside 10,199
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Quito and ends in Lima and sails on the Tip Top V. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Mar 22 - Apr 8, 2023
SOLD OUT
Ship Outside 10,199
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Quito and ends in Lima and sails on the Tip Top II. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Apr 5 - Apr 22, 2023
Ship Outside 10,199
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Quito and ends in Lima and sails on the Tip Top V. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Apr 19 - May 6, 2023
SOLD OUT
Ship Outside 10,199
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Quito and ends in Lima and sails on the Tip Top II. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Apr 23 - May 9, 2023
Ship Outside 10,199
Itinerary Note

This 17-day program starts in Quito and ends in Lima and spends 6 nights in the Galápagos Islands; 3 nights at a lodge on Isabela Island and 3 nights sailing on the Tip Top V. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

May 10 - May 27, 2023
Ship Outside 10,199
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Quito and ends in Lima and sails on the Tip Top V. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

May 17 - Jun 3, 2023
Ship Outside 10,199
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Quito and ends in Lima and sails on the Tip Top V. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Jun 14 - Jul 1, 2023
Ship Outside 10,199
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Quito and ends in Lima and sails on the Tip Top V. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Jun 28 - Jul 15, 2023
Ship Outside 10,199
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Quito and ends in Lima and sails on the Tip Top II. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Aug 23 - Sep 9, 2023
Ship Outside 9,999
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Quito and ends in Lima and sails on the Tip Top V. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Aug 30 - Sep 16, 2023
Ship Outside 9,999
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Quito and ends in Lima and sails on the Tip Top V. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Sep 13 - Sep 30, 2023
Ship Outside 10,199
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Quito and ends in Lima and sails on the Tip Top V. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Sep 27 - Oct 14, 2023
Ship Outside 10,199
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Quito and ends in Lima and sails on the Tip Top V. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Oct 18 - Nov 4, 2023
Ship Outside 10,199
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Quito and ends in Lima and sails on the Tip Top V. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Oct 22 - Nov 7, 2023
Ship Outside 10,199
Itinerary Note

This 17-day program starts in Quito and ends in Lima and spends 6 nights in the Galápagos Islands; 3 nights at a lodge on Isabela Island and 3 nights sailing on the Tip Top V. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Nov 15 - Dec 2, 2023
Ship Outside 10,199
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Quito and ends in Lima and sails on the Tip Top V. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Nov 16 - Dec 2, 2023
Ship Outside 10,199
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Lima and ends in Quito and sails on the Tip Top V. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Nov 30 - Dec 16, 2023
Ship Outside 10,199
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Lima and ends in Quito and stays at a lodge on Isabela Island for 3 nights and sails on the Tip Top V for 4 nights. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

Dec 13 - Dec 30, 2023
Ship Outside 10,199
Itinerary Note

This program date starts in Quito and ends in Lima and sails on the Tip Top V. Cruise Itinerary varies by date. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galápagos National Park and can be changed without prior notice.

At a Glance

Few other places inspire such wonder and awe as the Galápagos Islands and the Incan Lost City of Machu Picchu. Experience both of these destinations, as well as the UNESCO World Heritage site of Quito in an intimate group setting that allows for optimal time to learn from Road Scholar's acclaimed experts.
Activity Level
Let's Go!
Elevations of 11,000 feet. Ascending and descending many steps without handrails at archaeological ruins. Wet and dry landings by small Zodiac boat. Island activities require 3-5 hours of physical activity per day. 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
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Swim and snorkel in search of sea turtles, sea lions and rays.
  • Learn about the biology of the Galapagos giant tortoise.
  • Discuss the spiritual significance of Machu Picchu and spend the evening in Aguas Calientes for a longer, more relaxed visit to the site.

General Notes

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. Some dates of the program run in the reverse, starting in Lima and ending in Quito. 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 hold 16 passengers in comfortable cabins. Due to the remote nature of the islands, listening devices are not available for the Galapagos Islands portion of the program.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Gustavo "Tito" Leon
A native of Cusco, Gustavo "Tito" Leon found himself fascinated with the music of the Andean highlands. This affinity led him to devote his life to the research and preservation of Peru's Andean music. His research has focused on the origins of Andean music, its different forms, influences and instruments. Gustavo is a talented musician and an expert on native Andean woodwind, percussion, and string instruments. His interactive style will get your toes tapping as he performs the various song styles and instruments of the Andes.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Gustavo "Tito" Leon
Gustavo "Tito" Leon View biography
A native of Cusco, Gustavo "Tito" Leon found himself fascinated with the music of the Andean highlands. This affinity led him to devote his life to the research and preservation of Peru's Andean music. His research has focused on the origins of Andean music, its different forms, influences and instruments. Gustavo is a talented musician and an expert on native Andean woodwind, percussion, and string instruments. His interactive style will get your toes tapping as he performs the various song styles and instruments of the Andes.
Profile Image of Holger "Paco" Mayorca
Holger "Paco" Mayorca View biography
As a child growing up in Cusco, Holger Mayorca became aware of Peru’s rich history and the beauty of the Andean landscape early in life. He earned a degree from the National University of San Antonio Abad and went to work as an assistant to the director of the Machu Picchu National Park. Studying further with the park’s archaeologist and biologist deepened Holger’s knowledge, and he has led many visitors of all ages around the Peruvian highlands and his beloved hometown of Cusco.
Profile Image of Maywa Blanco
Maywa Blanco View biography
A lifelong resident of Cusco, Maywa Blanco is a university professor who teaches courses in genetics, the biodiversity of Andean crops and agricultural research. She attended the National University of Saint Anthony the Abbot in Peru and studied English at the Peruvian-North American Cultural Institute. She received a Fulbright Scholarship to study at Michigan State University, earned a master’s degree, and then returned to Cusco to work helping impoverished communities. In her free time, Maywa enjoys cooking, soccer and spending time with her family.
Profile Image of Jorge Carrera
Jorge Carrera View biography
Jorge "George" Carrera is an accomplished Ecuadorian group leader and a veteran with decades of field experience. He recalls as a child, being drawn to studies focused on history, geography and politics. Later, while studying for a degree in the travel industry, he also developed a passion for art, archaeology, ethnic studies and cultural anthropology. Jorge has traveled extensively throughout Ecuador and spent time in some stunningly beautiful locations, ranging from Andean landscapes to lowland forests and coastal beaches.
Profile Image of Sheila Robles (Peru)
Sheila Robles (Peru) View biography
Sheila holds a bachelor's degree in tourism from the San Antonio University in Cusco, Peru. Her specialties include ancient civilizations of Peru, Inca history and architecture, archaeology, ecotourism and conservation. In her spare time, Sheila enjoys traveling, reading, hiking and mountain biking in the Andes Mountains. In addition to speaking Spanish, English and basic Italian, she is fluent in Quechua, an ancient language still spoken by descendants of the Inca living in the Andean region.
Profile Image of Raul Miranda
Raul Miranda View biography
Raul Miranda is from Quito, Ecuador. Since 2002, he has worked as a guide, taking groups all over Ecuador from Cuenca, down into the Amazon, and high up into the Andes. He enjoys being a leader because it means constantly learning and interacting with people from diverse countries. He has visited many countries including most in South America, Mexico, Cuba, the USA, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, and Czech Republic. His wife is also a guide! Together, they have two children; Axel and Zoe.
Profile Image of Reninger Aguilar
Reninger Aguilar View biography
Reninger “Renny” Aguilar is a certified Galapagos Islands National Park naturalist, fluent in English and Spanish. He has bachelor's degrees in philosophy, theology, and also took biology courses because he enjoyed nature. In addition to studying ecology and the flora and fauna of the islands, he received training in geology, volcanology, conservation, and environmental education. In addition to being an expedition leader, Renny is also a professional photographer and avid diver. He prides himself in being able to identify Galápagos birds just by their calls.
Profile Image of Patricio Maldonado
Patricio Maldonado View biography
Patricio Madonado is a certified Galápagos National Park naturalist and a freelance photography instructor. He is fluent in English and Spanish, and is an expert when it comes to flora and fauna of the Islands. Patricio began working as a naturalist expedition leader in the Galápagos Islands in 2000 and in 2012 added photography instruction to his professional repertoire. He has led groups for a number of well-known Ecuadorian and international expedition companies over the years, and is experienced in cruise and land-based programming.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Peru, Travellers' Wildlife Guides
by David L. Pearson, Les Beletsky
Featuring 500 illustrations of the birds, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and insects of the Amazon, Andes and Pacific Coast.
Lost City of the Incas
by Hiram Bingham
This first-rate adventure story by the man who brought Machu Picchu to the attention of the world is not just a gripping tale of exploration and archaeology, it also sets the scene for any visitor to the site.
Galapagos, A Novel
by Kurt Vonnegut
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.
Machu Picchu, Unveiling the Mystery of the Incas
by Richard L. Burger (Editor), Lucy C. Salazar (Editor)
Burger and Salazar vividly evoke the art, architecture, culture and society of Machu Picchu in this illustrated, up-to-date survey. With Hiram Bingham's original report, archival and modern photographs and excellent chapters on recent archaeology at the site.
Moon Spotlight Quito
by Ben Westwood
A slim, authoritative guide to Quito and the Ecuadorian Andes. What Moon guides lack in flash, they more than make up for in personable, clear writing, expert recommendations and advice. The text is interspersed with color photographs and maps.
Art of the Andes, from Chavin to Inca
by Rebecca Stone-Miller
This authoritative and concise illustrated survey of Andean art and architecture covers not only Machu Picchu and additional Inca monuments, but also Chan Chan, Nasca and other archaeological sites and cultures.
Voyage of the Beagle
by Charles Darwin
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.
Understanding Galapagos: What You'll See and What it Means
by Sehoya Cotner, Randy Moore
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.
The Incas
by Carmen Bernard
Featuring archival drawings and photographs, a chronology and chapters on Atahualpa, the Conquistadors and Hiram Bingham, this handy book (previously published as People of the Sun) illuminates the daily life, monuments and history of the Incas.
Insight Guide Peru
by Insight Guides
Panoramic in scope, this illustrated overview brings Peru to life in color photographs and vivid essays on history, archaeology and culture.
The Inca Trail, Cuzco & Machu Picchu
by Alexander Stewart
An excellent overview of local culture and history, including chapters on exploring Cuzco, the Sacred Valley and Lima. Fifth edition.
The Heights of Macchu Picchu
by Pablo Neruda
An indispensable contribution to 20th-century poetry, Neruda’s ode to Machu Picchu celebrates the Incan civilization while abhorring that the ancient estate was built by slave labor.
Galapagos, Islands Born of Fire
by Tui De Roy
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 Wildlife
by Pocket Naturalist
A fold-up, laminated card featuring color drawings and short descriptions of commonly encountered birds, mammals and reptiles of the Galapagos.
Stone Offerings
by Mike Torrey
Torrey captures the dramatic setting, solitude and intricate construction of the Inca site of Machu Picchu in 100 striking color photographs taken over a few days at summer and winter solstice.
Galapagos Wildlife, A Visitor's Guide
by David Horwell, Pete Oxford
With chapters on visitor sites, history, conservation and habitats, this compact photographic guide introduces birds, reptiles, marine and other life of the archipelago.
Inca Trail: Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley, Cusco Map
by Lima 2000
This fact-filled map shows the whole of the Sacred Valley, from Cusco to Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu, on one side, and, on the reverse, the area surrounding the sanctuary in splendid, topographic detail (1:50,000). It's the best map for those making the trek from kilometer 88 to the site and an excellent choice for those exploring by bus or train.
Galapagos, A Natural History
by Michael Jackson
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 Islands Map
by ITMB
This full-color map of the Galapagos at a scale of 1:420,000, printed on water and tear-resistant paper, shows in detail major features, topography and visitor sites. With a large city plan of Quito on the reverse.
Satan Came to Eden
by Dore Strauch
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.
Galapagos, World's End
by William Beebe
This wry, wonderfully evocative account of a 1924 scientific expedition includes an excellent chapter on the human history of the Galapagos.
Print All
Map details are not available for this location.
View Map
Expand All
18 days
17 nights
42 meals
16 B 14 L 12 D
DAY
1
In Transit, Arrivals in Quito, Check-in
Quito
Sheraton Quito Hotel

Activity note: Elevations in Quito range from 9,223 ft - 9,883 ft. To minimize the chances of experiencing altitude sickness while in Quito: get plenty of rest before travel, stay hydrated, avoid alcohol, fatty foods, consume high carbohydrate foods, & avoid strenuous exercise at high elevations.This is an international travel day; no meals or program activities are scheduled on this day. Hotel check-in usually begins at 3PM. See your program’s travel details regarding transfers.

Evening: At leisure. Settle in and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
Orientation to Quito, UNESCO World Heritage Site, San Marcos
Quito
B,L,D
Sheraton Quito Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus; driving about 15 miles, approximately 1.5 hours riding time. Walking approximately 1.5 miles; mostly flat terrain, some steps. Layered clothing and comfortable walking shoes suggested for today's activities. This leisurely-paced day in Quito is very important as it will give the group time to acclimate to highland elevations.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Orientation at 8:30 a.m. We will meet our 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. Periods labeled “Free Time” and “At Leisure” offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable while going out to explore on your own, engaging in available activities independently, making new friends among fellow Road Scholars, or simply relaxing. The Group Leader will always be happy to offer suggestions. Meals on our program feature local cuisine. In many cases, they will be plated and served set meals; in others, we will have buffets with multiple options. Beverages include coffee, tea, water; other beverages are usually available for purchase. 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. At the hotel we'll board a bus and ride to the center of the city for an orientation to Ecuador’s capital. We'll accompany the Group Leader in a walking exploration of the historic UNESCO World Heritage Site, learning about Quito's history from pre-Hispanic times, through the Colonial Period, to the Republican Era. The architecture found in Quito’s historical center is a great example of the Baroque style which is a fusion of Spanish, Moorish, Flemish and Indigenous art. Our field trip will include visits to the Museo Casa del Alabado, La Compañia Church, San Francisco Church and Convent, and the Plaza Grande.

Lunch: At a local restaurant including an introduction to Ecuadorian food products and typical Ecuadorian cuisine.

Afternoon: After lunch we will ride to the historic Barrio San Marcos and accompany our Group Leader on a walking exploration of its main street. This charming residential area of narrow streets and eclectic architecture reflects centuries of European and indigenous influences that together make up Quitenian culture. We'll cap our experience with a stop at a traditional house—now a boutique hotel—to learn how to prepare and get to sample one of Quito’s signature beverages, the canelazo. Late afternoon we’ll ride back to our hotel and attend an expert presentation about Andean culture and European and Indigenous syncretism.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: Prepare for check out and flight tomorrow. There is a 50 lb weight limit for checked luggage on the flights to the islands. Please pack accordingly. Extra luggage can be stored with your driver in Quito. At leisure. Prepare luggage for early check out and flights to the Galápagos. This is a Road Scholar Adventures Afloat program. In addition to lectures and field trips exclusively for our Road Scholar group, you are invited to take advantage of activities and events aboard ship that are separate from the Road Scholar program. The time available in each port is set by the cruise line. Whenever possible, the Road Scholar daily schedule indicates port arrival and departure times (subject to change by the cruise line). This may mean that free time in port is limited. Regardless of the time in port, Road Scholar delivers a robust educational program. All routes, field trips, and excursions are subject to change as weather and sea conditions may affect the itinerary. Sea conditions could affect the progress of the ship, making it run late and sometimes miss ports because it is not safe to dock. Because of this, the cruise itinerary should always be regarded as provisional. The operators reserve the right to change the content of field trips and excursions without prior notice.

DAY
3
Fly to Baltra Island, Embarkation, Mosquera Islet
Galápagos Islands
B,L,D
Tip Top V

Activity note: The flight to/from the Galapagos makes a stop in Guayaquil; passengers remain on board. This flight allows each person to bring a 50 lb checked bag/suitcase, plus a carry on. Excess luggage can be stored at the hotel in Quito until our return. 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: Early, at the hotel.

Morning: Hotel check out. After boarding the bus we will transfer to the airport in preparation for our flight to the Galapagos Islands. Our Quito Group Leader will assist us with check-in procedures and bid us farewell as we proceed through security and get ready to embark on our flight. Upon arrival to the Galápagos Islands we'll deplane and walk across the tarmac to the airport building and follow the arrival signs to Immigration. With passport in hand we will stop at the Immigration counter for an inspection of our travel documents before we can proceed to the baggage claim area. After collecting our luggage, we will meet our naturalist Galápagos Group Leader and board a bus that will drive us to the pier, followed by a short panga ride to the boat. Once on board, we'll take part in a welcome orientation and a safety drill as we sail to our first visitor site in the Galápagos.

Lunch: Aboard the yacht.

Afternoon: After lunch we will navigate a short distance to Mosquera Islet, located between Baltra and North Seymour. A wet landing will deliver us to a white sand beach in preparation for our walking explorations. From there, we’ll walk along the beach to observe resident sea lions, colorful sally lightfoot crabs and coastal birds. We'll return to the yacht and freshen up before dinner.

Dinner: Aboard the yacht, after enjoying a welcome cocktail with the crew.

Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.

DAY
4
Santiago Island, Sullivan Bay, Rabida Island
Galápagos Islands
B,L,D
Tip Top V

Activity note: Sullivan Bay: wet landing and moderate difficulty due to rocky, volcanic terrain. Good walking shoes are a must, as the volcanic terrain is sharp and rough. Rabida Island: wet landing. Easy/moderate trail conditions due to sandy trails.

Breakfast: Aboard the yacht.

Morning: Wet landing at Sullivan Bay, followed by a walking field trip led by our naturalist leader. During this activity we'll be able to get a good look at the island's unique geological features. Santiago (a.k.a. San Salvador) is the fourth largest island in the Galápagos. A volcanic eruption that took place in the early 1900s 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. The rope-like lava seen on this island is called pahoehoe lava. Other interesting formations include lava bubbles and tree shapes, ghosts of Santiago's past. Few plant species have been able to root in this harsh environment. Although the volcanic formations on Santiago have the obvious spotlight, keep an eye out for American Oystercatchers nesting along the coast (July) and Galápagos Hawks performing their acrobatic courtship rituals (August). We will have the opportunity to swim and snorkel before returning the yacht.

Lunch: Aboard the yacht.

Afternoon: This afternoon we will make a wet landing at Rabida Island. Our naturalist leader will point out the island's unique flora and fauna during a walking exploration of the beach and local trails. Rabida (Jervis) has a dark red beach favored by 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 a .5 mile walk). Some of the Galápagos' rarest bird species are here in abundance, including Large-billed Flycatchers, Galápagos Hawks and nine varieties of finches. After optional swimming and snorkeling opportunities we will head back to the yacht.

Dinner: Aboard the yacht.

Evening: Lecture and orientation to the next day's activities. (Please note that the day/time of lectures is subject to change)

DAY
5
Fernandina Island, Punta Espinoza, Elizabeth Bay
Galápagos Islands
B,L,D
Tip Top V

Activity note: Punta Espinoza: dry landing, moderate trail conditions due to slippery rocks at low tide and uneven terrain. Good walking shoes are a must for the 1.2 mile walk on sharp volcanic rocks. Elizabeth Bay: an approximately 2 hour panga ride along mangroves and islets.

Breakfast: Aboard the yacht.

Morning: We will make a dry landing at Punta Espinoza and then walk on local trails in search of the resident sea lion colony and Flightless Cormorant nesting sites. 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. Return to the yacht.

Lunch: Aboard the yacht.

Afternoon: This afternoon we will enjoy a panga ride in and around the mangroves and islets of Elizabeth Bay to look for shore birds, marine turtles, rays, sea lions, and more. Return to the yacht.

Dinner: Aboard the yacht.

Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.

DAY
6
Isabela, Urbina Bay and Tagus Cove
Galápagos Islands
B,L,D
Tip Top V

Activity note: 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. Tagus Cove: panga ride.

Breakfast: Aboard the yacht.

Morning: After breakfast we will make a wet landing at Urbina Bay and begin our walking exploration of this unique site. 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. Opportunity for swimming and snorkeling before we take a panga ride to the yacht in time for lunch.

Lunch: Aboard the yacht.

Afternoon: We'll board a panga to Tagus Cove to view Galapagos Penguins, marine iguanas, sea lions and a variety of birds, such as flightless cormorants and blue-footed boobies. There will be time to snorkel and swim before returning to the yacht for dinner.

Dinner: Aboard the yacht.

Evening: Lecture and orientation to the next day's activities. (Please note that the day/time of lectures is subject to change)

DAY
7
Santiago Island, Puerto Egas, Bartolome Island
Galápagos Islands
B,L,D
Tip Top V

Activity note: Puerto Egas: wet landing and easy to moderate walking conditions. Bartolome: dry landing. The 1.2 mile walk to the top of the volcano includes a climb up a long wooden staircase (375 steps) with railings.

Breakfast: Aboard the yacht.

Morning: A short panga ride will take us to Santiago Island in preparation for a wet landing at Puerto Egas' black sand beach. As we explore local trails, our naturalist leader will help to point out local wildlife. Puerto Egas, located on the northwestern side of Santiago Island, has black volcanic formations that provide shelter to a number of creatures. Here it is possible to 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. Opportunity for swimming and snorkeling before returning to the yacht in time for lunch.

Lunch: Aboard the yacht.

Afternoon: Dry landing at Bartolomé Island. After disembarkation we will accompany our naturalist leader on a hike up Escalera Hill. On Bartolomé Island we will be able to view volcanic formations such as lava bombs, spatter, and cinder cones. From the summit it is possible to see surrounding islands as well as Pinnacle Rock's eroded tuff cone. On the way to the summit, watch for colonies of marine iguanas, lava lizards, tiquilla and various cacti. Bartolomé is one of the best places to find Galápagos penguins. Return to the yacht.

Dinner: Aboard the yacht.

Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.

DAY
8
Sombrero Chino, Santa Cruz Island, Cerro Dragon
Galápagos Islands
B,L,D
Tip Top V

Activity note: Sombrero Chino: wet/ dry landing (depending on local weather conditions). Cerro Dragon: dry landing; easy to moderate trail conditions due to rocky, uneven terrain.

Breakfast: Aboard the yacht.

Morning: We will start the day by navigating around Sombrero Chino to observe its resident wildlife and lava formations. We may also make a wet or dry landing and undertake a short hike around the island (depending on water conditions). 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 shape. A cove on the northern side of the island offers good conditions for swimming, snorkeling and kayaking; 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. We'll have an opportunity to swim, snorkel or kayak before returning to the yacht.

Lunch: Aboard the yacht.

Afternoon: After a panga ride and a dry landing, we will initiate our walk to the lookout point on Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill), Santa Cruz. In the 1970s, the site was known for its colony of land iguanas. Flamingoes and shorebirds seasonally visit the lagoons in search of shrimp, appearing in larger numbers during the dryer season when the crustaceans are more plentiful. The rocky beach provides good snorkeling opportunities when the tide is high.

Dinner: Aboard the yacht.

Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.

DAY
9
Santa Cruz Highlands, Wild Tortoises, Charles Darwin Station
Galápagos Islands
B,L,D
Tip Top V

Activity note: Santa Cruz Highlands: dry landing at Puerto Ayora and moderate to difficult trail conditions due to rocky, uneven (and possibly muddy) trails. Driving approximately 1.5 hours throughout the day.

Breakfast: Aboard the yacht.

Morning: We will tender ashore to Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island then, board a bus that will take us into the highlands. Our naturalist will lead us on a walking field trip on local trails and lightly wooded areas to view Los Gemelos (The Twins) pit craters and the surrounding Scalesia forest. Then we’ll drive to a nearby location to walk on grassy trails in search of giant tortoises living in the wild. We'll learn more about their diet, breeding habits and overall biology as we observe them in their natural habitat. In addition to giant tortoises, Santa Cruz is home to several species of Darwin's finches as well as Yellow Warblers, Galápagos Rails and Paint-billed Crakes. A dramatic change in vegetation zones can be seen as one travels into the highland region of the island.

Lunch: At a local ranch in the highlands.

Afternoon: Our bus will deliver us back to Puerto Ayora in preparation for our field trip to the Charles Darwin Research Station and Interpretation Center Fausto Llerena. Our naturalist will lead us on foot through the facility and introduce us to the station's mission and its tortoise breeding projects. The Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) is a biological research station based on Santa Cruz Island and operated by the Charles Darwin Foundation. The organization plays an important role in scientific research, environmental education, and conservation efforts in the islands. The station conducts its projects with the help of a large team of scientists, educators, volunteers, research students and support staff from all over the world. Late afternoon return to the yacht.

Dinner: Aboard the yacht.

Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities. Prepare luggage for final disembarkation.

DAY
10
North Seymour Island, Fly to Lima via Quito
Lima
B,D
Casa Andina Select Miraflores

Activity note: North Seymour: dry landing. Walking approximately 1.5 miles. There is a 50 lb weight limit for checked luggage on the flights to and from the islands.

Breakfast: Aboard the boat.

Morning: Early this morning we will make a dry landing on North Seymour Island to enjoy a 1.5-mile walk on local trails. North Seymour Island is conveniently located next to Baltra Island. The island has a major nesting colony of Blue-footed Boobies and Magnificent Frigatebirds. 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. Besides boasting abundant fauna, North Seymour Island is dotted with the endemic Palo Santo tree (Bursera graveolens). Return to the yacht and gather your personal belongings in preparation for final disembarkation. Bid farewell to your Galapagos Group Leader and transfer to the airport.

Lunch: On your own. The airport offers a variety of food options like sandwiches and empanadas.

Afternoon: Upon arrival to Quito, late in the afternoon, we will collect our luggage and check-in for our flight to Lima, Peru. A Road Scholar representative will assist us with the connecting flight.

Dinner: At the Quito airport. Please note that depending on flight times, the meal locations and times might change. The Road Scholar representative will advise at the site.

Evening: Upon arrival in Lima meet the Road Scholar representative and transfer to the hotel.

DAY
11
Larco Museum, Peru Cuisine Presentation, Historic Lima
Lima
B,L
Casa Andina Select Miraflores

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus; driving about 21 miles, approximately 2 hours riding time. Walking up to 2 miles; flat paved surfaces, some steps.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: After breakfast, 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. Field trip to the Larco Museum. A presentation by a museum curator will introduce us to Peru's ancient cultures and enhance our museum experience. Following the lecture, the curator will take us through the museum. The privately funded Larco Museum, also known as Museo Rafael Larco Herrera, holds one of the world’s largest collections of Peruvian pre-Colombian artifacts and showcases pieces from lesser known Peruvian cultures such as the Moche, Chimú, and Nazca, as well as the famous Inca. Its name honors the founder’s father, Don Rafael Larco Herrera, a well-known collector of pre-Columbian artifacts and archaeology aficionado. The museum is housed in an 18th century mansion in the Pueblo Libre District of Lima and has 6 exhibit halls, 11 storage rooms, a vault for gold and silver exhibits, a terrace with large stone displays, and a garden with a patio.

Lunch: Welcome lunch at local restaurant including a Peruvian Food presentation.

Afternoon: After lunch we will join a local expert in a walking field trip to Lima's historic downtown including the Plaza de Armas--the official center of the city and the original site upon which Lima was founded. We will explore La Catedral, an architectural masterpiece built in 1534, and the Church of San Francisco with its important library and collection of fine paintings and frescoes. At the end of our activities we will board the bus and ride back to our hotel.

Dinner: On your own to explore the local fare.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare luggage for check out the following morning.

DAY
12
Fly to Cusco, Transfer to Sacred Valley, Pisac Market
Yucay
B,L,D
Sonesta Posada del Inca - Yucay

Activity note: Checked luggage allowance on flight is one bag per person, weighing up to 23 kg/50 lb. Getting on/off a bus; driving about 45 miles, approximately 3 hours riding time. Walking 1/2-1 miles, flat terrain. Cusco elevation approx. 11,000 ft & approx. 9,375 ft in Yucay. To minimize your chances of experiencing altitude sickness, try to get plenty of rest before you travel, stay hydrated, avoid alcohol and fatty foods, eat high carbohydrate foods, and avoid strenuous exercise at high elevations.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We’ll check out and depart to the airport for our morning flight to Cusco. Traditional Inca welcome with coca tea upon arrival at the Cusco airport. Then, we'll board the bus and begin our transfer to the Sacred Valley with an en route visit to the Awanakancha Alpaca Center. The Awankancha Alpaca Center is a living museum where visitors can see llamas, alpacas and vicuna. A demonstration will show how the wool from these South American animals is used to make woven textiles.

Lunch: At a local restaurant en route.

Afternoon: We'll ride to Pisac for a field trip to its market. The rustic Andean village grew up at the foot of the original Inca settlement and has since become known for its market and nearby ruins. The artisan market hosts hundreds of vendors offering ceramics, clothing and knitted goods including those made of alpaca, jewelry, scarves, and trinkets of many kinds. We will return to our bus and ride to the hotel for check in.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: Time at leisure to enjoy the grounds and gardens of this former monastery.

DAY
13
Ollantaytambo Ruins, Chinchero Town Weaving
Yucay
B,L,D
Sonesta Posada del Inca - Yucay

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus; driving about 71 miles, approximately 2.5-3 hours riding time. Ollantayambo ruins are steep with about 100 stone steps to the top of the fortress at an altitude of 9,100 feet. Walking about 1/2 mile; sloping, cobblestone paths; altitude makes more challenging. Elevations range from 9,400 feet in Yucay to 12,500 feet in Chinchero.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will ride to the town of Ollantaytambo in preparation for a field trip to its Inca ruins. Our Group Leader will provide historical context while we walk through the town and examine its ancient ruins. We’ll learn about the engineering genius of the Inca demonstrated by the extensive terracing and irrigation present at the site. Running water still flows through the town in ancient aqueducts. The Inca emperor Pachacuti built Ollantaytambo in the 15th century as part of his royal estate.This is where the Inca retreated to make their last stand in the highlands against the Spanish.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Next, we will ride to Chinchero town and visit a weaving cooperative. Here we will meet with locals and learn about traditional weaving styles and techniques. Weaving is a way of life in Chinchero, as important for preserving ancient traditions as it is for earning a livelihood. Located in the Peruvian Andes on the Inca road between Cusco and Machu Picchu, Chinchero was an early Inca center built by Emperor Tupa Inca as his country estate. During Inca reign, textiles were woven and offered to mark special occasions, from peace treaties and sacrifices to marriage ceremonies and puberty rites. In Chinchero, children grow up playing with their mother's spindle and loom. By age six or seven, most children learn to weave by watching their elders. They begin by weaving jakimas, or narrow ribbons, before moving on to more complicated pieces. On our way back to the hotel, we'll pay special attention to the ancient terraces and other evidences of highland farming seen on the way, as we learn from a local expert about the agricultural practices of the Incas.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check out and transfer tomorrow morning. There is a weight limit of for luggage on the Peru Rail transfer to Machu Picchu. Plan to pack an overnight bag for one night in the Machu Picchu area. This bag must weigh no more than 11 pounds and measure no more than 62 inches /157 cm (length, plus height, plus width). Excess luggage can be left with the Road Scholar driver and vehicle, and will be secured until your return to Cusco.

DAY
14
Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu, UNESCO World Heritage Site
Machu Picchu
B,L
El MaPi Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a train to Aguas Calientes; approximately 1.5 hours rail time. Getting on/off a bus (Aguas Calientes Town - Machu Picchu ruins) is about 4 miles each way; approx. ½ hour riding on mountain switchbacks. Walking and standing at least 3 hours; dirt paths and grass; many staircases and lack of shade. Wear or bring long-sleeved shirt for insect protection. Elevation at Aguas Calientes is approx. 6,695 ft.

Breakfast: Early, at the hotel.

Morning: Early morning we will ride to the Ollantaytambo train station and board a train to Aguas Calientes Station en route to Machu Picchu. This scenic journey by rail follows the meandering path of the Urubamba River and provides spectacular views of the snowcapped Andes. We will disembark at Aguas Calientes Station (6,693 feet elevation). Shortly thereafter, we will board a bus that will take us up the mountain to the Machu Picchu ruins. NOTE: Seating on the buses is on a “first come, first served” basis. We do not have a set departure time and will wait in line to board the bus.

Lunch: At a local restaurant near the ruins.

Afternoon: We will spend the afternoon at Machu Picchu, exploring in and around the ruins with a local expert. The modern day discovery of this ancient and incredible Inca city is credited to Hiram Bingham, a Yale graduate and former U.S. senator who was fascinated with Inca archaeology. While he was searching for Vilcabamba and Vitcos, Bingham “found” Machu Picchu with the help of a local farmer who knew about the ruins. Bingham hypothesized that the site was a “citadel” existing for strategic and defense purposes. He also speculated that the site was a refuge for Cusco’s Virgins of the Sun, based upon the finding of skulls there, although not scientifically classified as female. Breakthroughs in archaeology since 1985 have largely supported the emerging view of Machu Picchu as a royal estate. Archaeologists believe the site was built around 1450-1460 at the orders of Inca ruler Pachacutec Inca Yupanqui. It is estimated that the ruler lived here with more than 750 laborers, servants, family and relatives, and priests. Machu Picchu was built, flourished, and fell into demise within a period of only 100 years. The reason for its disuse remains a mystery, although archaeologists speculate it may have had to do with the Spanish conquest. We will ride back to Aguas Calientes and then walk to our hotel.

Dinner: On your own for a chance to explore local fare.

Evening: Time at leisure to explore the town and local craft market.

DAY
15
Orientation to Aguas Calientes, Train & Bus to Cusco
Cusco
B,L
Casa Andina Premium – Cusco

Activity note: Participants who plan to return to Machu Picchu this morning should purchase their entrance tickets in advance. Park tickets are sold in Aguas Calientes but availability is not guaranteed. Please see the program notes section of your Road Scholar program materials for more details.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We'll accompany our Group Leader on an exploratory walk around the town of Aguas Calientes. Next, we'll visit the local market.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Transfer by bus to the train station to board the early afternoon train to Ollantaytambo Station. Arriving at the Ollantaytambo Station, we'll board a bus and transfer to Cusco. Once in Cusco we'll check in at the hotel. The rest of the day will be free to enjoy Cusco at your own pace.

Dinner: On your own for a chance to explore local fare

Evening: At leisure and to perhaps enjoy a walk around the main square of historic Cusco, the Plaza de Armas.

DAY
16
Sacsayhuaman Ruins and Introduction to Cusco
Cusco
B,L,D
Casa Andina Premium – Cusco

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus; driving about 8 miles, approximately 1/2 -1 hour riding time. Walking up to 2 miles; dirt paths, undulating grassy terrain, cobblestones. Elevation in Cusco is approx. 11,000 ft.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We’ll board the bus and ride to the Sacsayhuaman Ruins. Once there, we’ll accompany our Group Leader on an exploratory walk through the historic site. The fortress of Sacsayhuaman forms the head of the Puma design of old Cusco. It is a wonder of technical achievement and a testament to human will. It is a mystery how it was constructed, since the stones are not found in the region, and most of the blocks weigh more than a ton. The largest rock weighs more than 300 tons. Sacsayhuaman is constructed of huge polygonal blocks which interlock with one another. The stones are so precisely placed that a knife blade cannot be inserted between them. Some sections of the ruins were built by the Killke culture which occupied the region from 900 to 1200 A.D. and was expanded and added to with the arrival of the Incas. We will reboard the bus and ride back to Cusco in preparation for a walking exploration of the city center. Cusco is a city of great historical value as is noted in its UNESCO World Heritage Site inscription: “The City of Cuzco provides a unique testimony to the urban and architectural achievements of important political, economic and cultural settlements during the pre-Columbian era in South America. It is a representative and exceptional example of the confluence of two distinct cultures; Inca and Hispanic, which through the centuries produced an outstanding cultural syncretism and configured a unique urban structure and architectural form.”

Lunch: At a café in the main plaza where you can enjoy the colonial architecture of the city.

Afternoon: Enjoy some free time to explore Cusco before reconvening at the appointed time for a pre-dinner presentation by a local expert on the history of Inca and Andean musical instruments.

Dinner: At the hotel, we'll have a Farewell Dinner.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
17
Program Concludes, Flights to the U.S.
In Flight
B

Activity note: The flight from Cusco to Lima takes approximately 1 hour and 25 minutes. The weight limit for checked luggage on this flight is 50 lb. Transfer to the airport is approximately 45 min.There is no hotel stay for this day. Please book flights departing Lima after 9:00PM. If you have chosen a morning flight out of Lima and need hotel accommodations, please contact the program coordinator at 1-800-866-7111 toll free or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com to book these services.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Independent exploration; time at leisure to rest or explore Sol Avenue or the historic Plaza de Armas. The center of Cusco is a history lesson where modern and colonial buildings were built on top of Inca foundations and colonial churches dominate the central square.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: We will transfer to the airport for our flight to Lima and say goodbye to our group leader. Upon arrival to Lima we will connect with our evening flights out of Jorge Chávez International Airport to the U.S. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!

Dinner: On your own.

DAY
18
Arrive to the U.S.
In Flight





Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.