FAQ’s & More
Our Director Ben Rodriguez answers the most common questions asked by our customers in 15 years of Operations
1) Malaria, Yellow Fever & tropical diseases, will they be a problem?
A.- Not at all at least in the areas where we can take you however that does not guarantee 100% that nothing is going to happen. Malaria, Yellow fever and all tropical diseases are in well identified areas and surely we would not run tours there until the threat is gone.
2) What can we do with our bags? We don’t want to hike with 20 kilos of luggage all the time.
A.-The official luggage restrictions are as follows but if you are over packed or heading for multiple destinations our staff can help you. With prior warning, of course subject to space being available, our airport / transfer staff can store your bags for you for a small fee which would be payable directly to them.
For Canaima and Los Roques the official weight limit is 10Kg per person plus a small carry on that fits under the seat as there are often no overheads on the short flights. If you are over this weight you are subject to an extra charge by the air carriers which is normally around US$ 1 per extra kilo. We will give you a list of the most important things to pack and hopefully you will not pack too much. However, at every location, except in Los Roques or Canaima, you will have the chance to leave some luggage behind and take just the essentials with you while for that particular tour.
3) Foreign Currency & Money Exchange? Let me know more.
A.- Venezuela has a dual currency exchange, the official and a “parallel” one. The official rate is BsF.10 to 1 US$. This rate is available at exchange houses around the country. If you use your bank credit card or ATM debit card in Venezuela, the official rate will apply plus local commission and maybe more fees charged by your bank for every overseas transaction. On the other hand, you could benefit from the parallel rate by bringing some US$ cash (preferably), Euros and UK pounds are also welcome – money can be normally be exchanged upon arrival. We don’t recommend exchanging all your spending money at once as you might end up having non-used local currency left over at the end of your stay. Of course this can be used to purchase duty free in the airport at the end of your trip, or snacks, otherwise you may have difficulty re-exchanging back to your local currency! Please do not try to exchange money at the airport by yourself, it is unsafe. For more information about getting the benefit of the parallel rate please ask any of our representatives or our office staff prior to departure.
4) Who and where are we going to meet from Osprey at our arrival to Venezuela?
A- Our English speaking staff will meet you at the International Airport of Maiquetía Simon Bolivar. We will hold a sign with your name on at the arrival gates. There may be tons of people waiting for flights so please be patient, in case that you don’t get to meet our staff please contact us at the number we will provide in the final confirmation program.
5) How can I book a tour with Osprey?
A- Very easy. At the moment of contacting us, don’t forget to let us know your plans for travelling in Venezuela. Please add your arrival & departure information, number of participants, destinations you want to visit and all what you can. The more you say, the more efficient our answer will be. If you want to let us know how much is you budget for such tour that would be helpful too. We answer in less than 24 hours.
6) Do you have tour departures every day?
A.- Depending on the tour and the number of participants; for a solo traveler I recommend to join a group in order to make the price more affordable, if you are 4-people the tour can practically depart anytime. Angel Falls depart every 2-3 days, Roraima & Llanos with minimum 4 people, Orinoco with 2 people. We always handle small groups so our customers can really enjoy nature and have a great time.
7) Is Venezuela so dangerous as the news say? Is it safe to travel?
A.- Well that is a leading question. Of late the Travel Advisories from different countries such as the U.S paint a very worrisome picture – but we believe with common sense and signing up with an operator such as ourselves that take care of you every step of the way you will be in good hands. Once one is out of the major cities and away from certain impoverished areas we are sure that you will feel very comfortable in our beautiful land. Generally speaking our people are very friendly no matter what one may have heard to the contrary
8) What kind of people travel with Osprey Expeditions?
Our tours appeal to a wide range of travelers and are designed to attract people whom share an adventurous spirit and a desire to get close to the local culture and nature. They are ideal for friends, couples, honeymooners or for those of you who are travelling alone. Our tours run in English with travelers coming from different countries such as the United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Canada, South Korea and Japan, among other countries. The mixture of nationalities in our Group Tours and Special Departures is an enjoyable part of the experience which allows for great interaction within the members of the trip. Our travelers are generally aged between 20 to 60 years old although our tours can be made up of people of all ages.
9) Why booking a tour with Osprey?
A.- I think the main reason is that we deliver what we offer to our customers; when you book a tour with Osprey we guarantee that things will work out efficiently during your visit so you can enjoy Venezuela big time. I personally select my team, I am a good friend of all of them and quite demanding at the mean time. I was a tour guide for 8 years and very lucky to get to travel all over Venezuela so my collaborators and associated knew me well as an enthusiastic and responsible tour guide and now as a friendly and demanding business man. My knowledge of tours and destinations don’t only come from books and university but the experience on the field. I founded Osprey in 2002 when I was unemployed and without a cent in my pocket selling tours off the streets of Caracas for backpackers and know very well the importance of a good reputation and a well recognized company . I just want you to get the best impression of Venezuela, not only of its natural beauties but also of a 100% venezuelan company as your travel partner.
10) Do you accept credit cards, Paypal, etc?
A.- There are different ways to pay, ask our team and we will find the most convenient way for you.
11) Do Venezuelans speak English?
A.- Not really; however folks are generally very helpful and you will usually be able to get your point over if you are patient. We do recommend that you learn a few basic phrases prior to your visit – every country loves to help folks that try. All of our office staff speak English and most of our guides too, although some local tour guides have a very basic knowledge. We will always try to give you sufficient information for you to be comfortable in case of unforeseen circumstances and to be able to complete your travel segments.
12) How much should I budget for tipping?
Tips are not included in the tour price. It is a common practice in many of the places we visit in Venezuela and especially appreciated by the people who make minimum wage, which is usually not enough to live on.
There are times during the tour where there is opportunity to tip the local guides and other people who ensure that we travel safely and have a good time. Tipping is at your discretion and a good way to show your appreciation for the services received. You may do this individually or your Tour Leader may offer to collect the money in an envelope and tip as a group. Also at the end of the tour, if you felt that your Tour Leader did a great job, tipping is appreciated.
Below you will find some suggested tipping amounts.
Local guides on half-day activities/ Airport assistances or similar: US$ 3 per person.
Local guides on full-day activities/excursions: US$ 2 per day, per person.
Tour leader: USD$3 per day, per person.
Restaurants: usually a 10% tip is appreciated.
13) What is the most appropriate type of luggage to bring?
You will be on the move for most of our tours so we recommend that you pack as lightly as possible. We recommend the use of a backpack, a duffel bag, or even a travel case with wheels – as long as it’s not too big and can easily be stored in buses, taxis, under seats, etc. A small daypack or a day bag is useful during the day or for activities to carry water, snacks, sunscreen, a hat and other items. Keep in mind that you will have to carry your own luggage on and off of cars and up and down hotel staircases. Remember that wheels may not work well on dirt, sand or cobblestone streets.
14) Can I bring things to donate to the local people during my tour?
Anything that you can donate is appreciated, especially second hand clothes and small toys. Keep in mind that things like school supplies, food and toiletries can be bought locally which saves you bringing the excess weight over, plus it supports local businesses.
We suggest donating to people with whom you have some sort of positive interaction during your tour.
15) Do I need a visa for Venezuela and if so, can you help me to get one?
Visa requirements change frequently and are dependent upon your nationality. Venezuela has a reciprocal visa system, so if your home country requires Venezuelan nationals to secure a visa, then you may need a visa to enter Venezuela. At the time of writing American citizens need visas but citizens of the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, South Africa, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Scandinavian and most European countries do not. The fee for visas is also reciprocal. Tourist visas are usually valid from the date you arrive in Venezuela for a 90-day stay.
Osprey Expeditions is unable to arrange visas on your behalf. If you do need a visa you can arrange it yourself through your local Venezuelan consulate or embassy or use the services of a travel agent or visa processing company. On entering Venezuela, all tourists must fill out an entry/exit card; immigration officials will put a Venezuelan stamp in your passport. Once you leave , official will stamp it again.
Visas and entry cards are usually renewable for an additional 90 days at SAIME (immigration office) which have offices in the state capitals and border towns. You must apply before your entry/exit card or visa lapses.
Note that any information provided here is for reference only and should not be taken as official. The traveler understands and assumes full responsibility for checking with your local Venezuelan embassy or consulate for the latest information as visa regulations change from time to time.
We don’t issue invitation letters.
16) How will I receive my travel documentation?
As a sustainable company we try to limit the amount of paper that we consume. All documentation in regards to your tour will be sent by email. Shortly after we receive your payment we will send you your booking confirmations. Final documentation will be sent no later than 10 days prior to the departure.
17) When is the best time of the year to go to Venezuela?
Venezuela’s high season runs from November to January.
Peak season is between Christmas and New Year’s when hotels, flights, and excursions can be booked out and you may experience a lot of traffic, flight delays and cancelations. We only operate non beach destinations at this time, Los Roques only if organized with plenty of anticipation.
Low Season goes from May to July. Low season is also a good time to visit Venezuela with a much less crowded experience.
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