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

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10 Reviews

  • Pleasure & Pain.....

    A great trip that could have been SO much more! My husband & I mostly enjoyed the first half of this trip, chosen especially to see the Day of The Dead celebrations in Mexico. The accommodation was pretty good throughout with some lovely colonial hotels, some with lovely swimming pools. Unfortunately we often arrived far too late in the afternoon, to enjoy those facilities and the next day we were off again on the tour. Very disappointing. Travelling for the whole trip in a minibus (this was mentioned in the trip notes to be fair, but we have never had to endure this in any 7 of our previous Exodus trips, always having had much larger coaches) with no spare seats, unable to be fully comfortable or recline our seats, on some very long journeys (albeit with comfort breaks) spoilt the trip for us. Being in very close quarters with our group for several hours each day, some of whom we felt were selfish & insensitive to the needs of their fellow passengers, was at times, a strain & caused a lot of tension. In retrospect I think the tour could perhaps should be cheaper and split into two separate trips. So that those who wish to experience the Day of the Dead in Oaxaca can and perhaps add on another separate tour with the Yucatan & Mayan pyramids for those that want to experience the history. The first half with maybe more time in Mexico City to experience all that it has to offer. We are no strangers to 'full on' Exodus trips, having been to Peru last year,also China, Russia, Cuba & India twice. However this trip felt exhausting to us, mainly because of the travelling conditions in the minibus, nearly all the road journeys were longer than the 'estimates ' in the trip notes. It was also very unfortunate I was ill in Oaxaca & had to see a doctor for antibiotics and steroids. To be honest we felt that to appreciate the country, more time is need in some of the towns - Merida & Campeche especially.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Personally it was experiencing the Day of the Dead in the evening, with the families in the cemetery. The atmosphere was incredible. To see the decorated shrines and just be there with everyone, was a joy! I loved the skeleton figures everywhere and the rich colours of the marigolds on the altars. Oaxaca was a terrific place to see & feel the celebrations. We also had a great time at Frida Kahlo's house,in Mexico City even thought here were long queues, our guide had prebooked so we got in without too much waiting. I wasn't prepared for the scenery to be so varied either-vast plains,mountains, jungles, forests.... Seeing the Gulf of Mexico just as the sun set was magical! Unfortunately in Oaxaca, we were very disappointed when told by our guide that although printed in the itinerary, we were not going to have lunch with a local family, take part in the parade or go to the family's shrine in the evening. Many of the group wanted to dress up, have their faces painted and really immerse themselves in the experience. In fact that was why we had chosen Exodus, because it offered those things. But it was not to be. Perhaps the trip notes should reflect this in future, so as not to disappoint clients.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Arturo was all things to us all. From being a mine of information about his country's history, culture & religion, he was always willing to go the extra mile - from providing medication when we were ill ( a bad cold struck most of us down during the trip) to providing a fruit plate & bananas for my husband when he suffered an upset stomach and was unable to leave the hotel in Oaxaca for 2 days. Arturo took us to some very good restaurants so we could experience the variety that is Mexican cuisine - despite my dislike for chillies! He was always patient and mostly helpful. We especially had a good time with him in Oaxaca watching the dancing in the square from the restaurant balcony.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    .Be prepared for long journeys - with little in the way of 'enjoyable' food when travelling from place to place! Motorway services & cafes do not cater for gluten free diets - so take snacks with you - cereal bars, small packs of dried fruit & nuts etc. You can buy snacks but the food is very 'plastic'! . Take Mexican pesos with you - although US dollars can be exchanged, you are not always near an ATM or bank. . If you like crafts, Mexico is a wonderland. Make sure you have room in your case especially for souvenirs of the Day of the Dead. We experienced some VERY heavy rain one day but generally the weather is good in October/November - take a brolly/packable waterproof in your rucksack. . Take headphones, iPad/tablet, Kindle, book etc to pass the time on long road journeys.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Everything is as I mentioned in my overview. Mexico is a fascinating country but having had this experience with Exodus I wouldn't go back.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Patricia Arlt

    MEXICO is great !!!!

    My 3rd trip with Exodus and they just keep om getting better !! The itinerary was really diversified and days were all extremely interesting. May was a great time to travel as we missed the rainy spell. Highly recommended!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Quite a few: Archeological sites, cooking course, BIG TREE visit (extra stop bonus), canyon trip, Concote SWIM in sink hole (another extra stop bonus).

    What did you think of your group leader?

    HIGH PRAISE & THANKS!!! Artero was an absolutely fantastic Tour Leader, passionate about his work and devoted to well being and care of his group. Went the extra mile on more than one occasion. Miguel, the Driver, always kind and cautious!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take 100 dollar US Notes. You get better FX rate at the exchanges

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Saving for the next trip !!
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Dennis Jenkins

    Mexico: Mayans, Aztecs and Conquistadores

    This was a very comprehensive tour from Mexico City to the Yucatan Peninsular visiting many amazing archaeological sites, colonial cities, markets, churches and seeing different local products being made. It also gave us the opportunity to sample a wide range of different Mexican foods including a lesson on how to prepare, cook and present a typical Mexican meal. Also interesting to see the varied wildlife and often stunning scenery.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    As always very difficult to highlight just one inspirational moment in such a varied trip but the optional visit to the Sumidero Canyon which also included a visit to the Mayan community of San Juan Chamula, particularly witnessing some of the pre hispanic ritual in the church.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Arturo was excellent in every way. His knowledge of his country, which he obviously loved, was phenomenal and he was always cheerful, enthusiastic and always showed great concern for the welfare of all the group. A first class tour leader!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for long days and some early starts as distances are generally quite large or in the case of some of the mountain roads, quite slow. The trip notes do make this quite clear. I would strongly recommend the optional excursion to the Sumidero Canyon and visit to the local Mayan communities.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Accomodation was generally very good in terms of location and character with some delightful colonial establishments. Although the trip is classified as "Leisurely" and it is entirely optional to climb the pyramids at the pre Hispanic sites, with the early starts, long days and with some of the places visited at medium altitude, I would think the classification should be "Leisurely/Moderate" as the tour is certainly"Full on". Again, this is outlined in the trip notes in which case I would question the "Leisurely" classification. I would also recommend may be extending the trip by staying 2 nights in Campeche rather than just 1 night. Campeche is an interesting city with a calm atmoshere and would give some relaxation after the long drive the day before from Palenque
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Donna Heinle

    Mexico tour

    The title of this tour describes the itinerary. We explored archaeological sites galore, toured historical city centers, visited local artisans, and ate lots of Mexican (and some Mayan) food. The hotels were all comfortable, and the baños mostly had toilet paper and soap. We had opportunities to swim and to visit a cenote.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking into the church at San Juan Chamula with its thousands of candles ablaze.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Arturo was our professor, our concierge, our maitre d'hotel, our friend. It was a pleasure to explore Mexico with him as our guide. He's the best.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The first week of the trip is spent in areas at relatively higher altitude, so the weather was cooler than I expected. With the second week, we hit warm weather. I found my walking sticks helpful for climbing the pyramids at the archaeological sites. Comfortable shoes, of course, are also important.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Michele Jones

    Good introduction to Mexico

    Good introduction to Mexico , combining culture, history and scenery.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Mayan sites

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Arturo was, quite simply, excellent. He has immense empathy, knowledge, good humour and patience. His command of English, including technical archaeological and geological terms, was outstanding. He also looked after me very, very well when I had a slight altercation with a park bench!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would have liked to have had more opportunities for sampling street food and maybe a free day in Oaxaca.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    kathy tuggey

    Super trip exceeding expectations

    Saw so much of Mexico including Day of the Dead Festival. Lots of fantastic scenery, culture and history not to mention food and art. Be prepared for some long days and windy, mountain roads.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Loved swimming in cenotes which was added to the tour as well as Frida Kahlo house and the Mayan sites.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide Arthuro couldn’t do enough for the group and had extensive and humour!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Booked group flight via Washington and on reflection should have booked my own flight either direct or via non US hub. Transfer queues were worse part of holiday!
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Keren Trimnell

    Brilliant trip

    This trip packs a lot in - culture, Mayan sites, eating, seeing local craftsmen at work, and just soaking up the atmosphere in the old Spanish colonial towns. Around and about in Mexico city, beautiful Puebla, San Cristobal and then lots of Mayan sites. The hotels were all good (had one slight problem in one of them but hopefully Exodus can get that sorted out for future trips). There are some long travelling days due to the distances which need to be covered, but it's worth it and a lot of the scenery is just amazing to see.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hahaha - cannot pick just one: climbing the sun pyramid and almost, just almost, making it to the top (vertigo got me); seeing Mayan carvings in an old tomb on top of a hill; some of the restaurants were wonderful; all the Day of the Dead "stuff"; watching the sunset on the seafront; swimming in a Cenote; Teotihuacan; Uxmal; Palenque and Chichen Itze.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Arturo was one of the best tour leaders I've had - from meeting the group at Mexico City airport, with a big smile, he was there for us for the whole time, sorting out any problems, answering millions of questions, and generally making sure everyone was ok. And, that smile never wavered. I'd also like to mention Fernando, our driver. He was brilliant as well.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It's hot and you will get sweaty climbing the pyramids - pack for that. Take a swimming costume - a couple of the hotels have pools which are brilliant for cooling down. I took hiking boots, but didn't wear them, walking sandals were fine for all the sites. I didn't get bitten and didn't use deet, but I did wear long sleeves and I think all the hotels had aircon (units). You can get washing done in Oaxaca (about £1 per item), which might be helpful. A brolly would probably be useful - it did rain a couple of times (the tropical rain that comes down hard, then stops). This trip packs a lot in but there's still a lot more to see and I'll definitely be going back.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is in no way intended to be criticism: Adding a day onto the end of the trip would be good - so that you can go around Chichen Itze and go back to the hotel, get showered, wash hair and change and pack, rather than going straight to the airport and changing there. It would also give people who wanted to an afternoon to go back into Chichen Itze, if they wanted to. Keep the Cenote - we loved it. If you could do something to shorten the long travelling days and maybe add in some minor Mayan sites (but they may be further along the route), that would be good but, then again, I don't think anyone would have wanted to miss the hotels (especially the one in Puebla) - if shortening the days meant changing the hotels. Arturo did make sure we had banos stops and coffee stops and there were nibbles to buy to eat.
  • Reviewed April 2018
    R. Perry

    So much to see!

    Our first Exodus trip, and first time in Mexico. Hugely enjoyed the experience, and saw so much more than we could have managed under our own steam. Nice mixture of ancient sites, colonial history and Mexico today.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Turning around at the top of the pyramid in Cholula to see the sun set behind Popacatepetl - magical!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Arturo was an excellent, knowledgeable and careful guide, who made the whole trip very special.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Keep a daily diary - you see SO much, it is easy to mix up your memories!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I'm looking forward to my next Exodus trip!
  • Reviewed March 2018
    Prue Losada

    Mexico: Mayas, Aztecs & Conquistadores

    This is an epic journey through Mexico to see the ancient sites and to get a flavour of the country, its beautiful colours, its friendly people and its delicious food. Although we spent a lot of time on the road between locations (and some were very windy through the Sierra Madre mountains) we always made stops along the way to visit places of interest, have lunch and plenty of stops for the banjos!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Frida Kahlo's house was somewhere I had looked forward to visiting, and it didn't disappoint. I also loved all the ancient sites, but Palenque was my favourite, due to its setting. Our cooking class in Oaxaca was excellent, ending in a 6 course lunch of all the food we had chosen and helped to prepare. The optional boat trip in the Sumidero Canyon is a must - we had gone early and that meant we were virtually on our own for the outward journey and for stopping to look at the wildlife. Some of the hotels we stayed in were exceptional but sadly at those for only one night. Likewise the restaurants our guide took us to were excellent. The final treat of my holiday was a swim at the cenote (sink hole) on the last morning. Was extremely refreshing on a very hot day and I would definitely recommend it.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Arturo was a fantastic tour guide. Nothing was too much trouble for him, and he looked after us so well and thought of absolutely everything and always had with him anything we might need, from extra water, to suncream, to anti-mosquito repellent to travel sickness pills ahead of what he knew would be a very windy route, for which I was most grateful! He was extremely knowledgeable about the history of everywhere we went; he would always dine with us (apart from a well-deserved couple of nights off) and he was very outgoing and had a great sense of humour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just be prepared for long journeys and for it being chilly some mornings in the high locations before the sun comes up. Take most or all of your money in Mexican pesos. I had too many dollars and was having to change them, which was sometimes a very lengthy process. Some of the smarter restaurants/hotels did accept credit cards.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would suggest to Exodus that they extend the trip to either a 2.5 or 3 week holiday so that you could really enjoy the best hotels/locations and make it a more relaxing holiday. Then setting off VERY early in the morning when heading for the next location would be ideal so that you got to the next destination in daylight and before sunset.
  • Reviewed March 2018
    Phyllis Ryan

    Mexico: Myans, Aztecs & Conquistadors

    An excellent experience. We saw so many Mayan sites, and learned a lot about Mexico's history in general.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The experience of seeing some of the ancient sites, even from as far back as 200-500 years BC. I thoroughly enjoyed roaming around, and climbing up these pyramids.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Arturo was a very good leader. He knew so much about his local history, and passed on his knowledge with humour and a great sense of pride.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for mosquitoes. Although it wasn't Malaria season, I still got bitten. Take a good repellent with you.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No