lodge with pool under palm trees next to a lake at dusk.

International & Lodge-Based Adventures FAQs

Like all OARS adventures, our lodged-based and international trips are designed to provide travelers with unique access to particularly wild and untouched places that many might not be able to access on their own.

Our permits, relationships, veteran guides and knowledgeable Adventure Consultants combined with more than 50 years in the travel business all contribute to our ability to offer our guests comfortable, active travel experiences with small groups to places like Costa Rica, Galápagos, British Columbia, and Peru. Not only that, we specialize in taking travelers off-the-beaten path with expert guides who will introduce you to the very best a region has to offer. All trips include hotel or lodge-based accommodations and most meals and some trips include a night or more of comfortable catered camping.

people sitting outside of large dome tents at dusk.

Accommodations: Hotels & Lodges

On our lodge-based and international trips, accommodations are chosen based on their comfort, reputation and affordability, but most importantly their proximity to the sites and activities you’ll be experiencing. That means in a place like Zambia, before a Zambezi rafting trip, we’ll put you up in lodge situated just upstream from where your thrilling whitewater experience will begin. Or like on our Mystical Peru Lodge Trek, each day’s hike concludes at a cozy lodge with hot showers, gourmet food, personalized service by local staff, and even outdoor hot tubs.

woman leading two men on a hike through a stream in a forest.

Our Guides

We operate 100 percent of our trips in the U.S. with guides who are trained and employed by OARS and we pride ourselves on the fact that OARS guides are recognized as some of the best in the industry. All of our guides are trained in CPR, First Aid and Leave No Trace principles, and many are also certified in swiftwater rescue and Wilderness First Responder. Our guides are the single most complimented element of our organization and are the key factor in making a good trip great.

On our international trips we believe it is a fundamental part of adventure-tourism to work with local guides while at the same time bringing our wealth of experience to the table. These highly-skilled local tour guides share their personal experiences with guests as well as general information about the region and their culture. Our like-minded partners realize they are accountable to OARS high standards.


Which lodge-based or international trip is right for me?

When choosing your trip, consider the location, length of trip, time of year, activity level and age range of your group. Are you willing to camp for a few nights, or do you prefer only lodge-based accommodations? OARS offers lodge-based and international trips everywhere from Fiji to Croatia; and activity levels ranging from leisurely sea kayaking adventures to off-the-chart adrenaline-pumping rafting trips. The choice is yours. Call 1-800-346-6277 today to speak with an Adventure Consultant about which trip is right for you.

Do I need to be young and fit to go on a lodge-based or international adventure?

While there are some physical requirements for joining our trips, weight restrictions may apply, and being healthy and reasonably fit certainly makes the experience more rewarding, we’ve had travelers well into their 80’s enjoy their adventures with OARS. People with medical conditions, including pregnancy, should have a physician’s approval before taking an adventure travel trip. Persons with various disabilities are welcome on OARS trips, pending a discussion of any special requirements. If you’re in doubt about your fitness level, we recommend checking with your doctor before you go.

How do meals work on an international or lodge-based trips?

Lunch is typically provided and is often at a local restaurant. This gives you the opportunity to experience both the culture and cuisine of your destination. In some cases, we might also provide a sack lunch if the activity that morning is in a remote area. If you’re on the river, lunch is always provided and prepared by your guides.

Dinner on our lodge-based and international adventures is typically included and may be at the lodge or a local restaurant. On our Galápagos Origins of Species trip dinner is prepared by our on-board chef each evening. Many itineraries also include a night or two on your own.

Can I bring young children?

Some of our lodge-based and international itineraries are suitable for children as young as age five. The minimum age will vary greatly depending on the nature of the activities involved with the trip. We want your kids to have the time of their lives, and we want you to be relaxed and able to appreciate their enthusiasm and delight. If you’re unsure about which trip is right for your family, you can scan some of our itineraries that have been designed especially for family adventure.

Do I need any type of travel insurance?

On international trips, OARS requires emergency medical evacuation insurance. Additionally, although every effort is made to provide a safe trip for all, we strongly recommend that you protect yourself, your belongings, and your vacation through the purchase of a short-term traveler’s policy. A trip cancellation policy covers your non-refundable payments in most cases, should you have to cancel your trip due to illness or injury even at the last minute.

What should I pack for my international trip?

In collaboration with our guides and operations managers, our expert Adventure Consultants have compiled detailed packing lists for each trip we offer. These recommendations will be sent to you once your trip is booked. What to bring on an adventure is as varied as the itineraries themselves. Your clothes and gear will depend on the time of year, weather, and in some cases, water temperature.

Is alcohol included?

Alcoholic beverages are not included in the cost of most of our lodge-based or international adventures but are frequently available for purchase at many hotels and lodges, as well as dining establishments. For river trips, you may bring your own supply of beer, wine or liquor in non-glass containers. If you choose to bring alcoholic beverages, please let us know in advance. For your safety and the safety of others, alcoholic beverages are limited to camp.

Can you accommodate dietary restrictions?

Yes, but we need to know as soon as possible about any dietary requirements we should consider in planning your trip. If you have food allergies or restrictions, we will do our best to accommodate your needs. If you are a vegetarian or vegan and you let us know well in advance, we can provide meals for you without any difficulty. For more complicated dietary restrictions, it’s important that you let us know right away so we can discuss and make arrangements ahead of time.

Should I tip my guide?

Guests often ask whether gratuities are appropriate, and in what amount. “Thank you” is always enough to put a smile on the faces of your guides and staff, but tipping is one of the many ways to reward them for their extra efforts. Because many of our lodge-based and international adventures consist of several components with various staff, we provide gratuity guides within our detailed itineraries to assist you with extending a tip to the people who make your trip more enjoyable.

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Group white water rafting in the American River.

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