Mexico Real Food Adventure
from $1802
Duration: 9 Days
Get an authentic taste of Mexico on this journey through some of the country’s most famous culinary regions. Meander through Oaxaca’s aromatic markets; take to the streets of Puebla to sample some the city’s local specialties; indulge in fresh seafood on the beach; and take to the streets of Mexico City on a taco crawl to experience a delightful culinary heritage that goes back thousands of years. If you’re after cultural richness, authentic experiences and flavoursome food that’s tinged with fiesta, then this Real Food Adventure is for you.
  • This trip takes you to the source of some of the nation's most iconic foods, from delicious tacos to spicy mole and beyond
  • In Oaxaca you'll enter the heart of pre-Hispanic cuisine; taste chiles, chocolate, mezcal and the surprisingly delicious chapulines (grasshoppers)
  • It may not be edible, but a Lucha Libre (theatrical 'freestyle wrestling') match in Puebla is an entertaining and memorable cultural experience
  • Take a guided ‘taco crawl’ through Mexico City’s bustling markets
  • A Pacific Ocean boating expedition followed by a coastal cuisine masterclass on one of Mexico's stunning beaches is the perfect way to wrap up your culinary adventure
  • Mexico City - Leader-led Taco Crawl
  • Mexico City - Centro Historico food tour and lunch
  • Puebla - City food tour
  • Oaxaca - Mercado Tlacolula visit with Barbocoa Tasting
  • Oaxaca - Mezcaleria visit
  • Oaxaca - Mitla Ruins (Entrance)
  • Boating Expedition
  • Huatulco - Cooking Class
  • Day 1 Location: Mexico City
    Bienvenidos! Welcome to Mexico City. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 7 pm where you'll meet your tour leader and travel group. Please check with the hotel reception where and when it will take place. This evening your leader will take you on a 'taco crawl' around town. You'll taste Mexico City’s delicious street-food staple, tacos al pastor, among others. Along the way you'll stop in for a sip of mezcal at one of the many venues that continue to pop up all around Mexico City.
    Day 2 Location: Mexico City
    Indulge in a sweet morning with a visit to a local Chuerreria making Mexico's signature cinnamon dusted fried dough churros. Then enjoy a visit to a Mexico City institution: a two-storey bakery brimming with cakes, breads and biscuits, followed by a walking tour of Mexico City's Centro Historico. Take in the beautiful Bellas Artes Palace, travel down the Paseo de la Reforma (the city's main thoroughfare) and marvel at the impressive Zocalo (Latin America's largest main square). Along the way you'll visit Mercado San Juan, the city’s main food market, then roam the surrounding streets and watch local vendors at work. If you come across tortillas being freshly pressed, be sure to try them warm with a sprinkle of salt. Pull up a chair at one of the best seafood stands in the city for a late lunch. The rest of your day is free for your own exploration. Perhaps relax in Chapultepec Park or take in some of the city's notable museums, including the renowned Museo Nacional de Antropologia (anthropological museum), which is considered one of the finest in the world. Alternatively, head to the leafy district of Coyoacan – a world away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Mexico City. There you can enjoy the Sunday markets or perhaps check out the home of artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. This evening, you will again be able to explore more of Mexico City’s vibrant dining scene.
    Day 3 Location: Puebla
    Catch a local bus to Puebla, Mexico’s culinary capital. The city is renowned for dishes which combine Spanish and pre-hispanic influences, such as chiles en nogada (stuffed chillies covered in creamy walnut sauce). Venture out on a culinary city tour – start with some Pueblan street food before making a beeline for Calle de los Dulces (Sweet Street) to sample tortitas de Santa Clara (shortbread biscuits) and camotes (sweet potato lollies). Check out the much-loved and very colourful Lucha Libre wrestling this evening, a unique combination of sport and theatre!
    Day 4 Location: Puebla/Oaxaca
    This morning you have free time to explore Puebla and perhaps enjoy a few more chalupas, before catching a local bus to Oaxaca (approximately 4-6 hours depending on traffic) - a beautiful colonial city nicknamed the ‘land of the seven moles’. Visit the fabulous Mercado Benito Juarez, a bountiful market taking up a full city block and brimming with produce, mole spices and pastes, and towers of Oaxacan cheese. Maybe try local specialties like chapulines (grasshoppers)! Chocoholics won’t want to miss a trip down to the shops on Calle Mina for a taste of real Oaxaca chocolate – it’s no wonder it’s seen as the food of the gods! For dinner, you'll have the option to dine at a traditional local restaurant featuring regional specialties.
    Day 5 Location: Oaxaca
    Partake in a traditional breakfast of chocolate, tamales and pan y yemas. Your afternoon is free to explore Oaxaca’s many other culinary delights. Any carnivores will relish the pasillo de carnes asadas (grilled meats hall) at Mercado 20 de Noviembre, where freshly purchased meat is barbecued right in front of you. Those with a sweet tooth can find several shops on Calle Mina (just south of Mercado 20 de Noviembre) at which to learn about the production of real Oaxacan chocolate – and of course taste this regional specialty. Alternatively you can visit the archaeological site of Monte Alban, an outstanding example of a pre-Columbian ceremonial centre. The terraces, dams, canals, pyramids and artificial mounds of Monte Alban were carved out of the mountain.
    Day 6 Location: Oaxaca
    Today you will venture out of Oaxaca for an insight into regional life. Visit Mercado Tlacolula, one of the oldest markets in Mesoamerica. This is a unique opportunity to witness the ancient Zapotec cultural traditions of dress, cuisine and language, as the community gathers together from neighbouring villages. Perhaps also pay a visit to Teotitlan del Valle to watch traditional Zapotec rug weaving done by local families. Indulge in a meal of Oaxacan barbacoa, then head to the ancient ruins of Mitla. Mitla (the Nahuatl word for 'underworld') is an important Zapotec archaeological site and was the main religious centre for the Zapotec people. On the way back to Oaxaca, stop into a mezcaleria (mezcal distillery). Although this tequila-like drop is experiencing a resurgence in popularity all over Mexico, it is largely produced in Oaxaca. It's generally enjoyed straight-up, so it's not for the faint-hearted!
    Day 7 Location: Huatulco
    Board a morning bus for the long but scenic drive to Huatulco (appx. 9 hours). We will stop at a local village for lunch along the way. This is your chance to relax and unwind, as this town belongs to one of the most beautiful stretches of beach on Mexico's Pacific coast and we stay minutes away from the water. It's also quieter and less touristy than some of the bigger beachside spots, although these are accessibly by taxi. Pull up a chair at one of the restaurants or perhaps pay a visit to the local food markets. We spend the night in Huatulco (approximately 1 hour).
    Day 8 Location: Huatulco
    Enjoy a cooking class and feast on your creations in a traditional meal celebrating the bounty of the Costa region of Oaxaca. After savouring these traditional coastal dishes, head out on a boating expedition. If you're lucky you might spot turtles, stingrays or even dolphins. The rest of the day is free for you to explore or simply relax by the water. Perhaps make a toast to the end of your adventure with a glass of mezcal by the ocean.
    Day 9 Location: Huatulco
    Your adventure ends today. There are no activities planned for the final day.
    Dates
    Prices
    Availability
    Departure Date:
    15FEB2020
    Return Date:
    23FEB2020
    2395NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    07MAR2020
    Return Date:
    15MAR2020
    2120NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    25APR2020
    Return Date:
    03MAY2020
    1985NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    27JUN2020
    Return Date:
    05JUL2020
    1985NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    18JUL2020
    Return Date:
    26JUL2020
    1985NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    08AUG2020
    Return Date:
    16AUG2020
    1985NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    05SEP2020
    Return Date:
    13SEP2020
    2025NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    19SEP2020
    Return Date:
    27SEP2020
    1985NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    03OCT2020
    Return Date:
    11OCT2020
    2120NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    17OCT2020
    Return Date:
    25OCT2020
    2120NZD
    available
    Last modified (date)

    27 Jan 2020

    Trip title

    Mexico Real Food Adventure

    Trip code

    QVZA

    Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020

    Introduction

    Get an authentic taste of Mexico on this journey through some of the country’s most famous culinary regions. Meander through Oaxaca’s aromatic markets; take to the streets of Puebla to sample some the city’s local specialties; indulge in fresh seafood on the beach; and take to the streets of Mexico City on a taco crawl to experience a delightful culinary heritage that goes back thousands of years. If you’re after cultural richness, authentic experiences and flavoursome food that’s tinged with fiesta, then this Real Food Adventure is for you.

    Style

    Original

    Themes

    Food

    Transport

    Private Vehicle,Local Bus,Boat,Metro,Taxi

    Physical Rating

    2

    Joining point

    Ibis Styles Mexico Zona Rosa

    #115 Liverpool Street, Juarez

    Zona Roma

    Mexico

    06600

    MEXICO

    Phone: (+52) 5541252900

    Joining point description

    A 3-minute walk from a metro station in a slick modern building, this vibrant hotel is 2.4 km from hilltop Chapultepec Castle and 2.7 km from the exhibits at Museo Nacional de Antropología. Decorated with flashes of bold color, the bright rooms feature flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi and air-conditioning. They also have desks. Suites add separate living areas and extra beds.

    Joining point instructions

    Intrepid offers a pre-arranged arrival transfer service from Mexico City International Airport [MEX] at an additional fee. If you have pre-booked this service, please ensure you provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel so the transfer can be organised. If you have pre-booked this service, please look for a sign with the Intrepid logo and your name on it; the driver will be located nearby to the Information Desk specific to your arrival terminal. Terminal 1 Domestic Arrivals – Information Desk A1 (in front of door 2) Terminal 1 International Arrivals – Information Desk E1 (in front of door 7) Terminal 2 Domestic Arrivals – Information Desk Q (in front of door 4) Terminal 2 International Arrivals – Information Desk N (in front of door 3) If you have any problems and cannot locate your driver on arrival, please call our Intrepid Emergency number listed under the ‘Problems and emergency contact information’ section of your Essential Trip Information document. If you don’t have a device or mobile coverage, Mexico City Airport has a free Wi-Fi connection, so you can call that same number via an online application such as Skype. There are also several information desks and tourist information desks around if you require further assistance. Otherwise, you can travel from the Mexico City Airport to the hotel by taxi. We recommend you use the authorised taxi services organised from inside the terminal. They will charge you approximately MX$250-350 (USD$14-20) for a trip to downtown. The drive to where the hotel is located is approximately 30 minutes depending on traffic.

    Finish point

    Hotel Xestal

    Boulevard Chahue Lot 37 Block 4 S, Sector R, 70989 Santa Cruz Huatulco, Oax., Mexico

    Huatulco

    Huatulco

    70980

    MEXICO

    Phone: 52 9585872372

    Finish point description

    Hotel Xestal is located within walking distance of restaurants, convenience stores and the beach. The hotel facilities include a swimming pool, wifi, 24 hour reception and luggage storage. Rooms are fitted with a TV, fan, air conditioning and private bathroom.

    Finish point instructions

    The nearest airport is Huatulco Airport (HUX) which is approximately 15-20 minutes drive from Hotel Xestal. We are happy to arrange a departure transfer for you at an additional charge. Please ask your booking agent if you would like to add this service and provide your flight details at least 14 days prior to the start of your tour. Alternatively, please ask the hotel reception staff for assistance arranging a taxi. You can expect the trip to cost approximately MXN60-80.

    Alternate Finish point

    For trips departing on the following dates, use this finish point.

    25 Apr 2020 (QVZA200425), 27 Jun 2020 (QVZA200627), 18 Jul 2020 (QVZA200718), 08 Aug 2020 (QVZA200808), 05 Sep 2020 (QVZA200905), 19 Sep 2020 (QVZA200919), 03 Oct 2020 (QVZA201003), 17 Oct 2020 (QVZA201017), 07 Nov 2020 (QVZA201107), 21 Nov 2020 (QVZA201121), 12 Dec 2020 (QVZA201212)

    Hotel Santa Cruz Huatulco

    Santa Cruz Boulevard # 203, E Section, Huatulco.

    Huatulco

    MEXICO

    Phone: +52 958 587 1080

    Alternate Finish point description

    Hotel Santa Cruz is surrounded by restaurants, cafes and shops and it is only a short 6 minute stroll to the beach. The hotel features a pool with plenty of outdoor seating and free Wi-Fi and rooms are equipped with private bathrooms, tv and air conditioning.

    Alternate Finish point instructions

    The nearest airport is Huatulco Airport (HUX) which is approximately 20-25 minutes drive from Hotel Santa Cruz. We are happy to arrange a departure transfer for you at an additional charge. Please ask your booking agent if you would like to add this service and provide your flight details at least 14 days prior to the start of your tour. Alternatively, please ask the hotel reception staff for assistance arranging a taxi. You can expect the trip to cost approximately MXN70-90.

    Important information

    SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: A single supplement is available on this trip. Please enquire at time of booking. ON ENTRY: Please note on arrival into Mexico Immigration will give you a document with the number of days you are allowed to stay in Mexico. You will need to keep this document safe and show this document to the airline when you leave the country. A possible fee of approximately 500 MXN will be charged to you if you lose this document. IMPORTANT NOTES: This tour finishes in Huatulco. You may wish to plan some additional days here or in nearby Mazunte to enjoy the beach following your trip. Flights to Mexico City depart regularly from both Huatulco (HUX) and Puerto Escondido (PXM) airports. For ease of travel and the best rates we strongly suggest booking round trip flights in and out of Mexico City and purchasing your flight from Huatulco or Mazunte to Mexico City in advance.

    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. You can expect your Intrepid Food Adventures group leader to be passionate about the local food scene and keen to share their insider knowledge on the best authentic local food and drink experiences throughout your trip. 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.

    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 and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight 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 or relax and take it easy. While your 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 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:

    https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safety-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 or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

    TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD: 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!

    SEAT BELTS: Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.

    FIRE PRECAUTIONS: 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.

    Visas

    Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Your consultant will contact you when this is required. Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and leave another copy at home with family or friends.

    Why we love it

    This trip takes you to the source of some of the nation's most iconic foods, from delicious tacos to spicy mole and beyond

    In Oaxaca you'll enter the heart of pre-Hispanic cuisine; taste chiles, chocolate, mezcal and the surprisingly delicious chapulines (grasshoppers)

    It may not be edible, but a Lucha Libre (theatrical 'freestyle wrestling') match in Puebla is an entertaining and memorable cultural experience

    Take a guided ‘taco crawl’ through Mexico City’s bustling markets

    A Pacific Ocean boating expedition followed by a coastal cuisine masterclass on one of Mexico's stunning beaches is the perfect way to wrap up your culinary adventure

    Is this trip right for you

    This trip aims to give you an exciting, diverse and well-rounded experience of a country’s cuisine. While we endeavour to cater for specific dietary requirements, some meals and food activities are set in advance and may be difficult to adjust. Please be aware that in many countries dietary restrictions are not common or well understood. If you have dietary requirements, simply contact your agent at the time of booking for further information on how this may impact on your ability to take part in included activities and meals. Come with an open mind and open mouth, and you won’t be disappointed! You will be covering a fair amount of ground on this trip, so be prepared for some driving. Mexico is a big country. However, there's only one very long bus trip (approximately 9 hours), from Oaxaca to Huatulco.

    Health

    All 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 Travel 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 before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared. DENGUE FEVER: 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. WHO REPORTS: The World Health Organisation has countries in Latin America registered as zones affected by hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, cholera, rabies and malaria. DRINKING WATER: As a rule we recommend you don't drink tap water, even in hotels, as it contains much higher levels of different minerals than the water you may have at home. For local people this is not a problem as their bodies are used to this and can cope, but for visitors drinking the tap water can result in illness. Generally this isn't serious, an upset stomach being the only symptom, but it's enough to spoil a day or two of your holiday. Bottled water is widely available and your leader can recommend safe alternatives when available. Water consumption should be about three litres a day. Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhoea blockers are available from many pharmacies. ZIKA VIRUS: There have been reports of transmission of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in this region and we advise all travellers to protect themselves from mosquito bites. Given possible transmission of the disease to unborn babies, and taking a very cautious approach, we recommend all women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant to consult with their doctors before booking their trip.

    Food and dietary requirements

    While we will endeavour to cater to dietary requirements where possible, please note that many meals and food activities on Real Food Adventures are set in advance in order to deliver a well-rounded experience of a country’s cuisine. In many countries, dietary restrictions are uncommon and not well understood. If you have dietary requirements and are concerned about whether this may impact on your ability to participate fully in all food-related activities on this trip, please contact your agent at time of booking for further information. If you have dietary requirements and/or food allergies, you must notify your booking agent prior to departure so it can be determined whether your dietary requirements can be met. Meals & Beverages: Please refer to the inclusions section for the included meals and food activities. Beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) are not included with meals unless specified or part of a beverage tasting activity. 

    Money matters

    SPENDING MONEY: When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document). BUDGET: Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. We suggest USD200.00 for meals not included on this trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less. Mexico currency information - The official currency of Mexico is the Mexican Peso (MXN). You can pay with major credit and debit cards at many hotels, restaurants and stores but otherwise plan on making cash purchases with pesos. You can use major credit cards and some debit cards to withdraw pesos from ATMs and over the counter at banks. Few businesses accept US dollars however this is the easiest currency to exchange. ACCESSING MONEY 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 USD100 per day. It's also advisable to carry some cash in small denominations bills, for those times when ATMs may not be available. US dollars is the most readily changeable currency. VERY IMPORTANT: USD100 bills with serial number CB or BE and any other USD bills that are old, torn, written or stamped on will not be accepted by local banks. TIPPING If you're happy with the service you receive, providing 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 destinations. Please note we recommend that any tips are given directly to the intended recipient by a member of your group, rather than collected and passed on by the group leader. The recommended tipping amounts are listed in USD for the relatability of universal travellers. We do however recommend that you tip in the local currency - Hold on to your smaller notes and coins to make tipping easier. The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers: - Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest US$5. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% of your bill. - Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide. We suggest US$3-5 per passenger per day. - 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 suggest US$3-6 per day for drivers. - Local guides: There might be times during the trip where you’ll have a specialist local guide alongside your trip leader. We suggest tipping these guides about USD$2-3 per day. - Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline USD$2-4 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. In total, we recommend you budget approx USD$5-10 per day of your trip to cover tipping. Over the years we have found that many of our travellers find the need for tipping to be both tiresome and embarrassing, especially if they don't have the correct small change. To overcome this, we have established a tipping kitty system. At your group meeting, your tour leader may discuss the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. Mexico - If you enter Mexico by air, the MX$500 immigration fee is included in your airfare. If you enter Mexico overland, the immigration office will arrange for you to pay this fee at a nearby bank. You will receive an FMM card upon entry which you need to retain and present upon exiting the country. If you exit Mexico overland, there is a Mexican Tourist Fee (DNI - Derecho de No Inmigrante) of MX$558 (US$30). CONTINGENCY FUNDS We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result there may be some extra costs involved. The recommended amount is listed in USD for the relatability of universal travellers, however the local currency is needed in the countries you are visiting.

    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, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes). Many 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 also 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. Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:

    https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list

    WARM CLOTHING: 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.

    WATER BOTTLE 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 use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation or simply refill with tap water (your leader will advise whether tap water is safe to drink in your destination). When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day.

    Climate and seasonal

    HURRICANE SEASON: Please note hurricane season is June to November when landslides, mudslides, flooding and disruptions to essential services can occur. Intrepid monitors situations as they arise, and may need to change itineraries or activities in response to these natural weather occurrences.

    A couple of rules

    Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption. The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips. By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund. If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.

    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. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

    Emergency contact

    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. For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/ BOOKING ENQUIRIES / ISSUES For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at: www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us CRISIS AND EMERGENCIES In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, please contact our local office: Intrepid's Local Operator (located in Costa Rica): +506 6022 4721 Intrepid's Local Operator: +506 6022 4721

    Responsible travel

    Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers and staff are trained on these principles, and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel. Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/responsible-travel http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller Latin Americans can be very conscious of appearance so try to be casual but conservative in your dress. Outside of beach areas halter tops and very short shorts should not be worn. When visiting churches or religious sites shoulders and knees should be covered.

    The Intrepid Foundation

    Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed more than AU $6 million to over 100 community organisations since 2002. Did you know that tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the global economy, making up 1 out of every 10 jobs? That’s why we support local projects that create meaningful jobs and give people the skills they need to work in the destinations we take you to. And it’s why we exist – to make it easy for travellers to give back to the communities and places they’ve been in an effective and meaningful way. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation are matched by Intrepid Group dollar for dollar (up to AU$10,000 per donor and AU$500,000 in total each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And because Intrepid Group covers all administration costs, every cent goes directly to the projects. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information about the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or visit our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

    Accommodation notes

    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 lodgings 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. OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION 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. TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on a different Intrepid trip than your own. CHECK-IN TIME 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. PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (subject to availability), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.

    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 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. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php

    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. 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 Essential Trip Information. 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.

    Itinerary disclaimer

    ITINERARY CHANGES: Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, 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 may be on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

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