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

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17897 Reviews

  • Reviewed September 2020

    Superb trip

    You get out of something what you put in, and that is 100% the case for this holiday. The walking was challenging but so rewarding in terms of scenery and atmosphere. The weather was excellent bar one afternoon and the leaders (Paul and Louise) and the other people on the trip made the holiday outstanding. Plus, finally, the fact that you're in Italy - what more could you ask for.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The scenery, stretching for miles all around near the summit of one of the mountains. We stopped as a group for a minute or two, on a rocky 'plain' before the final steepish climb to the top with the sun warmly shining in blue skies and I thought (and said out loud), 'it doesn't get any better than this'.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Paul and Louise were outstanding - knowledgeable, helpful, great sense of humour and highly professional

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There are two levels of walks so don't be worried about whether it will be too hard. You'll be fine.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I've already asked Exodus, 'where to next please?'
  • Reviewed September 2020

    South India Explored

    What a fantastic trip this was! So many highlights -- this is a temple-studded tour, with visits to the most iconic structures in Southern India like the temples at Madurai, Thanjavur, Mahabalipuram, Halebid and Belur....Beautiful natural scenery and drives through several Nature Reserves and along the coast of the Bay of Bengal made even the long "transit" days a delight. The overnight stay on the backwaters houseboat in Alleypey was also magical. The food, especially in the coastal regions, was exquisite. The friendliness and warmth of the locals was also a highlight for me. This is a terrific introduction to Southern India and is a nice companion to the North India Explored trip that Exodus used to run.....

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Wow -- so many.....I was awstruck by the intricacy of the temple architecture, but also sunrise and sunset on the houseboat will take your breath away.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ajay Gupta, usually a northern guide, did an extraordinary job of introducing Southern India and Dravidian culture to us. His warmth, joie de vivre, and keen sense of humour really added to our experience.This was my second trip with Ajay and I was so thrilled!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Come with an open mind and lots of energy. Be curious, try everything, talk to the locals....and enjoy to the max!
  • Reviewed September 2020

    Top trek - Do it !!

    What a great opportunity to escape the C-19 situation in UK & experience the stupendous Dolomites. The Exodus office staff were helpful and supportive in advising what trek was suitable within certain countries, within the time ‘window’ I had, given the different country restrictions.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    ....... to stop, quietly absorb the stupendous views and truly appreciate just how amazing and awe inspiring the Dolomites are.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Karl was a true professional. He was so well informed and bought the landscape to life with his knowledge and stories of the history of the area as well of all the flora, fauna and geology. He had spent time before the group arrived to check everything out in specific relation to the impact of C-19 restrictions & conditions and the effect it would have on the group during our stay. Mindful of the varying ability levels of different group members he was motivational and inspirational, encouraging those where and when needed, yet always with safety first and foremost in his mind. Cheerful and engaging it was a pleasure to be in his company every day.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Always take full advice from ‘What to take’ page.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Hotel Adler was a great base. Very comfortable and great meals. Staff were always cheery and accommodating. Of several ‘1 base’ treks I’ve done this hotel has certainly been the best. To have such a base to return to after a day in the mountains certainly helps relax, chill & recharge for the next day.
  • Reviewed September 2020

    Amazing trip with Sublime scenery

    Wow! Thank you for being consistently brilliant! This is my 4th Exodus trip, and it did not disappoint. From the start, the Hotel Adler was a great base with great food and facilities ( you can never really go wrong with Italian food, and the Austrian influence added nicely to the mix). We had a brilliant guide with Karl, who is not only fun to be around, but very well informed about many things, in an area that is not just a beautiful mountain range, but a WW1 battlefield and part time filmset (think Cliffhanger). I've been very fortunate to go to a number of mountain ranges around the world, including Alaska Range, Himalayas and the Andes - however the Dolomites hold their own and are right up there with the very best. Despite all that has happenned around the world with Covid this year, it's great to know that travel is still travel and that we can still visit these places. Do not change the formula - every day hiking got better and better!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It's hard to narrow down- Tre Cime, Monte Piano, the view from the Strudelkopf. Great fun afterwards retiring to the hotel for post hike drinks, followed by dinner with a great like-minded bunch of hikers.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fantastic all round good man!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you like hiking, just book it and let the scenery unravel.
  • Reviewed July 2020

    Beyond my expectations

    This was a really happy accident. I had wanted to do the Inca Trail, but I booked my trip too late and Exodus put me on the Moonstone Trek instead, which was a ridiculously good piece of fortune. As it turned out I was the only person on the trek - I felt ridiculously pampered. I had a guide, one chef, two porters and our four pack horses. The first day we went to the Moonstone which gives the trek it's name before heading on to the departure site for the trek itself. While climbing up the hills we passed another tourist group coming the other way, but they would be the last tourists I would see until the end of the trek. The scenery as incredible - not the lush forests you might see on the Inca Trail, but an incredible trek through the high pampas. We walked through little settlements where the locals offered us wheat wine (although my guide said it would probably be best not to take them up on it as it can upset your stomach if you aren't used to it). I joined up with the rest of the group in Aguas Calientes at the base of Machu Picchu the night before we all headed up, and I decided to get up early the next morning to get a glorious view over the lost city from the sun gate. It was well worth the early start.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the top of the Accocasa Pass was brilliant and the views were absolutely incredible, while Machu Picchu is everything they say it is. However the best moment for me was camping in the hills above Ollantaytambo with a wonderful view of the nearby peaks and the river valley below the night before the Moonstone Trek ended. Something I'll never forget.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Aside from the trek and Machu Picchu our guide, Smithy, was brilliant. Always willing to help, supremely knowledgeable about the history of the area and gave us some incredible tips for eating out. Fabrizio, my guide on the Moonstone Trek, was fantastic - really knowledgeable and eager to give little insights into the rich history of the area. He was always willing to answer my annoying questions, and very good at keeping my chin up on some of the tougher sections of the trek.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    While the altitude didn't cause me any sickness, I could definitely feel it while walking up the hills, especially on the second and third days of the trek. If you can spend an extra day acclimating to it in Cusco. Hiking poles will be your most valuable ally on the trek, especially on the steeper sections where you are panting out of breathe. Buy a cheap poncho in Cusco - you'll definitely need one if it rains, as there is no shelter while your out on the hike until you get into the tent for lunch and dinner. Plus, suncream and a wide brimmed hat are a must for Machu Picchu, as there is little to no shade, especially in the middle of the day.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Absolutely the trip of a lifetime - I'd recommend this to anybody and everybody.
  • Reviewed July 2020

    Fantastic Trip

    I am a little late in posting a review. We returned from this trip in early March, right when everything started to close down due to Covid-19. I can tell you that the memories of this trip have kept me going while sheltering in place. If you are thinking this might be the trip for you, please know that it is very fast paced with moving from place to place almost every night was quite challenging. The cycling itself was challenging based on one’s fitness level. My husband completed every kilometer, while I did about three-quarters of the cycling. A lot of it depends on the heat, but for a female in my early 50s, I found it very doable. We had the most fabulous guide and crew. I cannot say enough of about our guide Son - he was absolutely amazing - taking care of all the details while we enjoyed ourselves. There are plenty of water/snack stops with fresh fruit and amazing snacks (ginger/nuts/cookies). They take very good care of you.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We loved the other people on this trip. We were two Americans and the rest of the group was from the UK. Great group of people who helped and encouraged each other each step of the way. I laughed until I cried on many occasions and have kept in contact with a number of individuals from the trip. And riding through towns hearing the kids say “hello” and the adults singing karaoke with large speakers is unforgettable.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Son Nguyen was AWESOME. As Covid-19 was present, he was very diligent with cleanliness and offered us hand sanitizer at every opportunity. His motto was “Safety first” and he meant it. He was enthusiastic and was always making sure everyone was okay. He is a top notch guide and you would be very lucky to have him be your tour leader. The support crew was phenomenal - I can’t say enough about their professionalism and friendliness.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack light and prepare for moving almost every night to a different hotel. I think there were three times when we stayed more than one night. Also, don’t feel that you can’t do something. If you don’t want to cycle or you have leg cramps (like happened to me the second day), there is no shame in jumping on the bus. Oh, and get used to finding a place to cop a squat as bathrooms are not always present.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Don’t hesitate to book this trip. You may get lucky with a good group of fellow travelers and don’t hesitate to be adventurous and open minded with food and culture. I don’t know when I will get to travel again due to this pandemic and I am so glad to have the memories of this trip.
  • Reviewed June 2020

    Best holiday ever!

    We were furtunate to get our complete holiday in before the Coronavirus lockdown. There were 14 of us who all got on so well and our tour guide Glenda was fantastic. The places we visited and the wildlife we saw were out of this world, Glenda kept a list of everything and passed it on to us. We not only saw all the flora and fauna of Costa Rica but also learnt a lot about the country as we travelled round - we were impressed how fair the country is and how people are looked after and educated, it could teach our own country's leaders some lessons. Our two drivers - one on the boat and Geraldo on the bus were great too and joined in spotting wildlife to make sure we didnt miss out on anything. Would definitely recommend this trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The early morning trip on the boat as the sun came up and seeing a sloth for the first time

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Words cannot do justice on how great she was. She was with us almost 24/7 making sure we saw everything and were taken care of. She even took us on a walk to see a waterfall on what should have been her rest day. She arranged great places to eat as we all got on so well we chose to eat together. She was very efficient getting us from place to place with what seemed to be no effort at all.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you have a good camera and binoculars as there is so much to see.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The whole trip was great from the flights to the transfers and all the Costa Rican people we came into contact with. We hope that tourism can commence safely soon.
  • Reviewed June 2020

    Wildlife Documentary in Real Time

    Watching snow leopards on a TV in the comfort of your living room may get you close but you cannot feel the environment. By simply being there you can start to feel, appreciate and understand the very essence of the environment they live in and the remarkable way the local population and wildlife interact. 'in Search of the Snow Leopards' is the title of the trip but it is also a trip in search of many things. If ever there was one journey where the multifaceted aspects of geography came together - this is it. The sightings of the snow leopards being the pinnacle.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Simply being there. Drawing the threads together of previous trips to Ladakh. The very first sightings of the snow leopards. The drama of the landscape that provided the backdrop to these sightings. The opportunity to see the snow leopards in a variety of situations from a mating couple, solitary ones and mothers with cubs. The chance to engage with the local people as they openly shared their festivals with us and the sheer entrancement and enjoyment of villagers at the Stok Festival with masked dancers and the Oracles. All the smaller moments that made this trip - Exhilarating' - feeling the cold that draws the snow leopards down to lower altitudes at this time of year. Camping and the early morning calls from the team to muster behind the scopes which is the quickest I have ever crawled out of warm sleeping bag in such cold temperatures. The optional extras that put a real perspective on the challenges of living in such an environment - felt snow leopards from the local villagers - even each one of these having its own character, the ice stupas made by villagers to create a sustainable water supply for crops, winding up the road from Leh in a taxi as opposed to cycling up. The amazing opportunities we had to see so many snow leopards due to the expertise of the spotters. The trek and camp crew who always approach things with their great sense of humour and a smile. They are constantly in the background, and whilst I congratulated myself that I had survived the night in the cold, it is down to the team who make it all happen. Simply being there. Finishing off with high tea at The Imperial!!! They do a lovely scone and provide surreal setting to end the trip.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I have never had a bedtime story of local tales read to the group by the leader in the warmth of the mess tent after a lovely supper - so soporific that snuffles can occasionally be heard from the darker corners!!!! Valerie makes it happen. She encapsulates everything positive about the moment. Everyone has a their own personal reasons for venturing on this specific trip, purely to see snow leopards, to capture the perfect photograph of this elusive creature, to engage with the opportunity to see a wide variety of animals, to go to a place few go to and especially at a perceived 'difficult time of year', to engage with everything the region has to off - the reasons are personal and with Valerie your own personal needs and wants are engaged. Through travelling, living and working with the locals and the environment over several decades you benefit from all that she has done and the understanding she has of the area. All the hard work has been done by Valerie and you can get the best of the area and still feel like you are taking ownership of your own experience. She is dedicated to the multifacted nature of the area. There is an honest openness to share her many years of experience, knowledge, respect and dedication to the region. Valerie allows people to be who they are and goes with ease between being a leader and a friend to ensure everyone is safe and most importantly has a 'trip of a lifetime'.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just do it!!! This very trip kept playing in my mind during the coronavirus lockdown of 2020 and I am so glad that I bit the bullet and booked the last place on this trip. Memories of the sightings, the landscape, the local people, the Exodus crew and fellow travelers kept me company during the months of solitude that followed our return. READ the trip notes and make sure you have all of the essential gear - it is a unique environment and there are challenges re the cold and altitude but by following the advice on the trip notes you will be able to enjoy and engage with every aspect of the trip. Go with an open mind - it is a trip of wildlife, trekking, culture, opportunities that arise that can't be planned for. For example one of the days 'scheduled' to see Leh at the start was 'diverted' to spotting the mating snow leopard couple. Don't understimate the cold - take responsibility for your own warmth and comfort. An excellent sleeping bag is essential and down jacket - there are excellent ones to hire through the trip notes if you don't want to spend loads of money. Weight of luggage on the flight to Leh is limited there are various ways to get over this so look at this before travelling. You don't need a change of clothes for every day but lots of layers. Even though it is cold the sun will burn so protection is essential - sunscreen and sunhat. Footwear suited to the environment is necessary - see trip notes. Enjoy the bedtime stories - sets you up for pleasant dreams!!! Book a porter to help carry your extra equipment - running to see the snow leopards early in the morning meant that those that had heavy camera gear were 'good to go' and spot and take photographs as soon as they got to the spotting platform. Totally trust the team with your phone - they were amazing at getting the shots of the snow leopards using your iphones/camera phone - using the scopes - people at home think I am a wizard with an iphone camera!!! Take advantage of some of the things to do in Leh and Delhi. Hiring a local taxi in Leh took us up into the hills and the local ice stupas. Delhi was the opportunity to take part in a tour run by a street children's charity.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is a region that I have been to a couple of times, but never in winter and again it did not disappoint. The trip is unique in so much as the snow leopards don't appear at this altitude all year round - that is the reason to book it. If you are looking for real sustainable tourism then this is your chance - it is local, determined by the timings of nature and most importantly a chance to experience a Himalayan winter without going to remote extremes. It is a trip of a lifetime but I think I will join the 'cat population' and have nine lives so I can go again and it will still be the trip of a lifetime. Enjoy anticipation of considering going, booking, preparing, participating and most importantly reflecting on your return. It is one trip that will never leave you.
  • 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!
  • Reviewed April 2020

    Fantastic Trip covering large part of Nepal

    Can highly recommend this trip, it was absolutely amazing from start to finish. It provides a fantastic insight into Nepal and you will see a lot in a short space of time, it far exceed my expectations and is worth the money. It is fast paced but a good mix of city/history and cultural introduction of the country to start with in Kathmandu followed by the excellent walking, and finishing in Chitwan before going back to Kathmandu. I agree that Kathmandu was not the highlight and in my view could of easily been missed altogether, or only covered at the end of the trip for half a day, it was very polluted and dirty, the hotel was a good standard for Nepal but not amazing, but fine for a few nights and comfortable. Definitely would recommend flying straight into Pokhara when the airport is open to International carriers in the near future. I could easily have spent more time in Pokhara and Chitwan. The walking was amazing, you do need a good level of fitness there are one or two steep ascents, poles are a good item to bring with you in your kit bag, the porters carry your bags for you as you walk, my recommendation is to pack light for the walking! Lodges were very comfortable and the people very friendly food very god standard and plenty of it! Cold at night but good hot showers and nice bathrooms, I loved that you were delivered a hot water bottle every night. Food in the lodges was amazing and catered for everyone. The walking thought the unspoilt and at times completely isolated parts of the countryside will be something that will stay with me for a long time, that was truly unique and in complete contrast to Kathmandu. We saw hardly any tourists and saw farmers at work and people living in the countryside, it was peaceful and you truly could appreciate this amazing country. Pokhara was fantastic and is an amazing city, with a lot to do, I would definitely go back there. Chitwan Safari was truly unique and the hotel was absolutely outstanding and luxury. A few opportunities in Pokhara, Chitwan and Kathmandu to have massages to ease away the aches of the walking. Our guide Keshar was fantastic, extremely knowledgeable about Nepal, the flora, fauna and history, there was nothing he could of done to make our trip any better. Going in December meant we had very clear views of all the spectacular mountain ranges and I would definitely recommend this time of year, albeit it is cold in the evenings. Each trip I do with exodus just gets better and better!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The walking thought the unspoilt and at times completely isolated parts of the countryside will be something that will stay with me for a long time, that was truly unique and in complete contrast to Kathmandu.