Galapagos Trip

Jan. 10-19, 2020

Led by Professor Marcus Key, Joseph Priestley Professor of Natural Philosophy and Professor Ben Edwards, Walter E. Beach Chair in Sustainability Studies.

Dear alumni, parents, and friends of Dickinson College,

I invite you to join Dickinson professors Marcus Key and Ben Edwards for an extraordinary adventure to a “living laboratory of evolution,” the Galapagos Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage site. So rare are the Islands’ species that virtually all of their reptiles, and half of their plant and bird species, are not found anywhere else in the world. Charles Darwin’s exploration of the region in 1835—and the strange life forms he encountered there—sparked his theory of evolution. His resulting thesis, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, altered the course of biological science.

You will be captivated by the lunar-like landscapes, mist-covered volcanic peaks, green and red sand beaches, and forests of prickly pear and cactus that grow taller than people. The marine environment of the Galapagos Islands contains a wide variety of habitats from coral reefs to mangrove lagoons. An uncommon mix of cold and warm-water marine life, dolphins, fur seals, hammerhead sharks, and whales share the same environment.

Untouched by humans until the modern era, animals of the Galapagos never learned to fear humans. Where else can you swim with a penguin on the equator? Snorkel with a sea lion in a secluded bay? Or come close to a bird who won’t fly away? See colonies of sea birds; comical blue-footed boobies performing a courtship dance; puffed, crimson-throated frigate birds showing off for their mates; waved albatrosses by the hundreds; and the world’s pinkest flamingos.

Staffed by an experienced captain and friendly crew, our spacious, 16-cabin motor yacht M/V Evolution provides both generous comfort and safety in remote areas. The onboard naturalist team is rated at the highest level (Level 3) by Galapagos National Park. We hope you will join Dickinson alumni and Professors Key and Edwards for this unforgettable learning adventure to the spectacular “Enchanted Isles.” 


Liz Glynn Toth ’06
Director of Alumni Relations

P.S. With just 14 cabins available for alumni and friends, I suggest that you reserve your cabin before this trip is waitlisted. Call 800-856-8951 or email today. 

For questions and reservations: 800-856-8951 • 

Galapagos map


Friday, January 10, 2020
Depart home / Arrive Guayaquil, Ecuador

Fly to Guayaquil, Ecuador, and transfer to our hotel. Overnight at the 5-star Hotel Oro Verde.

Saturday, January 11
Guayaquil / Fly to San Cristobal / Embarkation / Playa Ochoa / Kicker Rock

Fly together to the island of San Cristobal, in the Galapagos, and embark the Evolution. Stroll along the beach at Playa Ochoa, where a nearby tidal lagoon plays host to flamingos, finches, and Chatham mockingbirds. At sunset, we cruise out to Kicker Rock, which rises 500 feet straight up and has the shape of a sleeping lion. Overnight aboard the Evolution for seven nights. (B,L,D)

Sunday, January 12
South Plaza Island

South Plaza is one of the smallest islands in the archipelago that allows visitors. We are likely to be welcomed by a noisy sea lion family! Look for yellow land iguanas on a walk to a grove of prickly-pear cactus. For a more relaxing excursion, enjoy a Zodiac ride with your naturalist guide, watching for swallow-tailed gulls, red-billed tropicbirds, and blue-footed boobies. Since there is no true trail on the Mosquera Islet, you are able to stroll at your leisure, but be sure to avoid disturbing the little vegetation that does exist as well as to watch for lava gull nests. (B,L,D)

Monday, January 13
Sombrero Chino Island / Santiago Island: Puerto Egas

Tiny Sombrero Chino Island features a primeval landscape of volcanic rubble and lava tubes. The “land” is made of a few adjacent craters and fragile pahoehoe lava flows. Vegetation is just starting to take hold, including colorful carpetweed plants. Enjoy a Zodiac ride and a swim before lunch. These waters are a great area to spot Galapagos penguins. Once the site of a salt mine in the 1960s, the wide trails of Santiago Island are perfect for finding fur seals, finches, and even a natural bridge. Search the tide pools of Puerto Egas for sea life. During low tide, we may see marine iguanas feeding on algae. Our naturalists will point out the birdlife, including great blue herons, lava herons, oystercatchers, and yellow-crowned night herons. (B,L,D)

Tuesday, January 14
Genovesa Island

Genovesa is often referred to as “Bird Island” for the vast numbers of pelagic seabirds that come here to nest. While Genovesa harbors one of the Galapagos’ largest and most diverse bird populations, there are no land reptiles — with the exception of some very small marine iguanas. This is due to the direction of the ocean currents, which could not carry the terrestrial animals here. Climb Prince Philip’s Steps to an area with colonies of red-footed boobies. Watch for short-eared owls that feed on the petrels that fly about. Explore Darwin Bay, home to the rare lava gull. While anchored at Genovesa, enjoy an opportunity to swim, kayak, and snorkel in the calm caldera of this partially-eroded volcano. (B,L,D)

Wednesday, January 15
North Seymour Island / Santa Fe Island

North Seymour is the nesting site for a large population of magnificent frigatebirds and the only place where we can always find males showing their red pouches to attract females. In the open areas watch for nesting blue-footed boobies, which lay their eggs on the open ground and shade them from the sun with their feet and bodies. Hike to a scenic lagoon, where we may observe Galapagos hawks, mockingbirds, and a variety of Darwin’s finches. Kayak and snorkel from the beach. (B,L,D)

Thursday, January 16
Floreana Island

Begin our morning in historic Post Office Bay, where a barrel contains mail that you are encouraged to collect and deliver to people who live close to your home. Swim and kayak in the bay before a walk along the olivine beaches of Punta Cormorant, where we may find exquisite pink flamingos, pintails, stilts, and other wading birds. Enjoy superb snorkeling at Devil’s Crown, where sea water has filled the sunken cone of an extinct volcano. (B,L,D)

Friday, January 17
Santa Cruz Island

Begin our day in the forested highlands looking for the islands’ famed giant tortoises. Spend the morning with these gentle giants, with ample time to photograph the tortoises in their verdant habitat. Before a picnic lunch, visit a pair of huge sinkholes where we may spot vermillion flycatchers. Stop for a quick snack featuring chocolate bread. Call on a family-run farm before learning about the work being done to study and preserve wildlife at Fausto Llerena Tortoise Breeding Center at the Darwin Research Center. (B,L,D)

Saturday, January 18
Black Turtle Cove / Disembarkation / Fly to Guayaquil OR Lima, Peru

Enjoy a Zodiac ride through Black Turtle Cove. The mangrove swamps are the perfect place to spot reef sharks, sea turtles, and rays. We fly together back to Guayaquil and travelers who are not on the post-trip extension will transfer to our hotel. The balance of their day is at leisure. Travelers who are continuing on the post-trip extension will instead board their flight to Lima, Peru. Overnight at the 5-star Hotel Oro Verde (for travelers who are not on the extension). (B)

Sunday, January 19
Fly home 

Travelers who are not continuing on the post-trip extension transfer to the Guayaquil airport in time for their homeward flights. (B)

Alumni Trip

Post-Trip Machu Picchu & Cusco Extension January 18-25, 2020 (8 days), with expert local guide

Saturday, January 18, 2020: Guayaquil | Fly to Lima, Peru Travelers on the post-trip extension fly from Guayaquil to Lima where we will be met and transferred to our hotel. The balance of the day is at leisure. Overnight at the Costa del Sol Wyndham. (B)

Sunday, January 19: Lima | Cusco | Chinchero | Urubamba Valley
This morning we fly to Cusco, the heart of the ancient Inca Empire, situated at an elevation of 11,150 feet. Drive down into the historic Urubamba Valley, stopping first in Chinchero to browse and shop for Andean handicrafts and alpaca sweaters. Also visit the Urubamba Market. Overnight at the 5-star Aranwa Hotel. (B,L,D)

Monday, January 20: Machu Picchu
Board the train to Machu Picchu, situated at an elevation of 7,972 feet, where we spend the afternoon exploring the ruins with our guide. Overnight at the 5-star Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel for two nights. (B,L,D)

Tuesday, January 21: Machu Picchu
Today is yours to enjoy a private Machu Picchu tour or simply relax. You may wake up very early and hike to the Sun Gate, or enjoy early morning birding in the abundant gardens surrounding our hotel. The grounds of the hotel are home to exquisite birds, including 16 species of hummingbirds and the Andean cock-ofthe-rock, the national bird of Peru. This afternoon, treat yourself to the spa or visit the extensive orchid garden, currently considered the biggest in-habitat garden on the planet. This evening, enjoy a lecture on the history and mysticism surrounding Machu Picchu’s ruins, along with a discussion of Inca culture. (B,L,D)

Wednesday, January 22: Ollantaytambo | Sacsayhuamán | Cusco
Catch the morning train back to the Urubamba Valley. Explore the mighty Inca site of Ollantaytambo, a fortified complex that was built to protect the Valley. After a Paso Fino horse show at Wayra Ranch, continue across the valley toward Cusco. We stop along the way at Sacsayhuamán, a huge ancient fortress of massive stones that zigzag across the mountainside. Overnight at the 5-star Aranwa Hotel for two nights. (B,L,D)

Thursday, January 23: Cusco walking tour | PM at leisure | Farewell Dinner
Stroll the streets of Cusco’s historic center, visiting the Koricancha Sun Temple of the Inca, over which the Spanish built the Convent of Santo Domingo; Santa Catalina Convent; and the Cathedral. After lunch, the afternoon is free to explore on your own before we gather for a farewell dinner featuring Andean fare. (B,L,D)

Friday & Saturday, January 24 & 25: Cusco: AM at leisure | Fly to Lima | Fly Home
After a morning at leisure and a group lunch in Cusco, transfer to the airport for our return flight to Lima. Upon arrival, we transfer to the Costa del Sol Wyndham where we have reserved day rooms. Enjoy dinner and the evening at leisure. Late this evening you will return to the airport in time for your homeward flights, arriving the next day (January 25). (January 24th: B,L)

Dickinson College Faculty Leaders

Ben Edwards is a professor of Earth Sciences who has taught courses on minerals, rocks, soils, environmental disasters, Arctic climate change, and volcanoes at Dickinson since arriving in Carlisle in 2002. His main research focus is interactions between volcanoes and glaciers, and he has traveled across the globe to study these interactions, including trips to Iceland, Russia, Alaska, British Columbia, Peru, and Chile. Ben has a B.A. in geology from Carleton College, an MSc. from the University of Wyoming, and a Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia. While this will be Ben’s first trip to the fabled Galapagos Islands, he has previously led trips to showcase volcanic features and natural history at two other volcanic hotspots, Hawaii and Iceland. In 2019 he is leading a Dickinson Alumni Global Adventure focused on the volcanoes of southern Italy. He is an expert on basaltic volcanism and lava-water interactions, both of which are key components in the formation of the Galapagos oceanic islands.

Marcus Key is a professor of Earth Sciences who has taught courses on evolution, climate change, and the natural history of the Galapagos at Dickinson since 1989. His research uses bryozoans, a group of marine invertebrate animals, to understand evolution, climate change, and the formation of limestone. He has traveled across the globe to study these processes, including trips to Ecuador, Chile, Panama, Iceland, Europe,  the Middle East, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. Marcus has published many peer-reviewed scientific articles in paleontology, and he has previously visited the Galapagos twice, most recently to co-lead a trip entitled “In the Footsteps of Darwin.” He is looking forward to returning to the Enchanted Islands to snorkel among the amazing sea life along the red, black, and white sand beaches. Marcus has a B.S. in geological sciences from the University of Texas and a Ph.D. from Yale University in Geology and Geophysics.

Evolution Ship


Other companies have ships carrying 48-100 guests while some sail on cramped, uncomfortable 16-passenger boats. Only the Evolution is uniquely sized to offer just 32 guests an opportunity for intimate exploration of the islands without sacrificing gracious outdoor spaces. In fact, with an open-air bar, hot tub, indoor and outdoor dining areas as well as two sun decks, the Evolution offers guests more open-air public space than any boat in her class!


Ranging from 143 to 263 square feet, the oversized cabins aboard the Evolution are the largest on average of any ship in the islands.

Evolution room images


Our Galapagos experience includes an astounding list of highlights that combine to make this a once-in-alifetime experience! Island excursions like snorkeling, kayaking and picnicking in the lush highlands blend with time onboard spent dancing to the tunes of a local band and savoring snacks and exotic juices after every excursion.


Your guides not only grew up in the islands but they are rated at the highest level (Level 3) by Galapagos National Park. You gain insight only a local can offer and benefit from their 10+ years of field experience.


The Galapagos is a canvas splashed with a variety of brilliant hues. It is a visual feast of chocolate chip sea stars, prehistoric marine iguanas, 500-pound tortoises with shell shapes that vary from island to island, flamboyant Sally Lightfoot crabs, and the jewel-hued feet of blue-footed and red-footed boobies. This is an archipelago boasting 77 endemic species—animals that are found only here.


So intensely protected is the Galapagos National Park and Marine Reserve that visitors are prohibited from visiting 97% of the islands without the guidance of a licensed naturalist. Beyond just “visiting” the islands, we want you to reach a deeper understanding. That’s why we’ve selected guides who are natives of the islands, licensed at the highest level (Level 3) by the park, and have decades of experience.

Your Private Retreat Onboard

The classically-styled Evolution’s interior is fully air-conditioned, and cabins on all three decks offer ample storage space, a writing desk, bedside tables, and private facilities. The Evolution’s spacious cabins—ranging from approximately 143 to 263 square feet—are the largest cabins on average in the Galapagos and the perfect haven for an afternoon siesta between our frequent excursions.

Friendly Ambiance and Spacious Public Areas

While the Evolution may carry just 32 guests, she is generous in size with a host of amenities. From relaxing on the sun deck to reading in the lounge, you’re sure to relish the friendly ambiance. Enjoy briefings and lectures by your naturalists and faculty leaders in our comfortable lounge. Or spend time with a snack and your fellow passengers at the canopied bar, a superb place for watching the sun set over the Pacific. After excursions, relax in the hot tub or find a cushy deck chair while enjoying more outside space than on any other yacht of this class.

Galapagos images


Per Person, Double occuPancy (9 nights)

*Suite A 1 ..........................................................$10,750
Suites A 2 & 3 ...................................................$10,400
*Cabins C 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8 & 9 .............................$9,450
Cabins C 4 & 5 ...................................................$9,000
Cabins D 1, 2, 3 & 4 ..........................................$9,000

*Indicates cabins that can accommodate a triple booking. The third occupant pays the per person, double occupancy rate. Children sharing with an adult (ages 7 to 11) in a double cabin pay the per person rates above, less $500 SINGLE OCCUPANCY LIMITED AVAILABILITY

Cabins C 4 & 5 .................................................$13,075
Cabins D 1, 2, 3 & 4 ........................................$12,400 

See “Air Arrangements” section regarding the additional costs of internal flights.


Per Person (6 nights)

Double Occupancy ..................................................$3,998
Single Occupancy (limited availability) ....................$4,998

See “Air Arrangements” section regarding the additional costs of internal flights.

Reserve your cabin by March 15, 2019 and save $250 per person

Main Tour Prices Include:

  • Leadership of Dickinson Professors Marcus Key and Ben Edwards plus an Expedition Leader and expert local naturalist guides
  • Full educational program, including lectures on history, ecology, marine life,  field interpretation, and more
  • 7 nights’ accommodations aboard the classically-styled ship the Evolution and 2 nights at the 5-star Hotel Oro Verde in Guayaquil
  • All meals as per itinerary (and plenty of snacks while onboard) with bottled water or soft drinks, plus coffee, tea, house wine or local beer with dinners; including welcome and farewell dinners
  • Use of kayaks and snorkeling equipment
  • All sightseeing and excursions as per itinerary, with transportation by private, air-conditioned motor coach, including bottled water
  • Individual arrival and departure airport transfers on group travel days
  • Gratuities to drivers, waiters (for included meals), and porters
  • Baggage handling at hotels and aboard ship
  • Comprehensive pre-departure information, including a suggested reading guide, travel guide, and packing list
  • VAT, local taxes, and service charges

Optional Machu Picchu and Cusco Extension Prices Include:

  • 6 nights in luxurious and unique accommodations, plus one day room
  • All meals: 6 breakfasts and lunches, 5 dinners; meals include bottled water or soft drinks, plus coffee, tea; dinners served with house wine or local beer
  • All excursions as per itinerary
  • Expert local guide
  • Group airport transfers
  • Bottled water on transfers and excursions
  • Gratuities to porters and waiters (for included meals)
  • Comprehensive pre-departure information 

Main Tour Prices Do Not Include:

Airfare from/to home or in-program group flights (Guayaquil/Galapagos | Galapagos/Guayaquil) to be invoiced separately; passport and visa fees; trip cancellation and baggage insurance; gratuities to crew, guides, and Expedition Leader (guidelines to be provided); items of a personal nature; laundry service; meals not listed as included; excess baggage charges; medical expenses; departure taxes; Galapagos National Park Tax, Ingala Card and Igtoa fee (estimated at $120 per person, subject to change); alcoholic or other beverages except as noted above; taxi, telephone, and fax charges; optional excursions or deviations from scheduled tour and other items not listed as included.

Optional Extension Prices Do Not Include:

Airfare to home or in-program group flights (Guayaquil/Lima | Lima/Cusco | Cusco/Lima) to be invoiced separately; Park Tax (estimated at $195 per person, subject to change); trip cancellation and baggage insurance; gratuities to the guide and driver; passports, bar tab, and other personal items; departure taxes; and other items not listed as included.

Passenger Deposits:

A deposit of $600 per person is necessary to reserve your place on the main tour, with an additional $150 deposit per person for the extension. Deposits are payable by MasterCard, Visa, American Express or check payable to: “Eos Passenger Account – DC Galapagos1/20.” Final payment is due 120 days prior to departure and is payable by check only.

Passenger Cancellation Penalties:

All requests by passengers for cancellations must be received in writing by Dickinson Alumni Global Adventures. Cancellations received 121 days prior to departure are fully refunded less an administrative fee of $300 per person. Cancellations received between 120 and 91 days prior to departure are subject to a fee equal to 50% of the tour cost. Cancellations received 90 days or less prior to departure are subject to a fee of 100% of the tour cost.

Air Arrangements:

Airfare from/to home is not included. Group flights for the main tour (Guayaquil/ Galapagos | Galapagos/Guayaquil) will be booked for you at an additional cost to you of approximately $665 per person. Group flights on the optional extension (Guayaquil/Lima | Lima/Cusco | Cusco/Lima) will be booked for you at an additional cost to you of approximately $809 per person. The total (subject to change) will be added to your final payment invoice. If you also need assistance with booking air tickets from/ to your home city, please contact our office (a $50 ticketing fee applies). Once you have received your final payment invoice, you should book your flights from/to home. If you are considering booking non-refundable airline tickets before this time, please contact our office first. We do not accept any liability for cancellation penalties related to domestic or international airline tickets. For this and other reasons, participants are strongly encouraged to purchase trip cancellation insurance. An application will be sent with confirmation of receipt of your deposit.

Note: Rates are based on tariffs and exchange rates in effect at the time of printing and are subject to change prior to departure. Substantial changes in tariffs, exchange rates, the price of fuel, services and labor may increase the cost of arrangements significantly, and we reserve the right to alter our prices. Prices, itineraries, and leaders are subject to change. Prices quoted are based on group participation and no refunds will be made for any part of the program in which you choose not to participate. It is understood that refunds cannot be made to passengers who do not complete the tour for whatever reason. Due to space limitations, this is abbreviated information. Complete terms and conditions will be sent upon confirmation or upon request, and can be viewed online.