Costa Rica Family Adventure Trip Notes

Toucans and turtles and monkeys oh my! This unbelievable Costa Rican family tour will delight one and all with jungles, mountains and beaches.

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    • Family
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Last Modified: 22 Jul 2012
Costa Rica Family Adventure
Trip code: QCFB
Validity: 01 Jan 2011 to 31 Dec 2011
Costa Rica is tailor-made for families and offers the perfect combination of fun, culture and spectacular scenery. Kick-start the adventure in San Jose, then journey through national parks, lush plantations, steamy rainforests and past looming volcanoes. Sample tasty chocolate, try to spot colourful birds and dive into the aquatic beauty of balmy Ocotal Beach. Bustling cities, vibrant markets and welcoming locals are the hallmark of this Latin American republic. The phrase you´ll hear most in Costa Rica is ‘Pura Vida´ – it´s a good life - and no doubt the whole family will agree.
Our Intrepid Family Adventures are designed specifically for the spirited family. We understand that travelling with kids sometimes requires a slightly different perspective. Keeping this in mind, we travel at a slower speed - recognising that showing your family around our exotic destinations can take time. By travelling at a relaxed pace, while still offering plenty of optional activities along the way, we're providing your family with the ultimate travel experience together.
We limit travel times so that you're usually not on transport for more than seven hours or travelling too long after dark. We also try - where possible - to ensure you have at least two nights in each destination so you are not constantly having to unpack those bags. Accommodation is chosen carefully to ensure your family gets the best of both worlds, with some of the creature comforts of home as well as experiencing accommodation unique to the region you are travelling through. Wherever possible you will stay in hotels with small comforts to make your stay more enjoyable - such as restaurants nearby, or accommodation with a pool. On some trips you may even find your family being rocked to sleep on an overnight sleeper train or drifting off while camped out under a canopy of stars - and we reckon it'll be these experiences the kids will love and remember the most.
Best of all, we find trips with children are so successful because kids have such a special ability to break down barriers with their natural curiosity, and because delighted locals always greet them with much affection. For all these reasons and more, you'll discover that Intrepid Family Adventures are an amazing experience for all.
Table of Contents
StyleDeparture taxEmergency contact
ThemesImportant notesEmergency funds
MapGroup sizeVisas
ItineraryYour fellow travellersWhat to take
Itinerary disclaimerSingle travellersHealth
Culture shock rating AccommodationSafety
Physical ratingMeals introductionTravel insurance
Included activitiesMealsResponsible Travel
Optional activitiesTransportA couple of rules
Money ExchangeGroup leaderThe Intrepid Foundation
Spending moneyJoining point Feedback
TippingArrival complications
Style
Original
  • Original trips are classic Intrepid adventures. With a mix of included activities and free time, they offer plenty of opportunities to explore at your own pace and take part in activities that really get beneath the skin of a destination. While the occasional meal may be included, you'll have the freedom to seek out your own culinary adventures. Accommodation is generally budget or tourist class (2-3 star), but you're as likely to find yourself as a guest of a local family as staying in a hotel or camping. Transport will vary as well. Depending on the destination and the itinerary you could find yourself travelling on anything from a camel to a train or a private safari vehicle. It's all part of the adventure! Original travellers have a desire to make the most of their travel time and really get to know a place, its people and cultures.
Themes
Family
Map
Costa Rica Family Adventure
Itinerary
Days 1-2 San Jose
Bienvenidos a Costa Rica! Welcome to Costa Rica.
Please ensure you arrive in time for the important welcome meeting at 6.00pm. Your leader will leave a note at reception telling you where this important meeting will take place. Please ask a member of reception for this information. It is a good idea to have lunch prior to this meeting as we head out for an orientation walk of San Jose.
Tonight there will be an optional group dinner, a great time to try the local specialties.
On day 2 you will head towards the Poás Volcano, located within the Poás Volcano National Park. It is considered the largest active crater in the world, about 1 mile (1.6 km.) wide and 320 meters deep, with frequent geyser-like eruptions.
Near the volcano's active crater, there are lakes of molten sulfur, thought to be the only examples of their kind in the world.
Lake Botos fills an extinct crater and is home to many cloud forest birds like hummingbirds, tanagers, flycatchers, toucanets, Clay-colored Robin and the Resplendent Quetzal. Due to the high acidity of the lake there is little to no marine
life in the lake.
In the afternoon you'll visit the National Institute of Biodiversity (Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad - INBio) just outside the city, which provides a good introduction to the wildlife of Costa Rica. Here you can walk through different kinds of forest
and observe many birds, sloths, iguanas. Around the lagoon you can visit a butterfly nursery that houses more than fifteen different species of butterfly. You'll also be able to see poisonous frogs, bullet ants, various snake species, tarantulas, alligators, turtles and orchids.
"La Finca" is an exhibition especially created with the purpose to illustrate how well man has coexisted with biodiversity and made sustainable use of it. You can also plant seeds in the garden, learn about medicinal plants, extract juice from sugar cane, comb a goat or feed some of the farm animals.
Included Activities
  • National Institute of Biodiversity
  • Poas National Park
Accommodation
Lodge (2 nts)
Days 3-4 Tortuguero National Park
Today the adventure really begins. An early departure from your hotel, and leave the city on the road to Limon, and soon you will see the coffee plantations on both sides before reaching the Braulio Carrillo National Park. The park consists of more than 300 square kilometres of original or primary rainforest and provides a picture of how this central region of Costa Rica must have looked a century or so ago before many tracts of forest were felled. It is nothing less than beautiful. After 1½ hours you will enjoy a typical breakfast before continuing the trip. You will see many large banana plantations, and then, at Pavones (meaning white port) you’ll board a boat to journey (approximately 1 hour) into the lush wetland area of Tortuguero National Park. Within minutes you’ll have left all roads behind and entered the peaceful canals of this lush wetland area. During the journey to your lodge you’ll catch your first glimpses of the great diversity of flora and fauna found here, including sloths, monkeys, toucans, crocodiles and green turtles. Your lodge is set in the rainforest within extensive tropical gardens, in the centre of which is a huge almendro tree, home to oropéndola birds. The rooms are all in bungalows with two double beds in each room. There is a pleasant swimming pool area too. Once you’ve settled in, we’ll include an afternoon visit to the Green Turtle Information Centre in Tortuguero Village (entry fee US$1 payable locally), which describes (in words, pictures and film), the fascinating story of the migration routes of these ancient creatures that have outlived even the dinosaurs. Please note a maximum baggage weight of 12kg when travelling to Tortuguero.
On day 4 you set off before breakfast for some further exploration of Tortuguero’s canals. 309 bird species reside within the National Park’s rainforest and swamp forest and there are many monkeys here too. You may also see the fishing bulldog bat, keelbilled toucans, anurans, seven species of tortoise, manatees, crocodiles and even the gar (considered a living fossil) which have their home here. You’ll return to the lodge with a healthy appetite and enjoy breakfast before some free time to enjoy the tropical garden or take a dip in the pool. Your time here is left free to really take in the atmosphere. There is an opportunity to explore the forest on foot with a guide this afternoon. In the evening (July to October only) it is possible to arr
Accommodation
Lodge (2 nts)
Days 5-6 Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui
After breakfast on day 5 you will travel by boat back to Pavones Dock, and then by road to Guapiles (driving time approximately 3 hours) where you will stop for lunch and change bus. The route then turns off into Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí – one of Costa Rica’s most famous rainforest areas and perfect for families wanting to explore and enjoy activities in the forest. Your accommodation here is typical of the area, offering an authentic rainforest experience and a variety of activities and interests, both within the grounds of the lodge as well as nearby, in the rainforest itself. Rafting, canopy tours, inner-tubing and riding can all be arranged (extra). The lodge also has its own rainforest trails, a swimming pool and a restaurant.
We recommend an early start on day 6 so that you can watch toucans, many colourful birds and perhaps a red poison frog that all live in this dense vegetation.
Afterwards you will learn everything about chocolate, from its origins in the ancient Aztec and Mayan cultures, to its importance in the economy of modern day Central America. The tour starts with a guided walk over Tirimbina's hanging bridge and then you learn all about cacao. In a warm and humid climate, the small, native cacao tree produces fruit all year round. The fruit is a huge melon-shaped berry, called a pod. When ripe, the reddish-purple pods turn brown, and when split open to reveal 20 to 40 almond-shaped cacao beans, which are fermented to reduce their bitterness and develop their aroma. Once dry, the beans are cleaned, roasted and shelled to obtain the kernels, which are ground between large heated rollers in high-speed mills to produce a thick, dark-brown paste called chocolate liquor, from which all chocolate is made. Pure chocolate liquor, which contains 53 to 55 percent cocoa butter, is unsweetened and too bitter to eat. This is compressed into blocks or squares and is used for cooking and baking. Everybody knows the taste of chocolate, but few people get this fascinating insight into its origins. And there is some sampling to be done too!
Back at the Lodge you can enjoy the gardens and swimming pool or take a self-guided tour and see the butterfly gardens and try and identify all the frogs – the poison dart frog and the green frog are just a couple of the more exotic ones.
Included Activities
  • Guided chocolate tour
Optional Activities
  • Bat Tour - USD18
  • Horse Riding - USD32
  • Inner Tube - USD16
  • Night Walk - USD18
  • Rafting - USD60
Accommodation
Lodge (2 nts)
Day 7 Arenal Volcano/La Fortuna
On day 7 you'll head to La Fortuna, in the lee of Arenal volcano (around 2½ hours drive). This small but busy town is set below the famous Arenal Volcano. This 1633 metre high volcano is said to be one of the world's most active volcanoes - smallscale
eruptions take place on an almost continuous basis around the clock. However it's only at night that the activity becomes really apparent - if it's clear you can see lava flows glowing incandescent like a firework display. Unfortunately the summit is often shrouded in cloud, so you may not be able to see much, but you still know you're near a volcano because of the subterranean rumblings and splutters.
There is a chance to go hiking in the park in the afternoon.
Your hotel, set in a quiet location just outside La Fortuna, is surrounded by gardens in a very peaceful environment. Breakfast is taken in an open air ranch house and the guest rooms have views from private terraces of the Arenal volcano. There is
also a swimming pool area within the hotel grounds.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 8-9 Guanacaste/Rincon de la Vieja
Day 8 begins at 8am when we leave La Fortuna town, during the tour we will learn about the relationship and interaction of the inhabitants with the Arenal Volcano, its effects on land prices, the traditional way of living, agriculture, cattle breeding and its history, the living fences, and much more. Once at La Casona we will make a visit to the Trapiche, then a 'tractor' trip to Sonafluca town, here at the local rural grocery store the participants can buy soft drinks or snacks, if they wish so, and interact with the owner and local clients. At Sonafluca's Primary School, the children will present us a selection of local folk dances and information about the educational system in Costa Rica. You'll also be able to have lunch here and try a traditional dish 'Olla de Carne'.
Later you'll follow the shoreline along the north of the Laguna de Arenal, the largest man-made lake in Costa Rica - the dam was built in 1973 to provide hydro-electricity for the region and this project now produces 70% of Costa Rica's electricity. Your journey is along slower roads today, taking you over the Cordillera de Tilarán, a major farming zone for coffee, peanuts and macadamia nuts, as well as a centre for cattle and horse ranching. Continuing to Cañas you reach the Guanacaste lowlands known as sabana and often referred to as cowboy country due to the cattle-raising farms found in this area. Cañas is a small town with a unique charm, known for its folk dancing and ranches. We may break our journey at 'Rincón Corobicí', where you can usually see and hear the eerie sounds of howler monkeys! The journey continues through more spectacular and diverse scenery and landscapes as you travel past the chain of volcanoes which runs along the eastern border of the Guanacaste district and through lush dense forests, home to exotic plants and animals. Many endangered animals and birds live here, including jaguars and tapirs. Finally we reach our destination in the Rincón de la Vieja mountains - one of the last remaining tropical dry forests in Central America, and home to one of Costa Rica's most active volcanoes.
The Rincón de la Vieja, which means 'old lady's corner', is named after the legend of an old witch living on the eastern slopes of the volcano, who sent smoke into the sky when she was angry. The volcano is over a million years old and although it has not erupted since 1983, it is active and last spewed ash and lava down its sides in 1991. The National Park offers stun
Optional Activities
  • Zip-Wire Canopy Tour - USD65
Accommodation
Lodge (2 nts)
Days 10-11 Flamingo Beach
The morning of day 10 you'll leave the Rincón de la Vieja and drive to the Pacific coast at Flamingo (2 hours). This is a particularly good place to relax and unwind, and a great destination for snorkelling and diving.
You can do as much or as little as you wish over the next couple of days and there are a wide range of activities to keep you occupied if you desire.
Accommodation
Lodge (1 nt)
Day 12 San Jose
On day 12 you will be driven back along the Pan American Highway to San José airport (journey time approx 4-5 hours). You stop in the town of Grecia surrounded by sugar and coffee plantations, it is said to be the cleanest town in Costa Rica. You can visit the only metal church in central America.
Onwards to Sarchi, known as the cradle of Costa Rican Artisans because of its fine workshops. Here you can watch some local craftsmen at work, and you have the chance to buy souvenirs if you wish to.
This trip finishes upon arrival to San Jose airport at 17.00. Please let us know if you require extra accommodation and transfers in San Jose.
      Itinerary disclaimer
      Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
      Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
      Culture shock rating

      At times local life here will be familiar to that of back home, and at times very different. Services are available most of the time, English may not be the native language, and there may be some cultural differences.
      Physical rating

      Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
      Included activities
      Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
      Optional activities
      A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are for entrance only and don't include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Optional activities aren't necessarily endorsed or recommended by Intrepid nor included in price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and doesn't form part of your contract with Intrepid. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or a receipt for some optional activities.
      Money Exchange
      The official currency of Costa Rica is the Colon (CRC).
      With ATMs being widely available in major towns and cities, credit and debit cards are the best way to access money in Latin America (note though that charges are made for each transaction). Please check with your bank before departure that your card is accepted in the countries you are travelling to. Also ensure your bank is aware of your travel plans as - suspecting fraud - they may cancel your cards after the first few international transactions.
      Be aware that your withdrawing limit may vary from country to country (regardless of your withdrawing limit in your home country) and it can be as low as the equivalent to US$100 per day.
      It's also advisable to carry some cash in small denominations bills, for those times when ATMs may not be available. US$ dollars is the most readily changeable currency.
      VERY IMPORTANT:
      US$100 bills with serial number CB or BE and any other US$ bills that are old, torn, written or stamped on will not be accepted by local banks.
      Spending money
      Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
      Tipping
      If you are happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. We recommend that any tips are given to the intended recipient by a member of your group, rather than collected and passed on by the group leader.
      Departure tax
      Please allow US$28 for international departure tax.
      Important notes
      AGE RESTRICTIONS:
      Age restrictions apply to this trip - minimum age 5.
      OUR LOCAL PARTNER:
      This trip is operated by Intrepid's trusted partner: Families Worldwide.
      HURRICANE SEASON:
      Please note that Hurricane season in this region is June to November, when landslides, mudslides, flooding and disruptions to essential services can occur. Intrepid monitors any situations that arise, and may need to change itineraries or activities in response to these natural weather occurrences.
      Group size
      Maximum of 16 travellers per group.
      Your fellow travellers
      As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
      Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit:
      www.intrepidtravel.com/meetup
      Single travellers
      Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. On our Family Adventures, single relatives or friends are welcome to travel along with a family. These single travellers share with people of the same gender for the duration of the trip and in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Please note that some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our Comfort and Original style trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own room (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
      Accommodation
      Lodge (9 nts), Hotel (1 nt)
      OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
      The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
      TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS
      Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Intrepid trips than your own.
      CHECK-IN TIME
      Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.
      PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
      If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
      Meals introduction
      While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
      Meals
      11 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 2 Dinners
      Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
      USD 175.00
      Transport
      Tortuguero National Park boat trip, Private Bus
      Group leader
      All Intrepid Family trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to assist your family take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for fun things to do and see- for both kids and parents, recommend great local eating venues that will even get the kids trying new things, and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects.
      Our leaders are not babysitters on this trip - we leave that to you (the experts), but they will make sure that group members of all ages are able to explore their destination safely and with as much fun as possible. Our group leaders are not responsible for looking after children at any time and children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times throughout this itinerary.
      Joining point
      Alta Hotel
      Alto de Las Palomas
      San Jose
      COSTA RICA
      Arrival complications
      We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
      If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the starting point hotel, following the Joining Instructions in these Trip Notes. Should this occur, please apply to your travel agent for a refund of the transfer cost on your return.
      No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
      Emergency contact
      In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Melbourne Office can be reached on Tel: +61 3 9473 2650. For all other enquiries please contact our Reservations department which is open 24 hours, 6 days per week. For further contact details please use the following page:
      Emergency funds
      Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
      Visas
      Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
      We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
      COSTA RICA:
      Australia: Not required
      Belgium: Not required
      Canada: Not required
      Germany: Not required
      Ireland: Not required
      Netherlands: Not required
      New Zealand: Not required
      South Africa: Yes - in advance
      Switzerland: Not required
      United Kingdom: Not required
      USA: Not required
      What to take
      What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
      Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
      You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
      WATER BOTTLE:
      Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day
      Health
      All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
      You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
      Safety
      Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
      We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
      Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
      For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
      PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
      While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
      TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
      Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
      SEAT BELTS:
      Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in the western world or from your home country and not all the transport which we use provides seat belts.
      FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
      Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
      LIFE JACKETS:
      While life jackets are generally available on water craft, there may be occasions where they are not provided and child size life jackets are not always readily available. If travelling with children and this safety issue concerns you we will be able to advise alternative methods of transport (where available) for you to travel to the next destination. You can choose to travel independently for this leg of the journey. This would be at your own expense.
      Travel insurance
      Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
      When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
      If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
      Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
      Responsible Travel
      We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
      A couple of rules
      Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
      The Intrepid Foundation
      Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
      The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
      Feedback
      After your travels, we want to hear from you! This is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next trip if your feedback is completed online within 4 weeks of finishing your trip.