This trip was fantastic, a bucket list item for sure! Oxalis does a great job and really takes care of you. The pictures you see do not do this place justice. As gorgeous as these pictures are, I guarantee you that what you'll see is even more breathtaking. Worth every single penny.
Guides and Staff: When we arrived, our guide, Vu actually greeted us at the airport to makes sure we made it okay. We had the afternoon to relax (the Oxalis headquarters is right next to a river where we went kayaking!) before the evening safety briefing. Vu and our safety expert Deb were excellent at giving us all the information we needed, even checking our shoes to make sure they would be appropriate for the trek. Vu is knowledgeable, professional, and hilarious in a very dry, British kind of way. Your porters and safety assistants are the most badass people you'll meet; tip them well.
Physical Challenge: This tour is VERY physically demanding. That being said, people of all ages and body types do this tour because it is said that even the fittest crossfitters are not always the ones who do the best here. It's the terrain that people are not used to, and being a gym rat does not necessarily prepare you for it. But you are accompanied by AWESOME safety assistants who will sometimes literally hold your hand through the hardest parts. Just make sure you're flexible (you'll be doing a lot of reaching for the next ledge), that your knees are healthy, and that you've got good mental endurance. (That last day feels so long.)
The gear you need: Oxalis has an excellent list on their website of everything you need. READ IT CAREFULLY. Long pants and long socks are recommended for a reason: the jungle has leeches and they WILL find you. Bring sleeved shirts because as hot as it is, your backpack will rub your bare shoulders raw. Make sure your shoes are both breathable (you will walk through A LOT of rivers) and has good traction at the bottom. (Some places are quite slippery.) Compeed and foot powder saved my life; get some.
Also, Oxalis sells AWESOME trekking pants and long sleeved shirts at the HQ. (They were both cheaper and better than the things I brought.) If you want, buy some and your money goes to help the local villagers.
Lastly, remember that this is an adventure. You WILL get wet. You WILL get dirty. You will go a few days without a proper shower. If you go in accepting that, you'll have a amazing time.
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