Family Seminar

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Explore colonial Quito and stand with one foot on each side of the equator

Snorkel with sea lions and watch in delight as marine iguanas spray salt from their nostrils

Sit face to face with a giant tortoise in the Santa Cruz Highlands

Learn the dances of the blue-footed boobies and waved albatrosses

Faculty leader

Robert Siegel

Dr. Robert “Bob” Siegel, ’76, MA ’77, MD ’90, is a professor of microbiology and immunology at Stanford’s School of Medicine and also holds appointments in the Center for African Studies, the Master of Liberal Arts Program, the Program in Human Biology, and the Woods Institute for the Environment. He’s the recipient of numerous teaching and advising awards including Stanford’s highest teaching accolade, the Walter J. Gores Award. Dr. Bob’s courses cover a wide range of topics including virology, photography, Darwin, island biogeography, global health and The Stanford Safari. He has served as an advisor and consultant to TeachAIDS, Free the Children, Support for International Change, Ocean Medicine Foundation, Wonderfest: the Bay Area Beacon of Science, and the Discovery Channel. An avid traveler and photographer, he has led numerous Stanford Travel/Study trips and has taught field seminars on six continents. On this program, he will lecture on the natural history of the Galápagos, as well as modern threats to the islands and conservation efforts today.


June 21–30, 2022
Day 1

Quito, Ecuador

Upon a late-evening arrival in Quito, transfer to our hotel.

Hotel – Swissotel Quito

Day 2


After a welcome orientation at our hotel, walk the streets of colonial Quito, stopping at Independence Plaza, the Presidential Palace and the Monastery of San Francisco, one of the most impressive religious buildings in the New World. Stand with one foot on each side of the equator at Mitad del Mundo. Enjoy a welcome reception and dinner at our hotel.

Hotel – Swissotel Quito

Meals breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 3

Quito / Baltra Island / Embark / Bartolome Island

Transfer to the airport to board our flight to Baltra Island in the Galápagos. Embark our ship, then head out on our first excursion. Considered the most iconic landscape of the entire archipelago, the view from the top of Bartolome Island, overlooking the famous Pinnacle Rock and the austere Santiago Island beyond, is well worth the climb up the wooden boardwalk. This volcanic scene has often been likened to a lunar landscape. Our subsequent snorkel might put us face to face with Galapagos penguins, white-tipped reef sharks and playful sea lions.

HotelM/V Galápagos Legend

Meals – breakfast, dinner

Day 4

South Plaza Islet / North Seymour Island

Sea lions, swallow-tailed gulls and land iguanas are all present at the landing site. The small island is covered with a carpet of a red succulent studded with Opuntia cacti. Venture to the cliff’s edge, where we spend time watching birds fly past at eye level in the up draught—see frigate birds, flocks of Galápagos shearwaters and red-billed tropicbirds. Return to sea level, where we once again encounter land iguanas, some of which have hybridized with their resident marine cousins. In the afternoon, visit the flat, uplifted island of North Seymour. This is an important spot to see both magnificent and great frigate bird males courting the females by clicking, bill-clapping, shuddering and flapping their wings, all while showing off their inflated, bright red gular pouch. We will also likely see courting blue-footed boobies displaying their unique feet while `dancing´ to a prospective mate. Sea lions, swallow-tailed gulls, crashing surf and distant views of the Daphne Islands top off a great visit.

HotelM/V Galápagos Legend

Meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5

San Cristobal Island

Sea lions may greet us as we land on the beach at Punta Pitt 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 may see all three of the booby species in the same place. Frigate birds will be all around, and the views are breathtaking. Following lunch and a rest, head out on a dinghy ride to Cerro Brujo, during which we take in the immensity of the stunning cliffs of “Sorcerer´s Hill.” Simply share the beach with the sea lions, snorkel from shore or take a walk to a hidden lagoon where to look for black-necked stilts, ruddy turnstones, whimbrels and white-cheeked pintails.

HotelM/V Galápagos Legend

Meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6

San Cristobal Island

In the moist highlands of San Cristobal, we visit the giant tortoise breeding center, La Galapaguera, to witness the most iconic creature of the archipelago in its various life stages. The tortoises wander in a semi-natural habitat which lends itself to prime photographic opportunities. The reserve aims to help restore populations of the threatened San Cristobal tortoise back into the wild. In town, peruse shops for local handicrafts and souvenirs. Following lunch, a visit to the interpretation center is full of interesting information and offers the perfect overview to the formation of Galápagos, its significance in the world, threats and conservation efforts.

HotelM/V Galápagos Legend

Meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7

Española Island

One of the most stunning beaches in all of the Galápagos is located at Gardner Bay. The long, white, sandy beach, lapped by turquoise waters, is home to a colony of Galápagos sea lions, indifferent to the humans that walk among them. The Hood mockingbirds, endemic to this particular island, will be eager to inspect the visitors and satisfy their innate curiosity. Darwin´s finches may also join the throng. We can snorkel here from the beach, in the shallows of the bay. This afternoon visit Punta Suarez, a naturalist´s paradise. A slew of marine iguanas and sea lions may greet us at the landing site from where our walk continues with close encounters of boobies, endemic lizards, gulls and even a dramatic blow hole. The oldest extant island in the archipelago, it provides our only opportunity to commune with the endemic waved albatross. With luck, we can watch their complex courtship display.

HotelM/V Galápagos Legend

Meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 8

Floreana Island

A very short walk from the beach leads us to the famous Post Office Barrel. Claimed to have been first setup in 1793 by Captain James Colnett, it remains the oldest functioning “post office” in the Pacific. Back then, whalers and fur sealers would leave addressed letters in the barrel to be picked up by homeward bound colleagues. In the spirit of maintaining tradition, visitors today often take letters and hand-deliver them back in their home countries. Arrive in Punta Cormoran this afternoon and take in the beach’s subtle green hue, which is due to olivine, a volcanic crystal. Walk past island-endemic Scalesia plants to a large, shallow lagoon that is often inhabited by shockingly pink greater flamingoes. Continue through a forest of palo santo trees to arrive at a powdery white beach, where green turtles nest. As we paddle barefoot in the shallow water, look for diamond stingrays and white-tipped reef sharks. We may also spot a small colony of penguins that resides on Floreana. Later snorkel at Devil’s Crown, an eroded volcanic cone that is home to an abundance of fish and marine animals and one of the favorite snorkeling sites in the islands. Swim with big schools of yellow-tailed surgeonfish, salemas and creole fish and, with luck, spot turtles, spotted eagle rays, parrotfish and even hammerhead sharks! In addition, the jagged ‘crown’ is a roosting area for boobies, noddies, tropicbirds and frigates.

HotelM/V Galápagos Legend

Meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 9

Santa Cruz Island

Disembark on Santa Cruz Island to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and its giant tortoise pens, located in an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest that’s home to many land birds. The research station is the headquarters of scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park administration in the Galápagos. Later this afternoon, Ballena Bay is the perfect spot to enjoy water activities–snorkeling, kayaking or the glass-bottom boat. Expect to see lots of fish species including king angelfish, surgeonfish, parrotfish, damsels, rays and sharks. On the land portion of the visit we see sea lions and basking marine iguanas with herons and turtles in the mangrove areas. We might even discover some antique ceramic relics left behind by previous settlements.

Hotel M/V Galápagos Legend

Meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 10

Baltra Island / Disembark / Quito / Home

After breakfast, enjoy one last island excursion. Take a dinghy ride to the entry of the Itabaca Channel in a lagoon with turquoise water, where we observe sharks, blue-footed boobies and different kinds of fish. Disembark our ship and transfer to the airport for our flight back to Quito. Upon arrival, transfer to the nearby airport hotel and have time to relax and refresh before returning this evening to the airport for departing flights, arriving back in the U.S. on Friday.

Hotel – Wyndham Quito Airport Hotel

Meals – breakfast, dinner

Day 11

Day 12

Day 13

Map of trip's locations
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Map of trip's ship

Our ship

The 54 cabin M/V Galápagos Legend was built exclusively for cruising the Galápagos Islands and includes superb service, expert crew and multilingual naturalists. Each cabin offers two twin beds or one double bed, and many cabins provide triple accommodation via a pull-out sofa bed. Comfortable cabins all offer a safe-deposit box, air conditioning, and a TV with multimedia system. The ship features a large lounge, a 24-hour coffee and tea station, a reading room, a small pool, a wellness center and gym, an auditorium for lectures, and a play space for kids. The indoor dining room, lounge and bar are comfortably appointed, and the sky deck and moon deck offer an observation area, space for al-fresco dining and an outdoor bar. There is a well-stocked gift shop on board. Cabins range in size from 108 to 355 square feet, depending on the category. The ship offers snorkeling gear and kayak rental, and can arrange for SCUBA diving. As an alternative to snorkeling, the M/V Galápagos Legend has a glass-bottom boat, which offers another opportunity to observe the marine life.

Rates are per person, based on double, single or triple occupancy, as specified below. Child rates apply to children ages 6–18 (as of 6/21/22).

Category A

Cabin 11

Standard interior cabin on Earth deck adjoining to Junior Suite Plus cabin #2; no windows; 172 sq. ft.

Adult Double - $7,695

Child Double - $7,195

Adult or Child Single - $8,695

Category B

Cabins 22A, 23A, 34-38

Standard plus cabin with portholes (Sea deck) or picture windows (Earth deck); avg. 118 sq. ft.

Adult Double - $8,195

Child Double - $7,695

Adult or Child Single - $9,195

Category C

Cabins 3-10,14-23, 24-29

Junior suite on Earth deck with picture windows; 148 sq. ft.

Adult Double - $9,395

Child Double - $8,895

Adult or Child Single - $10,395

Category D

Cabins 1, 2,30, 31

Junior plus suite on Earth deck with picture windows; 213 sq. ft.

Adult Double - $9,795

Child Double - $9,295

Adult or Child Single - $10,795

Category E

Cabins 40-45

Balcony suite on sky deck with picture windows; 231 sq. ft.

Adult Double - $10,495

Child Double - $9,995

Adult or Child Single - $11,495


Category F

Cabins 46, 47

Balcony plus suite on sky deck with picture windows; 285 sq. ft.

Adult Double - $10,995

Child Double - $10,495

Adult or Child Single - $11,995

Category G

Cabins 50-53

Balcony suite on moon deck with picture windows; 231 sq. ft.

Adult Double - $10,695

Child Double - $10,195

Adult or Child Single - $11,695

Category H

Cabins 54, 56, 58, 59

Balcony plus suite on moon deck with picture windows; 282 sq. ft.

Adult Double - $11,295

Child Double - $10,895

Adult or Child Single - $12,295


Category I

Cabin 55

Legend balcony suite on moon deck with picture windows; 355 sq. ft.

Adult Double - $11,995

Child Double - $11,495

Adult or Child Single - $12,995

Note: Categories A, C, E, F, H and I are available as triples at the applicable double rate, per person, with a $500 per cabin discount.

Trip details

Group size / age

92 participants (age 6+)


See ship details for cabin category descriptions and rates.

*Stanford Alumni Association nonmembers add $300 per person.


Educational program with lecture series and predeparture materials, including an education resource list and travel information · Young Explorer program and activities for kids · Services of our professional tour manager to assist you throughout the program · All tours and excursions as described in the itinerary · Gratuities to guides, drivers and ship crew for all group activities · 3 nights of deluxe hotel accommodations and 7 nights aboard the M/V Galápagos Legend · 9 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 9 dinners · Welcome and farewell receptions · Transfers and baggage handling on program arrival and departure days · On-tour quarantine-related trip-cancellation,-interruption and -delay insurance coverage · General medical, accident and evacuation insurance

Not included

Your personal flights to and from the program · Passport and visa fees · Immunization costs · Meals and beverages other than those specified as included · Independent and private transfers · Nonquarantine-related trip-cancellation, -interruption and -delay insurance coverage · Baggage insurance · Excess-baggage charges · Personal items such as internet access, telephone calls, laundry and gratuities for nongroup services

Air arrangements

You are responsible for booking and purchasing airfare to the start location and from the end location of the program. These air purchases are NOT included in the program cost. To assist you in making these independent arrangements, we will send you details with your confirmation materials on when to arrive and depart.

Room arrangements

In Quito, families stay in standard hotel rooms, typically with one king or queen bed or two twin beds. For triple rooms the hotel will provide a rollaway for the third family member. On our ship, cabins feature either two twin beds or one larger double bed. Triple cabins feature a sofa bed for the third person (recommended for kids ages 12 and younger). For families in multiple rooms, Travel/Study always requests rooms that are next to each other or as close as the accommodations permit. If your family would like interconnecting rooms, please indicate as much when you register. There are a limited number of interconnecting cabins on board our ship, which may be requested in advance and are granted on a first-come, first-served basis. Travel/Study can request interconnecting rooms at the hotels on your behalf where available, but accommodations will not guarantee them in advance.

What to expect

Travelers should be in good health and good physical condition. This program includes some long days with early wake-up calls and activities scheduled throughout the day (and sometimes into the evening). Walking tours and hikes range from one to three miles, sometimes on uneven terrain. Snorkeling excursions require comfort with swimming independently. Travelers should be able to climb into and out of Zodiacs, with crew assistance, and feel comfortable disembarking from Zodiacs into several inches of water on wet landings.

Located on the Equator, the Galápagos Islands have a surprisingly cool, sub-tropical climate. Temperatures during our program can be variable, ranging from the mid to upper 70s (°F) during the day in the Galápagos Islands to lows in the high 40s in the early mornings and evenings in Quito (altitude: 9,200 feet). The equatorial sun can be strong, and as such, sun protection is highly recommended. We welcome travelers six years of age and older on this program.

With travel requirements and local Covid-19 conditions in constant flux, travel protocols for our destination will be shared with confirmed travelers closer to departure. (To read more about Travel/Study’s approach to ensuring traveler health and safety, visit our Covid-19 Travel page.)

Request information

This program is still in development. Dates are subject to change and details on trip costs are not yet available. Submit your request to be among the first to receive notification when final details are available. At that time, you will have the opportunity to place a deposit, ahead of our general audience.


Get started

If you’re ready to reserve your space, click on the “reserve” button below to place a deposit. Please note: you’ll need to log into your Stanford Alumni Association account to complete the transaction. You do not need to be a Stanford Alumni Association member or an alum to create an account.

Questions? Call the Travel/Study office at (650) 725-1093.


Contact us

For all other inquiries, complete the form below or email us at and a Travel/Study associate will contact you within one to two business days.

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Stanford Travel/Study Terms and Conditions


We encourage membership in the Stanford Alumni Association as the program cost for nonmembers is $300 more than the members' price. The nonmember fee is waived for anyone traveling as a paid guest of a current member, as well as for emerita or emeritus faculty and staff. To purchase a membership, call (650) 725-0692 or click here for more information.

Deposits, Payments and Cancellations

A $1,000-per-person deposit is required to reserve space on this program. Final payment is due 120 days prior to program start. Deposits and any payments are refundable, less a $500-per-person cancellation fee, until 120 days prior to program start. After that date, refunds can be made only if the program is sold out and your place(s) is resold, in which case a $1,000-per-person cancellation fee will apply.


Stanford Travel/Study provides all travelers who are U.S. or Canadian residents with minimal medical, accident and evacuation coverage, as well as on-tour quarantine-related trip-cancellation, -interruption and -delay insurance coverage, under our group-travel insurance policy. Our group policy is intended to provide minimal levels of protection while you are traveling on this program. You may choose to subscribe to optional nonquarantine-related trip-cancellation, -interruption and -delay insurance coverage and/or baggage insurance. Information offering such insurance will be included in your confirmation materials. The product offered includes special benefits if you purchase your insurance within 14 days of receiving your welcome email.


The Stanford Alumni Association, Stanford University and our operators act only as agents for the passenger with respect to transportation and ship arrangements and exercise every care possible in doing so. However, we can assume no liability for injury, damage, loss, accident, delay or irregularity in connection with the service of any automobile, motor coach, launch or any other conveyance used in carrying out this program or for the acts or defaults of any company or person engaged in conveying the passenger or in carrying out the arrangements of the program. We cannot accept any responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to delay or changes in air or other services, sickness, weather, strike, war, quarantine, force majeure or other causes beyond our control. All such losses or expenses will have to be borne by the passenger, as tour rates include arrangements only for the time stated. We reserve the right to make such alterations to this published itinerary as may be deemed necessary. We reserve the right to cancel any program prior to departure, in which case the entire payment will be refunded without further obligation on our part. We also reserve the right to decline to accept or retain any person as a member of the program. No refund will be made for an unused portion of any tour unless arrangements are made in sufficient time to avoid penalties. Baggage is carried at the owner's risk entirely. It is understood that the ship's ticket, when issued, shall constitute the sole contract between the passenger and the cruise company. The airlines concerned are not to be held responsible for any act, omission or event during the time passengers are not on board their plane or conveyance. Neither the Stanford Alumni Association, nor Stanford University, nor our operators accept liability for any carrier's cancellation penalty incurred by the purchase of a nonrefundable ticket in connection with the tour. Program price is based on rates in effect at the time the brochure is published and is subject to change without notice to reflect fluctuations in exchange rates, tariffs or fuel charges. As a condition of participation, all confirmed participants are required to sign an Assumption of Risk.

California Seller of Travel Program Registration #2048 523-50

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