West Adventures is here for travellers. We use that word as a contrast to “tourists,” suggesting that we serve those who want to explore a region more extensively than those who simply park themselves at a vacation destination and stay local. Our trips are “overview” tours, taking travellers progressively from an origin city to a destination city, or on a circuit, and stopping to visit the highlights of the region along the way. We focus on getting beyond the highway, visiting those highlights in more depth, and stopping frequently along the routes to enjoy the vistas and feel the fresh air.
Our trips are road trips; we emphasize the journey, not only the destination. When getting you from A to B to C and into the back-country we make sure you have the most memorable route, not necessarily the shortest, but are careful to choose vehicles that are relatively comfortable, with individual seats rather than bench seats, for example. You should however, be prepared for some long travel days.
Our itineraries are also designed to be educational. Our guides are not simply tour leaders or trip facilitators; they are studied in the culture, history and geography of a region and provide commentary and learning experiences for the clients along the way.
We also identify ourselves as “Adventure” travel, which means we emphasize activities that are active over those that are passive. We hike and cycle, canoe, dive and snorkel, wade creeks and join in some adrenaline-pumping activities. It means, too that we attempt to get into the culture of a region, not merely observe it.
No clients, however, are forced into extreme sports, dangerous activities or uncomfortable encounters. First, we don’t include “extreme” and “dangerous” in the activities we choose. They are carefully vetted to ensure we stay well within any safety margins. Furthermore, there is plenty of room for flexibility on our tours and anyone can “opt out” of activities they may not be comfortable with.
You will be expected to handle and carry your own luggage at all times, and should be prepared to do so for more than just a short distance.
Because there is such a range of levels of fitness and health, you may be asked to fill out a Trip Suitability Form, especially if you are over 65, to ensure that the trip is a good match for you and you are a good match for the trip.
Our Signature Brand
Our Signature style focusses on getting you into nature, blends action and exploration, and visits both back-country and popular sites. Many of our North American trips are a combination of camping and hotels. Camping enhances the experience of getting into, and enjoying, the natural environment, and helps to build friendships with like-minded travellers from around the world. Unless specified as “back-country,” though, our campsites include full facilities and are relatively comfortable; for example, we use four-person tents for two and provide thick air mattresses, not just ground mats. For balance, a few days of camping are typically followed by several nights in hotels.
In Mexico and Central America, most of our accommodations are in hotels. This doesn’t mean though, that we sacrifice the experience of nature and the value of shared experiences; instead, we include more outdoor adventures as integral parts of our itineraries. Groups participate together in many activities.
Our hotels in Mexico and Central America are chosen to meet safety requirements and basic comforts; they are not, however, upscale or luxurious. When we are in areas that are hot we ensure there is air conditioning. We make every effort to provide WiFi when possible but it is spotty in some areas.
Our trips give you an amazing, brief experience of the highlight features and activities of a region. We can arrange alternative or custom trips for those who want to experience any of these in more depth.
To enjoy our trips, guests should be healthy and relatively fit. We do not have capacity for handicapped people; and depending on your level of fitness, and which tour you choose, your participation in some activities could be affected. With a few exceptions, such as our Trek West tours, a high level of fitness is not required.
To provide a broader range of options for travellers, though, we also provide some trips that are specially branded as follows:
These trips have no camping, may have less exposure to adrenaline-pumping activities and, sometimes, slightly upgraded hotels. This doesn’t mean sacrificing exposure to nature and culture. You will get most of the same experiences as our Signature brand, but at a little more comfortable level and maybe more relaxed pace. Comfy trips include basic but comfy 3* accommodations. You will still need to carry your own luggage and meet the fitness guidelines, however, in order to fully participate in, and appreciate the trip.
Because words are used differently around the world, let’s clarify: by hiking, we mean walks, whether casual or more strenuous, that are contained within a few hours or, at most, a day, and require only a day-pack and comfortable walking footwear. Hiking trails are available and encouraged on most of our trips. By trekking, we mean hikes that are multi-day, require overnight stays along the way, perhaps in basic campsite facilities, and usually require carrying a larger back-pack and higher quality hiking boots. For these itineraries, a higher level of fitness is also required. Clients who wish to book these trips should ensure that they have trained appropriately and achieved an adequate fitness level so as to be able to participate fully, and not hold back the rest of the group.
These are more in-depth wilderness experiences than our Signature trips, and are not “overview tours.” They typically have only basic camping or hut facilities and may involve extensive canoeing, rafting, trekking or trail-riding. Details are given in the Trip Notes for each trip.
These are three- to five-day trips that provide a base from which to explore one specific area or add to the experiences of our longer trips. These trips can be attached to the longer itineraries or be booked on their own, as well. Normally these trips are independent but for a small surcharge we can provide a private guide for you. There is no specific theme implied by the designation “Short Trips;” each has its individual theme and character. Some may be limited to special occasions, such as the Adams River Salmon Run.
If you have 5 or more people who want to travel together privately, we can create a completely new custom trip for you and your group. Please contact us if you are interested in having us create a custom trip for you. Here is an example of a custom trip we created for a special request group (click here).