What is covered by the expedition costs?
The expedition costs paid to Operation Wallacea cover virtually everything from the start point of the expedition to the finish point of the expedition. This includes all accommodation, food, transfers between sites, all on-site training courses (except optional additional courses), diving, $1.5 million medical and evacuation insurance, academic supervision, provision of all the support and medical staff and participation in any of the research projects being offered. The whole science programme and subsequent reporting is supported by the expedition costs.
The only exceptions are the Dominica National Parks entry fee which is payable by each person ($24) This fee covers both your visit to the terrestrial and the marine site, and will be included in the last expedition payment.
Optional training courses and equipment hire
There is the option to complete a half day canyoning experience ($120) whilst at the terrestrial site. There is plenty to do without including this optional course but it is available should you wish to complete the training.
If you have opted to do the PADI Open Water dive training course the training and diving is included in the expedition costs but you have to bring with you a PADI Open Water Manual with PIC card (approximately $75 – $125 depending on the country from which you are obtaining these Manuals). Other additional dive training courses (Advanced, Emergency First Response and Rescue Diver) can be done on site but are charged for as additional optional courses.
If you are diving and have your own dive equipment bring it with you, but if not there is equipment available to rent; mask and snorkel ($2.50 a day), fins ($2.50 a day), BCD ($5 a day) and regulator ($5 a day). This works out at $90 a week for a full set of dive kit hire. Weights, dive belts and full dive tanks are provided free of charge.
Travel, airport tax and visa costs
You are responsible for your own travel costs to and from the start and finish points of the expedition (see travel advice page).
Most nationalities are granted a visa on arrival in Dominica, including citizens of the US, Canada, and EU countries. If you are a nationality included in the Visa on Arrival scheme in Dominica, then you will not be charged for entering the country. This visa on arrival lasts for 90 days, which will be more than sufficient to cover your expedition with Operation Wallacea. However you may need to pay a departure tax when you leave Dominica (approximately $23, payable in USD or in the local currency equivalent). The departure tax is now included in the ticket cost of some flights but you should check this before travelling.
Money to bring with you
You will need enough spending money to cover personal on-site expenditure only. This may include snack and souvenir purchases made at local shops and dive equipment hire for those at the marine sites. There is a small snack shop in the forest and at the marine site there is a small cafe that sells drinks and snacks.
The local currency is the EC (Eastern Caribbean Dollar), although US dollars are accepted in the larger stores and restaurants. There is no ATM at the airport in Dominica, so you should exhange your money before leaving the airport you are transitting through, or obtain local currency while you are still at home. Try to only take the amount of money that you anticipate spending, and if necessary use local currency for your departure tax.
Dive equipment rental will be prepaid before going to Dominica.
Please also consider arranging a contingency fund to cover any emergencies, and check with your bank that your card will work in Dominica if you plan on using it.