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A South American adventure is the trip of a lifetime.
Machu Picchu, Galapagos await
Tour open to students, community
Leah Jackson

NATCHITOCHES – In 1831 a young naturalist boarded the HMS Beagle in England embarking on a five-year journey that led to the discovery of the Galapagos Islands, so named for the giant tortoises -- relics from the dinosaur age -- that reside there. At 26, Charles Darwin was amazed to discover that the creatures that roam, fly and swim around these islands were unique to that location. He was further amazed to discover previously unknown creatures such as penguins and flamingos that make their home in this same habitat. In 1859, he published his controversial On the Origin of Species, his theory of natural selection, which shook the world.

In 1911 American historian Hiram Bingham discovered a long abandoned emerald city and lost civilization of the Incas 7,700 feet above sea level. Bingham hypothesized that Machu Picchu must have been the spiritual center of the “Virgins of the Sun” and a royal retreat for the Incas. Today it is the most visited site in Peru and is most popularly accessed by train.

Both of these unique destinations are UNESCO World Heritage sites and both will be on the Adventure Tour offered next summer by Northwestern State University.

“Besides being able to observe the species in their habitat on this tour, we will be able to participate in some exciting adventures such as snorkeling with white tip reef sharks, rays and green sea turtles, and visiting the Darwin Research Center as well as hiking the Twin Craters,” said trip organizer Dr. Lynn Woods, professor of Hospitality Management and Tourism. Woods leads annual trips abroad for students and the interested public that often include access to attractions and activities not available to other tourists.

The trip also includes conducted sightseeing tours of Cuzco, Quito, and Lima, Peru. The cost is all inclusive, covering all accommodation, meals, sightseeing and guides, as well as round trip airfare from Houston to Quito, Galapagos, Cusco, Lima and return to Houston for $4,968.

Woods said the trip is “a once in a lifetime journey to Machu Picchu, Peru, the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador. Best of all, you can sign up for the trip on-line, pay a little each month and by June, you are ready to go.”

Non-university student participants do not have to take the three-hour credit class to go on the trip. Arrangements are also possible for students from other universities to participate for credit in their program.

To learn more visit and go to Woods-2191 in order to register for the trip. You can contact Woods, Professor of Hospitality Management and Tourism at or by calling (318) 357-5085.