GALÁPAGOS ISLANDS CRUISE
A Galápagos cruise combined with an adventurous Andean Ecuador tour
and sidetrip to the Amazon jungle, all in one memory-packed ecotour adventure.
Imagine snorkeling in a clear blue sea with sea lions, giant marine turtles
and neon rainbows of fish of all shapes and sizes....
Imagine walking across a portion of the earth so new that the boiling
flowing forms of the basalt lava are so fresh the rock appears to still be
Imagine stepping around hundreds of seabirds and prehistoric-looking marine
iguanas too unafraid of humans to move out of your way....
Imagine following in the footsteps of Charles Darwin and experiencing first
hand some of the wonders of nature that inspired his famous theory....
These experiences and much more need not be imagined... They are yours to
live in an eight-day Galápagos tour aboard the yacht Cachalote
in May 1998. Check out the ITINERARY!
Imagine riding through the Andes mountains in the open air on top of a
rocking train car....
Imagine yourself in a native market haggling with sharp Otavalo Indian
traders for ponchos, blankets or sweaters woven of llama or alpaca wool....
Imagine spending the night in a 400-year-old hacienda, once headquarters
for a wealthy colonial family, now a hotel within sight of soaring volcanic
Imagine boating down a tributary to the Amazon to experience the jungle
flora and fauna from a ecologically sensitive hotel built right in the
These experiences and more are part of a 10-day Ecuadoran mainland trip
that precedes the 8-day Galápagos cruise. Check out the ITINERARY!
In May 1998, Dr. Richard Finch, of the Dept. of Earth Sciences, Tennessee
Technological University, will lead a special summer field excursion to the
Galápagos Islands and mainland Ecuador, South America. The trip will
last approximately 3 weeks. It will be a multicultural experience open to
adventurous travellers wanting to experience three of the world's premier
ecotourism destinations: the Galápagos Islands, Andean Ecuador, and the
Amazon Basin. This trip can be taken for pure pleasure, or for college credit.
Students from Tennessee Tech and other institutions can earn 4 hours course
credit for this excursion. Non-student participants do not need to be
affiliated with any university.
This trip will be an awesome experience: spectacular scenery, colorful
Andean people, fascinating history, Inca archeology, tropical flora and fauna
ranging from alpine to Amazon basin, good food, and some geology and geography
thrown in to boot!
The trip is scheduled as a 20-day excursion leaving the U.S. for Quito,
Ecuador on Saturday May 16, 1998, and returning to the U.S. on Thursday June 4.
The trip itinerary is shown at the end of this web
and ANDEAN ECUADOR TRAVEL ADVENTURE
TWO & A HALF WEEKS IN ECUADOR AND THE GALÁPAGOS FOR $2860!
The inscription fee for this trip will be approximately $2860 per person.
This trip fee covers all lodging, breakfast at the hotels on the mainland, van,
train and boat transportation in Ecuador, all park entry fees, round trip air
fare from Quito to the Galápagos Islands, a one-week cruise on a
chartered yacht, all meals while on the cruise, bilingual guide on the mainland
and bilingual national park naturalist-guide on the Galápagos cruise,
Ecuador entry/exit taxes. Not included in the trip fee: air fare US-Quito-US,
lunch and supper meals while on the Ecuadoran mainland, beverages, tips, or
souvenirs. Travellers are expected to tip the guides and yacht crew.
Students participating for class credit must pay tuition.
The Andean Ecuador and Galápagos Islands trip segments may be
purchased separately if you wish a shorter trip. The 10-day Andean Ecuador
segment, May 17-27, will be approximately $1380; the 8-day Galápagos
Islands cruise will be approximately $1560.
A word about our yacht, the Cachalote:
she is a steel hulled ketch-rigged motor/sailor built in California in 1971.
She is not a large vessel, being only 70 feet long, with a beam of 18 feet, but
she is a beauty. She has the graceful thoroughbred lines of a traditional
sailing ship (in comparison, many of the newer Galápagos tour boats look
like toast racks). The Cachalote, which translates "Sperm Whale", is
powered by a 280 h.p. diesel engine, but can move under sail, and the sails are
commonly deployed. Her cruising speed is 9 knots. She is well-provided with
radio communications, depth sounder, marine radar, etc. Her crew consists of
the captain, two sailors, and the cook. A park-authorized multilingual
naturalist guide is also aboard each cruise.
The Cachalote is cozy, carrying only 10 guests in 5 two-bunk cabins.
Passengers share bath facilities, with two heads (each with toilet, wash basin,
and fresh water shower) for the four aft cabins. While not a luxury ship, the
Cachalote more than makes up for any lack of un-necessary amenities by
providing an intimate setting for convivial groups. She also has a
maneuverability advantage over some of the large, deeper-draft cruise vessels.
HOW TO GET ON BOARD
A deposit/downpayment of $500 is required to reserve a place on this trip.
A second payment of $500 will be due on Jan. 15, 1998. The balance of the
trip fee will be due in two equal payments, on Mar. 1 and April 1.
NOTE: Although the deadline for the first payments has past, it is still
possible to sign on to the Andean Ecuador excursion, or on to an 8-day
Galápagos cruise on the yacht Sulidae with an itinerary almost identical
to that described on this web page. However, interested parties need to act
fast! [Note posted 17 Feb. 1998.]
For further information about the detailed itinerary, costs, reading
suggestions, or other information, contact:
Dr. Richard C. Finch
Box 5062 TTU
Cookeville TN 38505
Itinerary for Ecuador and the Galápagos:
May 16: Fly U.S. to Quito; lodging at the Orange Guest House.
May 17: Tour colonial Quito, designated by UNESCO as a "Cultural
Heritage of Mankind" site. Visit Plaza de la Independencia, Palacio Nacional,
San Francisco Monastery, the Virgin of Quito monument, and the Basílica.
Transportation by minibus, with bilingual guide.
May 18: Leave Quito, via the impressive Mitad del Mundo monument
marking the equator, en route to the Otavalo area. Afternoon hike at Laguna
Cuicocha. Lodging at Hostería Pinsaqui, an hacienda converted into a
hotel, near the town of Cotacachi.
May 19: Visit to the colorful Otavalo market, a great place to bargain
and haggle with Indian merchants for alpaca sweaters and other woolen goods.
Afternoon visit to Lago Mojanda. Lodging at Hacienda Guachala, near Cayambe.
May 20: Drive south and east from Cayambe, crossing the cordillera,
passing through the towns of Papallacta and Baeza, to descend into the Amazon
Basin to Mishualli on the Río Napo (a major tributary to the Amazon).
Arrive around 4 PM at Cabañas Aliniahui, a comfortable but rustic
May 21: See some of the Amazon basin jungle flora and fauna: guided
nature trip by canoe, including a visit to a biological station. Lodging at
May 22: Travel to Baños, via the Amazon basin route through
Puyo, if the road is open. This road is currently under repairs, and if it is
not open at the time of this trip, we will return via Papallacta and then head
south to Baños (a long day's drive, this route). Good scenery by
either route. Lodging at Isla de Baños.
May 23: Day in and around Baños, a resort town famous for its
thermal baths. You can "take the waters," hike some of the spectacular
mountain trails above and below the town, or just "hang out."
Leave for Riobamba in the late afternoon; lodging at the Hotel Chimborazo.
May 24: Morning train ride through beautiful Andean scenery from
Riobamba through Alausí, down the spectacular "Devil's Nose"
switchbacks, to Huigra. Bold riders can ride al fresco on top of the train cars!
Met by our bus and driver in Huigra, then drive on to Ingapirca to see the
Inca ruins there. Lodging at Posada Ingapirca.
May 25: Drive north toward Quito, through the Andean highland, passing
through Riobamba again, then Ambato, and Latacunga to reach the 400 year old
Hacienda La Ciénega, where we will stay the night.
Visit to a native market en route to Hacienda La Ciénega.
May 26: Morning visit to Cotopaxi National Park to gawk in astonishment
at the incredible snow-capped cone of Volcán
Cotopaxi, and to see the specialized flora and fauna of the extreme high
Andean environment known as the páramo.
On to Quito in the late afternoon. Lodging at the Orange Guest House again.
May 27: Fly from Quito to the Galápagos Islands, to begin an
8-day cruise of the islands, led by Galápagos Islands National Park
approved naturalist. Land on Baltra Island, board the yacht Cachalote,
a 70-foot ketch-rigged motor/sailer. Visit Turtle Cove.
May 28: Easy climb to the peak of Bartolomé Island for one of
the most dramatic scenic vistas in the islands; next,
snorkeling around Pinnacle Rock. Later, hike across part of the 100-year old
Sullivan Bay pahoehoe lava flow; more snorkeling at
May 29: Sail around Santiago to visit historic James Bay; landing at
Rábida Island on a red sand beach by a lagoon inhabited by sea lions,
flamingos, and brown pelicans. We'll do some snorkeling today, too.
May 30: On Santa Cruz Island, visit the Darwin Research Station to
see the tortoise breeding program and other conservation and research efforts;
bus up to the highlands to become acquainted with the flora and fauna of a
totally different island environment.
May 31: Visit Floreana Island: flamingo lagoon, sting-ray beach, and
snorkeling around the dramatic "Devil's Crown", where we might see hammerhead
June 1: Swimming and snorkeling with sea lions at Gardner Bay.
Stroll along the cliffs at Punta Suárez, through the rookeries of
thousands of sea birds: blue-footed boobies, masked boobies, swallow-tail
gulls, waved albatrosses, frigatebirds, and many others, plus sea lions and
June 2: Visit Isla Santa Fé: a hike through a forest of
opuntia cactus that have evolved into "trees" with trunks, perhaps as
protection from being eaten by the giant tortoises; Galápagos doves
and finches seen here, too. More snorkeling at this stop, too. Afternoon
visit at Islas Plazas, where huge land iguanas can be seen basking under cacti;
sea lions, marine iguanas and plenty of sea birds, also. And a final
snorkeling opportunity to see more underwater marvels.
June 3: On North Seymour Island, a final walk through a sea bird
nesting site, with frigate birds, boobies and others. Then back to Baltra to
end the cruise and catch the afternoon flight to Quito. Final night in Orange
June 4: Fly back to the U.S. from Quito. End of excursion, but the
beginning of many many wonderful memories.
MAKE YOUR RESERVATIONS NOW!
PARTICIPATION IS LIMITED TO 10!
Images on this webpage by Janie and Ric Finch, @copyrighted.