Am I guaranteed to see the animals we are looking for?

No, but most of these encounters are virtually guaranteed. Bear in mind that we are working with wild animals that can come and go from an area as they please. Every effort is made to maximize your chances of seeing and interacting with a specific species but there is always the chance that we may strike out.

Do I need to be a certified diver to come on the ocean trips?

It depends on the expedition. Some trips like our Isla Mujeres Whale Shark Adventure are free-diving (snorkeling) trips. In other words, we swim with the sharks or whales at the surface just using a mask and snorkel. Being comfortable in the water is important even if we are not scuba diving.

For the diving expeditions, do I need to be very experienced?

Generally our trips are suitable for all levels of divers but there are a few that would be a challenge for new divers. There is an ‘Experience Level’ listed along with the other important info under the first image on each trip page. If you’re still not sure, feel free to email us about any particular trip and we’ll help you decide if its a good trip for your experience level.

Is diving equipment included or available?

Equipment is not included in the price for the trip (except tanks and weights) but many of the operators that we use have scuba gear for rent. If you require dive equipment, please let us know well ahead of time and we will help to arrange it.

Is shark diving dangerous?

There is always an element of risk when you spend time in the open ocean. This risk increases when you dive with sharks and when you don scuba equipment or when when you free dive. However, the risks are smaller than you may think. Contrary to popular belief, most sharks are actually very shy. Some encounters that we organize are natural i.e. we do not use any food to attract the sharks. Others involve chumming to attract the sharks.
Without using fish it would be virtually impossible to get close to many species. When you add food to the equation, sharks become more active so the risks are slightly higher, but still quite minimal as long as the guests follow the instructions of the dive master and crew.


Can children come on the expeditions?

Yes, but they must be qualified divers (where necessary) and strong swimmers if they are joining an ocean based trip. Also, minors must ALWAYS be accompanied by one parent or a guardian on the trip and their parent/guardian must accompany them in the water at all times.

Is there a child rate?

No. all guests are charged at the same rate.

Deposits, Balances, and Signing Up

How do I sign up?

Please email info@bigfishexpeditions.com to tell us that you would like to sign up for a particular trip. You will then receive two web-links. One is a simple reservation form. The other is a liability waiver for that trip. We will also send you a trip deposit request. Once we receive the completed form and a deposit check (or wire transfer) your spot will be confirmed.

How much is the deposit and when is the balance due?

The deposit is generally between a quarter and a third of the trip price. Most BFE trips are in the $3000 to $4000 range, so the deposit on those is $800 to $1000. The balance is due 90 days before the start date of the expedition.

If I change my mind or can’t go, do I get my deposit back?

The deposit is non-refundable and non-transferable. However, if we manage to fill the trip after you cancel, we will put your deposit towards any of our trips that you sign up for during the following 12 months. If you cancel again during that time, you will lose your deposit completely. Please understand that we are not trying to make extra money or cheat our guests. We are simply trying to discourage people from jumping from trip to trip because it is quite difficult for us to refill cancelled spots shortly before a trip.

When is the Balance Due and is it Refundable?

The balance must be paid 90 days before the trip. It is non-refundable. If you cancel last minute, we will try to fill your spot again. If we manage to fill the trip, we will credit the money towards any other trip we run within one year of the original trip date.

What forms of payment do you accept?

We prefer checks from North American guests but you are also welcome to pay by Paypal, wire/bank transfer or credit card. Some payment options incur a fee (see below).

PAYPAL: If you wish to pay through PayPal we will send you a PayPal money request that includes and extra 4% to cover the fees that PayPal charges us.

CREDIT CARD: If you wish to pay by credit card, we will send you a Paypal money request that you can pay directly with your credit card. You do not need a Paypal account to use this method. The money request will include a 4% charge to cover the credit card fees that we incur.

WIRE TRANSFER: If you wish to send a wire or bank transfer, please let us know and we will send you an invoice that includes our bank transfer information.

CHEQUE: Please make cheques payable to Big Fish Expeditions Inc.

Covid 19 Concerns

Are there safety protocols in place to protect guests from Covid 19?

Yes, but each trip is different. All of the hotels that we book and liveaboard ships that we charter have implemented special cleaning practices in excess of WHO recommendations.

Guests are no longer required to present a negative covid test or proof of full vaccination to join the expedition.

What happens to my booking if the trip is cancelled because of COVID-19?

If we have to cancel the trip because of entry restrictions or forced quarantine periods in the destination country, then your booking will be rolled over to the following year.

What happens to my booking if I don't want to travel because of COVID-19?

If there are no entry restrictions and the trip is going ahead but you don’t want to go or are unable to travel because you have Covid, then you will lose your deposit if we can’t refill your spot (and the balance if you cancel within 90 days of the trip). If we can refill your spot, then the money will be credited towards any trip with us for one year.

Sleeping Arrangements

Do I need to come with someone else because the price says ‘double occupancy’?

We welcome solo divers! Most liveaboard expedition ships have two bunks in each room. So, if you sign up as a solo diver, you will be assigned a cabin with another diver of the same gender.

Can I get a private cabin on a liveaboard dive boat?

Sure! But, if you want a private cabin, you will have to pay for two spots.

On land based trips, will I get a private room?

Guests that sign up for land based trips on their own will be charged the single occupancy rate.

If you want to keep costs down, you are welcome to let us know that you would like to share a room with another solo (same sex) guest. We will do our best to find you a roommate, but if no one else wishes to share, you will be charged for a single room.

Food Questions

Are meals included in the trip price?

It depends on the trip. All meals are included on liveaboard diving trips. On land based trips breakfast is usually included but lunch and dinner may or may not be. There is a section on each trip page that states exactly what is included.

Do you cater to vegetarians?

Yes. There is generally a vegetarian option at all offered meals. However, some destinations don’t quite understand the concept very well so its a good idea for vegetarians to bring a few protein bars in case there is not a particularly good selection of veggie food available.

What if I have food allergies?

Generally, there is a choice of food at meal times. If you are allergic to many different foods or if you have life threatening allergies, you may wish to arrange your own meals. If you carry an epi-pen, please let the trip leader know that you have one and where you keep it!

Trip and Dive Insurance Questions

Do I require diving insurance?

For scuba diving trips you do. For snorkeling trips you don’t. DAN offers very affordable diving insurance that covers evacuation, recompression chamber fees and all other medical expenses: https://www.diversalertnetwork.org/insurance/

Do I need travel insurance?

That is completely up to you but we highly recommend it. If you miss the departure of the liveaboard because your flight is delayed or if you can’t go because of a family or work emergency, you’ll be glad you had insurance.

Which travel insurance do you recommend?

We recommend Yonder Travel Insurance: www.insureyonder.com/big-fish-expeditions

North Americans, can also arrange insurance through: https://diversalertnetwork.com, or sometimes through your flight booking agent.

How do I put in a claim?

Usually, the insurance company will request an invoice for the trip from you and some kind of supporting documentation to prove why you couldn’t go (such as a letter from your doctor or from the airline). We can provide them with a copy of your paid invoice if they request it.

Getting There and Away

When do I need to fly in and fly home?

The first listed day of the trip is always the arrival day. It is not the first day of activity. So, on a land based trip, you can arrive that day. On a liveaboard trip, we recommend that you arrive a day early and get a hotel, just in case your flight gets delayed.

The last day of the trip is your fly out day. On some trips, we may spend the last day transporting you back to a town near the airport. The estimated drop-off time will be listed in the PDF. Please read the trip PDF to see what is the earliest time you can fly out.

Do you supply info on how to get to the boat/hotel?

Yes, when you first inquire about a trip we will send you a PDF with all of the logistical information that you need to help you plan your adventure.

Are flights included?

Flights are NOT included in any of our trips unless specifically listed.

Are airport transfers included?

Some trips include airport transfers. If they do, there will generally be a group shuttle leaving the airport (or a hotel near the airport) at a prearranged time on the day of arrival.

What if I can’t get to the transfer shuttle because my flight is later or its delayed?

If you miss the shuttle you are responsible for making your own way to the boat or hotel. The logistics doc usually has directions to the boat or the name of the hotel to give to the taxi driver.

What happens if I miss the scheduled departure of the liveaboard dive boat?

It will depend on the trip. If there is some leeway, we will hold the departure in the hope that you can get to the boat.

If the itinerary dictates that we leave on schedule or if you are delayed longer than we can wait for, then unfortunately you will forfeit the trip. We strongly suggest that on liveaboard trips, you purchase trip insurance and arrive a day early and stay overnight at a hotel.

Trip Leaders

Who will be leading the trip?

Professional Big Animal Photographer Andy Murch personally leads many Big Fish expeditions. Some of our trips may be led by our other trip leaders. You can see who is leading the trip in the info section below the first image on each trip page. You can also read about our different trip leaders here: trip leaders.

Will the trip leader change unexpectedly?

So far, this has never happened but we reserve the right to substitute one trip leader for another if there is a scheduling issue or in case of illness or other unforeseen event.

Why does it say N/A (Not applicable) in the trip leader field on some trips?

On some trips we do not send a trip leader. This is usually because we are working with a very capable and experienced operator, so sending our own trip leader would be a bit redundant and force us to raise the trip price beyond what we feel is competitive.

Newsletters and Social Media Updates

Why haven’t I received a newsletter lately?

We don’t send out many newsletters – usually just 4 or 5 each year. Partly, this is because we are busy running trips and partly because we don’t want to bombard our guests with annoying emails.

Where can I find out about new Big Fish Expeditions trips and see new images taken by BFE trip leaders?

We post everyday on our Facebook Page and Instagram Account. Sometimes it’s just a cool image or two from a recent trip or sometimes announcements about exciting new trips that we have added. Please follow us if you would like up to the minute info!