Turtle, Ecuador

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

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12269 Reviews

  • Reviewed December 2019
    Heather Ward

    Simply the best!

    This was our first Exodus cycling holiday and it won’t be our last! The scenery was varied and beautiful, the hotels were better that I was expecting and the cycling was challenging but manageable and a great way to see the countryside. We were able to ride at our own pace through out the trip, with one of the guides at the front and one bringing up the rear and breaks every hour or so for water and snacks. Food from the Exodus Mobile Kitchen was excellent - every meal was something different and we were often the lunchtime the envy of other tour groups! The buffet meals in the hotels were also good - a range of options to suit everyone.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Probably the safari in the Kruger - we saw an incredible volume and variety of wildlife, often quite close up - lions 3ft away, elephants crossing the road in front and behind our vehicle. The crowning glory was a leopard spotted by one of our group which just seemed to want to show off for us!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bradley, Skhu and Rea did a fantastic job of looking after us all. From fixing bikes (and the truck) to cooking (including baking a cake on the barbecue!) to sharing their knowledge and love of South Africa and its animals, all three were amazing.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It is worth doing some training ahead of the trip, some days were quite tough - up to 2000m of climbing. But we could all ride at our own pace - there was never any pressure to keep up - so don’t let it put you off. There is always the option to get a lift from the truck!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    There is no bar or other access to beer or wine on the first night, so if you want a drink (and you might after a long transfer), you will need to buy something either at the airport or at one of the stops on the drive.
  • Reviewed December 2019
    Sharon Green

    Fantastic Trip!

    This was our first trek and we we struck gold - the scenery and people of Nepal are beautiful. They have left a lasting impression and a return trip is a must. The porters and guides looked after us - lugging our gear and organising food and accommodation, pointing out wildlife and keeping us safe - always smiling, they created a real family feel to the group. I miss the early morning wake up call of a cheerful Namaste with a cup of tea and a stunning sunrise.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Two stand out (& emotional) moments-Looking down on a pair of Golden Eagles gliding on the thermals only 15 feet away & Reaching Annapurna Basecamp - achieving the goal and surrounded by jaw dropping scenery

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Balkrishna Tamang (Milan) was a great leader. I have no experience of others but the bar is now set very high! He was tireless in ensuring everything went to plan and everyone was happy.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Keep your bags as light as you can- not an easy task but watching the porters lug 2 kit bags and their own gear is a humbling experience
  • Reviewed December 2019
    David Southall

    The most amazing trip I have ever taken with memories never forgotten.

    If you wish to challenge yourself and witness some of the most amazing views on the face of this planet then this is the trek for you. Yes, you need to train, Yes you need to have a positive mind set, Yes, you will get cold, Yes you will NOT be staying in 5star hotels along your trek. YES, you will find things out about yourself, YES you will do things that you never though possible. YES YES YES you will have the greatest time. Go ahead. Book it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching Everest Base Camp as a compete team and seeing the Nepalese culture of how little they have and yet they smile every day are grateful for everything.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ha Ha Tenzing Sherpa was the most positive and inspirational leader anyone could ask for. His knowledge and character and laughter was simply infectious. I would request him again to guide any trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Dont overpack Take enough underwear and socks Limit to a 2/3. base layers/ Mid layers and let the down jacket do the rest. Drink enough water even if you feel you are not thirsty. Avoid meat on the trek.
  • Reviewed December 2019
    Sue Pemberton

    Pura Vida

    This was a 'special treat' holiday for me, I had been looking forward to it for 9 months and had very high expectations. These were more than met. Costa Rica is a fascinating country which we could learn a lot from. This tour gives you a really good introduction to the country, staying at 6 different locations all completely different. Wildlife was amazing. The journey was shared with a wonderful group of people - so much fun and friendship.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Difficult to choose, there were so many - a wonderful close view of a sloth on our way to Tortuguero, staying at Esqinas Lodge, the monkeys at Manuel Antonio, the scarlet macaws.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    It's easy to see why Johnny is an award-winning leader. His knowledge of and passion for his country was impressive and he taught us so much in his gentle way. He knew the best places and times to find wildlife, which always seemed to appear bang on cue! His organisational skills were exemplarary and he always had 'a plan'. We also came home ardent supporters of the Herediano football team!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go prepared for a wide variety of weather and remember to take your camera and binocluars with you wherever you go!
  • Reviewed December 2019
    David and Lesley Knass

    A Great Experience

    This was a very varied trip and we took part in all the activities as did the rest of the party. The overall pace over the 14 days was very good and the only early start was at Periyar which is necessary to catch the wildlife and we were lucky to see an elephant whilst on the walk. We experienced some mist at the peak so that restricted our views but coming from England we're used to that at much lower levels!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It is difficult to pick out one thing but seeing the Western Ghats for the first time and the houseboat were up there. Also all our party really enjoyed the visit to the spice plantation and preparing a meal, Kerala style. And seeing some endemic birds species plus tahr, gaur, giant squirrel and elephant.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    First rate. The 10 of us and Santo James clicked right away. He ensured everything ran smoothly and was likeable, good fun and everything needed from a trip leader. He organised all the activities perfectly and anticipated all our needs.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The trek is the central part of the tour and don't underestimate it. If you are a regular walker at the distances covered it will be fine but otherwise do some preparation. November is the end of the rainy season so don't be surprised if you get the odd shower. Take wet overtrousers with you not just in case it rains but for walking through the Shola grasslands if it has been wet eg on walking down from the peak. One or two walking poles should be used even though we don't always use them ourselves when walking at home. Also leech socks were needed on our walk after it had rained overnight but these are provided and don't be put off by coming across these creatures!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We were lucky in that the rest of our party were a delight to be with and everyone was very positive and enjoyed all the activities. The trip met all our expectations.
  • Reviewed December 2019
    Dougie Gray

    Stunning views

    What more can we say,,, fabulous walks, great hotel with great staff. Our guide Vania is fantastic making everyone feel welcome right from the beginning! Her bright breezy funny chat was great and very informative. She always had an answer for all our dumb questions!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The views along the coast from the higher view points on our walks!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Vania couldn't have been better! Very knowledgeable, welcoming, great English,, I could go on and on!
  • Reviewed December 2019
    Nigel Chapman

    Awesome trek with a great leader

    Having seen the Trango Towers on a K2 bae camp trek many years ago I always had an ambition to see the Torres del Paine and the didn't disappoint. Firzroy is also stunning.We were lucky with the weather which helped and all local guides were excellent.As said in other reviews Tomas our leader is a legend through his enthusiasm, knowledge and caring attitude. Would recommend.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Leaving th Paine NP on the catamaran with cloudless skies across an azure blue lake with stunning mountain scenery all around- it doesn't get much better than that.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Where do I start.....Tomas was just brilliant.As someone who came land only to the group so joined later he made it easy to integrate.He was knowledgeable, kind, diplomatic and above all very very funny. He looked after everyone individually and his work rate was phenomenal. As others have said, a legend.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I'd reiterate a few of the previous comments: -there's a lot of bus travel (but necessary to see Fitzroy and Paine) -it's expensive to use ATMs in Argentina so take plenty of USD. -probably not as challenging as I was expecting (although all these ratings are subjective) -take a 30-40 litre pack as well as main bag for W trek in Paine NP. -don't forget earplugs (to aid sleep whilst in dorms on trek) and sink plug (most hosterias etc don't provide them) -enjoy.....
  • Reviewed December 2019
    Peter Gomes

    Cycle Lake District of Chile & Argentina : Great trip through stunning scenery

    Another terrific Exodus cycle trip comprising a mix of on & off road riding, flat & hilly sections in scenery that is simply beautiful. Enthusiastically led by Tai, ably assisted by his younger brother Yal, & side-kick Mattieu (the quiet one), our group of 16 bonded on the first evening, were buddies by lunch on the second day and firm friends thereafter. Excellent sea food and of course, steaks to be had and at bargain prices in Argentina due to the devaluation of their peso. Chile was more UK priced. Turquoise lakes & snow capped volcanoes were the centrepiece, topped off with the two day stay at the Eco lodge in the Conguillo National Park. We simply did not want to leave.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    As ever there were so many. Day 1: the view from the plane window as we flew alongside the Andes in the final run into Santiago. Day 2 : The sight of not one but three snow capped volcanoes from the lake shore by our first night's hotel set the tone for the superb scenery to come : a mix of Norwegian fjord, Scottish loch & English Lake with added volcano. Day 4: the first ferry ride and the discovery of an excellent hotel in the wilderness close to the frontier post - we were expecting a youth hostel given the remote location. Day 5: the off road climb to the frontier, and the supportive way in which all those at the top cheered on those further back as they arrived. Plus the rapid downhill that followed. Day 6 : The coastal ride round to Bariloche, passing Tai & Yal's house en route. Day 7 : the largest & tastiest steaks ever at Don Alberto's in Bariloche - not to be missed, plus lunch atop the view point at Cerro Campanario. Day 8: Racing along the downhill section of Route 40 (Argentina's Route 66) into San Martin. Day 10: the impromptu detour to spend the afternoon at the Termas (hot springs) en route to Pucon. Days 11 & 12 riding into and through the landscapes of the Conguillo National Park (volcano on my left, emerald lake on my right, monkey puzzle forest ahead of me - where do I look ?).

    What did you think of your group leader?

    With perfect English, Tai & Yal (despite their youth - mid twenties) were experienced, enthusiastic and capable leaders. Tai, in particular, managed well the different personalities on the trip which comprised five couples, three pals and three singles aged from late thirties to early seventies. He made sure everyone was comfortable riding their way depending on fitness, terrain & general inclination. His restaurant & even individual dish recommendations were consistently excellent. He was confident in his role and thus able to flex the itinerary as circumstances (weather or indeed our whims) dictated. As a strong cyclist he readily earned the respect of those who tried to take him on. Fortunately, his skills as a qualified paramedic did not need to be tested.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The November weather was mixed - Take layers so as to be able to cater for hot, cold & in between - plus rain. On some days there was much adding and removing of kit, with Yal or Mati magically on hand at the right moment to deliver to or collect it from you. This is also true off the bike with cool winds from Patagonia belying bright sunshine at times. The road sections are straightforward with drivers polite, separate cycle tracks on larger roads and wide verges to ride on minor ones. Off road sections are not particularly technical (I'm no mountain biker) and, taken at whatever pace you feel comfortable, readily ridden on the new Specialized hard-tail mountain bikes supplied. Food-wise the emphasis is meat and fish with pasta/pizza available but vegetarian food is a bit limited. Good range of beer and wine to be had and we rekindled our love of Pisco Sour developed on last year's Peru trip.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    My slowest ride was the final eight miles back to the eco-lodge on the final afternoon. It took well over an hour. Why ? Because I simply didn't want it to end. I was not alone - it was practically a competition to see who could ride the slowest. I guess that's a pretty decent endorsement of the trip overall. If you seek a well led trip with excellent company, good food (& drink), fabulous scenery, and varied (and thus interesting) cycling then sign up.
  • Reviewed December 2019
    Mark Billington

    Trying something new in S.E Asia

    I’ve previously been on several exodus trips either hiking or sightseeing ones or a mixture of the two. I thought I’d give cycling a go, I’m not a cyclist at home but keep myself fit. The trip was amazing, the cycling tough in the heat, but you get looked after so well, the bike teams manage the traffic so well and look after your hydration and energy levels. This trip isn’t just about the cycling though, the combination of 3 different countries, with different cultures and foods and fantastic sights and cities you get to see, make this a very memorable holiday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    You can’t fail to be amazed with the temples around Angkor, it’s staggering to think these masterpieces were put together centuries ago and to see them by bicycle is the perfect way to absorb them.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We couldn’t of asked for a better group leader than IS, so knowledgeable, so helpful, so approachable and within a very short time became one of us, part of the team, a friend to us all. In my experiences all Exodus leaders have been great but a couple have gone above and beyond to ensure your holiday is a memorable one, IS definitely went above and beyond and was much loved and respected by us all.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you build up your fitness, preferably with time on your bike, I did a couple of 40 mile cycles just prior to going on the trip, if possible cycle in some traffic as although the roads rarely get very busy, some of the towns have moderate traffic. Take a towel and swimwear, there’s plenty of opportunities to swim and if it’s as warm as it was when we visited you’ll be grateful of the cooling off in the pool. Definitely use the rooftop hot tub in the hotel in Phnom Penh.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Not really, just to say this holiday takes in so much, there’s never a dull moment or quiet moment so if you like your holidays full on and fun packed, it’s definitely for you.
  • Reviewed December 2019
    Pamela Peers

    Great walking in a beautiful island

    This is a great week's walking with a lot of variety in the walks covered. The hotels are generally of a good standard and the food was good and varied, with plenty of fresh fish and salads.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the summit of Pico Ruivo, and looking down through the clouds through which we had walked to reach the summit.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Andre was brilliant! A great guide and excellent company. He's clearly a very experienced guide and was diligent in ensuring that all members of our large group were comfortable with the walking pace, and provided supported when anyone needed it. He always found excellent places for us to eat and we were particularly grateful for his guidance on things to do in Funchal on our free day

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a great trip ... book it!
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