First, a high level of professional scrutiny in planning transport, lodging, meals and activities. Then, well trained, experienced guides turn into responders with round-the-clock monitoring and support from our world headquarters in Austin, TX.

Safety doesn't happen by accident

How Southern Star Travel Values Safety

  • Procedure and Support
  • Respecting Local Laws and Conditions
  • Adaptable Expectations

SST takes safety, on all levels, very seriously. Safety involves healthy adaptation to foreign foods and drink and setting appropriate cultural expectations. Safety rests upon orientation to and education about specific laws and political and environmental conditions. Safety is underpinned by exhaustive systems and procedures and support round the clock from our world headquarters in Austin, TX.


In choosing program areas, planning itineraries, contracting partners, and working with local organizations, health is a core concern. Top quality is our standard and maintaining personal health and hygiene are requisite for a positive travel experience. We strive to set the standard in healthy travel on three fronts...

  • Wholesome and hygienic meals
  • Comfortable, high quality accommodations
  • A healthy dose of active experiences

We fully vet all in-country service providers to make sure they meet our health and cleanliness guidelines. We believe travel should enhance health and never hinder it. The world is our gym and we promise to energize your body and mind better than any fitness program ever could!

El desayuno tipico - the typical Guatemalan breakfast.jpg

We're not saying that the Western belly is soft

We just know from experience that one's gut gets used to where it spends most of its time. Some travelers accept that gastrointestinal issues come with exploring new territory but we can do better than that!

We take great care in selecting and inspecting our meal service providers - be it a hotel, a restaurant or the vendor in the market where we buy our provisions for a picnic.

We also carefully explain to our clients all the vectors that food-born illnesses take to attack a traveler. For instance, did you know that brushing your teeth and even swimming in questionable water sources can make you the kind of sick that most people associate with having eaten contaminated food?

View from a patio at Casa del Mundo over Lake Atitlan.jpg

One of the beauties of the Developing World is that it is so much natural beauty!

We will set you up in accommodations built around centuries old colonial courtyards, standing on stilts out of the headwaters of jungle rivers, perched on cliffs hanging over volcanic lakes! While these settings are spectacular you can imagine how they have their own inherent safety challenges.

Travelling with us you can rest assured that you'll stay in places that are not only scenic and comfortable but places where pride is taken in maintaining an excellent reputation for cleanliness and safety.

We do everything to ensure your safety and security so that you can do the important work of resting and relaxing in these places of superlative beauty.

Riders stop for coconut water during a bicycle tour of Antigua Valley.jpg

A little healthy soreness is as much as we are willing to allow for!

Travel should enhance health and never hinder it. You shouldn't come back from your trip fifteen pounds heavier than when you left nor should you limp off the plane banged up and bruised.

When you travel with us you're signing up for an experience that is restful and relaxing sure, but one that is also equal parts outdoor activity.

We are passionate about outdoor adventure activities - spirited hikers, skilled bikers, experienced paddlers, eager climbers - and as such have met and formed relationships with the most professional and passionate excursion operators in our destinations. Let us introduce them to you too!

Safety is a critical awareness of our surroundings and round-the-clock emergency response

When traveling in the Developing World it is critical to maintain a heightened awareness of your surroundings at all times. To someone not experienced with this or not familiar with the local environment and culture this can be exhausting. And, even after the most heroic risk mitigation efforts have been taken risky situations can still occur.

We plan and prep for every eventuality so you can relax on your trip knowing that nothing more can be done to prevent the unexpected from derailing your vacation and should a situation arise it will be dealt with expertly.

Ryan practicing open water rescues with Old Town guides.jpg

As professionals with experience at the highest institutional levels of health and safety, risk management and emergency response we cannot stress enough how important it is to have guides who are

  • familiar with your destination
  • trained in first responder medicine
  • supported from abroad by response plans made in well in advance
  • in communication with emergency managers at home

Our trip leaders come with first-hand knowledge of the types of medical emergencies encountered when traveling in the developing world and are experienced in responding to them. Additionally, Southern Star has identified all the medical service providers in and around your destination as well as medical evacuation services. Procedures have been established for connecting services and escalating response at any and all points along your trip.

Many of our in-country medical service providers have been working with us and our partners for over a decade and have repeatedly shown their capacity to deal with a medical emergency once it arises.

We mitigate risk in planning our itineraries according to...

  • access to quality food and water
  • quality of transport
  • altitude adjustment
  • distance/time to front country medical care
  • evacuation routes
  • and more...

Check out our resources page for an in-depth look at some of the detailed behind the scenes work that goes into ensuring your safety and read our blog for stories about some of the emergencies that we've learned from by responding to.

SST values our safety record above all else and we take pride in the attention we give to health and safety.