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 exception are the Park Entry fees which are payable by each person entering the forest (£17/$27) or the marine site (£10/$16). This can be paid at the same time as paying for your in-country travel expenses.
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 from which you are obtaining these Manuals and the contents of the pack). 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, fins, BCD and regulator. This works out at $80 a week for a full set of dive kit hire based on five days diving. 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 Mexico will sometimes 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 (https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/), 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 Mexico, 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. You may need to pay a departure tax when you leave Mexico (approximately $48) however this is normally included in flight costs so please check this when booking flights.
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.
The local Mexican currency is Pesos and though some payments in country can be made in US Dollars the Peso is accepted everywhere and so is preferable. In some of the smaller villages, local currency only will be accepted to purchase snacks and souvenirs. Changing money to Pesos is possible before you leave however you can also change money at the airport or us cash machines there or in Akumal.
Payments for additional courses at the marine site can be made using a credit card, although you will need to ensure that your card will work in Mexico.
Please also consider arranging a contingency fund to cover any emergencies, and check with your bank that your card will work in Mexico if you plan on using it.