FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WILL I BE ABLE TO CONTACT MY CHILD DURING THE EXPEDITION?
No, expeditions is all about a journey and discovery of adventure. There is also no cell service in the wilderness, but that's a good thing and half the reason to send your child on this adventure. If an urgent contact issue arises during the expedition, you will be able to contact the Logistics Coordinator.
HOW MUCH MONEY SHOULD YOU TAKE ON EXPEDITION?
Just enough to buy a meal for transit days at the airport. Possibly a small keepsake however no need to take any more than $100.
COSTA RICA EXPEDITIONS ONLY - EXIT TAX
Please note that there is a $29 USD departure tax payable at the aiport with USD. This tax must be paid before you check in for your flight. Staff will collect $30 for this at the start of the trip. It is required that your child has an envelope containing USD $20 and a $10 in an envelope marked "Your child's name Costa Rica Exit Fee" which will be handed back to your child at the airport to allow exit out of Costa Rica.
Do not pay the exit fee with your airline flight, there is no way to check this has been paid for at the airport departure tax counter so to avoid confusion and avoid paying for this twice all participants are required to have the departure tax envelope for collection at the beginning of the expedition.
DO I NEED A VISA?
CANADA - If a USA resident you do not need a visa to travel to Canada. You do need a valid passport. We recommend that you visit the Canadian government website to familiarize yourself with the local visa requirements.
COSTA RICA - For Expeditions to Costa Rica, Americans do not need a visa to enter Costa Rica. However, they must have a current valid passport and a return ticket to exit Costa Rica. (Either to return to your country or to go to another country). US passport must be valid for a minimum of one day from the day you enter Costa Rica.
If a cancellation of an enrolled camper is necessary for a camp session or expedition, payments, less a $200 cancellation fee, are refundable if written notice is received prior to December 1. The cancellation fee is 20% of the tuition for a cancellation received between December 1 and April 1. No refund will be made for cancellations after April 1.
Applications are accepted for a full term only. No refund will be made for late entrance or early withdrawal, except when caused by serious illness; in this case, the loss will be shared equally by the parent and the camp. The directors reserve the right to dismiss any camper who violates the camp rules or is judged disadvantageous to the general welfare of the expedition. No refund will be made in case of dismissal.
WHAT SHOULD I PACK?
1 pair of shoes for the river. The ideal river shoe is lightweight and draining yet supportive enough for walking on portages and scouting rapids, with a grippy sole. These can be lightweight running shoes, water shoes with a supportive sole,
2 pairs of thermal socks for the river. Wool, fleece, or synthetic.
Bathing suit / surf shorts
Lightweight synthetic t-shirt
Top and bottom medium-weight long underwear.
Longsleeve neoprene ‘surf’ top or longsleeve medium-weight fleece top
Thick fleece sweater
Thick fleece pants
Lightweight ‘quick dry’ long pants
Thick fleece or wool sweater
Thick fleece pants
Top and bottom medium-weight synthetic or wool long underwear
Rain gear top and bottom
Toque (wool or fleece winter hat)
* Items with a * can be rented from from a outdoor stores such as Mountain Equipment Co-op or La Cordee.
Equipment that will be provided:
A large drybag in which to keep all of your personal items
A smaller drybag that will be accessible during the day in which you can keep your rainwear, sunscreen, etc.
All group camping equipment such as cooking and eating utensils, dishes, group shelters, etc.
On the water kayak gear
- Spray Skirt
- River shoes Note: Astral shoes or 5.10 shoes are highly recommended for safety around wet rocks, water booties such as NRS or Kokatat booties are very slippery and not recommended at all.
- Not required however it is always a good idea to have a throw rope and a rescue knife whenever kayaking.
Drytop - It can get cold on the Magpie even in summer and a good drytop is needed. A splash-top is not suffice for this river. We reccomend Kokatat, Peak UK, Stholquist,
- Synthetic long sleeve shirt to use under your drytop or if it does get warm to be used instead of your drytop.
- One synthetic board-shorts. No cotton layers for the water as this gets cold when wet and does not dry.
- 1 raincoat
- 3 shirts (Synthetic)
- 4 pairs of underwear (Synthetic recommended)
- 2 pairs of shorts (Synthetic recommended)
- 1 good warm jacket (Down or synthetic)
- 1 pair of long pants
- One head bug net - the bugs are renowned in this area. This bug net is required.
- Small Quick Dry Towel
- Small Flashlight/Headlamp with batteries turned around to prevent it turning on and waisting battery.
- Camping Mattress - Inflatable style such as Therm-a-rest or Big Agness.
- 3 Season Sleeping Bag
- Small inflatable pillow or pillow case. Fill your pillow case with clothes at campsites and you have an instant pillow.
- 2 water bottles - empty for the flight
- 1 set of off water shoes - camping locations are next to the river and sticky shoes are recommended.
- 3 pair of socks. If using socks for on water shoes, one pair of socks per day. Change socks once a day when you get off the water so you have dry feet for the night and wear these same socks the next day on the water. Dry feet off the water is essential as the portaging on this expedition is long and muddy and you need to take care of your feet.
- Small travel sunscreen, lip protection and small sized insect repellant.
- If you choose not to sleep in the tent provided, 1 hammock sleep system. We recommend an eno one link system.
- Toiletries (Travel size as weight is important. Biodegradable soap and shampoo for use near the river (travel size)
- Personal Medications. Please speak with Explore staff about meds prior.
- Travel documents (passport) and medical insurance cards or policies.
- Travel clothes to be left off the expedition for the trip home. (Shirt, shorts, one pair of socks)
Optional gear -
Quebec fishing permit if you wish to fish and your fishing rod with a hard case.
Small camera, gopro. Note pictures and video will be taken of the group.
You do not need - Large items, candy, large knives, expensive cameras.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT ON TRAVEL DAYS
When your child arrives at the airport and are with staff we will contact you via an email or text message.
CAN I MEET MY CHILD AT THE AIRPORT AFTER THE EXPEDITION
Yes. Please let us know of this plan prior to the start of the trip.
ARE THERE ANY EXTRA FEES CHARGED BY THE AIRLINES
Airlines charge different fees for teens under 15, so if your son is flying as an unaccompanied minor, we suggest that you confirm this prior to departure to be sure all fees are paid in advance. Also, keep in mind that there are extra fees for overweight and extra bags.
FLYING AS AN UNACCOMPANIED MINOR
Each airline has its own policy for unaccompanied minors. We suggest you contact the airline directly. We will give you the names and phone numbers of the instructors/leaders who will meet your child at the gate. Keep in mind that most airlines will not allow unaccompanied minors to travel on the last flight of the day.
WHERE WILL MY CHILD GO WHEN ARRIVING AT THE AIRPORT
Trip leaders will be wearing an Explore shirt and waiting for your child as he exits the security area.
If your child must make a connection, give plenty of time to make the flight in the event of a delay. We will inform you of a target time for arrival at the airport once details are finalized. Your child may need to leave early in the morning to connect to his final destination. We request that at least 1 hour be given between connecting flights as we have previously had participants have to be rerouted as a result of missing connections.
WHEN SHOULD I PURCHASE TICKETS
Once your child has been accepted to EXPLORE, you will receive an email containing specific flight information, at which point you can purchase your child’s plane tickets.
ARE AIRLINE TICKETS INCLUDED
Because we have campers traveling from all over the US, airfare to the International Airport is not included in the cost. If the expedition requires a float-plane/helicopter to the river put in, this specific float-plane/helicopter is included.
If your son is flying, please purchase a plane ticket to the relevant airport for that expedition
IDAHO - Boise International Airport (BOI)
MAGPIE - Quebec City International Airport (YQB)
COSTA RICA - Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO)
OTTAWA - Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier International Airport (YOW)
Several insurance agencies offer basic travel insurance, which includes $25,000 of medical coverage and $50,000 of medical evacuation coverage. Explore Expeditions is remote, and any serious injury will require transportation to the nearest hospital by helicopter. Any evacuation costs will be billed to the person that is leaving the trip. Insurance should cover emergency air evacuation from the river to a local hospital (this can cost 10,000 CAD or more), medical treatment within Canada, and repatriation to a medical care facility in your home region. If you have insurance coverage from a credit card or an existing plan, please make sure that it will cover you for the above mentioned emergency situations and that you are covered while participating in whitewater activities and remote wilderness travel. Explore encourages you to check with your insurance provider to see if travel insurance is needed for medical coverage during the trip.
CAN I CALL MY CHILD ON THE TRIP
The trip will not have cell phone service. We will encourage everyone to turn their phones to airplane mode upon arrival and turn them off for the duration of the trip. Please contact our logistics coordinator if you need to reach the group.
We strongly suggest that you get to an 'expedition ready' level prior to this trip. This involves paddling often leading up to the trip, if you can not get on whitewater then practicing on flatwater. There is no substitute for paddling on whitewater leading up to the trip and this is by far the best way to be expedition ready.
If you can not get on whitewater, we suggest you complete this regime:
20 on side rolls a day
10 offside rolls a day
5 onside hand rolls a day
5 offside hand rolls a day
fowards paddling for at least 20 mins a day
backwards paddling for 5 mins a day
edge control practice