YNE Frequently Asked Questions
Exactly what is the Young Naturalist Expeditions?
The Young Naturalist Expeditions are the result of our many years of introducing students to the wonders of the marine environment. During this time, the Panterra group has observed and recorded the marine life encounters, the exploration of environments, and the investigative activities, which most piqued the interest of the students, stimulating their desire for further knowledge. It is with this experience and information that we have designed the Young Naturalist Expeditions.
During the trip the students will explore, discover, research and identify the marine organisms encountered while engaged in activities such as hiking, snorkeling, kayaking and onboard science activities.
For those students doing the credit program, the success of the program is based on the students’ completion of the Expedition Workbook. Panterra does not take responsibility for completion of the program should the students arrive unprepared, or choose not to complete their responsibility to the workbook.
Flights and Travel Insurance
At the request of the Canadian school, Panterra will arrange the flights and All-Inclusive Travel Insurance on behalf of the group. Participants are responsible for understanding the terms and conditions of the insurance. In the event of a situation requiring medical attention it is the responsibility of the school or participant to pay for the service and apply for a refund through the travel insurance company.
The weather is generally warm and beautiful. During the day temperatures range from 20 – 30 degrees Celsius and a t-shirt and shorts are usually all you need. The evenings cool down and can occasionally dip down to 15 degrees Celsius sometimes requiring light pants and jacket. Sunburn and dehydration, in any weather, should not be taken lightly. Our daily activities are designed around the weather and certain areas may be inaccessible due to the sea and weather conditions. The safety and comfort of our guests are our main priorities.
Air Temperature / Water Temperature
January – 20-24 C (68-75f) / 16-20 C (61-68f)
February – 20-24 C (68-75f) / 16-20 C (61-68f)
March – 20-24 C (68-75f) / 16-20 C (61-68f)
April – 22-26 C (72-79f) / 18-22 C (65-72f)
May – 24-28 C (75-82f) / 18-22 C (65-72f)
June – 26-32 C (79-90f) / 20-24 C (68-75f)
July – 28-38 C (82-100f) / 24-30 C (78-86f)
August – 30-34 C (86-104f) / 24-30 C (78-86f)
September – 30-34 C (86-104f) / 24-30 C (78-86f)
October – 26-32 C (79-90f) / 24-30 C (78-86f)
November– 22-26 C (72-79f) / 20-24 C (68-75f)
December – 20-24 C (68-75f) / 18-22 C (65-72f)
We recommend that you bring 2 extra t-shirts/rashguards for snorkelling to protect your shoulders and backs from sunburn while in the water. Rashguards or UV blocking shirts are highly recommended for use while in the water.
Sunburn and dehydration, in any weather, should not be taken lightly. It is very important to drink lots of water and wear sunscreen, especially on windy or overcast days. Our daily activities are designed around the weather and certain areas may be inaccessible due to the sea and weather conditions. Safety and comfort of our guests are our main priority.
How remote is the area we will be exploring?
For the first couple of days there are usually other boats around our evening mooring spots. However, later on in the trip, we are usually the only ones in sight because there is little human habitation on the islands. The boat is self-contained with fresh water, food, etc. Imagine having the whales, dolphins, and beaches to ourselves – you couldn’t ask for a better playground. Once we have departed, the only other human interaction, outside of our onboard guests, are the folks at the fishing village, and other isolated communities, we may visit.
In the event of an emergency the vessel is equipped with a cell phone, satellite phone, VHF, and single sideband radio. Participants wishing to contact their families or friends while on the trip, and in a non-emergency, will have to bring their cellular or satellite phones.
How do we address seasickness?
The MV Adventure is a 110′ vessel with a considerable amount of stability. In the event of bad weather, we simply avoid and do not venture out into it. We have backup plans for alternative destinations and activities. We do not anticipate that anyone will feel ill, however in the event you suffer from motion sickness, we recommend carrying “sea bands” which are an elastic material band that sits on the pressure points of the wrist. Your second alternative is to use Gravol/Dramamine. Please check with your doctor if you have any further concerns. We have never had a guest whose trip was ruined by seasickness.
Kayaking and Snorkeling?
The kayaks are simply plastic “sit-on” kayaks that are used in the bays, coves, and the area in which the boat is anchored. They are not sea-going kayaks where you have to learn various special techniques like rolling. We also DO NOT kayak from island to island. If you do not know how to kayak we will teach you the basic moves.
Snorkel gear is provided; however, if you have your own, you may want to bring it. Snorkelling experience (even in learning in a pool prior to the trip) is recommended but not mandatory. However, good swimming skills are required. For safety reasons, guests who cannot swim will be asked not to participate in any snorkel activities. We consider the snorkelling at a novice level.
Do I need to be in great shape for the trip?
Our trips are designed for everyone; we accommodate all levels of experience and abilities. Most of our participants are first-time kayakers or snorkelers, or who simply have limited experience. Our expeditions are not considered strenuous or physically demanding, and a high level of fitness is not required. You can, however, anticipate a few hours of exercise each day. All we ask is that you embrace the adventure with an open mind and can have fun with it during the trip.
What level of hiking are we to expect?
The hiking you can anticipate is of a novice level. There may be a hill or two but that’s as difficult as it gets. Because the rock formations are dry and brittle, the areas that may look challenging are off-limits due to safety reasons. The second factor to keep in mind is the intensity of the sun during most of the day – we keep the hiking short and effective. The areas we will be hiking are fossil beds, cactus forests, geological sites, and beaches.
As a school trip and representatives of both your family and school we kindly ask you not to indulge in the consumption of alcohol, smoking or any behaviour unacceptable to your family and school on any portion of the trip to include during flights, airports and ground transportation. This trip is intended to be an educational and cultural experience that can often be life-changing.
Being respectful of other cultures is very important. As we are visiting and interacting with the Mexican culture, some of the clothing that we may normally wear at home and school may not be appropriate for the trip. Spaghetti strap/low cut shirts, short shorts, miniskirts, string bikinis, etc. are not acceptable clothing for the places we will be visiting. We recommend crew neck short sleeve t-shirts and board, hiking style or other types of baggy, longer shorts. They are the most comfortable and appropriate for the activities that the students will be participating in and the people we will be meeting along the way. Should you forget appropriate clothing we will have t-shirts and shorts available for sale at our onboard Gift Shop.
What should I bring?
Along with the usual things you might travel with, here is a list of additional items:
– sun hat/ball cap
– light pants/shirt
– warm jacket
– beach towel
– closed-toe water shoes
– light hiking shoes
– water bottle
– sunglasses (UV)
– daypack for shore excursions
– biodegradable sunblock
– lip balm
We recommend a closed-toe water/aqua shoe (NOT sandals, flip flops, crocks or Keens) for use while accessing and walking on the beach. These are an important item for beachcombing or light hiking to prevent cactus or porcupine fish spines from getting trapped in your footwear. If you have any questions about your gear please feel free to contact us.
The MV Adventure is a Mexican registered commercial passenger vessel and is certified under the “Nacional de Seguridad Maritima”, the equivalent to the Canadian or US Departments of Transport. It has the legally required inspection certificate, permits to access the area we explore and is registered with the Ministry of Tourism.
The vessel is 2 levels high, 110 feet long and 32 feet wide. It is a stable sea-going ship that comfortably sleeps, 20 guests and 9 crew. The guest accommodations are located below deck and have 6 double and 2 quad occupancy staterooms. On the main deck level there are 2 sets of washrooms (guys and gals) complete with 2 showers, 3 toilets, sinks and mirrors. All bathrooms and showers are separate from the staterooms. The upper deck is perfect for wildlife viewing and afternoon smoothies/appetizers. The crew quarters are located on the upper deck and we kindly ask guests not to enter these quarters at any time.
Each stateroom has a sink, mirror, several electrical outlets (110V, 60 A/C) for charging batteries or operating blow dryers or curling irons. There are drawers in each stateroom for unpacking your clothing and toiletries.
The boat is equipped with two transport skiffs, called “pangas”. The pangas are not only used for ship to shore transport but are also used for wildlife viewing. They are sturdy fibreglass fishing boats used by all locals for fishing and transport.
What documents will be sent to the school and what documents do we have to return to the Panterra office?
Paperwork sent to the school:
1. Upon initial contact from the teacher/supervisor the Program Outline (brochure) and Panterra Participant Information Form will be sent to the school teacher in charge of the program.
2. Upon receipt of the initial deposit (Payment 1), confirmation of the booking will be given in the form of a “Statement of Account”.
3. The “Participant Information Forms” must accompany the initial deposit.
4. At time of Payment 2, Panterra will email a copy of the “Expeditions Notes” (which has all the pertinent information concerning the trip) and the “Consent to Travel” form that must accompany the teacher/supervisor while traveling with the students. This is legally required by customs in Canada, the US and Mexico and must be notarized by a Public Notary.
5. At time of Payment 3 (90 days prior to departure), Panterra will email The Expedition Workbook or Expedition Logbook, to the school for distribution to the students by the teacher/supervisor.
6. 21 days prior to departure, confirmation of the flight itinerary, airline tickets and group insurance policy will be sent to the school.
PLEASE NOTE: The “Participant Information Forms” are essential to the pre-organization of the trip. We kindly ask parents to ensure the forms are filled out properly, signed and submitted online by a parent/legal guardian. In the event the Participant Information Form requires being returned for completion or correction or has not been submitted with the initial payment there will be a $25.00 late processing fee per form. Panterra reserves the right to refuse participation to a participant should the proper paperwork not be submitted prior to Payment 3 and the Cancellation and Refund Policy will apply. It should also be noted that it is the responsibility of the parent/legal guardian to ensure all necessary paperwork for entry into the US and Mexico is obtained for non-Canadian citizens.
What documents are required for travel from Canada to Mexico?
All passengers must carry a passport.
– Names on passport must match name on the “Participant Information Form” and airline ticket or the participant may be refused participation in the expedition.
– Participants under 18 years of age, a Panterra “Consent to Travel Form” must be signed by a parent(s)/legal guardian, notarized by a Notary Public and must accompany the minor.
– If passengers are not Canadian or US citizens, please contact the airline or consulate of their country of citizenship. It is the responsibility of the parent/legal guardian to ensure all necessary paperwork for entry into the US and Mexico is obtained for non-Canadian citizens.
Required travel documents are as follows:
1. A valid passport accompanied by:
2. Airline tickets
3. Consent to Travel Form (completed) and in the company of the teacher/supervisor.
4. A Mexican Tourist Visa is also required and will be given to the participant by the airline personnel during your flight to Mexico.
Panterra does not take responsibility if the participant does not or is unable to obtain the proper documentation for travel or for the loss of any documentation. We further recommend that travel documents be organized at least 120 days prior to departure.
IN CLOSING: It is imperative that all participants and their parents/legal guardians carefully read through ALL of the written information pertaining to the program. The information package includes:
(1) “Program Outline – “Young Naturalist Expeditions (brochure)
(2) 2 page “Participant Information Form” – due at time of the initial deposit (if not received 90 days prior to the expedition date the participant may be denied access to the program)
(3) Expedition Notes
(4) YNE Frequently Asked Questions and the (4) Panterra website YNE page at www.panterra.com. The program is 100% non refundable by Panterra with the exception of the terms in the Cancellation and Refund Policy.