Frequently Asked Questions
What can I expect from the CNT tour experience?
CNT trips are designed for the traveler who does not want a big group experience, but appreciates the benefits of staff experience and expertise, and freedom from the details of travel logistics. Excepting personal expenses, trips are all-inclusive upon arrival, including the frequent (but necessary) tipping. Our standard is private rooms or cottages with private bath and three full meals each day. Lodging selection is based on location, the best available in the field. Are you experiencing your intended destination upon opening your door each morning ? A full schedule is planned for each day maximizing every moment spent in our outstanding locations, but you may opt out and choose the hammock or a solitary walk. Usually, lunch and dinner are together, breakfast is flexible. Each itinerary allows some time for individual interests to be explored. Groups of ten are a mix of couples and singles. It’s no-hassle travel, just show up - your trip planner is with you from beginning to end.
Some destinations are simply cheaper than others. Also, high volume locations, fixed itineraries, packaged tours with year-round departures, all provide lower cost tours. Some in-country tour operators are cheaper too.
CNT works only with the most well established and reputable companies with strong affiliations and the best guides in the destination country. As with every other item you purchase there is a choice of price correlating to a level of expected quality and peace of mind. What is the experience you want to have? I know what I want and I personally plan and guide Ceiba Nature Tours trips to those destinations that are truly outstanding for the natural history experiences they provide. Your lodging may accommodate a few dozen, not hundreds. Your vacation is my vacation too! CNT is not the least, nor the most expensive, but my intent is to make our trips the highest value.
“I don’t have anyone to go with” is a response I hear too frequently. I understand, but the experience is that you are not alone. CNT always has singles in the group – frequently one of a couple has decidedly different interests, or you’re just single. I’ve personally traveled alone on several trips and can honestly say I had all the companionship I needed, thank you. The single traveler is a welcome addition to any group, other singles are immediately comfortable, couples are delighted to add fresh conversation, we are all together at meals or in the vehicles, the leader is single (!). Additionally, traveling solo allows you to truly focus your attention on what you are experiencing; taking photos at leisure, reading, spending your time as you choose. It’s a luxury – don’t pass it up.
Why indeed – the advantages far exceed the perceived disadvantages. First and foremost you will greatly maximize your experiences, downtime is minimal. Experts have determined the most efficient means to spend your time in the destination of your choice. All the maddening logistics are taken care of by your leader, you are free to focus all your time on enjoying the trip. Choose a small group, no more than 10-12, especially for nature travel. CNT limits tours to this size. Scrutinize the itinerary, is it what you want to do? Many times with a group you get preferential access. You’ll have a guide with you full-time – CNT has had wonderful serendipitous experiences along the way because our in-country guide spotted the opportunity – cattle round-up in Argentina’s pampas! Are there opportunities for independent activity of interest to you? What is the target audience – chances are you’ll find yourself with like-minded travelers.
This designation is often used, and often misused. With twenty-five years experience as an environmental educator, I understand, believe in, and am committed to the intent of ecotravel. Nature travel should be low-impact and sustainable to the extent possible, while stimulating interest in the environment and local culture. Some compromise may be necessary in balancing economic activity with natural and cultural biodiversity protection, but ecotravel should provide long-term benefits over other development choices. The choices are not hard and fast but unique to each location, and always a consideration in CNT planning.
Not included in trip costs due to ever changing and challenging airline policies. I will make your arrangements at your request. You will be provided information for the designated ‘group’ flight to book.
Early reservations are encouraged and appreciated! Each CNT itinerary is unique; no set departures for repeated trips, so no advantageous contracts with high volume lodging and carriers. We are required to make substantial deposits to hold space at exclusive locations. To encourage your early commitment we may offer early sign-on discounts.
Your vacation is my vacation too. I plan trips to places I want to see and experience, sometimes once is enough, other destinations are favorites to return again and again.
My list is long and inclusive, particularly for Latin America which holds the greatest natural history diversity on the planet. Other destinations, the continent of Africa, are compelling with their extreme and unique natural history.
How to decide where and when? If I go there and like it you will have the opportunity to return with me. Ideally, I travel first and then plan your experience from my experience. When I am certain of the quality of the itinerary we all go the first time together. Maiden tours are offered to CNT alumni, their families and friends. They know us and know what to expect.
Destinations are frequently suggested by CNT travelers. For a few destinations advance interest is required prior to planning. An African safari, a singularly outstanding trip, requires a committed group prior to reserving camps and flights. If you are interested please let me know. Your destination suggestions are always welcome.
I know some of the trips seem to be scheduled at less than ideal time, i.e. not getting us out of town over winter! But… the timing is all about the best time of year for the purpose of the tr. For Central America Jan./Feb. is ideal… great! But, South America is not so easy. Now you are considering rainy vs. wet, and what’s happening in highlands vs. coast, and interior lowlands vs. highlands and coast! Of course in the end weather patterns are subject to change and even more so in the last decades.