Faq

Q: How far in advance do I need to reserve my trip?

A: The earlier the better. To guarantee availability, you must reserve at least 60 days prior to the tour date. If you reserve 6 months prior to your tour you benefit from a special discounted price. We will even let you reserve a tour without being absolutely sure about the one you want to take. This way you can take advantage of the special price before you make your decision and do not risk the tour selling out. Reserve a tour now!

Q: When should I purchase my airplane tickets?

A: The sooner the better, but before you purchase your plane tickets please contact us to ensure that your tour has the minimum number of guests required for the trip to take place. We also advise all of our guests to purchase travel insurance.

Q: How do I contact Terracotta Journeys?

A: You can contact us by e-mail using: info@terracottajourneys.com or by phone:
U.S.A. or Canada:
Call us at our U.S. number: 510-931-7700 (EST 8 am – 5 pm) Or call us for free using either:
Skype: terracottaj
or Jajah: +351 214 851 788 Other Countries: Call us at our European number: +351 214 851 788 (GMT: 1 pm – 10 pm) Or call us for free using either:
Skype: terracottaj
or Jajah: +351 214 851 788

Q: What is included in the price of a tour?

  • All lodgings in premium accommodations based on double occupancy. (Check each trip for details)
  • Most dinners with wine (check each trip for details).
  • One or more picnic lunches (check each trip for details).
  • Van support with beverages, and snacks and fruits between meal.
  • Full use of new high-quality, reliable Trek 7.3 FX aluminium frame hybrid bikes.
  • Great service, expertise and fun from experienced multilingual guides, with training in first aid and bike mechanics.
  • GPS route guidance, detailed directions and maps as well as tips on what to see and information about every locale.
  • Additional guidance from local guides or experts on some tours. (Check trip details).
  • Transport: when applicable transfers to and from the nearest available airport or railway station at specified times. Please note that airfare is NOT included.
  • Insurance coverage for local treatment, hospitalization and transportation in case of accident or disease occurring during the trip.
  • Depending on the tour, entry fees to museums or shows, workshops (e.g. cheese making, wine tasting), complementary transportation (e.g. train or ferry ride or other charter).
  • Comprehensive travel information and planning package, with trip preparation information.
  • Terracotta Journeys water bottle, t-shirt and on-line photo album of your trip.
  • All tips at restaurants and hotels.
  • Baggage transfer and handling.

Q: How much is the deposit to reserve a place on a tour?

A: Please see our Terms & Policies here.

Q: How far in advance do I have to pay the deposit?

A: Please see our Terms & Policies here.

Q: How far in advance must I pay for the tour?

A: Please see our Terms & Policies here.

Q: What kind of bicycles do you provide? Should I bring my own bike, pedal clips, helmet?

A: Our tour prices include bicycles perfectly designed for terrains in Spain, Portugal and France: new high-quality, reliable Trek 7.3 FX aluminium frame hybrid bikes. This lets you avoid the hassle and costs of bringing a bicycle on the airplane, risking damages, delays and baggage losses. However, we understand if you are in love with your own bicycle and prefer to bring it on vacation. In this case, please let us know upon your reservation. Please note however that our prices remains the same. You are encouraged to bring your own pedal clips, since they are a very personal piece of equipment, and we will mount them before the trip starts. If you prefer the more traditional pedals, we will have them for you. For safety reasons, a helmet is always required. Most people prefer to bring their own. If you need one, you can purchase one from us for the bike tour. If you want to leave your helmet at the end of the bike trip, we will donate it to a local non-profit organization.

Q: What kind of shape do I need to be in?

A: You do not need to be a triathlete and in top shape for our tours. But you will enjoy them much more if you are in decent shape. Although our “guilt free” support van accompanies all tours (and our drivers really do enjoy company), the trips are designed to be taken from the bicycle seat or on a walking trail. Most guests can ride or walk 4 to 5 hours, but this may include frequent stops and snacks.

So for better satisfaction and results, we do recommend that you ride or walk 2 or 3 times a week during the one or two months prior to your trip.

Contact us if you want more detailed information on how to prepare for a trip.

Q: Do Terracotta trips include people of different fitness levels?

A: Most of our trips do attract people of different abilities and therefore we offer different mileage options on certain days or an extra loop for keen riders. This makes it easy for couples or friends with different fitness levels to ride with similarly fit travellers and then meet up with the group for the evening. We strive to make our active days adequate for all guests.

Of course our “guilt free” support van is always available to give you a ride, if you feel you need to rest or have some refreshment and fruit. This way you can cycle or walk for as long as you’re having fun, but not beyond your natural limits. Also, we encourage our tour guests to proceed at their own pace, so sometimes the group spreads out over several miles or ends up cycling/walking together.

Q: Will I be able to travel at my own pace?

A: By using a Terracotta Journeys user friendly GPS monitor (as well as paper map and explanations of the route), you can ride at your own pace without getting lost. If you get tired or want to skip an uphill, you can always hop on the support van, available to accompany the riders. You are free to maintain your own rhythm, so people riding at a similar speed usually form small groups.

Q: How do your leaders support the biking and walking routes?

A: On most bicycle trips, there will be one leader driving the support van back and forth and the other riding a bicycle like yours, checking regularly on how everyone is doing. Both multilingual leaders can give you any type of assistance, including mechanical, and are extremely familiar with the tour region. On walking tours, one leader takes the lead and the other one brings up the rear. On some days, there is van support with one leader walking with the group. Occasionally, a local expert will give you further information on local art history, culture, cuisine or wine.

The fact that our trip leaders are native to the country they are touring in, gives you two distinct advantages: first, it makes your trip more economical since Terracotta Journeys doesn’t have to fly in leaders and equipment. Second, because our trip leaders are familiar with both the native culture as that of North America and Europe, they enable you to interact with the local population for a richer, more authentic travel experience.

Q: Do I have to carry any of my own luggage or gear?

Never. During the trip, your luggage and gear will be transferred for you while you bicycle or walk. All you have to carry with you are the items you will need for the day in the handlebar bag or fannie-pack (when walking), such as map and directions, camera, personal incidentals and bicycle lock. So, you enjoy the tour with no extra weight.

Q: What does Terracotta Journeys do to ensure my safety?

A: While we select all of our routes for their safety, we actively plan and rehearse for all possible unforeseen incidents (we have never had a real one) and our trip leaders always know the fastest way to a local hospital or doctor wherever you are. Our tour prices include insurance coverage for all guests against accidents and illness, including local hospitalization and treatment. However, we encourage our guests to supplement this coverage with their own insurance coverage in the unlikely case of accident or disease. We are officially licensed (licence: 44/2008) to operate biking and walking tours in Portugal, ensuring your security, safety and satisfaction. All trips have guides certified in Red Cross CPR training.

Q: If I’m touring alone, will you find me a roommate or can I have a private room?

A: Terracotta Journeys prices are based on double occupancy (two people per room). If you would like a roommate, we can often pair you with one of the same gender. If you want a single room, there is a single occupancy supplement of US$ 80 surcharge per night. Please tell us as soon as you reserve your trip, so we can guarantee you a single room. If you are a single traveller, reserving less than 65 days prior to the trip date, we will always charge you the single supplement, to be refunded if we are able to match you with a roommate. If we can’t find you with roommate, the single occupancy supplement will apply. On some occasions, twin rooms consist of one bed and one rollaway or foldout sleeper. On a few trips, twin room availability is limited; a single occupancy supplement applies even if a twin room is not available, regardless of the number of days before departure. Also, please note that in Europe, single rooms are sometimes smaller than double rooms (in spite of the higher price per person).

Q: How large will my tour group be?

A: Our tour groups range from a minimum of 4 guests to a maximum of 16 guests, both on biking and walking tours.

Q: How do you select the biking and walking routes?

A: We aim to find the most beautiful, unspoiled and satisfying back roads possible in any given region which at the same time enable you to learn about the country’s history and culture. Thanks to Jorge’s attention to detail, we have researched about 3,000 miles of road to select the routes for each and every tour. We literally try out all possible alternatives and choose only those routes removed from traffic and hazards, with the least abrupt climb ratio and best pavement conditions.

Q: What sort of accommodations will I stay in?

A: After a full day of cycling, we know that our guests demand and deserve the most comfortable premium quality accommodations. With this in mind, we check out all possible hotels in each area and choose only those we feel would be the very best to truly relax in. Most of the hotels are 4 or 5 star, historic and/or charming hotels (often Pousadas and Paradores), offering excellent service, comfort, and whenever possible, a pool. So don’t forget your swimsuit!

In the few areas where there is no luxury accommodation available, you will stay in charming comfortable establishments, with private bathroom. Should you be seeking non-premium, but good value for money accommodations, we will gladly organize a custom tour for your group taking this into consideration. Contact us to arrange the best trip for your budget.

Q: What sort of food and wine will I get on a tour?

A: Since Eva is a bit of a foodie and gourmet home cook, she makes sure that our picnics are tip top and that we find the very best restaurants and wine cellars in any given area, not just the fanciest places. Although we all need to eat a good meal after our active day, we strive to introduce you to the best of the local cuisines. One of the richest aspects of Spain and Portugal is the diversity of foods and wines available from region to region. Our tours include most dinners with wine, (please check your trip details). Reserve now and let us turn you into lovers of Spanish and Portuguese food and wine!

Q: Why travel to Portugal?

A: Because it is one of Europe’s best kept secrets. We are absolutely sure you will love it. Few travellers think of coming to Portugal before considering France or Spain. However, we have found that those who do visit are always eager to return. Portugal is great for cycling or walking because: it is only moderately hilly, it is safe (in the top 10 of the Global Peace Index, along with mostly Nordic countries, but with a better climate!), it is extremely diverse and varied for a small country, it has a fascinating history, excellent historical (living) accommodations, great food, even greater wines and it is off the map, which is something very positive when you want a relaxing active vacation. Trust us! You will be pleasantly surprised.

Q: Why travel to Spain?

A: Because of its vibrant lifestyle and culture and its scrumptious food and wine. Strolling through the center of a Spanish town is entertaining in and of itself. With street performances and live concerts or shows commonplace, one hardly needs to organize any additional formal activities. We also schedule our tours in Spain according to the dates of local festivals or fiestas. Your eyes will delight in the Spanish architecture with its Roman and Moorish influences and the vast natural landscapes and the Spanish people will inspire you. Cycling and walking are also now an integral part of its culture. You can visit many times and there will always be new experiences awaiting you.

Q: How will I get a feel for the local lifestyle of a place?

A: All of our trips include a component of the local culture, cuisine and lifestyle. Depending on the trip and the time of the year, you will get to attend local events and experience the arts, music or folk dance, from flamenco to medieval street performances to religious festivals. For example, we have scheduled some tours, such as Alluring Andalucia and our Romantic tour, to coincide with local festivals (the Semana Santa in Andalucia or the Festas de Santo Antonio, in Lisboa). While other trips are decidedly calmer, as in the ancient villages of the Alentejo plains, you will still get to observe the production of local crafts and foods (olive oil, wine, cheese) and to chat with the locals in the village square. And every evening you will have the opportunity to savor variations of the local cuisine at dinner. Contact us so we can find the trip that best matches you.

Q: Is it safe to purchase online from your site?

A: Our pages were built using the most sophisticated and technologically advanced security system, in order to ensure you that all card transactions are 100% safe. The data and card information of each client are fully protected and encrypted. Our Digital Certificate from Verisign is a proof that our pages passed the most rigorous tests in terms of security and all transactions made with credit cards are encrypted with “Secure Socket Layers” (SSL). No client has ever reported any type of fraudulent card use as a result of any transaction, reserve or purchase made with TerracottaJourneys.com.

We do not give away or sell any personal information about you to anyone. And, the financial information necessary to close the deal, goes directly from you to the card company.

Q: Do you offer any special prices and promotions?

A: If you have travelled with us previously, you will automatically receive a 5% discount on any Terracotta Journeys trip. But, if you take two trips in the same year (i.e. two tours in 2008), you receive a 10% discount on the price of the second trip. Promotions are non-cumulative. Check the details in specials & promotions.

Q: Do you offer special prices for private groups?

A: We love private groups! With a private group tour you get specials & promotions and a custom tour of a lifetime.

Q: Group Prices – Guided Tours:

A: Please check our group tour specials & promotions.

Q: Are children welcome on Terracotta Journeys trips?

A: Yes, depending on the trip. In all situations, children must be accompanied by at least one adult family member over 18. Because of safety considerations, children under the age of 8 are not allowed on Family Trips. Depending on the size of your group, we can tailor trips to families and include children’s activities on the trip. Among other activities, we can offer you safe and easy: river kayaking, rock climbing, horseback riding and even surfing (depending on climate conditions). For example, if you and your children would like an introduction to surfing during your bicycle trip along the coast, contact us in advance and we will make sure you have the most entertaining active vacation for you. Our family trips are suitable for children from 8 – 16.

Also, on any of our trips, children must be accompanied by an adult while in the van. If your child weighs less than 40 pounds, we will provide them with a booster seat. If you need a full child’s car seat you must bring your own.

Certain trips require a minimum age requirement due to the activities involved. Your trip advisor can provide details to these and other questions.

Q: How does Terracotta Journeys support the environment and local communities?

A: At Terracotta Journeys we are keen defenders of a long term vision of sustainability for our planet; a healthier and cleaner one. By offering high quality bicycle and walking trips we strive to encourage our guests and others to use of non-polluting (and fun) forms of travel back at home. We also work with local authorities to improve tracks, information, comfort and safety for cyclists and pedestrians.

For our tour picnics, whenever possible we include locally grown fruits, vegetables and other products, since they are fresher, tastier and do not require long-distance transportation. In our office we do our best to reduce our waste: we send information electronically, recycle our paper, use long life bulbs, save water and electricity as much as possible, keep warm with more clothes and less heating, and even compost our kitchen scraps. We also try to minimize the use of throw away plastics and other polluting and energy consuming materials.

By leading our tours through rural communities we hope to bring them both economic wealth and support. We also donate 1% of our profits to urgent projects in Portugal, from the respectable L.P.N. (Nature Protection League).

What is Terracotta Journey’ Privacy Policy?

A: Terracotta Journeys does not share your telephone number, e-mail address or other contacts with other companies or organizations. Terracotta Journeys does not share your billing information with any other companies or organizations except the ones indispensable to processing your order and payment (VISA, Mastercard, Paypal). Also, our site use the Digital Certificate from Verisign and have passed the most rigorous tests in terms of security. We periodically survey our gests and visitors for their interests and preferred travel patterns. We encourage you to fill in these voluntary surveys since: they give us useful information to improve our trips, they help us to tailor the messages we send you (if you choose to receive them) so you will find them more interesting. In terms of web use and navigation, all information collected is aggregate and anonymous. For example, we might be interested in general information such as knowing the percentage of web visitors to our site which are based in Canada. Another example would be the duration and frequency of visits in order to improve the content of each page. No visitor is identified for web use and navigation information collection.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>