Imagine trekking straight into the depths of the world’s largest cave on an expedition unlike any other. A cave so massive that a 747 could fly through its largest cavern. A space so mesmerizing that it forces you to question whether you are still on this planet at all. Foreign landscapes found nowhere else, enormous stalagmites rising from the ground and statuesque stalactites hanging from the ceiling like an alien species. Jungles emerge from inside the cave itself, a scene so surreal that you have to see it believe it. Misty clouds envelop the whole scene, a result of the cave’s own localized weather system. Passages adorned with ancient fossils offer evidence of the millions of years that have passed on this Earth.
As you approach the jungle just outside the entrance, the rush of cool wind that cascades out brings to life everything inside of you. Hazy, cold, and exhilarating, it is apparent that there’s something magical waiting just beyond the opening to the cave.
Required fitness level (1-5): (1 being low, 5 being high level of fitness) 5/5- This adventure may include 4-6 hours of continuous activities for multiple days. Participants should be in good physical condition and able to walk for several miles on uneven terrain. Many activities take place outdoors and you may be exposed to adverse weather conditions such as rain, heat, sun, and insects. For the best experience, it is highly recommended that participants carefully review the itinerary prior to joining and follow the packing list that is provided by the trip director. Our trip director will serve as a source of knowledge for planning and preparation prior to the trip. No experience necessary, just a calling for adventure!
The majority of our Vietnam trips include unconventional accommodations in comparison to what most US citizens are accustomed to. This may include bed & breakfast, remote off-the-grid lodges and wilderness glamping (glamorous camping!)
B&B & Eco-Lodges: Each bed and breakfast & eco-lodge is different, however, each location will include rooms that are in a separated living area from the local family. The homes are always clean and comfortable but often lack the same luxuries that we may be used to in a standard hotel. This may include: no/limited electricity, cold/room temp showers, and shared common areas such as the bathrooms and a kitchen. While they may lack these items, they are the most authentic living experiences available and support the local economy as opposed to a large hotel chain. Many of our travelers enjoy these stays the most.
Wilderness Glamping: If your itinerary includes the overnight cave glamping, then you are in for one of the most memorable nights of sleep of your life! The accommodations include an open-air cavern with a waterfall on one side. The sleeping area is a shared area with plenty of room to spread out. We provide clean sleeping pads, sleeping bags and a pillow for a comfortable night's sleep. The cave is outfitted with a full (beautiful!) kitchen, multiple bathrooms, cold water showers and candles and lanterns at night for light.
The accommodations above are environmentally friendly and use fans and natural breezes to stay cool, there is no air conditioning.
Hotels: On occasion, we will stay in a standard hotel. This usually takes place either in San Jose or while staying at the beach. We rotate hotels depending on availability and the group, however, they generally include AC units, electricity, wifi and sometimes a pool.
Since Nov. 1 2020, Vietnam has allowed all countries in the world to enter by air, as long as they meet the country’s visa and COVID-19 entry requirements.
The Government of the Republic has facilitated the entry of international tourists, and since Oct. 26, eliminated the requirement of RT-PCR tests for the detection of the coronavirus. Neither Costa Ricans nor foreigners will be issued sanitary confinement (or quarantine) orders when entering the country by air. These measures are subject to change and dependent on the evolution of the pandemic both in Costa Rica and around the world.
Tourists visiting Costa Rica are asked to abide by the sanitary protocols implemented for carrying out all tourist activities in the country.
**YOU WILL BE REQUIRED TO CARRY ADDITIONAL TRAVEL INSURANCE THAT COVERS COVID-19 RELATED ISSUES. Please follow this link for more details: COVID-19 REQUIREMENTS. Your trip director will help you through this process.
Beyond the Map Covid-19 Protocols
Pre-Trip Precautions: All guides and operators will have a negative Covid-19 test within one week of the trip. Participants will not be permitted to attend if they have shown symptoms and signs of illness. If someone shows symptoms on the trip, we’ll immediately separate that person from the rest of the group and implement evacuation procedures to a nearby hospital for testing/assistance. We reserve the right to refuse services to anyone that appears to be ill. Temperature checks will be done at the beginning of each trip for each participant. Each guest will be required to fill out the pre-trip Covid-19 questionnaire.
Transportation: Group transportation will be decided on a case-by-case situation. If the group is an inner-circle of friends and/or family, we can include group transportation upon request. If not, the participants will be asked to provide their own transportation or carpooling with those they do know.
Sanitizing: We’ve stockpiled soap, hand sanitizer, disinfectant, disinfectant wipes, hand wipes, etc. for our guide teams to have available to guests at all times during trips.
Equipment: High-touch surfaces including equipment will be deep cleaned prior to use. Guests will have access to disinfectant wipes for their own use as well as an added precaution. Guests will constantly be asked to use hand sanitizer before/after handling of any equipment. Shared equipment will be kept to a minimum and/or be sanitized w/ a disinfectant wipe between uses. Guests will handle their own baggage and personal items. When possible, we will select activities that promote social distancing.
Meals: Guides will either create “to-go” style picnic lunches in takeaway brown bags or will create a lunch/dinner spread in which the guides handle the serving utensils and put food on plates for guests. Guides will wear gloves and masks throughout food prep and serve. Dishes will be washed in the evenings after guest drop-off. Guests will be required to bring their own reusable utensils and water bottle. We will require handwashing prior to all meals. We will have handwashing stations set up and available at mealtimes.
Participant Interaction: All guests will be required to bring face masks and to wear them when in situations whenever they cannot maintain a distance of 6 feet from another participant. Typical greetings such as handshakes, high fives or hugs will not be permitted between guests (unless within the same party-friends, family, etc.).
The traveler agrees to notify Beyond the Map with written notice of cancellation 60 days prior to the trip date for a full refund. Refunds for cancellations after this 60 day period will vary and are dependent on the expenditures that the operator will absorb as a result of cancellation. Cancellations equal to or less than 14 days prior to the trip date will be charged the full amount of the trip and no refunds will be issued. If the operator cancels the trip due to unforeseen and uncontrollable circumstances (weather, safety concerns, travel bans, etc.), then the customer will receive a travel voucher for the full amount of the trip cost.
As a side note, during times of uncertainty, the operator is personally working with each guest to ensure that the cancellation policy is flexible and will protect the costs endured by both the traveler and operator. We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance to cover any unexpected travel interruptions.
Please note that we require a minimum of 4 participants for the trip to proceed.
*Vietnam is currently requiring travelers to carry travel insurance that covers Covid related expenses. Please see "Costa Rica Covid-19 Protocols" above. *
Due to the activity type, we highly recommend you purchase trip insurance. It allows you to seek reimbursement if you are forced to cancel your trip for unforeseeable reasons, or if you need to cover medical help, emergency transport, and/or theft or accidental damage while traveling. For travel insurance, we recommend DAN Travel insurance or World Nomads. Please note, Beyond the Map is not affiliated with either of these companies. It is your responsibility to review coverage details and to file a claim if need be.
Visit www.beyondthemap.org/crfaqs for answers to frequently asked questions or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 724-757-6474 with any questions.
Arrive in Dong Hoi where you will be met by our driver and transferred to Phong Nha for a group briefing and orientation into the week ahead. You’ll then have the rest of the day to rest, relax, wander around the village of Phong Nha and most importantly, get ready for the adventure ahead!
Accommodations: hostel (upgrade available)