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.
On the 12th of September, a 6.5 magnitude Earthquake hit the area of Puntarenas in Costa Rica, (which is about 60 miles southwest of the capital of San Jose).
So far, there have been no reports of injuries, deaths or major infrastructure damage. We had no Geckos Adventure groups in this area and all local staff are safe. Our trips will continue to run as scheduled. Our next Geckos departure is not until the 15th November (Across Central America – GSRJ). Please contact your booking agent if you have any specific question in this regard.
There have been reports that a number of diplomats became ill after a suspected sonic attack against US government officials in Havana recently. These attacks reportedly occurred in both the homes of government officials and in hotels where American diplomats were staying. No Geckos travellers have been affected by the incident and all Geckos itineraries in Cuba are currently operating as normal.
A 7.1 Earthquake hit the city of Puebla yesterday, 19th September, also damaging Mexico City and surrounding cities.
Flights were suspended into the capital until the Mexico City airport infrastructure was evaluated, but has since reopened at 5pm local time on the 19th and flights have resumed. Will are still collecting reports from our ground team and local authorities but so far all our hotels in Mexico have reported undamaged and unaffected.
We had no groups in this area and all of local staff are safe. At this stage all of our trips will continue to run as scheduled. Our next Geckos departure is not until the 3rd of October (Mexico Highlights – GSRM). Please contact your booking agent if you have any specific question in this regard.
All information we have now received from our on ground team as well as local authorities indicate that Cuba is very much up and running as normal once more after the pass of Hurricane Irma.
Due to attacks in northern Rakhine State, and increased tensions in Rakhine State overall, many travel advisories warn against travel to this area specifically.
No Geckos tours visit or travel near Rakhine State. We continue to monitor the situation through official travel advisories and our local operations team. If there should be any changes to the situation you will be advised immediately. We recommend that you check your Government's advice for their latest travel information.
There has been much media attention on the Korean peninsula following a series of North Korean missile tests in 2016 and 2017, including a recent nuclear test on 3rd September 2017. We are working closely with local embassies and government authorities, including Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) to monitor and react to any changes in their current travel advice for this region. All Geckos trips in north east Asia, including Japan and China are currently continuing to operate as normal and in accordance with our usual safety and risk procedures.
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.
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.
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.