COVID-19 Protocols for Expeditions in Ecuador
Following the shut down of our entire international program in March of 2020, Ecuador will be the first country outside of the U.S. that Alpenglow Expeditions will venture back to. Understandably, there are a lot of questions from both our guide team and our clients regarding the unique challenges that COVID-19 poses to an international mountain climbing trip.
In an effort to create the best circumstances for health, safety and success we’ve put together a specific COVID plan for our expeditions in Ecuador. We’ll be creating similar plans for each country that we subsequently travel to as they open.
Ecuador’s Requirements for Entry:
Negative PCR test within 10 days – these tests are the norm across the United States and most other countries, and have become easy to obtain for most people. Ecuador is requiring proof of a negative PCR test within 10 days of arrival.
Alpenglow’s Upgrades and Changes:
-All clients and guides will be required to show a negative PCR test within 10 days of the expedition start. If testing is not feasible, Ecuador offers testing upon arrival, but you must quarantine in a hotel until results come back, which can take up to a week.
-All in-town hotel room nights will be upgraded to single occupancy to accommodate for private sleeping quarters for all team members (members of the same household can stay together).
-All transport vehicles will be regularly cleaned and will be upgraded to a larger type to allow for clients to spread out during transport between mountains.
-During transport, all clients and guides will be required to wear a cloth mask.
-During skills training and other outdoor activities, clients and guides will remain 6ft apart, or will be required to wear a mask if social distancing is not possible.
-Private base camps with personal tents will be built around huts we normally stay in, unless there are private rooms available. We’ll still utilize facilities like clean bathrooms and kitchens, but will not bunk in the open areas the huts provide.
-Increased sanitation measures throughout the expedition, including easy access to hand sanitizer and hand washing.
COVID Supplement Charge
Due to the increased costs of these necessary improvements to our operation in Ecuador, there is an additional COVID Supplement charge. We realize these upgrade costs are unforeseen, and for this reason we are absorbing 50% of the real cost.
For the normal, 9 day climbing school itinerary this charge is $340, and the 7 day extension is an additional $160.
A few frequently asked questions:
What if someone becomes ill?
If a client, guide, or any other person associated with the expedition begins to show symptoms, they will be immediately removed from the trip and quarantined. Private arrangements to the nearest health care facility will be made.
What if your guide becomes ill?
Fortunately in Ecuador, we have a large guide staff. If your guide begins to show symptoms, we’ll follow the protocol above. As available, we will have a substitute guide ready to fill in if the need arises.
What if Ecuador shuts down while we’re there?
While this is an unlikely scenario, our plan would involve immediately transporting clients to the nearest airport or embassy to begin working on an efficient exit. We’re fortunate to have many resources in Ecuador and have the utmost confidence we can safely work with clients to get back home.
What if Ecuador shuts down before we get there?
If Ecuador shuts down before we arrive, we’ll credit or refund all but our non-refundable costs. Non-refundable costs can vary based on the timing of the cancellation. It’s best practice to purchase trip insurance to cover any non-refundable costs that may be incurred.