20974
Galapagos Islands/Ecuador/Peru
Discovering Machu Picchu and the Galapagos
Explore ancient wonders aboard an expedition ship as you enjoy lectures by local experts, visit Heritage Sites and celebrate the rich biodiversity of Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands.
Rating (4.91)
Program No. 20974RJ
Length
16 days
Starts at
9,995
Special Offer
Flights start at
FREE
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16 days
15 nights
42 meals
16 B 13 L 13 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Depart US to Lima, Welcome Orientation, Explore Lima
Lima
B,L,D
Casa Andina Select Miraflores

Activity note: Indicated times are approximate. Program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Breakfast: In the hotel upon arrival from the airport.

Morning: Road Scholar Group flights depart Miami Airport just after midnight and arrive in Lima, Peru early in the morning. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to the hotel. Rooms are guaranteed for check in upon arrival. The remainder of the morning is at leisure to rest after your journey.

Lunch: Meet in the hotel lobby to go to the Welcome Orientation. Your Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date Daily Schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have. Afterwards, depart on your coach to enjoy a traditional Peruvian ‘ceviche’ lunch at a local favorite restaurant. (Alternatives available for vegetarians).

Afternoon: After lunch, begin your exploration of Lima. Walk through the historic center of Lima to view the Cathedral from outside, then the Museum and catacombs of St Francis of Assisi, where the story of Peru’s colonialization unfolds in the paintings, wood carvings and artefacts housed in these religious buildings. Learn how the Spanish synchronized indigenous religions and Catholicism as a means to integrate and conquer the region, and how artistic skills brought by the Spanish blossomed in the hands of local Peruvians. Gain exclusive entry (not available to the public) into a private family home – one of the few remaining in the historic center – to learn the family history and understand how they lived in colonial times to the present.

Dinner: At a local restaurant. Your three course meal will include one non-alcoholic beverage.

Evening: After dinner, your coach will return you to your hotel.

DAY
2
Historic Lima and Foundations of Peruvian History & Culture
Lima
B,L
Casa Andina Select Miraflores

Activity note: Walking and standing for up 1 mile, for up to 2 hours at a time on cobblestone streets. The buildings all have stairs.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Your morning is at leisure to explore the treasures of Lima at your own pace. Perhaps take a stroll through the park in Miraflores.

Lunch: Depart for your lunch near the Larco Museum.

Afternoon: Gain an in-depth understanding of Peruvian history, the Spanish conquest and indigenous culture during an exclusive visit to a privately owned art collection. Next, discover an amazing private collection of Pre-Columbian art at the Larco Museum, built on the remains of an Incan pyramid. Your Lima expert provides insight to the origins of the collection and the practices and beliefs of Pre-Incan cultures represented through the ceramics, gold and erotic art of the collection.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Fly to Cuzco, Cuzco Exploration, Coach to the Sacred Valley
The Sacred Valley of the Incas
B,L,D
San Agustin Urubamba Hotel & Spa

Activity note: Walking on unpaved paths and cobblestone streets, many uneven curbs and stone steps without railings.

Breakfast: Early continental breakfast buffet in the hotel.

Morning: Early morning transfer to Lima Airport for the flight to Cuzco. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred by coach into the city and explore the Plaza de Armas of Cuzco- the capital city of the Incas and now itself a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Observe the layers of history where colonial architecture rests atop Incan foundations.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in Cuzco. Over coffee, enjoy a lecture on the rise and fall of the Incan Empire, to set the groundwork for your journey.

Afternoon: Continue by coach to visit the ruins of Sacsayhuaman. Large stones seamlessly built into walls and terraces provide views of the valley to the Southeast and once formed a protective fortress guarding the city. Explore the Quricancha, the Inca ruins of a prominent 15th-century temple. Depart by motorcoach to the Sacred Valley, a 1.5 hour drive down through the mountains with scenic views.

Dinner: At the hotel. Your three course dinner will include a non alcoholic beverage.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
The Sacred Valley of the Incas
The Sacred Valley of the Incas
B,L,D
San Agustin Urubamba Hotel & Spa

Activity note: Walking on unpaved paths and cobblestone streets, many uneven curbs and stone steps without railings.

Breakfast: Buffet breakfast in the hotel.

Morning: Drive through the valley to the ruins of Pisac, the original site of this Inca city was larger than Machu Picchu and home to 8,000 inhabitants until the 1600s, when the Spanish forced rebellious inhabitants down into the valley below. The views over the remains of this impressive site encompass the valley, mountains and the new town of Pisac far below. You'll spend an hour along the flat path with a slight climb to the top. Afterwards you will return to the town of Pisac and enjoy an hour walk through its market.

Lunch: In a local restaurant. Lunch will be a buffet.

Afternoon: Board your coach and travel to the other side of the valley. The ruins of Ollantaytambo, one of the few Incan sites not built over by the Spanish, hug a mountainside at the end of the Sacred Valley. Climbing the steps to the summit reveals the geography of the Sacred Valley and explain the importance of this location, at the crossroads of the three major Incan routes: to the Jungle, to Machu Picchu and to Cuzco. Stroll through the streets of the town, the only actual Inca town in all of South America with Inca-style houses still virtually unchanged since the 1500s. Step inside one of the houses to learn how the family has conserved its heritage for many generations. (There are about 100 uneven steps to the summit and those who choose not to climb may remain below in a small market and wait for the rest of the group.)

Dinner: In the lodge.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
The Mysteries of Machu Picchu - Wonder of the Modern World
Cuzco
B,L
Costa Del Sol Ramada Cuzco

Activity note: While visiting the Machu Picchu complex, there are many steps that connect the buildings and terraced levels of the ruins. Steps are often worn and have no railings. Machu Picchu is situated at 8,200 feet. From the train, Machu Picchu is accessed by a shared bus that takes visitors from the town of Aguas Calientes up the mountain to the entrance of the site. The ride is approximately 20 minutes each way on a winding, dirt road. Travel by train and motorcoach.

Breakfast: Buffet breakfast in the hotel.

Morning: Board the train to the town of Aguas Calientes and ascend to Machu Picchu, the most iconic site of the Inca World, and renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site. As you approach Machu Picchu, your local expert leads you along a flat path where you will pause for a short briefing. (There are places to sit during this briefing along a low rock wall.) They will explain the use of the many buildings on the site and discuss the mysteries surrounding the city and its abandonment during Spanish conquest in the sixteenth century. You may choose to join your local expert as you explore and climb through this ancient ceremonial city or remain on the flat path where you can take in iconic vistas from many viewpoints.

Lunch: Enjoy the extensive buffet at the Sanctuary Lodge restaurant.

Afternoon: Enjoy some free time before you depart Aguas Calientes by train at 3:30 p.m. to Cuzco, where we rejoin our motorcoach. Late afternoon arrival at the hotel. While you were exploring Machu Picchu, your coach has transferred your luggage to the Cuzco hotel and it will be waiting for you.

Dinner: Your choice to explore the many local restaurants nearby.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Fly to Guayaquil, Ecuador via Lima
Guayaquil
B,D
Hilton Colon Guayaquil

Breakfast: You will receive a boxed breakfast to take with you that will include a pastry, fruit and a juice box.

Morning: Early morning departure to the airport for flight to Lima and onward to Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Lunch: You will be served a light fare on your flight.

Afternoon: Upon arrival in Guayaquil, your coach will take you on an introductional overview of Guayaquil which takes in the main plazas and boulevards of the city and illustrates the city’s history and geographical setting. In the late afternoon, check in to the hotel.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Fly to Galapagos Islands, Board Natl. Geographic Endeavour
Galapagos Islands
B,L,D
National Geographic Endeavor II

Activity note: The exact routing for this cruise will depend upon the National Park Service of the Galapagos and local conditions. The published itinerary is a representation of a typical Galapagos itinerary, however the order of the islands visited may vary.

Breakfast: Early breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Transfer to the airport for your flight to the Galápagos Islands. PLEASE NOTE: Your airline tickets for the flight from Guayaquil to the Galápagos are issued in Ecuador and may not be listed on your international itinerary. IMPORTANT: The luggage limit on the flights to/from the Galápagos, may not exceed 50 pounds per person. Upon arrival, you will be met by your ships crew and transferred to the ship by small Zodiac boats to begin your adventure. Your luggage will also be transferred by Zodiac boats by the crew.

Lunch: On board the ship.

Afternoon: Daily activities in the Galapagos vary at each stop, and offer opportunities to hike, swim, kayak and deep-water snorkel, allowing you to make the most of your experience. The itinerary is representative of the possible stops although the exact order may vary.

Dinner: On board the ship. All meals on board are served in a single seating with unassigned tables for an informal atmosphere and easy mingling. The menu is international with an Ecuadorian flair.

Evening: At leisure. Typically after dinner (or just before) each night on board, your Expedition crew will brief you on the next day's adventures and may be able to offer two levels of hikes, including one low-level hike of about 1 mile roundtrip. This will vary by each island visited on your specific itinerary.

DAY
8
North Seymour Island and Rabida Island
Galapagos Islands
B,L,D
National Geographic Endeavor II

Activity note: Daily activities in the Galapagos vary at each stop, and offer opportunities to hike, swim, kayak and deep-water snorkel, allowing you to make the most of your experience. The itinerary is representative of the possible stops although the exact order may vary.

Breakfast: On board the ship.

Morning: North Seymour Island is an uplifted piece of seafloor, home to land iguanas, sea lion colonies, blue-footed booby and frigate bird nesting colonies. After an early morning hike among the rich wildlife, you’ll have the chance to snorkel among dense schools of tropical fish and reef sharks at the base of the cliffs. Later, you'll land on the bright red volcanic sand of a charming beach on Rabida Island. You can snorkel among the friendly Galápagos sea lions, kayak along the picturesque coast and take a hike into the island to search for hawks and other land birds.

Lunch: On board the ship.

Afternoon: Galapagos Islands exploration continues.

Dinner: On board the ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Fernandina Island and Isabela Island
Galapagos Islands
B,L,D
National Geographic Endeavor II

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

Breakfast: On board the ship.

Morning: Fernandina Island is the youngest and most pristine island in the Galápagos. The stark black lava flows are home to some of the largest marine iguana colonies in the archipelago, and the peculiar-looking flightless cormorants nest along the coast. Brightly colored Sally Lightfoot crabs scamper among the rocks and sea lions play along the coast against the dramatic backdrop of volcanoes. While snorkeling in the area, you often come across green sea turtles grazing off the abundant algal beds. Later, sail across the channel to Isabela Island, where you'll get a look inside the huge collapsed caldera of Ecuador Volcano while crossing the Equator.

Lunch: On board the ship.

Afternoon: Galapagos Islands exploration continues.

Dinner: On board the ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
Isabela Island
Galapagos Islands
B,L,D
National Geographic Endeavor II

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

Breakfast: On board the ship.

Morning: Activities in the Galapagos will be kept flexible, allowing you to take the best advantage of your time in the region. In 1954 over half a square mile of marine reef off the coast of Urbina Bay was uplifted almost instantaneously by as much as 15ft, and evidence of this event abounds in the area. You’ll land on a turtle nesting beach of black sand, and take a couple of hike options to look for the wildlife of the area, that includes a large land iguana nesting colony and occasional giant tortoise sightings. You will also have time to go for a swim from the beach at the end of the walk.

Lunch: On board the ship.

Afternoon: Galapagos Islands exploration continues.

Dinner: On board the ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
Santiago
Galapagos Islands
B,L,D
National Geographic Endeavor II

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

Breakfast: On board the ship.

Morning: After an optional pre-breakfast hike behind one of the largest turtle nesting beaches in Galápagos, you will explore the spectacular Buccaneer Cove by Zodiac and kayak, and enjoy snorkeling among the dense schools of reef fish that find refuge in the indented shoreline.

Lunch: On board the ship.

Afternoon: Galapagos Islands exploration continues.

Dinner: On board the ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
12
Santa Cruz
Galapagos Islands
B,L,D
National Geographic Endeavor II

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

Breakfast: On board the ship.

Morning: Santa Cruz is home to the Charles Darwin Research Station and a highly successful captive breeding program for endangered species of Galápagos giant tortoise. You’ll learn about the science and conservation work undertaken in the islands and get to explore the largest human settlement in the Galápagos. Today, you’ll also travel into the lush highlands of this large island, where wild tortoises forage, to explore some very different ecosystems to those encountered in the lowlands.

Lunch: On board the ship.

Afternoon: Galapagos Islands exploration continues.

Dinner: On board the ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
13
San Cristobal
Galapagos Islands
B,L,D
National Geographic Endeavor II

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

Breakfast: On board the ship.

Morning: This morning you’ll visit Punta Pitt with its fascinating geology, also the only site where all three booby species that occur in the Galápagos nest together. You will take hikes up to the plateau for wonderful views, and take Zodiac cruises along the base of the cliffs to look for red-footed, Nazca and blue-footed boobies, and possibly take a swim off the beach among young sea lions. Later you’ll have the opportunity to take Zodiac cruises at the base of the impressive tuff stone formations of Cerro Brujo (Wizard Hill) before landing on the lovely white sandy beach for nature strolls among sea lions, iguanas and land birds and lizards endemic to this island. This will be followed by a last swimming or snorkeling opportunity from the beach.

Lunch: On board the ship.

Afternoon: Continue your Galapagos Islands exploration.

Dinner: On board the ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
14
Galapagos, Departures
Quito
B,D
Mercure Almeda Quito

Activity note: Quito is at an elevation of 9,350 feet above sea level.

Breakfast: On board the ship.

Morning: Disembark the National Geographic Endeavor and transfer to the airport in San Cristobal for the flight to Quito, via Guayaquil.

Lunch: Light snacks are served on board the flights. You will have the opportunity to pick up additional snacks in the airport.

Afternoon: Late afternoon arrival in Quito. Transfer to the hotel.

Dinner: In the hotel. Your three course dinner includes a beverage.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
15
Exploring Quito
Quito
B,L,D
Mercure Almeda Quito

Activity note: Walking for about 1 miles and standing for up to 1 hour.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Quito was once the capital of the Quitu Empire. It was then conquered by the Incas, who razed the city to prevent the Spaniards from enjoying its riches and erased all signs of its pre-Columbian origins. Depart on your coach to explore the beautiful colonial architecture and modern districts: Independence Square, La Compania Church and its gold interior and San Francisco Church.

Lunch: Enjoy typical Ecuadorian cuisine.

Afternoon: Discover the works of Oswaldo Guayasamin, one of Ecuador’s most important artists. The Guayasamin Foundation features various pieces from the artist’s private collection as well as a large exhibit of his paintings.

Dinner: A Farewell Dinner celebrates your journey.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
16
Program Concludes
Quito
B

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: This concludes our program. Early morning departure to the Quito airport for return flights to the U.S. Safe travels! 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!






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