Turtle, Ecuador

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Your Words - We tell it like it is! Holiday Reviews by previous Exodus travellers  

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645 Reviews

  • Reviewed May 2020

    Exceeded Every Expectation

    From the moment our amazing adventure started we did not want it to end. Now 5 months later we still don't want it to end. Sadly it did back in January (so many tears when it was time to go home) but the memories we have are secure and will last a lifetime.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There are so many highlights with not a moment wasted. Here's a few... The night walk over vertigo inducing hanging bridges in the tree canopy and coming face to face with a mother sloth cradling her baby hanging off said bridge. We never thought we'd get that close! The James Bond style speedboat race over rivers so wide you couldn't see both sides. The zip lining above a rain forest. I mean, what's more to say! The white water rafting. Awesome! Sloths. Toucans. Frogs. A snake. Etc. Etc. And, everything else too!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alejandro was the perfect guide engaging with adults and children alike with the enthusiasm necessary to keep interest high (especially on the long journeys between destinations). The supplementary knowledge of a native Costa Rican added the local insights we wanted to lear about and we're sure we wouldn't have experienced many aspects of Costa Rican life (e.g. local dining) without Alejandro there to support us. Nothing was too much trouble.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the advice provided by Exodus. It's all pretty useful and relevant. Heed the warnings of rain. For the first half of our trip in December/January it rained a lot (perhaps more than expected). We found that swimming clothes and ponchos was a better option in many situations (not the jungle) than going for full waterproofs. Less to dry out because drying stuff out takes days in the humid environment. The rain is always warm.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you can do this trip (once all of this horrible pandemic stuff is out of the way) just do it. Spend the money if you can. This was by far the most expensive holiday we've every taken and it was almost certainly also the best value for money. Thank you Exodus!
  • Excellent experience and great guide

    Fantastic trip for my partner and myself. So much so we decided to announce our engagement at the end of the trip! The guide: Roberto was superb...He was relaxed, good fun and very informative providing us with lots of cultural, historical and animal kingdom facts. He really was the best guide we have ever had on a Exodus trip and he made the trip for us. We also had a great group of 15 people and we all got on really well. Overall an excellent experience and one we will remember forever...

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Arriving at the Pacific coast beach for a swim and a hot sweaty day's cycle...

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Superb..10/10
  • Trip of a lifetime

    Our first trip with Exodus, and first adventure on the bikes. This trip with Roberto and Jeyson guiding and Luis driving exceeded all of our expectations. We are hooked on this type of trip now and cannot believe we haven't found you before. We packed in so many wonderfully different terrains, views and wildlife experiences, it will be hard to replicate. The bikes were great, the cycling was the perfect amount for reasonably fit older adults. The first cycling stop where the water container was opened and we had the vision of perfectly arranged fresh pineapple and papaya was when I knew we would love it. This was the perfect time of year no rain, occasionally a little too hot but no need to carry excessive cold weather baggage. The tour guides at the national parks were exceptional and our tour guide Roberto had done all the upfront work to make our travel and experience of these phenomenal sites as smooth and streamlined as possible. We are truly grateful for a magnificent experience in difficult times pura vida!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There are a few inspirational moments. Firsly finding that we had a great mixed group to share our holiday with. Some couples, singletons, siblings and lifetime friends, many who had been on previous trips and had advice and experiences to share from those. In particular two wonderful 70 old ladies who often headed up the group on our way up the hills gave me hope for another 15 years of these type of holidays. Along with the wildlife which was exquisite and varied I found the vegetation to be awe inspiring. I loved the Wilson Botanical gardens and the rides through the mountains as we descended from that area. Seeing the various different plantations from pineapple to coffee and bananas was fascinating. And finally our beautiful afternoons by the the beach first the Pacific at Agua Dulce and then the Carribean for our impromptu swim, which Roberto realised was a necessary addition to the itinery.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Roberto is an excellent locally based leader , who is fluent in English, with the skills to manage and rearrange the itinery to suit the group requirements and the ensuing pandemic that we sadly were having to contend with. He was prepared to manage finances for various meals to enable us to get the best out of our time in the country, a truly experienced and skilled leader. He patiently repeated his instructions when asked, and pulled us into line when needed. His knowledge of the country and the wildlife was exceptional and he sets the standard very high for all our future trips. His helper Jeyson was also a delightful young man, who is a valuable addition to the team. With Luis and his exceptional driving they are a formidable group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    As we were new to this style of trip, we hadn't thought through how it would work, it did perfectly but here are the things we learnt. Moving accommodation every night was an organisational challenge and being very prepared for this in your packing would help. 'Packing cubes is a recommendation I will take home from another guest'!! We set up early a group whatapp which enabled us to share photos and co-ordinate meeting in a timely manner this was essential. We had a fair degree of bus time and these journeys were made much more fun by having an inclusive group vibe, where everyone was helpful regarding possessions and spotting bathroom opportunities. Each person, couple is looking to get something slightly different out of the experience if everyone in the group is mindful of that it works brilliantly, as it did for us.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We were somewhat anxious about various different aspects of this type of trip, even before the coronovirus effect. However within a very short space of time our fears were allayed. we weren't sure that our cycle level would be ok, but with the back up of the bus that becomes irrelevant, so long as you are comfortable covering the required distance at the pace that is recommended if you want to have bus break time that is no problem. We felt under a little pressure the first couple of nights, as we had missed our connection in Madrid ( do not book flights with only 2 hours connection window) due to French air traffic control!!!! It took us a while to settle in but having a positive attitude to dealing with hiccups helps and it was no big deal. A night in Madrid gave us a chance to practice Spanish in a plaza, and I had a couple of hours reading by a pool. We have loved our hotel based activity holidays for many years especially as the children grew and we had busy work lives. This more immmersive experience of travel though will suit us for many years to come.
  • Reviewed March 2020

    Cuba

    Have just come back from a Taste of Cuba trip. What an amazing time we had, Rayselis the guide was so passionate about her country and so knowledgeable. We visited local community run projects, got to eat in local restaurants and generally have a good time with the Cuban people. I would recommend this trip if you want to see Cuba rather than just sit on a beech. Cigar rolling, rum drinking, salsa dancing , pottery throwing, amazing.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing Cuba in the raw, old Havana is amazing, seeing local Cubans going about there everyday lives, happily singing and dancing.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rayselis is an amazing, passionate guide.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go with an open mind, and enjoy.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The food was not bland, there was plenty of variety, vegetarian meals were available, the Cuban Hosts were lovely, the Casa' s and Hotels were lovely and so clean.
  • Reviewed March 2020

    Cuba

    Have just come back from a Taste of Cuba trip. What an amazing time we had, Rayselis the guide was so passionate about her country and so knowledgeable. We visited local community run projects, got to eat in local restaurants and generally have a good time with the Cuban people. I would recommend this trip if you want to see Cuba rather than just sit on a beech. Cigar rolling, rum drinking, salsa dancing , pottery throwing, amazing.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing Cuba in the raw, old Havana is amazing, seeing local Cubans going about there everyday lives, happily singing and dancing.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rayselis is an amazing, passionate guide.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go with an open mind, and enjoy.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The food was not bland, there was plenty of variety, vegetarian meals were available, the Cuban Hosts were lovely, the Casa' s and Hotels were lovely and so clean.
  • Reviewed February 2020

    Lifetime Adventure

    This was our first Exodus Holiday, it did not disappoint. Very well organised trip from all the information prior to our trip to all the hard working ground staff in Costa Rica. Nothing was too much trouble. The scenery ,mountains, beaches, flora, fauna, wildlife all amazing. My wishes to see sloths, Tucans and green eyed frogs all came true and so much more. The cycling was varied , very hot some days but the bus was always there to provide refreshing fresh pineapple or watermelon along with energy drinks and water. Some hills , some flatter rides and an 8mile beach cycle. We had such fun and good laughs with all our group who gelled well together. This was facilitated by our guides and support team . Our guide Guillermo was a wildlife expert and was knowledgeable about all areas of his country, this was delivered in a very witty and humorous style. Loved it all

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    cycling through banana plantations seeing wildlife in their own habitats

    What did you think of your group leader?

    well organized, hard working, extremely knowledgable about his country from history, geography and wildlife. His sense of humour was ace.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Its a full on trip, but well worth the effort

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Book now !
  • Reviewed February 2020

    Amazing Costa Rica

    I thought this was a great trip and I was very fortunate to end up travelling with a fabulous, like minded group of people. Costa Rica is a beautiful country and the itinerary is well designed to fit in lots of places but without feeling rushed as you get to stay everywhere for two nights. It did not feel as intense and tiring as some trips I have done as there is ample chance to chill out on the verandas of the lodges or by the pool with a book or just watching the wildlife. It is very focused on the nature, scenery and wildlife side of the country, in particular birds, so be prepared for that. There is a chance to do a few other things such as the hot springs and zip lining which are well worth it. I thought all of the accommodation was excellent. Although they varied in terms of facilities everywhere was clean, comfortable and friendly, in excellent locations, with beautiful grounds and with good food (food especially good in Savegre) and most had pools which was an added bonus.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were quite a few amazing moments and the whole country is just a joy to explore. I was desperate to see a sloth and we managed to see a few but seeing my first one by the pool in Tortuguero on day one was a definite highlight. I also loved the boat trips we did. We also saw an Armadillo and porcupine here as well which are apparently quite rare to spot so that was very exciting as was seeing a troupe of monkeys jumping from the trees across the river on the boat trip. In terms of the optional trips I really enjoyed the hot springs in La Fortuna as well as the zip lining and canopy walk in Monteverde and would definitely recommend doing these.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alex Castro is a brilliant tour leader. He has an infectious enthusiasm and love for his country and a seemingly endless wealth of knowledge regarding all the animals, birds and plants. Quite how he could identify birds at such a great distance when all I can see at best is a blob without my binoculars will forever be a mystery! He was always charming and polite with a great sense of humour and had endless patience with us when we were asking for the twentieth time what a certain bird was or getting excited about an 'animal' that turned out to be just a lump of moss or leaves! Also, I have to mention the best bus driver in Costa Rica - Mario. A lovely, friendly guy who navigated the winding and sometimes bumpy Costa Rican roads brilliantly and safely, and who was always happy to try and help me with my awful Spanish!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It is not necessary to take colones. You can get by easily with American dollars. Be warned that Costa Rica is at least as expensive as the UK if not slightly more so. Both Monteverde and Savegre can be on the cool side so make sure you have some layers. Take binoculars as you need them to spot all the birds and animals. I wondered before I went if I should have booked to stay in San Jose for longer however having done the trip I don't feel it is necessary. We had a few hours on the last day so got to do a quick tour of the city centre and then the gold museum which is very good and then as the flight was not until the afternoon the next day I was able to do the 9am tour of the National Theatre which I would highly recommend.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just go. I am worried with the increasing number of people travelling to Costa Rica it may get too over commercialised soon so go before it is too late!
  • Reviewed February 2020

    Fantastic experience

    Week long tour of western Cuba stopping off at loads of interesting and enjoyable locations: just some were Cienfuegos, Trinidad, pottery studio and 'have a go', Vinales Valley and tobacco/coffee plantation with fascinating demonstrations and of course not forgetting the wonderful Havana. Lovely places to stay and very very good food.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Can't narrow it down to 1! but including visiting the traditional house of a couple who lived via their coffee and plant production, overwhelming hospitality of the places we stayed in, Cuban friendliness and seeing how they manage their lives so well despite some hardships.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fabulous. The most informative, entertaining and helpful person we could have wished for in that role. The coach driver who took us everywhere was wonderful too, and made sure we never ran out of fuel!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared to live out of a suitcase, it's not nearly as difficult as we thought!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We would wholeheartedly recommend this tour. It gave us a great holiday, wonderful experiences and plenty of great memories!
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Jean Smith

    A ‘must do’ for the ‘bucket list’!

    An excellent trip with Edward our leader, Felix our driver and Primo the very best boatman in Tortuguero. Our 2 days in Tortuguero were a highlight with the boat trips and we were very lucky with the weather. You definitely need plenty of thin cotton clothes - nothing dries in the humidity and layers for the cooler areas. We felt well prepared having read the trip notes and the recent reviews. Plenty of bug spray, umbrella, waterproof or poncho and a good hat. Excellent food especially the fruit and fish and accommodation better than we had expected. The spa at the last hotel was an unexpected bonus - well worth having a massage and jacuzzi after a busy holiday! We enjoyed the happy hours to sample local cocktails (some more than others!). Our group of 16 was an eclectic mix who got on extremely well, always ready for a laugh and a challenge and got on really well.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    5.30 am boat trip down the water channels at Tortuguero looking for wildlife - superb!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Edward was very professional, personable and smart both in appearance and knowledge. He was flexible, wanting to meet the whole group’s individual needs and good fun. He was always willing to organise extra things for us to give us the best experience of his beloved country.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the trip notes and recent reviews and make sure you have a good camera, binoculars, umbrella, waterproof or poncho and a good hat.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No.
  • Pleasure & Pain.....

    A great trip that could have been SO much more! My husband & I mostly enjoyed the first half of this trip, chosen especially to see the Day of The Dead celebrations in Mexico. The accommodation was pretty good throughout with some lovely colonial hotels, some with lovely swimming pools. Unfortunately we often arrived far too late in the afternoon, to enjoy those facilities and the next day we were off again on the tour. Very disappointing. Travelling for the whole trip in a minibus (this was mentioned in the trip notes to be fair, but we have never had to endure this in any 7 of our previous Exodus trips, always having had much larger coaches) with no spare seats, unable to be fully comfortable or recline our seats, on some very long journeys (albeit with comfort breaks) spoilt the trip for us. Being in very close quarters with our group for several hours each day, some of whom we felt were selfish & insensitive to the needs of their fellow passengers, was at times, a strain & caused a lot of tension. In retrospect I think the tour could perhaps should be cheaper and split into two separate trips. So that those who wish to experience the Day of the Dead in Oaxaca can and perhaps add on another separate tour with the Yucatan & Mayan pyramids for those that want to experience the history. The first half with maybe more time in Mexico City to experience all that it has to offer. We are no strangers to 'full on' Exodus trips, having been to Peru last year,also China, Russia, Cuba & India twice. However this trip felt exhausting to us, mainly because of the travelling conditions in the minibus, nearly all the road journeys were longer than the 'estimates ' in the trip notes. It was also very unfortunate I was ill in Oaxaca & had to see a doctor for antibiotics and steroids. To be honest we felt that to appreciate the country, more time is need in some of the towns - Merida & Campeche especially.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Personally it was experiencing the Day of the Dead in the evening, with the families in the cemetery. The atmosphere was incredible. To see the decorated shrines and just be there with everyone, was a joy! I loved the skeleton figures everywhere and the rich colours of the marigolds on the altars. Oaxaca was a terrific place to see & feel the celebrations. We also had a great time at Frida Kahlo's house,in Mexico City even thought here were long queues, our guide had prebooked so we got in without too much waiting. I wasn't prepared for the scenery to be so varied either-vast plains,mountains, jungles, forests.... Seeing the Gulf of Mexico just as the sun set was magical! Unfortunately in Oaxaca, we were very disappointed when told by our guide that although printed in the itinerary, we were not going to have lunch with a local family, take part in the parade or go to the family's shrine in the evening. Many of the group wanted to dress up, have their faces painted and really immerse themselves in the experience. In fact that was why we had chosen Exodus, because it offered those things. But it was not to be. Perhaps the trip notes should reflect this in future, so as not to disappoint clients.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Arturo was all things to us all. From being a mine of information about his country's history, culture & religion, he was always willing to go the extra mile - from providing medication when we were ill ( a bad cold struck most of us down during the trip) to providing a fruit plate & bananas for my husband when he suffered an upset stomach and was unable to leave the hotel in Oaxaca for 2 days. Arturo took us to some very good restaurants so we could experience the variety that is Mexican cuisine - despite my dislike for chillies! He was always patient and mostly helpful. We especially had a good time with him in Oaxaca watching the dancing in the square from the restaurant balcony.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    .Be prepared for long journeys - with little in the way of 'enjoyable' food when travelling from place to place! Motorway services & cafes do not cater for gluten free diets - so take snacks with you - cereal bars, small packs of dried fruit & nuts etc. You can buy snacks but the food is very 'plastic'! . Take Mexican pesos with you - although US dollars can be exchanged, you are not always near an ATM or bank. . If you like crafts, Mexico is a wonderland. Make sure you have room in your case especially for souvenirs of the Day of the Dead. We experienced some VERY heavy rain one day but generally the weather is good in October/November - take a brolly/packable waterproof in your rucksack. . Take headphones, iPad/tablet, Kindle, book etc to pass the time on long road journeys.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Everything is as I mentioned in my overview. Mexico is a fascinating country but having had this experience with Exodus I wouldn't go back.
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