Incredibly beautiful landscapes and the most authentic ancient culture including the ones of Bons!
An extraordinary trek in the isolated area of western Nepal where trekkingis possible in the mid monsoon as well dueto the rain shadow area formed by the Dhaulagiri & Annapurna ranges! The trek begins at the STOL airstrip of Juphal after a short flight from the town of Nepalgunj which is well connected by both road and air from Kathmandu. Trekking in Lower Dolpo has its own charm as people here still lead a lifebelonging to the distant past. This is also one of few areas where pre-Buddhist Bon religion is still practiced. The trail goes over three high passes, the Kagmara La (5115m), Baga La (5090m) and Numa La (5360m) passing the deep-blue tranquil Phoksundo Lake and finally concludes at Juphal descending the gorge-side path of TarapKhola.
A physically fit person can do this trip anytime in April to October. November can be a bit risky as the passes will be covered by snow.
Day 1 Arrival Kathmandu
Day 2 Sightseeing tour of Boudhanath, Pashupatinath & Patan
Day 3 Fly to Nepalgunj - 1 hr
Day 4 Fly to Jumla (2370m) - 45min & trek to Gothi Chaur (2700m) – 6/7 hrs
Day 5 Trek to Naphukana (3080m) – 6/7 hrs
Day 6 Trek to Chaurikot (3060m) – 5/6 hrs
Day 7 Trek to Bheri Riverside (2610m) – 6/7 hrs
Day 8 Trek to Garpung khola (2900m) - 6/7 hrs
Day 9 Trek to Kagmara (3500m) – 7/8 hrs
Day 10 Trek to Kagmara Phedi (4000m) – 6/7 hrs
Day 11 Cross Kagmara La (5115m) – 6/7 hrs
Day 12 Trek to Pungmo – 4/5 hrs
Day 13 Trek to Phoksundo Lake (3612m) – 5/6 hrs
Day 14 At Phoksundo Lake
Day 15 Trek to Baga La Phedi - 6/7 hrs
Day 16 Cross Baga La (5090m) & Trek to Numa La Phedi (4800m) – 6/7 hrs
Day 17 Cross Numa La (5360m) & Trek to Do (4100m) – 7/8 hrs
Day 18-19 At Do
Day 20 Trek to Lahini (3560m) – 6/7 hrs
Day 21 Trek to Tarakot (2600m) – 5/6 hrs
Day 22 Trek to Dunai (2100m) - 6/7 hrs
Day 23 Trek to Juphal (2500m) – 4/5 hrs
Day 24 Fly Juphal/Nepalgunj/Kathmandu
Day 25 Depart Kathmandu
PRICE per person on twin sharing basis
Fully Catered Camping Trek (FOT)
National park fees,
Juphal/ Nepalgunj airfare
All guided sightseeing tour in Kathmandu with entry fees.
Trekkers' Information Management System fees
3 nights' accommodation at 3 star hotel in Kathmandu on twin sharing with breakfast
Airport transfers and escort
Nepal visa - Multiple Entrée 30 days - USD 40
International flight & domestic departure tax (NRS 200 (Subject to change) per person each way)
Lunch & dinner during hotel stay in Kathmandu
Tips, any expenses incurred in emergency evacuation/road block due to any reason, table drinks, snacks while walking
Extra baggage charges, Personal gears & clothing (available on hire)
Arrival in Kathmandu
It is a panoramic thrill flying into Kathmandu on a clear day. The views of snow-capped mountain peaks sprawling down below you are almost ecstatic, beginning a whole chain of memorable experiences that stay with you for a long, long time. A representative and driver from our office will meet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel. The representative will help you check into your designated hotel. At the hotel you will be briefed about your daily activities..
Sightseeing tour of Boudhanath, Pashupatinath & Patan
Kathmandu is the historical and cultural heart of Nepal and has been a popular destination for tourists ever since Nepal opened its doors to visitors. The city presents a wonderful mix of Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism and Western influence. There will be a guided tour to Boudhanath, the largest Buddhist Stupa in Nepal; and Pashupatinath, the most popular Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. The after we take a tour to Patan or Lalitpur (the City of Artisans), which is 5km away from Kathmandu. We walk through Patan Durbar Square, and delight in the architectural wonders of Malla era. Mahaboudha Temple, Kumbeshwor Temple, Krishna Temple and Golden Temple are the major attractions at the square..
Fly to Nepalgunj - 1 hr
Transfer to the airport for the flight to Nepalgunj, which lies close to the Indian border in the western Terai. Rest of the day is free. .
Fly to Jumla (2370m) - 45min & trek to Gothi Chaur (2700m) – 6/7 hrs
We take a morning flight from Nepalgunj to Jumla. Leaving the airport at Jumla, we cross Tila Khola and Chaudabise Khola, near their confluence and climb gradually to a fertile valley of rice terraces. The trail passes through several villages. It continues through a forest of maple and walnut, to a meadow which, in season, is covered in wildflowers. Beyond the meadow, the trail climbs to a small pass before descending to Gothi Chaur. .
Trek to Naphukana (3080m) – 6/7 hrs
Today's walk follows Tila Khola through fields of corn, potato, buckwheat and barley until the valley narrows and we enter a forest of oaks, spruce and maples. We pass through the village of Chotra with typical mani walls. After a short distance, we come to another village, Naphukana. There is a large gompa above this village..
Trek to Chaurikot (3060m) – 5/6 hrs
From Naphukana the trail becomes steeper and climbs through a forest to a pass named Mauri Lagna (3820m). From the pass there are views of snowy peaks to the north and east. Descending from the pass, the trail traverses a steep slope before dropping into a forest of pine and oaks. We then enter the Bheri Valley and after following the trail in and out of side valleys, we come to the village of Chaurikot. .
Trek to Bheri Riverside (2610m) – 6/7 hrs
Continuing on to the village of Balasa we can see Kagmara peak on the horizon. The trail drops to a stream before climbing through a forest of walnut trees to a ridge. Passing through the apple orchards of Jyakot, we then descend to the village of Rimi before following a rocky trail down to the Bheri River. .
Trek to Garpung khola (2900m) - 6/7 hrs
We stay on the west bank of Bheri River, passing Hurikot and arrive at the entrance to the Shey Phoksundo National Park. We then come to the confluence of the Garpung and Jagdula rivers, which joins Bheri River. Following Garpung Khola, we reach our camp by the riverside..
Trek to Kagmara (3500m) – 7/8 hrs
We continue to follow Garpung Khola, ascending slowly towards the Kagmara La. We don’t ascend too quickly, which is very important for acclimatization.
Trek to Kagmara Phedi (4000m) – 6/7 hrs
We now cross to the eastern side of the river, where the valley narrows and the river becomes a series of waterfalls. The trail climbs to a moraine below the Kagmara La and we make our camp among the boulders. We get magnificent views of the surrounding peaks from here. .
Cross Kagmara La (5115m) – 6/7 hrs
We get an early start this morning and ascend alongside the Kagmara Glacier to the Kagmara La, the first of the high passes. This is a good place to spot rare blue sheep. After a 900m descent, we reach the pastures of the Pungmo Khola Valley..
Trek to Pungmo – 4/5 hrs
The trail now enters birch and juniper forests which soon give way to blue pine. Up the side valleys, there are views of Kanjiroba peak before we reach the fortress-like village of Pungmo, set amidst barley fields. .
Trek to Phoksundo Lake (3612m) – 5/6 hrs
We continue downstream to the national park headquarter at Sumduwa before joining the trail up the Phoksundo Khola to Phoksumdo Lake. We climb through a forest of large cedars to the winter settlement of Palam and continue ascending through the open country to a ridge from which there are good views of the lake in the distance. Close by is a spectacular waterfall, the highest waterfall in Nepal. The trail then makes an initial descent before climbing gently to Ringmo village. After crossing a bridge below Ringmo, the trail continues northwards to the shores of Phoksumdo Lake..
At Phoksundo Lake
Today is a rest day at the lake which is known for its unusual greenish-blue color. It is overlooked on the western side, by a large snowy peak known as Kanjiroba or Kanchen Ruwa. A trail leads through a stand of juniper trees to an old dilapidated gompa which overlooks the lake. As well as Buddhist paintings and statues, there is also evidence of the ancient Bon-po religion in the temple and chapels. .
Trek to Baga La Phedi - 6/7 hrs
We retrace our route as far as Ringmo and then follow a trail eastwards, through forest of juniper and blue pine. The trail follows the river up the valley to a waterfall and we will reach at the base of the Baga La..
Cross Baga La (5090m) & Trek to Numa La Phedi (4800m) – 6/7 hrs
From our camp it's a steady 3 hour climb to the top of the Baga La, the second of the high passes. The descent is gradual at first but it soon drops steeply to a stream before ascending again to the foot of the Numa La..
Cross Numa La (5360m) & Trek to Do (4100m) – 7/8 hrs
We continue climbing through arid country to the last of the high passes, the Numa La. It is marked by mani stones and, if it is clear, we can see as far as Dhaulagiri. The trail now descends past a huge mani wall to the Tarap region and we walk through the barley fields of the Tarap Valley to the settlement of Do..
Rest days at Do. It is the largest settlement in Tarap and has several gompas. On the ridge above the village is the Ri Bhunpa Gompa and, just to the east, the village of Shipchhok has a Bon-po gompa which is certainly worth exploring. There are also opportunities to get great views of the valley and surrounding snow peaks from a number of nearby ridges..
Trek to Lahini (3560m) – 6/7 hrs
This morning's walk is almost level and follows the river until it flows into a gorge. We enter the gorge which has large rose shrubs and other wildflowers, and after crossing and re-crossing the river numerous times, we finally come to a flat expanse. .
Trek to Tarakot (2600m) – 5/6 hrs
The trail today is steep, narrow and dangerous as it clings to the cliffs, and the bridges along here can often be washed out. Eventually, the valley widens and the route becomes easier as we approach the village of Khanigaon. We then climb high above the river before descending towards the Barbung Khola and the fortress village of Tarakot..
Trek to Dunai (2100m) - 6/7 hrs
We follow the Barbung Khola downstream along the south bank to the village of Lawan, before crossing to the north bank and walking for several more hours to Dunai..
Trek to Juphal (2500m) – 4/5 hrs
Today, we trek from Dunai to Juphal. From Dunai we follow the river trail downstream to Juphal. We walk uphill through meadows and past a few houses to the small hotels at Kala Gaura (2090m). After several hours of walking, we finally reach Juphal, which is the end point of our trek..
We take a flight from Juphal to Nepalgunj. We then take a connecting flight from Nepalgunj to Kathmandu..
Our Nepali support team will take you to the airport for your flight home. On the other hand, if you prefer to stay longer, you can go for short tours such as game drive at National parks, rafting, Tibet tours, mountain biking, etc. – ask us.
TRIP GRADE - Strenuous Trek
This is a long trek that goes far beyond the normal haunts of trekkers and tourists, to remote areas of the country where the landscapes are wild and untamed and where the local inhabitants have seen little change in their way of life for centuries- untouched corners of an increasingly crowded planet. It is physically challenging, likely to include unfavorable weather conditions and strenuous activities, such as, climbing/ scrambling across high passes.
TREK TYPE: Camping trek (no lodge available)
Includes: Guide, Porters, Cook, all meals and tents
Camping trek means sleeping in tents. On a camping trek, the tents provided are ‘Two men dome’ or ‘A’ shaped. Foam mattress with insulation underneath is provided for sleeping. Clients need to have their own sleeping bag. Bags or cloth packs are used as pillows. If you wish, you can bring your own ‘Air pillow’.
We have a pool of hotels in Kathmandu under 3 Star categories which we provide to clients in connection to this itinerary, unless it is mentioned otherwise or clients have a special choice. You can check on the description of such hotels through our website.
MEALS & DRINKING WATER
We provide three tasty, plentiful and nutritious meals daily with a variety of local and Western dishes. To start the day, breakfast consists of a choice of porridge, muesli and cereal followed by omelet, fried or scrambled eggs with chapattis or bread. Lunch is generally a selection of salad, cooked vegetable dishes, pasta and traditional breads.
After a long day on the trail, dinner is a hearty 3 course meal - soup, followed by a variety of vegetable, meat, rice and pasta dishes and completed with a simple dessert. Tea, coffee and hot chocolate are also provided at all meals. We use as much fresh produce as possible and special diets are regularly catered for. The leaders are able to maintain very tight controls on health and hygiene in the kitchen with respect to general cleanliness and food preparation and also within the group with respect to personal hygiene. This has allowed us to maintain remarkably high standards of health over many years of trek organization - and good health is vital to an enjoyable and successful trek and climb. All foods are well cooked and vegetables are treated by potassium permanganate or iodine. Boiled water is served for drinking. Antiseptic soaps and potassium or iodine treated water are provided for washing. Special dietary requirements can always be catered for.
LUGGAGE WHILE TREKKING
During trek your main luggage will be carried by porters. You simply carry a day pack with water bottle, camera, sun-screen, spare jacket, etc. - a small load that allows full enjoyment of the trek. A trek bag is ideal for your main luggage, plus a small lockable bag for travel clothes or anything that you do not need during trek which you can leave at hotel’s locker room/safe deposit box in Kathmandu for free of charge. Weight allowance at Nepal’s domestic airlines is 15 Kgs, excess weight is chargeable at about USD 1.5 or more per Kilo depending on sectors.
GROUP LEADER AND CREW
We provide different options concerning leadership in order to match your requirements:
1) Western leader
2) Trained Nepali Trek leader (experienced and knowledgeable)
3) Sherpa Guide (handles the logistics and guides you and your team on the trek)
The Sherpa guide (commonly called Sirdar) will be accompanied by a crew of porters. On camping trek, there will be 2/3 porters for each members.
JOIN A GROUP OR PRIVATE TRIP
Our trips are available on both fixed departure and private basis. If you are looking for a group to join this trip please check our ‘2020 departures’ link for availability, dates and price. If you would like to travel independently, or with your friends, families & colleagues you are invited to choose any of the trips at your convenient timeframe for any number of people (minimum 1 & maximum 100 at a time).
If you want to do something that is not included in our trip list we are ready to tailor a trip to suit your exact requirements. In short, we will make every effort to get you on the trip you want, when you want.
GROUP SIZE ON FIXED DEPARTURE TRIP
If you opt to join our ‘fixed departure trip’, you are likely to be joining people from different countries of any age group except minors. The size of group varies, minimum no of persons required to operate a trip is 3 the maximum is 12 people.
On this trek all meals will be provided. You only need money for table drinks (alcoholic/non alcoholic beverages), snacks while walking (a few smaller shops are available along the trail in some areas) tips, souvenirs etc. Tips are appreciated by your support team after the trip. The amount depends on your budget and appreciation of their work. As a suggestion, we advise you to allocate 5 - 10% of the total tour cost as tips.
TREKKING GEARS & EQUIPMENT
You will need walking boots, sleeping bag (4 seasons/ -20C rated), waterproof jacket and trousers, fleece jacket, warm hat and gloves, sunglasses, water bottle, sun-screen and day pack.Comprehensive list of equipments will be provided once you book your trip.
GEARS AVAILABLE IN KATHMANDU
It's not necessary to spend a lot of money buying extra equipment and clothing before your trip. Majority of these gears can be bought or hired at reasonable rates in Kathmandu. Explore Himalaya will thoroughly help you to buy or rent trekking gears in the outlets of Thamel, which sell or rent both international and local gears.
TYPICAL DAY ON TREK
Your typical day begins with a hot cup of tea brought to the tent at about 6 am, followed by a bowl of hot water for washing. After packing all your bags and having a good breakfast, we set off on the morning’s walk. All you need to carry is a small day pack containing water bottle, camera, sun cream, hat, rain jacket and a warm jumper, just in case. The porters will carry the rest of your gear for you. After walking for 3-4 hours, we stop for lunch at around midday. The afternoon’s walk is generally shorter and we arrive at camp in time for afternoon tea. The remainder of the afternoon can be spent exploring the nearby villages, doing a bit of washing or simply relaxing with a good book. On some days, we will arrive at camp by lunchtime and the entire afternoon will be free.
Dinner is usually served between 6 and 7 pm. After dinner, the evening will often be spent playing cards and talking with the crew, or perhaps even joining in some singing and dancing, before heading off to the tent for a well-earned sleep
MEETING AND GREETING IN KATHMANDU
You need to pass on your International flight details to us for a “meeting and greeting” service at airport. You just pass on the Customs and come out of the Terminal building where you will see someone standing with a placard with either ‘Explore Himalaya’ or your name written on it. Our airport representative or tour officer will greet you and welcome you with a garland.
FLIGHT AND LAND TRANSFERS
First you fly to Nepalgunj from Kathmandu and then you take another short flight from Nepalgunj to Jumla. On the completion of the trek, you will fly back to Kathmandu. We will arrange airport transfers.
Note: There is a high probability of cancellation of domestic flights in remote sectors due to bad weather conditions. Hence, we advise you to keep at least one or more day extra in Kathmandu before your flight home.
For using internet, Wifi service is available in lower altitudes. You can also use Ncell and NTC network (both for internet and mobile network) but they don’t work properly in some places as you go higher. If it is crucial for you to keep in contact with your family or others, we can provide you a mobile satellite phone (rental charge on request).
CLIMATE AND BEST TIME TO GO
The best seasons to trek in the Dolpo region are Autumn (from mid-September till November end) and Spring (from the beginning of March until mid-May). Temperatures will drop considerably as you trek higher everyday. The nights are cold (between -10 C to 5C) but the days are sunny and hot (between 10C to 20C).The mornings are usually clear, with clouds building up during the afternoon, disappearing at night. As Dolpo region is located in the rain shadow area, it is possible to trek during monsoon but domestic flights are often disrupted by heavy monsoon cloud and rain.
March, April, October and November are the most popular and favored months for traveling. Please choose the time that is convenient for you.
PEOPLE AND CULTURE
Dolpo consists of an ethnic group called Bhotias (with Tibetan origins), Magar, and Gurung. The Dolpo-pa (people of Dolpo) are mongoloid featured people with unique cultural and social traditions. Apart from speaking Tibetan, they speak kaike language which is believed to exist only in Dolpo. They are engaged in farming, sheep herding and small scale business. Agriculture on a large scale is impossible because fertile land is scarce. Historically, the men of Dolpo were salt traders. They used to travel across the great Himalayas with their yaks, horses and zopkas to bring salt from Tibet.
Marriages in Dolpo are very relaxed in general. Pre-marital and extra-marital sex union is not prejudiced. Traditionally, all the brothers in a family marry a common wife, however the practice is compulsory. Marriages can be of any type; by arrangement, capture or elopement.
Their main festival is ‘Losar’ (Tibetan New Year), celebrated in the month of February. Another festival they generally celebrate is ‘Yul-lha’ ceremony which is a ritual to appease the Gods.
The itineraries for each trip should be taken as a guideline only. Depending on the prevailing situation, you can modify it to some extent after consulting with your guide. However, the date of trek completion should always coincide with the original itinerary. You should keep in mind that this is an adventure trip into the remotest region, where many unforeseen events may contribute to the need for a change in itinerary. In such cases, we or your guide will suggest the best alternative similar to your original.
We ensure liability as indicated in itinerary and list of services. If the holiday is cut short or completed earlier than the projected period upon client’s wish, we shall not be responsible or make refund against unutilized days or services. Clients need to pay for Hotels/services incurred in Kathmandu or elsewhere in such cases.
In addition to your trek, we can organize extensions both within Nepal and other neighboring countries. You may want to try water rafting or a jungle safari in Nepal or Nepal Cultural Tour. You may as well take a trip to Tibet, India or Bhutan, whichever seems more appealing to you..
All visitors except the Indian nationals must hold passport and valid visa. Visa can be obtained at the Nepalese diplomatic missions and consulates abroad. You can also get “On Arrival Visa” at entry points. Some countries’ nationals need to get visa prior their arrival. Please check http://www.nepalimmigration.gov.np/page/tourist-visafor detailed information.
Visa can be extended at the Department of Immigration in Kathmandu and Pokhara. Children under 10 years need not pay any visa fee.
Gratis visa for 30 days available only for tourists of SAARC countries
Multiple entry 15 days - US$ 30 or equivalent convertible currency
Multiple entry 30 days - US$ 50 or equivalent convertible currency
Multiple entry 90 days - US$ 125 or equivalent convertible currency
Tourist Visa Extension
* Visa extension fee for 15 days or less is US $ 45 or equivalent convertible currency and visa extension fee for more than 15 days is US$ 3 per day
* In case of delay, (less than 150 days), additional US $ 5 per day as late fine.
HEALTH ISSUES AND VACCINATIONS
As vaccination requirements change frequently, we suggest you to consult your doctor at least 2 months prior to the beginning of your trip. We recommend protection against malaria, tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis and polio.
The main health consideration in high altitude is Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). You may experience some mild symptoms initially, such as headache, lethargy, nausea and difficulty sleeping, but these should lessen within a few days. To avoid Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), people take pills called ‘Diamox’. You can also use these pills after consulting with your doctor and purchase them in Kathmandu. Our itinerary will allow your body to acclimatize properly and handle the low oxygen rate.
If you have ever suffered from altitude sickness, or have a heart or breathing complaint, we highly recommend you consult your doctor about your suitability for trekking in high altitude areas before booking. We suggest that you take some pain-killing pills with you and enough medicine for cold, diarrhea, nausea and fever. Some nasal ointment and throat-moistening pills will greatly help for those who are sensitive to chilly or freezing weather conditions
FIRST AID KIT
We supply a medical bag with standard medicines prescribed by trekking doctors and a user’s manual. Since our staffs/guides are not qualified for suggesting medications to western clients, we would request you to use the medicines upon your own risk. It is safer and more reliable if you have your own medicine kit and not depend on what we have.
RESCUE / EVACUATIONS
In case of a serious sickness or a casualty, which we believe will not happen; we will do everything to transfer you to the nearest hospital. Since you are entirely liable for all the expenses incurred in evacuation, please make sure that it is covered by your insurance before assigning for it or be prepared to pay on your own after getting back to Kathmandu
Before joining a tour, we recommend you to take a travel insurance which should cover cancellation, medical expenses, helicopter evacuation and emergency repatriation.
Wonderful environment of the Himalayas is also an extremely fragile one. Increasing population density and numbers of trekkers threaten the very beauty of Nepal. At Explore Himalaya, we are extremely conscious about the environment and aim to minimize our impact as much as possible.
As deforestation is one of the greatest environmental threats, we do not have camp fires and use kerosene for cooking as an alternative fuel to wood. We also discourage trekkers from using wood-fuelled hot showers in lodges along the way. Many lodges, however, now provide solar hot showers, a far more eco-friendly alternative.
Garbage disposal is another major problem and some of the busier trails can, at times, appear strewn with litter. Our staff members are well motivated towards eco-friendly practices. We carry out all our garbage, apart from that which can be safely and easily burnt at the campsite. Our aim is to help protect and preserve this beautiful environment for future generations of trekkers to enjoy.
Explore Himalaya works with the motto ‘Development through Tourism’. Keeping in line with this motto, Explore Himalaya Community Service Project (EHCSP) has been conceived to empower underprivileged, marginalized, poor and minority segments of Nepal.
Since its inception, EHCSP has been incessantly facilitating and advocating for school education, health, community development, forest conservation, agriculture and culture preservation. Explore Himalaya encourages its clients to contribute for the development of Nepal.
Care for Porters and Staff
We ensure that all the porters and other staffs going into high altitude conditions are provided with adequate clothing and equipment. We are the first ever company to supply high-altitude porters with crampons. We run the trek according to the guidelines of the International Porter Protection group (IPPG - www.ippg.net).
1) Your booking will be confirmed by email once we receive your deposit of USD 300 and the signed copy of booking form and contract.
The balance is due no later than two months prior to departure. If you book a tour less than 2 months prior to departure, you must send the full payment within 7 days of confirmation by us.
2) If you cancel, the following scale of charges will apply:
2 months before departure – Loss of deposit (US$ 300)
29 days to 2 months before departure – 30% of total trip cost
10 to 28 days before departure – 60% of total trip cost
Less than 10 days before departure – 100% of total trip cost
It is fundamental to acknowledge that this is an adventure tour. This requires some flexibility. The day to day itinerary is taken only as a guideline. We cannot be held responsible for any delays caused by International or domestic flights, strikes, Government regulations, weather or natural casualties etc. In such cases, Explore Himalaya shall provide suitable alternatives which could be decided upon mutual agreement. If an agreement cannot be made, Explore Himalaya shall only be responsible for refunds after deducting the expenses already incurred.
If you have any questions regarding this trip, please feel free to contact us at email@example.com or directly by phone: 977-1-4418100. We answer all enquiries within 24 hours.
We came to know about your company through articles on books and magazines. Once we reached Nepal, the airport pickup was good. Our itinerary was flexible - it suited our needs.