Main bag – You will need a rucksack or holdall (suitcases especially wheely ones are not appropriate), 50 litre minimum capacity. You need to be able to carry it over rough ground to access some of the forest camps.
Day bag/small rucksack – Needed for carrying water, paper, pens, binoculars, cameras etc.
Waterproof plastic/zip lock bags – These are very useful to keep the water out of your kit and clothes. You can line your rucksack with a bin/garbage bag and have smaller bags for clothes and items like your camera.
Roll mat or thermarest – Necessary for both warmth and comfort in the forest. Roll mats can be purchased cheaply, whereas Thermarests are more of an investment (be sure to buy a repair kit).
Sleeping bag – A light sleeping bag or or sleeping sheet and liner is recommended – the temperature rarely drops below about 20 degrees.
Water bottle/platypus – A combination of leak-proof plastic bottles (total capacity 2 litres) is imperative. The ‘hydration systems’ on the market (Platypus, Camelback, Ortileb) have the advantage of packing flat when not in use.
Strong head torch – Night-time opportunistic walks require the strong headlamps. Please note that the small headlamp models are no good for spotlighting nocturnal wildlife such as snakes and amphibians, etc, but are excellent back-up torches. Don’t forget spare batteries!
Waterproof jacket – Rainfall is unpredictable in this part of the world, so a plastic poncho or lightweight rainjacket is invaluable. Expensive heavyweight Gore-Tex raincoats are not recommended – they are hot and may get snagged and torn.
Watch with alarm – It doesn’t have to be anything technical. A travel alarm clock will also do.
Biodegradable soap/shampoo – To minimise impact on the environment we ask all volunteers to bring ‘green’ detergents.
Insect repellent – For any projects where you will be handling or in close proximity to animals (in particular amphibians) you will need a non DEET based repellent. However for other times DEET based repellents are fine. Many of our staff use Mosi-guard which can be bought from Amazon.
Sunblock – Factor 30, minimum, is recommended as the winter sun can still be very strong and you will potentially be outside in sunlight all day.
Talcum powder/antifungal powder – This is invaluable to help prevent and combat athletes foot/other fungal infections.
Sanitary pads/tampons – Please bring a supply even if you do not expect to use them.
Travel towel/sarong – Don’t bring a big thick towel as it won’t dry quickly enough.
Spanish phrase book or dictionary
Binoculars – These are really essential to see much of the wildlife in the forest. 8 X 40 are the best to bring.
Camera – You will have lots of opportunities to take pictures but please bring a waterproof carrying case or zip lock bag for the camera.
Notebook and pencils – Essential for all projects.
For the forest you should bring clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty! Synthetic (wicking) fabric is the best as it is quick drying, but cotton is kinder to the skin. Don’t forget to buy your Opwall t-shirt(s) here!
Hiking boots – Should be comfortable, quick drying, and have ankle support.
Flip flops/sandals – 1 pair
Lightweight long baggy trousers – 3 pairs
Shorts – 2 – 3 pairs
T-shirts – 7 – 8
Fleece top – 1
Long sleeved shirt – 5
Hoodie/Jumper – For flights and the air-conditioned coaches
Swim suit/bikini/board shorts – 1
Socks – Enough for 1 week.
Underwear – Enough for 2 weeks.
Sunglasses – A good pair are useful to protect your eyes from the glare reflected from the water.
Hat or bandana – 1 – useful to protect you from the sun.
Nightwear/Pyjamas – You will be in shared accommodation!
PADI Crew Pack: If you’re undertaking dive training on your expedition you will see that we have also added Dive Training Materials to your internal travel invoice (if on an RA or Dissertation program) or final balance invoice (if on a school program) – this is the pack needed by anyone learning to SCUBA dive with us. These are now entirely online, so to make things easier for you, we’ve arranged them on your behalf. You’ll receive an email from us in the run up to the expedition with login details and information on how to access them.
PADI forms – You must complete these online via the Opwall portal (http://portal.opwall.com) at least 3 months prior to travel. It’s recommended that you bring a printed copy of the completed form with you on expedition, particularly if you’ve had it signed by a doctor.
Proof of dive qualification – If you are already a qualified diver, we will require proof of your dive qualifications onsite. We do accept non-PADI qualifications as long as it is equivalent to or more advanced than PADI Open Water.
All the equipment listed below is essential for diving projects. You can bring your own or hire onsite (with the the exception of a wetsuit). Hire costs will be included in your final invoice.
Buoyancy Control Device
Mask and snorkel
Wetsuit or rash vest- We strongly recommend that you bring a 2-3mm wetsuit. However the water is very warm and for some people a combination of board shorts and rash vest is fine.
Dive torch – If you are an advanced diver or are planning to take your advanced training, please bring two dive torches, one main torch and a smaller backup torch.
Rash vest – A good alternative to a wetsuit when it is warm (or if you are snorkelling), and can also be worn under a wetsuit when it is cold.
Dive watch/computer or waterproof watch – A timing device is a requirement under PADI regulations for qualified divers. You can buy a simple Casio W800 watch waterproof to 100m (not that you will be going any deeper than 18 metres – however they are more reliable) for approximately £15 on Amazon.
Although every expedition will have its own medical supplies you MUST carry your own personal medical kit.
Sanitiser & facemasks – Restrictions in Mexico may vary so it’s best to have these with you.
Sea/travel sickness tablets
Prescribed medications – It is vital that you bring any medications that you have been prescribed by your doctor.
Vitamins – If you normally take these.
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