Origins Project Presents

Galapagos Adventure

January 7th – 15th, 2024

Learn More & Reserve Your

Space For Galapagos 2024

Welcome to Ecuador
& the Galapagos Islands!

You will be sharing this Origins Project Galapagos Experience with only 35 other enthusiastic, curious, and adventurous travelers such as yourself. Don’t miss this rare opportunity.

Join world renowned primatologist Frans de Waal; Pulitzer Prizewinning author Elizabeth Kolbert; microbiologist and Darwin expert John Dahl, and Origins Project President, distinguished physicist and author, Lawrence Krauss on a 9-day adventure in Ecuador. Highlights include two significant global treasures – Quito’s historic district and the Galapagos Islands – each listed as keystone UNESCO World Heritage Areas.  Our trip begins with a peek into the rich history of Quito, baroque art and contemporary culture, and a visit to the Equator monument. Then we will fly to San Cristobal Island for an introduction to the unique features, history, and conservation of the Galapagos Islands. We will spend five enlightening days cruising, hiking, kayaking and snorkeling in the islands, and finish our journey with a tour of research and wildlife rehabilitation sites, including the Charles Darwin Research Centre, on Santa Cruz Island.  In addition to guest lectures from Origins speakers, experienced local guides and naturalists will provide daily briefings and personalized tours.

Meet Your Speakers

Elizabeth Kolbert

Frans de Waal

John Dahl

Lawrence Krauss

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Space For Galapagos 2024

Travel Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival in Quito | January 7th

Quito was founded on Inca ruins in the16th century and is the modern capital of Ecuador. It was the first city ever to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site (1978) based on its well-preserved historic center, and pure examples of art and architecture known as the ‘Baroque school of Quito’, which is a fusion of Spanish, Italian, Moorish, Flemish and indigenous styles. Quito is the second tallest capital in the world at 2850m, located on the slopes of the Pichincha volcano, and surrounded by spectacular mountain views.

Our journey together begins here. Arrive anytime today and enjoy a rest and a stroll after you check in to your beautiful hotel in the heart of the historic district, then get acquainted with guest speakers and fellow travelers at The Origins Project Welcome Reception this evening.

Day 2

Quito and Surrounds | January 8th

Wake up to one of the world’s most beautiful and fascinating capital cities and join your new friends for breakfast and an educational and picturesque walking tour through the historic district, including the grand plaza of San Francisco Church, the ornate La Compañía, culture centers and museums. This afternoon we will stand astride the equator at the Middle of the World Monument, enjoy views of Quito from the surrounding mountainside, and taste some of the best chocolate the world has to offer. Day Two ends with a group welcome dinner featuring a showcase of Ecuador’s traditional dishes at the historic and gourmet restaurant, Casa Manuella.

Day 3

Introduction to San Cristobal Island, Galapagos | January 9th

This morning we fly from Quito to the world’s first UNESCO heritage site: The Galapagos Islands! Welcome to the administrative and political capital of the Galapagos Islands, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, and the site where Charles Darwin first landed on his visit to the islands in 1835. We will spend the early afternoon getting an overview of the natural and cultural history of the islands at the Interpretation Center, and go for an easy hike up to Frigatebird Hill (Cerro Tijeretas). Later in the day, we will learn more about the variety of cooperative research efforts at the Galapagos Science Center and begin our series of fascinating lectures by Origins guest speakers.

Day 4

Birds and welcome aboard, San Cristobal Island, Galapagos | January 10th

Before boarding the cruise ship today, there will be an opportunity to visit a local breeding laboratory where we will meet Galapagos giant tortoises, and learn about their unique characteristics, their near collapse and the story of their recovery. 


Welcome aboard the Coral I! Settle in and get to know the ship and its wonderful crew. Get ready for some delicious food, stunning scenery, unique photo ops, fun facts and great company.

Day 5

Kicker Rock, Sorcerer’s Hill and Punta Pit on San Cristobal Island | January 11th

We start the day with a circumnavigation of Kicker Rock. This ancient and eroded volcanic tuff lava is formed by two rocks rising above water level to approximately 148 m. Its local name, Leon Dormido, comes from its resemblance to a sleeping lion. This morning’s shore activity is a sandy beach landing and optional easy hike inland to get a closer look at the stunning cliffs of Cerro Brujo (Sorcerer’s Hill). We can enjoy simply sharing the beach with sea lions, snorkeling from shore or walk to a hidden lagoon where we might spot black-necked stilts, ruddy turnstones, whimbrels and white-cheeked pintails. Difficulty level: Easy Type of terrain: Sandy Duration: 1-hour walk / 1-hour snorkeling


In the afternoon, we will visit Punta Pit where sea lions will greet us as we land on the beach and prepare for our climb to a high point on the steep eroded tuff cone. This is the only place in the islands where we will enjoy the chance to see all three of the booby species in the same place. The red-foots will be perched on the Cordia lutea and small trees, the Nazcaís on the ground near the cliff edge while the blue-foots will be a little further inland. Frigatebirds will be all around and the views are breathtaking. Difficulty level: Difficult. Type of terrain: Rocky. Duration: 2½-hour walk or 40-minutes snorkeling or kayaking.

Day 6

Espagnola Island | January 12th

Our day starts with Punta Suarez – a naturalist’s paradise. A mess of marine iguanas and sea lions greet us at the landing site. On our walk from there, we will encounter boobies, endemic lizards, gulls and even a dramatic blow hole. We may even sight an endemic waved albatross departing late in their breeding season.
Difficulty level: Difficult. Type of terrain: Rocky ground. Duration: 2 ½-hours walk.


Gardner Bay is one of the most stunning beaches in all of Galapagos. The long, white, sandy beach, lapped by turquoise waters is home to a colony of Galapagos sea lions, indifferent to the visitors that walk amongst them. The endemic and innately curious Hood mockingbirds will however be eager to inspect us. Darwin’s finches and the reclusive warbler finch can also be found here. We have the option of snorkeling from the beach here, in the shallows of the bay. Difficulty level: Easy. Type of terrain: Sandy. Duration: 1-hour walk / 1-hour snorkel.

Day 7

Floreana Island | January 13th

The olivine sands of Punta Cormorant are a very rare delight. The first excursion of our day is a wet landing on this green sand beach. We will hike from the black mangrove beds to a brackish lagoon, which usually holds one of the largest flamingo populations in the Galapagos. This island features some endemic plants such as Scalesia villosa, white and black mangrove, and holy stick. The trail continues to a beautiful white coral-sand beach, one of the most important nesting sites of Green Pacific Sea Turtles. From the shore, watch for sting rays in the shallows here but don’t walk out to find them! We may also spot sea turtles gliding, blue-footed boobies plunging into the water, and small reef sharks cruising the shoreline in the search of food. This coral-sand beach marks the end of our trail, and we head back to the olivine beach where we started, to swim or snorkel amongst sea turtles, reef fish, sea lions and, on a good day, white-tipped reef sharks. A small colony of penguins resides on Floreana and can sometimes be seen here. Difficulty level: Easy. Type of terrain: Sandy & flat. Duration: 1-hour walk / 1-hour snorkel.


In the afternoon, to the post office! In 1793 Captain James Colnett installed a wooden barrel on the north side of Floreana Island, which served as an informal post office for sailors passing through. Today, visitors continue the tradition by placing unstamped postcards inside the barrel, hoping that some other traveler, heading that direction, will deliver it without charge. These letters may take a long time to arrive at their destination, but there have been speedy exceptions. We may also encounter Darwin’s finches, Yellow Warbler and Lava Lizards. Great snorkeling opportunities with Green Pacific Sea Turtles. As well, the island is best known for its endemic vegetation: Scalesia villosa, Lecocarpus Pinnatifidus, and the Galapagos Milkwort. Snorkelers can swim off the main beach among playful sea lions.
Difficulty level: Easy. Type of terrain: Sandy. Duration: 30-minutes walk / 1-hour snorkel.

Day 8

Santa Cruz Island | January 14th

Today we arrive at Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz and disembark, but our adventure is not over yet! There will be much to see along our tour of the highlands where we will pass through a variety of ecosystems along the road from coastal through the agricultural zone and up to dense humid forests. We will visit a wildlife reserve where giant tortoises have settled into their natural habitat. High areas of Santa Cruz also offer splendid bird watching opportunities. We may see tree and ground finches, vermilion flycatchers, paint-billed crakes, yellow warblers, and cattle egrets (usually standing on a tortoise’s shell). Difficulty level: easy. Type of terrain: flat & muddy (depending on season). Duration: 45-minute drive / 1 ½-hour walk


In the afternoon we will visit the Darwin Research Centre and enjoy some free time to explore the town and surroundings. In the evening we gather one last time in this incredible destination to celebrate a memorable journey, share stories and photos and contact information, savour the company of new friends, and bounce around ideas for future trips together.

Day 9

Departures  | January 15th

After breakfast, we have time to enjoy the vibrant fish market and other local attractions of Puerto Ayora, such as art galleries, the Centre for Renewable Energy, or a stroll through the peaceful setting at Lagunas de las Ninfas, before we transfer to the airport on Baltra Island and fly back to mainland Ecuador for connections with onward flights, from either Guayaquil or Quito. 

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Space For Galapagos 2024

Your Accommodations

Your Expedition Yacht

January 10 – 14

The Coral I is a gorgeous, comfortable, expedition yacht offering charming social areas distributed on three decks, with both outdoor and interior spaces allowing passengers to enjoy an intimate expedition experience in their own way. With a capacity for 36 guests, the vessel offers open deck areas with a Jacuzzi to make the best of relaxing time while cruising the islands. The interiors are thoughtfully designed with cozy ambiance. The restaurant serves delicious Ecuadorian and international cuisine and offers a BBQ dinner on the open-air Moon Deck.

The Coral I offers three classes of cabins: eight junior suites (12 m2 with two picture windows, located on the upper decks), eight standard plus cabins (12 m2 with two port holes, located on the lower deck), and two standard cabins (7 m2 with two port holes, located forward on the lower deck).

Your Land Accommodations

January 7-8

Welcome to Casa Gangotena where you will experience an authentic taste of Ecuadorian warmth and hospitality in the unique and intimate setting of this boutique hotel styled in neoclassical architecture and offering world-class guest services. Casa Gangotena is not only a hotel in the heart of Quito’s Old Town, but a place to experience the city in your own way, with spaces to meet, read, dream and contemplate the astonishing surroundings.

January 9

The Golden Bay Galapagos brings the magic and the singularity of the Galapagos Archipelago to your door. This ecological boutique hotel offers top quality hotel and restaurant services. Golden Bay Galapagos is located beachfront in a privileged location with a spectacular view of the bay that surrounds Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. Located less than a five-minute walk from the city center and its tourist pier, and less than ten minutes from the airport. One of the many attractions of the hotel is its direct access to Playa de Oro (Golden Beach), a beach frequented by sealions, endemic iguanas, and birds such as the blue-footed booby and the frigatebird.

January 15

Ikala Galapagos Hotel is ideally located in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island, close to everything while tucked away in a quiet and shaded setting surrounded by beautiful gardens. Modern and comfortable rooms are stylishly designed with environmental sustainability in mind. This will be a perfect spot to cherish final moments of your tour. Refresh in the beautiful swimming pool, relax in surrounding gardens, explore town with a free guest bicycle, dine with an ocean view, and more.

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Space For Galapagos 2024


  • Locally certified English-speaking guides in Quito and in the Galapagos Islands
  • Two nights accommodation at Casa Gangotena in Quito, including breakfasts
  • City tour of historical Quito, transportation and guided tour of the Equator Monument
  • All group transfers in Quito and Galapagos Islands
  • Return airfare Quito (or Guayaquil) – Galapagos Islands
  • One piece of checked luggage
  • Welcome reception in Quito on Day 1
  • Welcome dinner in Quito on Day 2 at Casa Manuela Restaurant
  • Welcome dinner in Quito on Day 2
  • One night accomodation at Golden Bay Galapagos in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristobal Island, including breakfast
  • Two half-day tours with English speaking naturalist guide on San Cristobal Island
  • 5 days / 4 nights all-inclusive Expedition Cruise on MV Coral I Yacht (private exclusive charter) Start: San Cristobal 10jan24 // End: Baltra: 14jan24
    • Transfers and baggage handling services
    • Cabins with air-conditioning & private facilities
    • All meals, welcome and farewell cocktails, 24-hour coffee station
    • Two daily excursions guided by park-certified multilingual naturalist guides
    • Snorkeling equipment and opportunities
    • Access to observation decks
    • Informative briefings by expedition guides onboard
    • Lectures by Origins guest speakers
    • Fuel surcharges
  • One night accommodation at Hotel Fiesta in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island, including breakfast
  • Farewell dinner on Santa Cruz Island
  • Tax receipt for your charitable contribution to The Origins Project Foundation


  • Travel expenses to/from Quito
  • Entry and exit taxes for land or airtravel to Ecuador (check to see if these are included in the price of your international airfare)
  • Tourist transit card (each traveler pays this individually at check in for flight from Quito to Guayaquil ~ USD20)
  • Entry fee for Galapagos National Park (each traveler pays this individually on arrival in Galapagos ~ USD100)
  • Tips & gratuities (Suggested for Galapagos cruise portion of the trip: $20 for crew and $10 for guides, per passenger per day)
  • Travel insurance and health insurance
  • Alcoholic beverages and sodas other than reception in Quito and welcome/farewell receptions on the ship. 
  • Costs of optional wetsuit rental and/or kayaking excursions while aboard Coral I

Learn More & Reserve Your

Space For Galapagos 2024

Need More Information?

If you’d like to talk with one of our Origins Travel Experts before your reserve your spot, please reach out to us with the form below.

Elizabeth Kolbert

Elizabeth Kolbert has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1999. Prior to that, she was a reporter for The New York Times. Her books include Field Notes from a Catastrophe (2006), The Sixth Extinction (2014), for which she won a Pulitzer Prize, and most recently, Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future (2021). She is a two-time National Magazine Award winner and has received a National Academies Communication Award. Kolbert is a visiting fellow at the Center for Environmental Studies at Williams College.

Frans de Waal

Dr. Frans B. M. de Waal is a Dutch/American biologist and primatologist known for his work on the behavior and social intelligence of primates. His first book, Chimpanzee Politics (1982), compared the schmoozing and scheming of chimpanzees involved in power struggles with that of human politicians. His scientific work has been published in hundreds of technical articles in journals such as Science, Nature, Scientific American, and outlets specialized in animal behavior. His popular books – translated into 20+ languages – have made him one of the world’s most visible primatologists. His latest books are Mama’s Last Hug (2019) and Different: Gender Through the Eyes of a Primatologist (2022). De Waal is C. H. Candler Professor Emeritus at Emory University and Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Utrecht University. He has been elected to the (US) National Academy of Sciences as well as the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2007, Time declared him one of The Worlds’ 100 Most Influential People Today.

John Dahl

John Dahl is a Microbiology Professor at the University of Minnesota whose scientific work focuses on tuberculosis. John has received numerous teaching awards and is passionate about innovative educational and research approaches that encourage people to view the world through cross-desciplinary perspectives.  His knack for making interesting connections is showcased annually at his popular “zombie fest” symposiums where academics from many disciplines gather to discuss their fields through a unifying idea of zombies. This allows biologists, chemists, behavioral scientists, musicians, artists, writers, and many others to collaborate on something entirely novel. His 2019 book Darwin’s Second Voyage uses travel anecdotes and everyday experiences to help explain Charles Darwin’s life and amazing ideas. He is currently a visiting staff fellow for the US Food and Drug Administration.

Lawrence Krauss

Lawrence Krauss is an internationally known theoretical physicist and the author of over 300 scientific articles and 12 popular books including NYT bestsellers The Physics of Star Trek (1995) and A Universe from Nothing (2012), and most recently The Edge of Knowledge (2023).  He has held endowed positions at numerous universities and scientific institutes, around the world, including Harvard, Yale, and CERN, and has made significant contributions to our understanding of the origin and evolution of the Universe.  He has received numerous national and international awards for his research and writing, including the highest awards from all three US professional physics societies. He was elected as a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Between 2006 and 2018, he was Chair of the Board of Sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. He is currently President of The Origins Project Foundation and host of The Origins Podcast with Lawrence Krauss. He appears regularly on radio, television, and film.