22913
Ecuador
Living and Learning in Cuenca: Independent Stay and Language Study
Experience Cuenca, Ecuador, like a local as you take a private apartment, attend daily language classes and get to know the city on your own during this independent living adventure.
Not yet reviewed
Program No. 22913RJ
Length
44 days
Starts at
6,999
Flights start at
495
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44 days
43 nights
28 meals
11 B 11 L 6 D
Getting There
See travel details and required documents
DAY
1
In Transit to Program, Arrive Quito, Check-in
Quito
Hotel Quito

Activity note: Elevation in Quito is approx. 9,350 feet. To minimize your chances of experiencing altitude sickness, 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. Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Upon arrival, proceed through Immigration, Baggage Claim, and Customs before exiting the secured area of the airport. A Road Scholar representative with a sign will be waiting outside the secured arrivals area. We will then board the Road Scholar bus and drive to the hotel for check-in. Please note: This is an international travel day; no meals or program activities are scheduled on this day. This is a Road Scholar “Living and Learning” program that provides the experience of living in a foreign country independently. Included: an apartment; a Group Leader who will be with us throughout the program; a few meals (but mostly preparing your own food in your apartment or dining out on your own); language classes; a weekly expert-led field trip; a weekly café social; three weekend-long excursions, including hotel; and a program ending field trip to the Galapagos and Quito. Most weekends are free to pursue your own interests.

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.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
2
Orientation, Historic Quito, Guayasamin Museum
Quito
B,L,D
Hotel Quito

Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile, standing during field trips.

Breakfast: At the hotel, choose what you like from the buffet that includes juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: Orientation. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Periods in the daily 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 will then set out by bus to Quito's colonial section where our Group Leader will accompany us on a walking field trip in the historic UNESCO World Heritage Site. While walking through the narrow streets, we will learn about Quito’s rich history going from pre-Hispanic times, through the Colonial Period, to the Republican Era. We will study the architectural styles of local buildings and the uniqueness of religious art pieces from the famous Quitenian School of Art that combines European Renaissance and Baroque styles with indigenous and mestizo influences. We'll also visit the Museo Casa del Alabado, housed in a renovated 17th century Spanish colonial residence in Quito's historic downtown area. We’ll learn about and examine exceptional examples of pre-Columbian art. There are more than 5,000 pieces in the collection, about 500 of which are on display, that represent different aspects of ancient Ecuadorian cultures and beliefs.

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

Afternoon: Next, we’ll visit La Capilla del Hombre — The Chapel of Man — designed by Oswaldo Guayasamin (1919-1999), regarded as Ecuador’s greatest artist and a national treasure. He was a child of Quito, born to poor parents of Quechua and mestizo heritage. His artistic talent became apparent at and early age and as it developed, he focused on the world around him, especially “the cruelties and injustices of a society that discriminates against the poor, the Indians, the blacks, the weak.” He graduated from the School of Fine Arts in Quito as an artist, sculptor, and architect. His works won numerous awards and were exhibited throughout the Americas and Europe. Guayasamin’s greatest achievement was the La Capilla del Hombre museum, a tribute to humanity in his art, reflecting on both the history of cruelty and the potential for greatness. Returning to the hotel, we’ll have some time to freshen up and relax before attending an expert-led presentation on the past, present, and potential future of Ecuador.

Dinner: At the hotel; coffee, tea, water included, other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
3
Transfer to Riobamba, Cotopaxi National Park
Riobamba
B,L,D
Hotel Hacienda Abraspungo

Activity note: The drive from Quito to Cotopaxi National Park is about 48 miles; approximately 2 hours. Cotopaxi National Park elevation approximately 13,200 feet to 14,000 feet.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we’ll board the bus and ride along the “Avenue of the Volcanoes” on our way to Riobamba. This 200-mile corridor of scenic volcanoes and Andean peaks forms the country’s backbone. The fertile inter-montane valleys along this corridor have served as Ecuador’s breadbasket since colonial times. En route, we'll stop for a walk with our Group Leader at Cotopaxi National Park to enjoy the incredible views around the snowcapped volcano and examine unique páramo vegetation and wildlife of this area. We’ll then continue on our way to Riobamba.

Lunch: At a local hacienda, coffee and water included.

Afternoon: We’ll continue our transfer to Riobamba and check in at the hotel upon arrival, with some time to freshen up and relax before dinner. The capital of the Chimborazo province, Riobamba, is a small town located in an important agricultural region of Ecuador. It was once home to the Puruhuá Indians before becoming part of the Inca Empire during the 15th century. The city’s layout and Spanish architecture reflect its colonial past. Colorful buildings, tiled roofs, parks and plazas, are framed by scenic views of snow-capped volcanoes.

Dinner: At the hotel, coffee, tea, water included, other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
4
Transfer to Cuenca, Devil's Nose
Cuenca
B,L,D
Gran Colombia Suites

Activity note: The drive from Riobamba to the rail station is about 60 miles, approximately 2 hours. Autoferro ride is approximately 3 hours. The drive from Alausi to Ingapirca Ruins is about 57 miles, approximately 2 hours; from Ingapirca to Cuenca is about 47 miles, approximately 1.5 hours. Walking at Ingapirca, irregular terrain.

Breakfast: At the hotel, juice, coffee, tea, water included.

Morning: We'll check out of the hotel and transfer to the station for our autoferro journey through the Devil's Nose. The autoferro is a bus that runs on train tracks. Construction of the Guayaquil to Quito railway line began in 1899 with the help of American engineers. The ambitious project was delayed once the tracks reached the Devil’s Nose; a large and very steep rock formation that stood in their way. However, a unique solution was devised to get past the sheer rock face that to this day is recognized as a masterpiece of engineering. A combination of switchbacks was carved out of the rock, which allows the train to reach the necessary height to continue on to Alausí. After disembarking at Alausí, we'll board a bus to Cuenca.

Lunch: En route at a local restaurant; coffee and water included, other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: En route to Cuenca, we will stop for a field trip to explore the Ingapirca Ruins. As we accompany our Group Leader on a walking exploration of the ceremonial site, we'll learn about the Inca people and their way of life. Ingapirca is the most important Inca complex in Ecuador, located in the southern Andean region of Cañar. The circular Temple of the Sun that stands in the center of the complex was once an important ceremonial center for the Cañari-Inca. The superior stone masonry skills of the Inca can be seen in the perfect cut and fit of the stones. In addition to the temple, excavations have uncovered observatories, storage rooms, priests’ quarters, a plaza, and cemeteries. From Ingapirca we will begin our transfer to Cuenca and check in to the hotel upon arrival.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll have our official welcome dinner; coffee and water included, other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Orientation to Cuenca
Cuenca
B,L
Gran Colombia Suites

Activity note: Walking up to 1.5 miles; some cobblestone surfaces. Elevation at Cuenca is approximately 8,300 feet.

Breakfast: At a nearby restaurant, coffee and water included.

Morning: We'll walk back to our hotel for an informal presentation by the Group Leader on some of the main points concerning our living and learning activities in Cuenca. Next, we'll accompany our Group Leader on a walking exploration of the city. During this field trip, we will familiarize ourselves with the city's layout and take note of stores, restaurants, and potential sites of interest near our hotel that we might wish to visit independently while in Cuenca.

Lunch: At a local restaurant; water and coffee included, other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Our Group Leader will take us to a local supermarket and assist us in selecting and purchasing food items and anything else we'll need for the next few days. We’ll then take everything back to the extended stay hotel and put away our food items. The remainder of the afternoon is free to enjoy independent explorations or socialize with fellow Road Scholars.

Dinner: Independent meal. Prepare and enjoy a home cooked meal using some of the ingredients you bought earlier today or try one of the local restaurants.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Spanish Language Placement Test
Cuenca
Gran Colombia Suites

Activity note: The walk from the hotel to the language school is less than 1/2 mile, approximately 5-10 minutes. Amauta Spanish School is an accredited non-profit language school regulated by SETEC (Secretaria Tecnica de Capacitacion Profesional). It is a member of AECEE (Asociacion Ecuatoriana de Escuela de Español). Spanish lessons are exclusive to Road Scholar; 6 students to 1 teacher max.; class level assignments based on placement test results. www.amauta.edu.ec

Breakfast: Independent meal. Make your own breakfast in the apartment or practice speaking Spanish by ordering something from the delicatessen downstairs.

Morning: We'll meet our Group Leader in the hotel lobby and walk to the Amauta Spanish School. This will also serve as a lesson on how to get to/from the school. After meeting the staff and having an introduction to the language school, we'll take a placement exam to help assess our individual language levels and instructional needs.

Lunch: Independent meal.

Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. In the late afternoon, we’ll gather in the hotel with our Group Leader for a presentation followed by an opportunity for questions and discussion.

Dinner: Independent meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Spanish Lessons, Cuenca City Field Trip
Cuenca
Gran Colombia Suites

Activity note: Walking to language school. Walking up to 2 miles; standing during field trip.

Breakfast: Independent meal.

Morning: We'll make our way independently to the language school and spend the morning in Spanish classes.

Lunch: Independent meal.

Afternoon: We will rendezvous with our Group Leader in the lobby of the hotel, then begin a walking field trip through the Old City of Cuenca ending at the Tomebamba River. We’ll learn about the city’s history and culture. Despite being the third largest city in Ecuador, Cuenca has managed to retain its colonial flavor and small town feel with 16th century buildings, churches, red tiled roofs, and narrow cobblestone streets. Cuenca is also the heart of Ecuador’s artistic culture.

Dinner: Independent meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Spanish Lessons, Gualaceo & Chordeleg, Happy Hour
Cuenca
Gran Colombia Suites

Activity note: Walking to language school. The drive from Cuenca to Gualaceo is about 24 miles, approximately 1 hour; winding mountain roads. From Gualaceo to Chordeleg is about 4 miles.

Breakfast: Independent meal.

Morning: We'll make our way independently to the language school and spend the morning in Spanish classes.

Lunch: Independent meal.

Afternoon: We will rendezvous with our Group Leader in the lobby of our hotel, then board a bus to the Andean towns of Gualaceo and Chordeleg. During walking field trips with our Group Leader in both communities, we will learn about their rich handicraft traditions. We’ll return to Cuenca in time for happy hour at a local bar. Relax as the Group Leader treats us to a beverage (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) and some snacks; other food and beverages available for purchase.

Dinner: Independent meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Spanish Lessons
Cuenca
Gran Colombia Suites

Activity note: Walking to language school. During free time, walking and use of public transportation according to personal preference.

Breakfast: Independent meal.

Morning: We'll make our way independently to the language school and spend the morning in Spanish classes.

Lunch: Independent meal.

Afternoon: Free Time. Put your Spanish language skills to use as you see and do what interests you most.

Dinner: Independent meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
Free Day
Cuenca
Gran Colombia Suites

Breakfast: Independent meal.

Morning: Free Time. A day for personal independent exploration, practicing your Spanish language skills, spending time with fellow Road Scholars, or enjoying some R&R.

Lunch: Independent meal.

Afternoon: Free Time.

Dinner: Independent meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
Free Day
Cuenca
Gran Colombia Suites

Breakfast: Independent meal.

Morning: Free Time. A day for personal independent exploration, practicing your Spanish language skills, spending time with fellow Road Scholars, or enjoying some R&R.

Lunch: Independent meal.

Afternoon: Free Time.

Dinner: Independent meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
12
Free Day
Cuenca
Gran Colombia Suites

Breakfast: Independent meal.

Morning: Free Time. A day for personal independent exploration, practicing your Spanish language skills, spending time with fellow Road Scholars, or enjoying some R&R.

Lunch: Independent meal.

Afternoon: Free Time.

Dinner: Independent meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
13
Spanish Lessons, Free Time
Cuenca
Gran Colombia Suites

Activity note: Walking to language school. During free time, walking and use of public transportation according to personal preference.

Breakfast: Independent meal.

Morning: We'll make our way independently to the language school and spend the morning in Spanish classes.

Lunch: Independent meal.

Afternoon: Free Time.

Dinner: Independent meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
14
Spanish Lessons, Cooking Class
Cuenca
Gran Colombia Suites

Activity note: Walking to language school. During free time, walking and use of public transportation according to personal preference.

Breakfast: Independent meal.

Morning: We'll make our way independently to the language school and spend the morning in Spanish classes.

Lunch: Independent meal.

Afternoon: At the language school, we'll learn to prepare some typical Ecuadorian dishes during a cooking lesson led by a staff member.

Dinner: Independent meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
15
Spanish Lessons, Museum of Aboriginal Cultures
Cuenca
Gran Colombia Suites

Activity note: The drive from the hotel to the museum is about 6 miles.

Breakfast: Independent meal.

Morning: We'll make our way independently to the language school and spend the morning in Spanish classes.

Lunch: Independent meal.

Afternoon: We’ll rendezvous with our Group Leader in the hotel lobby and walk to the Museum of Aboriginal Cultures for an introduction to the indigenous peoples of Ecuador. Our Group Leader will offer additional insights as we walk through the exhibits and study pre-Colombian artifacts, fossils, ceramics, and more. En route back to our hotel, we'll stop at a local bar for happy hour (at own expense) with our Group Leader and fellow Road Scholars. This is a great way to socialize, observe locals, and practice our conversational Spanish skills.

Dinner: Independent meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
16
Spanish Lessons, Free Time
Cuenca
Gran Colombia Suites

Activity note: Walking to language school. During free time, walking and use of public transportation according to personal preference.

Breakfast: Independent meal.

Morning: We'll make our way independently to the language school and spend the morning in Spanish classes.

Lunch: Independent meal.

Afternoon: Free Time.

Dinner: Independent meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
17
Free Day
Cuenca
Gran Colombia Suites

Breakfast: Independent meal.

Morning: Free Time. A day for personal independent exploration, practicing your Spanish language skills, spending time with fellow Road Scholars, or enjoying some R&R.

Lunch: Independent meal.

Afternoon: Free Time.

Dinner: Independent meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
18
Free Day
Cuenca
Gran Colombia Suites

Breakfast: Independent meal.

Morning: Free Time. A day for personal independent exploration, practicing your Spanish language skills, spending time with fellow Road Scholars, or enjoying some R&R.

Lunch: Independent meal.

Afternoon: Free Time.

Dinner: Independent meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
19
Free Day
Cuenca
Gran Colombia Suites

Breakfast: Independent meal.

Morning: Free Time. A day for personal independent exploration, practicing your Spanish language skills, spending time with fellow Road Scholars, or enjoying some R&R.

Lunch: Independent meal.

Afternoon: Free Time.

Dinner: Independent meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
20
Spanish Lessons, Free Time
Cuenca
Gran Colombia Suites

Activity note: Walking to language school. During free time, walking and use of public transportation according to personal preference.

Breakfast: Independent meal.

Morning: We'll make our way independently to the language school and spend the morning in Spanish classes.

Lunch: Independent meal.

Afternoon: Free Time.

Dinner: Independent meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
21
Spanish Lessons, Latin American Film
Cuenca
Gran Colombia Suites

Activity note: Walking to language school. During free time, walking and use of public transportation according to personal preference.

Breakfast: Independent meal.

Morning: We'll make our way independently to the language school and spend the morning in Spanish classes.

Lunch: Independent meal.

Afternoon: We’ll enjoy a Latin American film followed by a discussion session with our Group Leader.

Dinner: Independent meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
22
Spanish Lessons, Museo del Monasterio las Conceptas
Cuenca
Gran Colombia Suites

Activity note: Walking to language school. The drive the hotel to the museum is less than 1/2 mile.

Breakfast: Independent meal.

Morning: We'll make our way independently to the language school and spend the morning in Spanish classes.

Lunch: Independent meal.

Afternoon: After meeting our Group Leader in the hotel lobby, we'll walk a few blocks to the Las Conceptas Museum. The museum is housed in a historic 16th century convent bearing the same name. We'll catch a tantalizing glimpse of life inside this secretive community as we admire and learn about its religious paintings, sculptures and architecture. Our Group Leader will help point out some of the indigenous symbolism found in much of the colonial artwork on display. En route back to our hotel, we'll stop at a local bar for happy hour (at own expense) with our Group Leader and fellow Road Scholar friends.

Dinner: Independent meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
23
Spanish Lessons, Free Time
Cuenca
Gran Colombia Suites

Activity note: Walking to language school. During free time, walking and use of public transportation according to personal preference.

Breakfast: Independent meal.

Morning: We'll make our way independently to the language school and spend the morning in Spanish classes.

Lunch: Independent meal.

Afternoon: Free Time.

Dinner: Independent meal.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for our 2-night field trip to Guayaquil and have an overnight bag packed with any clothes and personal items you will need.

DAY
24
Transfer to Guayaquil
Guayaquil
L,D
Hotel Oro Verde

Activity note: We will not check out of our extended stay accommodations this morning; our rooms will be held until we return from Guayaquil. An overnight bag with a couple changes of clothes and personal items is all we'll need for our 2-night stay in Guayaquil. The rest of our luggage should be left at the hotel in Cuenca. The drive from Cuenca to Guayaquil is about 122 miles, approximately 4 hours by bus. We'll make a stop en route at a hacienda for approximately 2 hours.

Breakfast: Independent meal.

Morning: We’ll meet our Group Leader in the hotel lobby, board a bus, and begin our scenic journey to Guayaquil. En route, we’ll make a stop at a cacao plantation for a presentation by a local expert on the production of cacao and its transformation into chocolate.

Lunch: At the cacao plantation.

Afternoon: We’ll continue our transfer and check in at the hotel upon arrival. After some time to freshen up, we’ll gather for a presentation by a local expert on Guayaquil and its importance as the economic capital of Ecuador. This will lay the foundation for our explorations in the city.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
25
Malecon, Las Peñas & Santa Ana Hill, Museums
Guayaquil
B,L
Hotel Oro Verde

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles and standing during field trips; steps, inclines.

Breakfast: At the hotel, coffee, tea, water included.

Morning: With our Group Leader, we’ll depart from the hotel on a walking field trip along the Malecon (boardwalk) to view some of its points of interest such as the Olmedo Plaza, City Hall, Integration Plaza, and more. During our walk, we'll learn about Guayaquil's history and its miraculous transformation from a seedy port to a vibrant city centered around an attractive two-mile riverfront walkway.

Lunch: At a local restaurant; coffee and water included, other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We'll continue learning about Guayaquil's history as we go on another walking field trip through the Las Peñas neighborhood at the foot of Santa Ana Hill. Las Peñas runs the length of Numa Pompillo Llona (its only street) and its architecture exemplifies Ecuador's coastal colonial style. From the top of Santa Ana Hill it will be possible to see panoramic views of the city and the Guayas River. Before returning to our hotel, we'll also visit the Municipal Museum that provides an overview of the city’s history and development.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy local cuisine.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
26
Transfer to Cuenca, Free Time
Cuenca
B
Gran Colombia Suites

Activity note: The drive from Guayaquil to Cuenca is about 122 miles, approximately 4 hours by bus.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We’ll check out of the hotel in Guayaquil and board the bus for our journey back to Cuenca. Upon returning to our extended stay hotel, the remainder of the day free to enjoy individual pursuits.

Lunch: Independent meal.

Afternoon: Free Time.

Dinner: Independent meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
27
Spanish Lessons, Free Time
Cuenca
Gran Colombia Suites

Activity note: Walking to language school. During free time, walking and use of public transportation according to personal preference.

Breakfast: Independent meal.

Morning: We'll make our way independently to the language school and spend the morning in Spanish classes.

Lunch: Independent meal.

Afternoon: Free Time.

Dinner: Independent meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
28
Spanish Lessons, Baños Hot Springs
Cuenca
Gran Colombia Suites

Activity note: Walking to language school. During free time, walking and use of public transportation according to personal preference.

Breakfast: Independent meal.

Morning: We'll make our way independently to the language school and spend the morning in Spanish classes.

Lunch: Independent meal.

Afternoon: After meeting the Group Leader at the hotel lobby, we'll take a short bus ride outside the city to Baños Hot Springs. We'll pamper our bodies with relaxing soaks in spring-fed pools and a sauna treatment. Returning to Cuenca, the remainder of the afternoon is free.

Dinner: Independent meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
29
Spanish Lessons, Sig Sig, Happy Hour
Cuenca
Gran Colombia Suites

Activity note: Walking to language school, mostly flat terrain. The drive from Cuenca to Sig Sig is about 39 miles, approximately 1.5 hours. Walking at Sig Sig; paths, irregular terrain.

Breakfast: Independent meal.

Morning: We'll make our way independently to the language school and spend the morning in Spanish classes.

Lunch: Independent meal.

Afternoon: After meeting the Group Leader at the hotel lobby, we'll ride to Sig Sig village, best known for its production of handwoven Panama Hats — in Ecuador called “sombreros de paja toquilla.” The Group Leader will take us on a walking field trip through the town and stop at local artisan shops to observe the multi-step process of turning toquilla straw into the lightweight hats made famous by Teddy Roosevelt. We'll also learn how this product earned its puzzling name. En route back to our hotel, we'll stop at a local bar for happy hour (at own expense) with our Group Leader and fellow Road Scholars.

Dinner: Independent meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
30
Spanish Lessons, Free Time
Cuenca
Gran Colombia Suites

Activity note: Walking to language school. During free time, walking and use of public transportation according to personal preference.

Breakfast: Independent meal.

Morning: We'll make our way independently to the language school and spend the morning in Spanish classes.

Lunch: Independent meal.

Afternoon: Free Time.

Dinner: Independent meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
31
Free Day
Cuenca
Gran Colombia Suites

Breakfast: Independent meal.

Morning: Free Time. A day for personal independent exploration, practicing your Spanish language skills, spending time with fellow Road Scholars, or enjoying some R&R.

Lunch: Independent meal.

Afternoon: Free time.

Dinner: Independent meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
32
Free Day
Cuenca
Gran Colombia Suites

Breakfast: Independent meal.

Morning: Free Time. A day for personal independent exploration, practicing your Spanish language skills, spending time with fellow Road Scholars, or enjoying some R&R.

Lunch: Independent meal.

Afternoon: Free Time.

Dinner: Independent meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
33
Free Day
Cuenca
Gran Colombia Suites

Breakfast: Independent meal.

Morning: Free Time. A day for personal independent exploration, practicing your Spanish language skills, spending time with fellow Road Scholars, or enjoying some R&R.

Lunch: Independent meal.

Afternoon: Free Time.

Dinner: Independent meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
34
Spanish Lessons, Free Time
Cuenca
Gran Colombia Suites

Activity note: Walking to language school. During free time, walking and use of public transportation according to personal preference.

Breakfast: Independent meal.

Morning: We'll make our way independently to the language school and spend the morning in Spanish classes.

Lunch: Independent meal.

Afternoon: Free Time.

Dinner: Independent meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
35
Spanish Lessons, Salsa Dance Class
Cuenca
Gran Colombia Suites

Activity note: Walking to language school. During free time, walking and use of public transportation according to personal preference.

Breakfast: Independent meal.

Morning: We'll make our way independently to the language school and spend the morning in Spanish classes.

Lunch: Independent meal.

Afternoon: We’ll regroup at the Spanish language school for a salsa dance lesson. An instructor will demonstrate the dance steps and lead us through practice. We will have the opportunity to use our newly acquired moves at the up and coming farewell party at the school!

Dinner: Independent meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
36
Spanish Lessons, Free Time
Cuenca
Gran Colombia Suites

Activity note: Walking to language school. During free time, walking and use of public transportation according to personal preference.

Breakfast: Independent meal.

Morning: We'll make our way independently to the language school and spend the morning in Spanish classes.

Lunch: Independent meal.

Afternoon: Free Time.

Dinner: Independent meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
37
Spanish Lessons, Farewell to Cuenca Party
Cuenca
D
Gran Colombia Suites

Activity note: Walking to language school. During free time, walking and use of public transportation according to personal preference.

Breakfast: Independent meal.

Morning: We'll make our way independently to the language school and spend the morning in Spanish classes.

Lunch: Independent meal.

Afternoon: At the language school, our instructors will join us for a farewell party to celebrate the end of our Spanish course — and test our salsa moves!

Dinner: At a local restaurant we'll bid a fond farewell to our local Group Leader and the beautiful city of Cuenca in preparation for our up and coming journey to Guayaquil and the Galapagos Islands.

Evening: At leisure. Please be sure all of your luggage is packed and ready for check out in the morning. We will not be returning to Cuenca on this program.

DAY
38
Transfer to Guayaquil, Churute Mangrove Ecological Reserve
Guayaquil
L
Hotel Oro Verde

Activity note: The drive from Cuenca to Churute is about 92 miles, approximately 2.5 to 3 hours. From Churute reserve to Guayaquil is about 38 miles, approximately 1.5 hours. Walking on undulating trails over irregular terrain and getting in and out of a motorized canoe at the Churute nature reserve.

Breakfast: Independent meal.

Morning: We’ll check out of the hotel and meet our Guayaquil Group Leader who will accompany us on our bus journey to Guayaquil.

Lunch: At a local restaurant en route.

Afternoon: On the way to Guayaquil, we'll stop for a nature field trip at Churute Mangrove Ecological Reserve. A local expert will introduce the beauty and ecology of the reserve as we explore its trails and take a motorized canoe ride through the mangroves. Upon arrival in Guayaquil, we’ll check in with some time to freshen up and relax.

Dinner: On your own to explore local fare.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare luggage for tomorrow's early morning check out and flight to the Galapagos. There is a strict luggage allowance: 1 checked bag weighing up to 44 pounds, plus 1 small carry-on.

DAY
39
Fly to Galapagos Islands
Galápagos Islands
B,L
Hotel Mainao

Activity note: Flying time from Guayaquil to the Galapagos Islands is about 2 hours. Sea conditions in the islands can change rapidly; anyone prone to motion sickness should consider packing sea-sickness patches or pills for boat transfers. On Puerto Ayora, walking about 1/5 mile, approximately 15 minutes to Charles Darwin Center.

Breakfast: Early at the hotel.

Morning: After an early check out, we’ll transfer to the airport for our flight to the Galapagos Islands. Upon arrival at Baltra Airport, we’ll proceed through document checks and baggage claim before meeting our local Galapagos Group Leader. We'll then take a bus to the Itabaca Channel and hop on a ferry to Santa Cruz Island. Our bus will be waiting on the other side to transfer us to Puerto Ayora for hotel check-in.

Lunch: At a local restaurant at Puerto Ayora.

Afternoon: After checking in at our hotel, we'll set out with our local Group Leader on a walking field trip to the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) on the northeast side of Academy Bay. There we’ll learn about their mission and projects related to research and conservation. Returning to the hotel, we'll have a presentation by a local expert that will provide an overview of the origins of the Galapagos Islands and its incredible natural wonders, preparing us for our activities in the archipelago.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy local fare. In the town of Puerto Ayora along the main street of Avenida Charles Darwin, there are a variety of restaurants and open-air cafes featuring local seafood, Ecuadorian specialties, and Italian food as well as sandwiches, salads, and homemade ice cream.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
40
South Plaza & Punta Carrion
Galápagos Islands
B,L
Hotel Mainao

Activity note: The islands visited are subject to change by the national park without prior notification. From Puerto Ayora to the pier at Itabaca is approximately 26 miles; just over 1/2 hour. Dry landing at South Plaza and moderate trail conditions due to uneven, rocky terrain. Snorkeling equipment provided on the boat.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We’ll transfer by bus to the Itabaca Channel for embarkation on our catamaran. We'll sail to South Plaza for a walking field trip with our Group Leader. This small island is known as a great place to watch seabirds in flight. A walk along the cliff top will offer an opportunity to view birdlife such as Red-billed Tropicbirds, Frigatebirds, pelicans, Swallow-tailed gulls, and others that may be present.

Lunch: Aboard the boat.

Afternoon: We’ll continue activities at South Plaza. Then, en route back to Santa Cruz Island, we’ll stop for swimming and snorkeling at Punta Carrion. Disembarking at the Itabaca pier, we’ll take a bus back to our hotel at Puerto Ayora.

Dinner: Independent meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
41
Bartolome Island, Sullivan Bay
Galápagos Islands
B,L
Hotel Mainao

Activity note: At Sullivan Bay, wet landing and moderate difficulty due to rocky, volcanic terrain. The looping visitor trail is approximately 1 mile in length. Wear comfortable non-skid footwear with good ankle support. On Bartolomé, the walk to the lookout point at the top of the volcano is 375 steps up a long wooden staircase with railings, no sitting areas along the way.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We’ll board the bus and travel to the Itabaca Channel for embarkation on our catamaran. Today we'll journey to the small island of Bartolome, located in Sullivan Bay, for a walking field trip to learn about its unique volcanic formations and wildlife. This is one of the few places Galapagos Penguins are known to frequent.

Lunch: Aboard the boat.

Afternoon: We'll walk on local trails to Sullivan Bay for swimming. 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 their 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. We'll make our way back as we came to our hotel at Puerto Ayora.

Dinner: Independent meal.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and our flight to Quito tomorrow.

DAY
42
Highland Tortoises, Fly to Quito, Farewell Dinner
Quito
B,L,D
Hosteria Rincon de Puembo

Activity note: Walking on irregular, potentially muddy, trails. Flying time from the Galapagos Islands to Quito is about 3.5 hours with 1 stop.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we’ll transfer by bus to Baltra Airport for our flight back to the mainland. En route, we'll stop at a highland farm to get an up close view of giant tortoises living in the wild and learn more about them with expert commentary.

Lunch: At the airport, we’ll have a sandwich and beverage provided.

Afternoon: We’ll board our flight to Quito. Upon arrival, we'll retrieve our luggage and meet a Road Scholar representative outside the arrivals hall, then transfer by bus to our hotel and check in.

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

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure tomorrow evening.

DAY
43
Free Time, Program Concludes, In Transit from Program
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel day room check-out by 6:00 p.m. See your program’s travel details regarding transfers.

Breakfast: At the hotel with juice, coffee, water included.

Morning: Free Time. Enjoy independent explorations or simply relax in preparation for the flight this evening.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Free Time.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: Day room check-out by 6:00 p.m. followed by transfer to the airport. 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!

DAY
44
Arrivals in North America
In Flight





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