Turtle, Ecuador

Review Centre

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.

Simply use the selector below to search our trip reviews and start reading real feedback from real Exodus travellers who have ‘been there and done that’!

Lots of our clients also like to post handy tips and advice about their travels. It’s great to know what to expect on an Exodus adventure before you go, so make the most of their experience and you’ll make the most of yours!

Haven't posted your review yet? Here's how to do it...

After you have returned from your Exodus adventure holiday you will be emailed a link to the review page. Any feedback collected is posted straight onto our website - totally unedited.

If you have recently returned from an Exodus adventure and want to help other travellers with your feedback then click here to start the process to post your holiday review.

  • Reviewed September 2019
    Christopher Witt

    Amazing Brazil

    Long journey to get to the Pantanal but worth it! Three jaguar sightings on the first trip made everyone very happy for the forthcoming adventure. Hotel Baiazinha is the perfect location for trips into the wetlands. Accommodation and food excellent and staff very friendly. Plus around the hotel so many birds. Seven boat trips was tiring in the heat, thankfully the boat has a cover. Finally saw nine jaguar sightings, some repeats, plus two giant otter encounter.......and so many birds. Araras Pantanal Eco Lodge is a nice wind down with good accommodation. Trips out to spot wildlife are good but toucans and hyacinth macaws can be spotted in the grounds early morning!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing my first hyacinth macaws on the drive in to Hotel Baiazinha and then in the afternoon seeing jaguars!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Group leader was knowledgeable on the wildlife and environment but poor on keeping us updated on plans for the trip.
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Helen Sparling

    Wonderful holiday in Costa Rica

    I loved this trip. I had read many of the reviews before we went and so went with high expectations- we were certainly not disappointed. We saw so much more wildlife than I expected and saw such a variety of habitats/climates from rainforest to cloud forest, Caribbean coast to Pacific coast, plus a volcano to boot! It felt like we had been on holiday for way more than two weeks, we covered so much! I can’t pass a rustling bush now without trying to spot whatever is in there!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I enjoyed all of it, it I guess highlights were seeing the Green Back turtle laying her eggs and returning to the sea; spotting not one, but four of the elusive Resplendent Quetzals in Savegre; seeing huge crocs; hearing howler monkeys at night ... the list goes on! Particularly loved the rainforest lodge in Esquina Blancas ... you will see what I mean when you go there!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Armando was a fantastic guide. He was so knowledgeable about all the wildlife in Costa Rica and took great care to seek out as much wildlife as he could (trying to fulfil everyone’s wish list) and make sure we got good photos through his telescope. He gave us a lot of information about Costa Rica in general too whilst en route on the bus; about agriculture and the economy, history and the education system. He is well organised and has a great sense of humour and was very patient with us! All in all you couldn’t wish for a better guide! Also a big shout out for Maurizio, our lovely driver, who was an integral part of the team!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We went in August ... rainy season. We had one day of torrential downpours so a good poncho was vital. A pair of flip flops that could be wiped dry would have been useful. Other than that day, we were so lucky not to experience much rain! Take walking boots, a couple of fleeces and long trousers for the cloud forest. You need more variety of clothing than you expect to account for hot and humid climates, where nothing dries, to warm clothing for the cooler, more temperate Monteverde. Pack into strong plastic bags to protect your luggage from rain/damp! Optional trips worth doing: the turtle laying trip. Two night walks ... both offering different things to see... in Monteverde and Esquina Blancas. The hot springs in La Fortuna!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was my favourite Exodus trip so far. I would recommend everyone to go!
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Kathryn Hunt

    A memorable trip!

    The wildlife and scenery were stunning. We were not disappointed. Learning more about the country, its habitats and people was very interesting.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Highlights were seeing the green backed turtles laying eggs in Tortuguero, and quetzals in the Savegre valley cloud forest. Also toucans, hummingbirds and sloths. An additional (optional) boat trip along the Rio Tarcoles was very worthwhile - we saw many different birds close to, as well as massive crocodiles.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide was fantastic in every respect. He was very knowledgeable indeed and went out of his way to try and make sure we saw as much wildlife as possible.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We were a little worried beforehand as our trip was to take place in the wet season. However we only had one day when the rain was so torrential it delayed one of our activities (and we got soaked to the skin) so it is not a given that August is a "bad" time of the year to go. It was very very humid though (apart from when were up in the mountains) so I wished we had taken another couple of pairs of walking trousers & T shirts, as changes of clothes were required more often than I had anticipated. And a poncho proved more effective than a conventional waterproof when it did rain.
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Suzanne Rosser

    Whales & Bears

    This trip combines the highlights of the Canada’s landscape in particular Vancouver Island with wild life both on land and in the sea. All in all I had a lovely experience with a really nice group of people.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The wildlife was the highlight for me. Two encounters specifically: Firstly a large male Grizzly wandered along the shoreline, weaving between the trees and the river’s edge. Slowly, it approached us as we stood as a group shoulder to shoulder (forming one large object). It continued aware of us, until it was 20m away, and then passed by and headed further up the road. Also, on returning from the bear trip we meet a pod of Orcas - maybe five or six. The large male had a dorsal fin approximately six foot tall! We watched them for maybe 25 minutes keeping the required distance of at least 200m. Then they disappeared. Suddenly, they appeared just off the bow of the boat like dolphins do surfing in the bow wave (maybe 10ft away). Quickly, we turned the engine off and watched in awe as they disappeared again off into the distance

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Eric our group leader was in my opinion not as knowledge, friendly and enthusiastic as previous leaders. He did however manage to organise additional trips for our groups as and when requested and taxied the group about making sure we were at the correct destination at the correct time.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This, as far as I know, is this first time this trip has run as early as it did. We left on the 19th August. Although the salmon ran early last year that was not the case this year. If possible I would recommend to travel a little later maybe mid September - in order to maximise the chances of seeing the grizzlies fishing in the river. We did nevertheless still manage to see all the wildlife.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Although this trip is called ‘Whales and Bears’ there were only two full days in the itinerary viewing theses amazing creatures. A half day with the Grey Whales; a half day seeing the black bears and a full day on the grizzly bear trip which included the boat trip with likely sightings of Humpback Whales and possibly Orcas. Having travelled all that way I booked additional trips, in Tofina $125 Canadian for an extra whale and $125 Canadian for black bears. Also Campbell River $400 Canadian with ‘Go Wild’ for and extra grizzly trip. Finally on the final day in Vancouver I visited Grouse Mountain which I felt filled the day well- without being too tiring. This cost $60 and included: lumber jack show, cable car, ski lift, wild bear flights, owl talk, eco walk, two hand raised grizzly bears and much more.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Sally Chewter

    Brilliant

    Fantastic trip - brilliant guide - great accommodation - superb wildlife sightings. Be prepared for very high temperatures but so worth it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing our first jaguar

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tony Rodriguez was superb. So knowledgeable, professional and a great sense of humour. He was great company and made sure everything ran smoothly.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for high temperatures - it's hot out there!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Great trip - wonderful jaguar, giant otters sightings
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Maria Simovic

    Amazing Trip

    An absolutely amazing trip!! The islands were beyond words - truly amazing. All other aspects where great - from the Mauricio (the tour guide), the crew on the boat and the boat.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The islands and seeing animals in their natural habitat both on land and in the sea.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Mauricio was great - very knowledgeable and friendly.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Karen Morrow

    Borneo: Lovely but not quite what I'd hoped.

    I have mixed feelings about this trip. On the positive side, my husband and I joined a very lovely and friendly group and a delightful guide (Sheila). The accommodation, although more basic than on some trips we've done, was mainly fine and some of the restaurants Sheila took us to were in lovely positions and had good food - although rice did tend to dominate the menu! We also saw some lovely things, such as Lang's cave, with its stalactites and stalagmites, and Bako national park, where we saw silver leaf monkeys, proboscis monkeys, macaques and bearded pigs. I also particularly enjoyed the river trips and going to the 'sun bear sanctuary' as well as watching flying squirrels 'fly'! However, overall, there was a lot less wildlife around than I have seen on previous holidays (especially our visits to Africa and the Galapagos). On some walks we saw virtually nothing, certainly in the way of larger mammals or birds. I think the trip notes - and even the very name of the trip! - implies that you'll see a lot more. Like most groups apparently, we did not see elephants at all ('A rare thing to see around here' according to the guide). We also did not see rhinos (I've never seen one in 22 years...'), or, of course, more elusive animals such as leopards or wild sun bears.. We fortunately did see wild orangutans but only briefly on two occasions and at a distance. A necessary evil in such trips is the travelling. However, in Africa, we would often see interesting animals 'en route'. In Borneo, for a large majority of the time, we were travelling through endless miles of palm oil plantations, which have been planted where rain forest used to be, and virtually no animal life - or wildlife of ANY type except for the trees themselves - exists in these massively impoverished environments. It was very sad to see, as well as being, frankly, tedious. If you, like us, would like a trip based on special scenery and fairly frequent sightings of larger/interesting mammals or birds, then I personally feel this trip is probably not one to choose.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were a few. I particularly enjoyed watching the flying squirrels 'fly' and the proboscis monkeys were lovely to watch. The sun bear sanctuary was interesting and watching thousands of bats emerge from a cave in the late afternoon and fly off 'in formation' was also fascinating.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader, Sheila, was very sweet and kind. She worked hard, was anxious to please and was very concerned about our safety and wellbeing. Her only slight fault was to under-estimate how long each activity would take, so we invariably were running late and time to shower, or relax, was often considerably reduced.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The animals and birds we did see could often be a long way away, so take a good pair of binoculars and a camera with a lot of zoom. We did not have a lot of rainy days, but when it rains, it POURS, so also take a good waterproof and NEVER go out without it! (We did on a visit to a restaurant and would have been soaked through, if Sheila hadn't been able to beg a lift back for us.) You will also need a lot of insect repellent, as there are many mosquitos and sand flies. In some jungle areas, there are also a lot of leeches, so leech socks (or a good pair of long socks such as football socks) are also a 'must'.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is a good holiday for people who are generally interested in being in a rain forest environment, or have a particular interest in insect life or plant life species. It also gives you a realistic chance to see such lovely (and funny!) animals as proboscis monkeys or the stunning silver leaf monkeys. However, if you want to see many different animals, be aware that most species are very elusive and you may see a lot less than you'd like over the two weeks.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Heather Kerr

    Discovering Costa Rica

    Exceeded Expectations Excellent Guide Extraordinary range of wildlife and flowers

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing a quetzl flying

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Holiday of a lifetime - do it before you die !
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Melanie Costello

    An amazing holiday!

    We had spent a long time saving for and planning this trip for myself and my boyfriend. It did not disappoint. It was even better than we expected. From the moment we stepped off the plane, everything was organised. We got the direct flight from Gatwick. The flight was 10 hrs and went very quickly. The rest of our group went via Miami and unfortunately got delayed so ended up arriving at the hotel in the early hours and only had a few hours sleep before the tour started. If you get the direct flight you also stay an extra night at the end of the trip so you get a day to explore San Jose which we did but we felt there is not a great deal to do there. We had 8 in our group and it was a nice mix of ages and we all got on well. The minibus is nice and comfortable with aircon and plenty of room.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing a turtle laying her eggs on the beach at Tortuguero and watching Humpback whales with their calves in Drakes Bay. We also loved watching the hummingbirds in Savegre. This was something I was not prepared for, they are beautiful. Getting to see scarlet macaws up close. A pair landed in a tree right above us and posed for quite a while. Tree frogs, sloths, jesus lizards, basilisks, crocodiles, caiman, birds, bats, turtles, monkeys (howler, spider, squirrel and white face capuchin), coatis.........the list goes on!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Guillermo was excellent. His knowledge of the wildlife was amazing and he spotted things we would never have seen. His enthusiasm was infectious and we were soon all trying to spot and recognise different birds and animals. It's worth noting that the leaders are 'on call' for your whole trip so they work incredibly hard. We were so impressed. One day we stopped for lunch at a tradional Costa Rican restaurant which we would never have gone to withour our leader taking us there. Olman (not sure if I spelt that right) was a lovely driver. His skill driving our bus on some of the mountain roads was impressive. Guillermo and Olman obviously got on very well and made a great team.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a book, there are some long bus journeys and plenty of time to relax in the afternoons. Taking a suitcase with wheels is ideal as there are a few times where you need to move it. I would recommend a hard case or a decent level of water resistance as they may get wet if it rains on the way to Tortoguero. Savegre is cold! Take warm clothes. The temperature difference really is noticeable. I slept with 3 blankets the first night we were there. Take an umbrella. We had ponchos but sometimes they were too hot and a bit too much. US dollars are fine. You can use them everywhere. We had a travel currency card which we used to withdraw dollars as we needed them. ATMS are easy to find and your leader will take you. We thought the food was fabulous. Vegetarians are well sorted and the portions are huge. Prices are about the same as the UK for eating out but we thought that snacks in the supermarket where expensive but probably because we were buying "British type" snacks. Take dry shoes and "water shoes". You have to jump in the sea a couple of times so it's handy to have these. Also a dry bag is useful for the boats to keep cameras dry but also if it rains. All the usual that everyone else has mentioned: sunglasses, hat, suncream, insect repellent, bite cream,torch,

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    At Drakes Bay, the hotel will do your washing for free each day which is very useful if you are running out of clothes. They will also dry out all your shoes so you don't have to put wet shoes back in your suitcase. It's worth mentioning that all the boat journeys are by speed boat and can be pretty bumpy especially when first going out to the hotel from the river. Not for the faint hearted but so much fun. The boat drivers are highly skilled and we felt perfectly safe on every trip.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Sara Johnson

    Loved it!

    Amazing trip, highly recommended. The itinerary changed slightly, so there was snorkelling on the last day which was amazing, almost as if leaving the best till last! This is for the more adventurous traveller rather than the type of person who likes to sit on a beach, although not as active as it could have been! We saw a lot of beautiful animals and birds, to many to mention, and especially enjoyed the boat trips. We can't wait now for our next exodus adventure.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For me it was seeing a turtle laying her eggs. Magical! For my husband it was snorkelling which he absolutely loved and saw two turtles, two stingrays and tons of fish.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jorge is an excellent guide, very knowledgeable and with a great sense of humour. He has a great relationship with Henri, our driver. Jorge and Henri gave up there time off so we could get a good view of a Resplendant Quetzal which we spent a good 45 minutes watching. Magical!!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the itinerary and trip notes before booking! Your move around a lot on this trip which isn't for everyone, although we loved it as we feel we've had a good snap shot of what Costa Rica has to offer. Research the hotels before you go, all details are in the trip notes to see what each one has to offer. Things to take- an umbrella as we ended up buying an one. The rain isn't like the rain in the uk as there is no wind and we noticed its what the locals use, plus you get so hot in a poncho; take a hair dryer if this is important to you as not all hotels provide them, good walking shoes, light clothing, water proof sandals or flip flops are handy for wet landings or walking through streams; towels are provided for snorkelling at drakes bay so we were glad we didn't weigh ourselves with taking a beach towel from home. Take bug spray and after bite cream. Also take plenty of money- we took colons and found we got a much better deal on things for doing so. Walking wise the only walk i struggled with (being exceptionally clumsy as i am) was to the waterfall at Corcovado as it was pouring with rain and it was quite uneven under foot. There was also a large river to wade through to get to it. If you go on the turtle watching tour (very highly recommended) you will have to wear the worst wellies known to man, so take long socks! Some people chose to ignore the advice to wear them and ended up knee deep in mud. Also ignore when told not to take a torch on the turtle watching- we were told not to by the company (not exodus!) and then got told to take our torches out for the walk! Foodwise i did struggle with eating in some places being vegan, but luckily i had taken some items of food with me, such as pitta breads. Its not that food wasn't provided for me, it was more that they only provided one vegan option and it would have meant i had exactly the same meal for lunch and dinner 2 days running. Also it means that you're not just eating fruit for breakfast as places like villa florencia that didn't provide anything i could eat for breakfast ( and all costa rican bread appears to contain milk). For us (my husband has food allergies) the best places to eat were at Cahuita and Drakes bay. Food portions can be small, especially in Totuguero, so was glad of the extra snacks i took. Hotel wise, some of the hotels are what could be deemed as basic, especially Drakes bay. Again, this wasn't a problem for us as we saw the lodges as a base to sleep only, especially as all lodges at Drakes Bay are on the sea front, and you can sometimes see dolphins swimming by. Tortuguero's lodges don't have glass at the windows, just bug nets, which we loved as it meant going to sleep listening to the thunder and frogs croaking, and waking up to the noise of howler monkeys. However, on the flip side it it meant the place is constantly damp, so I'd recommend not unpacking here as it meant clothes got wet if left out the case. Air conditioner is in all rooms except Tortuguero which has ceiling fans. For us, our favourite place was in the cloud mountains at Savegre. Quiet, not over loaded with tourists, and beautiful views. For us, it was paradise.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Exodus should really mention that the turtle watching tour is an additional cost in the trip notes as we were all under the impression it was included in the cost. Also it would be good if Exodus, if possible, could suggest to the company that runs this trip as the wellies provided truly were awful- my orthotics wouldn't fit in them, my husbands leaked, and others in the group ended up with injuries from them. Whilst i appreciated Exodus forwarding my dietary requirements to the hotel, i think it would be helpful if they explain what the dietary requirements means. For example, Drakes bay, under the guidance of Jorge, did me egg and milk free pancakes, only to cover them in honey, which i obviously couldn't eat- although to be fair my husband did appreciate this error. My fault really as i hadn't mentioned to Jorge vegans don't eat honey, but if exodus were to explain what dietary means, especially in places where certain diets aren't common, this would be helpful. This would be especially helpful for places where the guide isn't with you like villa florencia which unfortunately made me ill despite me telling them of my diet. I can see why exodus don't offer the direct flights as standard as part of this trip. It means an extra day in San Jose where there isn't that much to do. We did the art museum and the museum of costa rica- the latter being the greater success.
Call us on 00 97150 5550 445