Turtle, Ecuador

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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 February 2019
    Madeline Russell

    Bolquere, French Pyrenees

    A wonderful week exploring a variety of trails through the forests in the Bolquere area of the French Pyrenees. Snowy trails with snowy trees, whose snow gradually melted during the week so there was more birdsong. An afternoon of steadily climbing up past pine trees with icicles shining in the sun like Christmas decorations. Almost empty tracks and great places for lunch stops including 2 Mountain refuges. Views through the trees, or along the ridges of other snowy mountains. An excellent Exodus leader who looked after us so well and had some wonderful stories! A lovely old French hotel which is very much part of the local village, and served various Catalan dishes. Well organised transport each day. An excellent week blessed with snow and sun to enjoy this area which has so much to offer the cross country skier.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Steadily climbing up along zigzagging tracks to the top of the ridge and seeing the mountains around us. Well worth the steady and well contoured trails. Seeing trees decorated with their icicles sparkling in the sunshine! Watching a young deer leap across the trail ahead of us, and later a group of deer grazing in the forest.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nothing was too much for Bob. He made sure everything was fine in the hotel and when we were out during the day. On his day off when we decided to take the 'Train Jaune' to a nearby walled town, he came down to the station and stayed with us to make sure we got on. However, after an hour, his lengthy phone calls dicovered that 'they' were on strike. Returning to the hotel he organised coffee, accompanied us on the local bus to a hotel for lunch and then brought us back a quieter way through the woods. Due to his experience of being in this area we were able to have 'afternoon tea' when we came back from our skiing, an area to meet for a drink before the evening meal, and wine with it. It was like the icing on the cake!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    No ATM in the village and not easy to access one at the other places we stopped. Euro guidelines in the trip notes were pretty accurate. Bolquere village has 2 hotels a general store and a post office, so no pharmacy. Flask for a hot drink wasn't necessary, but we had good weather!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A great place for cross country skiing!
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Julie Knuckey

    Trip from Johannesburg to Cape town

    This was a very memorable trip which took in so much of South Africa's wild life, past histories and south Africa as it is now. Our guides were excellent in their information about South Africa, the animals and the cultural and political shaping of South Africa. We traveled very long distances and experienced several game drives where we saw most of the larger animals including several close sightings of lions. Visits to Lesotho and Swaziland were a pleasant contrast to the seemingly more affluent and efficient South Africa. Rouke's Drift visit brought the film Zulu to life, The landscape changed from fertile farm estates to scrub land and desert, everywhere though needed rain, they hadn't had good rains for several years. We traveled by minibus and a larger more comfortable safari bus and the air-con didn't work, so it was hot & tiring , however all the accommodation was different but comfortable and adequately equipped. Food was mainly very good.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    A horse ride in Lesotho through the villages. Seeing the penguins and a visit to Robben island to see and learn about Nelson Mandela's incarceration there.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader & driver for the 1st week tried hard to give us an enjoyable experience, however having not lead a trip to where we were travelling before, she and her driver were replaced in the 2nd week by excellent group leaders with fantastic knowledge of all aspects of the trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for very long drives, the roads are good but it is important to remember that this is Africa and things do not always go to plan! Take plenty of sun screen etc. enjoy all the experiences. I only was bitten by mosquitoes in Cape Town which is a non malarial area, so I am not really sure malarial prophylaxis is necessary.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I think if I did it again I would stay longer in some areas as there was so much more to see.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Peter & Liz Rooke

    Discover Sri Lanka review

    This is an enjoyable trip with a good variety of activities. If you have been to India before you will find Sri Lanka surprisingly different. If this is your first trip to the sub-continent it is an excellent introduction. We didn’t climb Adam’s Peak, but the other activities on the trip were all good, including the traditional Sri Lankan games that we had been apprehensive about, but which were great fun. The accommodation was generally good apart from the Giritale Hotel which is undergoing building work and our initial room was unfinished. At Nuwara Eliya the group didn’t stay at the Hill Club, but at the Mirage King’s Cottage, which was very pleasant and a little way out of town with lovely fresh air and gardens. The food on the trip was fine, we particularly liked the midday meal on the cycle ride day. Exodus arranged for the group to refill our water bottles from a large container on the minibus, which worked well and helped minimise plastic waste.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were a lot of good moments on the trip. The ones that particularly stand out are: climbing Lion Rock, white water rafting and the Temple of the Tooth ceremony. Also, we enjoyed the cave temples at Dambulla and the optional boat ride through mangrove swamps.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nalaka was a lovely chap who got everyone smiling. Douglas, our driver, and Amal, the Driver’s Assistant, were both excellent too. Nalaka was very caring and dealt with any issues promptly and effectively. He made us aware of the need to be courteous to hotel staff and the beach ladies at the Insight Resort; many of the staff are boys from local farms who are doing their best to be helpful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Insect repellent isn’t listed under Essential Equipment in the Trip Notes, but you need to take some. Binoculars aren’t listed either, and these are very useful for the wildlife trips. Horton Plains: the walk is harder than it sounds, it’s partly on uneven ground and involves some ascents and descents. We were fine, but a couple of people in our group really struggled and ended up missing lunch and nearly missing the train too. Whale watching: we paid a bit extra to have a private boat just for the group and this was well worth it. The boat pitches and rolls quite a lot out once out at sea and we recommend you take sea sickness pills. The cycle ride was good fun, easy going on level ground, but do take time at the start to find a bicycle that suits you both in the height and length of frame – some are more adjustable than others. Lastly, we found some of the hotel bathroom and shower floors were very slippery – take care!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Take an open mind and try all the activities, this trip covers a wide range of activities, and some of the ones we weren't wild about were other group members' highlights. If you've been to India, Sri Lanka is similar but different: generally cleaner, with less hassle and more organised. If you haven't visited the area before then this trip provides and excellent introduction. Oh, and although we saw lots of elephants and other wildlife we didn't see a leopard, remember, it's not guaranteed.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Alex Jacobs

    Amazing Holiday!

    This is a wonderful, wild trek in the anti-atlas mountains. Stunning scenery in brilliant remote landscapes - we didn't see another tourist all week. The walking is not too challenging, but has enough uphill sections to make you feel you've earned your delicious lunch and dinner. The campsites were in incredible locations. Our guides Lahcen and Hassan were brilliant - so attentive, kind, and supportive - as were the fellow travellers.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Standing on the top of Jebel Aklim with panoramic views and a picnic lunch.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Brilliant.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Sue Nicholls

    Awesome

    Absolutely fantastic holiday everything and more that we could of ever dreamed of

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For me it was the whole holiday

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Darren was really good

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Warm socks
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Paul Tunnah

    India Tiger Safari

    I agree with all of the previous tiger trip review comments so I am not going to rehash them.. I saw 10 * Tigers, 3 * Leopard, 4 * Sloth Bears, 1 * Jungle cat & lots of other wildlife, deer, birds etc. I didn't see a tiger until 8/15 game drives so don't panic as everybody on my trip eventually got a great tiger experience. The morning game drives in February are cold so definitely bring Jumpers, hats, gloves etc. I would finally like to tell you the best months to see tigers according to the drivers which are April / May when the Tigers cool down at the water holes. Of course the temperature then is 45 degrees Celsius.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing your first tiger in the wild is amazing. I still don't know how our driver spotted him driving at 20 kmh & seeing him through the brush. The Tiger was 30 foot in the brush & just watched us as we took photographs. My digital camera struggled to auto focus (Did eventually & great photos) so I would advise anybody else to have knowledge of focusing methods for there camera. I certainly had to read the manual.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was Vijay Chansoria & he war brilliant. Honestly he couldn't do enough for the whole party. His knowledge of wildlife was amazing, especially birds.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you go on this trip in February then wrap up warm for the morning game drives as it is very cold for the first 2 hours.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just enjoy the 3 NP's & all of the wildlife in them. NOBODY is guaranteed to see a Tiger ( 2 people in my group only had there tiger experience on the optional extra game drive) although in my tour party we all good sighting of a tiger.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    nik koehli

    Lapland wilderness

    A fun packed long weekend in the heart of nowhere.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the northern lights against all the odds in the evening of a cloudy snowy day in the wilderness with no light pollution! But in addition the dog sledding, ski-doing and reindeer rides were really enjoyable. The scenery was amazing with the forest trees laden with snow.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was very organised and coped with the group well.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It was -23 C whilst we were there and had in previous weeks been -35 C . The kit worked very well for me on the body but I found hand/feet warmers very useful. If you remove gloves to take photographs try not to drop them in the snow and put them back on quickly!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The food was fine, but with limited options and not as good as on our previous Exodus trips.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Susan Baxter

    A fabulous trip for wildlife lovers

    The tour is well planned with a mix of early mornings and full days, with down time to spend around the pool or strolling. If you like a tour to be more like a holiday than a frenetic series of hotels, then this is perfect. If you are an activity junkie then it is not for you. It covers a huge variety in a couple of weeks, boat trips, walking, sightseeing and snorkelling, and we saw an amazing range of birds, reptiles and mammals with our fantastically knowledgeable and lovely guide. The accommodation was good, ranging from Tortugero where the individual chalets were in a stunning setting, to Cahuita which was rather in need of TLC but in a convenient location behind the beach. The rooms are as described in the details - comfortable rather than luxurious. The beds everywhere were extremely comfortable, I slept incredibly well! The included meals were all good, the hotels were very accommodating catering for a vegan diet.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing a sloth crawling along behind the beach in Cahuita, we stood and watched while he unsteadily clambered up the tree and around the branches. A lovely meal in a restaurant right on the beach that evening made for a fantastic day.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jorge was extremely knowledgeable and amazing at spotting things. His knowledge of birds was incredible. He was always there if we needed anything and provided information constantly about the wildlife, the country and the activities. He was well-planned and organised, everything went like clockwork -if we were meeting a driver, he was always there waiting for us, if we were meeting a boat it was there without us having to wait in the heat. Checking in and out of the hotels was done extremely speedily, and you overall just couldn't fault him as a group leader he was fantastic!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take binoculars, take insect repellent, take a hat, take a torch, pack as light as you can and have a case with wheels as you are often moving your case about yourself to/from rooms and boats. Don't expect that you will be on your own with wildlife. Costa Rica is popular. There are many boats doing the same thing in Tortugero, the walk in Cahuita NP is a family stroll with lots of people around (everyone looking slightly puzzled that we were in walking boots, hiking trousers and rucksacks when they were all going past in bikinis and flip flops), the Osa peninsula is not wilderness any more, there were lots of other small groups doing the walking trails, and several other boat-loads of people snorkelling and having lunch on the beach. But the wildlife is still incredible.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    From an ethical viewpoint I have huge questions about the sloth "sanctuary" and I strongly urge exodus to re-consider the visit there. These animals are enchanting close up, but having seen them in the wild, viewing them in wire cages with pretend branches, a tiled floor, no enrichment, and no hope of any other existence was heart rending. Keeping them alive in these conditions is not necessarily the kindest thing to do.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Grant & Paula Reed

    First multi day cycle trip & certainly not the last!

    This was an excellent trip which has certainly encouraged us to look at another cycling holiday. Our guide, Rit, who was with us from Bangkok to Saigon was excellent, forever patient, informative and professional, he was a pleasure to be with. As we entered Cambodia & Vietnam we were joined by local guides for the journey through their country & they were also equally professional, as were all members of the support teams. Their humour certainly assisted us through some warm days.The cycle days were split quite well, with timely stops with lovely snacks & drinks supplied in some memorable settings. The trip covers some of the iconic places to visit in all three countries but also includes quite a bit of low key mixing with locals which was equally memorable.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Whilst Bangkok, Ankor Wat, Seim Reap, Phnom Penh, Mekong Delta & Saigon are certainly places to tick off a ''must visit'' list, some of the cycling through villages, stopping at local establishments & the general friendliness of the locals was equally inspirational.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rit was brilliant, as were the local guides who assisted in Cambodia & Vietnam. The bus drivers were always where they should have been & the cycle support team were very supportive! We appreciated the Exodus leaders more so after joining another trip with another company immediately after this & had a very poor, disinterested leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We would both consider ourselves fit despite being in our 60's. However don't underestimate the first three days; 28 miles, 55 miles then 52 miles is quite a challenge especially in warm conditions, fresh onto a new bicycle. Put the miles in before you go & you'll benefit. DEFINITELY take cycling shorts!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Whilst we did have free evenings, some group members mentioned that another couple of free evenings (without an organised meal) wouldn't go amiss. Everyone mixed well & we met some lovely folks but being together from first thing in the morning to last thing at night on so many days could have been cut back slightly.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Rex Yetton

    Wow, what a trip

    Wow, I'm still buzzing a week after getting back from this trip. I have done several cycling trips with Exodus and this was my first one solo. The whole trip was amazing, along with a lovely group. We all got on really well and had lots of laughs. The cycling was flat and easy going. Cycling through the crazy Indian towns was surprisingly straightforward. 'Good bell, good brakes and good luck' is the motto! The Indians use their hooters and bells for spacial awareness and are very good at it. The friendly Indian children waving on their way to school has left a lasting impression. We cycled from 8am and only in the mornings. We stopped for tea and samosa, then for lunch. The hotels had lovely swimming pools. Swimming in the Indian Ocean waves on the last two days was lovely. None of us had any tummy issues. Joseph always had nice restaurants and the best seats reserved for us.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling with relative ease through the crazy Indian towns. The friendly waves as we cycled along. Seeing the sights, sounds and smells of the Indian culture. Swimming in the hotel pools and Indian Ocean. Coping relatively easily with Indian food. Getting on so well with my group The lovely warm weather.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Joseph was perfect. He was very patient. There were various dietary and other issues for him to cope with. He always told us about the Indian culture and food. He would stop along the road and showed us various fruits growing. The back up crew, Bevan, a young lad at the back and Franglin our driver who never gave way for anyone!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you want to see India and have a relatively gentle cycle ride too, this is absolutely perfect. There is plenty of down time to swim or take it easy. The homestay and houseboat were both an experience. The week just flew by unfortunately. Before I knew it we were saying our farewells and on the flight home.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I wish it had been longer. The week just flew by. Most of the group stayed on longer or went to other resorts which is a good idea.
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