Travel Tips for Corsica
When to Go: It really depends on the snow pack. In 2013 with record snow pack the flow started at the end of March with several weeks of high water. I arrived on April 20th and had plenty of snow left. We had one day of high water before a cold spell dropped flows. Near the end of the trip it came back up when it got warm. Flows continued through early May. Most years, ther eis only a week or two of good flow, some years with none. Typically the middle of April is on average when it seems to flow.
Entry into Corsica: Passport is of course required... but no Visa for folks coming from the US.
Getting to Corisca: I got lucky and got to fly directly onto the island. The two major airport are Ajaccio and Bastia. However the planes are small and may not take kayaks. The flights through Paris also have a few other issues. From the US you fly into Charles de Gaulle and then have to take a bus (ask information for where the pick up is) that costs 20E and takes 45 minutes without traffic to Orly on the other side of Paris for the connection. On my return leg I had only 3 hours to make this work and it was close... very close... very very close.
Most folks take a ferry to get on the island. This allows them to rent a car on the mainland as well as fly in with their boats. The Ferry's leave from Nice, Genoa, and Livorno to name a few places. Most kayakers choose to leave from Livorno and dock in Bastia (able to boat the same day). They cost in the neighborhood of 200 Euros for the car, and about 50-60 euro per person. You must book in advance, google "Corsica Ferry" to find plenty of options to book through. I have also heard that the fee can be non-refundable but there is an option to buy a cancelation right, which if you are arranging the trip in advance you may want to take. In 2012 a lot of folks got skunked when the Kayak Session sponsered festival got canceled due to low water. Ferry's tend to only leave two times a day I believe. Typically landing at noon in Bastia is the choice kayakers make.
Driving: You do not need an international driving license. The roads are very small however so they aren't for a timid driver. Update though, rules are changing more and more in Europe, if you get pulled over an international drivers permit ($15 from AAA) are requested. Some rental car agencies are also stating it is a requirement... though to date I have not heard anyone actually be asked for it at the counter. So... better safe that sorry right?
Water: OK to drink from faucets etc.
Vaccinations: No extra needed.
Money: Plenty of ATMs that take US ATM cards. Just make sure to tell your bank before you go, in some countries 4 digit pins (no more) are required...
Food: Pizzarias in every town. I would also try some cheese (warning, it is strong) as the Corsicans are famous for it. Also, I rather enjoyed their digestivo liquor Myrte.
Boats: Bring your own... boats are not rentable on the island. Of you can pick one up in Germany or Italy at a shop, but that will complicate the travel.
Accommodations: We camped every night. There is a nice camp at the Tavignano that was 6 Euro a person per night and included showers and electricity. We also camped on the beach a few times as well as next to a river or two.
Weather: The weather can be all over the place... 90 deg F or 40 deg F. We had both on our trip. We also had a lot of rain. So come prepared for it all!
Random Thing to do: There is a hot springs at the take-out for the Taravo. Also, get some coffee in Corte and climb to the top of the old capital of Corsica. Finally, you have to go to Bonifacio at the southern tip. Bonifacio is a cuper cool fort on the cliffs over the sea, with views of Sardinia.
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