- About This Trip
- Minimum Requirements
- Minimum & Maximum Numbers
- Local Laws
- Joining and Ending Your Trip
- Arrival Complications
- Passports and Visas
- Travel Insurance
- Rooming & Solo Travellers
- Included & Optional Activities
- Currency & Money
- Spending Money
- Problems & Emergency Contact Information
- Police & Ambulance
- Safety Information
- Responsible Travel
- Age, Fitness & Participation
- Illness or Disability
- Check List
- Weather Appropriate Clothing
About This Trip
This tour takes us from the city life of San Jose to the laid back vibes of Cahuita on the Caribbean coast, then on to the island life of Bocas Del Toro, where you can pick up some Creole while enjoying the gorgeous Caribbean waters. Then it’s up to the highlands, to Boquete where you get back to nature with some phenomenal hiking trails to spot the elusive Quetzal relax in some waterfalls, or engage one of the available adrenaline-pumping activities. We will sloth, snorkel, hike and fly our way to the metropolis-meets-colonial styled city of Panama, where that world famous canal is waiting for you.
The main requirement for traveling with West Adventures is an adventurous spirit. We deliberately do not cater to specific demographics, believing that a shared wanderlust, an appreciation for our planet, and a commitment to a group experience are the most important ingredients in making a trip successful.
In order to get the most out of your trip, though, you should be reasonably fit and enjoy the outdoors. We also restrict our clients to a minimum of age 18, although we will accept clients as young as 14 if they are accompanied by a parent or designated adult.
Minimum & Maximum Numbers
The minimum number of clients for this trip to go is five; when we reach that number, it will be “Guaranteed.” Please do not book flights prior to assurance that the departure is confirmed. Please see our Booking Terms and Conditions for our policies in the event that we have to cancel a departure.
The maximum number of clients on this trip is sixteen. We will indicate in the “Status” column of the “Trip Dates” when we are approaching maximum numbers.
All travellers with West Adventures Inc. or any trusted partners are expected to obey all laws and regulations of the countries and facilities visited. Any illegal drug use is unacceptable and will be cause for instant removal from the tour. No refunds will be issued in this case.
Smoking rules and regulations have been implemented throughout Central America, vary per state and change regularly. It will be up to the individual to ensure they know the regulations surrounding this activity.
Laws are strictly enforced and our tour guides/tour leaders are unable to help anyone who is arrested under local laws.
Joining and Ending Your Trip
We utilize several hotels within your start and end Cities. Your final pre-trip documents will indicate which is the hotel for your departure and give instructions for getting there. The trip officially starts with the group meeting, normally at 6 pm on the first day of the trip in San Jose. Look for a posted note or other information at the front desk of the joining hotel to confirm the time and place of the meeting and receive any last minute instructions or required information.
The trip ends on the morning at your ending hotel in Panama City.
You may want to add a day or two before or after your trip to enjoy San Jose or Panama City more, unless you are coming from or carrying on to one of our other tours already. We will be happy to book hotel accommodations and excursions for you, subject to availability. It is in your interests to book these as early as possible, as hotels and excursions tend to get fully booked in these areas. As most of our trips can be easily booked back to back. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call from within North America at 1-877-230-9699 or internationally at 1-604-546-7580 if you need assistance in this regard.
Taxis are a quick and easy way to get to and from the International Airports. The approximate fare to the city is between USD$35-45.
Specific details will be given with your final pre-trip documents.
Your final pre-trip documents will be emailed to you approximately 2 weeks prior to your departure.
If for any reason, you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please contact your trip leader at the contact provided on your final pre-trip documents as soon as possible so arrangements can be made to catch up with the group or let them know you will not be travelling.
Passports and Visas
It is the responsibility of the client to be in possession of a valid passport, visa permits, vaccinations and preventative medicines as may be required for the duration of the tour that has been booked. Information about these matters or related items is given in good faith but without responsibility on the part of West Adventures.
Medical insurance is mandatory for all clients travelling with West Adventures Inc. Clients, together with their personal property, including baggage, are at all times solely at their own risk. Clients are wholly responsible for arranging their own insurance. A suitable insurance policy should provide adequate cover for medical expenses arising through illness or accident prior to or during the trip and the cost of the trip through cancellation prior to or during the trip, for insurable reasons, as well as emergency repatriation. Clients should ensure that there are no exclusion clauses, limiting protection for the type of activities available during their trip whether included in the course of the tour provided by West Adventures Inc. or otherwise.
Proof of adequate insurance will be requested at the start of your trip and failure to provide this may result in you being prevented from joining the trip or portions of it, without refund.
You will be responsible for your own luggage at all times. We recommend travelling light. A small suitcase or backpack (preferred) and a day pack are probably all you need. There are laundry facilities along the way so that you can reuse your clothing, to keep the packing lighter. If you plan to do a lot of hiking, you may want to bring along hiking poles. We recommend the collapsible kind, for easy packing and storage and for the safety of fellow passengers.
MAXIMUM LUGGAE SIZE: a 65-litre backpack (preferred), or suitcase equivalent (approx. 32 x 15 x 12 inches, or 80 x 40 x 30 cm), and a small daypack.
The most widely spoken language in Mexico and Central America is Spanish. We always advise learning a few key words or phrases if you can, however, your tour leader and local guides will speak both English and Spanish.
Electrical current is 110 volts, 60Hz. American-style flat two-pin plugs. Sometimes you will find a plug with a third round grounding pin.
All accommodations during our Latin America tours are hotels. They are not five-star but they are clean and comfortable, convenient and provide all the basic needs for adventure travel. For specific information on hotels, please contact us.
Rooming & Solo Travellers
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation. All travellers will be matched up with another traveller of the same gender. If you would prefer a guaranteed room to yourself there will be a single supplement charged and single rooms are subject to availability.
If you prefer to have a room to yourself, you must select “Single Supplement” when making your booking. If you wish to room with someone specific who has made a separate booking, please advise us of your roommate’s name in the special requests box or by email at email@example.com .
We use several types of transportation for our trips. Smaller and larger private buses (with air conditioning), luxury public coaches (with air conditioning and bathroom), collective buses (with air conditioning), taxis, public boats/ferries (35 people and up) and sometimes for short jaunts, local ‘chicken’ buses, which capture the essence of the culture we are in.
No vaccinations are necessary for travel to the countries on this trip however many seasoned travellers make sure they are immunized for Hepatitis and make sure their routine vaccinations are up to date.
It is important that you bring along with you any medications you may require on the trip; as you will not likely be able to fill foreign prescriptions at localpharmacies. Also, you should advise your tour leader of medications you are on, in case an emergency situation arises while on your tour.
Should any medical emergencies arise, on this tour there are medical facilities close by.
Please contact the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by visiting www.cdc.gov/travel or by calling toll-free 1-800-232-4636.
Most dietary requirements can be handled easily, however, because you will be travelling through developing countries, patience is needed. If you have any specific requirements, we are happy to discuss this to ensure that your expectations will be met!
We do not recommend drinking water straight from the tap anywhere in Central America. You can choose to bring purification tablets with you or purchase bottled water. Some hotels provide water coolers or drinking water to buy, at a very reasonable price.
It is required that you be punctual at all times. This is a courtesy to other travellers and can negatively impact the operations of a trip if punctuality is not adhered to.
Included & Optional Activities
We include quite a few activities in our trips and expect that you have joined our trips because you want to participate in these types of activities. Included on this trip are a guided visit to Jaguar Rescue Center, full day snorkelling in Bocas del Toro, Coffee tour in Boquete, half transit or alternative tour in Panama City. You have the right to refrain from these included activities; however, in this case, you will not be refunded for the activities you choose not to participate in. When appropriate or necessary, the trip leader will attempt to arrange an alternative, but that will be at your additional expense.
There are plenty of opportunities, too, for optional activities. Your trip leader will brief you on the various options on arrival at any destination. Some of the optional activities you might want to consider are listed on your final documents.
Currency & Money
Our pricing is based on Canadian currency rates. If you are using a non-Canadian credit card for payment of your trip, your credit card company will apply the exchange rate of the day to your purchase.
We recommend having an amount of USD on you. Smaller bills ($10s and $20s) and unmarked are preferred by banks and money exchange houses. We recommend this in the event that Automatic Teller Machines (ATM’s) are not working. It doesn’t happen often, but we like for you to be prepared for any situation.
You can choose to use ATMs per country to withdraw local currency or USD to change into local currency.
Please be sure to make whatever arrangements are necessary with your financial institution back home, though, to ensure that your credit card or bank card is not denied by your provider. Also remember to check what sort of fees you may incur using your card(s).
Visa cards (debit or credit) are accepted more than MasterCard. We do not recommend travelling with an American Express card as it isn’t always accepted in other countries.
Tipping is deeply engrained in the tourism industry and is a pretty standard practice in Central America for services rendered. It is in most cases, entirely optional, though, and should reflect your level of satisfaction with the service. Occasionally, though, a “service fee” may be added to the bill, especially at higher end restaurants or when a group is being served. You should check your bill carefully before deciding on your tip. Typical tips vary. Generally it’s around 10% depending on the area.
Tipping is also anticipated in the wage structure for those who supply tourism services. You should anticipate tipping your guides for local excursions, both included and optional ones, 10 – 20% of the value of the trip you purchased. As for your tour leaders, it is entirely up to you but if you feel they have done a good job, it is appropriate to tip $4 – $8USD per day per leader.
Everyone’s spending pattern is different, and depends on your culinary preferences, the amount you drink, the optional activities you choose to participate in and the souvenirs you purchase. As a general rule in Central America we recommend $30-$50US a day.
Problems & Emergency Contact Information
While we always endeavor to provide the best possible experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit, sometimes things can go wrong. Should any problems occur while you are on your trip, you must discuss this with your trip leader right 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 recognize that there may be times when your trip leader may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction – if this is the case, please contact our operations office at 1-877-230-9699 (toll-free in the USA and Canada) or +1-604-546-7580 (office hours).
Keep in mind that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
Police & Ambulance
In case of an emergency, local authorities can be contacted by calling 911 – this is the toll-free phone number for the police, fire department and the ambulance in Costa Rica and Panama.
You are going to be travelling through developing countries.
We recommend not to be ‘flashy’ with your belongings and aim to blend in.
Be aware of past and current events, local situations and warnings, but you have no need to be afraid.
We try to minimise any negative aspects of tourism on the local area and its environment, so that the beauty will be enjoyed for generations to come. Whenever possible we will recycle glass, metal and plastics. Bring a reusable water drinking container with you to reduce waste.
The world and its people are diverse and add to the experience of travel. It is extremely important to show respect to those local customs and traditions when we travel, just as we would expect travellers to show you when visiting our home country.
Age, Fitness & Participation
All clients are expected to satisfy themselves prior to booking that they are ﬁt and able to complete the itinerary of their chosen tour as described by West Adventures. At the least, clients are expected to be able to carry their own luggage over short distances of up to 15 minutes walk and up several flights of stairs if required. Our hotels may or may not have concierge or porter services. Clients are also expected to accept that the tour(s) are described as “Adventure” and that travel around, and facilities in, developing countries will not always be of similar standards which they may be accustomed to at home. West Adventures reserves the absolute right to decline a booking at our discretion.
Clients agree to accept the authority and decisions of our tour leaders and trusted partners. If in the opinion of such person the health or conduct of a client before or after departure appears likely to endanger the safe, comfortable or happy progress of a tour, the client may be excluded from all or part of the tour. In the case of ill health, West Adventures may make such arrangements as it sees ﬁt and the associated total costs of these arrangements, including expenses of West Adventures, must be paid for by the client.
If a client is excluded as above or chooses to leave of their own free will or leaves due to ill health or any other reason there will be no refund of the tour price, extra services, surcharges, local payment or any local surcharges. All services forming part of the whole Package booked will be forfeit though may be recoverable through the client’s travel insurance in some circumstances.
Illness or Disability
Anyone suffering from illness or disability or undergoing treatment for any physical or medical condition must declare the true nature of such condition at the time of booking and make arrangements for the provision of any medication or other treatment which may be required during the tour. Failure to make such disclosure will constitute a breach of these booking conditions and result in such persons being excluded from the tour, in which case all monies paid will be forfeited.
At the end of your trip the trip leader will offer you an opportunity to complete a trip evaluation. We appreciate any and all feedback about your trip.
Credit/debit card, Cash (see Currency & Money)
Passport (with photocopies)
Travel insurance (with photocopies)
Airline e-tickets (with photocopies)
Any entry visas
Hand sanitizers/antibacterial wipes
Rain Cover or plastic bags for daypacks
Toiletries (biodegradable when possible)
Reusable water bottle
Watch or alarm clock
Camera & extra memory cards and batteries
A little dry laundry detergent
Weather Appropriate Clothing
Long-sleeved shirts or sweater
Fleece top or long sleeves
Comfortable clothing for sleeping
Nicer outfit for an evening out
Rain jacket or poncho
Hiking boots/Sturdy walking shoes
Comfortable walking shoes
Waterproof sport sandals