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 Cusuco National Park one off entry fee which is payable by each person entering the forest ($25) and the Utila and Tela one off reef fees payable by each person visiting these sites ($20). These costs will be included in your internal travel package invoice.
Optional training courses and equipment hire
In Cusuco there is the option of completing a canopy access training course ($170 or £110). 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. Dive Master training is included in the expedition costs but is an intensive course requiring 4 weeks of dedicated time on site and should therefore be arranged before your expedition.
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 a day), fins ($2 a day), BCD ($5 a day) and regulator ($5 a day). This works out at $70 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).
Flights into Honduras will most likely include a transit in the United States and, although you will not necessarily be staying in the country, you will need to obtain an ESTA (an entry visa for the US). These can be organised by visiting the US Government website, and cost $14 for a visa which is valid for two years. If you are a nationality included in the Visa on Arrival scheme in Honduras, 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.
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.
Although the local Honduran currency is Lempiras, almost all payments in country can be made in US Dollars. Changing money to Lempiras will not normally be possible outside of Honduras, so we would recommend you change a small amount on arrival in one of the large hotels in San Pedro Sula. Alternatively you could use an ATM in San Pedro Sula, although these will only give you Lempiras. Please bear in mind that any Lempiras you bring back home with you will not be able to be changed, and so you should only change what you will need, and try to use any remaining Lempiras before you leave.
Payments for additional courses at the marine sites (Tela and Utila) can be made using a credit card, although you will need to ensure that your card will work in Honduras. Dive equipment rental can be paid in cash or by card in Utila and Tela.
Please also consider arranging a contingency fund to cover any emergencies, and check with your bank that your card will work in Honduras if you plan on using it.