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Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

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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Reviews

Trip optional extras

You have already seen that this is an excellent trip with a wide range of experiences that allow a real immersion in the local cultures. I will, therefore focus below on the optional elements of the excursion.

Most Inspirational Moment

Varanasi; seeing the devotees on the ghats alongside the Ganges was fascinating and moving. We were particularly lucky because our guide, Jatin, took us to view the evening Aarti ceremony from the river, which was not part of the advertised itinerary.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Jatin was excellent. Always willing to accommodate the group, quick to respond to unexpected situations and a calm hand on the tiller throughout. He was knowledgeable about the sites we visited, warm in his interactions and reassuringly professional.

Advice for Potential Travellers

We would highly recommend the trekking extension. The suggestion that it is suitable for weekend walkers might be a little misleading as the trails consist of steep, long climbs and ascents on rough stone steps. That said, the distances are relatively short and the pace gentle. The experience of seeing the mountains and experiencing something of village life more than made up for the effort required, and the teahouses were great fun. Do it if you can. On the other hand, it's difficult to recommend the Everest flight. I was hoping for epic views and photographs and took a wide lens to take on the hoped-for immensity of the Himalayas. In the event, the flight path was distant from the mountains and I was glad of a long lens to make them look closer. Even then, the windows were small, dirty and misty and the shots I took were disappointing. I do appreciate that some find the experience a highlight, but for me, the trek gave a much better sense of the Himalayas. We found a trip to the Monkey Temple later in the day to be far more worthwhile and considerably less expensive.

VISA and road conditions

India – Visa – until India changes the visa process for UK citzens to that of the rest of the world – DO NOT GO – problems wrong details delays and excessive costs – Indian government obviously does not want British Tourists. Our trip was due to have 12 people only 6 managed to get the visa in time. If the indian Government says they fixed it do not believe it, there should be no difference in the visa application to that of the rest of the Europe, America Australia etc Nepal – if your trip involves a lot of long drives – do not go, as the country has excessive road works going on at the moment, understandable given earthquake damages – a 200km journey took 10 hours – we had 3 journeys which each took most of the day to travel which eats into the holiday. I suggest waiting 3 years at least till the works substantially finished Taj Mahal and Everest are both stunning – but really not worth the hassel till they fix the visa situation and the roads

Most Inspirational Moment

Taj Mahal is as beautiful as imagined - and only things you notice when you actually see it in person. In a different way everest is just as beautiful

Advice for Potential Travellers

India - Visa - until India changes the visa process for UK citzens to that of the rest of the world - DO NOT GO - problems wrong details delays and excessive costs - Indian government obviously does not want British Tourists. Our trip was due to have 12 people only 6 managed to get the visa in time. If the indian Government says they fixed it do not believe it, there should be no difference in the visa application to that of the rest of the Europe, America Australia etc Nepal - if your trip involves a lot of long drives - do not go, as the country has excessive road works going on at the moment, understandable given earthquake damages - a 200km journey took 10 hours - we had 3 journeys which each took most of the day to travel which eats into the holiday. I suggest waiting 3 years at least till the works substantially finished

Suggestions

there was 7 visits to art and craft shops during the trip and they dont try and sell you things!

Sunrises and surprises

This trip was a whirlwind from start to finish. Such amazing sights sounds and experiences. The contrast between historical Forts, spiritual sights, wildlife and natural wonders was amazing. The travel however was challenging at times.

Most Inspirational Moment

How do you pick one when comparing the sunrises, so mny sunrises; over the Taj Mahal, the Ganges at Varanasi, white rhinos in the wild, Lumbini, The Annapurnas , or a flight over Everest. I have never done so many things before breakfast!

Thoughts on Group Leader

We have come to expect great things of Exodus tour leaders and Jatin was no exception. He was punctual, knowledgeable, and sensitive to the needs of every traveller. He was challenged by many changes in the trip since it was last undertaken pre-covid and he provided a professionally and positive response to each one.

Advice for Potential Travellers

The road-building challenges were very difficult at times. We spent many more hours travelling because of slow moving traffic and the endless landslides and potholes. This led to many bruises, headaches and backache! It also left some travellers with coughs and sore throats because of the dusty conditions. I would have delayed the trip for several more years had l known the extent of the upheaval and disruption. The trip was amazing but the travel did detract from the experience at times.

Suggestions

Given the road conditions l would like to extend a huge thankyou to the drivers along our journey. Skillful and determinedly navigating the diggers, aggregate and cows!

Wonderful trip - do it!

A brilliant trip capturing all the chaos, filth, colour and magic of India & Nepal . The memories are too many to detail but will last a lifetime.
Personally I loved every day- I stayed healthy throughout sticking to a vegetarian diet and using loads of anti bacterial hand gel. The food was delicious & i am sure I’ve put on a few pounds.
The group was also great – a perfect mix of solo travellers and couples and we all got on very well.
The organisation behind the scenes by exodus was excellent – our guide in india and first part of Nepal, Jatin was always calm, reassuring & charming. The travel involved some changes due to road closures and a train cancellation but jatin always did his best to rearrange schedules & keep us informed. We covered long distances so there are some long days being jolted around in the bus so be prepared, but the good humour of the group, amazing scenery and a few snacks helped pass the time. I found it helpful to download some music or I player podcasts to listen to en route. Also a blow up pillow and big scarf or blanket for when the air con made it chilly.

Most Inspirational Moment

The early morning walk to the holy river Ganga at Varanasi . The sights, smells, sounds, colour & sheer numbers of devoted Hindus was more magical than anything I have ever seen.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Jatin was excellent all round - efficient, thoughtful, calming and warm towards us all. I could not fault him & highly recommend him.

Advice for Potential Travellers

See above... re bus journeys & taking lots of anti- bacterial hand gel. Drink lots of water - it really helps you stay well & avoid dehydration

Suggestions

This trip is described as leisurely - it’s certainly not physically demanding, but the long days travelling chaotic roads & early starts do make it quite strenuous! So be prepared.

What an amazing journey!

An amazing and enlightening journey with a great group of people. We saw both city and countrywide and visited many incredible landmarks along the way. We learnt lots about India it’s religion and culture. Lead by the most caring and considerate guide.

Most Inspirational Moment

Sunrise over the Annapurna Mountains and paragliding from Sunrise Peak.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Jatin was wonderful, preparing us for each part of the trip by explaining what should/ might happen and what we should do. He looked after the whole group so well and made the trip stress free.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Go with an open mind. Be prepared for a lot of travelling. Take plenty of listening material for the time on the coach, the roads are too bumpy for reading and you can watch India go by while you listen. Noise cancelling headphones are a bonus.

Suggestions

Well done Exodus the trip far exceeded our expectations!

Great, varied trip

Concise itinerary of some key sights in Northern India and Nepal. Varied sights covering important Moghal, Buddhist, Hindu sites, mixed with wildlife, rural landscapes, lakeside resort and Himalayan vistas.
Good pace, not too rushed, not too many bus trips, chance to experience overnight rail journey. Good standard of hotels, good breakfasts with local and Western choices. Trip was considerably enhanced by having Mayank as our leader.

Most Inspirational Moment

Seeing Varanasi in all it's intensity ; driving through rural Bihar and seeing all village life on the road, the paranama of Everest on a mountain flight ; the energy of Kathmandu, great end to the trip

Thoughts on Group Leader

Mayank was outstanding : incredable knowledge, good communicator, ever helpful, always going the 'extra mile' to solve problems, and good company at meal times with an easy, natural manner.

Advice for Potential Travellers

India is an assault on your senses - come with an open mind and flexible attitude, it will grip you like no other country. Nepal is more chilled, nice contrast to India but people and mountains will want you to return.

Suggestions

Ask for Mayank

Excellent jam-packed adventure

After a fair amount of research into which trip/company to select, I opted for this one. I opted for this trip for a few reasons – I’d previously done another excellent trip with Exodus, only 1 overnight train (just enough!), the itinerary sounded fascinating with some different places included to other similar tours. I was extremely pleased with my choice – an adventure from start to finish, amazing places, loads learned, a fabulous group and a brilliant tour leader.

Most Inspirational Moment

So many to mention - a true sensory experience. Varanasi was a huge highlight - people watching, the Ganges, the Ghats and the various ceremonies we saw - including beautiful weddings. The mountain scenery in Nepal was breathtaking - including the drives to get to Pokhara and Kathmandu, the Pokhara paragliding experience and Everest flight from Kathmandu. The Pashupatinath complex and Bodnath temple in Kathmandu. Learning about the Hindu and Buddhist history, beliefs and traditions was fascinating (including the Bodhgaya stay and day trips). Finally, our 13 strong group and Jatin were very special people to share this experience and adventure with.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Jatin was absolutely brilliant - this would have been a tough and complex trip to manage and Jatin worked tirelessly to make sure everything came together, that we were all safe and well, and that we had a brilliant time. Whether someone needed meds, first aid, money, recovery of a misplaced/lost/left-behind item, souvenirs ... Jatin was always on hand and happy to help (he even rolled his sleeves up to help fix the bus!). Jatin's knowledge and experience was superb, he cared and his happy nature made us smile. A huge credit to Exodus.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Bring plenty of hand sanitiser (and use it regularly!), drink loads of water, bring an open-mind and be prepared to go with the flow. This is a really fun adventure trip - there are some early morning starts (for activities or to travel), rough and bumpy roads, long days, squat toilets and often facilities which might not meet our usual standards - go with it, it's really worth it. The long travel days weren't so bad as the views and outside life was fascinating to watch. Try and carry some snacks to keep the energy levels going - Jatin and the drivers often stopped at street vendors to get us fruit or other snacks during the day. During the long journeys, we stopped every couple of hours for a leg stretch, cuppa and a loo break. We were always told to shout if anyone needed an earlier stop. We encountered an unscheduled 6 hr delay, due to protests, on the morning train to Varanasi and many of us were very grateful for saving some our breakfast box leftovers which kept us going. The overnight train was an adventure. We made sure we had a good feed at lunchtime and we stopped off at the shop for some snacks. I carried a lightweight sleeping bag liner for the overnight train - I used it because I carried it, but the bedding provided seemed clean enough to use without the liner. However, it did get a little chilly during the night so the extra layer was welcomed. One thing I wished I'd packed was some cards or small games, but we made our own fun in the end. US $ are very useful to carry - crisp and un-torn notes. Indian rupees can be carried into and used in Nepal. Don't overpack - hotel laundry facilities were cheap and good, and best used on 2 night stays. I used the hotel laundry facilities in Bodhgaya and Varanasi. Bodhgaya was slightly cheaper, but neither expensive at all. Get over the cappuccino love! Mainly instant coffee all the way until Pokhara - but the Masala Chai is a good substitute.

Suggestions

This is a superb trip for an India first-timer or someone wanting to get a taster of Nepal and North India- It gives a taste of so much - people, ways of life, forts, palaces, mountains, countryside, nature, temples, Hindu and Buddhist insights/learning, trains, roads etc. The trip visits many UNESCO world heritage sites. It requires a bit of stamina (for the travelling days and early starts). Both India and Nepal are challenging and daunting countries and this trip made the experience do-able, straighforward and easy.

Delhi to Kathmandu

This was a great trip which involved a lot of travelling ( by bus, train, jeep and boat) but with the reward of visiting some beautiful and historical places and having some wonderful experiences. The travelling times for our group were often longer than suggested in the trip notes but this was because at the time of our travel there was some major road construction occurring. However the long bus trips did give one an opportunity to observe the countryside, the Indian and Nepalese cultures and ways of life as one passed through towns and villages. There was also the opportunity for the odd nap as there were quite a few early morning starts. Also this gave an opportunity to read up on, or reflect on the places visited as the trip moves quickly across India and into Nepal.

Most Inspirational Moment

For me the inspirational moments of the trip were visiting the Taj Mahal, getting close to the Indian one horned rhino in Chitwan national park and the flight to Everest . The Taj Mahal is such an iconic building and to have experienced its beauty and atmosphere at sunrise was inspiring. Our group were so lucky at Chitwan ...we saw about 10 rhino with 7 being distant viewings but 3 were really close to the jeeps. Being a keen photographer of animals this really made my trip !!! Am still wondering how Gaj our " all things can be sorted" guide managed to arrange that !!! Seeing Everest and the Himalayas above the clouds..... not to be missed.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Gaj was our fantastic leader who looked out for our safety but also ensured that we had a good time. He frequently asked us if our tummies were in order... "because if your tummy isn't in the right place your head isn't going to be in the right place". For the majority, tummies were in the right place for the whole trip and I am sure that this was partly owing to the fact that Gaj knew where to take us to eat. A guide is always worth his money for giving good advice to avoid unhappy occurrences and then if they occur being able to sort things out . Gaj always gave us good tips on things to do or not to do and always knew where we could change money, find a chemist, procure a chain and lock for your suitcase or get passport photos done . Besides all the practical stuff Gaj told us lots about the history and culture of his country and answered all our questions enthusiastically.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Be prepared for the long drives.. its what you have to do to visit places where some roads are not great. The Nepalese immigration insist on pristine US dollar notes ( no markings and flat) for your visa.

Suggestions

Its not a rest .. its an experience.....but a great one !!!

Delhi to Kathmandu

A fantastic adventure from start to finish. India was hot, dirty, crowded and chaotic. It was a riot of colour, noise and amazing photo opportunities! Nepal was slightly less chaotic and provided a wonderful contrast to the madness.

Most Inspirational Moment

Both morning and evening trips on the Ganges were incredible. Not for the faint-hearted, we watched cremations on the banks of the river. We loved Chitwan even though we didn't see the elusive tiger. We went paragliding in Pokhara which was great fun.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Ronit was a great leader. We were a very small group, just four of us and Ronit. We got on extremely well and Ronit just made everything easy. He was knowledgable, informative and fun. He made navigating the chaos easy, getting us on to the train for our overnight trip, getting us tuktuks and rickshaws and adding his own experiences that he thought we would enjoy such as taking us to the Sikh temple in Delhi where we made roti, stopping at the brick factory, walking over a suspension bridge on the way to Pokhara and taking us to eat street food at a stall in Agra.

Advice for Potential Travellers

This is not a relaxing holiday. It is an adventure. Be prepared for long journeys on terrible roads. There is always something to see but you will spent a lot of time on the road. There are also some early starts. The standard of driving, generally, is not great. It was particularly dusty in Kathmandu. Some of the hotels are quite basic. Be prepared for sights you would not see in the UK. Embrace the chaos and you will have an amazing time!

Suggestions

I would highly recommend this trip. It was well organised from start to finish. Excellent!

Delhi to Kathmandu

Very enjoyable experiences.

Most Inspirational Moment

I enjoyed all that we saw and did. We visited a school on request to give pens and paper. Thought seeing sun rise on the Ganges and sending a light down the river very moving. Loved staying at Chitsan another chances to flot on the water and seeing all the animals. Didn't see the tigers though.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Gajraj was very good with information and helped us to understand his country. He was full of fun to that helped us all to get on together. Pleased that he fixed for us to visit a school.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Water in Nepal is readily available no need for water purifying stuff. Lot of dust a face mask is a good idea to have if you suffer with a bad chest.

Suggestions

Loved all the things we saw and did.