Turtle, Ecuador

Your words, not ours

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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 July 2018
    Paula Jenkins

    Husbands Retirement holiday

    This holiday marked my husbands retirement start although a couple of years late! He had been to Iceland when he was 17 as a venture scout and had said he wanted to go back. We were not disappointed. Iceland is an astonishing place. I ran out of words to describe the totally unlike anything I had ever seen before experience. The terrain was anything between then stark and brutal beauty of a lava plain and to rolling moss covered fairy tale like valleys with gushing waterfalls. The lack of population was obvious. I knew a total a silence which we never know in the UK. Loved it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being near a glacier and icebergs. Very moving.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was informative, funny, competent and reassuring. Had total faith and he made the trip even better.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't expect good weather whatever time of year you go. Going in July we didn't find the wet and cold stopped us doing anything.. Iceland is a good holiday for people who don't want to shop or see 'pretty' traditional beauty. Take enough money to buy something made in Iceland while you are there as they do need tourism £'s for the economy but it is very expensive. Everything is very expensive.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Exodus are a good company to travel with. They bother and the group sizes are small and personal. I found the initial trip when we first arrived at the airport, using Iceland Excursions bus was rather poor and on the return journey became more confusing because the bus ticket system is very confusing. First exodus send you a voucher to exchange for a return bus ticket. The office at the airport didn't know what it was and then when they finally realized what it was, just gave me a pile of tickets/vouchers in red and blue and another two piece of paper with no explanation. To be honest I nearly threw away what was the ticket because that looked like something else and what was a the ticket said it was a voucher for a ticket!. The red and blue tickets say they are tickets but they are NOT!
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Clare Grindrod

    Great walking holiday in beautiful mountains

    Five challenging walks all close to the lakeside base, plus cable car, ferry and steam train rides. Great location, great views.. walks were good length, not too long so had time for a beer,swim,relax afterwards.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the Highest peak in the area from lake level.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Paul was cool,calm and encouraging. Knew lots about the local area, flowers and routes and set a good pace for faster and slower walkers. Time for photos and slower pace at the back without slowing down speedy ones at the front and still making ferry or train schedules. Laid back and relaxing attitude, as a holiday should be!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't be afraid to mix and match groups. No need to stick to level 3 or 5 everyday.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Hotel was lovely with spacious rooms and balconies, near enough to a shop to get supplies. Swim in the lake..it's cold but refreshing. Cycle hire was great on the day off, but so was using free transport with travel card so theres loads to enjoy in this spot.
  • Reviewed July 2018
    david martin

    Comments from Christine and David Martin

    We enjoyed the holiday very much, we had a good insight into the three capital cities and a fiar understanding of how the countyry side worked. The food was much better than expected , we had feared it might mainly be pork and dumplings but it was a good selection of 'western ' and local dishes. The cycling was mainly through forest tracks which do not give many views of the country side but perhaps it is very difficult to design a cycling holiday in a very forested area to include time to stop and look aroun villages . Although the cycling was not technically difficult there were times when it was necessary to keep close to the leader mto avoid getting lost. A back marker would have been very useful and would have been able to cope with any problems (punctures, accidents) as well as ensuring.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    looking around the old towns and being told of the problems which the three countries had faced during the last 100 or so years.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Lina was very personable, knowledgable about the areas we went throuh. She told us in great detail about the histories of the countries, the problems which they faced and, potentailly, still face. She interacted well with all members of the group, ensured that the eveing and lunch time restaurants wer einteresting. It seemsed that the distances which we cycled and were transferred were quite long for the times allocated , we always seemed to be trying to catch up with the schedule. Not sure if that is a problem of the design of the holiday. but loading a nd unloading the bikes takes about one hour

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    be prepared for fairly hectic days
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Carol Penn

    A remarkable trip

    This was a trip full of variety and dramatic scenery, from the surreal Ashgabat, the amazing Darvaza crater, the beautiful mosques and madrasahs of Samarkand and Bukhara to the truly majestic and ever changing scenery of the Kyrgyzstan mountains. Each of the 5 countries had its own unique character. There are some long journeys but they are full of continuing interest with lots of worthwhile stops on route. 99% of the accommodation was very comfortable, spacious and spotlessly clean.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I found the experience of the continuing journey to new and unexpected sites and places the biggest wonder. There was no tourist commercialism at all. One guide in the walnut grove was highly surprised when I said I would buy 3 packets of walnuts!!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The experienced and knowledgable Suzie Grant guided us effortlessly throughout and 3 of the local guides were outstanding.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for ‘4 seasons in 1day’ at Son-Kul lake. Take some warm layers. The stoves in the yurts are not lit until 8.30pm and it is c o l d! That said, it is very comfortable glamping.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A truly remarkable trip. Thank you Exodus.
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Sylvia Ryan

    Transylvanian experience and hospitality at its finest

    I booked this trip primarily to see the bears and enjoy some leisurely walks through the meadows and forests. It exceeded my expectations, mainly due to our guide Thomas, the lovely hosts Herman and Katerina at Villa Hermani and the variety of local experiences from the ride in a horse cart, tea at a hilltop monastery, dinner at a restaurant specialising in game meats, harvesting mushrooms after the rain, and schnapps and cake at a fortified church with an intriguing priest! Transylvania is a beautiful part of the world, still in a time when we were closer to nature where animals are respected and in proximity, shepherds tend the flocks, and the landscape provides a bounty of wildflowers, fruit, hay and mushrooms.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The visit to the Libearty sanctuary, learning of the history and great work they do to return these wild creatures to a semblance of a wild existence they deserve. The story of Maya was very sobering and I'm glad to see I wasn't the only one to shed a tear. Seeing these bears' behaviour compared to the real wild bears from the hide was quite a contrast. I was also pleased to see they had some wolves at the sanctuary - dogs did bark for a short while in the late evening around Magura but the second night I heard distant howling and I want to believe that was some of the wild wolves! Also the bear hide is a must, we spent a good couple of hours viewing well over a dozen bears plus four cubs.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Thomas was a gentleman guide. Literally. Modest, engaging, and genuine. Wealth of knowledge about the history and culture of Transylvania, interested in the experiences and thoughts of the folks in the tour group and always willing to assist. An excellent leader in which you are in no better hands.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Because of the mountainous nature of the region it is hard to gauge the weather more than a couple of hours out and rain can start and stop fairly quickly on a cloudy day. I note from a previous review that they thought the horse cart ride should have been cancelled because it was a rainy day, but in our case it was raining up to when we got to the carts and then it stopped raining. When we finished the ride, the rain started again! The cart ride was a highlight for me and I would have enjoyed it even if it continued raining. I would also say bring more than two pairs of shoes as it does take a couple of days to dry a pair after a rainy day. And yes bring cash to cover the extras (bear hide was 210 lei and wifi access about 25 lei).

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Roll with it and find enjoyment in things that are small or simple. Don't worry too much about getting wet, possible familiarity or monotony or the basic nature of some amenities. One review stated Bucegi mountain was like Dartmore; I've never been there but I reckon it's not 2500m altitude with a gorgeous view of a Transylvanian valley. The simplest things were often the best moments: a yellow spotted salamander in the rain; barley for breakfast; a deer darting in the distance; a vivid pink wildflower; the sharpening of a scythe; a fluffy puppy; a large parasol mushroom ripe for harvest; a herd of donkeys approach while bird watching; drinks at the local "bar" on the side of a meadow hill with Benno the dog watching over us. Brilliant.
  • Reviewed July 2018

    Good Trip

    This trip was very good, when you are doing the activities it's great fun and a beautiful country for being outdoors. The group was excellent (they always seem to be, don't know why I worry before going) as was the group leader and also the hotel staff and owner. The reason I've scored it 4 out of 5, was I'm really activity and once you have done your morning activity the rest of the afternoon is free. There is little in the surrounding area to do and I found myself going for walks and mainly getting lost. Would have just like a bit more action.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The best part of the trip was doing the paragliding, it was an extra 130 euros but worth every penny. If you haven't done it before I would recommend doing it. The views are amazing when you are above 1000 meters and if you get a decent pilot, he will do a crazy spin near the end and you get to feel some G - Force.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader isn't with you all the time and the company Exodus use is called Positive Sports. However having said that 'Tallon' our lead was very good, you could tell he's spent all his life of the water, and when doing those activities felt very safe.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take extra money to do additional activities (especially the paragliding) and either books to read or some walking boots. There is one whole day which is free, before going look online to see if there is anything to do near by else it could be a long day (the hotel closes on that day).

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Great holiday, really glad I went and would recommend it as Exodus are excellent
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Sarah Coupland

    "Why do you want to go there?"

    When I told people I was going to three of the 'Stans', their question was always why ? To be honest, I wasn't sure myself until I'd been, but they are very different countries, not subject to mass tourism, with different cultures, lovely people and a joy to explore.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    My personal highlights were, the mausoleums at Shakhi Zinda, talking to the students learning English in Registan square and Bukhara - all in Uzbebikistan. However, being allowed to hold the eagle hunter's Golden Eagle in Kyrgyzstan was an honour.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had two group leaders In Uzbekistan, Dilshod was confident and highly knowledgeable and he would tell us interesting stories of his personal life growing up in Uzbekistan under Soviet rule. He provided advice daily and was always checking everything was OK. In Kazakhstan and Kyrgzystan, Ermek was equally engaging but with a quieter manner. He enjoyed imparting knowledge of his home country, Kyrgzystan, and keen to learn and join in with our English sense of humour. Alexi, our driver in Kazakhstan and Kyrgzystan, was amazing, fixing the coach when we broke down.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure your dollars are clean, any marked or slight tears and the money exchange will not accept them. There are ATM's available (for top ups) for example at the Hotel Asia in Bukkhara and the Kass Hotel in Almaty. (Tip: If you do happen to stay in the Kass Hotel, get your picnic lunch from the deli which is 2 minutes walk, turn right at the main road) As a rough guide, I spent $85 in Uzbekistan, $60 Kazakstan (drinks at hotel were a bit more expensive), $100 in Kyrgzystan plus dollars for tips for the guides and drivers For the yurt stay - if you drink, make sure you buy alcohol to take with you as they don't sell it! Also, we were a group of 14 and they were able to mostly put the couples together (rather than the gender separation mentioned in the notes). We went in early June and it rained and was a bit cold in the evening, so pack a waterproof and a fleece (just in case) At the home stay meal in Karakol - buy your wine at the house (cheaper than the Green Yard Hotel prices) - but breakfast at the Green Yard is amazing! The food was better than I had anticipated, I ate lots of salads, kebabs and pasta. Meals are not expensive and the vodka and beer are cheap. Shopping is best in Bukhara with some free time for exploring. Would recommend The Old Bukhara and Minzifa restaurants in Bukhara Ladies, make sure you take a scarf for your head/shoulders, but respectable shorts and t shirts were fine for the most part, with only a few places where knees needed to be covered as well.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Why do you want to go to the Stans? Because they are different, the architecture and history of Uzbekistan is amazing and the scenery of Kyrgyzstan is beautiful. Neither will disappoint,
  • Reviewed July 2018
    ANTHONY HAYTER

    wild costa rica

    my wife and i had a most wonderfull 13 days explloring costa rica on this trip if you like an adventure then this is for you only be prepaired for long days and short nights .fabulous scenery and abundant birds including the resplendent quetzal capuchin spider and howler monkeys plus many sightings of sloths.please if you go take good waterproof clothing and footware .If you go on this trip try and book when johnny villalobos is the guide he is outstanding full of knowledge of the birds and the country of which he is very proud happy exploring

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    being awakened by howler monkeys which were above our lodge at luna only downside it was 4 in the morning

    What did you think of your group leader?

    he was outstanding we can see how he won best guide last year full of knowledge and very laid back nothing seems to faze him 10-10 top marks

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    go prepaired for rain with good footware and waterproofs

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    happy to go back again for a longer trip and perhaps go futher into the rain forest but understand would be more expensive
  • Reviewed July 2018
    ANTHONY HAYTER

    wild costa rica

    my wife and i had a most wonderfull 13 days explloring costa rica on this trip if you like an adventure then this is for you only be prepaired for long days and short nights .fabulous scenery and abundant birds including the resplendent quetzal capuchin spider and howler monkeys plus many sightings of sloths.please if you go take good waterproof clothing and footware .If you go on this trip try and book when johnny villalobos is the guide he is outstanding full of knowledge of the birds and the country of which he is very proud happy exploring

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    being awakened by howler monkeys which were above our lodge at luna only downside it was 4 in the morning

    What did you think of your group leader?

    he was outstanding we can see how he won best guide last year full of knowledge and very laid back nothing seems to faze him 10-10 top marks

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    go prepaired for rain with good footware and waterproofs

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    happy to go back again for a longer trip and perhaps go futher into the rain forest but understand would be more expensive
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Rachel Pierce

    Perfect holiday!

    Wow, what can I say? This holiday exceeded my expectations in every way - the walks were varied and interesting, the weather was amazing and our hosts Sarah and Rich at Chalet Chamonix were brilliant, providing us with gourmet international cuisine every evening and gorgeous cakes in the afternoons after our walks. The scenery and views were stunning - I was in awe of the scale of everything compared to our English Lake District mountains. The days weren't as long as I was expecting - we had plenty of stops for refreshments and time to go into the lovely town of Chamonix.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The jaw dropping views on all the walks, but especially from the top of the Aiguille du Midi, being so high up and close to Mont Blanc and looking down over the Chamonix valley.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Mark was an excellent leader - organised, informative, knowledgeable and good company. He catered for the needs of all abilities in the group and entertained us with his 'true stories'.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    As a regular fell walker I found the walks easier than I'd expected and the short stretches of via ferrata completely manageable (none of the days contained anything worse than I'd encountered in the Lake District). I'd had concerns before the trip as I'm ok with heights but not exposure - happily I managed everything I came across without worry. However, the walks shouldn't be underestimated if you're unfit or unused to regular walking - they are tough ascents and descents, often on rough and loose ground.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The Aiguille du Midi is a must on the free day - and Step into the Void is a once in a lifetime experience (head straight there when you arrive as we queued for 45 mins). The walk along the Grand Balcon Nord from the Plan de l'Aguille mid station to Montenvers via Signal Forbes is excellent.
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