The Tour Price displayed here is for the tour only and does not include international flights. Our flight prices are very competitive, please ask for a quote when making your bookingAll departures for this trip are guaranteed.
This trip is an overland trip run in an overland truck. In addition to paying for your trip, you're require to make a separate payment to your tour leader at the start of the trip, usually in USD. Kitties are flexible and change as prices are updated. Therefore you should check the latest kitty amount on this website before you depart.
A kitty is a group fund which covers all accommodation, meals while camping (not in hotels) and activities listed as included. It's a system unique to overlanding to provide the maximum flexibility and best value on the road (you get everything at cost price!). The kitty is your money, not ours, so any amount left over is divided among the group as a refund.Close
|Trip Code||Start Date||End Date||Currency||Kitty|
|QVRM||Saturday 08 Jun 2013||Saturday 22 Jun 2013|
|QVRM||Saturday 22 Jun 2013||Saturday 06 Jul 2013|
|QVRM||Saturday 03 Aug 2013||Saturday 17 Aug 2013|
|QVRM||Saturday 17 Aug 2013||Saturday 31 Aug 2013|
|QVRM||Saturday 31 Aug 2013||Saturday 14 Sep 2013|
|QVRM||Saturday 14 Sep 2013||Saturday 28 Sep 2013|
|QVRM||Saturday 28 Sep 2013||Saturday 12 Oct 2013|
|QVRM||Saturday 05 Oct 2013||Saturday 19 Oct 2013|
|QVRM||Saturday 19 Oct 2013||Saturday 02 Nov 2013|
|QVRM||Saturday 26 Oct 2013||Saturday 09 Nov 2013|
|QVRM||Saturday 02 Nov 2013||Saturday 16 Nov 2013|
|QVRM||Saturday 09 Nov 2013||Saturday 23 Nov 2013|
|QVRM||Saturday 16 Nov 2013||Saturday 30 Nov 2013|
|QVRM||Saturday 23 Nov 2013||Saturday 07 Dec 2013|
|QVRM||Saturday 30 Nov 2013||Saturday 14 Dec 2013|
|QVRM||Saturday 07 Dec 2013||Saturday 21 Dec 2013|
|QVRM||Saturday 14 Dec 2013||Saturday 28 Dec 2013|
|QVRM||Saturday 21 Dec 2013||Saturday 04 Jan 2014|
|QVRM||Saturday 28 Dec 2013||Saturday 11 Jan 2014|
|QVRM||Saturday 04 Jan 2014||Saturday 18 Jan 2014|
|QVRM||Saturday 11 Jan 2014||Saturday 25 Jan 2014|
|QVRM||Saturday 18 Jan 2014||Saturday 01 Feb 2014|
|QVRM||Saturday 25 Jan 2014||Saturday 08 Feb 2014|
|QVRM||Saturday 01 Feb 2014||Saturday 15 Feb 2014|
|QVRM||Saturday 08 Feb 2014||Saturday 22 Feb 2014|
|QVRM||Saturday 15 Feb 2014||Saturday 01 Mar 2014|
|QVRM||Saturday 22 Feb 2014||Saturday 08 Mar 2014|
|QVRM||Saturday 01 Mar 2014||Saturday 15 Mar 2014|
|QVRM||Saturday 15 Mar 2014||Saturday 29 Mar 2014|
|QVRM||Saturday 29 Mar 2014||Saturday 12 Apr 2014|
|QVRM||Saturday 12 Apr 2014||Saturday 26 Apr 2014|
|QVRM||Saturday 26 Apr 2014||Saturday 10 May 2014|
|QVRM||Saturday 10 May 2014||Saturday 24 May 2014|
|QVRM||Saturday 24 May 2014||Saturday 07 Jun 2014|
|QVRM||Saturday 07 Jun 2014||Saturday 21 Jun 2014|
|QVRM||Saturday 21 Jun 2014||Saturday 05 Jul 2014|
|QVRM||Saturday 12 Jul 2014||Saturday 26 Jul 2014|
|QVRM||Saturday 26 Jul 2014||Saturday 09 Aug 2014|
Mexico is a country full of culture and history.
Home to the Aztec empire that ruled through three different centuries, the architecture left behind is nothing short of magical. The best places to see Aztec ruins are Palenque, Teotihuacan or Mexico city the Aztec capital and also the modern capital. The city has a diverse feel to it and the temples and palaces are a world away from the lively nightlife. It gives the feeling of a new adventure every day. On Lake Xochimilco, the landscape of the capital can be explored on a Tarajinera boat.
Mexico is a country rich in taste and is most famous export comes from the city of Tequila. Made from the blue algave plant, the drink has protected geographical status, so only true Tequila comes from this region. Foodwise Mexico is known for it's fire; the spicy Jalapeno pepper was originated in Mexico, and is used in many dishes. But also the sweet taste of chocolate was another treasure of ancient Mexico. Cacao beans were used as a currency in Mesoamerican times.
There are many types of Mexican music, from traditional folk to Latin Alternative. Influence from other cultures, has created a diverse sound. Instruments used in traditional music use a range of stringed and wind instruments.
One more of Mexico's icons is the cactus, this is one of over 30,000 plants in the country. The wildlife in Mexico is amazing. There are over a thousand species of birds including the beautiful Quetzal and with mammals such as lynx, wolves, snakes and crocodiles.
Mexico City may not have the best reputation, but it's alive with colour, full of incredible sights, rich in culture and very much worth discovering.
You can arrive at any time on day 1 as there are no activities planned until the important welcome meeting tonight at 6pm. 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 group meeting there is the option of joining the group for dinner.
The following day is free for you to explore Mexico City, your group leader will assist you with the different optional activities available.
In Mexico City we stay in a hotel with air-conditioning and ensuite rooms. The hotel has a bar and restaurant attached.
•Diego Rivera murals, Mexico City - Free
•Jai-Alai, Mexico City - USD7.00
•Bosque de Chapultepec, Mexico City - USD40.00
•Soccer match, Mexico City - USD4.00
•Teotihuacan Ruins, Mexico City - USD20.00
•Mariachis Garibaldi Square, Mexico City - Free
•Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City - Free
Hotel (2 nts)
Mexico City is the world's largest metropolitan area and is home to a population of some 20 million. Despite its size the city centre still has a colonial feel with a massive Hispanic cathedral dominating the Plaza de la Constitucion - the main square. The cathedral is built on the site of the ancient Aztec capital, the remains of which can be viewed alongside at the Temple Mayor and its Museum. You may like to extend your time in Mexico City and allow yourselves a day or two more to take in some of the spectacular sights. These include the palaces, churches and temples, the anthropological and other museums. Alternatively you may just want to watch life go by in the Alameda Central - the central park.
With a compelling history still reflected in its wealth of colonial buildings and churches, Puebla is a delight - especially its cuisine, which gave the world mole poblano.
This afternoon and tomorrow are at your leisure to discover Puebla.
Although a rapidly growing city, Puebla has managed to combine modern development with its colonial past and there are plenty of well-maintained churches and colonial buildings to admire. Head to the markets to brush up on your bargaining skills and take some fantastic photos. This is a great place to pick up hand-painted tiles and other handicrafts. If you're looking for something more active, go for a hike near one of the area's looming volcanoes.
Just two blocks from the main square our hotel has a typical rustic Mexican atmosphere.
•Cholula visit, Puebla - USD5.00
Hotel (2 nts)
Oaxaca is a culturally diverse city with beautifully preserved colonial buildings, impressive archaeological sites, delicious cuisine and one of the most respected art scenes in Mexico.
We take a local bus (approx. 5 hours) from Puebla to Oaxaca.
We have two free days here and your group leader will assist you to make the most of your free time in this fascinating city.
When the conqueror of Mexico, Hernan Cortez, chose the Valley of Oaxaca as his personal domain, he chose wisely. Sitting in the three Valles Centrales, between the Sierra Madre del Sur and the Sierra Madre de Oaxaca, Oaxaca has an impressive city skyline, especially at sunset.
In the evening of day 7 we take a first class bus (approx. 13 hours) to San Cristobal del las Casas. First class buses in Mexico can be quite comfortable. They are equipped with seats that recline and have more leg room than regular buses. They usually make a quick toilet stop every 4 to 5 hours, however they normally also have a toilet at the rear of the bus, which you may use in case of an emergency. They are all air conditioned, so make sure you take a light jumper with you as it may get a bit cold on board.
•Cultural Museum and Garden, Oaxaca - USD6.00
•Folkloric ballet, Oaxaca - USD10.00
•Monte Alban Ruins, Oaxaca - USD40.00
Hotel (2 nts), Overnight bus (1 nt)
Oaxaca is a beautiful old colonial town. Its graceful arcades and colourful markets are populated mainly by the descendants of Zapotec and Mixtec Indians, who come to sell their colourful woven blankets and shawls in the Zocalo. Here you can explore the narrow, cobbled streets, which gave D.H.Lawrence the inspiration for his novel, The Plumed Serpent, or simply sit in the square drinking the local mescal and tequila and watch life in this colourful town go by.
With winding cobblestone streets and colonial Spanish architecture, San Cristobal de las Casas maintains a lovely old-world feel mixed with strong indigenous roots.
We arrive in San Cristobal early in the morning. Check in at the hotel is usually not until midday, so if we can't check in upon arrival, we will be able to leave our luggage and start exploring San Cristobal straight away.
Go for a stroll and try to spot the cafe with the most locals in it for a taste of the traditional 'elote', a corn cob which makes a common snack in the highlands of Chiapas.
The remainder of today and tomorrow are at your leisure and, as always, your group leader will assist you arrange the many optional activities.
The outlying villages mix traditional beliefs and modern religion - with unusual results. If you take a day trip to San Juan Chamula, make sure to visit the church. The floor is covered with pine needles and the air is heavy with incense. Shamans come here to carry out cleansings with firewater, ancient prayer and sometimes chickens. There are also markets with colorful handicrafts for sale. Take the opportunity to go on a day trip to Sumidero Canyon.
Our hotel is conveniently located near Central Park, walking distance from bars and restaurants.
•Sumidero Canyon, San Cristobal de las Casas - USD25.00
•Villages tour, San Cristobal de las Casas - USD12.00
•Horseback riding, San Cristobal de las Casas - USD20.00
•Bicycle rental (per hour), San Cristobal de las Casas - USD30.00
•Lagunas de Montebello, San Cristobal de las Casas - USD30.00
•Mountain bike tour, San Cristobal de las Casas - USD20.00
Hotel (2 nts)
San Cristobal de las Casas is the administrative centre of the Chiapas region. We will get the chance to visit some of the surrounding Indian villages perhaps taking a gentle horse-back ride to get there. The villages are populated with Tzotzil and Tzeltal Indians who still show their tribal origins through their varied traditional costumes and customs. You may also like to take a horse ride or mountain bike to explore the surrounding area.
Built around 100BC, the incredible ruins of Palenque were virtually swallowed by the jungle until their excavation, where some of the finest examples of Maya architecture were discovered.
We take the local bus to Palenque (approx. 6 hours). The afternoon is at your leisure to take part in any of the optional activities in town. Don't forget to bring your bathing suit, as nearby are the Agua Azul and Misol-Ha waterfalls, perfect for cooling off after the heat of the temples.
Our hotel is in the heart of town, close to internet and other amenities you may need.
Palenque, at the start of the Yucatan Peninsula, is sited on a hilltop in an area of hot jungle and hosts probably the most impressive series of Mayan ruins, which date back to AD 600. Whilst walking amongst the ruins it is quite often possible to hear the eerie calls of the Howler Monkeys echoing from the jungle around us, which gives an added dimension to this magnificent archaeological site. In the Templo de las Inscripciones the excavators actually found an intact funerary crypt containing the sarcophagus of the Sun God. The temples are superb relics of the Mayan culture, and there are many ruins here still un-excavated and hidden in the surrounding forest.
Founded in 1542, Merida still retains much of its old-world charm with a well-preserved Old Town, wonderful museums and city streets alive with art and culture.
We take a local bus (approx. 8 hours) to Merida. The following day is free for you to explore this colonial city.
Hang out in the green and shady Plaza Grande, with the twin-towered 16th century Cathedral on one side and City Hall, State Government Palace and Casa Mantejo on the others. For a taste of Merida's 19th century glory go for a walk along the mansion lined Paseo de Montejo. It's a great place to try out the local food specialities, like cochinita pibil or the head-blowingly spicy el yucateco.
Merida is also the gateway to the Maya ruins of Uxmal and there is an opportunity to visit these impressive ruins. Little is known about the site's origins but it is thought the city was founded around 500AD. Much of the site is decorated with masks of the rain god Chac. This is no great surprise as the area has a lack of natural water supplies and the city relied on rain water.
The local people from Merida are very relaxed and they like dancing! Every Sunday some of the roads are turned into an open air dance floor with a variety of Salsa and Merengue bands.
Accommodation for these nights is a hotel in the historical centre of town.
•Cenotes Tour, Merida - USD15.00
•Celestún Bird Sanctuary, Merida - USD35.00
•Uxmal Ruins tour, Merida - USD40.00
•Chichen Itza, Merida - USD9.00
•Contemporary Art Museum, Merida - USD5.00
•Dzibilchaltun Ruins tour, Merida - USD70.00
•Flamingos tour, Merida - USD20.00
•City tour, Merida - USD10.00
Hotel (2 nts)
Merida is the Yucatan State capital. Here we get a chance to browse the excellent markets. This is perhaps the best place to buy a hammock to get into the swing of things or even a Panama hat if you want to get ahead.
Chichen Itza was once a city of the pre-Columbian Maya civilisation; its ruins are wonderfully preserved and this captivating site provides a wealth of things to see. With azure waters, powdery beaches and a European feel, Playa del Carmen is a resort city close to Cancun but without the party atmosphere.
Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. Our brochure is usually released in November each year. 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.imaginative-traveller.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.
There are no activities included in this itinerary. For a list of optional activities available, please refer to the day-to-day itinerary.
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 Imaginative Traveller 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 Imaginative Traveller.
The official currency of Mexico is the Mexican Peso (MXN).
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$100 per day.
It's also advisable to carry some travellers cheques and cash in small denominations bills, for those times when ATMs may not be available. US$ travellers cheques and cash are the most readily changeable currency.
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.
Currency exchange rates often fluctuate. For the most up to date rates please refer to the following website: www.oanda.com.
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.
If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's 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 Imaginative Traveller destinations. Please note we recommend that any tips are given directly to the intended recipient by a member of your group as our group leaders are prohibited from collecting cash for tips.
Restaurants: Tipping is not expected in local markets and basic restaurants. However if you wish to tip, round your bill up to the nearest 5%. In more up-market restaurants we suggest up to 10%-12% of your bill. Some restaurants already include tipping on the final amount, which should be shown on the bill as: propina, servicio or cubiertos.
Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest US$2 per person per day for local guides.
Porters (if applicable): While on the Inca Trail, we suggest PEN80-120 for all porters, assistants and cook.
Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group however a base of US$1-2 per day is generally appropriate.
Luggage loaders (Argentinian bus stations): It's common in Argentina to tip AR$1 for someone to load your bag on to a bus.
Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline US$1-3 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 is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
Please allow US$22 for international departure tax.
Please note Hurricane season is June to November when landslides, mudslides, flooding and disruptions to essential services can occur. Imaginative Traveller monitors situations as they arise, and may need to change itineraries or activities in response to these natural weather occurrences.
Maximum of 16 travellers per group.
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.
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 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.
Hotel (13 nts), Overnight bus (1 nt)
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.
Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Imaginative Traveller trips than your own. 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.
Some of the accommodation along the way is very basic, staying in local guesthouses and homestays with limited facilities. Some facilities are shared and some accommodation has cold water only. Multishare includes triple and quad rooms or even dorm rooms.
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.
No meals included
Budget for meals not included: USD 300.00
Bus, Metro, Overnight bus
Our overnight buses have reclinable seats - usually more comfortable than your average economy plane seats. You may be offered a simple dinner on board or stop at a service station to buy snacks and drinks. Before boarding an overnight bus, it's always a good idea to have music, a book, water and some snacks ready.
All Imaginative Traveller 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. Imaginative Traveller 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 Imaginative Traveller 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.
Serapio Rendón 119, Colonia San Rafael
The easiest and most convenient way to get from the airport to your hotel is by taxi. On your left as you exit customs you will find ?Transporte Terrestre? - you will need to purchase your ticket from the named ?Sitio 300?. Rates are fixed and a ride to Hotel Mallorca should cost you approximately US$15. Please avoid taking taxis from outside the airport.
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.
Hotel El Elefante
Calle 12 (b/n 1st Av. and beach)
Playa del Carmen
Phone: 52 984 873 0262
If you have pre-booked a departure transfer, please inform your leader and they will notify you of your departure transfer time.
If you are making your own way to the airport the hotel will be able to help book you an airport shuttle or taxi. Please ask at reception.
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, our local ground representative Viaventure can be reached on + 502 5207 4914 or +502 5778 4052.
We also have a dedicated 24hr telephone number which should only be used once you have left the UK and in the event of a real emergency. Should you need to call the number, we will do what we can to help but please bear in mind that real progress or action may not be possible until normal office hours.
If your flight is delayed or cancelled please let us know and then make your way to the joining hotel as instructed in these trip notes. If you cannot get through leave a message and a contact number as these will be regularly checked.
EMERGENCY NUMBER: +44 (0) 7985 106564
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 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.
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
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 if you may speak to their direct manager.
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.
Temperatures can be low in the winter months, especially at altitude, so bring a set of warmer clothes including thermal underclothes and a fleece jacket.
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.
During our trip there will be many opportunities for you to meet and talk with locals. One way to start any conversation is with pictures. We recommend that you bring some photos / postcards of your family, home, city or country where you live, animals peculiar to your country etc.
All Imaginative Traveller 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, Imaginative Traveller 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.
Dengue Fever is common in Latin America and can occur throughout the year. Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, Brazil and parts of Mexico are currently suffering from a serious outbreak. This virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. There is no vaccination against it, but there are preventative measures that you can take such as wearing long clothing, using repellent and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn.
The World Health Organisation has countries in Latin America registered as zones affected by hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, cholera, rabies and malaria.
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 Imaginative Traveller itinerary, and Imaginative Traveller 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.
While travelling in this part of the world there is 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Please take care when taking part in any activities in the ocean, river or open water, where waves and currents can be unpredictable. It's expected that anyone taking part in water activities is able to swim and have experience in open water. All swimmers should seek local advice before entering the water.
Horse riding is an option available to groups on this trip. Please note however that horse riding is usually not covered by your travel insurance and helmets are not always available. If riding without a helmet is a concern then you should bring our own.
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.
We highly recommend the Imaginative Traveller insurance which is tailored specifically for adventure travel and covers ALL activities featured in any of our tours. For more details please go to www.imaginative-travellert.com/travel-insurance.
At Imaginative Traveller we love helping our clients experience the beauty and cultures of the destinations we visit. However, hand in hand with this we have always been aware that we have a responsibility to minimise any negative impacts that tourism can bring.
Responsible Travel is twofold. It’s about taking people to the places they want to go in a safe and responsible manner but also about respecting and maintaining the natural and often delicate balance of the destination. Economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, but should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment.
• It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit.
• We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.
• Whilst it is our aim to show destinations and cultures in a positive light, we do not believe in papering over the cracks or shielding visitors from the realities of life. This does not mean, however, that we condone or endorse certain situations or regimes that may be in place.
Our guidelines are meant not as rigid instructions but rather as suggestions to make our holidays more enjoyable – for everybody. As cultural and environmental sensitivities vary from country to country more specific guidelines can be found in our individual country and trip dossiers.
Before you depart try to spend some time familiarising yourself with the destination you will be travelling to – their culture and customs. The country dossiers on our website offer detailed information about all the regions we visit. They also include some useful phrases in the local language for you to use on your trip! A few words of the local language can open up many more opportunities for you to interact with the people you will meet.
Although it is tempting to give out pens, sweets and money to people begging, and particularly tempting to give to children, we feel that this encourages a begging mentality and has a long-term negative impact on communities. If someone begging earns more than someone in the same community who works this can discourage local employment. If children regularly bring home money it may discourage their parents from sending them to school. It is of course your own personal choice but you could consider giving to registered charities or contributing to our Responsible Travel fund instead. Money donated through our fund to our worldwide projects is matched pound for pound by Imaginative Traveller and used to help local grassroots projects.
Always ask permission to photograph local people and respect their decision if they would prefer not to have their picture taken.
Respect local dress codes, especially at religious sites. Our tour leaders are always on hand to give you advice about this.
In many of the countries we visit you might see examples of animal cruelty (for example dancing bears, performing monkeys and snake charmers). Please do not take photographs of this or offer money as it encourages the activity.
Respect the environment you are in. It sounds obvious but do not throw litter, take it with you or use rubbish bins! You may see locals throwing rubbish on the street but do not follow their example!
When shopping in countries where haggling is the norm – enjoy it and only pay what you feel is a fair price for the goods you are purchasing. However, remember that the shopkeeper does have to make a living so do stop once you have reached a price you are happy with. Bargaining should be fun but always remember that a small amount can mean much more to the vendor than to you.
Endeavor to take home souvenirs made locally; the money you spend can be very important to the local communities. However, do use your common sense and don’t buy anything that you think might be made out of endangered animals or plants.
To help keep as much money as possible in the host country - try to eat in locally owned restaurants and order local drinks and produce rather than international brands.
In hotels do be conscious of how much water you are using. Many of the areas we visit regularly have shortages; try not to have hour long showers! Don’t leave lights, air conditioners or fans on when you leave the room – you wouldn’t at home!
Respect the environment you are in, especially when in national parks or reserves. Pay attention to rules about keeping on paths, keeping a distance from animals and not removing any of the natural habitat.
Relax and immerse yourself in the differences of the culture you are in – you’ll be back home in the familiar soon enough (and wishing you were still on holiday!). These cultural differences are part of what makes your experience special.
If you would like to offset the carbon dioxide that will be produced on your flights you can do this on our website (on our Responsible travel page). We work with climatecare, who will reduce the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide that you produce in another part of the World through their emission reduction projects. These projects are low carbon efficient technologies in developing countries and not only serve to reduce emissions but also help to spread the adoption of low carbon technologies and improve the quality of life for local communities. Details of climatecare’s projects can be found on their website.
Please do let us know if you have any comments about responsible travel at email@example.com
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 Imaginative Traveller travellers. Imaginative Traveller'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.
Our tailor made adventure holidays will truly inspire and delight the senses and will live in your memory for ever.more info
Join us on one of our worldwide adventures coming up over the next few months - all guaranteed to depart, all at 20% off.more info