loading spinner
6043
Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

The Galápagos: Natural and Cultural History

Gain a comprehensive understanding of the Galápagos as you learn about iconic wildlife, delicate ecosystems, volcanic activity and the science-altering legacy of Charles Darwin.
Rating (5)
Program No. 6043RJ
Length
11 days
Starts at
5,299
Flights start at
500
Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

The Galápagos: Natural and Cultural History

Gain a comprehensive understanding of the Galápagos as you learn about iconic wildlife, delicate ecosystems, volcanic activity and the science-altering legacy of Charles Darwin.
Length
11 days
Starts at
5,299
Flights start at
500
Program No. 6043 RJ
Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
airfare
Need airfare?
Our airfare tool can help. Check it out
climate
Plan ahead.
What kind of weather can you expect? Take a look!
itinerary
Please Note:
The itinerary for this program is different on certain dates.
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.

DATES & PRICES

Ship Outside
Details
Accommodation Details
A cabin with a window or porthole to view the outside.
Apr 14 - Apr 24, 2021
Ship Outside 5,499
Itinerary Note

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

May 12 - May 22, 2021
Ship Outside 5,499
Itinerary Note

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

Jun 16 - Jun 26, 2021
Ship Outside 5,499
Itinerary Note

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

Jul 1 - Jul 11, 2021
Ship Outside 5,299
Itinerary Note

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

Aug 11 - Aug 21, 2021
Ship Outside 5,299
Itinerary Note

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

Oct 13 - Oct 23, 2021
Ship Outside 5,499
Itinerary Note

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

Oct 21 - Oct 31, 2021
Ship Outside 5,499
Itinerary Note

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

Nov 3 - Nov 13, 2021
Ship Outside 5,499
Itinerary Note

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

Dec 1 - Dec 11, 2021
Ship Outside 5,499
Itinerary Note

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

DATES & PRICES

Ship Outside
Details
Accommodation Details
A cabin with a window or porthole to view the outside.
Apr 14 - Apr 24, 2021
SOLD OUT
Ship Outside 7,199
Itinerary Note

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

May 12 - May 22, 2021
Ship Outside 7,199
Itinerary Note

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

Jun 16 - Jun 26, 2021
Ship Outside 7,199
Itinerary Note

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

Jul 1 - Jul 11, 2021
Ship Outside 7,299
Itinerary Note

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

Aug 11 - Aug 21, 2021
Ship Outside 6,999
Itinerary Note

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

Oct 13 - Oct 23, 2021
SOLD OUT
Ship Outside 7,199
Itinerary Note

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

Oct 21 - Oct 31, 2021
Ship Outside 7,499
Itinerary Note

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

Nov 3 - Nov 13, 2021
Ship Outside 7,199
Itinerary Note

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

Dec 1 - Dec 11, 2021
Ship Outside 7,199
Itinerary Note

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

At a Glance

Study unique animal and plant species on this small ship voyage in one of the world’s most extraordinary settings — the Galápagos Islands. Encounter the fascinating wildlife that inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.
Activity Level
Let's Go!
Daily walks on sharp volcanic stones and loose rocks. Potentially rough water transferring from yacht into a Zodiac. Wet and dry Zodiac landings onshore. Quito, Ecuador has an elevation of 9,350 feet. Some participants fly in a day early to acclimate.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Encounter the exotic animals that made the Galápagos famous including Blue-footed Boobies, Darwin finches, giant tortoises and marine iguanas.
  • Navigate inlets, swim with sea lions and snorkel off remote beaches in search of tropical marine life.
  • Learn about the unique and hardy vegetation of the Galápagos including lava cacti, Scalesia trees, lichens, mangroves and Opuntia cacti.

General Notes

Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are assigned by the Galapágos National Park and can be changed without prior notice. Please refer to the date-specific detailed itinerary on the Road Scholar website to check on the vessel and visitor sites included in your program. The expedition-style Galápagos vessels offered on this program can hold 16 passengers in comfortable cabins with en suite facilities.
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.
Understanding Galapagos: What You'll See and What it Means
by Sehoya Cotner, Randy Moore
An excellent introduction to the flora and fauna of the Galapagos and a stellar overview of evolutionary biography on the islands. Accessible for readers from all backgrounds.
Galapagos, Islands Born of Fire
by Tui De Roy
A stunning celebration of the landscapes, wildlife and habitats of the Galapagos by a photographer who was raised in the archipelago. Tenth anniversary edition.
Charles Darwin
by David King
A new addition to DK's acclaimed Biography series, this is a detailed and accessible chronicle of Darwin's life, sure to grab the interest of younger readers. With more than 100 full-color photographs and illustrations.
Galapagos Wildlife
by Pocket Naturalist
A fold-up, laminated card featuring color drawings and short descriptions of commonly encountered birds, mammals and reptiles of the Galapagos.
Insight Guide Ecuador and Galapagos
by Insight Guides
Presenting the natural history, politics, culture, wildlife and attractions of Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands with style and authority.
Galapagos Wildlife, A Visitor's Guide
by David Horwell, Pete Oxford
With chapters on visitor sites, history, conservation and habitats, this compact photographic guide introduces birds, reptiles, marine and other life of the archipelago.
The Tree of Life: Charles Darwin
by Peter Sis
Sis illuminates Darwin's grand life: his travels, ideas and impact, using watercolor and pen-and-ink illustrations. The richly embellished pages feature a gorgeous gatefold spread as well as diary pages, maps and charts.
Evolution's Workshop
by Edward J. Larson
A vivid history of the Galapagos and the role of the islands as a crucible of evolutionary ideas, written by a Pulitzer Prize winner. Larson covers Darwin and the discovery of the islands, the visits of Hancock and Beebe, the influence of the United States during WWII and the establishment of the national park.
Galapagos, A Natural History
by Michael Jackson
This comprehensive guide to the natural history of the Galapagos is practically mandatory reading -- the single best introduction to the geology and climate, habitats, plants, birds, animals, ecology and evolution.
Galapagos, The Islands That Changed the World
by Paul D. Stewart (Director)
Also available on Blu-Ray, this stunning three-part BBC documentary captures the rugged beauty, allure, wildlife and history of the archipelago like never before.
Galapagos, World's End
by William Beebe
This wry, wonderfully evocative account of a 1924 scientific expedition includes an excellent chapter on the human history of the Galapagos.
The History of Ecuador
by George Lauderbaugh
this compact book includes chapters on Ecuador today, Ecuador's indigenous and colonial past, the oil boom and other events.
Galapagos: The Enchanted Islands, Through Writer's Eyes
by John Hickman (Editor)
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 these tales of the colorful human history of the archipelago.
Boobies, Iguanas and Other Critters
by Linda Litteral
This beautifully illustrated book provides an overview of the Galapagos for ages 10 to 14. Clear, detailed and accurate, it explains the volcanic formation of the islands, ecology, wildlife and scientific research.
The Galapagos, A Natural History
by Henry Nicholls
Editor of the Galapagos Conservation Trust magazine and author of Lonesome George, Henry Nicholls charts the human and natural history of the archipelago from its fiery origins through famous visitors and current conservation challenges.
Galapagos Islands Explorer Map
by Ocean Explorer Maps
Not just handy for keeping track of your Galapagos cruise, this detailed map (1:400,000) of the islands includes illustrated biographies of famous visitors and a wildlife guide.
Darwin and Evolution for Kids, His Life and Ideas with 21 Activities
by Kristan Lawson
An interactive, illustrated biography of Darwin for kids ten and up (and their families). The book, which includes hands-on activities, covers Darwin's career from his youth to his mind-expanding voyage aboard the Beagle to the development of the theory of evolution through natural selection.
Inside the Beagle with Charles Darwin
by Fiona MacDonald
MacDonald gives detailed accounts of daily life aboard the Beagle, animals and places encountered, as well as excellent illustrations and a balanced discussion of Darwin's ground-breaking scientific theories. Ages 8 and up.
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 70-year-old father.
Birds, Mammals and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands
by Andy Swash, Robert Stills
This strikingly compact, comprehensive field guide features 500 color photographs, distribution maps and information on status, habitat and behavior.
Voyage of the Beagle
by Charles Darwin
The wide-eyed tale of a young man on a five-year voyage that changed his life -- and our way of thinking about the world. First published in 1839, it's still a marvelous introduction to the wildlife, nature and allure of South America.
Print All
Map details are not available for this location.
View Map
Expand All
11 days
10 nights
27 meals
10 B 8 L 9 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program, Arrive to Quito
Quito
Sheraton Quito Hotel

Activity note: Elevations in Quito range from 9,223 ft - 9,883 ft. To minimize your chances of experiencing altitude sickness while in Quito, try to get plenty of rest before you travel, stay hydrated, avoid alcohol and fatty foods, consume high carbohydrate foods, and avoid strenuous exercise at high elevations. See your program’s travel details regarding transfers.

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

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

Activity note: This leisurely-paced day in Quito is very important as it will give the group time to acclimate to highland elevations.

Breakfast: At the hotel, we'll have a buffet meal with juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: 8:30 a.m. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We'll review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Periods labeled “Free Time” and “At Leisure” offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable while going out to explore on your own, engaging in available activities independently, making new friends among fellow Road Scholars, or simply relaxing. The Group Leader will always be happy to offer suggestions. Meals on our program feature local cuisine. In many cases, they will be plated and served set meals; in others, we will have buffets with multiple options. Beverages include coffee, tea, water; other beverages are usually available for purchase. 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 ride to the center of the city for an orientation to Ecuador’s capital. We'll accompany the Group Leader in a walking exploration of the historic UNESCO World Heritage Site, learning about Quito's history from pre-Hispanic times, through the Colonial Period, to the Republican Era. The architecture found in Quito’s historical center is a great example of the Baroque style which is a fusion of Spanish, Moorish, Flemish and Indigenous art. Next, we'll visit the Museo Casa del Alabado to learn about Ecuador's pre-Columbian cultures through close examination of their art, pottery and ceremonial pieces. Unlike most museums which arrange displays in chronological order, the Casa del Alabado has organized its exhibits based on Andean cosmology. The approximately 5,000 artifacts showcased in this impressive space include 500 pieces that belong to the museum’s permanent exhibit.

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

Afternoon: After lunch we will journey by bus to the Capilla del Hombre for an introduction to Ecuador's beloved artist-- Oswaldo Guayasamin. The Group Leader will offer insights into the artist's life and work during our explorations of the museum and cultural space. Back at the hotel, we'll enjoy an expert presentation on the past, present and future of Ecuador.

Dinner: Enjoy a two course meal at the hotel restaurant plus water and coffee or tea. Other beverages available for purchase.

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

DAY
3
Baltra Island, Board Boat, Mosquera Islet
Galapagos Islands
B,L,D
Tip Top V

Activity note: The flight to/from the Galapagos makes a stop in Guayaquil; passengers remain on board. This flight allows each person to bring a 50 lb checked bag/suitcase, plus a carry on. Excess luggage can be stored at the hotel in Quito until our return. Actual cruise itinerary and islands visited are determined by the Galápagos National Park. The park reserves the right to change cruise itineraries without prior notice.

Breakfast: Early, at the hotel.

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

Lunch: In the yacht dining room we’ll enjoy a light snack plus juice and water. Other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: After lunch we will navigate a short distance to Mosquera Islet, located between Baltra and North Seymour. A wet landing will deliver us to a white sand beach in preparation for our walking explorations. From there, we’ll walk along the beach to observe resident sea lions, colorful sally lightfoot crabs and coastal birds. There will be an opportunity for snorkeling and/or swimming before we return to the boat.

Dinner: After enjoying a welcome cocktail with the boat crew, We'll sit down for a plated meal with dessert, juice and water. Other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.

DAY
4
Sullivan Bay, Rabida
Galapagos Islands
B,L,D
Tip Top V

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

Breakfast: Aboard the yacht.

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

Lunch: Aboard the yacht.

Afternoon: This afternoon we will make a wet landing at Rabida Island. Our naturalist leader will point out the island's unique flora and fauna during a walking exploration of the beach and local trails. Rabida (Jervis) has a dark red beach favored by sea lions and nesting pelicans. A salt water lagoon located a small distance from the beach is home to flamingoes and the occasional White-cheeked Pintail. Palo santo trees cover the island's volcanic peak, which can be seen from a short trail (approximately a .5 mile walk). Some of the Galápagos' rarest bird species are here in abundance, including Large-billed Flycatchers, Galápagos Hawks and nine varieties of finches. After optional swimming and snorkeling opportunities we will head back to the boat.

Dinner: Aboard the yacht.

Evening: Enjoy an expert presentation by our naturalist Group Leader, followed by an orientation to the next day's activities. (Please note that the day/time of lectures is subject to change).

DAY
5
Punta Espinoza, Elizabeth Bay
Galapagos Islands
B,L,D
Tip Top V

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

Breakfast: Aboard the yacht.

Morning: We’ll make a dry landing at Punta Espinoza and then walk on local trails in search of the resident sea lion colony and Flightless Cormorant nesting sites. Fernandina has some of the most dramatic landscapes found in the archipelago and is also one of the best places to see the lava cactus. The aa and pahoehoe lava formations create a unique landscape and provide visitors with a great chance to study lava flows and the forces which gave birth to the Galápagos Islands. Return to the boat.

Lunch: Aboard the yacht.

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

Dinner: Aboard the yacht.

Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.

DAY
6
Urbina Bay, Tagus Cove
Galapagos Islands
B,L,D
Tip Top V

Activity note: Urbina Bay: strong waves can make disembarkation tricky at this site. Use a zip-lock bag to protect cameras and binoculars from splashes during the wet landing. Please take steps to remain hydrated during this approximately 2-mile hike.

Breakfast: Aboard the yacht.

Morning: After breakfast we will make a wet landing at Urbina Bay and begin our walking exploration of this unique site. Urbina Bay is situated approximately two fifths of the way along Isabela’s western coast. The flattened area of the bay exhibits signs of a coral reef on land; proof that the flat land we see today in that area was once uplifted from the sea. Cormorants, pelicans, marine iguanas, and Flightless Cormorants frequent this site in addition to marine turtles and rays which are sometimes seen swimming in the bay. Opportunity for swimming and snorkeling before returning to the boat in time for lunch.

Lunch: Aboard the yacht.

Afternoon: We’ll join our naturalist group leader on a panga ride to Tagus Cove to view Galapagos Penguins, marine iguanas, sea lions and a variety of birds including boobies and Flightless Cormorants. Opportunity for swimming, snorkeling, and/or kayaking before returning to the boat.

Dinner: Aboard the yacht.

Evening: Enjoy an expert presentation by our naturalist Group Leader, followed by an orientation to the next day's activities. (Please note that the day/time of lectures is subject to change).

DAY
7
Puerto Egas, Bartolome
Galapagos Islands
B,L,D
Tip Top V

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

Breakfast: Aboard the yacht.

Morning: A short panga ride will take us to Santiago Island in preparation for a wet landing at Puerto Egas' black sand beach. As we explore local trails, our naturalist leader will help to point out local wildlife. Puerto Egas, located on the northwestern side of Santiago Island, has black volcanic formations that provide shelter to a number of creatures. Here it is possible to see marine iguanas sunning themselves on the rocks while sea birds fly overhead in search of food. Brightly colored Sally Lightfoot crabs live in the rock crevices and tide pools; a sharp contrast to the black lava formations they call home. Galápagos fur seals enjoy the inlets along the western shoreline and have been known to swim with visitors from time to time. Opportunity for swimming and snorkeling.

Lunch: Aboard the yacht.

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

Dinner: Aboard the yacht.

Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.

DAY
8
Sombrero Chino, Dragon Hill
Galapagos Islands
B,L,D
Tip Top V

Activity note: Sombrero Chino: wet/ dry landing (depending on local weather conditions). Cerro Dragon: moderate walking conditions due to rocky, volcanic beach.

Breakfast: Aboard the yacht.

Morning: We will start the day by navigating around Sombrero Chino to observe its resident wildlife and lava formations. Depending on the weather conditions, we may also make a wet or dry landing and undertake a short hike around the island. This small island can be seen a short distance from Santiago Island’s southeastern tip. The name, meaning Chinese hat, describes the volcanic cone’s unique shape. A cove on the northern side of the island offers good conditions for swimming, snorkeling and kayaking; it is also a favored sea lion hangout. Other species frequently seen in and around the island include American Oystercatchers, Brown Noddys, Galápagos Hawks, Sally Lightfoot crabs, spotted eagle rays, whitetip reef sharks, Galápagos Penguins, marine iguanas, Lava Herons, lava lizards, and Brown Pelicans.

Lunch: Aboard the yacht.

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

Dinner: Aboard the yacht.

Evening: Orientation to the next day's activities.

DAY
9
Santa Cruz Highlands, Twin Craters & Wild Tortoises
Galapagos Islands
B,L,D
Tip Top V

Activity note: Santa Cruz Highlands: dry landing at Puerto Ayora and moderate to difficult trail conditions due to rocky, uneven (and possibly muddy) trails.

Breakfast: Aboard the yacht.

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

Lunch: At a local farm, we’ll enjoy traditional Ecuadorian fare with juice and water.

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

Dinner: Aboard the yacht.

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

DAY
10
North Seymour, Flight to Quito
Quito
B,D
Hosteria Rincon de Puembo

Activity note: Participants with international flights departing very late this evening/before dawn next morning will check out of the hotel after dinner, then transfer to the international airport in preparation for airline check in. Due to limited flight times from the Galápagos to Quito, the timing between the farewell dinner and the transfer afterwards to the airport can be diminutive. See “Program Notes” section for more details regarding departure options.

Breakfast: Aboard the yacht.

Morning: Early this morning we will make a dry landing on North Seymour Island to enjoy a 1.5-mile walk on local trails. North Seymour Island is conveniently located next to Baltra Island. The island has a major nesting colony of Blue-footed Boobies and Magnificent Frigatebirds. During April-May the Blue-footed Boobies can be spotted performing their comical mating dance. Blue-footed Boobies oftentimes nest very near the trails, giving visitors the opportunity to get a closer view during the walks. From August-November sea lions are giving birth and it is possible to view pups of all sizes. Just remember to stay at a safe distance as females tend to be very protective of their young. A walk near known iguana nesting sites offers a good opportunity to view marine iguanas and land iguanas. Besides boasting abundant fauna, North Seymour Island is dotted with the endemic Palo Santo tree (Bursera graveolens). Upon our return to the boat, we will set sail to Baltra Island in preparation for our flight to Quito. From the pier we will board a bus to the airport, where we will bid farewell to our Galápagos Group Leader and the Islas Encantadas. The flight to Quito makes a stop in Guayaquil; passengers remain on board.

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

Afternoon: Late afternoon arrival in Quito. We'll board a bus to our hotel and check in, followed by free time to finish packing or relax before joining the rest of the group for dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel. During a farewell dinner, share your favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check out and international flights to North America. Participants with international flights departing very late this evening/before dawn next morning will check out of the hotel and transfer to the Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO) in preparation for airline check in.

DAY
11
Program Concludes, In Transit from Program
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel check out by 11:00 a.m. See your program’s travel details regarding transfers.

Breakfast: At the hotel (dependent on flight times). 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!






Your Well-Being is Our #1 Priority

We’re committed to making your experience as safe and enjoyable as possible.

See Our Safety Roadmap
Click here to provide website feedback
Website Feedback