Frequently Asked Questions
We've been doing this a while, so we are happy to pass along some of the things we have learned along the way.
If your question isn't answered below, don't hesitate to reach out to us. That's why we're here!
We may have the answers...
| WHO WE ARE |
Who is Ceiba?
Ceiba Adventures, Inc is a team of enthusiastic & dedicated outdoors people ranging from commercial river guides, private boaters, mountain bikers, skiers, and hikers to big time dog lovers! Owners Scott Davis and Rachel Schmidt head up the crew and are thoroughly involved with all of Ceiba’s daily tasks, no matter how big or small. Rachel and Scott are 40+ year veteran river guides with a combined 360 plus trips through Grand Canyon. Their experience, knowledge and love of Grand Canyon are the foundation of Ceiba Adventures' success.
Who works for Ceiba?
All of our employees are avid boaters - commercial guides and private boaters, mountain bikers, skiers, hikers and big time dog lovers! All of our vetted sub-contractors are as passionate about what they do as well. The Ceiba family thrives on fun, dedication and excitement. Be sure to chat with us about anything involving river running, bike riding, the Colorado Plateau and four legged furry friends. You can see us here.
Why should you and your group utilize Ceiba’s services?
Customer satisfaction is our number one priority at Ceiba! Our equipment is top-notch and maintained in excellent shape. We pride ourselves on paying close attention to detail. We have been organizing, outfitting, orchestrating, planning and participating in river adventures for over 40 years. There is no substitute for experience. Ceiba will ALWAYS stand behind our commitment to you and your group.
What does Ceiba mean?
The choice of the name is in honor of the name of the sacred tree of life to the Maya people of Central America. The Ceiba tree is a Kapok soft wooded tree that can grow to be over 200’ tall. Although it is not related to Grand Canyon we feel it is a wonderful representation of what Ceiba is all about! Be sure to check out our “About” page which includes additional history of Ceiba Adventures.
How in the heck do you pronounce Ceiba?
Try ”Say-buh.” The “ba” is pronounced as if you were saying, “bug", but stop short of the “g.” SAY-BUH. Now say this 10 times, really fast!
| INITIAL COSTS, DISCOUNTS & CANCELLATION POLICIES |
Does Ceiba have a package that offers everything?
We sure do! We call it our Whole Shabang! package. This package will get your oars in the water. We provide you with everything you will need and then some. This is your vacation so let us do the work for you.
How much does a typical Ceiba trip cost?
Send us an email or give us a call, as we are happy to put together an estimate to meet your groups’ needs. The cost will vary depending on what you choose, the number of days and people. Check out our Rafts, Frames, Oars & Paddles, Parts and Pieces and Whole Shabang! package to see our costs. Included in the initial costs for Whole Shabang! packages is a refundable damage deposit; $500 for row trips and $1500 for motor trips. Learn more about Ceiba's Whole Shabang Complete Package.
What is the initial cost to secure what I need for my trip?
We ask for 10% of the estimated cost of your trip in order to reserve your gear and secure it on our schedule. Click here for updates on COVID-19 Policy.
What are the remaining payment deadlines?
- 30 days prior to launch date full payment is due
**We recommend collecting more than you expect to spend from your group. This will be insurance in case any group gear is damaged or lost. This will save you a headache in the end!
How can I pay for my trip?
We accept cash, check and/or credit card – MasterCard, Visa or Discover Card. We will also take American Express, however there is a 3% processing fee.
How can I save money on my Grand Canyon trip?
For starters if you do the Whole Shabang! package you will start by saving 10% off all rental equipment. You can also save an additional 5% by joining Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association and/or Grand Canyon River Guides Association. If you or someone from your party joins both groups you can save up to 10% on top of the 10% savings with the Whole Shabang! Give us a call and we can discuss other ways to cut corners. We are happy to help!
What if I have to cancel my trip?
Prior to 60 days from launch payments will be refunded to the trip leader less a 3% administration fee of the subtotal due for the trip.
Between 60-31 days prior to launch payments will be refunded to the trip leader less the foodpack fee, and a 3% administration fee of the subtotal due for the trip.
Between 30-15 days prior to launch 50% of the subtotal due for the trip will be refunded to the trip leader or organizer.
Within 15 days prior to launch, if your reservation is cancelled, the only available refund will be for any shuttles not taken and Hualapai fees (if applicable).
Individuals Cancelling: In order to be refunded, an individual who can no longer go on the trip must submit to Ceiba written approval from the trip leader or organizer.
Damaged Goods: You are responsible for any loss or damage to Ceiba's Equipment. We require that a copy of your credit card be kept on file by Ceiba for the duration of your trip. If loss or damage occurs, you will either be charged the cost of replacement, or $60/hour for repairable damage.
Should I get trip insurance?
What is Ceiba’s policy if I damage or lose gear?
An appropriate fully refundable damage deposit will be added to most trip invoices. For example, Whole Shabang row trips include a $500 deposit and motor trips include a $1,500 deposit. You are responsible for any loss or damage to the equipment. A rate of $60 / hour will be charged to you for repairable damage, or you will be charged the cost of replacement. Depending on the exact damage, an additional administrative fee will apply.
| PLANNING & PREPARATION |
Who will I work with to plan my trip?
You will be working with a few different people throughout the planning of your Grand Adventure. Our veteran Ceiba office staff and food guru will help you plan logistics and menus. Anyone in the office can answer any questions you may have. Just ask! We are ALWAYS eager to work with you and answer any questions or concerns. 928.527.0171 or email@example.com
How many people can I bring on the river?
A small Grand Canyon private river permit will allow you to bring 8 people where as a standard permit is good for up to 16 people. Of course it is up to you how many you would like to bring as long as it does not exceed the accepted limit based on the permit you received.
How will I know what to bring on the river?
We can provide you with a basic necessities list that outlines what items to bring: Personal Gear List. The National Park also has a list of required gear and the River Permit Office should mail the NPS packet to you once you have secured your permit. Ceiba’s price quote sheet will also outline the NPS required equipment. If you find yourself a bit confused filling out your Noncommercial River Permit Application, here is a helpful document.
Can I ship personal gear to Ceiba before my trip?
Absolutely! Ceiba can store your gear for your trip. When shipping anything to Ceiba, you must include the following on the shipping label in large lettering:
Does Ceiba rent dry suits?
We do not rent dry suits, but recommend a few places that do: Pacific River Supply, Kayak Academy or Immersion Research. They will all ship directly to Ceiba so that you can pick them up directly here and minimize the number of rental days you are charged.
Can I ship a kayak to Ceiba if I can't drive it there myself?
What information do you have about self-support kayak trips?
We are experts at outfitting self-support kayak trips. We know these are not the normal trips and that your experience level is usually quite high. However, there are a standard set of questions paddlers usually ask us about requirements for trips through the Canyon. Here is some info for you.
| FOOD PACK |
Why should I choose Ceiba’s food pack service?
Not only will you have delicious food options to choose from, but you can also guarantee that we will pay considerable attention to detail when packing your food. We are flexible and easy to work with when it comes to food preferences and allergies. Our food guru will go above and beyond to accommodate your specific food needs. We provide delicious, healthy and creative menus for your Grand Canyon experience. We want to ensure that you are getting all of the nutrients that you need, along with the flavor to make it yummy!
What is included in a Ceiba food pack?
When planning your menu, our food guru will work with you on choosing the best menu options for your group. We pride ourselves on being flexible and want to ensure that you get exactly what your group needs. We are happy to accommodate any special dietary needs such as allergies, vegetarian/vegan, gluten and lactose free food issues.
What are the menu options?
We have many different menu options. From the Hiker Special and BBQ Extravaganza, to our Ready Made Meals-you name it, we’ve got it! At Ceiba we offer lots of yummy options. Please see our menu options under Food and Menus on our website.
When do I have to decide on my menu choices?
6 weeks prior to launch date menu choices are due
30 days prior to launch date we will finalize menu details
3 weeks prior to launch date final participant numbers
Does Ceiba have any pre-cooked menu options?
Yes! Ceiba has a ready-made menu that features pre-cooked dinner entrees in boil bags. A local chef in Flagstaff has prepared these fast, easy and delicious meals. These quick and easy options are great for folks that would rather be hiking than in the kitchen!
Will it cost more to have a vegetarian, vegan or gluten free menu?
For the most part it will not. We are happy to make accommodations for dietary needs and work it into whichever menu is chosen. If there are many folks who have these needs the cost may go up but typically with a couple special diets the menu costs will stay the same.
How much booze can I bring and where do I store it?
Where can I get booze in Flagstaff?
Beaver Street Liquor will have what you're looking for. They can accommodate any custom order and will deliver to Ceiba at no charge.
| TRANSPORTATION TO PUT IN & FROM TAKE OUT |
What type of vehicles does Ceiba use?
Ceiba’s late model Ford & Dodge 4x4 trucks are all quad cab trucks that can accommodate 4-5 passengers with seat belts. Our 5th wheel trailers are flat bed style with removable cages on the front to hold all the loose river gear. Our trucks and trailers are extremely versatile, allowing Ceiba to be the only private outfitter to move a 37’ s-rig motorboat inflated. We can haul a dory and/or a fully rigged 18’ oar boat, or carry up to ten rafts at a time.
How will my gear get to Lees Ferry?
Typically, Ceiba will shuttle your gear to Lees Ferry with a truck and trailer that has room for 4-5 passengers if needed.
Can Ceiba shuttle personal vehicles?
We can provide shuttle drivers to move your vehicle from Lee’s Ferry to Flagstaff, to your designated take-out, or to and from the South Rim. Take a look at the details here.
Where can I park my personal vehicle during the trip?
Ceiba's warehouse facility has a secure parking area. $2/day per vehicle or $3.50/day per vehicle w/ trailer. We offer a discount for parking if you pay with cash! Contact us for details.
Lees Ferry offers free parking in their long-term lot if that works out with your groups’ logistics.
A few hotels in Flagstaff offer free parking if you are staying there before or after the trip.
What is the best shuttle option for my group?
This will vary from group to group. Arranging shuttles can be one of the most challenging parts to organizing a Grand Canyon trip. We are happy to support your groups’ needs and provide you with the option that best suits your situation. Some information that is helpful to know:
Where is the majority of your group driving from?
What shuttle portion do you think you'll need? Just from Lees Ferry to Flagstaff? Lees Ferry to the take out?
What are the drive times for Grand Canyon shuttles?
Flagstaff to Lees Ferry: 2.5 hours (129 miles)
Diamond Creek to Flagstaff: 3.5 hours (one hour on Diamond Creek Rd.) (135 miles)
Pearce Ferry/South Cove to Flagstaff: 4.5 hours (135 miles)
Flagstaff / South Rim: 1.5 hours (77 miles)
Why are shuttles so expensive?
At Ceiba, we make certain that our drivers are professional, well trained, insured, and compensated well for their hard work. We believe our shuttle drivers are one of the key ingredients to a successful Grand Canyon trip. Therefore, we hire top- notch, qualified drivers that we know will take care of you!!!!! Not only do we hire great drivers, but we also have top of the line, reliable trucks, trailers and vans that we service and maintain on a daily basis.
How do rising fuel costs affect our shuttles?
Unfortunately if fuel costs rise, Ceiba prices will go up as well.
What happens if Diamond Creek road closes due to flash floods?
First and foremost, stay calm! If Diamond Creek flash floods it is not the end of the world. It has happened before and it will happen again. Monsoon storms in July & August can trigger a flash flood as well as winter storms. One thing to keep in mind is whether or not it has been raining hard a few days before your take out. If that is the case, it is advisable to call Ceiba a day or so before your take out date to check in on the status of the road. The sooner we hear from you, the sooner we can move to plan B - another good reason to have a satellite phone! The biggest thing to remember is that each situation is unique. Once again, being calm and flexible can really make a challenging situation turn out a-ok! Remember, we are here to help!
| RIG DAY |
Where should I stay the night before rig day?
If you are planning on being in Flagstaff the night before your rig day (the day before your launch date) we recommend that you stay at Hotel Aspen Flagstaff. This hotel is within walking distance of downtown and offers discounted rates for Ceiba clients.
When do we meet at Ceiba and go to Lees Ferry to rig?
Typically we will meet customers around 9 am at Ceiba in Flagstaff the morning of rig day. However, the location may vary depending on the logistics of the participants (ie. trip participants driving themselves to Lees Ferry and then having vehicles shuttled to Flagstaff). Your group and gear will then head to Lees Ferry. We shoot for arriving at the Ferry sometime between noon and 2:00 pm, allowing your group enough time to rig boats and become familiar with all of the equipment before dark.
Will someone from Ceiba be there to help us rig our boats?
If your gear is both rented from Ceiba and transported to Lees Ferry by us, a put-in consultant will show you how the Ceiba system works. This consultant will work with you as long as necessary to ensure that you and your group have an understanding of all our systems. The Ceiba consultant will also make sure that you and your group are all set with the NPS regulations and ranger.
What kinds of facilities are at Lees Ferry?
There is a bathroom, pay phone, drinking water and recycling/trash dumpsters. Sorry, no showers.
Is there cell phone service at Lees Ferry?
Cell phone service has improved over the years, depending on your carrier. Texting works best.
Can I find last minute supplies near Lees Ferry?
Just a 15-minute ride from Lees Ferry, Marble Canyon Lodge has a fully stocked store with last minute or forgotten river items. From river guides/maps to neoprene booties, you can find all of your overlooked goodies that you will need for your expedition. There is also lodging, a restaurant and a convenience store with gas.
Where do I camp at Lees Ferry?
Sleeping, camping and/or overnight parking is not allowed on the launch ramp. There are two designated group camping sites located 100 yards down stream from the launch ramp on river right. If you arrive before your rig date you can camp in the formal campgrounds for a fee at Lees Ferry.
What are the Park requirements for Noncommercial River Trips?
- General Requirements
Complete Noncommercial River Trip Regulations
If you find yourself a bit confused filling out your Noncommercial River Permit Application, here is a helpful document.
Do you have a required equipment cheat sheet to use as a reference?
When will the ranger check out our required gear?
This usually happens around 3:00 or 4:00 pm on your rig day. The ranger will want to see the permitee’s paperwork, including a complete group participation list. Your Ceiba consultant will help facilitate this process.
| LAUNCH DAY |
When will orientation begin?
The orientation begins at 9 am sharp the morning of your launch day. At this time everyone will need to be present and have his or her photo I.D. ready. The orientation generally happens at your camp or under the shade structure on the ramp and typically lasts about an hour. Be sure to remind everyone in your group to bring their photo I.D.!
What do I need for the orientation when being checked out by the NPS ranger?
Photo ID for each participant - current valid, unaltered, government issued photo identification that includes date of birth - i.e. driver license, state issued identification, or passport. Foreign visitors need a passport (a foreign drivers license will NOT work).
NPS River Permit - a printed copy
NPS Participant List - a printed copy
Noncommercial River Trip Regulations - a printed copy (Ceiba supplies this in the Major First Aid Kit)
When we will get on the river?
Once you are done with the ranger orientation, you are good to go! Typically around 10:30 – 11:30 AM.
| BOATS |
What kind of boats does Ceiba rent?
Why does Ceiba recommend 18’ boats for Grand Canyon trips?
We believe that 18’ boats are the perfect option for carrying all of the equipment you will need for a Grand Canyon expedition.
How many rafts should we bring?
For a standard 16 person / 16 day trip we recommend five to six 18’NRS boats. If you have personal boats as well, but need several Ceiba boats to carry additional gear we will work with you to decide what is the best number of boats for your trip.
How many people can fit in a Ceiba oar boat?
An 18’ NRS raft can fit a total of 4 people, including boatman.
A 16’ NRS raft can fit a total of 3 people, including boatman.
A 14’ NRS raft can fit a total of 3 people, including boatman.
What does an oar raft set up look like?
Here are the different configurations:
What are the differences between oarlocks, pin and clips and oar rights?
Oar Rights are an oar stopper that keep the angle of the oar length and blade set perfectly at all times, yet allow the rower to draw the oars into the raft, or pull the oars out of hydraulics.
| CAMP |
How do we set up our kitchen?
Kitchen set up will change from camp to camp, with a few constants along the way. Looking for flat areas is always a good start. Your dish table should be set up close to the water (be sure to look for the high water line so your table does not get swept away!) You will have a prep table and a cooking table. You will also want to set up a hand wash system close to the kitchen. When setting up the blaster, make sure that it is out of the way of foot traffic, and VERY stable! Also make sure your cooking table is stable too. Boiling water on unstable platforms is a huge safety hazard. Here is a typical kitchen set up:
How does Ceiba pack the food and coolers?
We use 20 mil ammo cans each day that will hold all your dry goods for breakfast and dinner. Once emptied, the ammo can becomes the trashcan for the day. We also use larger volume side boxes for snacks, breakfast, overflow and resupply. We often have a meat, dairy, lunch and veggie cooler. The number of coolers your group has will determine how we pack.
What kind of ice/cooler system does Ceiba use?
We use solid block ice, that combined with our Canyon Coolers and good cooler management skills, will often keep ice for the duration of your trip. The cost of ice is included with your food pack.
What is cooler management?
Essentially cooler management is crucial to the survival of your food and ice! Be prepared when gathering specific ingredients out of a cooler for a meal to ensure a quick and efficient process. Keep the lid opened for a minimum amount of time. Ceiba coolers are self-draining through several small holes in the drain plug. However, sometimes this small hole gets clogged with debris and coolers should be monitored for standing water. Standing water is bad and should be drained! Consolidate the food into fewer coolers as you go down stream. Use up your produce, as it gets ripe and be sure to not leave rotten produce in the cooler.
Will I have ice and fresh food all the way through the trip?
With good cooler management, the ice should last the duration of your trip. However, the daily amount of fresh food will decrease the further you get downstream, but you will still be able to have fresh food all the way to the end. Once again paying attention to the condition fruits and veggies are in is crucial. We plan your menu based on the longevity of food items.
Will we be able to recycle on the trip like we do at home?
Absolutely! Ceiba is vigilant about recycling everything possible. We typically provide about a dozen rice bags for each trip. You can initially store your canned beverages in them and then turn them into recycling bags. Each bag holds about 48 12oz. cans. We accept plastics #1-7, cardboard, tin, and aluminum. We ask that you crush, rinse and sort everything by type before placing it in the recycling rice bags. Glass can also be recycled, but should be rinsed and stored in an empty food box.
What about composting?
Give us a call to discuss your options!
Why do I have to wash my hands so much?
Being in large groups in the wilderness, over extended periods of time, can lend to germs being spread very easily. It is important to wash hands after using the toilet and before each meal in order to prevent germs from spreading. Bugs can spread like rapid fire on a river trip if people are careless about washing hands. Washing hands thoroughly and often is crucial for a healthy river trip.
How does the hand wash system work?
Ceiba’s hand wash system consists of 2 hand-wash set ups that consolidate into one unit. Each unit has two buckets, one for clean water and one for dirty water. There is a hose and pump that attaches to the outside of each bucket and is supplied with hand soap. You will want to set up one hand wash near the toilet and the other near the kitchen.
How does the toilet system work?
Once you have arrived at camp and unloaded the boats, one of your first priorities should be setting up the toilet. Often times, the best toilet spot is also a great spot for a camp. So, make sure to let folks know that toilet set-up takes precedence over sleep spots. You should try to find a spot that is close to the river, secluded, and has a beautiful view! You will have two 20-mil ammo cans: one is the yellow porto box, which comes equipped with the seat, toilet paper, hand soap, cleaning supplies and powdered bleach. The second 20-mil is the red “Poop” can. Remove the lid from the yellow box and place the seat on top of the red ammo can. Make sure the poop can is level and stable! There is also an aluminum riser that fits between the can and the seat to be utilized when the can begins to fill up after a couple of days of use. Besides several other empty poop cans, you will also have an additional box for toilet supplies and toilet paper resupply.
Is the water from the river safe to drink?
Yes, once it is filtered & treated.
What kind of water filtration does Ceiba offer?
Vital Electric water pump (an electric pump that is simple to operate, maintain and repair in the field).
How much water should I drink?
Typically we recommend drinking about a gallon a day in the really hot seasons. Generally you want to be urinating six to seven times daily. We also recommend eating well to keep a healthy balance between salt and water intake. Drinking plenty of water and eating salty foods will keep everyone hydrated and happy!
| EMERGENCY & SAFETY |
What if we have an accident/medical emergency and need a helicopter evacuation?
The taxpayer covers the costs of an inner canyon helicopter rescue, however ground transport and supporting commercial aero medical transportation is the financial responsibility of the patient. The Trip Leader/permittee will be responsible for the cost if the passenger is unable to pay.
What type of emergency communication devices does Ceiba rent?
Why do I need a communication device?
Sat phones and inReach devices are not required by the NPS (or Ceiba) but are strongly recommended. Hopefully you will never have to use the device for emergencies. But, if by chance you do need it, we can guarantee you will be glad you have it. At certain places it may not feel like Grand Canyon is backcountry, but overall the river is a backcountry expedition. We also recommend communication devices during the monsoon in case Diamond Creek flashfloods. That way, you may contact Ceiba to arrange an alternate take out if the rains have affected your initial take out plan. Having a communication device is just one more way to be prepared for anything that floats your way. As the saying goes ‘Better to be safe than sorry!’
What type of PFD do I need?
U.S. Coast Guard approved PFD Type I, III or V
| MISCELLANEOUS |
Should I interact with other trips?
What if I want a certain camp?
It is great to have a plan, but it is even better to be open to change, understanding that each day is a dynamic situation. Communication with other trips is key. Many times, not getting the camp you planned on can provide you with the opportunity to experience different camps and hikes in Grand Canyon. Plus, didn’t we all go to kindergarten where we learned to share so nicely?
What are some good places to hike?
There are innumerable places to hike. We recommend using river & hiking guides as a resource. Our friend Tyler Williams has put together one of the best Grand Canyon Hiking guide books out there. We also carry several different guides here at Ceiba. In addition, finding good hiking spots is another great opportunity to chat with other folks on the river. Or, give us a call at Ceiba prior to your trip and we’d be happy to share a few of our favorite places with you.
Will the fluctuating water levels affect our parking at camp or during long hikes?
For sure!!!!!! Water levels will fluctuate throughout your trip, unless there is the occasional constant research flow. Depending on the camp, the water will rise or lower as the night progresses. Boat management before going to sleep is crucial so you don’t have to worry about it throughout the night. Always make sure your boats are tied securely to a rock or tree. Sand anchors are not permanent overnight anchors. A tide chart on your trip is an effective tool when trying to understand the water levels. Link to simple tide chart. Link to detailed tide chart.
Is there information to help us escape the brutal sun in the summer?
Here is the Boatman's Almanac: A compilation of monthly sunrise & sunset times for campsites & cool places in the Grand Canyon.
What details should we be aware of if stopping at Phantom Ranch?
Open to the public 8:00am to 4:00pm and 8:00pm to 10:00pm (April 1 – October 31)
Open to the public 8:30am to 4:00pm and 8:00pm to 10:00pm (Nov. 1 – March 31)
Do I need a fishing license and where can I get one?
How many and what kind of fish can I catch?
Cut barbs off hooks
Never handle fish unless your hands are wet
If you are going to clean and eat the fish you catch be sure to kill the fish ASAP!
| TAKE OUT |
Where should I take out?
What time should I take out?
Typically we suggest 10:00 am, but we are happy to work with whatever works best for your group. During the monsoon months of July, August and September, we recommend the earlier the better! From March 15th to November 1st, you are not allowed to de-rig at Diamond Creek between 7:00 am and 10:00 am. This time is allotted for the Hualapai River Runners to rig and launch their trips at Diamond Creek.
What are take-out roads like?
What are Hualapai fees?
When is the trip over?
When the vehicles with all the equipment returns to Flagstaff and you retrieve all your personal gear.
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