The trip will take 12 days: One full day of travel on each end, a full day in Quito, Ecuador's capital in the Andes, and ab 8-day tour of the islands.


Old Quito is known for its beautiful colonial architecture and its magnificent cathedrals, such as La Companina. Built by the Jesuits, this chuch was begun in 1605 and completed 163 years later. We will also visit the government palace and the Plaza del Independencia.


 

Following our tour of old Quito, we will travel about 45 minutes north of the city to spend an afternoon at the equator. The equator is marked by a large monument, inside of which is an ethnographic museum. The equator line itself is clearly marked on the ground and presents lots of interesting photographic possibilities.

Upon arriving in the islands, we will board a chartered yacht and cruise among the islands for a week, stopping at different visitor sites to observe the endemic plants and animals that have made the Galápagos a living laboratory of evolution. Each island has its own unique environment and set of fauna and flora, and it is the differences between that led Darwin to his theory of evolution by natural selection. The name "Galápagos" means giant tortoise and we will have the opportunity to observe several of the tortoise species in the wild and in the captive breeding program at the Charles Darwin Research station. We will observe the many species of Darwin's finches, endemic mockingbirds and the land and marine iguanas. There will also be ample opportunity for snorkeling, where we will swim with sea lions, sea turtles, and possibly even penguins. Geology will also be a key component of the trip.

ITINERARY:

Day 1: Rochester to Quito
     
 • Meet Tour Director and check into hotel

Day 2: Quito Landmarks
       •
Quito Guided Sightseeing Tour -- Independence Plaza, Gov't Palace, San Francisco Church, Equator

Day 3: Quito to Galapagos
      • Fly to Baltra Island
      • North Seymour -frigatebirds, blue-footed boobies, swallow-tailed gulls, marine iguanas, land iguanas, sea lions

Day 4: San Cristóbal
      • Kicker Rock, Isla Lobos
      • Sea lions, blue-footed boobies, site of Darwin's first landfall in Galápagos

Day 5: Eapñola
      • Gardner Bay
      • Punta Suarez
      • Blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, Darwin's finches, Hood mockingbirds, marine iguanas, sea lions
      • Snorkeling

Day 6: Santa Fé and Plaza Sur
      •Two different species of land iguana, giant cactus
      • Darwin's finches, sea lions, swallow-tailed gulls
      • Snorkeling

Day 7: Santa Cruz
      •Charles Darwin Research Station, giant tortoises, Galápagos mockingbirds, Darwin's finches
      •Samta Criuz higlands, twin craters
      •Town of Puerto Ayora

Day 8: Floreana
      • Punta Cormoran
      • Flamingoes, Darwin's finches, endemic plants
      • Post-Office Barrel
      • Snorkel at Devil's Crown

Day 9: Santa Cruz and return to Quito
      • Cerro Dragpn
      • Whale Bay

Day 10: Trip to Antisana Volcano and overnight flight back to Rochester

Day 11: Return to Rochester
     

Animals in the Galápagos have evolved in the absence of man and it is a very typical experience to walk up to exotic birds and reptiles that are completely unafraid. At the Charles Darwin Research Station we will find out about the on-going threats to the islands' ecology and the conservation attempts being made. There will also be ample opportunity for snorkeling with Galapagos sea-lions, beautiful fish, sea turtles, and penguins.


The Galápagos comprise a fairly simple ecosystem that can be easily understood in a week-long visit. It is also possible to see much of the geologic evidence for the formation of the islands and to appreciate the role of continental drift in shaping the physical and biological world. For the biology student, the trip is an opportunity to go back to the roots of biology - to observe living organisms in their natural environment, going about their lives. For the non-biologist it is an opportunity to experience the natural world in an intimate and personal way. The Galápagos is one of those special places on the earth where one can truly come into harmony with the natural world. It is also a place where the spectre of ecological disaster is real and tangible. The trip can be taken for RIT course credit. To find out more, follow the Course Description link below.

 

 




 

All Galapagos images and text copyright Dr. Robert H. Rothman

 for more info, contact Dr. Robert Rothman: rhrsbi@rit.edu