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
    Virginia Morris

    A cycle trip to remember

    This amazing trip has earnt its place as one of the top Exodus cycling adventures. In a fortnight you cover the whole country by bike, bus and train. We combined this trip with the Indochina and Angkor Wat trip so had already cycled from Bangkok to Saigon in the previous fortnight and were acclimatised to the time zone, heat and general chaos of the streets of south east Asia. its a shock to share the roads with so many motorbikes, cars, trucks and people but somehow everyone finds their place. Don't do this trip if you don't like traffic and are looking for peace and tranquillity. We had only a few cycling days through country backwaters but these were outstanding in their beauty. Mostly we cycled busy roads and at a pace which didn't allow for much contemplation. It's a fascinating itinerary with some fabulous stops along the way such as Whale Island, Hoi-An and Halong Bay. I recommend a few extra days in Saigon at the start and also Hanoi at the end as there is much to see and do in both cities. The bikes are mountain bikes so the mileage can seem long at times and the hills tough. That said, I never felt tempted by the bus until the very last day which I skipped to enjoy sightseeing in Hue without sweat. The hotels are all first class and the accommodation on Whale Island and Halong Bay very charming. The overnight train is an 'experience'. Food is fabulous of course and the cycle snacks really amazing especially the home made lemonade. No need to bring anything extra except maybe a bag of muesli (I am a gluten free person and was very well provided for with rice cakes, nuts and fruit at every stop). Our leader was enthusiastic, knowledgeable and great fun. He did push the pace above that stated in the trip notes but we all coped and enjoyed the challenges of the passes and the 'undulating' landscape. The history of Vietnam is gruesome and complex. Meeting the people now and seeing the progress is inspirational. Our photos are awesome and we are looking forward to booking our next adventure. Many thanks Exodus and Tri our leader, for this fabulous cycling holiday. We totally recommend putting the 2 trips together if you have the time and funds available. It's totally worth it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to the top of the high pass and then sailing down the other side

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fantastic

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    No need to bring snacks along. Leave space in your suitcase for shopping. Think about getting a tailor made item or two in Hoi An.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Virginia Morris

    Wonderful contrasting country cycling

    This tour gives a great overview of the 3 countries visited with differing food, landscapes and people. Our group was small (only 9: Brits and Americans) which gave us a very close bonding time together and our leader 'Is' was outstanding in her warmth, compassion and sense of humour. The pace was faster than expected and yet although we cycled further than I have experience of, it was completely manageable and I was never tempted to get on the bus. It's hot and sweaty but virtually flat the whole way. There is more traffic and car fumes than anticipated and it felt a bit risky at times, but 'Is' had her eye on us the whole time with help from the crew. The food is wonderful and as a gluten free vegetable lover I was in heaven. There really is no need to bring anything extra except perhaps a bag of muesli. The cycle snacks are never ending and delicious. Culturally, we were indulged in many new tastes, sights and sounds from spiders, silk worms, frogs, rats and snakes to be eaten in the local markets to fabulous home cooking in the home stay. We toured Angkor Wat in its splendours over 3 days and enjoyed the boat ride in Cambodia and the homestay in Vietnam. Entering Vietnam, we experienced the New Year celebrations in a riot of colourful flowers and local costumes and decorations as well as some evening shows. We enjoyed every aspect of the trip and followed straight on to the Exodus Cycle Vietnam trip. This was totally manageable and I recommend it as a way of enhancing the experience if you can manage that amount of time and expenditure (see my review for that trip too). We loved the time spent in Saigon and also had a few extra days in Bangkok at the start to acclimatise to the time zone difference and the weather. The hotels along the way can be basic but all are clean and comfortable and most have swimming pools. Laundry is easy to do. Leave space in your suitcase for shopping. There are lots of possibilities along the way for cheap and colourful clothing, crafts and food items. The history of war can be hard to digest and the visits in Pnom Penh quite devastating. But we were taken for lunch to a community restaurant project rehabilitating street children, which was so uplifting that we could see how the people have moved forward from their dark history with quiet hope, endurance and humility. We have so many great photos and memories but are already thinking about where to go on our next adventure. A big thanks to 'Is' and Exodus for this great holiday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hearing about the Cambodia history and seeing how the people have forgiven though not forgotten all their strife.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fantastic in every way

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    No need to take snacks along. Don't take too much clothing and leave space in your suitcase.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Highly recommended
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Jeremy Burns

    Costa Rica birding departure

    Good for bird watchers Excellent professional guide and comfortable air-conditioned coach Costa Ricans friendly nice people Good opportunities to ride on boats and walk in unspoilt rain forest and swim from beautiful Pacific beaches Drawbacks are lots of long coach journeys on slow roads and many of the places visited are crowded with coaches and tourists. Also hotel food is nothing to write home about except at savegre where it is excellent Don't bother with night walk and suspension bridges at Monteverdi which are poor value in my opinion. Costa Rica also very expensive even for basics like bread or fruit . I found it hard to understand how the poor local population could afford to live at these prices

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Visiting tortuguero

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent very knowledgeable pleasant hard working and considerate... Guillermo Gomez is his name

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take colones or pay by Visa card. If you are British and buy US dollars to take with you, you then end up converting dollars to colones at a poor local rate and lose out twice on the currency conversion If you are elderly you may find the high altitudes at Monteverdi and at savegre a problem. My 82 year old mother for example managed most of the rest of the trip ok but became ill in the high country Good binoculars and camera a must for the birding departure
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Tim Shaw

    Snowshoeing in the sun

    The amazing weather meant that snow was fast disappearing, but our leader, Miguel, still found some excellent routes. There were some enjoyable snowshoeing challenges, and outstanding views of distant peaks. Miguel also shared his passion for Catalonia and its history,food and wine.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The reward of fabulous views after a hard traverse uphill to Creu de l’Eixol.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very good. Flexible in choosing appropriate routes for the group members.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Anne Farrow

    Title is appropriate

    Had great week in Bolquere. Lovely group and lots of snow and sunshine. Varied routes each day and really good food at our mountain stops. Hotel small and friendly and delicious 4 courses every night. Every detail of the trip taken care of by Bob our guide. As an improver, I think I did meet most of the challenges - only took my skiis off once on the last day! I didn’t hear another English voice all week which is a big plus.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The third day after it snowed and we skiied to an isolated mountain refuge. For me, the skiing was much easier in the fresh snow and the scenery was beautiful.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The village is very small. Take some reading materials.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I liked this trip because we were surrounded by locals - not an English voice to be heard. The village is tiny so do not expect any cafes or bars.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Jim Watson

    Fantastic two weeks. I could have stayed longer!

    This was my fifth trip to Dobbiaco, the first as an absolute beginner. The trip was as enjoyable as my first. The first week was grade 3/4. The second was grade 2/3. A hard first week with long days. The second week was more relaxed with more time for a hot chocolate and a sauna on returning to the hotel.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Skiing down the Kreuzburg Pass. A really interesting 5k snowplough.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Liz and Ingrid were both excellent as usual. A great combination of providing instruction at an appropriate level and good encouragement. They looked after the health and safety of the groups while at the same time encouraging the participants to stretch themselves. They are both relaxed and sociable: They are good to be around.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go for it! Dobbiaco is the ideal location for beginners with the Arena complex the ideal location to begin skiing safely. More advanced skiers can stretch themselves to their full ability in a variety of different locations. If you can manage go for two weeks. You will want to stay for longer as you become immersed in the culture of the area. Make sure you go for a hot chocolate in the cafe across the road from the hotel. My favourites were the white and the chilli versions.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The hotel is excellent with a fantastic spa. The hotel staff are relaxed, friendly and efficient. They even provided good porridge at breakfast! Perfect for a Scotsman.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Robert Earnshaw

    Mt Toubkal Winter Climb

    Really great trip. All the other people in the group were lovely. Scenery and food fantasic. Mountain accomodation basic but more than adequate. Toilets could be better though.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Both main mountain days

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Well organised and concerned for our safety.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get some ice axe and crampon training and practice before the trip.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Robert Earnshaw

    Mt Toubkal Winter Climb

    Really great trip. All the other people in the group were lovely. Scenery and food fantasic. Mountain accomodation basic but more than adequate. Toilets could be better though.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Both main mountain days

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Well organised and concerned for our safety.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get some ice axe and crampon training and practice before the trip.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Robert Earnshaw

    Mt Toubkal Winter Climb

    Really great trip. All the other people in the group were lovely. Scenery and food fantasic. Mountain accomodation basic but more than adequate. Toilets could be better though.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Both main mountain days

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Well organised and concerned for our safety.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get some ice axe and crampon training and practice before the trip.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Richard Christian

    Not as expected

    Having previously been on trips snowshoeing in winter in Finland and trekking in the French Pyrenees during the summer months, I had an expectation of a snow filled adventure on this holiday. Unfortunately we were unlucky to have no snow! On another trip, blue sky and sunshine would have been great but it was not what we were expecting. To be fair, Miguel our guide did take the group snowshoeing on some ski resort pistes during the week and on the final day, after a bit of a drive, led us on a memorable trek through pine forests up to spectacular mountain views. The Hotel Victor was nice, clean , comfortable with very friendly staff. The breakfasts were very good and there was a good choice of three courses for dinner in the evening.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The best part of the trip was on the final day when we trekked through pine forests to a mountain refuge and the onwards up to a view point to see magnificent views on the distant peaks. The trip to the village of Sort to visit the jail where Allied Pilots etc escaped over the Pyrenees from France during WW2 was a moment for reflection.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Miguel is a very enthusiastic, knowledgeable guide. He was very organised and we always felt that we were safe and in good hands. He is very passionate about the Catalan people and his evening talks about the history of the region, way of life and flora and fauna were very interesting. He has a great sense of humour and the evening routine of translating the menu for the next days dinner from Catalan to English was always a good laugh. There is no doubt that his humour made up for the lack of snow.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do check a reliable site for the weather forecast for your trip and take the appropriate gear. Miguel will asses the fitness of the group on the first day and he will adapt the following hikes accordingly. Be honest with him if you find the first day hard. Our group of 8 were all experienced hikers and our treks were in the challenging range.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Exodus can't control the weather so do check and be prepared for unexpected conditions. The area is full of trails with beautiful views.
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