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, all on-site training courses (except optional additional courses), diving, $1.5 million (£1 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.
Optional training courses and equipment hire
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 in which you are buying these Manuals and the contents of the Packs). 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. This works out at £40/$64 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) and the internal travel.
Visa on arrival costs:
30 day visa = 25 Euros
31-60 day visa = 30 Euros
61-90 day visa = 45 Euros
(N.B Can be paid in Pounds, Euros and Dollars at Antananarivo airport on arrival)
Money to bring with you
You will need enough spending money (in Malagasy Ariary, the local currency) to cover personal on-site expenditure. This may include snack and souvenir purchases made at local shops. As a rough guidance soft drinks cost 2,000 Ariary, beers 5,000 Ariary and biscuits are 1,000 Ariary on site. Souvenirs are in the range of 30,000 – 50,000 Ariary depending on the item.
Please make sure that you get cash at the ATM at the airport in Antananarivo, because there are very few opportunities to withdraw cash after this. We advise against bringing travellers cheques because you will have virtually no opportunity to change them. If you do want to bring cash there is a changing office at the airport that can change US dollars, Euros, or Pounds.
Unfortunately the ATMs only give large denominations (notes of either 5,000 or 10,000 MA), and so if you are planning on buying any sweets or gifts when (for example) you pass through the villages on the way to and from the site, you will need small change.
Please also consider arranging a contingency fund to cover any emergencies, and check with your bank that your card will work and is activated for use in Madagascar.