loading spinner
21577
Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

Survival of the Fittest: Hiking, Biking & Water Sports on the Galápagos Islands

Learn the ever-evolving story of the Galápagos Islands as you join local experts to hike, bike, snorkel and swim your way through one of the most unique ecosystems in the world.
Rating (5)
Program No. 21577RJ
Length
10 days
Starts at
3,999
Flights start at
650
Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

Survival of the Fittest: Hiking, Biking & Water Sports on the Galápagos Islands

Learn the ever-evolving story of the Galápagos Islands as you join local experts to hike, bike, snorkel and swim your way through one of the most unique ecosystems in the world.
Length
10 days
Starts at
3,999
Flights start at
650
Length
10 days
Rating (5)
Starts at
3,999
Flights start at
650
Program No. 21577RJ

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!
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.

DATES & PRICES

Treehouse Lodge Tented Lodge
Accommodation Details

Three-person treehouse with toilet, sink with running water and a small social area. Stairs not suited for mobility problems.

Accommodation Details

Raised-platform tents with two twin beds, private en suite bath with hot water and window screens.

Oct 1 - Oct 10, 2022
Treehouse Lodge 3,999
Tented Lodge 4,499
Nov 5 - Nov 14, 2022
SOLD OUT
Treehouse Lodge 3,999
Tented Lodge 4,499
Dec 3 - Dec 12, 2022
Treehouse Lodge 3,999
Tented Lodge 4,499
Jan 18 - Jan 27, 2023
SOLD OUT
Treehouse Lodge 4,499
Tented Lodge 4,949
Feb 8 - Feb 17, 2023
Treehouse Lodge 4,499
Tented Lodge 4,949
Mar 8 - Mar 17, 2023
Treehouse Lodge 4,499
Tented Lodge 4,949
Apr 12 - Apr 21, 2023
Treehouse Lodge 4,499
Tented Lodge 4,949
May 6 - May 15, 2023
Treehouse Lodge 4,499
Tented Lodge 4,949
Jun 7 - Jun 16, 2023
Treehouse Lodge 4,499
Tented Lodge 4,949
Oct 4 - Oct 13, 2023
Treehouse Lodge 4,499
Tented Lodge 4,949
Oct 18 - Oct 27, 2023
Treehouse Lodge 4,499
Tented Lodge 4,949
Nov 7 - Nov 16, 2023
Treehouse Lodge 4,499
Tented Lodge 4,949
Dec 6 - Dec 15, 2023
Treehouse Lodge 4,499
Tented Lodge 4,949

DATES & PRICES

Treehouse Lodge Tented Lodge
Accommodation Details

Three-person treehouse with toilet, sink with running water and a small social area. Stairs not suited for mobility problems.

Accommodation Details

Raised-platform tents with two twin beds, private en suite bath with hot water and window screens.

Oct 1 - Oct 10, 2022
Treehouse Lodge 4,799
Tented Lodge 5,299
Nov 5 - Nov 14, 2022
SOLD OUT
Treehouse Lodge 4,799
Tented Lodge 5,299
Dec 3 - Dec 12, 2022
SOLD OUT
Treehouse Lodge 4,799
Tented Lodge 5,299
Jan 18 - Jan 27, 2023
Treehouse Lodge 5,299
Tented Lodge 5,749
Feb 8 - Feb 17, 2023
SOLD OUT
Treehouse Lodge 5,299
Tented Lodge 5,749
Mar 8 - Mar 17, 2023
Treehouse Lodge 5,299
Tented Lodge 5,749
Apr 12 - Apr 21, 2023
Treehouse Lodge 5,299
Tented Lodge 5,749
May 6 - May 15, 2023
Treehouse Lodge 5,299
Tented Lodge 5,749
Jun 7 - Jun 16, 2023
Treehouse Lodge 5,299
Tented Lodge 5,749
Oct 4 - Oct 13, 2023
Treehouse Lodge 5,299
Tented Lodge 5,749
Oct 18 - Oct 27, 2023
Treehouse Lodge 5,299
Tented Lodge 5,749
Nov 7 - Nov 16, 2023
Treehouse Lodge 5,299
Tented Lodge 5,749
Dec 6 - Dec 15, 2023
Treehouse Lodge 5,299
Tented Lodge 5,749

At a Glance

Get up close to the amazing wildlife and surreal landscapes of the Galápagos Islands as you hike, snorkel, paddle and bike your way from one unforgettable natural scene to the next. Along the way, naturalists and local experts illuminate the unusual birds, sea life and terrestrial animals that have evolved in “nature’s laboratory.” This learning adventure is an opportunity to experience the islands’ unique environments in a way that most visitors to the Galápagos seldom do.
Activity Level
Outdoor: Spirited
Walking up to 4-5 hours at a time over varied terrain. Trails are easy or moderately challenging; volcano hike is challenging. Island transfers can be in rough waters. Kayak and paddle board on calm bays. Biking on sandy coastal roads. Elevations of 5,600 feet.
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…

  • While hiking, biking and kayaking, come into contact with the rich wildlife of the Galápagos Islands.
  • Snorkel off remote beaches in search of marine life and hike up to the edge of the second largest caldera in the world.
  • Expert naturalists provide fascinating insight into the survival and adaptive techniques of the indigenous animals, including Blue-footed Boobies, Darwin's finches and giant tortoises.

General Notes

Participants on this program will be accommodated in different room types. Please see the hotel record for the room types and descriptions.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Fernando Icaza
Fernando Icaza was born and raised in Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city and main port. He has spent more than 16 years educating visitors about Guayaquil and his lovely country. Fernando is particularly proud of his hometown's miraculous rebirth, transforming itself from a ragged port city to a cosmopolitan cultural center. In his free time, Fernando likes to practice yoga and psychophysical gymnastics, relax at the beach with his family, and enjoy the beauty and peacefulness of nature.

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

Profile Image of Fernando Icaza
Fernando Icaza View biography
Fernando Icaza was born and raised in Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city and main port. He has spent more than 16 years educating visitors about Guayaquil and his lovely country. Fernando is particularly proud of his hometown's miraculous rebirth, transforming itself from a ragged port city to a cosmopolitan cultural center. In his free time, Fernando likes to practice yoga and psychophysical gymnastics, relax at the beach with his family, and enjoy the beauty and peacefulness of nature.
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.
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, 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, Preserving Darwin's Legacy
by Tui De Roy
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.
Charles Darwin Slept Here
by John Woram
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, A Novel
by Kurt Vonnegut
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 Galapagos) on the Nature Cruise of the Century.
Reef Identification, Galapagos
by Paul Humann
Sturdy enough to take along on a boat, this comprehensive photographic guide includes a map, checklist and brief overview of the archipelago.
Lonely Planet Phrasebooks: Latin American Spanish
by Roberto Esposto
This portable phrasebook provides a useful mix of everyday phrases, words and expressions used in different Spanish speaking countries in Latin America. Learn the nuances of the Spanish language as it is spoken in Puerto Rico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Ecuador, Peru, and Chile.
Galapagos Wildlife, A Visitor's Guide
by Bradt Travel Guides
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.
Birds, Mammals and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands
by Andy Swash, Robert Stills
This strikingly compact, comprehensive field guide features 500 color photo-graphs, distribution maps and information on status, habitat and behavior.
Galapagos, World's End
by William Beebe
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.
Flowering Plants of the Galapagos
by Conley McMullen, Ghillean Prance
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, The Islands That Changed the World
by Paul D. Stewart
This stunning three-part BBC documentary captures the rugged beauty, allure, wildlife and history of the archipelago like never before
Floreana: A Woman's Pilgrimage to the Galapagos
by Margret Wittmer
Margret Wittmer provides a first-hand description of her experiences in the Galapagos Islands after her family settled on Floreana Island in 1932. The incredible account includes tales of challenging sea travel, sheltering in an abandoned pirates' cave, daily struggles and accomplishments, self-discovery, and very eccentric neighbors.
Galapagos, Discovery on Darwin's Islands
by David Steadman
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.
The Beak of the Finch
by Jonathan Weiner
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.
The Galapagos Affair
by John Treherne
The book provides interesting and colorful details about some of the Galapagos' most notorious inhabitants including Baroness Wagner Eloise Von Wagner, the Wittmer family, and Dr. Friederich Ritter who settled on Floreana Island in the 1930s. The book includes all the makings of a good mystery novel; tales of illicit love and betrayal, culminating in unsolved murders and suspicious disappearances. This is a real whodunit!
Ecuador in Focus, A Guide to the People, Politics, and Culture
by Wilma Roos, Omer van Renterghem
This slim guide provides a lively overview of Ecuador’s history, cultural heritage and political, environmental and economic challenges.
Galapagos, A Natural History Guide
by Michael Jackson
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.
Galapagos, Exploring Darwin's Tapestry
by John Hess
Professor Hess pulls off the rare trick of being both scientifically accurate and inviting in this illustrated coffee-table primer on Galapagos, its geology, evolution and magnificent wildlife.
The Boy on the Back of the Turtle
by Paul Quarrington
Humorist, novelist and family man on a quest, Quarrington offers an entertaining account of a Galapagos voyage in the company of his seven-year-old daughter and seventy-year-old father.
Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, Travellers' Wildlife Guides
by David Pearson, Les Beletsky
An excellent guide to Ecuador's wildlife, featuring concise descriptions and color illustrations of 500 frequently encountered reptiles and amphibians, birds, mammals and insects. The Galapagos Islands get a separate chapter and section of illustrations.
The Panama Hat Trail
by Tom Miller & Tony Hillerman
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 and the Evolution Revolution
by Rebecca Stefoff
This nicely presented account of Darwin for young adults focuses on the social and scientific context of his life and work. It's an excellent short biogra-phy. With 19th-century illustrations, cartoons and photos.
Galapagos Wildlife
by Pocket Naturalist
This fold-up, laminated card includes color drawings and short descriptions.
Galapagos: The Enchanted Islands, Through Writer's Eyes
by John Hickman
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.
Infinite Ecuador
by Sebastian Crespo
The Andes, Amazon, Pacific, Galapagos, historic cities, remote villages and farms are all on display in this collection of photographs.
Galapagos Islands Explorer Map
by Ocean Explorer Maps
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.
Evolution's Workshop, God and Science on the Galapagos Islands
by Edward J. Larson
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).
Print All
Map details are not available for this location.
View Map
Expand All
10 days
9 nights
20 meals
9 B 7 L 4 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program, Arrive Guayaquil (Ecuador), Check-in
Guayaquil
Hotel Oro Verde

Activity note: This is an international travel day; no meals or program activities are scheduled on this day. Drive from airport to the hotel is about 4 miles, approx. 15 minutes (dependent on traffic). See your program’s “Getting There” information regarding transfers.

Evening: At leisure. Check in at the hotel, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
Morning Stretch, Orientation, Guayaquil, Eco Park Kayaking
Guayaquil
B,L,D
Hotel Oro Verde

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus; about 32 miles, approximately 1 hour of riding time. Walking up to 2.5 miles, approximately 4 hours; mostly paved terrain, some inclines and steps. Kayaking approximately 1 hour in calm waters.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: After meeting our Guayaquil Group Leader, we will have an early morning (pre-breakfast) stretching session by the pool with Yug Do, the practice of stretching exercises utilizing a bamboo pole. We'll finish off with a dip in the pool before heading to breakfast. 8:30 a.m. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Travel and transfers will be via air-conditioned bus (with several steps) unless specified otherwise. The bus does not have a restroom on board; however, there will be stops at least every two hours for program activities, meals, and/or basic rest stops to break up longer travel times. Meals will feature local cuisine. Beverages will typically include coffee, tea, water; other beverages are usually available for purchase. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. We’ll then board our bus and ride to Guayaquil's resurrected Malecon where we'll accompany our Group Leader on a walking exploration of the waterfront and its historic areas. During the late 1990s Guayaquil and it's riverfront underwent a miraculous transformation, from seedy commercial port to cultural landmark. The Malecon is a fitting symbol of this revitalization effort and continues to draw visitors to its restored historic buildings, gardens, museums, stores, and restaurants.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Next, we will ride to Laguna Eco Park for a kayaking field trip. We will attend a safety briefing and demonstration by a kayaking expert, then we will launch our kayaks and begin paddling. Our Group Leader and a local expert will help us with our form and provide commentary on the many beautiful birds we might encounter on our way. Some lowland dry forest species we hope to see include the Collared Antshrike, Baird's Flycatcher, Gray-backed Hawk, and the Great Green Macaw. We will return to the hotel after our field trip.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for a morning check out and flight to the Galapagos Islands.Tomorrow's kayaking activity will begin upon arrival to the Galapagos; luggage will be transported directly to the lodge.

DAY
3
Fly to Baltra, Kayaking, Giant Tortoises at Highlands
Galápagos Islands
B,L,D
Galapagos Magic

Activity note: Flight to the Galapagos approximately 2 hours; 50 pounds checked luggage allowance plus a carry on. Luggage storage available at the hotel in Guayaquil. Getting in/out of kayaks; paddling approximately 2 hours. Kayaking activity upon arrival to the Galapagos; wear swimsuit under travel clothes and pack sunscreen, sunglasses and hat in your carry-on; luggage will be sent to the lodge. Towels provided on location. Please check the Packing List for information on wetsuit rentals.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: After check out, we'll board the bus and ride to the airport to check in for our flight to the Galapagos Islands. Our Guayaquil Group Leader will assist with check-in procedures and bid us farewell at the airport as we proceed through security and get ready to embark on our flight. Upon arrival to the Galápagos Islands, we'll deplane onto the tarmac then walk to the airport building to complete immigration procedures. Once we collect our luggage and meet the Galapagos Group Leader, we will board a bus to the pier and prepare for our kayaking and SUP (stand up paddle boarding) field trip. We will attend a safety briefing, put on safety vests, and learn about our gear. Then we will launch our sit-on-top ocean kayaks (doubles and singles) and paddle boards and begin paddling into the waters of the Itabaca Channel and look for wildlife. Red mangrove forests provide shelter for seabirds, while the clear, shallow water reveals all nature of marine life just beneath the surface. Some of the animals that frequent this area include Blue-footed Boobies, sea lions, Brown Pelicans, herons and white-tipped reef sharks. There will also be a support boat escorting us throughout the water activities to ensure safety and to provide water, snacks and towels between activities. At the end of our field trip we’ll dry off and transfer by bus to the lodge for a late lunch.

Lunch: At the lodge.

Afternoon: We'll check in to the lodge with time to freshen up and settle into our rooms before our next activity. Later, we'll join the Group Leader for an orientation to the lodge. The Galapagos Magic is situated in the highlands and has sweeping views of Santa Cruz as well as neighboring islands. We will walk around the grounds to familiarize ourselves with the property and to learn about the lodge's conservation efforts. Ranching helps to support many local families; unfortunately, it also leads to deforestation to make pastures for livestock. The loss of habitat threatens the survival of many species including the Island’s most famous resident; the giant tortoise. Giant tortoises are only found in the Galápagos Islands and a small archipelago in the Indian Ocean. The Galapagos Magic has dedicated 12 of their 30 hectares to a forest restoration and wildlife sanctuary project that promotes giant tortoise conservation on Santa Cruz and helps to support the hundreds of giant tortoises that wander peacefully around the property. During our stroll around the lodge, we will search out giant tortoises to get up close and personal with one of the Galapagos’ most beloved residents. We’ll also participate in the reforestation efforts. Later, we'll head to a viewing platform to watch the sunset and wind down.

Dinner: At the lodge.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
North Seymour, Free Time, Lecture
Galápagos Islands
B,L,D
Galapagos Magic

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus; about 20 miles, approximately 1 hour riding time. Getting on/off a motorized boat to N. Seymour approximately 1 hour each way. Transfer times can vary due to sea conditions. Dry landing on N. Seymour; walking approximately 1.5 miles. Sea-sickness patches or pills suggested in the event of choppy sea conditions.

Breakfast: At the lodge.

Morning: We will take a bus ride to the dock and board a boat to North Seymour Island. After a dry landing we'll set off on foot in search of local plants and wildlife. The island has a major nesting colony of Blue-footed Boobies and Magnificent Frigatebirds. From April to May Blue-footed Boobies are oftentimes spotted performing their comical mating dance. Since Blue-footed Boobies tend to nest on and around the trails, visitors can usually get good closeup views during walks. From August to November sea lions tend to draw the spotlight as the birthing season brings great opportunities for viewing pups of all sizes. It is important 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).

Lunch: On board the boat.

Afternoon: After lunch, we will navigate back to Santa Cruz and board a bus for the ride back to our lodge. We'll have some time to freshen up and relax before our next activity. Before dinner, we'll join a local expert for a presentation on the geology and conservation of the islands.

Dinner: At the lodge.

Evening: At leisure. Tomorrow morning we will check out and bike to the beach. Plan on wearing a bathing suit and pack a day bag with sunglasses, hat, sunscreen, and a change of clothes.

DAY
5
Bike Ride, Local Home, Charles Darwin Research Station
Galápagos Islands
B,L
Hotel Mainao Inn

Activity note: Biking approx. 30 minutes, downhill on paved roads. Kayaking for approximately 1 hour. Walking about 1 mile; mostly flat paved surfaces. Wear a bathing suit to the beach; pack a day bag with sunglasses, hat, sunscreen and a change of clothes. A waterproof camera, waterproof phone bag/holder, or waterproof camera housing recommended.

Breakfast: At the lodge.

Morning: We will check out of the hotel and then ride bicycles to nearby Garrapatero Beach. The ride will take us past small farms and sweeping ocean views. Upon arrival to the beach, we will dismount and switch to kayaks. We’ll launch from the beach and kayak around the bay. This activity will conclude with a short walk to a lagoon where pink flamingos like to congregate. After waking up our appetites with this morning's exercises, we will take a bus ride to Puerto Ayora in preparation for lunch. Members of a local family will welcome us into their home and give us a peek into life in the Galapagos. We will be treated to a traditional lunch prepared by members of the family.

Lunch: Traditional meal with a local family.

Afternoon: Next, we will walk to the Charles Darwin Research Station to learn about their mission and projects related to research and conservation. 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 to promote conservation of the islands' unique environments. After our visit we will walk to our hotel in Puerto Ayora, check in and settle into our accommodations.

Dinner: On own to enjoy local fare. Our group leader will be happy to make suggestions.

Evening: We’ll walk to the pier where we hope to catch a glimpse of local wildlife. Sea lions enjoy lounging on pier benches and baby sharks and other fish are attracted by the pier’s lights.

DAY
6
Transfer to Isabela, Tortoise Center, Tintoreras Islets
Galápagos Islands
B,L
IsaMar Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off speedboat to Isabela; approximately 2.5 hours. Walking up to 1.5 miles; undulating terrain, paved and unpaved paths, sharp lava rocks. Sea-sickness patches or pills suggested in the event of choppy sea conditions.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: After checking out of our hotel we will take a short walk to the local fish market. During this visit we will have the chance to interact with locals and see firsthand the origin of some of our meals while in the Galapagos. Next, we’ll continue our walk to the pier and board a speedboat that will take us to Isabela. Upon arrival to Isabela, we will check into the hotel and prepare for your next activity. We will board a chiva (an open sided bus) and ride a short distance to the Tortoise Breeding Center, located just outside the town of Puerto Villamil. The Center houses hundreds of juvenile and adult tortoises from different islands in the Galápagos. The first part of the visit we will receive expert commentary about the biology of these ancient creatures and learn about conservation efforts to save the species. The second part of the visit will be self-directed. Next, we will hike from town on a winding trail through wetlands and salt water lagoons to reach a forested breeding refuge. Here we hope to observe Flamingos, Black Neck Tilt, and other species.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We will board a chiva bus and transfer to the pier, then we'll embark on a small water taxi and journey across the bay to the Tintoreras Islets. We'll accompany our Group Leader and a local expert on a walking exploration of the lava rock trails as we study rock formations and learn about area wildlife. We'll be on the look out for marine iguanas that regularly nest in the sheltered outcroppings and mangroves. Next, we'll direct our attention to what lies beneath the water's surface. We'll don snorkeling gear and begin swimming among small outcroppings of volcanic rock in the crystalline, turquoise waters. Some of the creatures that call this home include sea lions, marine turtles, Galapagos Penguins, and white-tipped reef sharks. The incredible root formations of the mangrove below the surface make for a surreal, fascinating experience.

Dinner: On your own to explore local fare. The small town of Puerto Villamil is a port village of approximately 2,200 people. In the main square of town there are several open-air restaurants that offer a good selection of typical Ecuadorian dishes. Seafood is plentiful and popular, as well as, pizza, pasta and sandwiches.

Evening: At leisure. Walk on the beach, take a stroll through the small town or just relax at the hotel. Sunset is a great moment to be at the beach and perhaps enjoy a drink.

DAY
7
Hiking Sierra Negra Volcano & Volcan Chico
Galápagos Islands
B,L
IsaMar Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a chiva bus; about 50 miles, approximately 2 hours riding time. Hiking about 10 miles round trip, approximately 4-5 hours; rough terrain, inclines, lava formations. Wear shoes with thick lug soles. Maximum elevation approximately 3,280 feet.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will board a chiva bus and ride to the highlands in preparation for a full day of hiking at Sierra Negra and Volcan Chico. Sierra Negra Volcano is one of the most impressive examples of a volcano in the archipelago, measuring more than six miles across from north to south and more than five miles from east to west. We'll accompany our Group Leader and a local expert on a hike to the edge of the largest caldera in the Galápagos Islands. Our starting elevation will be approximately 1,970 feet. From there we will hike to several view points and to the summit which sits at approximately 3,280 feet. We will make a gradual descent as we head to 2,820 feet of elevation and then slowly hike our way back to our starting point.

Lunch: Boxed lunch.

Afternoon: After lunch, we'll hike to Volcan Chico on the northeast corner of the volcano. Our hike will take us along relatively recent lava flows from 1979 and expose us to some incredible vistas. We'll use the same trail to return to our starting point, then we'll board the chiva bus and ride along the coast to our our hotel.

Dinner: On your own to explore local fare in town.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Morning Kayaking in the Bay, Bike Ride to Wall of Tears
Galápagos Islands
B,L
IsaMar Hotel

Activity note: Getting in/out of kayaks, approximately 1.5-2 hours paddling time. Getting on/off bicycles to Wall of Tears; about 10 miles round trip, approximately 2 hours riding time; flat, sandy coastal road from town that becomes hilly upon entering the park.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will walk to the Puerto Villamil dock in preparation four our kayaking field trip towards Tintoreras Islets. After getting our kayak assignments and gear, we'll launch from the dock and paddle across the bay to look out over the picturesque Tintoreras Islets. At the end of our activity, we'll paddle to the Puerto Villamil dock and return our gear.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We will accompany our Group Leader and a local expert on a bike ride to the historic Wall of Tears. The Wall was constructed between 1946 and 1959 when Isabela was a penal colony. The wall was built by prisoners utilizing huge blocks of lava rock. From the wetlands trail we'll ride along the coast, enjoying spectacular views and looking for wildlife on the way. As we pedal closer to our destination, we'll pass through mangroves that are home to the Mangrove Finch-- a species endemic to Isabela. Other species we might come across during our ride include flamingos, herons, and American Oystercatchers. We'll enjoy a downhill ride sea-side along Isabela's gorgeous white sand beaches on our return to Puerto Villamil and our hotel.

Dinner: On your own to explore local fare in town.

Evening: At leisure. Please prepare for early morning check out, boat transfer, and flight.

DAY
9
Transfer to Pto. Ayora, Fly to Guayaquil, Farewell Dinner
Guayaquil
B,D
Hotel Oro Verde

Activity note: Early morning (pre-breakfast) check out and boat transfer to Puerto Ayora. Getting on/off motorized boat; riding approximately 2.5 to 3 hours. Sea-sickness patches or pills suggested in the event of choppy sea conditions. Getting on/off a bus; driving about 34 miles, approximately 1.5 hours riding time. Fight to Guayaquil approximately 2 hours; 50 pounds checked luggage allowance plus a carry on.

Breakfast: At a restaurant in Puerto Ayora.

Morning: We will have an early morning (pre-breakfast) check out followed by a boat transfer to Puerto Ayora. After stopping for breakfast in Puerto Ayora, we'll board a bus and transfer to the Baltra Airport. We'll exchange goodbyes with our Galápagos Group Leader at the airport and complete our check in for the flight to Guayaquil.

Lunch: On your own, at the airport. Sandwiches, empanadas and snacks are available for purchase after going through security.

Afternoon: After a late afternoon arrival to Guayaquil, we'll transfer by bus to our hotel for check-in. We'll have some time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: At leisure. Finish your packing and get a good night's rest for check out and departure in the morning. Participants with international flights departing very late this evening/before dawn next morning will need to check out of the hotel and transfer to the airport.

DAY
10
Program Concludes, In Transit From Program
In Flight
B

Activity note: Participants with independent travel arrangements and/or scheduled on later flights can keep their hotel rooms until check-out time on this day. Hotel check-out 12 noon. See your program’s “Getting There” information regarding transfers.

Breakfast: At the hotel (dependent on flight times). This concludes our program.

Morning: 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. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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.