Turtle, Ecuador

Review Centre

Here at Exodus we thrive on feedback from our customers. It's the only way we can ensure our trips continue to be the best they can be. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of the trip you're interested in, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.

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

Here at Exodus we thrive on feedback from our customers. It's the only way we can ensure our trips continue to be the best they can be. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of the trip you're interested in, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.

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  • Reviewed June 2019
    michael blake

    two wonderful weeks in costa rica

    A superb tour that delivered pretty much everything it promised. Good accommodation and comfortable transport. Wonderful scenery, amazing birds, mammals and vegetation throughout.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cruising the quieter backwaters of the Tortaguero National Park, Seeing a mother and baby Sloth at close quarters, incredible birdlife on the Tarcoles river and magical two nights at the Esquinas Nature Lodge.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Armando was an excellent group leader who was very good at locating, identifying and explaining about all the myriad life forms we saw.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    A must for lovers of birds and nature

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Spending two nights at each stop made for a fairly relaxing trip.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Jane Von Ruhland

    An extra special wildlife based holiday

    From sitting in a hide observing a glittering night time scene , to searching for Chamois from a hillside viewpoint , this trip encapsulates the world of the Brown Bear explained by the expert Julian Perry . He leads the group across an outstandingly scenic mountain terrain and presents the techniques to track and record the presence of Brown Bears in a non-intrusive way . We were very adequately accommodated in a centre-based family run hotel from where we walked or were driven to local forestry trails and areas used by Bears. With a tremendous knowledge of the ecology of the region , the leader identified and enabled us to observe and photograph flora and fauna including many wildflowers , birds , reptiles , mammals , amphibians and insects.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The trip to the Hide at night , lit by moonlight lighting effects , and seeing what was identified by our Leader as a Wildcat at the end of that first evening . Seeing Brown Bear prints and learning of the age and gender . Seeing other signs of Brown Bear presence , like hair , scratch marks in trees . Seeing signs of other mammals such as wolf , pine martin and hedgehog. Identifying wildflowers and butterflies with the leader and other group members.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    A leader who can speak fluently the language of the host country , and with an outstanding experience and knowledge of the wildlife , specifically the Brown Bear based on qualified research , who can present this to and lead a range of walkers and interested wildlife enthusiasts is fantastic . He is very informative and respectful of the history of the region and its people. He is always helpful and made the trip the most special week .

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read and look up information on Mountain animals and wildlife . Go on some wildlife survey work voluntarily with your local group beforehand if you can . It was the first time I had used binoculars but that was not a problem for me because I had some previous experience of wildlife surveys. Enjoy the leaders knowledge . Enjoy the groups knowledge . We were lucky to also have a Badger expert in our group .Enjoy the scenery , natural world and the food and company!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I saw a lot of natural life I had not seen before and would like to go on this trip again. If I did I would like to try to go on a Land Only reservation and travel over ground by train , boat and train to Sophia to meet the group . This way it would be even more environmentally sound, and less damaging as no flight would be involved.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Tracey French

    Borneo

    Borneo, beautiful scenery, abundance of wildlife, interesting food & a wonderful people.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    First sighting of orangutans in their natural habitat. Surviving the bamboo longhouse. Conquering, albeit temporarily, my fear of heights on the non too safe looking canopy walkway in Mulu. Surviving the bamboo longhouse. Climbing up to, & then looking down from, the viewpoint over Danum Valley. Surviving the bamboo longhouse.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Manuel had to leave after a couple of days due to family illness & was replaced by Talia. Both were knowledgeable, patient & extremely professional.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If it isn't there already put Borneo on your bucket list.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Sandakan War Memorial is very moving. I hadn't previously heard about the death walk.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Maureen Cross

    Discover Costa Rica

    Excellent trip in all aspect, better than I expected

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The whole trip but very impressed with the beauty of Costa Rica

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jonny Villalobos is a lovely man and a great tour leader. He is very passionate his country. His knowledge of the history, the people and what the country is doing to improve and conserve the country is incredible. The depth of knowledge about the wild is fantastic. More importantly is the way he imparts his knowledge in all the areas, with passion and in a way that is so captivating. He is more than a guide, he cares deeply about the group ensuring all their needs are met. He puts in a lot of time and effort & works hard to ensure our welfare is met and that we feel comfortable. I know he has previously been voted best tour guide but he should be voted again as 'the very best tour guide'

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    maybe to let people know that there are some quite steep climbs. Although Jonny did make it clear that we didn't have to do the climbs and when we did to take it at our own pace.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No, just that it was a great trip and to thank Exodus, and in particular Jonny Villalobos, for all the effort that they put into organising the trip. For the thought that has gone into the selection of the places that we stayed at and the consideration for the local communities and ecology of the country
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Shaun Robinson

    What a magical place....

    The trip was all arranged by Exodus and I can’t fault the organisation, it was faultless throughout the whole Journey. The Cachalote Explorer was fine, it’s not a super luxury motor yacht (its correctly advertised as a first class motor yacht) being a converted fishing boat, but the accommodation was perfectly adequate and the crew were very friendly and super efficient. The rooms were cleaned daily with clean towels by Martin who was also the waiter and bar man, and very good at it to. The chef was very good and was delighted to help one of our vegan passengers with different dishes every meal (which she often shared with the rest of us! Lol) The ship is a little noisy when travelling at night with the engines running, but I had some noise suppressing head phones that dealt with this. No one else really complained and I guess you soon get used to it after a tiring day The food was very well presented in buffet style for breakfast lunch and evening meal and there was always plenty of food. In between meals there is a tray of bananas, fruits and various biscuits and snacks Would I book it again, certainly yes without hesitation

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    This is very difficult to answer as every day we encountered new wonders, wether it be animals or beautiful landscapes. People have asked me what was the highlight, and I can’t really say to be honest. I personally enjoyed the walks on virtually untouched islands, sea lions, marine iguanas the list is endless. Some of the sea life you can see from the boat it amazing. I spent many hours on the sun beds on the rear deck and some of the views of the islands from the boat, well it’s like some magical kingdom.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Luiz was excellent, a very knowledgeable guide approved by the Galapagos National Parks and always around to answer any questions we needed however difficult

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Firstly take plenty of cash for any alcohol drinks/incidentals on the boat. The trip notes and also the book handed to us by the boat crew state you can pay by credit card, you can’t. I went to pay the bar bill which was around $300 (don’t ask! Lol) and they said they could only accept cash which put me in a very difficult position The organisers should make this clear, and I can definitely confirm this directly affected the crew tip as most of it had to be used to pay the bar bill instead if them, which was very unfortunate but I had no choice Take sturdy boots, and waterproof sandals are useful for any wet landings If you are a light sleeper, ear plugs at night or in my case noise suppressing headphones were perfect.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Do it, it’s a trip of a lifetime and when you get back you will sit in your chair and think, wow, did I really just go there .......... When we landed at Baltra Airport in Galapagos, at the very moment we touched down I had a lump in my throat, and tears in my eyes. It’s the sort of trip only someone like David Attenborough gets to do right?
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Debi Jones

    What an experience!!!!

    I hoped for a lot, but expected nothing (especially in the Amazon) but we saw more wildlife than I knew there was! And as for the Galapagos.....Sensational. Holiday of a lifetime and would recommend to anyone. Truly brilliant. Am delighted to have managed to have whittled my photos down to about 650 (and 35 videos!). The Napo Lodge was stunning with fabulous staff but the Cachalotte was possibly even better (though cabin much smaller and less glamorous than lodge). The memories will be something I treasure forever. The organisation from beginning to end made everything so easy and I will definitely be travelling with Exodus again.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Snorkeling with sealions, a turtle and penguin (never having snorkeled before!) And the animals and birds just being truly fearless and natural I could go on....

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very pleasant and efficient

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Try snorkeling at home first! I panicked the first 2 times in the water (although it was a deep water snorkel) but after an hour's practice in the shallows I took to it like a penguin to water. And take lots of SD cards!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just GO!!
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Kirsten Andersson

    Met and exceeded expectations

    Great trip first to Napo then to Galapagos. We were delighted with the quality of service, organization and attention to details.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many moments to choose from. Highlights were swimming with sea lions, watching wave albatrosses mate and watching land iguanas battle for territory. A difficult but natural moment occurred when we watched a boa attack and absorb a parrot

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Group leader in Napo was great. Knowledgeable and highly skilled communicator. Group leader in Galapagos was a nice young man but we could tell he was on one of his last trips.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be ready to wake up early and go to bed early. Eat everything they feed you; you’ll either work it off in activities or sweat it out in the heat.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We were flummoxed and frustrated with the tipping of staff. We found the suggested tip rates to be far too high and we’re concerned that the tips are being used to supplement wages which is not the purpose of a tip. Exodus needs to find a better system. That was the only thing we were very dissatisfied about
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Glenda Beale

    Great Wildlife in their natural habitat

    Beautiful Costa Rica tour with an amazing and passionate guide who expertly led us through the different geographical landscapes and wildlife. We saw so much in 2 weeks, very active, and understood what we saw. Great group of people sharing the experiences with. Highly recommend the tour.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting up at 5 am to go Quetzal watching and 2 hour later actually clearly seeing the resplendent bird.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Johnny Villalobos was a beautiful person who was passionate about Costa Rica and the wildlife. He was extremely knowledgeable about the wildlife and both what we both heard and saw.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring Binoculars and a good zoom camera. My small compact umbrella was very useful. Waterproof boots a must.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    14 people on the tour was enough to all see the wildlife in walks. Do the optional Monteverde Sky Walk through the Cloud Forest canopy and suspension bridges.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Annie Marshall

    Don’t miss this

    A couple of friends and I joined this trip. It’s an amazing wildlife adventure that’s not to be missed. Tropical rain forests and cloud forests, some in the mountains, by the Caribbean coast on waterways and on the Pacific coast with beach time. Always options carefully explained by Johnny our superb guide whose enthusiasm, passion for wildlife and humour made it all come alive. He answered all our questions about the history, culture, birds, animals and plants of Costa Rica with great patience! Hotels very comfortable, delicious breakfasts and the provided meals were good, the staff friendly and helpful. It was hot and humid in the lowlands and cooler in the mountains. Rain was mainly in the afternoon and in May it was dark by 6pm. I took walking poles but didn’t use them though a couple of people did. Plastic bag for camera and binoculars is wise. Rain gear is essential. There is sound daily advice about open or closed footwear, long trousers or shorts. In summary, if you’re keen on wildlife book! I intend to add the Coastal Secrets trip to my list- near the top.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Very difficult to decide as the whole point of had trip is the biodiversity. Seeing sloths, monkeys, coatis, anteater, beautifully coloured birds with such varied songs, colourful butterflies and other insects, listening to and searching for frogs were all so interesting. The range of colourful and varied plants and fungi are surprising . If I had to choose one it would be our walk in Savegre in the cloud forest where we saw our 4th Resplendent Quetzal and our second Trogon. But the optional canopy walk was incredible too. Don’t miss it!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader deserved his prize 2 years ago ...Guide of gbe Year. He is nominated again this year and I have voted. Johnny Villalobos is an outstanding guide. He is a wildlife expert. He took us out to look for the shy Quetzal at 5.30 am, chatted to the farm manager and we joined a group of photographers in the field . He led us on the canopy walk and on our nature walks, checking each of us had seen each bird or animal before moving on. He was always patient and polite , has rather a wicked sense of humour, gave us options, advice about clothing to wear for each excursion and fielded our endless questions with great patience . 5 stars for Johnny.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go on the trip. Do the canopy walk. Take rain gear , walking sandals and shoes with some grip. Carry rain gear and a plastic bag for your camera and binoculars every trip. Take quick dry clothes and insect repellant. Take a small torch. I did the zip lining which was great fun. There were Howler monkeys in the trees! I did the thermal pools with lots of the girls, we bought cocktails and had great fun. I also did the waterfalls at La Fortuna. Johnny took us on a short nature walk to get there. The many steps back up are ok. I enjoyed both of these optional extras but the best one was definitely the canopy walk and bridges. This was a highlight of my trip.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Like- minded travelling companions who gelled, shared sightings, photos , stories and looked out for each other were another highlight of the trip. Our driver Jose was great fun, very helpful and got us safely to each destination despite some hairy driving and overtaking by others on the roads. The Costa Ricans we met were helpful and polite. However don’t wear any valuables in San Jose as they may get ripped off you- a n attempt was made on one of our group on arrival day. No other incidents. The National Museum gives a history of the country and lots about the indigenous people. We enjoyed our visit. We also went to the Jade Museum. Too big and a bit repetitive unless you’re interested in the different pots made in each region.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Linda Kirby

    Excellent

    This was a joint celebration of our 70th birthdays so we wanted it to be extra special. It was an amazing experience, with a wonderful group of people, led by an extremely professional, knowledgeable and proficient guide, Johnny Villalobos. Thanks to Johnny's extensive knowledge of bird calls and habitats, we were able to see a huge number of birds, including the elusive Quetzal. Johnny also had a wide knowledge of the many mammals we encountered. Apart from overnight stays in San José, we stayed 2 nights in each destination which was enough to enable us to explore what each habitat had to offer. Johnny ensured that we maximised our time in each location, though you always had the choice to opt out of an activity. Each location was well chosen in terms of being a representative sample of what Costa Rica has to offer, from hot steamy jungle, to cool, high altitude cloud forest. The accommodation was excellent in each place but we particularly enjoyed the remoteness of Esquinas Lodge, surrounded by the sounds of the forest, especially the frogs. An added bonus was the stream fed pool and later, a night walk in the forest, led by a guide from the lodge who was able to identify the many frogs contributing to the incredible cacophony of frog calls. We were given a warm welcome in each location by the hotel/lodge staff and served some delicious food. However, crucial to the success of this holiday, was Johnny's enthusiasm for what his country had to offer and his exceptional knowledge, organisational and people skills.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Experiencing the huge diversity of flaura and fauna in such a relatively small country. Seeing the vital work being done by Costa Ricans like Johnny, to protect their environment.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We couldn't have wished for a better group leader. Johnny Villalobos was extremely professional, very knowledgeable about birds and mammals and was passionate about caring for the environment. His enthusiasm for his country, it's people and Costa Rica's biodiversity, was infectious. He ensured that every aspect of organising our travel about the country and the transport of our luggage ran most efficiently. Johnny was attentive and caring to two group members who felt unwell. Also, he did his best to maximise our experience of Costa Rica and often gave over and above what was reasonable to expect from a group leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a good poncho, insect repellent (We used Picaridin), binoculars and a camera. Make the most of the time you have there, the plants and wildlife are amazing.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The enjoyment of the holiday exceeded our expectations.
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