Tour experience July 2018

Hi! Having just returned from the July 2018 trip, I have a few insights:

• I used old sneakers for the wet landings and left them on board at the end of the trip (the boats have a bin for items travelers want to leave behind); however, more often than not, it was just as easy (and safe and comfortable) to take shoes off and go barefoot, then put socks/shoes back on. The zodiac drivers and guides will endeavor to make it as dry as possible and you can time your getting off/getting back on to coincide with the lowest water levels. When I got wet, it was mostly from the knees down (some splashes above the knee, but not "soaked"). A tip from a fellow traveler: dry sand will take wet sand off! I tried it, and it works! Then you can just brush the dry sand away (with a little extra attention to between your toes) :-)

• I wore bug-repellant clothing instead of taking bug repellant, because I don't like spraying chemicals all over myself and the "organic" options don't seem to work very well. InsectShield is the technology and the brand has its own line of clothing, and, though it's relatively inexpensive, it seems to be geared more toward construction workers (heavy-duty). This site is good for basics like socks, bandanas, etc. Outdoor/travel/adventure retailers like Royal Robbins, Ex Officio, Orvis and REI sell items with InsectShield that are lighter-weight (and also offer sun protection, wicking, quick-dry and other features), fit better and (IMO) are more stylish. I wear my bug-repellant clothing all the time, not just on trips.

• Check with your doc for altitude sickness medicine to make sure it doesn't conflict with anything else you are taking. I had medicine that I took for a few days (not all the time we were at altitude, though others' medications continued on) and I also drank the coca tea. No issues for me! PS If you are concerned that coca = cocaine, think of it this way: coca is to cocaine as grapes are to wine. It won't make you high.

A couple of other insights:

• Tauck suggests bringing a water bottle. This is a waste of luggage space! During the land portion, Tauck provides copious amounts of water bottles and the ship gives you a reusable bottle (since plastic bottles aren't allowed on the islands).

• Sun protection is a must this close to the equator, even on cool or overcast days. A hat with large brim and/or neckflap will be very useful; a chin strap will help keep it on during windy boat rides, etc. I also wear sun-protective clothing (as I do every day!) to forestall the need for lotions and potions.

• The boat sells simple point-and-shoot underwater cameras. However, on our trip the naturalists/guides used their very wonderful equipment to take pix (above and under water) and gave us a disc with a slide show. It was fantastic, and much better than any of our amateur efforts. I don't know whether this happens with every tour (my impression is it is).

• If you have dietary limitations, just let your tour director know. Everyone did a fantastic job for those of us who needed it, from suggesting safe options on the buffets/menus to preparing special dishes.

Have fun!


  • edited August 2018
    One note about the Tauck/Ship provided water bottles- the ones we were given were made from stainless steel and very nice "looking"- similar to a Yeti, but, as we quickly learned, were only single walled and not insulated, so the water (ice water- I tried!) warmed up quickly. Not sure if this is typical, but our TD provided everyone with a very colorful "Inca style"(?) water bottle carry sling.

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