Turtle, Ecuador

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

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  • Reviewed September 2019
    Susanna Early

    Trip of a Lifetime

    Walking and trekking the Amalfi Coast.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The whole tour was inspirational. Everything from the places we visited, the walks to get there and the dinners at night with our group.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Stefano was fantastic , funny, knowledgeable and a great guy to have as a guide. Would highly recommend him to others and will ask for him when I organise my next tour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you are looking for a relaxing, leisurely paced walking tour.. this one isn’t for you.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I found Exodus very well organised with the tours and I would definitely use and recommend Exodus again.
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Sylvia Smith

    A Good Holiday

    This was a trip worth taking. It was well organised, with excellent walking notes and the accommodation was of a high standard. Exodus has an excellent relationship with the hotel in Bomerano and this enhanced the experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The whole trip was well organised and excellent.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The guide was helpful, but this was a self guided trip, so the involvement was different.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I enjoyed the visit to Ravello, but feel that the walking route advised did not meet the high standards of the other walks.
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Sylvia Smith

    A Good Holiday

    This was a trip worth taking. It was well organised, with excellent walking notes and the accommodation was of a high standard. Exodus has an excellent relationship with the hotel in Bomerano and this enhanced the experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The whole trip was well organised and excellent.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The guide was helpful, but this was a self guided trip, so the involvement was different.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I enjoyed the visit to Ravello, but feel that the walking route advised did not meet the high standards of the other walks.
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Sophie Penney

    Very beautiful and interesting trip

    The views on the trek were really wonderful, Cusco is a beautiful city. There is lots to see on this trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the top on the 2nd day of the hike was a big sense of achievement.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tina is very kind and friendly. She did a very good job of looking after us and checking that we were managing with the altitude.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    One little thing, the kit list is missing toilet paper. Of course you can get it there but I would have preferred to know in advance that you need some for the trek! And yes it really is that cold at night you definitely need to bring properly warm clothes. Walking poles are marked as optional but we wouldn’t have made it without them! The amount of stuff you are allowed for the trek is quite small, smaller than it sounds anyway, so plan carefully.
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Bev Scammell

    A truly amazing trip with an outstanding guide

    We choose this trip due to the variety of activities and differing locations and we were not disappointed. Safaris, wild and rugged coast lines, desert, mountains, varied flora and fauna plus an amazing city to finish with. It has something for everyone. It was a well paced trip which packed in a lot without exhausting yourself. Addo elephant park was brilliant and the additional safari to Schotia was a fantastic extra, well worth taking up. We had a bit of a wild, wet, windy time at Tsitsikamma but this did not detract from its immense beauty nor stop us from taking up the opportunity to walk through the forest and spot baboons. Cango caves, ostriches, Mosel bay, wine tasting and De Rust were delightful and Hermanus was certainly a highlight with breaching whales at sunrise. As for Cape Town....quite outstanding and we can’t believe how much we managed to see in a mere couple of days; Signal Hill, Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch gardens, Cape of Good Hope, penguins colony, SimonsTown, Robben island and a township tour plus the waterfront. Totally amazing.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We found the whole trip quite inspirational and have fallen in love with South Africa; its people, culture, plants and animals. If we are only allowed one inspirational moment then seeing whales at sunrise is probably it. However, watching a grumpy buffalo eyeball a young elephant, walking through a forest and coming face to face with a group of noisy male baboons, enjoying the tremendous views whilst walking along the Cape of Good Hope, visiting out first ever warm caves whilst listening to the South African national anthem being sung in the most enchanting manner....etc etc etc! There were a wealth of inspirational moments.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was truly amazing. So much so, that we have just submitted an entry for the 2019 Guide of the Year for him. Justin was exceptional; he has a vast knowledge of his country, its politics, history and culture plus the flora and fauna and is a superb ambassador for South Africa. He was incredibly organised, knew everyone (which meant we as a group were well looked after) was amusing, friendly and very considerate of the needs of everyone. We felt extremely safe in his care and trusted his judgement and advice implicitly, whether it was where to go or what to eat and drink. We also loved his phrases......’cool beans’ ‘Woolworths is just fancy pants Marks and Spencers!’ and some of these will find their way back to England.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take loads of photos to remind you of everything you have done, take binoculars to see views and creatures in more detail, take advantage of all of the trips and opportunities available to you. Layer your clothing.....we went in September and experienced rain, wind and sun and blazing heat all in the same morning. There is an opportunity to have your clothes laundered mid way through the journey so you don’t need to take your entire wardrobe.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We were part of a varied group; ages ranging from 18 to 70 made up of families, couples and singles.......and we had a fabulous time. Sincere thanks to you all plus Justin, Jan the trainee and all the other people we met along the route for making the holiday a truly remarkable experience. If you are thinking of going, just do it!
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Jeff Schneider

    Bosnia and Beyond

    A very interesting and underestimated part of Europe. The rebuilding after the war in early 1990's is remarkable and authentic. The cities of Sarajevo and Mostar are rare gems with a collision of cultures, religion and architecture. Mountain scenery in Montenegro is very beautiful. Our group leader ( Sabina Sirco) was knowledgeable and fun. Would highly recommend.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The multicultural history of Bosnia.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sabina was truly excellent. Knowledgeable, a good communicator and well organised. A good sense of humor as well. Was also very caring when my wife became ill with acute sinus infection. Arranged doctor and medication in a flash as well as keeping a close eye on how the patient was doing.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Our driver. Semir, was very highly rated by all in our group.
  • Reviewed September 2019

    Just book it!! ... & do get yourself fit beforehand

    I’ve read the majority of the other reviews which cover everything I’d also want to say. It’s honestly a fabulous trip and you definitely won’t be disappointed. Loved it! If you’re going outside of July and August, I’d suggest taking some warm clothes/fleece with you as it gets cold at night. I’d also suggest an extension to your trip for 2-3 nights if you’ve time, to just relax on the beach or to stroll around a resort or even Naples afterwards, as there’s little rest and relaxation time throughout the week. The staff at the hotel are lovely - so genuinely warm and welcoming. The village where you stay is quiet yet a charming and authentic place. & the tour leader Stefano made a huge effort to interact with and to get to know everyone individually.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I wasn’t at all focused on going to Mt Vesuvius, but loved climbing up to the rim of the volcano. Stefano the vulcanologist was really knowledgeable and made it easy to understand (even for dummies like me!). An achievement to climb to the top, with fabulous views and a unique experience.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Stefano was great and found an excellent way of combining being a leader, whilst helping the group to really gel and simply being a part of the group. He took so many photos of all of us throughout the week, capturing various moments of fun, laughter, walking, climbing etc. He had a huge amount of energy and worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure everything ran smoothly (just get a new pair of reading glasses 😂). We all loved having a native leader and enjoumyed his laidback nature and style, knowing that he was still in charge when needed.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    * If you’re not already fit, then follow the training schedule Exodus sends you and start following it at least six weeks in advance. It’ll make your trip more enjoyable. I’d also rate this trip more of a grade 3. * Take warm clothes (fleeces, jeans, jackets) for the evenings and early mornings. Bomerano is high up and gets cold. Take some cold/throat medication too, just in case * Take a pair of flip flops/thongs for times when you don’t need your walking boots. Often we changed out of our shoes along the way. * Don’t expect hours of free time to explore the resorts (eg Positano, Ravello and Amalfi). View this trip as more of a taster to see where you’d like to go back to another time.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Exodus - you’ve nailed exactly the right combination with this trip. Highly recommend it!
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Michelle Elliot

    Vast landscapes and stunning scenery

    A fantastic trip! When I told people that I had been hiking in Kyrgyzstan, nearly everyone immediately asked 'where?' It is a remarkable country, and a trip that has been planned to ensure absolutely stunning days of walking in the Tien Shen mountains. The cities have their own charm and fascinating history and they bookend the trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Opening the tent every morning to see sunshine and blue sky with a backdrop of hills or peaks was quite special. Walking for several days and seeing only our crew, nomadic farmers and their animals was wonderful. This is not yet, but likely will become, far more popular as a walking destination so it was a privilege to be able to see the natural rhythms of summer life in the mountains. The food and hospitality in some of the more remote camps was surprising, delightful and gratefully appreciated. A particular highlight was watching and taking part in the 'first' Highland Games in Kyrgyzstan - a brilliant opportunity for the group and the porters to compete together!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    This inaugural trip had a few different leaders, each playing important roles. Overseeing everything was veteran trip leader Suzy who has a deep knowledge and love for the country and its mountains. The local city guides had great English and brought the local history to life. Ilya and Asa are tremendous guides, bringing confidence, competence and laughter to each day (all day). It was a really good group!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Some of the details within the trip notes were not accurate, though it was the first time this trip had been offered so the growing pains and unforeseen issues were to be expected. Not all the walks were as long as noted, but there are so many opportunities to continue to explore around the camps. Or relax and read. Or bathe in the icy rivers, swim in Issyk Kul Lake, or soak in the thermal pools. The porters are hardworking - get to know them if you can - athletic competitions do not require a shared spoken language. The camps and equipment are of very good quality and very comfortable - you do not need to bring a sleeping mat. The food is plentiful and tasty, and there are hot drinks and snacks awaiting the group upon arrival at camp every day!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I require a gluten free diet and therefore the advanced planning and discussions about the ability of local operators and their teams to accommodate such a dietary need is important. The Exodus staff were brilliant in asking the questions prior to booking. The local city guides were helpful and responsive, particularly in Karakol. The camp cooks did remarkably well in their remote settings. The lead guide Ilya even carried packages of rice cakes for me. I never went hungry but it was important that I also brought food along with me. It is also important to continue to ask questions and seek clarification along the way.
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Tony Chau

    What a nice surprise!

    This is our 10th Exodus cycling trip and because we were both very busy in the summer, we didn't have a lot of time preparing and read up about the trip. We knew next to nothing about Albania and just managed to read the trip notes once so that we know how many days to pack for and that was it. The trip turns out to be a great pleasant surprise. We thought Albania will have poor infrastructure with lots of pot holes (like Cuba or Romania) but the back roads that we rode on were great. Most of the cars are Mercedes (surprisingly) and the hotels were great European standard (most have good fast WiFI except in the mountains). The food and drinks are cheap (even with the £ being so low because of Brexit) and the old city of Gjirokaster and Butrint were amazing. The quality of cycling is also very good. There are quite a few climbs (especially the one on the last day) but we are never in a rush and with our keen leader encouragement, we managed most of them.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We had mountains / lakes / coastal scenery; great cycling with nice climbs and descents; UNESCO sites; swim in the Med. or a modern pool and even natural thermos pools + fresh cheap food and beer. Just about perfect!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Erlis was our leader and since he did the trip more than 40 times, he knows everything there is to know. The organisation is amazing and we never have to wait for anything (coffee stop, water, food, sites, hotel check in....). Everything is time to perfection and he explains the routes (with the best maps including the profiles) everyday so that we know exactly what to expect before hand. He always brief us and ensure that we are safe. The whole group felt that we were being extremely well looked after and the food was always fresh local produce which is great (and the prices are very reasonable compare to UK!).

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I didn't prepare for the trip but it would be more enjoyable if I did a bit more cycling before hand. A nice saddle is a good idea as the climbs can be long. Also, do try to spend (or exchange) your LEK before the airport since the banks/money exchange at the airport may be closed (may be it is open at the arrival hall but we were too lazy to go and find it). We had 6000 LEK left and had to buy a few bottles of expensive wines at the duty free (not a bad thing :) ) to spent it all!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just book this trip :)
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Julie Jones-Boult

    Concordia & K2

    This truly was a trip of a lifetime. Having travelled to Everest Base Camp and Kilimanjaro (with Exodus) we thought we had a pretty good idea of what to expect on this trip. We were so wrong! This was so much tougher and in many different ways. Firstly, whilst there's an itinerary, it quickly became apparent that there's a lot that's outside the control of Exodus and the on-the-ground operator. We were held up in Islamabad for longer than expected (due to leave on Saturday, left on Wednesday). Our flight to Skardu was cancelled as a result of bad weather and with just one flight a day, it wasn't possible to get re-booked until Wednesday. Once in Skardu, although visa and permits have been granted, there's still a step to complete on the ground and it can't be started until you arrive in Skardu. Here you're at the very of the Authorities and 'it takes as long as it takes'. We weren't granted permission to enter the national park until around 9pm on the day we arrived in Skardu. Sara, our tour guide, kept us informed at every step and went over and beyond, using the local operator and 'connections' to try to get us back on track. She discussed the options with us and as a group, we decided on a plan to try to keep the overall tour intact. This meant combining 2 days of itinerary into 1, twice! The terrain is hard and unpredictable, this is where Sara and the local team were invaluable in their knowledge and expertise. We really were in their hands, finding safe passage and negotiating an ever-changing landscape. This made it feel really natural and exciting. It was one of the most breathtaking places on earth, with a real sense of pure and raw beauty. We worked hard to get to Concordia and even harder to get K2 base camp. The team were unbelievably amazing, we simply could not have completed this trek without their encouragement, support, humour and importantly expertise. This isn't a well trodden path and you need to know the environment. It was obvious from day 1, Sara had an incredible relationship with the local team, she knew the country and local environment well. She had a wonderful nature and approach to the people, the country and the environment, all of which she shared so generously, with true enthusiasm and passion. She's such a modest person, someone that would shy away from the attention or thanks, instead passing it on to others. However, she was at the centre of everyday, every step and for that we are very grateful. An incredible trip and one we'd highly recommend.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The scenery - it's magical and it starts the moment you disembark in Islamabad. We'll never forget it.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Amazing, inspirational, knowledgeable, enthusiastic, kind, generous, passionate and honestly someone who leaves a lasting mark on everyone she touches. Thank you Sara!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This isn't a prescriptive tour, be patient and prepared for unforeseen and unavoidable issues. It's a wonderful country, which ever way the tour plays out, it will be memorable - just enjoy it!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Given the nature of the trail and the environment, we wouldn't have taken this tour with anyone other than Exodus. We value and trust their expertise and at all times this made us feel that we were in safe hands, even when we were so far from home.
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