Choosing the Right Caving Vacation
Your budget and the location are your biggest choices when choosing a tour. The more isolated the location; chances are the pricier it is to reach. Your comfort level is important as well. While many are content with staying in tents and hiking long distances, eating simple food, a guide that may not even speak the same language, and all around basic amenities, others differ drastically. Many prefer posh eco resorts with a pool, air conditioned rooms, and all around luxurious facilities. You should always have a contract in writing stating everything included in your tour from the equipment down to the type of food you will have at every meal.
There is a very wide variety of operators, even for spelunking. Many are local operators who arrange trips with local guides or stays directly at their own lodges. Others are international booking agents that simply contract out local operators. Others are large, multi-national corporations that design custom luxury trips all over the world and use anyone from leaders in speleological research to unqualified local guides that lack proper equipment.
Suggested Tour Operators
- Adventure Trippin’ tours (http://www.adventuretrippintours.com, Tel. +403-561-3492)
- This Canadian operator runs multi-sport tours all over the world, several of which include short caving excursions.
- Ceiba Adventures (http://www.ceibaadventures.com, Tel. 800-217-1060)
- Adventure Outfitter that specialized in remote and exotic rainforest tours, caving adventures and archaeological river trips in Central America.
Considering caving is a relatively little known activity, in most cases you will have to arrange your own excursion. One of the best things you can do is speak with a local caving group or society. Chances are near any major cave complex there is a following and they make regular outings to a site and welcome others. Most countries with significant spelunkers have national societies as well that are linked to universities, research groups, and studies.
You can find local tour operators and local guides to take you into the most remote caves. Chances are you are not the first person to come around asking about a cave complex and the locals know approximately how far is safe to go in or any dangers that you might face. These types of guides probably won’t get you deep into a cave or have the proper equipment, but if you want just a taste of what a cave has to offer or have your equipment and need a basic primer hiring a local guide to start you off can be a great help.