2018 Terms & Conditions

Payment of your deposit indicates an understanding of and acceptance of the Terms & Conditions outlined here, in the Release of Liability and those described on each detailed itinerary.

Reservations & Payments | Extra Services | Pre-trip Planning | Final Trip Documents | Services Included | Group Sizing & Pricing | Trip Costs | Invoicing | Single Supplement | Personal Equipment | Smoking Policy | Medical & Health Considerations | Canceled Trips | Cancellations & Refunds | Transfers | Substitutions | Travel Insurance | Airline Reservations | Limitations of Liability

Reservations and Payments

Submit Southwind’s Trip Reservation Form online. A $1,000-$1,500 per person per trip deposit is required to make a reservation on any Signature trip. You can make your deposit securely through our secure SmartPay processing included in your invoice. Your space is not confirmed until we have received your Trip Reservation Form. More information can be found by clicking “Book a Trip” at the top of our homepage.

Private or customized adventures require a $1,500-$5,000 per person deposit according to trip length and destination among other factors. Deposits and balance payments may be made by credit card (MasterCard, Visa, Discover and American Express), wire transfer, money order or check payable in US dollars to Southwind Adventures, Inc.

Final balance is due 90 days prior to departure. Trip balance for private trips, cruises or special departures may be due 120 days or more in advance. The exact due date will be indicated on the detailed itinerary and invoice for the trip. Full payment is due at the time of booking for reservations made less than 90 days in advance. Airfare is due at the time that tickets are issued (type of payment accepted is determined by the airline). All air and land costs are quoted in US dollars per person. If your balance is not received when due, Southwind Adventures (SWA) will treat your reservation as canceled and apply the appropriate cancellation fee(s).

Travel Agency bookings are welcome (agents, please visit the Travel Agents pages on the website and review our Sales Policies).

Extra Services

We will gladly arrange extra hotel accommodations pre or post-tour, add-on services and/or extensions in conjunction with any of our trips. Requests must be submitted in writing to avoid confusion or miscommunication, and all requests must be made at least 30 days prior to departure. Your invoice will be adjusted once services are confirmed. If you must cancel any part or all of your extra services once they have been reserved and confirmed, cancellation fees will be assessed according to our Cancellation Policies.

Pre-Trip Planning

Upon receipt of your completed Trip Reservation Form and deposit, SWA sends a booking acknowledgment e-mail, receipt and price quote for Travel Insurance. Once a departure is guaranteed to operate, each guest or family will be sent an invoice for the balance due along with a comprehensive Pre-Departure e-mail including: detailed packing list(s); medical and personal information forms; suggested reading; destination FAQs; and a 10-15 page manual covering subjects such as travel documents, health matters and inoculations, money exchange, tipping, security, training tips, weather considerations, cross-cultural advice, and what to expect on the trip. Participants are invited to contact us anytime prior to departure for personal advice and assistance. SWA must have a signed and completed Trip Reservation Form on file before the Pre-Departure information will be sent.

Final Trip Documents

This information is typically sent via e-mail 2 weeks before a trip departs and generally includes: a group roster; Itinerary/Voucher (official document showing services pre-reserved and paid for in advance); in-country contact numbers; hotel addresses and telephone numbers; and any pre-departure updates or last minute reminders that might be useful for the program. Final Trip Documents will be sent only to participants from whom SWA has received all forms and full payment.

Services Included

Southwind’s journeys are priced as complete land tour packages including: first-class or deluxe accommodations, professionally guided tours, exclusive insider visits, entrance fees, most meals, airport transfers and private vehicle transportation. Southwind does not provide an itemized trip cost breakdown, nor can we account for online prices for hotels and local services or negotiate accordingly. However, we can quote extra services like extension packages or hotel upgrades. Trips containing only partial services are not available.

The Trip Profile with the detailed itinerary for each adventure specifies exactly what is and is not included in the land cost of your program. Please download and print the appropriate Trip Profile for particulars on your trip. SWA is not responsible for any expense not listed as included, any that are indicated as “optional” or “on your own,” or those arising from the delay or extension of a tour due to weather, political disputes, sickness, failure of public transportation, flight changes or cancellations, missed connections, or any other cause beyond our control. Under special circumstances, SWA reserves the right to substitute hotels of an equal category or similar price for those mentioned in the Trip Itinerary.

Group Sizing and Pricing

SWA limits space on all Signature trips to 12 members, and prices are based on a full group. Numerous fixed costs such as ground transportation make it more expensive to operate a trip with less than a full group. Therefore, we have established a tier pricing system. Exact tier prices are listed on the detailed itinerary available for every SWA adventure. Typically 3 pricing levels are designated. Some trips can be operated with fewer guests than the stated minimum for an additional surcharge. SWA staff-in-training, travel writers, photographers, special lecturers or other invited guests are not included when determining the final group size for pricing purposes. Additionally, SWA trips are priced as complete land tour packages. Refunds or credits are not given for unused hotel accommodations, meals, tours, transfers or other services for any reason. SWA does not provide an itemized trip cost breakdown, nor can we account for online prices for hotels and local services or negotiate accordingly, as our trips are priced as complete land packages. We can quote extra services based on extension packages or hotel upgrades. Trips containing only partial services are not available.

Trip Costs

Land Costs shown on each Trip Page and on the downloadable detailed Trip Profile are valid for a full calendar year (Jan 1st – Dec 31st) unless otherwise indicated, are quoted in US dollars, and are subject to increase even after a deposit is made. We may occasionally be faced with significant cost increases due to currency fluctuations, increased hotel rates, higher costs of services, holiday travel, and/or other factors over which we have no control. Faced with this situation we will do everything reasonable to avoid raising prices but give notice that it is sometimes unavoidable.


All participants are initially invoiced at the highest tier price (i.e., smallest published group size) of a Signature trip. If a larger group is achieved by the time Final Documents are sent out, a refund of the Small Group Surcharge will be issued. Refunds are issued in the same manner in which the balance payment was made.

Single Supplement

Trips are priced based on shared occupancy for hotels, lodges, cruise cabins and tents. Single accommodations can often be arranged for an extra cost with a limit of two on most Signature trips due to room availability and/or camping space. If you prefer single accommodations, the single supplement is payable and space is allotted on a first-received basis. If you are traveling by yourself and wish to share with another traveler, the first same-gender willing-to-share roommate will be assigned. If you make your deposit at least 6 months in advance and a roommate is not found, SWA will only charge you 50% of the regular single supplement fee; unless otherwise noted on Trip Profiles (not valid for Galápagos or Amazon cruises, custom trips, extensions or upgrades). If a roommate is found prior to departure, this 50% fee will be refunded in the same manner in which it was paid. In order to best accommodate your preference, we suggest you reserve your trip at least 6-8 months in advance.

Personal Equipment

It is each guest’s responsibility to be adequately outfitted for the program they select. All group members receive a detailed list of recommended clothing and personal gear for their particular trip in their Pre-Departure e-mail. Online catalogs and/or discount coupons from preferred suppliers may also be included and our staff is available for specific outfitting questions.

Smoking Policy

For the safety and comfort of all SWA guests, smoking is not permitted in buses or cars, in cabins on chartered yachts or cruise ships, and at most jungle lodges, nor is smoking allowed inside tents while camping. Additionally, by park regulation there is no smoking allowed on the Galápagos Islands. Stops will be made on overland segments during which smoking will be allowed outside of the vehicle, and guests are requested to refrain from smoking at group meals.

Medical/Health Considerations

You must be in good health to take part in any of our trips. International Adventure Travel involves outdoor and/or cultural experiences that may be physically and/or emotionally demanding. Programs frequently take place in areas where medical facilities are not easily reachable or may be nonexistent and where emergency evacuation can be prolonged, difficult, expensive, or not available at all. Every trip is rated according to the difficulty of the activities, the number of nights spent camping if applicable, and the elevations that will be reached. Furthermore, to ensure your safety and enjoyment of the program, appropriate training suggestions are outlined in the Pre-Departure Manual for each adventure.

For all trips that include camping or hiking, a basic first-aid kit will be carried by the local guide. However, SWA assumes no liability regarding the contents of this kit, or with the provision of first-aid by the guides or staff, or with any medical care provided by local physicians, hospitals or emergency care facilities. Trip members are required to have a sufficient supply of personal medications and a suggested Personal Medical Kit list is included in the Pre-Departure Manual. All guests are encouraged to see a physician prior to their trip and seek advice regarding recommended medications, inoculations and/or precautions to take prior to departure. SWA is not a medical facility, nor are our personnel medical professionals. Therefore we have no responsibility regarding what medications or inoculations are necessary for your safe participation in the trip you have chosen.

Medical Certificate

Each trip member must sign, complete and return to our office at least 60 days prior to your departure a Medical Certificate outlining the conditions that could be encountered during their journey. A doctor’s signature is required for all group members who are age 70 or older, for guests with a history of illness, recent injury or hospitalization or an inherent medical condition, AND are joining programs rated Grade III or IV. . Once you are confirmed on a trip, normal cancellation penalties will apply if your doctor does not agree to sign the Medical Certificate. The medical form may be reviewed prior to placing a deposit on a trip.

Canceled Trips

SWA reserves the right to cancel any trip, at any time, for any reason. In the event that a trip has fewer guests than our published minimum, group members who have already made deposits will be given alternatives that may include: operating the trip with fewer participants at a higher price; the chance to transfer to another departure or different program without penalty; or the option to receive a full refund of all monies paid to our office. The refund of payments received is the extent of our liability in this case, and refunds will be made in the same form as your payments. Trip cancellation due to insufficient sign-up normally occurs 45-60 days prior to the scheduled departure and SWA will do everything possible to avoid canceling a tour.

Should logistical problems, political circumstances, natural disasters and/or other events and situations occur that may impede the normal operation of a tour, SWA, at its discretion, may offer an alternative adventure in a different region or country or cancel the departure. In the case a tour is canceled for reasons stated above, SWA does not guarantee recovery of any or all of the advance payments made to Latin America, and we highly recommend that all guests take out travel insurance to provide reimbursement in such cases.


If you must cancel your participation on a trip, for any reason, payments made to SWA will be returned, less a cancellation fee computed per person according to the schedule below based on the date our office receives written notification of your cancellation.

Minimum fee $500
90-61 days prior to departure: $1200
60-46 days prior to departure: 50% of the LC
45-31 days prior to departure: 70% of the LC
30 days or no-show 100% of the LC

Galápagos, Patagonia and Amazon Cruise Cancellations Per person cancellation fees for all programs that incorporate a visit to the Galápagos Islands, Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego or an Amazon cruise are as follows and replace those above.

Minimum fee: $1000
120-91 days prior to departure: 50% of the LC
90 days or less: 100% of the LC

LC=Total Land Cost per person including extensions and extra services as shown on your invoice. Excludes discounts. Cancellation fees for private trips or special departures may differ from those shown above and will be indicated on the detailed trip itinerary.

Cancellation fees apply to the entire trip cost as well as airfare if included in the SWA invoice. If airline tickets are purchased through SWA’s air specialists, we will assist in making claims with the airlines for whatever refund is allowable under the terms of the fare purchased but we cannot guarantee any refund and are not liable for airline ticket refunds. The issuance of airline tickets represents an immediate transfer of funds from our air specialists to the carrier, and refunds are paid by the airline, not SWA.

In the event that your participation on a SWA program is canceled for any reason including personal choice or insufficient participation, SWA is not responsible for any expenses you may have incurred in preparing for the trip such as non-refundable airline tickets, visa or passport fees, insurance premiums, equipment, clothing or gear costs, inoculations or doctor’s fees, etc., nor is SWA responsible for the costs of additional arrangements should you have embarked prior to the group’s departure.

Southwind cannot reimburse or compensate for any unused services, tours, extensions or accommodations missed for any reason including: personal choice, illness, bad weather, delayed flights or any other factor beyond our control. We recommend travel insurance to help protect your tour investment.


You may voluntarily transfer from one SWA Signature trip to another (limit one transfer per guest), up to 91 days before the departure date of the original tour without an additional fee, unless your trekking permit is already obtained for the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu or Km 104 hike, in which case the minimum cancellation fee applies. An additional deposit is required for the new trip which will be deducted on your invoice. Transfers made 90 days or closer to departure are considered a cancellation of the original trip and are subject to SWA’s cancellation fees, which will be applied to the Land Cost of the original program. In the event that a trip is canceled due to insufficient participation, guests may transfer to an alternative departure or tour without a fee.


On occasion a trip participant canceling may have a friend or family member willing to take their place. Substitutions of this nature are allowed up to 61 days prior to departure (91 days for Galápagos, Patagonia or Amazon cruises). The canceling participant must pay the minimum fee as indicated under Cancellations/Refunds or as listed in your private trip itinerary. Any remaining monies received by SWA will be refunded upon receipt of payment and the required documentation from the substituting participant. At 60 days or less (90 days for Galápagos, Patagonia or Amazon cruises), the person canceling faces the full cancellation fee as indicated above. No substitutions are allowed 21 days or less before departure.

Travel Insurance

We strongly recommend that all trip participants take out Travel Insurance.

Airline Reservations

Southwind trips DO NOT INCLUDE INTERNATIONAL OR IN-COUNTRY FLIGHTS WITHIN LATIN AMERICA (unless indicated otherwise in the Trip Profile). SWA participants may purchase international and in-country air directly from the airlines, an online ticketing service or other ticketing agency. SWA will provide participants with recommended arrival/departure dates and times. Participants redeeming frequent flyer or award certificates must book directly with the airline. SWA can recommend Latin America air specialists who can assist with all your air arrangements. It is the participant’s responsibility to make sure all international and in-country flights coincide with the trip itinerary. Please notify our office as soon as possible if you choose to arrive or depart apart from the scheduled itinerary. Once you have your flight confirmed, please send us your air confirmation including your Record Locator, no later than 45 days before departure. SWA cannot be held responsible for the actions of an independent ticketing agency or the airlines.

Limitations of Liability

Southwind Adventures, Inc (SWA) is a Colorado corporation in the USA that acts only as an agent for participants to purchase transportation, hotel accommodations, meals, tours, guides and other services in connection with its itineraries from independent suppliers and contractors who are not owned by or under the control of SWA. Participants expressly agree that SWA shall not be liable for death, personal injury or any other loss that may occur (1) due to any act or omission of any such supplier, (2) by reason of any other event over which it has no control. Each passenger conveyance, tour company, hotel, restaurant, etc. is subject to the laws of the country in which the service is rendered.

Additionally, SWA shall not be liable for: a) expenses such as hotel accommodations or additional meals not specified in the itinerary which may be required due to the participant’s travel arrangements, airline schedule changes, canceled flights, missed flight connections, or by other factors not under SWA’s control; or b) expenses incurred in recuperating luggage lost by the airlines, excess luggage fees, flight changes or delays, belongings left behind on a trip, or in shipping purchases or other goods home from abroad. SWA reserves the right to make reasonable changes to the itinerary or activities where deemed advisable for the comfort and/or well-being of the tour group.