Sail aboard the Santa Cruz II and discover every nature lover's dream come to life on the Galápagos Islands.

Starting at: $4,995 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Mother and baby seal  Travelers snapping a photo of seals   A tortoise and a traveler   Bright Frigate bird  Pair of Blue-footed Boobies  Two Nazca Boobies  Swallow-tailed Gull  Green sea turtle in the Galápagos  Sally Lightfoot crabs  Seals and Sally Lightfoot crabs  Seals basking on the beach  Colorful iguana

Wonders of the Galápagos Islands Voyage

A Voyage Aboard the 90-guest Santa Cruz II

9 days from $4,995

Sail aboard the Santa Cruz II and discover every nature lover's dream come to life on the Galápagos Islands.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

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WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

The Smithsonian opens doors to sites that you could not see on your own and to travel with a Smithsonian Journeys expert brings life to the history and romance of the experience.

- Barbara C.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

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Accommodations

* Click on hotel name to visit hotel web-site.

Hilton Colon Quito

Quito, Ecuador

The Hilton Colon Quito Hotel is conveniently located just a 10-minute walk from Colonial Quito. Each of the hotel's air-conditioned rooms features city views, wireless internet, and plasma TV. Other highlights of the hotel include restaurants, a fitness center, spa, and an outdoor heated pool.

Number of nights: 3

Activity Level

Activity Level 3:  Moderate / Active


Expectations: Ocean-going ship requires using smaller boat conveyances to get to shore for excursions, although the ship may also pull into a pier for embarkation and disembarkation. This is an expedition-type cruise that involves  excursions by small boats and wet shore landings by rubber Zodiac boats (i.e. step from the Zodiac directly into ankle high water). Travelers must be able to negotiate a steep gangway and get in and out of the Zodiacs with minimal assistance. Excursions will be at an active pace during mornings or afternoons. Long periods of time standing and walking (up to one and a half hours) during outdoor activities and tours and nature walks, often without places to sit, yet it is always interesting due to vegatation and fauna. Walking two to three miles will be over sometimes uneven terrain, such as slippery walking trails in rain forests and beach areas. Opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, and hiking are offered during the cruise. Be aware that you can experience hot temperatures (over 80 degrees), high humidity, and strong sun due to the proximity to the equator. Wildlife observation requires time spent on small excursion boats, which do not provide shade or protection from the strong tropical sun. There is a round-trip internal flight by regularly scheduled airlines between the mainland and Baltra Island.  

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit, lead active lives, are comfortable participating in long days of activities, and expect some physical exertion. 

Tour Extension

Ecuador's Andes and Colonial Cuenca Pre-Program Option  4 days, 3 nights

Immerse yourself in Ecuador’s rich traditions and scenery with this exclusive pre-program option. Fly to the historic old colonial city of Cuenca—named for its confluence of four Amazonian watershed rivers—and enjoy a guided walking tour, wandering past its honey-hued buildings and churning waterways. Stop at a Panama Hat Factory and learn about the authentic crafting of sombreros de paja toquilla. Delve into the mysteries and mountainous grooves of the Andean countryside on a full-day excursion, including a visit to the ruins at Ingapirca and a thrilling train ride through the Nariz Del Diablo. Accommodations are for one night at the Hilton Colon Guayaquil and two nights at the Hotel Oro Verde Cuenca in ideally located hotels.

Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley Post-Program Option — 7 Days, 6 Nights

Enjoy a six-night, once-in-a-lifetime experience featuring Machu Picchu, the “Lost City of the Incas,” the Incan and colonial traditions of Cuzco, and the lush Sacred Valley. Located high in the Peruvian Andes, Machu Picchu was obscured from humankind for 400 years until Yale Professor Hiram Bingham literally stumbled upon it in 1911. A century of extensive research and study still has not revealed the secrets of its purpose, its residents or its abandonment; nevertheless, this UNESCO World Heritage site has been carefully excavated and preserved. 

The rushing Urubamba River flows through the beautiful Sacred Valley, where ancient engineering marvels, such as the fortress of Ollantaytambo, stand as lasting testimony to the powerful and far‑reaching Inca empire. Here, village craftsmen employ age‑old techniques to weave intricate tapestries and sculpt colorful pottery. In the historic Incan capital of Cuzco, a World Heritage site, the Incan stone fortress of Sacsayhuamán and grand baroque- and Renaissance‑style churches provide a fascinating mix of pre-Columbian and colonial influences.

Ship

Santa Cruz II

The intimacy and personal service of a small cruise ship experience are the hallmarks of travel aboard the newly refitted, first‑class expedition vessel, Santa Cruz II. It is designed specifically to navigate remote archipelago’s narrow channels, shallow bays and environmentally sensitive waters and provides the most comprehensive access possible to the region’s marine and wildlife treasures. Refurbished in 2015, the air‑conditioned Santa Cruz II features only 48 cabins and offers modern amenities and facilities.


A team of multilingual onboard Ecuadorian expert naturalists will share their in-depth insight and knowledge about the Galápagos’ distinctive ecosystem during daily excursions and natural history lectures. The ship provides Zodiacs for island landings and excursions, complimentary snorkeling equipment and a nighttime stargazing program. The Santa Cruz II’s staff provides professional, attentive service. The ship maintains the highest international safety and environmental standards.


Each outside, air-conditioned cabin is tastefully appointed with a window, private bathroom, safety box and hair dryer. The ship’s public facilities include two lounges, natural history library and reading room with Internet access, bar, boutique, observation deck for dolphin watching, jacuzzi and gym. All meals, featuring international and Ecuadorian specialties, are served in single seatings in the ship’s inviting dining room.

Santa Cruz II

The intimacy and personal service of a small cruise ship experience are the hallmarks of travel aboard the newly refitted, first‑class expedition vessel, Santa Cruz II. It is designed specifically to navigate remote archipelago’s narrow channels, shallow bays and environmentally sensitive waters and provides the most comprehensive access possible to the region’s marine and wildlife treasures. Refurbished in 2015, the air‑conditioned Santa Cruz II features only 48 cabins and offers modern amenities and facilities.


A team of multilingual onboard Ecuadorian expert naturalists will share their in-depth insight and knowledge about the Galápagos’ distinctive ecosystem during daily excursions and natural history lectures. The ship provides Zodiacs for island landings and excursions, complimentary snorkeling equipment and a nighttime stargazing program. The Santa Cruz II’s staff provides professional, attentive service. The ship maintains the highest international safety and environmental standards.


Each outside, air-conditioned cabin is tastefully appointed with a window, private bathroom, safety box and hair dryer. The ship’s public facilities include two lounges, natural history library and reading room with Internet access, bar, boutique, observation deck for dolphin watching, jacuzzi and gym. All meals, featuring international and Ecuadorian specialties, are served in single seatings in the ship’s inviting dining room.

Testimonials

WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

The Smithsonian opens doors to sites that you could not see on your own and to travel with a Smithsonian Journeys expert brings life to the history and romance of the experience.

- Barbara C.
Reading List

Highly Recommended

Galapagos: A Natural History, Revised and Expanded
By: Michael H. Jackson
Twenty thousand copies of the first edition of Galápagos were sold. An attractive and comprehensive guidebook, this work has been completely revised and updated by the author. The reader will find an easy-to-use text which details the natural history of the plants and animals found in the Galápagos Islands. Management and conservation of the Galápagos National Park is discussed, and visitor information and notes about the various tourist sites are given. An index and checklist of plants and animals with page references and a glossary of technical terms are provided. New photographs have been added.
Galapagos: World's End
By: William Beebe
"Galápagos is a glorious book. It is high romance, exact science, fascinating history, wild adventure."—NationThe Galápagos Islands are famed for their remarkable wildlife, including land and marine iguanas, land tortoises, four-eyed fish, and flightless cormorants and albatross. In 1835, Charles Darwin observed variations among the islands' species that inspired him to formulate the theory of natural selection. Eighty-eight years later, in 1923, a scientific expedition sponsored by the New York Zoological Society followed in Darwin's wake. Led by renowned biologist and explorer William Beebe, the scientists visited the the islands to study and obtain specimens of indigenous plants and animals. This is Beebe's personal account of that fascinating expedition.Combining rare literary skill with careful research, Beebe produced an exceptionally readable volume, replete with youthful enthusiasm, a romantic's awe before the mysteries of nature, and a scientist's passion for accurate description. He recounts the expedition's enormously productive results, including specimens of 60 species previously unknown to science, and an unparalleled accumulation of data that stimulated many scientific papers and new avenues of naturalistic inquiry. Beebe's account is enhanced with more than 100 splendid illustrations, selected from hundreds of paintings, drawings, and photographs by expedition members. A classic of popular science, it is scientifically rigorous as well as exciting and accessible.
The Voyage of the Beagle
By: Charles Darwin
In 1831, Charles Darwin embarked on an expedition that, in his own words, determined my whole career. The Voyage of the Beagle chronicles his five-year journey around the world and especially the coastal waters of South America as a naturalist on the H.M.S. Beagle. While traveling through these unexplored countries collecting specimens, Darwin began to formulate the theories of evolution and natural selection realized in his master work, The Origin of Species. Travel memoir and scientific primer alike, The Voyage of the Beagle is a lively and accessible introduction to the mind of one of history's most influential thinkers.
Galapagos Wildlife (Bradt Wildlife Guides)
By: David Horwell, Pete Oxford
Traveling to the Galápagos to discover the unique flora and fauna that so captivated Darwin and the many that followed him is a rite of passage for serious wildlife enthusiasts. Written by two expert naturalists who are passionate about the Galápagos, this guide is packed with entertaining descriptions, while full-color photography aids in identifying key species both on land and below water. [HelenC1] Now with more detailed descriptions of island landing sites, more photos, and updated information on conservation efforts, Bradt's Galápagos Wildlife is the perfect companion for this once-in-a-lifetime trip. For those looking to explore it also includes unique island trail plans.
Evolution's Workshop
By: Edward J. Larson
More than any other place on Earth, the Galápagos Islands are the workshop of evolution. Isolated and desolate, they were largely overlooked by early explorers until Charles Darwin arrived there in the 1830's. It was Darwin who recognized that Galápagos' isolation and desolation were advantages: the paucity of species and lack of outside influences made the workings of natural selection crystal clear. Since then, every important advance and controversy in evolutionary thinking has had its reflection on the Galápagos. In every sense-intellectually, institutionally, and culturally-the history of science on these islands is a history of the way evolutionary science was done for the past 150 years.Evolution's Workshop tells the story of Darwin's explorations there; the fabulous Gilded Age expeditions, run from rich men's gigantic yachts, that featured rough-and-ready science during the day and black-tie dinners every night; the struggle for control of research on the Galápagos; the current efforts by "creation scientists" to use the Galápagos to undercut evolutionary teaching; and many other compelling stories.
Galapagos Islands : Explorer (Ocean Explorer Maps)
By: Ocean Explorer Maps
The young, volcanic, Galapagos Archipelago is made up of over 130 islands and islets, although only five are actually inhabited. A province of Ecuador, they are located on the Equator, about 1,000 km (about 600 miles) to the west of South American mainland. Aside from their natural beauty, and the opportunities for exploration by sea, the Galapagos Islands are intimately associated with scientific research. While this may have begun with Charles Darwin's brief visit in 1835, today the emphasis is on conservation research, and the islands and surrounding marine reserve form a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site. This title features: illustrated biographies of explorers and other notable people; historical time line; color photos and text on Galapagos wildlife, and basic information on evolution, endemic species, conservation, and more; information about all the main islands, visitor sites, and most popular dive sites. "The Galapagos Islands Explorer" also has sections on human history, conservation, National Park Rules, the various island names (Ecuadorian and English), a timeline, and biographies of the significant people in Galapagos history. It will complement a trip to the islands, and help you make the most of your time there. Mapping has come a long way since the islands first appeared on Gerardus Mercator's map in 1569, and the "Galapagos Islands Explorer" is the perfect companion for a visit to the archipelago. As well as the map itself, the Explorer gives a general introduction to the geology, climate, and geography of the islands, plus background background information on the flora and fauna you can expect to see - from Galapagos cotton to the famous iguanas and giant tortoises. There is concise and practical information on each of the main islands as well as the most popular dive sites.

Maps & Guidebooks

Insight Guides Ecuador & Galápagos
By: Insight Guides
Insight Guide Ecuador & Galápagos is a comprehensive full-colour guide to the culture, history and wildlife of this diverse and fascinating country. The book is illustrated throughout with hundreds of beautiful, specially commissioned colour photographs. Our inspirational Best of Ecuador section illustrates the country's top attractions, from Inca monuments and colonial buildings to the best places for wildlife-spotting and adventure sports. With a longer and more in-depth history and culture section than its competitors, this travel guide provides an essential introduction to Ecuador's ancient civilizations, colonial history and contemporary politics and environmental issues. The informative text, written by regional experts, is a pleasure to read and accompanied by stunning photography. The lavish Photo Features offer a unique insight into the traditional textiles, colonial architecture, Galápagos birdlife and vintage railways. All major sights are cross-referenced with the maps, and the travel tips section provides a wealth of practical information on how to plan your trip.Insight Guide Ecuador now includes the Walking Eye app, free to download to smartphones and tablets on purchase of the book. The Ecuador app includes our independent selection of the best hotels and restaurants, plus activity, event and shopping listings.About Insight Guides: Insight Guides has over 40 years' experience of publishing high-quality, visual travel guides. We produce around 400 full-color print guide books and maps as well as picture-packed eBooks to meet different travelers' needs. Insight Guides' unique combination of beautiful travel photography and focus on history and culture together create a unique visual reference and planning tool to inspire your next adventure. 'Insight Guides has spawned many imitators but is still the best of its type.' - Wanderlust Magazine
Moon Spotlight Quito: Including the Ecuadorian Andes
By: Ben Westwood
Moon Spotlight Quito is a 115-page compact guide covering Ecuador's capital city and highlights of the surrounding Andes. Seasoned traveler and journalist Ben Westwood offers his firsthand advice on must-see attractions, as well as maps with sightseeing highlights, so you can make the most of your time. This lightweight guide is packed with recommendations on entertainment, shopping, recreation, hotels, food, and transportation, making navigating this diverse area uncomplicated and enjoyable.This Spotlight guidebook is excerpted from Moon Ecuador & the Galápagos Islands.

History, Culture & Exploration

The Voyage of the Beagle: Darwin's Extraordinary Adventure Aboard FitzRoy's Famous Survey Ship
By: James Taylor
The Beagle has become synonymous with Charles Darwin and his groundbreaking work, On the Origin of Species. But how did Darwin come to be onboard? Now reissued in paperback in a single volume, all the various strands of the Beagle story have been woven together, revealing the circumstances that set the expedition in motion and the characters who circumnavigated the world together. Enriched with firsthand commentary from personal letters and diaries and the official narrative of the voyage, as well as artwork, sketches, and charts produced by the shipboard artists and surveyors, James Taylor has produced a thoroughly engaging and informative account that will appeal to historians, scientists, art lovers, and anyone with a sense of adventure.
The Galapagos Affair (Pimlico)
By: John Treherne

Travel, Biography & Memoir

Satan Came to Eden: A Survivor's Account of the "Galapagos Affair"
By: Dore Strauch
In 1929, Dr. Frederick Ritter and Dore Strauch fled the social and economic turmoil of post-World War I Germany, choosing to abandon the chaos of modern civilization, as well as their respective spouses. They began a quest to reclaim the purity of nature for themselves. They chose as their Eden the dry, uninhabited volcanic island of Floreana in the Galapagos chain. Their experiences in their new paradise—and the ensuing scandals—would captivate the Western world. Floreana's unforgiving environment hardly proved to be a idyllic choice, and were it not for the assistance of American yachters, Ritter and Strauch, naive and unprepared as they were, might easily have perished during their first year as colonists. Yacht crews returned with news of the eccentric couple's adventures, and they became darlings of the Western press. This unwelcome publicity lead to the arrival of a second family on the island, soon followed by a pistol-wielding Austrian "baroness" and her two young lovers. While not without her charm, this mysterious "aristocrat" could also be sinister and controlling. Tensions grew rapidly, jealousies and resentments raged, and soon this island with a population of 9 was at war with itself. Floreana was to become rife with danger, suspicion, murderous thoughts, and a notorious scandal that still entices today. Who was the "Satan" who came to Eden? Was it a singular person, or was it the darkness of self-destruction that can arise in every human heart? It is a question for each reader to answer in their own way and it beckons to the aspiring detective in all of us. Originally published in 1936, Satan Came to Eden meticulously recounts Ritter and Strauch's often bizarre, true-life struggle from a survivor's point of view—an account lost to the public for nearly 80 years. Editor Joseph Troise supplements Strauch's original memoir with previously unpublished photographs and an informative preface, introducing a new generation of readers to one of the strangest stories of the twentieth century. "All the satisfaction of a well-plotted mystery adventure, with the added fun of its all being true"--Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
Floreana: A Woman's Pilgrimage to the Galapagos
By: Margret Wittmer
The remarkable first-hand account of

Literature

Galapagos: The Enchanted Islands (Through Writers' Eyes)
By: John Hickman
Every year a quarter of a million well-heeled, well-read travelers take the holiday of a lifetime to the Galapagos. John Hickman presents an intriguing cast of characters, from Incas to whalers, pirates to Robinson Crusoe's, the original Swiss Family Robinson and the revered Charles Darwin.
Galapagos: A Novel (Delta Fiction)
By: Kurt Vonnegut
“A madcap genealogical adventure . . . Vonnegut is a postmodern Mark Twain.”—The New York Times Book ReviewGalápagos takes the reader back one million years, to A.D. 1986. A simple vacation cruise suddenly becomes an evolutionary journey. Thanks to an apocalypse, a small group of survivors stranded on the Galápagos Islands are about to become the progenitors of a brave, new, and totally different human race. In this inimitable novel, America’ s master satirist looks at our world and shows us all that is sadly, madly awry–and all that is worth saving.Praise for Galápagos“The best Vonnegut novel yet!”—John Irving “Beautiful . . . provocative, arresting reading.”—USA Today“A satire in the classic tradition . . . a dark vision, a heartfelt warning.”—The Detroit Free Press   “Interesting, engaging, sad and yet very funny . . . Vonnegut is still in top form. If he has no prescription for alleviating the pain of the human condition, at least he is a first-rate diagnostician.”—Susan Isaacs, Newsday   “Dark . . . original and funny.”—People   “A triumph of style, originality and warped yet consistent logic . . . a condensation, an evolution of Vonnegut’s entire career, including all the issues and questions he has pursued relentlessly for four decades.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer   “Wild details, wry humor, outrageous characters . . . Galápagos is a comic lament, a sadly ironic vison.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch   “A work of high comedy, sadness and imagination.”—The Denver Post   “Wacky wit and irreverent imagination .  . . and the full range of technical innovations have made [Vonnegut] America’s preeminent experimental novelist.”—The Minneapolis Star and Tribune

Natural History & Feild Guides

Galapagos Birds Life (submersible field-guide) (English and Spanish Edition)
By: Celso Montalvo
Real photographs of birds taken in Galápagos; English & Spanish descriptions; Basic information of birds/species; New classifications and species status; Descriptions color coded by niche and status; Easy access and classification makes easy comprehension. This brochure is ergonomic and pocket size with high quality printing, coated and sealed and tested for external Galapagos climate. Protected and archived by the IEPI ISBN. Check Box to keep accurate record of species recognized in the course of your visit. Three types of scales (Inches, centimeters and comparative sizes in silhouettes).
Galapagos: Preserving Darwin's legacy
By: Tui de Roy
This sumptuous large-format book was first produced in 2009 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the Charles Darwin Foundation on Galapagos. The book comprises a series of invited essays under the editorship of world-renowned photographer and long-term Galapagos resident, Tui de Roy, who has also provided most of the photographs. The authoritative essays cover the entire spectrum of Galapagos wildlife including the marine environment, unique vegetation such as sunflower trees as well as wildlife including giant tortoises, marine iguanas, sea lions, and the Galapagos finches that inspired Darwin's theory of evolution.This new edition has significant updates to a number of chapters including brand new photography and information about scientific developments elsewhere, and a new jacket.
Wildlife of the Galápagos: Second Edition (Princeton Pocket Guides)
By: Julian Fitter, Daniel Fitter, David Hosking
Since its first publication more than a decade ago, Wildlife of the Galápagos has become the definitive, classic field guide to the natural splendors of this amazing part of the world. Now fully updated, this essential and comprehensive guide has been expanded to include the more than 400 commonly seen birds, mammals, reptiles, invertebrates, and plants, and other coastal and marine life of this wondrous archipelago. Over 650 stunning color photographs, maps, and drawings are accompanied by accessible, descriptive text. This new edition includes information about all the common fish of the region and Spanish names are featured for the first time. There is also a revised section that discusses the islands' history, climate, geology, and conservation, with the most current details on visitor sites.This is the perfect portable companion for all nature enthusiasts interested in the astounding Galápagos.Covers 400+ commonly seen species, including birds, mammals, reptiles, invertebrates, and plants, and other coastal and marine lifeIllustrated with over 650 color photographs, maps, and drawingsIncludes maps of visitor sitesWritten by wildlife experts with extensive knowledge of the areaIncludes information on the history, climate, geology, and conservation of the islands
Lonesome George: The Life and Loves of the World's Most Famous Tortoise
By: NA NA
Lonesome George is a 5 foot long, 200 pound tortoise, between 60 and 200 years old. In 1971 he was discovered on the remote Galapagos island of Pinta, from which tortoises had supposedly been extinct for years. He has been at the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz island ever since, on the off-chance that scientific ingenuity will conjure up a way of reproducing him and resurrecting his species. Meanwhile, countless tourists and dozens of baffled scientists have looked on as the celebrity reptile shows not a jot of interest in the female company provided. Today, Lonesome George has come to embody the mystery, complexity and fragility of the unique Galapagos archipelago. His story echoes the challenges of conservation worldwide; it is a story of Darwin, sexual dysfunction, adventure on the high seas, cloning, DNA fingerprinting and eco-tourism.
Galapagos Wildlife: A Folding Pocket Guide to Familiar Animals (A Pocket Naturalist Guide)
By: James Kavanagh, Waterford Press
One of the most unique ecosystems in the world, the Galapagos Islands feature a bizarre diversity of wildlife, with many species endemic to the islands. This beautifully illustrated guide highlights over 140 familiar and unique species of mammals, birds, reptiles, fishes, seashore creatures and butterflies/insects. Also features a unique map that shows the location of the top 10 most sought-after species including the Galapagos tortoise and the flightless cormorant. Laminated for durability, this lightweight, pocket-sized folding guide is an excellent source of portable information and ideal for field use by eco-tourists visiting the islands. Made in the USA.
Galápagos: The Islands That Changed the World
By: Paul D. Stewart
Rocky, fragile, beautiful, strange―the Galápagos archipelago is unlike any other place on earth. Its geology, its unique flora and fauna, and its striking role in human history intersect in surprising and dynamic ways. This book is the most wide-ranging and beautifully illustrated book available on the famous islands. Not since Darwin’s Naturalist’s Voyage has a book combined so much scientific and historic information with firsthand accounts that bring the Galápagos to life.Galápagos: The Islands That Changed the World describes how tragedy and murderous pirates curtailed settlement of the islands and how the islands’ pristine nature, spectacular geology, and defining isolation inspired Darwin’s ideas about evolution. The book explores the diverse land and marine habitats that shelter Galápagos species and considers the islands’ importance today as a frontier for science and a refuge for true wilderness.The book’s extensive gazetteer provides details about endemic plants and animals as well as travel advice about visitors’ sites, diving, photography, when to go, and what to take. Vividly illustrated throughout, this guide is an indispensable reference for natural history enthusiasts, armchair travelers, and island visitors alike.
Travel Insurance

For the convenience of our travelers, Smithsonian Journeys includes an on-tour Provided Insurance Plan through Travel Guard with the price of your tour. This travel insurance plan includes On-tour medical evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), emergency medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only, not including U.S. Territories). Travel must be more than 100 miles from the Insured’s primary residence.

In addition, you may want to consider purchasing travel insurance to protect your investment from unforeseen events, such as missed flight connections, lost luggage, and cancelled plans. There are many plans you can consider. For your convenience, you may visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call Travel Guard at 1.800.208.6142 to learn more.

Terms and conditions

Our Mission

Smithsonian Journeys are designed to engage travelers in the mission of the Smithsonian - “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Like the Institution, our tours enrich our guests’ lives and satisfy their curiosity about the world around them. Your participation benefits the work of Smithsonian's 19 museums, national zoo, and nine research centers, helping to preserve our national treasures and shape the future through science, research, and exhibitions.

What Is Included in the Tour Cost

  • All accommodations (based on double occupancy) 
  • Expertise of a Smithsonian Journeys Expert, Travel Director(s), and local guides throughout the tour.
  • Meals, including special Welcome and Farewell Receptions, as noted in the itinerary (B-breakfast; L-lunch; R-reception; D-dinner).
  • Complimentary wine and beer served with dinner.
  • All sightseeing and visits as noted in the itinerary.
  • Pre-tour information, including a reading list.
  • Gratuities to local guides and drivers.
  • All on-tour transportation unless otherwise noted.
  • Transfers and luggage handling abroad for all participants whose arrival(s)/departure(s) coincide with the scheduled group transfer(s).
  • On-tour emergency evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only).

What Is Not Included in the Tour Cost

  • Passport fees, visas, and visa photos as required.
  • Personal items such as wines, liquors, à la carte orders, meals other than specified.
  • Gratuities to ship and hotel staff.
  • Expenses incurred by our tour operators in making travel arrangements in conjunction with the tour.
  • International and Internal airfare and departure taxes.
  • Taxes.
  • Other items not specifically mentioned as included. 
  • Optional Travelers’ Protection Plan: Unexpected events before or during a trip may leave you with cancelled plans, lost luggage, or unforeseen medical expenses. This optional plan offers an affordable package of benefits and services that can provide coverage and assistance for the unexpected. Visit TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys to learn more.

Registration
Space is reserved in the order of receipt of phone or web reservations.

To submit a request for a reservation, please order using our secure online process, or call 855-330-1542 to speak with a Reservations Specialist, Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Eastern Time).

Submitting an online request does not guarantee space on a tour. You will be notified of your status when your request has been received and processed. Please note: No new registrations can be accepted within 30 days of most tours. Some tours are more restrictive; please see individual tour pages for these exceptions.

To complete your request, the following is necessary:

Required Information

For all international departures, passport information including the following, in accordance with the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Secure Flight program as well as by our international travel partners: your full name as it appears on your passport, date of birth, and gender (for further information, please visit www.tsa.gov). In the event an airline ticket is issued with incorrect information you have provided, or if you use a different passport than originally cited, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.
 

Payments
Deposit of $1,000 per person ($200 per person pre/post optional extensions), per tour, payable by check or major credit card, to the tour operator is required to reserve a space on a tour. Deposits are applied to payment of the program price.

Balance due upon invoicing at least 95 days prior to the program. If full payment is not received by the final payment due date, your place cannot be guaranteed on the tour.

Late Registration
Any registration received within 95 days of departure is considered a "late registration" and must be subject to special confirmation. Payment in full must be made immediately by credit card or by check and sent by overnight mail to the tour operator before confirmation is possible.

Once confirmed, cancellation penalties apply as set forth below. If confirmation is not possible, all payments made will be refunded in full.

Late registration confirmation procedures apply to any participant who is transferred from the wait list to the program within the designated late registration period for that program.

For additional information, please call a Reservations Specialist at 855-330-1542, Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) or visit www.SmithsonianJourneys.org/Contact.

A Note About Costs
Tour costs are based upon current airfares, tariffs, currency values, and on the basis of a minimum number of participants. While we will do everything possible to maintain the listed prices, they are subject to change. Should actual enrollments fall significantly below minimum numbers, a surcharge may be added. Due to fluctuations in oil prices, a fuel surcharge may be added to your tour fee (e.g. internal flights, cruises, etc.). Details and costs will be advised prior to departure. 

Wait List
If the program(s) of your choice are fully subscribed, you will be placed on a wait list. If you choose to withdraw from the wait list, please notify us.

Please note that we are unable to keep you apprised of your status on the wait list. We will call you only if a space becomes available, but you are welcome to call us at your convenience to inquire about your status at 855-330-1542.

Cancellation and Refund Policy
Per person cancellation fees are based on date of notice to Smithsonian Journeys.

  • Cancellation within 7 days of booking (if not within final payment date): full refund.
  • Cancellation after 7 days of booking: $1,000 retained; $200 pre/post cruise optional extension retained (entire deposit).
  • Final payment due: 95 days before departure.
  • Cancellation made less than 95 days prior to departure: no refund.
  • Cancellation by the Smithsonian: full refund.
  • No refund for unused portions of the tour, including but not limited to, missed meals, hotel nights, and sightseeing.

Please understand that there will be no exceptions to our cancellation policies. 

Air Service

For tours that include round-trip international airfare, rates are based on economy class from designated departure cities as shown. Airfares from other cities are available upon request.  Airline upgrades at additional cost may be available on request for the international portion of your flight. If an air schedule requires an overnight stay in a gateway city, or otherwise because of a flight delay, the cost of the overnight will be at your expense. For tours that include round-trip international airfare, we will be happy to help with arrangements.

Air Service/Tickets Purchased Independently of the Tour

International and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time.  If you make your own airline reservations, we recommend that you do not purchase nonrefundable tickets or tickets with high fees for changes. We urge you to check airline cancellation fees before purchasing airline tickets since international departure times and flights can change. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator accepts liability for cancellation fees related to domestic or international airline tickets.

Travel Insurance Cancellation/Delay/Lost Baggage

Smithsonian Journeys recommends that all participants purchase travel insurance.  Smithsonian Journeys provides the following travel coverages with Travel Guard as part of your trip.

Limit (Maximum per person)

·   Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation of Remains up to $100,000

·   Emergency Medical Expenses up to $25,000

·   Emergency Dental Expenses up to $500

The Evacuation/Repatriation provides coverage for emergency air and ground transportation due to a serious illness or injury.  You also have worldwide access to a 24-hour travel assistance hotline if you need help with lost documents, cash transfers, and other travel-related problems.

IMPORTANT: Smithsonian Journeys offers an optional, travel insurance plan which will cover you for trip cancellation, interruption, and/or delay; baggage loss, theft, damage or delay; accident and/or sickness, medical expenses, and accidental death. To learn more, visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call 800-208-6142. Please consider this or other coverage.  Many insurance and HMO/PPO plans offer reduced benefits when traveling internationally and Medicare does not provide coverage outside of the U.S. 

Travel Documents and Information

Participants are responsible for obtaining any documents required for their participation in the tour such as a valid passport, all visas, vaccination certificates, and any other documents. If you are a U.S. citizen and your tour requires a visa or other entry documents, we will send you the appropriate information after you make a reservation. Failure to obtain documents does not negate the terms and conditions, and any extra costs incurred for rerouting or delay due to travel without the necessary documents will be the participant’s responsibility. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please contact your embassy or consulate to ensure you obtain the proper documentation.

For certain international departures, a passport valid for at least six months after the completion of your tour, and/or with at least six blank visa pages, is required for U.S. citizens. The U.S. Department of State no longer will add visa pages into U.S. passports. Applicants in need of additional pages in their valid passports must obtain a new passport. For more information on how or where to apply, please visit Travel.State.Gov/ApplyEarly or call the National Passport Information Center toll-free at 1-877-487-2778/1-888-874-7793 (TTY/TTD).

For more information about traveling to destinations abroad, we strongly recommend the “Learn about your destination” section on the U.S. Department of State travel website www.travel.state.gov. For medical information, we strongly recommend contacting the Centers for Disease Control at (877) FYI-TRIP or www.cdc.gov/travel

Physical and Medical Considerations

To enjoy the travel experience, participants should be in good physical and mental health. All tours require an element of walking (up to two miles per day over uneven terrain) and of climbing stairs, often without handrails. Participants should have sufficient stamina to keep pace with an active group of participants on long days of touring. If you have any questions about your ability to participate in a tour, please call us at 855-330-1542. Any physical condition, diet, or special request for accommodation must be identified in writing on the Personal Information Form when the reservation is made. Some tours have additional information regarding physical and medical considerations, which may be discussed with the Reservation Specialist at 855-330-1542.

Please be aware that health care standards, facilities, and services abroad may be different or even inadequate for treating certain health conditions.  It is essential that you inform us in writing (on the provided Personal Information Form) of any existing condition for which you may require medical attention or accommodation during the tour. We will make reasonable efforts to accommodate the needs of our participants; however, services of a personal nature cannot be expected or guaranteed. By forwarding the deposit for pre-registration or registration in full, you affirm that you do not have any physical or other limitations that would create a hazard for yourself or other participants or would require adjustments to the tour for other participants.

Itinerary or Program Modifications

Smithsonian Journeys strives to improve tour itineraries and their features. If improvements can be made, or unforeseen circumstances beyond our control make changes necessary, at our sole discretion, we reserve the right to vary itineraries and to substitute elements of the tour.  These elements include, but are not limited to:  hotels, staff, itinerary changes, speakers, experts, places visited, and services for any stated in the itinerary.

Every effort will be made to carry out the tour as planned but alterations may still occur after the final itinerary has been sent to you. Please note that weather and other conditions may force changes to the advertised sailing schedule on cruise tours. The ship’s captain has the authority to change the ship’s schedule. Smithsonian Journeys and the tour operator reserve the right to substitute motorcoach transportation use, hotels, inns or lodges for cruise accommodations if necessary due to weather, water conditions or levels, other events of force majeure, mechanical, or other conditions beyond their control.

Hotel Accommodations

Smithsonian Journeys chooses hotels based on a combination of location, service, atmosphere, and price. On adventure tours and tours in out-of-the-way places, best-available hotels are used. Tour prices are based on two persons sharing a room with a bath.

Singles and Roommates

Hotel rooms are always reserved for single participants when they are available; however, the number of single rooms available on a tour may be limited. Therefore we recommend that you register early. Please note that a single supplement will most likely apply for a single room. If you are traveling alone and wish to share a room/cabin, we will do our best to find someone of the same gender and smoking preference to share with you. If you are matched with a non-smoking roommate, it is mutually agreed that you cannot smoke in your hotel room/cabin. When a roommate cannot be found, a single supplement will be charged. Please note that the single rooms in many foreign hotels may be smaller than those to which you are accustomed.

Children

All tours except family journeys, are designed for adults. Some may be suitable for children 16 and older. Regardless of age, children must pay full price unless otherwise noted, moreover, a parent or guardian must accompany those under 18.

Special Travel Arrangements

Participants may wish to extend their stay in the group hotel either before or after the tour. Our tour operator will work with you on these arrangements, dependent upon space availability.  Your pre-tour bulletins will further explain all options.

Should you decide not to participate in certain parts of the tour or use certain goods included in the tour, no refunds will be made for those unused parts of the tour or goods.

Dispute Resolution

This paragraph relates solely to the tour operator (Thomas P. Gohagan & Company). You agree that any dispute between you and the tour operator (but not between you and the Smithsonian Institution) concerning, relating or referring to these Terms and Conditions, the brochure or any other literature concerning your tour, or the touritself, shall be resolved exclusively by binding arbitration pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. §§1-16, either according to the then existing Commercial Rules of the American Arbitration Association (AAA) or pursuant to the Comprehensive Arbitration Rules & Procedures of the Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services, Inc. (JAMS). Such proceedings will be governed by substantive (but not procedural) Illinois law and will take place in Chicago, IL. The arbitrator and not any federal, state, or local court or agency shall have exclusive authority to resolve any dispute between you and the tour operator (but not between you and the Smithsonian Institution) relating to the interpretation, applicability, enforceability, conscionability, or formation of this contract, including but not limited to any claim that all or any part of this contract is void or voidable. By agreeing to these terms and conditions, you (and we) are waiving our right to a trial by jury.

Any action or legal proceeding against the Smithsonian Institution in connection with your trip shall be brought only in a United States federal court of competent jurisdiction.

Photography and Video

Participants on tour may be photographed or recorded (audio and video) for the educational and promotional purposes of the Smithsonian Institution and Smithsonian authorized third parties. This content may be used in marketing publications and posted on websites to promote Smithsonian Journeys without compensation to the participant. Participants who prefer that their name, voice and/or image not be used must notify us in writing prior to the beginning of the tour.

Smoking Policy

For the comfort of all participants, we ask that there be no smoking during all group activities, including excursions and meals in certain hotels or aboard ship. There is no smoking aboard the ship, and some hotels may not allow smoking anywhere on the property. Your pre-tour bulletins will provide further information.

READ CAREFULLY: RESPONSIBILITY STATEMENT AND LIABILITY DISCLAIMER

Smithsonian Journeys tours are organized and administered by professional tour operators hired as independent contractors. The use of designated tour operators allows the Smithsonian to offer travelers a wide array of educational travel opportunities. The tour operator books services of independent suppliers for transportation, accommodations, and other services. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator is liable for personal injury, death, property damage or accident, delay or irregularity arising out of any act or omission of these suppliers. The Smithsonian Institution and the tour operator reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in their judgment, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of tour participants.

The Smithsonian Institution and its designated tour operator also reserve the right, without penalty, to withdraw the tour announced, to decline to accept any person as a participant in a tour, or to require any participant to withdraw from the tour at any time (including, but not limited to inappropriate or offensive behavior) when such action is determined by tour staff to be in the best interests of the health, safety or general welfare of the tour group or the individual participant.

Dates, schedules, tour details, and costs, although provided in good faith based on information available at the time of publication on the website, in the brochure or catalog, are subject to change and revision.

Thomas P. Gohagan & Company and its employees, shareholders, subsidiaries, affiliates, officers, directors or trustees, successors and assigns (“Gohagan”) and Smithsonian Institution and its  Regents, officers, employees, representatives, agents, successors, and assigns (“Smithsonian”) do not own or operate any entity which is to or does provide goods or services for your tour including, for example, lodging facilities, airline, vessel, or other transportation companies, guides or guide services, local ground operators, providers or organizers of optional excursions, food service or entertainment providers, etc.  All such persons and entities are independent contractors.  As a result, neither Gohagan nor Smithsonian is liable for any negligent or willful act or failure to act of any such person or entity or of any other third party.

  

In addition and without limitation, neither Gohagan nor Smithsonian is responsible for any injury, loss, death, inconvenience, delay, or damage to persons or property in connection with the provision of any goods or services whether resulting from, but not limited to, acts of force majeure, acts of government, acts of war or civil unrest, insurrection or revolt, bites from or attacks by animals, insects or pests, strikes or other labor activities, criminal or terrorist activities of any kind or the threat thereof, sickness, illness, epidemics or the threat thereof, the lack of availability of or access to medical attention or the quality thereof, overbooking or downgrading of accommodations, mechanical or other failure of airplanes, vessels, or other means of transportation, or for any failure of any transportation mechanism to arrive or depart timely or safely. 

AS A CONDITION OF ACCEPTANCE OF ANY APPLICATION, EACH APPLICANT MUST AGREE TO THE STATEMENT SET FORTH BELOW:

The reader has read carefully the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer set forth above, the schedule of activities for this tour, as well as the terms and conditions of application and participation including the Dispute Resolution paragraph as set forth in the tour materials, and recognizes and accepts any risk associated with the tour as well as the conditions, including the refund policy, set forth in the tour materials. The reader further acknowledges that there are many risks and uncertainties inherent in any travel tour, including but not limited to acts of force majeure, the hazards of various modes of transportation, forces of nature, acts or omissions of foreign governments, terrorism, war or insurrection, theft, other criminal conduct, illness, inadequate medical facilities and difficulty in evacuation to same, and damage to persons or property due to the negligent acts or omissions of tour staff or others. In consideration of, and as part payment for, the right to participate in the tour, the undersigned, on behalf of himself, his dependents, heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, agrees to release the Smithsonian Institution, its Regents, officers, employees, representatives or agents, the United States, and the tour operator and its officers, employees and agents, from liability for personal injury, death, property damage or loss suffered by any person in connection with this tour, even if caused by the negligence (but not the reckless, willful, or fraudulent conduct) of the Smithsonian, the United States, and/or Gohagan. In addition, by registering for this tour, the applicant certifies that he or she is mentally and physically capable of full participation in this tour. By registering for a Smithsonian Journey, the participant agrees to the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer and the Terms and Conditions herein.