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Turtle, Ecuador

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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.

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 October 2018
    Theresa Dietrich

    A spectacular bike trip with incredible attention to detail

    Everything about this trip exceeded my expectations. The Douro Valley trip itself was great -- challenging enough without killing us but always with the option to make it more challenging. The views of the countryside and the valley were magnificent -- and we were lucky to have amazing weather. The organization of the trip was perfect. Everything happened exactly as it was supposed to -- all the meeting up and transport to different locations. The hotels selected were great as was the food. The GPS that was given to us for the route worked perfectly making it nearly impossible to get lost or off course -- unless you wanted this to happen. Overall I would highly recommend this trip to anyone who loves to cycle and is prepared to do some hills along the way.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The views of the Douro Valley itself -- when we were riding downhill for hours getting down to the river at the bottom of the valley.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    No leader -- it was self directed. Although the person who met us in Porto and transported us to the start of the trip and briefed us on all the details was excellent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do some training on hills. However, you can always walk up a few of the worst hills.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Cath Marsh

    An epic adventure!

    An adventure around every corner, beautiful scenery, amazing food and a real feeling of getting away from it all. Met so many people walking their pilgrimage to Santiago which was amazing and made us feel part of something bigger than just a cycle trip. Some long days in the saddle and a good variation of surfaces to mix things up. The variation in landscape was also great. One day would be zipping down mountain roads listening to cow bells, the next mile would be in vineyards, another day you could cover plenty of miles along smooth cycle paths alongside the mighty Minho river looking across at Spain, the next bumping along cobbles and tracks in fragrant eucalyptus woodland or dodging joggers along the boardwalks next to the Atlantic. Awesome trip!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    * Cycling along the boardwalks trying to concentrate where you're going an not just stare at the Atlantic. * Saying Bom Dia to every pilgrim we passed. * The lovely welcome we got at our accommodation in Ponte de Lima * Adjusting to the hustle and bustle of Porto after the quiet countryside * Totally gorgeous food everywhere we went even if it was bread and cheese at lunchtime normally sitting in the shade of a stunning church. And most inspirational moment was the whole experience of staying at Solar de Serrade. Such a beautiful place - I didn't want to leave.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Self guided trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Yes! The bikes were top notch but I forgot to bring my own comfy saddle so was pretty sore for a few days. Make sure you do some training. There's some relentless hills to climb and if you go when it's hot you can run out of energy mid afternoon. Buy bread, cheese and drinks in the morning incase you don't find anywhere for lunch. Oh and make sure you eat plenty of Portuguese egg tarts, they're delicious!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Book the wine and dine package. We had a fabulous, intimate meal at Solar de Serrade washed down with their own Vinho Verde wine. Relaxing in the garden sipping wine after a long day in the saddle was just perfect. The meal in Porto at LSD restaurant was awesome also and thoroughly recommended. Both meals we were treated as extra special guests which made the whole experience even more special. We stayed an extra day at the end of the holiday in Porto to explore the city. The route notes were accurate and helped identify places of interest and the GPS was a bonus. We used both.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Diarmuid Mulherin

    Beautiful scenery, safe cycling

    The vast majority of this trip is in cycle paths separated from road traffic with some lightly trafficked roads and only very occasional roads with significant traffic, and even then you are usually separated from them by a barrier of some type: in fact, if none of the above applies, you're probably 'lost' although that, too, is really difficult to do as the river is hard to lose and the signage is excellent! A large proportion is on a Euro cycle path from the Black Sea to the Atlantic and it is very well maintained: UK councils could learn a thing or two about maintaining safe cycling environments from the Austrians. The scenery is at times spectacular and varies from day to day as the river meanders across Austria. The accommodation we got was generally very good and there was usually somewhere good to have dinner in the evening. Lunch stops were a bit thin on the ground but we usually found somewhere. The bicycles were heavy but in very good nick: the route is mostly flat and any slight downhills outnumber the uphills - which often related to gaining the altitude required to cross over the bridges over the river rather than anything else. There are churches in abundance, from big to small and most towns have a schloss (castle). There are some spectacular monasteries and when you get to Vienna, it is clear that it was the centre of the world for quite a long time with monuments and buildings to show for it! The distances are manageable - on the last day, you can get a train to cut the distance down to about 50 km but we decided to cycle from Krems to Vienna (about 90 km) and we survived!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The abbey at Melk is very impressive, and the old castle (ruins) at Hinterhaus are worth a visit for the view (takes about 30-40 minutes off saddle to walk up to it just before Spitz).

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Not applicable
  • Reviewed October 2018
    John Sumner

    Enjoyable 200 mile trip

    Four over 60's went on this mainly flat, 200 mile trip in early September. The sun shone (25 degrees), there was no headwind and Bratislava & Budapest are great places to visit. We stayed 2 extra days in Budapest which was well worth the extra cost. While the scenery is not as interesting as the Passau to Vienna ride this route mainly follows Route 6 cycleway along the top of the flood defence dams at the side of the Danube and is very popular. Most days there are wayside cafes for coffee & cakes. Not everything went smoothly - the route notes were supposed to be provided 4 weeks before, when chased they arrived in pdf format the week before (GPX files for my SatNav were supplied & a great help). My e-bike had not been ordered / missed by the bike supplier (depends who you talk to) but following a sleepless first night the bike did arrive the following morning. The route notes were good & took us away from main roads where possible, a couple of roads were closed which tested map skills. The ferry from Esztergom to Visegrad on the last day did not run (only runs on Saturdays from September) so we had to stay in Esztergom overnight & cycle to Vac for a train ride to Budapest instead. Overall we had an enjoyable time and will look to go with Exodus again for the next ride.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Sitting in the restaurant area in Bratislava (excellent food) watching the world go by.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    N/A - self guided ride

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Insist on the route notes 4 weeks in advance. Take copies of the route so everyone can follow them. The separate "Hotel to Route Start" documents are not always very clear (and sometimes just plain wrong!) so print out a Google map for each one. The Hotel Devin in Bratislava is in a great location. There is a Tesco minimart in Mosonmagyarovar, eat at the Simbad restaurant. The Hotel Bella in Komarno is not 4* but the restaurant is excellent. Visit the lovely spa at the Hotel Bellvue in Esztergom before 6pm after then they shut most of it down & avoid the evening buffet style meal, get a taxi into town. Check what day you arrive in Esztergom - if not a Saturday you will arrive at Budapest main railway station & have to find your own way to your hotel. Print a Google map before you set off. The express train takes 20 minutes but has 5 steep steps to negotiate. The stopping train takes 40 minutes but is easier to get the bikes on.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would have liked the route notes to include details of cafes (or lack of them).
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Marie Myles

    Varied and interesting landscapes

    Every day delivered a new experience and interesting cycling challenge. The bikes were excellent quality - though at first I was a bit concerned about the weight of it and the traditional style - but they were robust! No one had a puncture and given how rough the roads were, that was impressive. The hotels were all a high standard and in good locations. It was good that it was B&B as it meant the accommodation was central and left you free to do your own thing in the evening. The guide notes were good and the yellow arrows on posts along the route were a reassurance. The route and places we visited were all very good and certainly on anyone's list for Puglia. Every cycle was rewarding and we felt we had achieved something every day.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Difficult to pinpoint one moment as the trip offered so many different places and scenery. The coastal routes were the most interesting and the views amazing.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    N/A it was self guided

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Book an extra day at the start in Matera - our friends (who have done this trip) advised us to do that and it was worth it. Maybe consider staying an extra night in Lecce at the end - that city had to more to it than we expected.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The first day was the longest and probably the most difficult. It would have been better to have that on say day 3 so that people will have got used to the bikes and gear changes - and to how to interpret the notes. It was hot and quite a few of us were a bit dehydrated by the end.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    David Agnew

    Cycling the Danube, Vienna to Budapest (self guided)

    I thoroughly enjoyed the Exodus self-guided ride I recently completed from Vienna to Budapest. In particular the cities of Bratislava, Gyor and Budapest. The hotels were very good and baggage transfers worked well. However, anyone contemplating this ride should be aware of the the ride does not quite meander along the actual Danube. Most of the route is on the flood plain, some distance from the river and on some days you don’t see the Danube at all. The ride is very flat through fairly featureless agricultural land. In late spring and early summer the corn would all be green and the sunflowers would be spectacular. However, during the rest of the year a fair bit of the ride would be a bit mundane.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Riding into Bratislava and Budapest.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    N/A (self guided). The person doing the briefing in Vienna was good and the support person responded immediately to the one phone query we made.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The maps and guide notes are reasonably good but not exceptional. There were places where they were not quite up to date due to road or cycle path upgrades. Definitely take your own GPS device or have a GPS App such as Maps.me on your cell/mobile phone so you can see exactly where you are if things get confusing. Notes said you buy ferry tickets on ferry, but you actually have to buy them at the shop next to the ferry ramp. The odometer on my wife's bike was faulty from day one and eventually did not work at all, so if you were trying to marry up kilometre markers per the guide maps using this device we would have been in trouble. Parts of the ride, particularly between Gyor and Komarno are on basic farm tracks. We rode this section after heavy rain and parts of the tracks were very muddy and covered with water in places. This was probably unusual. There was nothing you could describe as a hill anywhere on the ride.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The overnight stays are on the railway line. Consequently, on days of heavy rain you do have an option of taking the train to the next destination. We did this on one occasion and it worked well. Its worth spending some time looking around some of overnight stay locations, particularly Bratislava and Gyor. I would therefore recommend arriving by early afternoon to give sufficient time to look around. We used online reviews to choose restaurants in the overnight stay locations.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Nigel Forrest

    Excellent trip

    This is an easy ride; and the route is varied and very attractive. Virtually none of the cycling is along roads with motor traffic; and I appreciated how the sign-posted Danube cycle path diverted, from time to time, away from the river bank to go through fields, woods and quiet villages. The hotels, baggage transfers and logistics worked very well. I was impressed by the quality of the accommodation -- and its variety.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The steep valleys and remoteness on the first two days. The Donauschlinge resort at Schloegen is lovely.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Not applicable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you don`t have a GPS app or device, be wary of the (sometimes thin) written instructions for getting into and out of some of the towns, as supplied by the Radreisefreunde local organisers. You are given maps as well as written directions, at the briefing meeting at the beginning. The maps were generally excellent; but they don`t always correspond to where you`re staying (they provide for multiple overnight accommodation alternatives -- and in some cases none of those apply to your particular itinerary). I found difficulty getting out of Melk on the right track; and into the right place in Vienna on the final day. However, overall, navigation was easy and trouble-free.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Mary James

    Perfect active family holiday.

    While this holiday is designed for adults, it is in fact perfect for active families. I'd choose this type of trip again over a Mark Warner style watersports and beach club trip. We loved moving on every 2 days, having a day to explore our surroundings by bike or on foot, followed by a day moving on using the excellent GPS system. Such an unspoilt area, while being so beautiful. Everything was clean, efficient and friendly.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Swimming in the beautiful turquoise lakes. Pretty much every day. The water was warm and so clean. And even the public beaches rarely crowded. The cycling was great, especially the really quiet routes along cycle paths or very rural country lanes. Our twins were 11 years, and reasonably active. It turned out that cycling between 20 and 40 kms every other day was perfect for them. Mixing adventure with plenty of swimming or exploring time on the stay put days.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had wonderful thoughtful and helpful reps. Colin and Jill were on their 3rd season there and totally knew what to tell us to make the most of each day. The occasional evening text with some reminders for tomorrow was a lovely thought, and made it clear there were always available for advice or assistance.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The RideWithGPS smartphone App loaded with Headwater's tailored routes made the cycling a real pleasure. Please make sure you use it instead of the sheets of paper and maps. It really is easy to use.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Lovely hotels, and the included evening meals were great quality and value.
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Andrew Singfield

    Great cycling

    Cycling around Lake Constance is a great experience - good cycle paths, lovely views across the lake, nice towns and few hills. We went as a group of four with one person using an e-bike. As infrequent cyclists we found the pace very comfortable and the directions easy to follow. The area is geared up for cyclists with lots of paths. The standard of accommodation was good with clean rooms, enough luggage space and generally helpful staff. The only reason for a 3* (good) rating is that the meals were a bit of a let down. The food is high quality but the choice is limited. In some of the hotels we felt a bit like second class diners as others on the full menu got more attentive service. In reality this holiday would be so much better if evening meals were not included - giving travelers the chance to find local restaurants (of which there are lots in all the areas). Unfortunately four courses, slow service and limited dining times did mean we sometimes felt a little trapped in the evenings when it would have been nicer to explore the locality (plus be prepared to shell out a lot for wine if you want a drink with your meal). But this format might work for some people and everything else about the trip was fantastic (e.g. brilliant bikes, scenery, towns) so do get to this part of the world if you can.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Constant views of the stunning lake.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Self-guided.
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Colin Rugg

    Beautiful Bike Rides and Fantastic Food

    This is a leisurely trip with some lovely rides in mountains, along rivers and by the coast. There are some nice little villages and quaint towns. The food and local wines were all superb everywhere I went.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Staying at the Solar do Serrade in Moncao was amazing. The people were so nice. I sat outside drinking one of their wines with the pleasure of knowing that the grapes were grown in the next field and picked by hand. The bottling was done in the building just behind me. Finding lovely little places for a drink and a snack, both on the route and at each destination. The riverside views were amazing.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    N/A, but the GPS was much easier to follow than I anticipated!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take it easy to enjoy the views and soak up the atmosphere. For my level of fitness the routes were short enough to give me plenty of time to stop and look around some of the towns and villages but I could still arrive at the next hotel early enough to explore that town too. You could get to the next place before lunch if you wanted to, but what's the rush? I found that most of the hotels didn't do an evening meal unless it had a specific attached restaurant. These hotels were Design and Wine in Caminha and Hotel Bagoeira in Barcelos both of which I found enjoyable. But in all the towns (even tiny Castro Laboreiro) there were plenty of places to eat and from my experience all good.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    You only get a short time with the local tour rep at Porto airport, so make sure everything is ok before you transfer to Castro Laboreiro, especially knowing how to use the GPS! But even if you get slightly lost its easy to find your way back to the route. Most days were easy cycling, there's just one day that has a couple of climbs of any note. Also, most of the route is away from traffic, on quiet roads and some of it on a shared path with pedestrians, but there are a couple of busy sections. I found the Portuguese drivers very considerate. Even when I was walking in town they stopped at crossings every time. If you've got time before or after the trip, take a train to Lisbon. I booked a 1st class seat in advance and got a ticket for 22 euros.
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