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 August 2019
    Jill Haydock

    Go and experience Uzbekistan

    An amazing trip if you’re interested in Early to modern civilisation, beautiful architecture and a country rediscovering its heritage and crafts. The people are very welcoming, dress code is relaxed and beer or wine is always an option at mealtimes. It’s a country worth seeing now.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The unexpected ‘wild swim’ in the lake and visiting the beautiful Shah-I-Zinda on the day families were celebrating Eid are both magical memories.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Absolutely fantastic! Dilshod’s knowledge of ancient and modern history, the architecture, crafts and culture in each city was phenomenal; and his willingness to share his own stories of recent history put this trip right up with the best.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you have a problem with pillows try and take your own travel pillow!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would have the yurt stay a little more remote from parked cars, coaches and motorbikes! I was woken by a motorbike starting up!
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Stephanie Braithwaite

    Nicaragua Costa Rica and Panama Cycling

    The whole experience was truly fantastic, the organisation was brilliant as was Roberto the leader and all the staff. It far exceeded our expectations and I could not rate it highly enough.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Visiting a Volcano in Nicaragua and seeing molten magma

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Roberto was brilliant he was knowledgeable, kind and great company a teal credit to the company.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Book it

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I could not recommend this whole experience more highly. We have never travelled with exodus before but would certainly do so again. It was brilliant from start to finish Thank you
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Susanna Buckley

    Wonderful family holiday

    A busy but well organised trip. This was the first time we'd done a trip like this and we don't regret it. We saw so much in the 14 days - I don't think we could have done and seen so much if we'd organised it on our own. Our two children (16 and 18 years old) had a great time. They made friends with the other young people on the trip and this made it easier and enjoyable for everyone. Everything was organised in a family friendly way and the guides were excellent. It was also good to see the way local communities can be supported by responsible travel.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hard to say - so many lovely memories. The sampan trip on the Mekong Delta and the stay at the homestay were great. The trip to Angkor Wat was amazing - the scale of the place is breathtaking.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had 2 leaders - one in Vietnam and one for Cambodia and Bangkok. Both were excellent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You need Vietnamese Dong for Vietnam. In Cambodia you can use US Dollars but sometimes it's easier to use Cambodian Riels. ATMs in Cambodia dispense US Dollars and Riels. For Thailand, you'll need Thai Bhat (our guide stopped just before the Thai border so that we could exchange). For visas, you need to pay cash in US Dollars. We found that we needed mainly cash - some of the restaurants didn't accept cards or some places (eg supermarkets) have a minimum spend before using a card and, if you only want a drink, that doesn't come to the minimum spend. Also, if you want to buy in the markets, you'll need cash. There were ATMs near all the places we stayed (except Mekong Delta). Pack light, cotton clothing, you don't really need activewear/trekking wear. There are local laundry services available in Cambodia - around USD2or3 per kg.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Wonderful holiday, wonderful memories. Everyone in the family had a great time.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    LESLEY CARD

    Great walks with stunning views

    Thoroughly enjoyed this trip. You will need to be reasonably fit as each day has some long steady ups and downs but the views from the high spots are well worth the effort. The walks were paced to suit the ability of the group and the food served each day, by Liz and Clare, was excellent.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the high spots with time to sit and enjoying the views

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader Lotte was exceptional. Keeping us all together and pacing the walks to suit the ability of the group. She was well informed and knew a lot about the geography of local area. Her descriptions of the next days walks were accurate and informative. A very good leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Ensure you are fit enough to walk continually up hill for a couple of hours and be prepared for any weather.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Its just a great holiday but you must be able to enjoy being part of a group
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Karen Morrow

    Borneo: Lovely but not quite what I'd hoped.

    I have mixed feelings about this trip. On the positive side, my husband and I joined a very lovely and friendly group and a delightful guide (Sheila). The accommodation, although more basic than on some trips we've done, was mainly fine and some of the restaurants Sheila took us to were in lovely positions and had good food - although rice did tend to dominate the menu! We also saw some lovely things, such as Lang's cave, with its stalactites and stalagmites, and Bako national park, where we saw silver leaf monkeys, proboscis monkeys, macaques and bearded pigs. I also particularly enjoyed the river trips and going to the 'sun bear sanctuary' as well as watching flying squirrels 'fly'! However, overall, there was a lot less wildlife around than I have seen on previous holidays (especially our visits to Africa and the Galapagos). On some walks we saw virtually nothing, certainly in the way of larger mammals or birds. I think the trip notes - and even the very name of the trip! - implies that you'll see a lot more. Like most groups apparently, we did not see elephants at all ('A rare thing to see around here' according to the guide). We also did not see rhinos (I've never seen one in 22 years...'), or, of course, more elusive animals such as leopards or wild sun bears.. We fortunately did see wild orangutans but only briefly on two occasions and at a distance. A necessary evil in such trips is the travelling. However, in Africa, we would often see interesting animals 'en route'. In Borneo, for a large majority of the time, we were travelling through endless miles of palm oil plantations, which have been planted where rain forest used to be, and virtually no animal life - or wildlife of ANY type except for the trees themselves - exists in these massively impoverished environments. It was very sad to see, as well as being, frankly, tedious. If you, like us, would like a trip based on special scenery and fairly frequent sightings of larger/interesting mammals or birds, then I personally feel this trip is probably not one to choose.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were a few. I particularly enjoyed watching the flying squirrels 'fly' and the proboscis monkeys were lovely to watch. The sun bear sanctuary was interesting and watching thousands of bats emerge from a cave in the late afternoon and fly off 'in formation' was also fascinating.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader, Sheila, was very sweet and kind. She worked hard, was anxious to please and was very concerned about our safety and wellbeing. Her only slight fault was to under-estimate how long each activity would take, so we invariably were running late and time to shower, or relax, was often considerably reduced.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The animals and birds we did see could often be a long way away, so take a good pair of binoculars and a camera with a lot of zoom. We did not have a lot of rainy days, but when it rains, it POURS, so also take a good waterproof and NEVER go out without it! (We did on a visit to a restaurant and would have been soaked through, if Sheila hadn't been able to beg a lift back for us.) You will also need a lot of insect repellent, as there are many mosquitos and sand flies. In some jungle areas, there are also a lot of leeches, so leech socks (or a good pair of long socks such as football socks) are also a 'must'.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is a good holiday for people who are generally interested in being in a rain forest environment, or have a particular interest in insect life or plant life species. It also gives you a realistic chance to see such lovely (and funny!) animals as proboscis monkeys or the stunning silver leaf monkeys. However, if you want to see many different animals, be aware that most species are very elusive and you may see a lot less than you'd like over the two weeks.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    M Iyer

    Another trip I will never forget!

    I have had this trip on my bucket list for a while now and it lived up to all of my expectations! David was a fabulous leader and took care of everything!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Having a baby gorilla ignore the 7m rule and nearly touch me. Watching David meet our every demand with a professionalism and a sense of humour.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Loves loved loved David! A man who clearly loves Uganda and knows his stuff!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    A seat pad for the bumpy rides and dont drink tap water!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Tjis eas a really important trip for me and it did not dissapoint!
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Monica Princic

    A fantastic trip with incredible varied sceneries

    The trip is incredible. The scenery varies every day and you'll ride on all possible terrains: sand, rock, gravel, tarmac and every day offers a lot of fun. The landscape of the Moon Valley in Chile is surreal and the Tatio geyser excursion is a stunning experience. Chile and Argentina are lovely countries; the areas visited still haven't been reached by mass tourism and you barely see any other tourists while travelling.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Riding through the hill of seven colours in Purmamarca.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The guide we had on our trip has been working with Exodus for many many years and is very knowledgable of the area as well been born in Argentina. He went above and beyond to make sure everyone had the best time and gave us tips to ride on different terrain, as sand for instance and I felt I've learnt a lot by the end of the week.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just book and go!
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Kristen Gilbert

    Perfect blend of cycling and sightseeing

    My husband and I went on this tour in July 2019. We were impressed from the beginning by the excellent organization and by the professionality of our guide Nut. We also had a terrific group, a good mix of more ambitious cyclists and those who desired a more leisurely pace (although I should mention that the tour is somewhat demanding and isn't for total beginners). Everyone seemed to have a wonderful time regardless of their cycling ability. Having experienced guides made things so much easier than if we had tried to organize the trip on our own - which we never would have attempted as a cycling tour.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many memorable moments, including the temple visits, the Killing Fields, navigating around scooters and food carts, cycling through the Mekong villages with kids shouting hello, trying new foods ...

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nut is simply the best. What else is there to say?

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Book this trip if you want to combine an active holiday and plenty of sightseeing. Highly recommended.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Neil Thomas

    Llamas and Alpacas: Machu Picchu Dreaming

    It took me a while to love Peru. It didn't help that our flight from Gatwick was delayed nearly 24 hours, resulting in us missing the first part of the adventure, and then enduring two very long travel days. However, once we arrived in Cusco and dealt with the initial impact of the altitude, the magic started to work. Ignore the sprawling, traffic-filled suburbs: the historic centre of Cusco is a magnificent place to spend a couple of days. We enjoyed visiting the market, the Bohemian quarter of San Blas, people watching in the Plaza de Armas and even waiting to cheer a bride into her wedding. Our days in Cusco bracketed our visit to Machu Picchu, which is every bit as magnificent as the guidebooks lead you to believe. Our allocated afternoon time slot allowed us to walk to the Sun Gate before visiting the main site - a rewarding experience affording magnificent views. The downside of MP - the shuttle buses to and from Aguas Callientes. You will have to face lengthy queues in each direction. On our second morning in Aguas Callientes we resisted the urge to visit MP again and instead were taken on a walk along the railway line to Los Jardines de Mandor, a beautiful botanic garden in the cloud forest leading to a waterfall. I would urge all Exodus clients to make this three-hour excursion - it was a highlight for us. After Cusco, there was another sprinkling of magic on Amantani Island, an oasis of beauty on Lake Titicaca. Our visit coincided with an island fiesta, so we enjoyed the riot of flags, dancing and colour displayed by the locals. Our journey across Titicaca also involved a visit to one of the floating island communities. That too was wonderful in a weird way. Next was the trip through the altiplano to the charming town of Chivay, stopping to watch an erupting volcano and a couple of whirlwinds en route. I can also now tell my llamas from my alpacas, as well as vicunas - there are plenty of all three species to be seen en route. Chivay offered a trip to the thermal springs and a rare hour of leisurely self-indulgence. The next day it was an early start to see the Andean condors rising on the thermals in Colca Canyon - another memorable experience. Then it was Arequipa, our visit coinciding with another festival of music and dance, and finally Miraflores, and a belated meeting with Paddington Bear, before our flight home.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Machu Picchu, Cusco, Amantani Island, Colca Canyon, the train trip from Ollentaytambo to Machu Picchu. There were more, but you get the drift.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We have been on numerous Exodus trips, all with good leaders, but Giuliano Gallesi was on a higher level than all of them - not just because of the altitude. He dealt efficiently with our day-late arrival and then led the tour with authority and compassion throughout. He was quick to recognise the signs when group members were struggling with the altitude and twice called the doctor as a result. He has a very good command of English, a likeable personality, was happy to answer all our questions and, above all, was available to the group 24/7. A true professional.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be aware of the long distances involved in the itinerary. For most of the route, the bus had a toilet on board, but that is of little consolation if, like me, you are not happy travelling near the back of a coach. We bought Peruvian Soles in advance of the trip and these were easier to use than US dollars. Dollars are accepted, but you are subject to the vagaries of local exchange rates. Food was generally of a very high standard. Our tour leader took us to or recommended consistently good restaurants. Make sure you have a supply of toilet paper handy. Many public banos did not have any available.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Essential Peru is a rewarding but tiring trip. And you cannot ignore the altitude. On first arrival in Cusco we wanted to go straight to bed to sleep. The advice to take a short walk for some fresh air and then to have something to eat helped us to acclimatise.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Owain Dobson

    A truly awesome holiday

    I started looking at holidays with pre planned itineraries. I had a view of what we wanted, more downtime, flying between locations and some different trips. Asked the question of Exodus who came back and offered a custom built trip. The team who put this together were awesome. Really helpful and responsive, and the local in country teams were also great. I weighed up doing it myself but ended up booking with Exodus. What a GREAT decision. Whenever we arrived somewhere local guides and transport were waiting for us - the whole team were just amazing - so kind and knowledgeable, so responsive to any question whether we were with them or not. Booked restaurants for us, checked up on queries, early and late checkouts, arranged surprise birthday cakes for my wife....literally nothing was too much trouble. Exodus also used all the local teams knowledge to pick great value hotels in the best locations. not the big 5 stars, but amazing 3 to 4 star ones. Our hotel in Ho Chi Min was in the middle of the most luxurious area with rooftop breakfasts. Our Hanoi hotel had a swimming pool and cocktail bar on the 12th floor. In Hoi An our beach boutique hotel was truly special - small and intimate. Trust Exodus, and don't read trip advisor too much would be my advice! We have had one of our best holidays ever. We all loved Vietnam, and we loved how easy Exodus made it for us to be here. Thank you from the whole family - you are awesome!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We could not pick a moment - speed boat trip down the Mekong river to tunnels was great, but then so was our beach paradise in Hoi An and the kingdom of My Son - older than Cambodian relics, food advice and tours, the Halong bay trip, sunset cocktails......Literally all awesome

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Linda, Lu and San were all amazing, friendly and could not do enough for us

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Give yourself time to enjoy the place. Don't be in the go the whole time.
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