A. Accommodations

Yes, of course.  As a matter of fact, when we have tours in the high-altitude regions (anywhere in the Andes as an example) we always recommend arriving 1-2 nights BEFORE the tour begins to help with your acclimatization time.  Although we have acclimatization time built-in to all tours in the highlands, adding 1 or 2 more days just puts the odds in your favor and makes your journey more complete and you may avoid high-altitude issues.  The same applies to tours that are not at altitude.  You can add nights to before and after a tour and we would be happy to book your hotel nights for you.  Just let us know your level of hotel preference and we can take care of it.  That will be added to your total bill and will need to be paid upfront before the tour begins.

When booking a tour, it’s essential that you let us know the type of bed you prefer, single, double, queen, king, etc.  We will do our best to accommodate your request but not all requests are 100% guaranteed, mostly based on what the accommodation locations have available.  As an example, in large cities, you can usually choose what you want, and it will happen.  It places in the middle of nowhere, Queen and King size beds are NOT the norm and are rarely an option.  Usually, singles are the norm and sometimes doubles are an option.  Let us know and we will do our best to confirm your choices.  Sometimes, we do not have any options and single beds are the only option.

Yes, it is.  When you want to have a room only for yourself, then you will need to pay the “single supplement fee” for that tour.  That is the price for having one room and not wanting to share the cost of that room with another person.  This is perfectly fine and a normal request.  We do our best to make sure single rooms are available.  Each tour has a single supplement fee associated with it because each tour has different hotel/hostel options and prices vary from location to location. Besides the normal price of the tour, you will pay the additional price for the single room you requested.  This fee needs to be paid in full, as well as the normal tour fee before departure.  Please confer with us for more details.

On 95% of our trips, no.  But in some cases, yes, you will need your own sleeping bag, especially on treks and mountain climbing tours.  We will provide pads and tents, but people are very finicky about using rental sleeping bags (even though they are super clean and hygienic) so we let them choose to bring their own that adheres to their needs.  In some cases, we provide everything, but we will let you know that ahead of time, so you come prepared.  Most of our trips are hotel/hostel based so sleeping bags are not required nor needed.

In most cases, yes, it is.  But it depends on the hotel and the occupancy level of the hotel on the day of arrival.  When the hotel is full, early check-ins are more challenging, but when they are half-full it’s usually not a problem.   As an example, most international flights arriving in La Paz, Bolivia arrive between 2-5 AM, and by the time you arrive at the hotel, two+ hours have passed since you landed.  Most check-in times are between 2-8 pm, so we book an additional hotel night before the official start date of the tour, so when you arrive very early in the AM, you room is waiting for you and all you do is check-in and go to bed.  No waiting.  This helps you rest after a long flight and helps you acclimatize better as well.  This applies to any destination where you land at altitude or land very early in the AM.

It depends on the tour and region.  We do not use the same hotels all the time in all cities.  Nonetheless, the final itinerary has the names of all the hotels on the route.  We reserve the right to change hotel if necessary, so if we have a hotel named in any itinerary, we may change to another in the same category and we would let you know that ahead of time.

In most of Latin America, air-conditioning/heating is mostly an option not a guarantee.  In the highlands, we rarely see built-in heating systems, but the more common heating options are electric heaters or mobile GLP heaters that move from room to room.  Air conditioning is not common in the Andes and is becoming more widely available in the tropics, but best to not count on it in remote areas. In large metropolitan cities, A/C is common, so are fan, to help move the air around not necessarily cool it down.  In remote areas, do not count on any of these modern amenities.

Most of our tours DO NOT involve tent-camping at all.  Most are based out of hotels, hostels, haciendas, and basic accommodations (depending on the region and the tour).  We always begin our tours in hotels in a major city (usually your arrival city to a specific country) and are either 4* or 5* hotels (or the best possible hotel we can book in the region).  Some tours are mostly hotels/hostels based but may have 1 or 2 nights of camping in the middle.  Some tours have only a hotel at the beginning and end of the tour and the rest of the time it is camping (especially on trekking and climbing itineraries).  We provide the tents for all camping nights, based on two people/per tent.  You bring your own sleeping pads and sleeping bags, based on our recommendations.  We provide a basic closed-cell foam sleeping pad, but highly recommend you bring a high-quality inflatable sleeping pad, so you sleep really comfortably and warm.  We can rent you sleeping bags if you need them.  We can discuss the type of bag you need based on your specific tour.

On some tours the only option is to tent-camp, and there is no bed options.  We like to sleep warm and comfortable just like anyone else.  So, to that end, we make sure we discuss the minutia of how tent-camping is and what are some strategies to be warm and comfortable while in the field.  There is absolutely no reason for anyone to be cold and uncomfortable while tent-camping and we have the solutions for that.  Please let us know your concerns and we will explain how it all works.

We strive to use the best possible hotels in the region where the tour itinerary runs.  That could run the gamut from 5* hotels down to 1* hostels.  It all depends on the itinerary.  In some cases, we have very good options for 4* and 5* hotels and we will choose accordingly.  In some cases, especially in the middle of nowhere, there are no 4* or 5* options anywhere near where we want to be, so we choose the next best option, which could be 2* – 3* hostels, or even basic accommodations.  In all cases, we book clean, safe, comfortable locations that offer the best access to what we need to do that afternoon/night or the next day and keep on moving to the next destination.  We could begin with 5* hotels in a large metropolitan city, then move to a 3* hostel in a small town and then a basic 1* hostel way out in the bush.  There are a lot of variables that define where we go and where we stay.  Our itineraries generally do not move from city to city, we operate in remote areas mostly, where accommodation options are very limited.  If you have any concerns, please let us know so we can address them.

B. Airline tickets

Unfortunately, no they are not.  The complexity of trying to include all possible international flights from every corner of the world would be impossible to calculate and still offer a reasonably priced tour.  What we do to help you is denote the arrival and departure city, with exact dates on the itineraries and with that information you can make your own flights that you can curate with all the details you require.  Some people want to use miles, others want the cheapest flight, others want business class and on and on, so we leave those details to you.  We do make suggestions on what we consider the more reliable airlines serving those cities and the normal arrival and departure times.  Some cities have lots of options and others only have one a day or a few options per week.  Best to contact your travel agent or search online for the best options that suit your flying needs.  We always recommend search engines that give notice when flight prices change (up/down) to take advantage of price deals.  We recommend buying no less than 30 days before tour begins, at minimum.  We always include the airport transfers IN/OUT of the country, for the day the tour begins and ends. We do not include airport transfers beyond 24-hours of the tour beginning date in the final package price, but we can set up a private airport transfer for a reasonable fee.

C. How to Book a Tour

Our main website www.sergiophototours.com has links from a specific tour you choose to our online booking platform where all the information required to book your spot on a tour is easily found.  Here is where you will input all your personal information, payment method and options with a series of automatic reminders to do certain things at certain intervals before your tour begins.  It is easy to use and not a complicated stream of tech-savvy pages.  If you have any questions, we are here to help at any time.

Yes, you can.  As a matter of fact, we use the core itineraries as a basis for making custom-designed itineraries to suit a specific group need and/or requirements when we are in the design phase.  However, we cannot make any changes to a group itinerary once it’s booked and underway.  But we are very flexible and can entertain questions and suggestions for a minor change if the cost of that change does not infringe nor raise the cost of the booked tour.  Please talk with us about any specific ideas you may have, and we can discuss your options.

The prices may change, either going up or down, based on the final number of guests on a trip.  The more people buy onto a tour departure date, the lower the price per person becomes.  This is because the hard costs (vs. variable costs) are shared among more people.  We feel it is the correct thing to do to lower the price person if the situation meets the parameters for a lower price.  The same applies if fewer people sign onto a trip.  That means less people will now share the hard costs among fewer final participants.  The variable costs we absorb as necessary.

Once we get to the final booking stage, you make your payment and within a few days you will get links to a series of online documents called the “pre-departure info packet.” In here are a series of documents you need to read carefully, understand the contents and sign a few of them.  Among what we need are: clean scan/photo of your passport page (showing face and all info clearly) sent back via e-mail, signed Terms and Conditions, signed Liability Waiver, flight schedule with arrival and departure information (we prefer what the airline sends you) and a Tour Reservation Form.  We include the clothing and equipment packing list, vaccination recommendations, high-altitude information, recommended photographic equipment list, and a few others, depending on your specific tour.  This information needs to get to us no less than 60 days before departure.  Please note: full payment of all services needs to be completed 75 days before tour departure date.  Everything is done online, with a digital paper trail to follow in case of need.

Yes, they are.  We find that in today’s world, the “cloud” seems to be the one place where you can keep all your important information easily accessible from anywhere you have Wi-Fi or mobile service.  Besides a scanned copy of your passport (including visa page), we recommend scanning your health insurance cards, vaccinations, any specific medical information (doctors, family members, etc.), credit cards, drivers’ license, emergency contact information, flight information, and all travel insurance products.  If you were to loose/have anything stolen, you have a safe place to download and make physical copies to provide to whomever you need to.

The only way we would cancel a tour is if we did not receive the minimum number of guests to run it profitably, or if hear there is some possible political/natural weather event that will prevent us from running it safely and completely from beginning to end.  If we cancel a tour, you will receive the money you paid to date back, minus the non-refundable administrative fee as noted in the Terms and Conditions and the Refund Schedule.  If while on tour, an event happens that interrupts the safe operation of the tour, and we have no choice but to cancel the remainder of the tour, we will refund any monies that were not used up to that point in time.  If that happened, which has not happened in 30 years of operation, we would head to the closest or safest ending point of the tour which may or may not be the starting or ending point of the tour and re-evaluate what our next steps would be.  Whatever monies not used where the tour ends are what will be calculated for a refund.

D. Communication / Online Services / Electricity

All our guides are bi-lingual, with English being their second language and Spanish usually their mother tongue.  Some speak 3-4 languages, fluently.  If you have a specific language that is not English as the common international language we use to communicate, please let us know in the early stages of the booking process and see if we can accommodate your needs.  We have had people from all over the world travel with us, so we see no reason why we cannot find a proper way to communicate effectively.  Often a smile and body language are enough to be understood and enjoy the journey with others.

All our tours begin when we pick you up at the airport upon arrival. We like to pick you up to make sure you arrived safe and sound and if we need to address anything, we can handle it right there and then.  If your luggage is damaged, lost, missing or late, we can figure out what happened and speak to the right people and get it sorted out.  If arriving at altitude, we can make sure we are proactive and making sure we mitigate the effects of altitude as soon as we see you.  We always have unlimited bottled water from the day you arrive until the day you depart.  We always have a private vehicle for airport shuttles so we can control everything from when you arrive, until we drop you off at the end of your tour at the airport.  Check-in time is when we arrive at the hotel, and we check you in.  Or if you arrive on your own, the normal check-in time for the hotel is what you will heed, usually between 2-8 pm (each hotel has different rules).

We hope that does not happen, but we understand if it does.  Unfortunately, we cannot change the logistics of the tour if anyone has not arrived on time.  But the way our itineraries work is we usually have a few days at the beginning in a major city getting accustomed to the altitude or doing day tours to get people sorted out before we depart on longer excursions where we travel from location to location.  In that scenario, we would, obviously try to be in contact with you to see when you will arrive, and how we can get you to join the tour if it has departed already to the next destination.  In that case, any additional expense to bring you to the group, wherever it may be, will be an out-of-pocket expense for the guest arriving late.  That is why we suggest our guests arrive one or two days before the tour begins, just in case.  A comprehensive travel insurance package should be able to cover your expenses if you need to pay for that extra service not covered by the normal tour price.

We use satellite phones for emergencies ONLY.  But, in many places, including remote areas, cel towers are becoming ubiquitous, so your mobile phone with a local SIM card should work.  We also use satellite messenger devices that work in combination with a cel phone App (e.g.: Zoleo, Garmin, Spot, etc.).  We do not guarantee any type of cel, wi-fi, VHF or communication devices as part of our services, unless they are used for emergencies only.  If you need to stay in touch, we suggest seeing what devices the above-mentioned companies can offer you for remote travel.

We use satellite phones for emergencies ONLY.  But, in many places, including remote areas, cel towers are becoming ubiquitous, so your mobile phone with a local SIM card should work.  We also use satellite messenger devices that work in combination with a cel phone App (e.g.: Zoleo, Garmin, Spot, etc.).  We do not guarantee any type of cel, wi-fi, VHF or communication devices as part of our services, unless they are used for emergencies only.  If you need to stay in touch, we suggest seeing what devices the above-mentioned companies can offer you for remote travel.

Yes and no.  At the beginning and end of our tours we are usually in a large metropolitan city with all the services you can expect to have. All our hotels in those cities have wi-fi service, but we cannot guarantee high-speed, 5G, etc.  What they have is what you get to use.  While traveling in remote areas, you may get some cel service, enough to send a text, but not much more.  If you buy a SIM card and minutes from a local carrier, you may be able to stay in touch for voice, e-mail, text, web searches, etc.  We offer no guarantee that any of these services are available nor that they work properly.

In most cities in Latin America the electricity is 220V around 50 Ghz.  Rarely will you find 110.  Make sure you bring converters; converter plugs to match the style of your device to the country outlets and devices that are multi-volt (110-220) compatible.  In remote areas, gas/diesel powered generators are what provide electricity during part of the day, usually at night.  In some areas, there is electricity, but the capacity is limited.  We suggest you bring portable power banks and charge your devices through the vehicle 12V outlet.  Consider bringing an inverter to convert the 12v to 110-220.  Finally, you may consider bringing some small solar panel device to charge your devices.

E. Food / Dietary Needs

On most of our tours, we begin and end in large, modern cities with lots of options for meals and special dietary restrictions.  So, that should be no issue, but you need to let us know before booking what your restrictions are.  In locations that are remote and far away from any town, much less a major city, dietary restrictions are more of a challenge.  For example, “vegan or gluten-free” dishes are not the norm, and you should not count on that type of food being readily available outside the big cities.  What we recommend is that you let us know what you can and can’t eat, what are viable substitutions, and we can plan for that.  We also highly recommend you bring any special foods you must have (including snacks, etc.) with you so you will have something to eat that adheres to your dietary restrictions and/or requirements.

One of the reasons people choose to travel beyond their home is to experience other foods.  Some thrive on eating completely different foods than what they are used to.  Where we run our tours, which are mostly in Latin America, the rich variety and cultural nuances of food, drink, desserts, and fruits are unrivaled.  We begin all tours in large modern, metropolitan cities where food options are quite varied, and one can eat like a local or find dishes from other parts of the world easily.  Most of our meals are a combination of local regional dishes (Andes, Amazon, ocean, deserts) and international dishes that you may be familiar with.  We always strive to share our tradition regional fare so you can savor and enjoy the nuanced flavors, the delicate textures and the spices that make them special.  Spices mean spices to add flavor and experience, NOT hot and spicy, although we have plenty of those options for those that love to have it HOT!  We include most meals on our tours, but we also have free days and meal options for those that want to venture out on their own to sample what may be around the corner or up the street.  Our adventures cover all the senses and food is an integral part of our experience.

The issue with the term “safe water” is complex and not so black and white, there is lots of grey in between.  The main issue is a combination of health standards and human adjustment to the “intestinal bugs” in the environment they live in.  We would say that in most cases, in most cities the water is perfectly fine to drink, if you are a local.  If you are from another part of the world your bugs are different than their bugs so they may not always play nice.  So, in our case, we always choose the best hotels for the region we are traveling to and assume their water safety standards are high and the water coming out of the tap is clean and safe.  We always have bottled water for everyone, or we filter and/or boil water while in the field.  It is not a bad idea to have a personal water filter, just in case, and nowadays, you have these straw filters and drinking/filtering water combinations that are simply amazing.  If in doubt, always go with bottle/filtered/boiled water.

F. Travel Documents / Visas / Official Paperwork

That depends on which country you are a citizen of and what passport you are using.  Most western European, Canadian, and American citizens can get their visas upon arrival to many countries around the world.  Some countries will stamp a tourist visa upon arrival with a valid period of 30-90 days, which can be extended if you plan on being in the same country, without departing, beyond the maximum amount of time upon first entry.  If traveling to multiple countries on the same tour with us (or on your own), you may need to have all your visas sorted out before you depart from home.  Every country has different visa requirement for travelers.  Some countries require you send in your passport to their embassy or consulate to get your visa, while others do not.  Please calculate weeks and/or months to make sure you have enough time to get all your visas in order ahead of departure.  Please check in your home country and with your embassy if you need a specific visa and how much time is required to get a visa before departure to your destination.  Consider courier times, bureaucracy, return courier times and fees.  Trying to get a visa while you are traveling is asking for lost time and sleepless nights!  Some airlines will not board you unless you have a visa in your passport before boarding.  All visa requirements and expenses are the responsibility of the traveler.  Please plan carefully and give yourself plenty of time.  Some countries require a passport be valid for 3-6 months AFTER you arrive in their country.  This same thought process involves vaccinations, medical records, and other official paperwork.  

G. Equipment & Clothing Packing List

The general packing list covers all the possible combinations to consider while preparing for a tour. Depending on the tour, your packing list will specify a series of tour-specific clothing suggestions. For example, if your tour is strictly to the Amazon basin or similar hot-climate destination, you do not need cold-weather clothing, and vice versa. We recommend shoe choices to end in three (3): a pair of hiking boots/shoes, a pair of sneakers/runners and a pair of soft/comfy slip-ons or sandals/flip-flops. With the appropriate sock choice those should cover all your needs. Any very specific boot/shoe needs will be addressed based on your tour. For example, high-altitude trekking tour may require a real beefy boot that may need to accept simple crampons. A mountain climbing/glacier crossing tour will need warm, high-altitude boots, and be crampon compatible.

H. Finances & Payments

We do not charge any surcharges for people paying via credit card, but your bank or whatever system you choose to use may charge you for their service.  We are not responsible for any third-party service fees that are not related to our internal business process.

We must pay for services up-front in the destination we are operating in, to secure the services first.  That may include all transport services (vehicles, boat, planes, animals, etc.), sleeping accommodations, special guide services, permits, entry fees, special meals, paperwork, etc.  The services we pay for upfront guarantees that our logistics are well coordinated and that the itinerary as designed will flow smoothly.  We also require payment to pay for the time spent doing the pre-booking, booking and pre-departure phases and while on tour.  All tour participants must pay the final tour price in full 75 days before departure, as per the Terms and Conditions.

A considerable amount of time has been spent in the beginning stages of booking a tour and there are a lot of people involved in the process.  We cannot run a successful business if we do a lot of work ahead of time and not get properly renumerated for those efforts.  Nonetheless, the non-refundable admin fee is part of the complete tour price, so rest assured that money is being properly adjudicated so the tour runs smoothly.

All guests must pay their final balance 75 days before departure.  This includes any extra services like additional hotel nights, private transfers, special meals, or anything above and beyond what the tour price is and includes.

We only accept US dollars for payment, but you may pay using other currency via our payment platform, as it will make the conversion at the time of the transaction into US $ Dollars.   Refunds are also only in US $ Dollars.  All final payments must be equal to the final amount of your invoice in US $ Dollars.

That depends on the country, but you should always arrive with US $ dollars as opposed to any other currency. Euro’s may work but not always easy to change. If you bring a total of US $ 500.00/per person, that should amply cover any emergency funds you may need. If you need more cash, ATM/Debit cards work in most places, but you will receive those funds in the local currency not in US $ dollars. Please make sure if you do bring US $ dollars they are new, not torn, written on, marked up, or very old bills as they will not be accepted in banks, exchange houses or hotels.

We designed our tours to include most services a traveler may need to have while on tour without having to dig into their wallet to pay for additional services, most of which still must be paid no matter who pays for them.  In general, the following are our inclusions and exclusions BUT, some tours have specific inclusions and exclusions, please read those carefully.

Included:  Airport transfers IN and OUT of your arrival and departure cities.  Private vehicle and driver, bi-lingual guide, all hotel & hostel accommodations for X nights (per specific tour) based on shared double occupancy rooms (2 beds), all entry fees and permits to protected areas, national parks, islands and museums, all daily meals as denoted on the itinerary as ‘B, L, D’ (If it’s not marked, it’s not included), daily allotment of bottled water, snacks during the whole trip, 30+ years of tourism experience.

Not Included:  international airfare to destination country, visa requirement and fees, personal expenses of any kind, liquor, laundry, telephone, e-mail, mobile phone or Wi-Fi services, emergency evacuation expenses, personal travel or health insurance, doctor visits.  We, of course, would do whatever is necessary in case of medical emergency and evacuate to the closest hospital or clinic to make sure you receive medical care.


As noted previously in the included/not included clauses, we try to focus our time and energy on the journey and the experiences and try to bypass events that require digging for pocket-change to buy small items (snacks, bottled water, entry fees, etc.) which often take up precious time and effort and don’t add much to the overall experience.  That’s why we want to include as much as possible, so we avoid those inevitable events that take up our precious time.  In our case, we cover all your needs during our journey (except personal expenses) so we spend quality time experiencing the joys of travel, not trying to find change for a large bill for a small purchase.

Yes, of course.  Once we find out the amount of over/under we will resolve it by sending an invoice for the balance due or issue a credit for the overpayment.  Please have all your bank, payment records, receipts available so we can resolve this as soon as possible.

If you have credit from us, yes, of course.  Please contact us to discuss your options.

You have two (2) years from the date the tour begins to use your credit on another tour.  That could be for you or anyone else.  If you do not use that credit in that time frame, unfortunately, your credit will no longer be valid for any future use.

There are many ways to deal with cash while traveling.  First, make sure whatever amounts you have are divided into smaller amounts and distributed among your belongings.  Some people use money belts, money pouches, tiny wallets, ankle stashes, belts with hidden zippers, and clothing that have secret pockets.  We recommend asking your guide what we will be doing that day and if you need access to money and how much, if any.  We recommend keep your passport, credit cards, ATM/Debit cards separated from each other as well as the cash.  When changing your Dollars or Euros to the local currency, depending on the country, you can find people to exchange money on the street (which is perfectly normal), you can use exchange houses or banks.  Try to exchange just enough for your basic needs while in the city.  Out in the countryside, you will likely need much smaller amounts.

I. Guides and Leadership

We never pre-assign a guide to any tour unless a guest specifically asks for one of our guides and/or we have a skills/experience requirement for a specific tour.  No matter who will be guiding you on your journey rest assured they are professionals, with years of experience, are passionate about their job and are experts in the tour they are leading.  We have a combination of nationals from the country you are visiting to ex-pats and foreign guides who will show you the best places and provide an unforgettable experience.  It is true that a guide is the one who makes your journey special, and our ethos is to treat people how we would like to be treated.

J. Group Travel vs. Solo Travel

Yes, that is possible, if that is communicated to us before you book your tour.  In many cases, our guests have time constraints and can only do part of a tour and if we can design a drop-off point on the itinerary that is safe and convenient for the traveler (and the group), we can accommodate that request.  In this case, the full price of the tour will not be changed/reduced to accommodate that request.  Please contact us for specifics.

In general terms, yes, with these guidelines. You can book onto any tour that has set departure dates. Set departures require a minimum number of passengers to depart, usually 2 or more and the dates are set because we have booked accommodations, transport, and guides for those dates. If we have a private tour, normally only those participants can see it or have access to it, so it’s unlikely you will be looking onto a private tour in the first place. You can book a spot and if the tour goes, you will be charged a sliding scale fee (also called tiered pricing) based on the total number of passengers on that tour. No guides or staff are considered as part of the total guest count under any circumstances. If a party has a private tour and they invite solo travelers to join, we will give access to the solo travelers to access the tour page and book as an individual.

All our trips are quoted as a shared twin room, meaning two people in two beds. We try to pair solo travelers of the same gender if possible. When we have mixed genders, the norm is to offer a single room to each person (if available), but that means both guests will have to pay a single supplement fee (each tour has its own fee structure) to have a single room for each traveler. Whether there is a single bed, or two beds does not really matter at this point. The single supplement fee is either by choice or called “forced” if we cannot find another guest to share the same room with a solo traveler. In some cases, if some of the travelers want, we can book a triple room, if available. Our goal is to make sure everyone gets the best value for their money, but hotels and hostels usually determine their flexibility and see if they can accommodate special requests. Not all locations have a lot of extra rooms available. In some cases, in locations in the middle of nowhere, there may not be an unlimited amount single or double rooms available, and we only have the option of multiple beds (3 or more) per room. Each location has its limitations. We believe that the sleeping part of a tour is not the reason we travel to off-the-beaten-path locations, we go for the nature and the wild experiences. We do not “hang out” in the hotels, we use them for sleep, rest, bathrooms, and meals and keep on moving onto the next amazing location. Please keep these points in mind when choosing a tour. Best to discuss this with us before booking a spot.

Traveling in small groups is one of the wonderful experiences of adventure travel.  One can expect to be among like-minded people with similar interests, so we normally find that most people get along just fine most of the time.  Yes, there are situations in which there may be some disagreement among people about a certain matter and that is normal for people not to agree on everything.  Being polite and respectful of different thoughts, ideas, religious beliefs, political stances, and as importantly of the customs and acceptable behavior in the country where you are visiting is expected from everyone.  Anyone misbehaving and acting in a manner that disrupts the safe execution of a tour or is possibly a nuisance, a hindrance or may cause harm to anyone (including themselves) will be handled on an individual basis but under no circumstances will that person negatively influence the purpose and execution of the tour. The tour leader/guide will have the final word on all matters related to such events. Please carefully read the Terms and Conditions that address this issue specifically.  As far as personal time, most people tend to have more personal time at the beginning and end of a tour, but there is always personal time early in the AM and late PM of every day.  We do not build in a lot of “hang out time” in our tours since we try to make sure you get a lot of added value every day, and we are often on the road going to the next location or are in someplace special where you can wander on your own, enjoying what you are seeing in your own space.

K. Pre-Departure Preparation

As part of our preparation schedule, we send a series of documents many weeks ahead of your arrival date via e-mail or links to online documents for our guests to fill out before departure. Those documents cover everything from trip sign-up form, waiver, airline schedules, scans of your passport, vaccination cards, clothing and equipment packing list, visa requirements, online payments and much more. For us to prepare for your arrival ahead of time, we need all this information completed and delivered to us ASAP. If we have any questions about anything, we will be in contact with you, usually via e-mail or text message.

L. Safety / Hygiene / Medical

There are no requirements from our company, but there are requirements from certain countries. In many cases, proof of up-to-date Covid-19 vaccinations are required. Some do not require it, but in case a situation arises and suddenly, they require proof, you will need to have proof with you. We always say, better to have a vaccination and not need it than to need it and not have any place to get it. We do recommend Hepatitis-B, Tetanus, and Covid-19. If going into the northern Amazon basin a Yellow Fever may be required. If you arrive at your destination and you do not have a vaccination, and they require it for entry, then it is your responsibility to get it. The tour departure date will not change to accommodate your vaccination schedule. Please investigate vaccination requirements for each country you are visiting months ahead of time.

We do not require any vaccinations for our tours, except for Covid-19. That is our requirement. Each country also has requirements to enter the country. Please research the entry requirements for the country you plan to visit. It has happened that some people were barred from entering a country unless they had a certain vaccination (Covid-19, Yellow Fever, etc.), even after they landed in a country. Often, airlines will prevent people from boarding a flight when they do not have a visa beforehand and a vaccination record. Please research your own specific needs and requirements.

In our case, no you don’t. But some airlines require It to board and while in flight. Some countries require it while entering the country at the immigration and customs border crossings. Please have a few disposable masks handy distributed among your luggage and belongings. If we require for you to wear a mask after the tour has begun, we will let you know.

Although we try to be very proactive about the safety of our guests, our staff, our vehicles and all our belongings, we cannot be 100% sure nothing will ever happen, and someone could possibly steal something or something could get lost while on tour. In the middle of nowhere we are less concerned about this. It’s in the cities that we need to keep an eye out and be aware of your surroundings and what is going on. It is the personal responsibility of each guest to make sure their personal belongings are safe and under their control. We will do our best to be in situations where we avoid circumstances where things like this can happen, but we cannot be held liable nor responsible for such events. This is another reason proper insurance coverage is required in case something like this happens.

Unfortunately, no. We may have some coolers for food, but we cannot guarantee a refrigerator on board a vehicle or in hotels/hostels. Please bring medicine that does not need refrigeration if you need some while on tour.

That will be an unfortunate circumstance, but rest assured we will do whatever is necessary to treat you with basic first aid and if necessary, evacuate you to the nearest clinic/hospital as soon as possible. None of our personnel are doctors or paramedics and we can only provide basic first aid procedures until we can get to a proper doctor or medical facility for further evaluation. If you are ill, say from a food-borne issue, we will see what can be done to get you back to a healthy state so you can continue to travel with the group. If the illness gets worse and gets to the point where medical intervention is necessary, we will have an evacuation plan to take you off the tour and to a medical facility. If you, for example sprain an ankle or break a bone, then we will evaluate the seriousness of the situation and treat you the best way possible for your comfort and safety then evacuate to a medical facility, if that is required, as soon as possible. If any of these situations arise and there are expenses related to the treatment or evacuation of a guest, all those expenses are the responsibility of the guest. There may be events that have unfortunate financial costs, and in some circumstances, we could be hours to days away from any medical help. We would need to re-group and evacuate the person as best and as safe as possible, with no outside help available, like ambulances or helicopters. Once again, having proper travel, health emergency and evacuation insurance is worth the time and effort and price to get properly covered before any tour.

Yes, in just about all tours. But, in some out-of-the-way locations a squatting toilet may be present instead-of / in addition to a western-style toilet. Just like anything else, one just needs to learn how to use the amenities properly.

M. Terms and Conditions / Cancellations / Refunds

To be fair to everyone, we will need to adhere to the Terms and Conditions and the Refund Schedule if you cannot participate on a tour. Please read those carefully and make sure you understand the rules you are agreeing to before booking a tour. This is why travel insurance to cover this possibility is important.

Unfortunately, when you cancel your participation on a tour due to whatever reason you may have, we follow the terms under the Terms and Conditions and the Refund Schedule to decide about refunding any money you paid to date. Please look at the Refund Schedule carefully and make sure you understand the terms. This is why an insurance policy that covers “cancel for any reason” is the ultimate protection in case something happens. Of course, it comes with a price tag to cover any eventuality. We understand that life happens, so we are flexible enough to say that if we can find another person to take your spot and cover the exact same costs, we can refund your money (except the non-refundable admin fee) once that person covers the fee in full. We can also give you a credit for up to two (2) years so you can join another tour in the future. All Terms and Conditions apply, so if prices rise in two years, you still get full credit for what you paid, but there may be some additional costs required to pay to cover rising prices (e.g.: gas, food, hotels, etc.)

If that happens and you (or us) can find another guest to take your spot, we have no problem swapping out names and saving the spot.  But it is the responsibility of the person not traveling to find a suitable replacement, not Sergio Photo Tours.  The person not traveling will forfeit the non-refundable admin fee in all cases.  All the financials and paperwork would have to begin again for the new person.  Once all monies are finalized for both parties, we can then begin to issue a refund based on the Terms and Conditions.

If that happens and you (or us) can find another guest to take your spot, we have no problem swapping out names and saving the spot for the new guest.  But it is the responsibility of the person not traveling to find a suitable replacement, not Passport Republic Tours, but we will try.  The person not traveling will forfeit the non-refundable admin fee in all cases.  All the financials and paperwork would have to begin again for the new person.  Once all monies are finalized for both parties, we can then begin to issue a refund based on the Terms and Conditions.

If that happens and we can find another guest to take their spot, we have no problem swapping out names and saving the spot.  But it is the responsibility of that person to find themselves a suitable replacement.  The person not traveling will forfeit the non-refundable admin fee in all cases.  All the financials and paperwork would have to begin again for the new person.  Once all monies are finalized for both parties, we can then begin to issue a refund based on the Terms and Conditions.

It depends on a few factors. But we estimate approximately 30-60 days after the tour begins the refund process should be finished. You will need to be patient as banking, paperwork and legal stuff takes time to work through the system.

N. Travel insurance

We offer insurance packages from a few reputable adventure travel insurance suppliers. We believe there is no one magic bullet and different companies have different insurance options with variable price points. We will leave it up to you to decide what insurance product covers your specific needs. But we do recommend you give serious consideration to the following: emergency medical air evacuation, medical emergency abroad, medical expenses abroad, emergency assistance, “cancel for any reason”, trip delay, lost/delayed luggage, stolen property, and repatriation. If you do not have health insurance that covers you abroad, this is a MUST purchase option. Travel insurance is required to travel with Sergio Photo Tours.

Yes, you do. We have a minimum requirement for travel insurance that covers emergency evacuation, emergency health services (hospital/clinic), rescue, evacuation, lost/delayed/stolen luggage. Most companies have a basic and comprehensive list of items and situations covered so we suggest you compare apples to apples and choose the best option based on your tour and your comfort level. Please keep in mind that a few hundred dollars well spent on a full coverage plan is a lot cheaper than paying many thousands of dollars out-of-pocket for an emergency. Please see our list of preferred vendors for coverage options. You will need to provide proof of travel insurance to travel with us.

O. Trip Extras

We suggest somewhere around US $ 500.00/per person in cash is usually sufficient for any small emergency and for buying a few things and splurging a bit. Nowadays ATM machines are available in the most remote areas and Debit cards (and some credit cards) usually handle transactions easily, but we have no guarantees all Debit/Credit cards will work in all ATM machines. Bring a variety of cards from different banks and use the ones that will not charge you international usage fees. Travelers’ checks are useless, except to help light a campfire, don’t bother with them.

Yes, tipping is allowed and encouraged. The premise for tipping is based on whether you feel the people that were part of the service did their job and went above and beyond of what was expected. Tipping is a personal decision, but we feel one tips when one receives a service that exceeds their expectations, or someone helped resolve an issue not covered in our service contract. As far as guidance on the amount, we say between 5-10% of the tour price is a good starting point. Normally the tour leader/guide receives the tips as a bulk sum from our guests and distributes it to the group equally. There are a lot of people that make a trip happen, some of them are behind the scenes. Some people give a bulk tip as part of the group and then add a “personal tip” to someone they feel deserves it. Having said that, tips are an integral part of how some of our service personnel make up part of their living wages.

We recommend soft duffel bags with straps and beefy zippers and if they have backpack straps, even better, up to 50-60 liters in volume is good. We try to steer people away from hard luggage with wheels. Some duffel bags that have wheels made for dirt and sand are fine. A daypack for carrying your essentials is highly recommended, up to 10-25 liters in volume is perfect. Anyone with photography in mind, choose a small to medium bag with a shoulder strap or backpack style harness. Large camera backpacks tend to get heavy since so much gear can be stuffed into them. We want people to take enough clothes and shoes and related garments to be comfortable and be able to change to a new set, every 3-4 days or so. Please do not bring a change of clothes for every day. Our packing list is very helpful in breaking down the needs, required and must-have’s away from the “I really would like to have but don’t really need” categories. Your airline will dictate size and weight maximums, please heed them or you will pay extra fees. You should be able to travel for up to two weeks in perfect comfort with one (1) large duffel, one (1) daypack and one (1) camera/laptop shoulder sling bag, plus a tripod (which can go inside your duffel). In some cases, when using small planes, your weight limits are greatly reduced, so learn to pack lightly and get items that have multiple uses. Each trip will have specific guidelines for when reduced weight and size restrictions are required and are very much enforced.

Yes. On the longer tours, when we have 1-2 days at a location, you may be able to get some laundry done for you. But we suggest you come ready with a bit of laundry soap (or can easily find some in-country) so you can do your own at your leisure and not count on someone else to have your laundry done on time. We will not delay a tour departure for laundry service scheduling conflicts.

P. Trip Styles

Our trips are designed to be accessible to most people that are in good health and can move about easily doing normal daily activities; walking, climbing stairs, getting in and out of vehicles, sitting at a table to eat, etc.  The more challenging trips are the mountain biking, treks and mountain climbing where you need to be in very good physical state and are in shape to do the activity and handle the altitude, which can be trip dependent.

Yes, we do.  We have taken families on private trips to many locations, and we make sure we understand their needs and requirements before booking a trip.  When it’s a tailor-made tour, we make sure all the activities and locations are appropriate for everywell….yeahwell, trying to one in the group.  We can take kids as young as 15 years old and seniors up to 75 years old.  Please contact us for more info and to discuss your special needs or requirements.

The people attracted to our style of trips are people who love to do unconventional trips, who like the great outdoors, who want to interact with the local culture and are curious and respectful of the customs of the country they are visiting.  We do not offer bus tours.  We offer tours to off-the-beaten path locations, often times with less options for high-end amenities and hotels than other destinations.  Mostly you need a sense of adventure with no special skills.  Each of our trips has a “challenge level” associated with it so you can gauge if it’s a good fit for you.  But when you want to experience something unique and unforgettable, what you do not get in amenities you get back in spades with stunning natural beauty, unique cultural interactions and an adventurous journey you will not soon forget. 

We have always believed in smaller is better.  Most memorable experiences are when you share experiences with a few people that are sharing special moments and not jostling to get in line for a photo op.  Our groups can be as small as 1 solo traveler up to 12.  The vast majority of our groups range from 4-6 travelers, most of them part of one group of friends or family.  We have handled groups up to 25 guests but those are more the exception than the rule and are custom-designed tours.

We can travel with kids as young as 15 and seniors up to 75 years old.  Anyone under 18, must have a parent or guardian traveling with them.  We like to make sure everyone is the right fit for a trip so we make sure a trip can handle a 15- and 75-year-old on the same itinerary.  This could easily be a family that has a teenager and a grandparent traveling together.  It’s best you speak with us to discuss this further.

We believe that free time is as important as guide-led time on our tours. Usually, you have a few opportunities for your “personal free time” throughout the itinerary, but that depends on the tour. Some itineraries have more free time than others, and usually we tend to allow more free time at the beginning and end of the tour since people are adjusting to arrival, flight schedules, different time zones, etc. At the end of a tour our guests want to have some free time to savor the local scene on their own or go shopping before departure.

Q. Transportation

We use private vehicles all the time, never public transport, except airplanes or small ships.  There may be exceptions where we use a combination of our private vehicle to a certain urban location then transition to a local taxi service to get deep into areas where the traffic is terrible and there is no place to park safely.  In urban areas we use a combination of 4×4’s, vans, and small private buses.  In remote areas we only use 4×4 vehicles.  If we cross a body of water, it may be a small boat with an outboard motor, a barge, or a ferry service.  We may use jets, and small planes within certain regions in the country.  We will always explain the mode of travel in our detailed itineraries.

R. Photography

We will send out a basic photographic equipment checklist, so you have the minimum gear to cover from wide to telephoto situations.  That will include some accessories like tripod, filters, shutter releases, batteries, sensor cleaning kit, etc.

A laptop is recommended and the smaller the better for the portability aspect.  But it also must have the power to process photos, etc.  We are mostly Apple product users but can help a little with Windows OS machines.  You need to be familiar with how to use Windows machines so we can help you with Adobe Lightroom software.

We like to use a mainstream program that has been around and is well designed, instead of the latest, new offerings.  We like Adobe Lightroom for lots of reasons, mostly due to familiarity with the user interface and how the product has evolved over the past decade.  There are other great programs out there, but we cannot be proficient with all software options.  You need to have a licensed copy of Adobe Lightroom installed with the latest updates for us to help you with downloading, sorting, editing, processing, and outputting.  You need to have at least a basic understanding of how the software works and can do the basic operations on your own.  We do not teach workshops, but we can teach you some tried-and-true methods that produce great results and keep your photos safe until you get home and transfer to your home-based system.

At minimum you need at least one external hard drive (HD), preferably two (2) so we can do double/triple backups while in the field.  A mouse, mouse pad, all the cables so all your externals will work properly, etc.  Bring back-up cables!  Bring any cable you may need to use on any electronic device.  We cannot provide extra cables, nor can we guarantee you will have access to such things while in the cities and definitely not in the field.  Bring a fast card reader so you can download your photos quickly.

Yes, you do.  Please research a color calibrating software and hardware solution that will calibrate your laptop monitor BEFORE you leave home.  The bedrock of all photography is a color-calibrated system, preferable NOT a laptop but a desktop with a professional monitor.  You will be making color decisions on your photos and if your laptop screen is not calibrated you will make inaccurate decisions.