Canoeing in Spain

Picos Mixed Activity Week Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group
Destinations:
Spain
Programmes:
Culture
Trip Code:
ASQ
Activity Rating - Moderate
Moderate

You are moderately fit and possess a spirit of adventure. Some previous experience is required for most activity based trips.

8 Days Flight Inclusive
8 Days Land only
Min age: 16

Trip Overview

Spain's first national park offers some of the finest, most dramatic mountain scenery in the country. With lush valleys, wide rivers, deep rocky gorges, huge cave systems and cliffs that have long been a mecca for climbers, the Picos de Europa provides the perfect location for a mixed activity week. Based in a small family-run hotel at the foot of the high Picos, we try a new, adrenaline-powered activity every day. Previous experience is not required as full instruction will be given, but those who have experience will also be catered for.

 

Temporary changes due to COVID-security measures.
Last updated: 22nd October 2020

At Exodus we acknowledge our responsibility to have the most up-to-date information on anything that will affect our customers on holiday, and to communicate this to our customers as effectively as possible.

Our general global COVID security measures are described in our Travel Safety Charter, and changes will be made to these measures as required by the global pandemic situation.

However, we also expect there to be requirements, measures and sometimes itinerary changes that apply to certain trips only, and may well be temporary measures. We have highlighted all known changes in the section below.
 
Entry requirements

For all trips, having the correct documentation and visa, if required, remains the customer’s responsibility based on their own nationality. We therefore encourage all travellers to check entry requirements using the travel advice of their home nation for the relevant destination. For UK passport holders that is https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) currently advises against all non-essential travel to Spain. Information on local restrictions will be updated in 2021, closer to the time when trips are operational again. 

At a Glance

  • 7 nights at the family-run Hotel Torrecerredo
  • 5 days of mixed activities and 1 free day
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus local leader. Min age 16 years
  • No previous experience necessary but must be able to swim

Trip Highlights

  • Canyoning in the Rubo Gorge
  • Canoe on the spectacular Sella River
  • Trek through the famous Cares Gorge
  • Caving in Cueva Llonín, part of the UNESCO-listed Altamira Palaeolithic Caves
  • Stay at the foot of the Picos de Europa mountains

Is This Trip for You?

This trip is a Mixed Activity trip and Activity Level: 3 (Moderate).

This is an exciting and adventurous holiday designed to put a smile on your face as well as have your pulse racing. There is the chance to go canoeing and canyoning, in addition to walking and caving. The cave visited has been dry for thousands of years and there is no risk of flooding.

As with all of our mixed activity trips, no experience is required to sign up for this holiday and those that have experience will still be entertained as there are a wide range of levels and grades to suit all. To enjoy this trip to the full, a decent level of fitness and agility is required. Please note that each activity leader is fully qualified to instruct in their field and reserves the right to refuse participation of any client on any activities if they feel this will compromise the safety and enjoyment of the group.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
4
Max group size:
16

Itinerary

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Arena de Cabrales

    The trip starts in Arenas de Cabrales this afternoon. Those on the group flights will be met at Bilbao Airport and transferred to our hotel, which has views up to the highest peak in the national park.

    Meals included:
    Dinner
  • Day 2

    Day of canyoning in the Rubo Gorge with optional water slides, jumps and abseils.

    A short drive and a short walk bring us to the start of the Rubo Gorge, where our fun day of canyoning begins. Over the course of our 3 hour descent there are 6 abseils (12m max), 6 optional jumps into deep pools, and 2 water slides. We enjoy a picnic lunch in a beautiful natural setting before making our way back to the hotel in the afernoon.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 3

    Classic Cares Gorge walk, one of the most popular walks in Spain.

    The classic Cares Gorge has been described as the jewel in the crown of Spanish hiking. For 12 km the engineered path has been blasted into the rock face. Originally built in the 1940s as part of a hydroelectric scheme, it is now one of the most popular walks in Spain. In places the surrounding peaks rise over two thousands metres above the path and if we're lucky, we may catch a glimpse of the rare and beautiful wall creeper. The path eventually emerges in the village of Cain, where we have lunch before our return along the same route to Puente Poncebos. Transport will be waiting here to take us to back to our hotel in Arenas de Cabrales.


    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 24 km / 15 miles
    Total ascent (m):
    300
    Total descent (m):
    300
    Activity (hours):
    6-7
  • Day 4

    Canoeing along the famous River Sella, renowned for its annual canoe competitions.

    We drive 45 minutes to Arriondas for a 4 hours' downstream canoeing trip on the River Sella. The river is one of the most popular destinations for this type of activity and it has been hosting a major canoeing festival since 1930. Every year, on the first Saturday of August, canoeists from all over the world come to Asturias to take part in the Sella River race. It is full of music and colour, and has become one of the most important dates on the international canoeing calendar. Our day won't be as challenging but it will be packed with fun. Using open-decked two-person canoes we cover about 15 kms with some easy class 1 rapids en route.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 5

    Free day to relax at the hotel, take a trip to the coast or choose from optional activities.

    Choose amongst several other optional activities such as caving and second canyoning, or take a day to relax and sightsee in the beautiful coastal towns of Asturias.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Walk up to the twin summits of Mancondiu offering fantastic views of the Central and Eastern Massifs.

    At 2,000 m, the twin summits of Mancondiu are the highest point we reach during the week. Most of the walking, apart from the last 200 m, is on disused mining tracks. The top offers fantastic views of the Central and Eastern Massifs.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 11 km / 7 miles
    Total ascent (m):
    735
    Total descent (m):
    735
    Activity (hours):
    5
  • Day 7

    Caving in Cueva Llonín, part of the UNESCO-listed Altamira Palaeolithic Caves.

    Today we will discover the pre-historic site of the Altamira Palaeolithic Caves and enjoy a thrilling caving expedition through Cueva Llonín. The adventure includes walking, crawling and squeezing between different chambers of the impressive cave, perhaps spotting bats roosting high in the roof, and using a rope to access a large chamber with two-metre-long stalactites and rare helictites.

    The caves are home to Palaeolithic paintings of horses, bison and deer, amongst other animals, as well as symbols and handprints. These are closed to the public, but we will learn about the creation of the paintings and the people who may have made them.

    On returning to the hotel, your final afternoon is free for you to spend as you like.

    Please note: The cave visited on this excursion has been dry for thousands of years and there is no risk of flooding. For those not interested in caving, there is a horse-riding option instead. Please inform us upon booking if you would prefer to go horse-riding instead of caving.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Total ascent (m):
    30
    Total descent (m):
    30
    Activity (hours):
    2.5
  • Day 8

    End Arena de Cabrales.

    The trip ends in Arenas de Cabrales this morning. 

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Accommodation

Hotel Torrecerredo

Our base for the week is the lovely Hotel Torrecerredo, a small family-run hotel in Arenas de Cabrales. It has a pleasant garden terrace attached to the café bar and the panoramic restaurant gives views right up to the mountains peaks. All rooms have en-suite facilities along with TV and Wi-Fi. The hotel is situated in a rural setting, five minutes’ walk from the centre of the village, which is well serviced with banks, cafes and shops. The hotel's restaurant serves delicious meals all cooked with locally sourced ingredients.

Single supplements are available (on request).

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single will only guarantee a room for single use. It does not necessarily mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a single room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a single room.

Single supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Single supplement from £200.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All breakfasts, 5 picnic lunches and 6 dinners are included.

The region has several delicious specialities for you to try while you are staying here. The area is famous for its gold-medal-winning blue cheese, Queso Cabrales, which is matured in some of the thousands of deep limestone caves that dot the hills. Lesser known, but equally appealing is the local lamb Cordero al la Menta and a wholesome bean stew, Fabada Asturiana. Fresh fish comes from the coast at Llanes and Ribadesella, half an hour's drive away. The local wine is very drinkable, though a glass of local cider can be more refreshing.

Breakfast: Fruit juice, tea, freshly ground coffee, cereals, bread, cold meats, cheeses and a selection of local fruit (depending on season) offered buffet-style. There are also eggs cooked to order, sponge and Anis cake.

Lunch: Generally includes a large bread roll, with a choice of fillings daily, chocolates and fresh fruit.

Dinner: Homemade three-course meal usually consists of soup or salad for the first course, a choice of 3 main courses, with meat, fish, or vegetarian, followed by a homemade dessert.

Wine: To accompany the evening meal, the hotel has a reasonably comprehensive wine list available.

Over the years, the hotel has developed tasty vegetarian alternatives. Please let us know in advance if you are vegetarian or have any other special dietary requirements.

Transportation

Transport, including airport transfers, is usually by private air-conditioned minibus.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

There can be snowfalls in the Picos as late as May, and the area is subject to rain at all times of the year (although this typically falls in the evening and rarely affects the walking). From early June to early October the weather should be very pleasant for all the actvities, though it is rather unpredictable and mists can come in from the coast. Average maximum temperatures during these months range from 20 to 25ºC and minimum temperatures range from 10 to 15ºC. Certain activities in the programme such as canyoning are dependent on weather conditions. Suitable alternatives will be offered if they cannot take place.

Weather Charts

Picos de Europa region

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 8 Days

The group flight from London is a daytime flight departing on Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of EasyJet (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.


Travelling land only: 8 days starting and ending in Arenas de Cabrales

Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Arenas de Cabrales in the afternoon of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐ sent approximately two weeks before departure.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Airport transfers are included for those on the group flights. Please note that transfers are not included for clients arriving on any other flight, even if Exodus has booked it.

If you require airport transfers, you may (by prior arrangement only) be able to join the group transfer. Transfers are arranged to coincide with the arrival time of the group flight - please check the group flight details 2 weeks before departure. If you do not take this transfer, or miss it, you must make your own way to the joining point at your own expense.

You can pre-book private arrival and departure transfers through Exodus if you wish (payable in advance). Please ensure that you provide us with all relevant information at least 2 weeks before departure.

It is possible to reach the start hotel using the public bus network. From Bilbao or Santander you can take the bus to Unquera, the nearest main bus stop to Arenas de Cabrales. The journey is about 3 hours from Bilbao (€12) and 1hr 30min from Santander (€6). You will need to take a taxi from Llanes to the hotel, which will cost approximately €30. Please note that the cost of a taxi from Bilbao Airport is likely to be about €200, should you decide to make your way independently.

 

 

Location start:
Arenas de Cabrales
Location end:
Arenas de Cabrales

What to Take

Essential Equipment

  • Waterproofs
  • Warm fleece or jumper
  • Sturdy trainers or walking boots
  • Sun-hat & sun cream
  • Sunglasses
  • Swimming costume
  • Small daypack
  • Refillable water bottle (1-2 litre capacity)

All the other equipement needed for the activies will be provided locally.

At time of writing the standard weight limit for hold baggage on the recommended international carrier for this trip is 20kg. We recommend packing only one piece of checked baggage.

As advice about luggage allowances for both hand and hold luggage is subject to change, we suggest you check the airline's website for the latest information prior to your departure.

Practical Information

Passport

Spain

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information offered below is to help you with that process. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Passports: check if you need to renew

You may need to renew your British passport earlier if you’re travelling from 1 January 2021.

On the day you travel, you’ll need your passport to both:

  • have at least 6 months left
  • be less than 10 years old (even if it has 6 months or more left)

Certain European nationalities may be able to travel within Europe on their national identity card. Check carefully with the relevant authorities if you intend to do this.

Visa

Spain

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

There are no specific health risks on this trip.

Vaccination

Spain

There are no specific health risks.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

UK-issued European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs) are still valid and offer the same cover as GHICs in the EU. This gives you medical care at a reduced cost, and in some cases for free, in many European countries, but should not be considered a substitute for adequate insurance. Once your EHIC has expired, you’ll be able to replace it with a GHIC.

Local Time

Spain's Timezone:
Europe/Madrid CEST (GMT +02:00)

Electricity

Spain's Electricity:

European plug ‐ 2 round pins. 230 Volts AC.

Money

Spain's Currency

The national currency of Spain is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (October 2017) of approximately 1.1 to the GBP,  0.84 to the USD, 0.67 to the CAD, 0.66 to the AUD and 0.59 to the NZD.

ATM Availability

There is an ATM available in Arenas de Cabrales and most places take major credit cards, even though cash is generally easier.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

For the lunch and dinner on the free day you should allow about EUR 15‐ EUR 30 for both, however, this varies on which restaurant you choose.

You will also need some local currency for extra snacks, drinks and souvenirs bought during the week (about EUR 100 should be sufficient for this).

Optional Excursions 

During the free day (numbers/transport permitting) you should have the opportunity to go caving (EUR 30), climbing (EUR 35), or to the beach (approximately EUR 15).

Tipping

Although optional, a tip for the leader at the end of the trip is greatly appreciated. As a guideline we recommend a contribution of between EUR 15 to EUR 20 per client. It is also customary to leave a tip for the driver and the local staff at the hotel. This can be handed in to your leader at the end of the trip. For the local staff we recommend to budget approx. EUR 10 to EUR 15 per person.

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

The hotel we stay in is very conscious of its environmental impact and does a number of things to minimise this. Where it can it uses solar power to heat water and low energy lighting is used where practical; the owners grow some of their own vegetables and you will be able to sample these at dinner; and, there is a recycling policy throughout the hotel. The hotel also strives to buy the majority of its produce from local suppliers and employ staff from the local area.

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

This trip includes time by a lake, river or sea, where there may be opportunities to swim. Swimming results in more tourists deaths than any other activity. All customers should always seek local advice before deciding whether to swim, and are requested to treat the sea with extreme caution if they choose to enter the water. Details on how to keep yourself safe while swimming are shown here.

TRAVEL AWARE – STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.