Who typically attends these trips?
Our expeditions are mostly attended by solo travelers of a diverse mix of nationality gender and age. We have had 21 year old and 65 year old attend alike. We would say the gender split on our expeditions is 30% female to 70% male and the most common nationality that attends is British.
Do I need to have prior survival experience?
Not at all, our courses are designed for beginners who have done nothing like this before.
How many people will be on the course?
We cap our courses at 8 to ensure everyone gets the guidance and attention they need.
Can I attend alone?
Absolutely. Most of our courses are attended by individual adventurers looking for new experiences and to meet interesting people. You can of course come with a friend or group and there are discounts that apply to this too! If you want, you can arrange a completely bespoke trip just for your friends. Please email us with your ideas and we will do our best to accommodate them.
Are flights included in the price?
No. Everything apart from flights and personal travel insurance is included in the price. i.e the hotel before and after the expedition, transport to the island, permits, food and training. When booking your flights, where possible, we encourage you to book directly through the airline, this is the cheapest option should you need to make travel amendments. We like google flights to find the best prices and the app, 'Hopper' which track changes to flight costs for you.
How isolated is the island?
The island's we operate on are uninhabited. With the possible exception of a local fisherman and the very occasional sailboat heading past we will be undisturbed for the duration of our trip.
How tough will this be?
Our courses are not just sunbathing and sipping coconuts. If you are used to a holiday lying by the pool this is not for you. You can expect some long days of activity in a demanding environment. Sometimes you will be bothered by insects, by heat, by hunger. This is survival after all so you can expect a few bites and blisters, but despite some of the challenge and adversity we are pretty confident you will finish the experience with a huge smile and an immense sense of achievement.
I thought this was meant to be survival why do people have fishing rods ands spearguns in your pictures?
Throughout the first 5 days of training we want to ensure you eat well. Therefore we have rods and spearguns to ensure we catch plenty of fish!
During the marooned phase will I be alone?
No, you will be marooned as a group, although the beach is 1,200 meters long and offers plenty of partial isolation should you wish. For those seeking total solitude, we do offer a total isolation package where you are marooned on your own private beach for this period. Due to additional logistical, equipment and safety requirements this carries a $400 USD supplement. Availability is limited to one individual or group per trip, so please notify us of your request when you are making your enquiry. Your personal safety is paramount to us, therefore you will only be allowed to proceed with the isolation phase once you have demonstrated the appropriate survival skills throughout the training phase.
I'm not so interested in training I just want to be marooned.
As mentioned above we have space on a first come first serve basis for one person/group of friends to be isolated on their own beach. If you can demonstrate to us in the first couple of days of training that you have what it takes to undertake the isolation phase we are happy for you to leave the training early and spend the week surviving alone.
How much money do I need to bring?
You should not need any extra money unless you plan on buying souvenirs and additional celebratory drinks. There is no cash point on our first island, so please insure you bring cash with you from the mainland. Just for emergencies we recommend you bring around $200 USD. There is an ATM at Albrook Airport.
What equipment do I need to bring?
We provide the expensive and cumbersome items like hammocks and machetes. You will only need to bring expedition clothing and a few other bits. You can download our full kit list here.
Do I need travel insurance?
Yes, as with any trip you should take out standard travel insurance, you don't need anything bespoke. If you are traveling from the UK we recommend booking with Sports Cover Direct who are fully aware of our operation. When taking out insurance please select the activities; Bushcraft, fishing (angling), camping’ spearfishing and sailing (within 12 miles). Bronze cover at £27.60 offers sufficient medical cover.
Do I need immunisations?
If you are not up to date on your vaccinations then as standard practice, you should be. For detailed vaccination advice specific to Panama and French Polynesia, please consult your own doctor and the excellent NHS site 'fit for travel'.
As a minimum you should be up to date with all vaccinations required for normal life in the developed world. Hepatitis A and Tetanus are usually advised. Sometimes advised are typhoid, diphtheria, tuberculosis, rabies and hepatitis B.
The risk of rabies is small and the cost of the vaccination relatively high, so a personal decision is required here. To the best of our knowledge their is now risk of Rabies on the islands we operate. Rabies is however always fatal once symptoms develop and the vaccine does not provide complete immunity; it will buy added time to extract to a suitable medical facility.
If there is a chance you may be pregnant, please contact us before booking.
What is there is a medical emergency?
All of our instructors are certified wilderness medical first responders and refresh their skills a maximum of every 2 years. For any severe medical emergency we have a set strategy in place to evacuate a castaway back to the local medical clinic within an hour depending on weather conditions. From here should the injury be critical, helicopter evacuation would be required to the main land. All castaways should ensure that their medical insurance can cover such evacuation.
Are there age restrictions?
We do restrict our courses to 18 years old and above. However we are happy to make case by case exceptions based on maturity and adult supervision. We are looking into offering parent ands child courses in the fure. If this interests you, please get in touch to be kept updated on future events.
Do I need a visa?
Most nations do not require a visa to visit Panama, if you are in doubt you can check here. It is very important to check that your passport has at least 6 months left before it expires or you will be refused entry.
How do I pay?
Click here to let us know the number of guests and which dates you are interested in. Once we have confirmed availability we will let you know the payment instructions to send your $600 USD deposit to. You will need to have settled the balance of your trip by 8 weeks before embarking.
What happens if I need to cancel?
Unfortunately the initial deposit is non-refundable. If you have already paid the full amount, Then up to 4 weeks before the trip we will refund you in full amount minus the deposit. All that said, we have a heart and depending on your circumstances, you might be able to apply your deposit towards the cost of a future trip.
Will I be safe?
For most people, ‘deserted island’ is synonymous with snakes, sharks and so on. The truth is that the uninhabited islands are pretty safe places, sharks are not a genuine threat, and snakes avoid humans, in fact coconuts kill 15 times more people than sharks each year, so they are our real enemy! Jokes aside, there are still some realistic dangers to be aware of such as the ocean and machette use. You will receive a full safety briefing on how to live out your time safely on the island. Our clients safety is of our upmost importance and we always have a boat on standby to provide evacuation to the nearest medical clinic, a 20 minute journey.
Can I leave the island at any time?
If you find that this is not for you then of course you are free to leave the island, however unless it is a medical emergency, transportation charges will apply and you will be responsible for organising your own accommodation.
How fit do I need to be?
Our trips are designed to be challenging but this does not mean you must have a very high level of physical fitness, just that you should be in good health and pretty active. For example, we have people well into their late 60's and early 70's attending. If you are not normally very active, then we recommend you undertake some moderate training for a months or so before attending our expeditions. You can do some walking or swimming to improve your stamina, this will not only help you with days when you are wielding machetes and hauling wood, but also acclimatise to the environment quicker.
What languages are the course held in?
At present all courses are held in English. If you are a complete group, arrangements can be made to have a translator.
I have a health issue, can I still take part?
If you have any doubts about the state of your health please contact us to discuss this on a case by case basis.
I smoke cigarettes, can I smoke on the island?
Yes you can smoke, however we prefer you to bring rolling tobacco to ensure no cigarette butts get left behind.
Still cant find the answer to your burning question? feel free to email us and we will get back to you soon.