San Jose to Panama Trip Notes

Discover the verdant national parks, cool mountain towns and supreme beaches of Costa Rica and Panama that passes through La Fortunate, Monteverde and Boquete.

    • 17
    • QVKKC
    • Total price tool tip
      USD $3,185
      CAD $3,285
      AUD $3,225
      EUR €2,215
      GBP £1,865
      NZD $3,590
      ZAR R32,240
      CHF FR2,685
      *
    •  
       
       
       
       
    •  
       
       
       
       
    • Explorer
    • Comfort
Book
Print Version
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2014
San Jose to Panama
Trip code: QVKKC
Validity: 01 Jan 2015 to 31 Dec 2015
Squeezed in between the pounding swells of the Pacific and the crystal hues of the Caribbean, dotted with live volcanoes and gifted with generous swathes of lush jungle, Costa Rica and Panama often feel like the lands that time forgot. Thanks to some green-minded conservation decisions on the part of progressive governments, this delightful slither of Central America will enchant and enthral nature boffins and adventure enthusiasts alike. From the smouldering crater of Arenal Volcano to the tranquil beach town of Golfito, the mist-shrouded foliage of the Monteverde cloudforest to the steaming jungle of Manuel Antonio National Park and the contrasting sides of Panama City, this is one journey sure to bestow impressions not easily relinquished.
This trip is run by our experienced sister company Peregrine Adventures. Your group is therefore likely to be a mixture of Intrepid passengers and other like-minded international travellers.
Table of Contents
StyleDeparture taxEmergency funds
ThemesImportant notesVisas
MapGroup sizeIssues on your trip
ItineraryYour fellow travellersWhat to take
Also available to purchaseSingle travellersHealth
We also recommendAccommodationSafety
Itinerary disclaimerMeals introductionTravel insurance
Culture shock rating MealsResponsible Travel
Physical ratingTransportA couple of rules
Physical preparationGroup leaderThe Intrepid Foundation
Included activitiesJoining point Carbon offset
Optional activitiesArrival complicationsFeedback
Spending moneyFinish point
TippingEmergency contact
Style
Comfort
  • Comfort is your style of travel if you want the whole grassroots experience with more inclusions, meals and creature comforts. While accommodation is predominantly tourist class (3-4 star), on some itineraries there is the opportunity to stay with a local family, spend the night on a train or camp out in exotic places (without putting up your own tent of course). Along the way, you'll really experience the destination up close. You'll mingle with locals, enjoy a taste of their way of life and gain special insights from your leader. This is not luxury travel, but real world experiences - just with a softer landing!
Themes
Explorer
Map
San Jose to Panama
Itinerary
Day 1 San Jose
Hola! Welcome to Costa Rica.
An airport arrival transfer is included. This transfer is only valid if arriving on day 1 or if you have booked pre-trip accommodation through Intrepid. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or at a minimum 15 days prior to travel (note - we may not be able confirm request made within 15 days of travel). Once you have provided your details a transfer representative will be booked to meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.
Please arrive in San Jose in time for the important group meeting at midday. 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. After the meeting, there will be an afternoon orientation tour of San Jose's the major sights.
San Jose sits in the middle of the fertile Meseta Central, ringed by volcanoes and jagged mountains just begging to be explored. The city itself has all the sights and modern conveniences you would expect from a capital city. The main plaza is good place to start exploring, get comfy and do some people watching. Artisan booths are common here and you never know when there'll be a spontaneous art fair. Have a look at the Gold Museum which has an amazing collection of indigenous gold art. If these cultural gems get you in the mood for a bit of shopping, head to the outdoor market in Plaza de la Cultura or the Central Market where you can pick up some handicrafts, boots or even fish.
Arriving in Costa Rica, it is possible you will feel lethargic and lose some appetite. This is nothing to be concerned about and is just your body acclimatising to the heat and humidity. Be sure to drink plenty of bottled water and try not to do too much in any one day; you'll soon adjust.
Included Activities
  • Orientation walk
  • Complimentary airport arrival transfer
Optional Activities
  • San Jose - Irazu Volcano, Ososi Valley, Lankester garden full day tour - USD80
  • San Jose - Butterfly farm - USD27
  • San Jose - Gold Museum - USD11
  • San Jose - Jade Museum - USD10
  • San Jose - National Museum - USD7
  • San Jose - Poas National Park half day tour - USD46
  • San Jose - Poas Volcano National Park, Doka Coffee Tour & La Paz Waterfalls full day tour - USD96
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 2-3 La Fortuna/Arenal Volcano
An approximately 4.5 hour drive takes us to La Fortuna, our base for exploring the Arenal Volcano and its wild surrounds.
La Fortuna is a small town situated just a few minutes away from Costa Rica's most famous volcano - the majestic Arenal. The views here are spectacular as the volcano is reflected on the lake for postcard perfect photos. Besides the panoramic views the town offers a range of other activities such as the 70 metre high La Fortuna waterfall, stunning lush forest, rare plants, animal watching and watersports on the lake.
The following day is free for optional activities. Take a trip to the volcano, visit La Fortuna waterfall, take a canopy tour for a bird's eye view of the forest, or head out on a full day of adrenaline pumping white water rafting. Otherwise head out into the beautiful surrounds and explore by bike.
In the evening we include a visit to one of the hot springs in the area.
The volcano’s inner workings also mean that the area has a number of thermal springs where hot, lava-heated water gushes to the surface. These springs have been turned into a number of thermal pools and waterfalls, often surrounded by foliage, an ideal chance to relax.
Included Activities
  • La Fortuna - Hot Springs
Optional Activities
  • La Fortuna - Hanging bridges - USD57
  • La Fortuna - Rio Celeste Safari float - USD60
  • La Fortuna - Arenal Volcano hike - USD35
  • La Fortuna - Tabacon Hot Springs (entrance, dinner and transport) - USD99
  • La Fortuna - Canyoneering - USD55
  • La Fortuna - Fortuna Waterfall - USD10
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 4-5 Monteverde
We travel by minibus and boat to the cool cloud forests of Monteverde (approx. 4 hours).
These Monteverde forests are similar to rainforests, but instead of relying on rain for essential moisture, adequate water comes from the semi-permanent cloud that covers the region. The surrounding pastures were once covered in dense forest, but now only a small protected section remains; known as the Reserva Biologica Bosque Nuboso Monteverde, it is lush and full of wildlife. This is truly a nature lover's paradise.
Your leader will take you on a walking tour through the Monteverde National Park. Alternatively, walk through the canopy on the Sky Walk or watch butterflies at play in the specially created butterfly garden. The local guides are very knowledgeable about the area and passionate about conservation and in the local communities there are several cooperatives worth visiting. More than 2,000 species of plants, 320 bird species and 100 different types of mammals call Montverde home. Be sure to keep an eye out for the resplendent quetzal, one of the most elusive birds in the world.
Our hotel is owned by a very personable Costa Rican who grew up in Monteverde - he himself built most of his hotel and keeps expanding it, building rooms with a lot of character and style. Sometime a sloth pays a visit to the trees growing on the hotel property - a very welcome neighbour.
Included Activities
  • Monteverde - Cloud Forest hike
Optional Activities
  • Monteverde - Serpentarium - USD10
  • Monteverde - Butterfly garden and insects farm - USD10
  • Monteverde - Night walk - USD35
  • Monteverde - Coffee tour - USD30
  • Monteverde - Hanging bridges - USD40
  • Monteverde - Zip lining - USD45
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 6-7 Manuel Antonio National Park
Today we travel to Manuel Antonio (approx. 4-5 hours). The town is laid back but has a vibrant nightlife.
Boasting abundant wildlife, turquoise water and white-sand beaches, Manuel Antonio National Park is a beautiful place to explore by land or sea.
We take a guided hike along one of the park's many trails. Keep one eye on the great views and the other looking out for the abundant wildlife. Spot monkeys, armadillos, sloths and hundreds of birds.
The park also boasts turquoise seas and white sand beaches; it would be easy to spend your whole time here in or by the water. Go swimming, fishing, kayaking, boogie boarding, sailing or surfing.
Included Activities
  • Manuel Antonio National Park - entrance
Optional Activities
  • Manuel Antonio - Surf/boogie board rental - USD10
  • Manuel Antonio - Mangrove tour by kayak (with lunch) - USD80
  • Quepos - Dolphin watch/sunset sail (seasonal) - USD75
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 8 San Jose
We spend a final morning in Manuel Antonio National Park, before returning to San Jose for the night.
Optional Activities
  • San Jose - Butterfly farm - USD27
  • San Jose - National Museum - USD7
  • San Jose - Poas Volcano National Park, Doka Coffee Tour & La Paz Waterfalls full day tour - USD96
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 9-10 San Gerardo de Dota
Today we drive south, climbing up into the mountains, to San Gerardo de Dota.
San Gerardo de Dota is located in the mountains, near one of Costa Rica's highest peaks. It is surrounded by carrot and potato plantations, beautiful wildflowers, and old growth oak trees. This is possibly also the best place in Central America to see the quetzal - a brilliantly coloured but rarely seen bird which was considered sacred to the Mayans. We will head out with a guide to look for the quetzal as well as other tropical birds such as egrets, toucans, kingfishers and cormorants. If you are feeling adventurous, you may wish to go rafting, or try your hand at fly fishing on the Savegre River, the cleanest river of Central America.
Included Activities
  • San Gerardo de Dota - Quetzal spotting tour
Accommodation
Lodge (2 nts)
Days 11-12 Golfito
We continue south today to the Pacific coast, and the area around Golfito.
Golfito is located on the South Pacific coast of Costa Rica, near the border with Panama. It used to be a centre for banana plantations, however when disease struck the bananas, the plantations shut down and the government turned it into a national reserve, as well as a duty free shopping zone, to help the economy of the area recover.
We stay in a rainforest lodge in the Refugio Nacional Golfito, overlooking the Gulf of Dulce. The lodge is designed to fit in with the environment and is constructed from recycled materials, and uses solar power. There are many activities available from the lodge, including kayaking, fishing, snorkelling, hiking, and yoga. Keep an eye out for creatures such as toucans, monkeys, iguanas, dolphins and bright blue butterflies which live in the rainforest surrounding the lodge.
Included Activities
  • Piedras Blancas NP - Mangrove kayak tour
  • Piedras Blancas National Park - Rainforest Walk
Accommodation
Lodge (2 nts)
Days 13-14 Boquete
We cross the border into Panama today and head to the mountain village of Boquete.
Boquete is a small, picturesque mountain village, located in a valley in the Panama highlands. The main attractions of the area are the surrounding natural highlights such as mountains, crystal clear creeks and rivers, forest reserves, stunning displays of wildflowers, and fauna such as howler monkeys and the resplendent quetzal. Nearby is Panama's highest point, Volcan Baru, from the top of which it is possible to see both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Activities here include hiking, canopy tours, kayaking, river rafting and zip lining. This is also an area famous for its coffee and while here you can visit a coffee plantation, or kick back in town trying some of the local brew.
Included Activities
  • Boquete - Calderas hot springs
  • Boquete - Guided bicycle tour
  • Boquete - Coffee Plantation tour
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 15 El Valle de Anton
We drive approximately 6 hours this morning to El Valle de Anton in Panama's Cocle province.
Valle de Antón is a picturesque town located on what was once the crater lake of a now-extinct volcano. It is surrounded by lush green forests and rugged mountain terrain. On weekends the town comes alive with a popular arts and crafts market. There are also plenty of hiking trails, hot springs, a butterfly sanctuary and an orchid centre, or you may like to visit the La Piedra Pintada petroglyphs - a huge boulder carved with pre-Columbian figures, the meaning of which are still unknown.
Optional Activities
  • El Valle de Anton - Orchid Center - USD3
  • El Valle de Anton - La Piedra Pintada petroglyphs - USD2
  • El Valle de Anton - Pozos Termales hot springs - USD5
  • El Valle de Anton - Chorro El Macho Waterfall - USD5
  • El Valle de Anton - Artisan & Vegetable Market - Free
  • El Valle de Anton - Bird Watching - USD25
  • El Valle de Anton - Butterfly haven - USD5
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 16-17 Panama City
We drive approximately 2 hours to Panama City this morning. This afternoon we will take a tour to the engineering marvel, the Panama Canal.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Included Activities
  • Panama City - City & Canal Tour
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
  • QVKKC Single Supplement (QVKKC)
We also recommend
Sollte dieser Trip Ihnen nicht vollständig zusagen, können wir Ihnen folgende Alternativen vorschlagen:
  • Beautiful Costa Rica (QVKHC)
  • Costa Rica Express (QVKR)
  • Panama Unveiled (QVKJ)
  • Costa Rica Jungle Adventure (QPAC-C)
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

Expect some culture shock. You'll be exposed to signs of poverty and access to services may be sporadic. The food will be quite different to home and English speakers harder to find. Respecting the local culture will make it easier to fit in and really experience the location.
Physical rating

Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
Physical preparation
We recommend that you undertake regular aerobic exercise in the weeks before you travel, particularly if you are not in the habit of regular exercise. Walking, jogging, swimming or riding a bike are all good ways to increase your aerobic fitness, which will allow you to enjoy the trip to its fullest.
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 approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
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
On this trip, we have included gratuities for the essential services that you will receive as part of your tour package. This will cover tips to drivers, specialist local guides (where applicable), restaurant staff for included meals, porters, bellboys and other hotel staff, including room-cleaning staff.
This amount DOES NOT include a tip for your tour leader, so you may wish to set aside some funds for this. It is customary to tip your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline $US2-4, or the equivalent in any currency used on the trip, per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip isn't compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
You also wish to put aside some money for your own tipping, such as when you are doing our own optional sightseeing or activity that involves local guides and/or drivers or when joining in optional groups meals or dining out on your own. In these instances, we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier. The amounts can vary greatly according to destination, so we suggest that you ask your tour leader to give you guidance on what are appropriate amounts to tip.
Departure tax
Departure tax of US$45 from Panama is usually included in your international flight ticket.
Important notes
OUR LOCAL PARTNER:
This trip is operated by Peregrine Adventures and you will be joined by other like minded Intrepid and non Intrepid travellers. Single travellers will share accommodation with another traveller of the same sex.
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.
COSTA RICA TOURISM INDUSTRY:
Costa Rica has done a great job of looking after its natural wonders yet maximising their potential as tourist attractions. As a result, you should expect to pay for nearly every optional activity available. This allows everyone to individually have the choice of deciding on which activities they particularly want to participate in - from white water rafting to hiking. This also means high standards of service, well maintained gear, clear paths and signalling and well trained local guides that allow you to make the most of every activity.
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. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. 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 trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (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
Hotel (12 nts), Lodge (4 nts)
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.
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.
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. 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
16 Breakfasts, 1 Dinner
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 400.00
There are some simple breakfasts included on this trip which are comprised simply of bread, butter, jam, coffee / tea and juice (or similar).
Transport
Minibus, Shuttle Bus, Boat
There are some long travel days and some rough travelling in areas away from main tourist routes. Windy roads, rough surfaces and cramped conditions make for some challenging travel experiences. On some long travel days we depart early in the morning to ensure we optimise our time at our next destination. If you experience travel sickness we recommend you consider medication to help ease the discomfort.
Group leader
All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues 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 places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
Joining point
Hotel Plaza Real
La Uruca del BCR 200 sur 100 este
San Jose
COSTA RICA
Phone: +506 2290 6409
Arrival complications
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the Joining Instructions section above for who to contact.
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, again 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.
Finish point
The Saba Hotel
Via Argentina
El Cangrejo
Panama City
PANAMA
Phone: +507 201 6100
Emergency contact
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's local ground representative for Central America and Mexico, Viaventure, can be reached on +502 5778 4100 or +502 5778 4052
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
PANAMA:
Australia: Yes - on arrival
Belgium: Not required
Canada: Yes - on arrival
Germany: Not required
Ireland: Not required
Netherlands: Not required
New Zealand: Yes - on arrival
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: Not required
United Kingdom: Not required
USA: Yes - on arrival
The cost of a tourist card on arrival varies by nationality.
Issues on your trip
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
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).
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.
CLIMATE & CLOTHING:
Night time temperatures can be low in the height of the winter months and at altitude so bring a set of warmer clothes. Thermal underclothes, being small and light, can be very useful. A light water and windproof jacket is useful and a hat essential.
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.
YELLOW FEVER:
A valid international certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever is required in many countries. You may need to present this on arrival at the airport or border crossing. Some countries will refuse entry if you are unable to present your certificate. It's also quite common for your home country to request a Yellow Fever certificate on your arrival back home.
It is your responsibility to check with your doctor well in advance of leaving home about the Yellow Fever requirements for the countries you'll be visiting.
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.
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:
Carbon offset
Carbon Offset C02-e 299.00 kgs per pax.
Feedback
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.
Remember that once you’ve left your feedback you’ll automatically be entered into our monthly draw for a US$500 (or equivalent in your local currency) travel voucher.