The Ohio State University Alumni Association

The Galapagos Islands

April 3 – April 10, 2019 Sold Out

Details

The Galapagos Islands are one of the most biologically unique places on earth.

Undiscovered by Europeans until the 16th century, the Galapagos Islands hold a central position in modern history as the birthplace of the theory of evolution. Designated the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978, the Galapagos Islands are home to a fascinating array of wildlife inhabiting an unspoiled ecosystem, living in harmony with their human visitors.

This exciting journey features a day of guided touring in Quito plus an intimate cruise through the archipelago with up-close access to endemic species. Expert naturalists guide you through the wonders of this national park, whale sanctuary, and marine reserve.

Each island in this volcanic archipelago hosts species that are exquisitely adapted to the available food sources and surrounding environments: the marine iguana, which eats mostly algae and is the only sea-going lizard in the world, and the Galapagos tortoises—some species of which were hunted to the brink of extinction by 18th- and 19th century whalers. You can also observe how species have evolved to interact with each other—certain Darwin's finches have developed a symbiotic relationship with land iguanas, who will obligingly raise themselves up from the ground so that the birds can more easily pluck parasites from their bellies. Because the human presence is still relatively minimal, many of the animals are remarkably unafraid of visitors.

Your accommodations for this adventure are aboard Isabela II, a 40-guest vessel with spacious cabins, local cuisine, and a staff dedicated to ensuring both your comfort and maximum enjoyment of this truly extraordinary destination and its diverse inhabitants.

Tour highlights and included features

  • During a full day tour of Quito, marvel at the gold leaf interior of the Jesuit Church of La Compañía—a fine example of the mix of European influences and indigenous art called the Baroque school of Quito; enjoy a lunch of Ecuadorian specialties; and view a curated collection of Pre-Columbian art.
  • Galapagos National Park entrance fee and transit card
  • Complimentary use of kayaks, shorty wetsuits, and snorkeling equipment
  • A welcome reception in Quito, 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 4 dinners including a farewell dinner
  • One night at the Casa Grangotena Quito; One night at the Wyndham Hotel in Guayaquil
  • 4 nights aboard the Isabela II, with exploration by pangas, naturalist-led hikes and excursions, and evening lectures
  • Visit dramatic and historic places, including the lush highlands of Santa Cruz Island, the perfect habitat to see the Galapagos Giant Tortoise, and Cerro Brujo, one of the first sites visited by Charles Darwin.
  • Explore secluded inlets and stroll sweeping white sand beaches such as Gardner Bay, where sea lions lounge and Española mockingbirds sing.
  • Snorkel with sea lions, colorful tropical fish, and sea turtles—or observe them through a glass bottom boat.
  • Discover the myriad of aquatic wildlife in the clear waters of the world's second largest marine reserve.
  • Observe with remarkable proximity the diversity of endemic species such as the Nazca, red- and blue-footed boobies; giant tortoises; marine iguanas; and the famous “Darwin’s finches.”
  • Gratuities for guides and drivers on airport transfers and excursions, and hotel porters
  • Airport transfers for guests arriving and departing during the suggested times
  • Internal air travel (from Quito to the islands on day 3, and return to Guayaquil on day 7)

Dates April 3 – April 10, 2019 Sold Out

Cost $4,995* (From Price. Airfare is not included. All prices are per person, based on double occupancy, and early booking deadlines. Dates, itineraries, and prices are subject to change.)

Type Land and Cruise

Region South America

Activity level

Host

Operator

Contact Laura DeRose
derose.25@osu.edu
614-292-2372 or
800-852-TOUR (8687), ext. 2

Map

Experiences

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Sea Lion in water San Cristobal Island.jpg
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Zodiac to Punta Cormorant Floreana Island.jpg
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Itinerary

After an evening arrival in Quito, transfer to your hotel for a comfortable night's sleep.

Overnight: Casa Gangotena - Quito

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Head out for a full-day, guided walking tour of historic Old Town. With an expert guide, walk through the Quito neighborhood of San Roque and visit with local artisans, shopkeepers, hat makers, and sweet confectioners. Explore the San Francisco Market—one of the oldest in the capital—up the hill on Calle Rocafuerte. There, learn about the unique fruits and vegetables grown in Ecuador, local culinary traditions, and indigenous, medicinal herbs from herbal healers.

Continue your journey downhill to the cobbled street of La Ronda, featuring balconies festooned with colorful flags. Stop by a chocolatier to learn how cacao beans are processed, and taste the finest chocolates of Ecuador!

Next, head north toward the political heart of the city. Following a brief narrative, stroll to the Jesuit church of La Compañía to admire its stunning gold-leaf interior. A lunch of Ecuadorian specialties will be served in the beautiful Restaurant Cedrón.

In the afternoon, head to the Casa del Alabado Archaeological Museum, within a restored 17th-century colonial mansion, to view its collection of Pre-Columbian art. This evening, meet your traveling companions for a welcome reception and prepare for your upcoming adventure.
Overnight: Casa Gangotena - Quito (B,L,R)

Arrive by plane to Baltra Airport and transfer to the Itabaca Channel to ferry across to Santa Cruz Island. After a short, scenic drive across Santa Cruz Island, arrive in the Highlands to enjoy lunch and visit the iconic species for which these islands are named. Spot the saddle-backed shell of the lumbering Galapagos giant tortoise and walk among them while your naturalist guide describes their habits as well as the conservation efforts surrounding this remarkable reptile.
Overnight: Isabela II (B,L,D)

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Floreana is perhaps best known for its colorful history of buccaneers, whalers, and colonists. After breakfast, board the pangas for coastal exploration of Baroness Cove. Look for the bobbing heads of sea turtles, or vibrant Sally Lightfoot crabs and marine iguanas clinging to the intertidal rocks. Visit the historic Post Office Barrel, which originated in the late 1700s as an unofficial mail box. Whalers going out to sea would deposit letters for ships returning home to collect and deliver. Today, postcards continue to be hand carried to far-flung destinations by other visitors.

Mid-morning snorkeling off the beach provides the opportunity to observe sea turtles and colorful fish, or perhaps kayak to spot wildlife near shore. Following lunch, walk along Punta Cormorant to see the flamingos, stilts, and sandpipers that inhabit a brackish-water lagoon. A short walk leads to a sandy beach composed of coral ground so fine that it feels like flour. Green sea turtles nest here, and it is a good place to see sting rays near shore.
Overnight: Isabela II (B,L,D)


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After breakfast, hike the tumbled terrain of Punta Suárez to the blowhole that shoots water 50 feet into the air. Along the way, observe unique sea bird colonies, including striking Nazca boobies and swallow-tail gulls. The Galapagos Albatross—the largest bird in the archipelago—is found only on Española Island between April and December.

In the afternoon, disembark and relax at Gardner Bay on an expansive, white coralline beach, where you can watch sea lions, Hood mockingbirds, and finches.
Overnight: Isabela II (B,L,D)

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Arrive early at the eastern tip of the island for more spectacular wildlife viewing. San Cristobal's Punta Pitt is the only place where you can see all three species of boobies (Nazca, red-footed and blue-footed) nesting together. Choose a hike up the hill in search of their nests, and admire the unique landscape and spectacular views of the beach below. Or, take a walk on the beach and, if conditions are favorable, go for a swim, snorkel or kayak.

After lunch on board, ride a panga along the shore to Cerro Brujo's dramatic beach for a stroll and more bird watching. Join fellow guests and crew for a festive farewell toast followed by dinner.
Overnight: Isabela II (B,L,D)

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Bid a fond farewell to the Isabela II crew, and depart San Cristóbal for a final night in Guayaquil.

Overnight: Wyndham Hotel – Guayaquil (B,L aloft)


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In the morning, transfer to the airport to board your flight back home. (B)


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*Itinerary subject to change due to local conditions.

Contact

Contact Laura DeRose at Ohio State Alumni Tours:
Phone: 614-292-2372 or 800-852-TOUR (8687), ext. 2
Email: derose.25@osu.edu

Space is limited. Book your tour now!