Frequently asked questions

 What can we expect on a typical day?

Our expeditions are vigorous but not excessively rugged. However, they are not for totally inexperienced paddlers. An advanced beginner would be fine. Some days we will be covering rather long distances on the river so we expect all participants to be reasonably fit. If a member of the group gets tired we have our support vehicles if necessary.

Age should not be a factor. Our group will include at least one fit 72 year old paddler. We paddle together as a group and our speed is determined by the slowest paddler. Typically we average 4 km. per hour when headwinds are mild. The water is generally flat.

We get on the water early enough each day to avoid headwinds that usually pick up around noon. Early starts also get us to our daily destination early enough to stretch our legs and visit the area. The guides appreciate help getting boats and equipment on and off the water. Our kayaks are very stable, seaworthy expedition single models. Tandem kayaks are available on request.

 

Where will we be staying and eating?

We stay in small family operated hotels and quintas where our neighbors are Portuguese. Breakfast will be in the hotels.  Lunches will be prepared by our guide or eaten in local restaurants. We will enjoy regional Portuguese cuisine in restaurants for evening meals. All our meals will be from local grown products mostly bought at that days market. In several cases the meals will be prepared with products grown in fields right next to the restaurant. We will do our best to cater to dietary restrictions but we must be informed when you sign on for the expedition.

 

What can I read to prepare myself for this trip?

Reading
Cork Boat John Pollack 2004
Mr Pollack takes us on a dream fulfilling journey down the same route we follow on the Douro River. The last part of the book is very relevant to our expedition. In any case it’s an enjoyable read. Amazon has this in both paperback and Kindle versions.

The first Global Village Martin Page 2002

Mr Page has written what could be the most enjoyable book on the history of Portugal. The paperback edition is available for about $25 in Portugal. Amazon has a new paperback edition for $242.48 (outrageous price). Amazon also has a kindle version for $12.94

 

How do you suggest I travel to and from the pick up site?

All our expeditions will start and finish in Porto (OPO airport code) we suggest you fly into either Lisbon or Porto and leave from either Oporto or Lisbon. If you fly into Lisbon you can either fly or take the train to Porto. The train connections between Lisbon and Porto are very good.

 

Could you suggest travel information links?

General travel information links:
http://www.iberia.com
http://www.united.com
http://www.americanairlines.com
http://www.kayak.com
http://www.quickaid.com

Portugal travel information:

A general search engine providing links
http://www.portugal.com

Offical tourist site for all of Portugal
http://www.visitportugal.com

Offical site for Porto tourist information

http://www.porto-tourism.com/tourist-information-offices-in-porto.html

The Portuguese airline site
http://www.flytap.com

Site for all of Portuguese commercial airports. Gives names of all airlines serving the airport.
http://www.ana.pt

On-line news service
http://www.theportugalnews.com

Temperature conversations from Celsius to Fahrenheit
http://www.metric-conversations.org
http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov
http://www.weather-forecast.com/countries/Portugal

Check the time difference in Portugal or Spain. Portugal is on GMT but Spain is one hour ahead.
http://www.worldtime.com

Currency exchange rates
http://www.xe.com/ucc/con

ATM locations:
http://www.visa.com/atms
http://www.mastecard.us/cardholder-services/atm-locator

 

What is included in the expedition package

Included

Experienced profesional guides. 1 to 3 guide to client ratio.

Individual Expedition kayaks, paddles, life jackets and wet skirts and paddling jackets.
Tandem kayaks are available on request .

Support vehicle for entire expedition. Your luggage will be carried in the support vehicle.

A small dry bag for personal items needed while on the water.

Transfers to the launch site in Portugal.

All meals from dinner on the first day to our farewell dinner on the last night. House wine or bottled water is included. You may select fine wines from the wine list.

Bed and breakfast hotel or quinta accommodations for the nights.

Bottled drinking mineral water.

Not included

Personal incidental purchases (souvenirs etc.)

Entrance fees for museums

Tips other than meals and hotels

Travel insurance

Travel to the pick up sites (flights, trains etc.)

 

What if I get sick or have an accident?

Kayaking has some inherent risks. Sickness and accidents can spoil an otherwise enjoyable time and really wreck a budget. Therefore, you must have a comprehensive travel insurance policy. You must be covered against loss of baggage, illness, accidents, trip cancellation and  the very unlikely necessity, of emergency medical evacuation. Please revise the claim process and inform us of the contact information when you sign on this expedition.

 

How much money should I bring?

If you are traveling from outside the Euro Zone it is usually best to buy Euros before you arrive in Europe. In our travel information links, you will find sites for ATM machines that accept VISA and Master Cards. Most international airports (including Lisbon and Porto airports) have exchange banks. Traveler checks are not a good idea as they must be changed at banks and the process is very time consuming.

After you pay the fees for the river expedition in cash, that includes hotels and regularly scheduled meals, you will only need money for personal purchases such as gifts and tips.

 

What will the weather be like?

Days in Portugal this time of year are usually sunny and comfortably warm and are similar to Atlanta, Georgia. 23 C (73 F) daytime, 14C (57F) nighttime. Evenings are cool but not cold. Rain is unpredictable but not common in early June or September. You will feel quite comfortable paddling during the day wearing a bathing suit or shorts, a T – shirt and paddling shoes. Flip flops are clearly not a good idea because it’s too easy to slip. A fleece sweater is suitable for cooler evenings. However, you should also be prepared for any cooler than usual weather. Having a windbreaker handy is always a good idea.

 

Electronics

The electrical current in Portugal is 220 V 60 HZ. Most telephone, camera and computer chargers are prepared for 100-240V and 50-60HZ. If this is the case for your electronics then all you need to do is have a European round two prong plug adapter. If you plan to use your telephone you will want to ask your provider to set you up for roaming. Be sure to ask about the charges and be aware that voice connection is not the same as data connection. If you plan to use your smart phone for email you might find the charges are very high. A way to avoid this is to disable your phone date connection and only use Wi-Fi where it is available along our route. Most days we have Wi-Fi but not always.

FRIEND US ON:  www.facebook.com/DouroKayakExpeditions