Travel is all about getting out of your comfort zone and trying new things. But we are committed to keeping you safe while you get out there and Run Wild. So there are times when we might have to cancel trips or change itineraries to avoid those pesky problem areas (you know who you are).
Geckos makes these kinds of decisions based on info from the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) travel advisory. We also check with our local operators, who are on the ground and can give us up-to-the-minute info on the mood and feel within country. We also consider info from other foreign government websites including Britain, Canada, New Zealand, United States and World Health Organisation.
- Geckos tours will not operate if the Australian Government travel advisory reaches the Level 4 "Do not travel".
- Where possible and safe to do so, Geckos will change itineraries to avoid trouble areas (we'll let you know if there's additional costs)
- Decisions to cancel or change itineraries are made on a rolling basis, because situations and DFAT advice can change at any time. Where the advice is temporarily at ‘Do Not Travel’, we will review the status of our tours approximately 2 weeks before to departure.
Recently, several Unions (Teachers and Miners amongst others) carried out protests and strikes in various parts of the country including Cusco, Aguas Calientes & Puno. Strikers blocked roads and train lines which led to temporary disruptions to the travel sector, including transport back and forth to Machu Picchu.
At the moment, the government has declared a state of emergency for 30 days, meaning more police and military presence on the roads to control and (hopefully!) minimise disruptions to transport and the travel sector.
The situation remains rather fluid so any necessary itinerary changes will be communicated to groups on the ground as/if required. Unfortunately, strikes like this are a common occurrence in Peru and our fabulous ground teams are rather experts at safely navigating through them. So far, all our groups have been able to complete their itineraries without major changes and travellers have been able to take part on all included activities on their trips.
We will continue to monitor the situation through our ground operations teams based in Lima and Cusco along with government foreign travel advisories. If you have further questions in this regard please contact your booking agent.
Wildfires are currently burning across British Columbia, and Wells Gray Provincial Park and parts of Banff National Park have been closed as a precaution. The Banff closures aren't currently affecting our trips as it is a backcountry area that we don't tend to visit that is closed. We have had to make some changes however to avoid Wells Gray Provincial Park. We do not currently know how long the park will be closed for, so the below changes will be in effect until the park reopens, in which case we will revert immediately to the original itinerary.
BEST OF CANADA (GNCA)
Groups will continue past Clearwater and will camp at Pinantan Lake Resort instead of Wells Gray Ranch. This is a nice campsite on a lake, and makes for a shorter drive to Whistler today.
GENERAL AIR QUALITY ALERT
Parts of western Canada are currently under an air quality alert due to the smoke from the fires. We advise asthmatics and any one with respiratory illnesses to make sure that they have extra medication on hand. International prescriptions are not valid in Canada so please bring enough medication with you, and be aware that you may use more than normal. Please speak to your doctor if this is a concern.
A bomb was detonated in the St Petersburg metro in the early hours of 4 april 2017. No Gecko's groups were in St Petersburg at the time of the explosion. If you have any queries about travelling to Russia at this time please contact your travel provider and keep an eye on your countries travel warnings.
An official period of national mourning of nine days has been declared by Cuban authorities following the passing of former president Fidel Castro on 25 November. People are asked to demonstrate respect for the Cuban people during this time, refrain from any behaviour that may be interpreted as festive, disrespectful or disorderly. Music and dancing is discouraged, and there is no serving of alcohol. Otherwise restaurants, bars, national parks, museums etc are all open. Leaders will be providing updates locally.
So far our operations team has not notified us of any required itinerary changes. This will be monitored daily. However, there are expected delays to confirmations and responses.
If you have any questions or concerns about your upcoming trip please contact your booking agent for more information.
Indian authorities recently announced that all 500 and 1,000 rupee banknotes were to be withdrawn from circulation, effective immediately.
This change in currency has led to the removal of around 80% of the currency in circulation. Please do not rely on ATM’s or the bank to withdrawn money in India at this time.
We suggest all travellers bring foreign currency to change upon arrival in India.
Please also use ATM’s at the airport on arrival. There is a reported limit of inr2500 per card per day. Banks have a reported limit of inr4000 per day. This amount can change daily.
Our leaders are assisting travellers by using restaurants and café’s that accept credit card.
Until new notes are issued, you should not accept any denomination higher than 100 rupees (around AUD 2).
Please note that this is a nationwide issue in India at the moment. Reports from the Indian Government suggest that there could be flow on effects for several weeks until all ATM’s are reconfigured to accept new inr500 and inr2000 notes.
Please keep up to date with your countries travel advice page for India.
On the 13th of October 2016 the Thai Government declared that the country will be in mourning for one year following the death of King Bhumbibol Adulyadej, who was the world’s longest reigning monarch. Our condolences to our friends in Thailand for the loss of their much beloved King.
Travellers should be aware that this is an extremely sensitive time of deep mourning in the country, and that they should respect the feelings of the Thai people at this time. Travellers should be aware of the possible impact it will have on your travels.
We advise travellers of the following:
- The Prime Minister has announced that entertainment will be ‘toned down’ over the next 100 days, so access to entertainment including restaurants, bars, and shipping areas may be restricted or closed. There may also be alcohol bans or limits in the next 100 days.
- Travellers should behave respectfully in public areas, and if possible wear somber and respectful clothing over the next 100 days as a mark of respect to the Thai people.
- We expect trips to run as normal and the Grand Palace has since reopened so all included visits to the Grand Palace will continue. There is now strict dress requirements for all visitors to the Grand Palace. You must wear dark (preferably black) full length pants or skirt down to your ankle and a Dark coloured t-shirt, shirt or blouse. Shoulders must be covered. Thai officials at the Grand Palace are enforcing this strict dress code and will not allow entry if you are not following these directions.
- We expect some road closures in Bangkok at different times over the coming days and months that may impact on day-to-day activities in the city. There may also be some disruption to public transport services, but our local operations team are closely monitoring the situation and will make alternative plans if needed.
- You should abide by local laws and respect Thai customs at this time. Dress and behave appropriately. Be aware that there may be some disruption of normal commercial and public services in the country during the mourning period.
- The level of official travel advisories has not changed. The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade continue to advise a high depress of caution, with higher levels in some parts of the country.
- We will continue to closely monitor official travel advisories and the advice of our local operations team in the country, and will update this page as we have more information.
This advice covers all regions affected by the Zika virus.
The World Health Organization (WHO), has confirmed an outbreak of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in several parts of Central and South America, and is also reporting the ongoing spread of the virus to other parts of the world, including Asia.
WHO does not consider Zika to be a pandemic, like SARS or Ebola. Based on available evidence, the WHO is not recommending any travel or trade restrictions related to Zika virus disease.
Specific areas affected
Central, South America and the Caribbean – All countries other than Cuba, Argentina and Chile.
Asia & the Pacific – American Samoa, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam.
Symptoms & Treatment
The symptoms of Zika may include fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise, and headache. These symptoms are usually mild and last for 2-7 days. Zika virus disease is usually relatively mild and requires no specific treatment.
Zika virus diagnosis can only be confirmed by laboratory testing.
People sick with Zika virus should get plenty of rest, drink enough fluids, and treat pain and fever with common medicines. If symptoms worsen, they should seek medical care and advice. There is currently no vaccine available.
According to the WHO, Zika is transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito and generally not spread person to person; however there is currently no vaccine or preventative drug available against this virus.
The best way to prevent Zika is to avoid mosquito bites by:
- Wearing long sleeves and pants (preferably light coloured)
- Use insect repellents when outdoors
Health authorities have confirmed the link between Zika virus in pregnant women and microcephaly (a smaller than normal skull) in their babies. Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should take extra care to protect themselves from mosquito bites.
In line with the above health warnings, Geckos recommends all women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant to consult with their doctors before booking their trip to a region affected by the Zika virus.
Changes to bookings
The following change and cancellation fees apply to pregnant women currently booked to travel on a trip to a region affected by the Zika virus (as listed at the top of this advice).
- To transfer funds to another trip to another region an no extra fee*
- To postpone trip dates at no extra fee*
- Cancellations within 30 days from departure: loss of deposit applies to cover unrecoverable on ground costs (a note from a doctor confirming pregnancy is required)*
- Cancellations outside 30 days from departure: no cancellation fees apply (a note from a doctor confirming pregnancy is required)*
*exceptions may apply to Antarctica bookings.
Please contact your booking agent for more information in this regard and to make any amendments to your booking.
More information on the Zika virus can be found at the following links –
World Health Organisation: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/zika/en/
Centers for Disease, Control and Prevention: http://emergency.cdc.gov/han/han00385.asp
SAFETY IN TURKEY:
Following recent incidents in Turkey we recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before your departure and that you ensure your travel insurance covers you for all areas in your itinerary. We continue to monitor the situation through official travel advisories and our local operations team and we are able to quickly change arrangements if for any reason we become concerned. If there should be any changes to the situation you will be advised immediately.
We have taken the following measures to minimise the potential risk for our travellers in Turkey:
·Our local office is constantly monitoring local Ministry of Tourism updates and has regional advisors to keep them abreast on regional events.
·We are monitoring local transport conditions and will make changes to included transport as required.
·Whilst travelling in Istanbul before, after or during your tour we recommend avoiding crowded areas like Taksim Square, Galatasaray and Kadikoy Meydan after 6.00pm especially on a weekend. If using public transport in the city please refer to http://www.iett.gov.tr/en for the latest updates and announcements.
If you have any questions or concerns about your upcoming trip please contact your booking agent for more information.