The safety of our passengers, leaders and operators is a major priority of Intrepid.
With this in mind, we monitor world events very closely. Intrepid makes operations decisions based on informed advice from a number of sources.
1. The Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT)
For any Intrepid-operated trip, if DFAT’s advisory is at ‘Do Not Travel’ then Intrepid will either cancel the trip or reroute the itinerary to avoid the areas concerned.
2. Staff on the ground
With over 400 leaders on the ground in operational destinations and subsidiary companies in our main hub cities, Intrepid has access to an up-to-the-minute flow of information regarding the mood and feeling within the countries we work in. We are also in regular contact with the various operators we use. Their in-depth knowledge and understanding of their various areas is vital.
3. Other government travel advisories
Most countries’ governments provide their own travel advice. See below for links to some of the larger ones:
Recent media reports have been covering the fraudulent helicopter rescue scams occurring in Nepal. Travel insurance providers have threatened to stop cover for tourists visiting Nepal if the local authorities didn’t start cracking down on the issue.
We have been aware of this practice being common from other tour operators for some time and are pleased to see that the Nepalese Government is now implementing well-overdue measures to mitigate against it. Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world and relies heavily on tourism. The actions of unethical operators puts both the local tourism industry and traveller safety at risk.
Intrepid Group is the largest trekking operator in the country and our incidence of helicopter rescue is very low. In 2017 less than 2% of our customers trekking at altitude needed a medivac by helicopter due to Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). This rate is low not only because we don't take kickbacks for helicopter evacuations but also because trekking leaders receive specialist training on how to recognise and treat AMS symptoms, so that they are able to identify when AMS is serious enough to require descent. In many cases, AMS can be treated by descending a few hundred metres and does not require a helicopter evacuation.
Unusually heavy monsoon rains continue across the state of Kerala causing flooding in most areas. Some of our groups currently in Kerala have experienced changes to their itineraries. Our ground team and local operators in India are closely monitoring the situation as the safety of our passengers, leaders, and operators is our top priority. Upcoming trips will continue to run, however impacts on these trips will be assessed on an ongoing basis as itineraries may need to be amended.
On the evening of the 5th of August a 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck on the island of Lombok, Indonesia. This was a week after Lombok was recovering from an earlier earthquake that struck on the 29th of July measuring a magnitude of 6.4. We have been monitoring the impact from both of these earthquakes on Lombok and unfortunately we have made the decision to cancel or reroute all Lombok trips departing in September and October. This is due to extensive damage to the parts of Lombok that we visit, temporary closure of hiking routes on Mt Rinjani and the ongoing aftershocks that Lombok is currently experiencing.
It is always a difficult decision to cancel or reroute a trip, but the safety of our passengers, leaders and operators is a major priority at Intrepid.
All passengers are currently being contacted on the following departures,
Discover Lombok 15th of September 2018 (TISM180915) - Cancelled
Discover Lombok 22nd of September 2018 (TISM180922) – Cancelled
Discover Lombok 6th of October 2018 (TISM181006) – Cancelled
Discover Lombok 20th of October 2018 (TISM181020) – Cancelled
Discover Lombok 27th of October 2018 (TISM181027) - Cancelled
Bali & Lombok Adventure 15th of September 2018 (TISBC180915) - Lombok part of trip cancelled (TISM)
Bali & Lombok Adventure 29th of September 2018 (TISBC180929) - Lombok part of trip cancelled (TISM)
Bali & Lombok Adventure 13th of October 2018 (TISBC181013) - Lombok part of trip cancelled (TISM)
Bali & Lombok Adventure 20th of October 2018 (TISBC181020) - Lombok part of trip cancelled (TISM)
Bali & Lombok Hike, Bike & Raft 16th of September 2018 (TIXB180916) - Amended itinerary
Bali & Lombok Hike, Bike & Raft 30th of September 2018 (TIXB180930) - Amended itinerary
Bali & Lombok Hike, Bike & Raft 14th of October 2019 (TIXB181004) - Amended itinerary
Active Bali & Lombok In Depth 22nd of September 2018 (TISHC180922) - Amended itinerary
Active Bali & Lombok In Depth 6th of October 2018 (TISHC181006) - Amended itinerary
There were violent protests in Harare on 01 August in anticipation of election results. We had no tour groups in the area. We will continue to monitor the situation to assess whether we need to avoid the city for future trips.
Madagascar is experiencing a new plague outbreak which has been ongoing since August 2017. Plague is endemic in Madagascar and cases have been reported nearly every year since 1980, between the months of September and April.
Two forms of plague are present in Madagascar: the bubonic plague and the pneumonic plague. The first one is transmitted from animals to human beings via flea bites. The second one is transmitted from person to person by inhaling infectious droplets. In both cases, the illness can be cured with standard antibiotics, available in the country.
WHO advises against any restriction on travel or trade on Madagascar based on the available information. It recommends travellers take some basic precautions which our outlined on their website: http://www.who.int/csr/don/02-october-2017-plague-madagascar/en/
The Australian Government’s level of travel advice for Madagascar has not changed. Similarly they recommend that travellers practice good hygiene and speak to their health provider before travelling.
Based on this advice Intepid will not be cancelling any of our departures. We will however be suspending any city center market visits in Antananarivo, and Tamatave. In addition we recommend travellers have their meals in tourist hotels and restaurants where the sanitary conditions are strictly controlled.
We will continue to monitor the situation closely via our local operations team, and government advice. Should there be any changes we will update this page.
Over the last few months we have seen several protests broken out over social security reforms in Nicaragua. We have been monitoring this situation closely through our ground team and local operators. Unfortunately, there is still a considerable risk for protests and roadblocks to develop which could interrupt the running of our trips, or worse, jeopardize the safety of our travellers and that of our leaders. We have now determined that avoiding Nicaragua altogether for the remainder of 2018 and some weeks into 2019 is the best course of action.
Travellers on upcoming departures will be contacted individually with their options as soon as possible. The upcoming trips as below will continue to run, however with a modified route, including new destinations in El Salvador and Costa Rica in order to replace nights meant to be spent in Nicaragua. All trips have been updated on our website to reflect the new itinerary. Travellers will be offered the option to accept the new route, to cancel with a full refund, or to transfer to another itinerary. These options will be communicated clearly in a letter sent via your booking agent.
If you have any questions or concerns about your upcoming trip please contact your booking agent for more information. We will continue to monitor the situation as it unfolds.
TRIPS AFFECTED -
All trips affected until at least 31Dec2018, and depending on the trip may be modifed up until 03Feb2019. Please see trip page for more details on seasonality:
'Nicaragua & Costa Rica' (QVRL) – Cancelled for 2018.
'Guatemala & Beyond' (QVRK) – Modified route; Joining city NOT affected, however it has a new ending point city (Antigua to El Tunco).
‘Central American Journey’ (QVRJ) – Modified route; Joining and ending cities are NOT affected (Antigua to San Jose).
'Ultimate Central America' (QVRRC) - Modified route; Joining and ending cities are NOT affected (Mexico City to Panama City).
'Central America Explorer' (QVRZC) - Modified route; Joining and ending cities are NOT affected (Mexico City to San Jose).
'Complete Central America' (QVBDC) - Modified route; Joining and ending cities are NOT affected (Mexico City to Panama City).
'Central America Discovery' (QVBCC) - Modified route; Joining and ending cities are NOT affected (Mexico City to San Jose).
'Central American Adventure' (QVRXC) - Modified route; Joining and ending cities are NOT affected (Playa del Carmen to San Jose).
'Best of Central America' (QVRQC) - Modified route; Joining and ending cities are NOT affected (Playa del Carmen to Panama City).
'Amazing Central America' (QVRPC) - Modified route; Joining and ending cities are NOT affected (Antigua to Panama City).
'Real Guatemala to Costa Rica' (QBYJ) - Modified route; Joining and ending cities are NOT affected (Antigua to San Jose).
'Epic Central America' (QBYZC) - Modified route; Joining and ending cities are NOT affected (Mexico City to San Jose).
'Epic Mexico to Costa Rica' (QBYXC) - Modified route; Joining and ending cities are NOT affected (Playa del Carmen to San Jose).
TRIPS THAT START/END IN NICARAGUA - 2019 POSSIBLE DISRUPTIONS (Do not book flights):
'Nicaragua & Costa Rica' (QVRL)
'Guatemala & Beyond' (QVRK)
We will continue to closely monitor the situation in Nicaragua, however departures in 2019 could also need to be rerouted or cancelled if the situation does not improve. Therefore, it is recommended NOT to book flights until the start/end point cities are confirmed. We will assess the situation in October.
Due to attacks in northern Rakhine State, and increased tensions in Rakhine State overall, many travel advisories warn against travel to this area specifically.
No Intrepid tours visit or travel near Rakhine State. We continue to monitor the situation through official travel advisories and our local operations team. If there should be any changes to the situation you will be advised immediately. We recommend that you check your Government's advice for their latest travel information.
There has been much media attention on the Korean peninsula following a series of North Korean missile tests in 2016 and 2017, including a recent nuclear test on 3rd September 2017. We are working closely with local embassies and government authorities, including Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) to monitor and react to any changes in their current travel advice for this region. All Intrepid Travel trips in north east Asia, including Japan, China, North & South Korea are currently continuing to operate as normal and in accordance with our usual safety and risk procedures.