Galapagos trip leads way for discoveries

By Eleni Pappas

Imagine lands of peaceful beaches, vibrant forests, elegant volcanoes, and piercing mountains. The sound of the ocean cove lulls you to sleep, and you dream of the adventure that awaits you in the morning with penguins, iguanas, tortoises, sea lions, and pink flamingos. Life flourishes here unlike any other place in the world.

Get ready for a once in a lifetime trip on these idiosyncratic islands of discovery and beauty.

The Galápagos Islands. A truly unique part of the world, where long ago Charles Darwin went to on expedition and made many contributions to science and the process surrounding natural selection. More comparable to entering a whole new world than just any group of islands, with wildlife, flora, fauna, and more unlike anywhere else on the earth.

“It’s home to such diverse wildlife, and it’s one of the reasons Darwin did his research there, because of the diversity of the wildlife,” said English teacher Karen Mayer-Sebastian, who is the faculty sponsor of this trip. Their goal date is next school year around October during fall break.

“It’s obviously based around the Charles Darwin Research Station and the science in the area. The guides are extremely knowledgeable. We have the main tour directors, but we also have local guides who know specifics about the specific areas that we go to, they will have all kinds of information to give us. Yeah, that’s a big part of this area, why it matters,” said Mayer-Sebastian.

The trip darts between the islands of Quito, Baltra, Isabela, Santa Cruz, San Cristobal, and ends at Otavalo, each with a multitude of exciting activities to keep you busy.

“We fly into Quito and then we will go to the equatorial line then we’ll also go over to San Cristobal Island. There’s a volcano walk and there are other islands, such as Santa Cruz Island where the Charles Darwin Research Center is stationed. I know there are a couple snorkeling excursions. Lot of wildlife, sea lions, the tortoises, the flamingos, penguins, all of that. The reviews that I’ve read for this trip indicate that the wildlife and the sceneries are breathtaking,” said Mayer-Sebastian.

The importance for students of this trip isn’t just in learning about the science and wildlife, but in seeing and experiencing all Galápagos has to offer as well.

“For one thing they’re getting to see other cultures, one of the things they do during this trip is that they go to a market town called Otavalo, and it’s a small farming town, so I think one of the things they can take away from this is getting to see other cultures and the way people are living in other places. I think that is one of the most important things we do in regards to the IB program, it’s why I started doing these trips because I want the kids to see some of these other places.”

Though the trip may be expensive it covers the cost of living when the students arrive there.

“This one is kind of an expensive trip. Student prices are $3,810 that covers most of their meals, all of their lodging, all of their prices into the places that we go to like museums, those sorts of things. All of their flights and boat excursions, that’s all covered,” she said.

Mayer-Sebastian also expressed she’s willing to help kids with fundraising and the price may be cut to $3,610 as this opportunity ends and as the trip comes closer.

Mayer-Sebastian also has many answers on questions of preparation or issues students may have for the trip.

“Quito uses the American dollar so there is no conversion issue with money, so as far as preparation goes for this trip there’s relatively small preparation. The nice thing about going through Educational First Tours is that they take care of almost everything.” said Mayer-Sebastian.

She said they’ll have a meeting in the fall a month before the trip, where students going can acquire more information there. If students have any more questions, they are free to ask her.

“They can email me, come by here (to my class), and they can also contact EF and log unto EF Tours and put in my login number and it’s going to give all the information about the tour.”

The login number is available on the EF tour packet and is 1954145xu.

If you wonder why you should take this trip above all the others going across the world, remember the true uniqueness the Galápagos Islands have to offer over these typical choices.

“So many of our teachers do trips to Europe. They do Rome, they do Italy, England, Germany, those areas, but the ones that I’m planning are places that are-out-of-the-way. They’re not those typical places. The Galápagos Islands are a once in a lifetime type of trip. It is kind of an expensive trip but it’s something you may never see again. I’m trying to take kids to those places,” said Mayer-Sebastian.


Full time tour director

Stays with you throughout parts of trip to complete the learning experience.


Be lead through a sightseeing tour of views and natural attractions with flourishing wildlife by your Tour Director.


Visits to Santo Domingo Monastery, Intinan Museum, and Charles Darwin Research Station.


Snorkeling, volcano walks, hiking, etc.


9 day stay, 11 with extension. 3,810 dollars for students, may be lowered to around 3,610 dollars. All expenses covered.

EF Login Code/ Tour #



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