Turtle, Ecuador

Your words, not ours

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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.

Simply use the selector below to search our trip reviews and start reading real feedback from real Exodus travellers who have ‘been there and done that’!

Lots of our clients also like to post handy tips and advice about their travels. It’s great to know what to expect on an Exodus adventure before you go, so make the most of their experience and you’ll make the most of yours!

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  • Reviewed June 2017
    Heather Algar
    Trip:

    June Cuba Ride

    The most favourite group of the five Exodus trips I have experienced, but the least favourite of the holidays. This trip certainly isn't moderate in May/June as the weather conditions are challenging. Over 35 degrees every day and high humidity on the bike is no easy feat! Long transfers and head winds add to the interest.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Finishing the day cycling the Sierra Maestra. Beautiful scenery and challenging riding, a real achievement for everyone. Closely followed by swimming in the Caribbean surrounded by tropical fish, a real highlight.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Disinterested and disengaged. Very wordy, some of the long bus transfers felt like a long day on the school bus being fed propaganda Not really proactive or showing any anticipation of his guests needs, more about how much he knew and making sure he let us know! I understand he has been guiding this trip for some time, perhaps he is just bored.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Train, train, train! Bring gels and electrolyte tablets with you to keep hydrated, and bring an open mind. Cuba is a third world country, things are not up to a Western standard so take is into account.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Most hotels were fine, the last night prior to returning to Havana is substandard and needs to be removed or upgraded. Train up, bring your own comfortable seat and snacks and enjoy.
  • Reviewed April 2017
    Robert Pratt
    Trip:

    Cycling through Cuba and it's history

    A fantastic holiday for those keen to experience the delights of this vibrant and happy country. The cycling is tough, lots of hills and a strong headwind much of the time, not to mention the potholes and exhaust fumes! But in the saddle you get to see the real Cuba, off the beaten track, the smiling Cuban faces, the simple Cuban homes and the wonderful Cuban music - all in warm weather and clear skies. We did however not expect the fantastic history lesson that we received from our leader, who left no stone unturned in his explanations of the events prior to, during and post the Revolution of the 1950s. By the end of the holiday we had all gained a much better understanding of the Cuban way of life and we found ourselves being intrigued as to what the future might hold for this amazing country.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Understanding the Revolution in great detail was inspirational, but seeing inside the simple homes of a doctor and a university professor and seeing how a 'ration shop' worked, made a big impact on me.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Carlos was excellent and could have done no more to make this holiday truly memorable. So close were we that there were 'wet eyes' as we said our goodbyes to fly back to London

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This holiday really suits keen road cyclists. Many sections of the route involved long straight roads against the prevailing wind in very hot sun! There was very little 'off-road', which for me personally (as a mountain biker) was a bit disappointing. Many of the roads were busy and Cuba has plenty of very inefficient diesel lorries and buses belching out black fumes.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Cubans are not wealthy people but you don't see many unhappy Cubans. You do see plenty of beautiful smiling children's faces as they wave at you passing by. You do hear fantastic live music just about everywhere. You will have to queue up and the bureaucracy can seem senseless and frustrating at times, so don't expect much to happen too quickly.
  • Reviewed April 2017
    Jackie Johns
    Trip:

    Cycling Cuba

    Excellent trip cycling around the Caribbean island of Cuba. It was like going back in time to the 50s with the old American cars and basic lifestyle. Free from phone and Wi-Fi for 2 weeks was a bonus for me!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the "real" Cuba away from the tourist hot spots and living like a local. The snorkelling was brilliant on the Catamaran trip

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Laz was a brilliant guide, so knowledge and passionate about his home country.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack a scarf or some form of cover for your face as some of the vehicles do chuck out some smoke!! Wear plenty of sunscreen, the heat is deceiving when you are cycle with a head wind. Wear sunscreen on your lips too - a few of our group had blistered lips. Pack some toilet paper. Cycling shorts and a gel saddle are a must. It can get chilly in the evening so pack a cardi/pashmina. Ear plugs are also handy as some hotels are on main roads. Mask and snorkel if you go on the catamaran trip. Ladies a turban towel for your hair as most places only provide one towel each. I wore a pair of closed toe open sandals which were ideal for keeping your feet cool. Also some sort of carrier for your bike to hold camera, money, tissues etc is handy

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Don't expect luxury! Food is very basic - rice and beans! Supplies are limited in Cuba so don't expect an a la carte menu. But, don't let this put you off - as long as you are prepared for this you wont be disappointed and our group found it quite amusing. Don't expect Wi-Fi or phone signal
  • Reviewed March 2017
    Ruth Hill
    Trip:

    Not the greatest cycling holiday we have had

    Cuba is very 3rd world. The standard of the accommodation was very variable and at times frankly unacceptable. Much of the cycling was on very busy roads with ancient lorries putting out thick black exhaust fumes. The island had its prettier parts but on the whole was flat and uninteresting.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We enjoyed the very few off main roads rides

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was very good. The driver also very helpful and safe

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You may well enjoy the experience but there are lots of downsides to travel in Cuba

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Accommodation needs to be upgraded. The bikes we used also had very limited adjustment to personal needs.
  • Reviewed March 2017
    Christopher Peacock
    Trip:

    Cycling in Cuba

    A very interesting and enjoyable trip, the combination of the cycling, scenery, culture, history and music made for a memorable experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Making it to the hotel in Sierra Maestre.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Liesner was very knowledgeable about Cuba and it's history. He was always helpful and considerate, and a very fit cyclist.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be flexible in your expectations of hotels, plumbing and food. Although not to European standards the rooms were always clean and functional. The food while not varied was interesting and some cases well cooked and presented.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would have preferred more time at the destinations, more snorkelling and less time on the coach. I think covering the whole island in one trip is over ambitious, but it was still an excellent and absorbing holiday.
  • Reviewed February 2017
    Ruth Bass
    Trip:

    Unforgettable

    This was our first group cycling holiday and our first trip with Exodus and it did not disappoint. The cycling is really well planned with great backup and the places we visited combined to give us a varied taste of this unique and fascinating country. We found ourselves in great company - the group really gelled and we had a ball.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The views in the Sierra Maestre, the most challenging cycling day - reward for our effort; the atmosphere of Trinidad at sundown and the music, the people and sights by the roadside throughout the trip, the walk in the forest on day 10, snatched swims in pools and the sea and the fabulous evening out in Havana that rounded off an unforgettable holiday

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Angel was just the best - calm and kind, managing all the unknowns one encounters in Cuba expertly.His insights into life in Cuba were comprehensive, and utterly fascinating - history and facts of course but always delivered with personal anecdotes and in a funny and insightful manner. We all loved him.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Talk yourself out of using WiFi any more than is absolutely essential - it's frustrating, expensive and hard to come by. Have a break! Also, as Exodus advise, if you want snacks of any kind or hydration additives do take them as there is very little available, same goes for suncream - basically take all you need with you and don't rely on shopping .

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Whilst it was not Angel's fault (everything else he organised hit the button) we all felt very let down by the catamaran trip from Trinidad and cannot recommend it, it did not deliver what was advertised and we felt ripped off.
  • Reviewed February 2017
    Simon Tomlinson
    Trip:

    Cycling Cuba

    Having wanted to visit Cuba for many years I'm convinced this was a great way to do it. It is a fascinating country with a turbulent history. The people and their ability to 'make do' when they have so little is inspirational. Never having been on a guided, group cycling tour before I was unsure what to expect and it took a few days to settle into the format. Apart from the opportunity to see and learn about the country the other great aspect of the trip was the other people on it. They were a lovely group of people each with an interesting life story to tell and cycling presents a great way to chat to people during those hours in the saddle.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The people. Cuba is a country with many problems including a broken economy and yet its people manage somehow to get by no doubt helped by the music, the dancing and the rum (one of the few "foods" that's neither rationed nor expensive)!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Lismar was great. Very knowledgeable about Cuba and its history, careful in the management of expectations (some of its Russian built hotels are not in great shape), and all presented with good humour. I always felt he tried to go the extra mile, arranging extra tours and visits in addition to what was described and finding interesting Restaurants where possible.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    They say you shouldn't go to Cuba for the food and its true. Its bland, overcooked and with very limited choice - fried chicken, fried pork, fried fish with rice and beans just about sums it up. More to the point though most of our group had stomach upsets, some more than once. Its hard to know what the cause was but hygiene in the government run hotels and restaurants (which is most of them) is probably not great. The privately run restaurants and Casas are probably safer and definitely better quality. Be prepared to spend a long time in the coach. Cuba is a surprisingly large country with generally poor roads so getting about takes time. If you plan to take up the Cayo Levisa extension be aware that its quite a long way from Havana and none of the activities (the main reason we went) run on a Sunday (the only full day we had there). It is a beautiful island though and the food quality is an improvement on any of the other state run places we stayed.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The cycling itself on this tour was a bit of a mixed bag. In the first week we seemed to spend quite a bit of time on flatish, straight roads with quite a bit of traffic. The worst part was the decrepit cars and trucks belching out thick clouds of black smoke - I feel like I had a lifetime's worth of exposure to diesel particulates on this holiday. Some of the days were also not well planned in that we would take the coach somewhere, get out and cycle for a bit and then get back on the coach. One of the off road sections in the first week didn't happen as apparently the track is impassible. It sometimes felt like cycling for the sake of it. In the second week it got more interesting. The best day was one where we actually cycled from one hotel to the next giving a much greater sense of having achieved something.
  • Reviewed February 2017
    Karen Wallace
    Trip:

    Exhilarating and fun

    This was my first every cycling holiday. I was never a cyclist and although fit cycled moe in this cortnight than i have in my life comvined....but i did it...never once riding in the bus...although there qas no ahame in that! Although one of the weaker cylists i was encouraged by the others and felt a treme dous sense of accomplishment to have completed it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Actually not riding the bus.....altnough i had to walk short stretches on the mountainous day...i did it. The other cyclists were wondèful and our vuide, Lee superb. He woas encouraging, funny and so knowledgeable about the history and the places we visited. We all swear he has a photographic memory.! The sight seeing was perfect and the rides interesting especially when we went tbrough small towns and villages where even the school childen chered us on like celebrities.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    FANTASTIC! Incredily knowledgeable and always there to help. On the tough cycling day he stayed behind with me encouraging me all the way. Our drivers too were excellent and always there with help and a joke. They made the whole experience wonderful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring pens and makers and sweets to give to the kids along the way. They flock round you, not begging but a oen or marker is a prize to them. The people are delightfyl and friendly and it is a pleasure to be able to give them something little that they really appreciate. At the end of tbe trip we asked our gyide if we could leave clothes or toiletries behind and he happily took them to give to needy people...so pack some old clothes.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I am already looking at other trips with Exodus. I felt it was extremely well organised and the informafion given accurate.
  • Reviewed February 2017
    William Dalzell
    Trip:

    Cycling Cuba

    Overall good experience with some interesting cycling towards the end of the tour . Cuba is a big island and a lot is crammed in resulting in the tour having an attritional feel with some tedious transfers and insufficient time to explore places such as Camaguey, Bayamo, Santiago de Cuba and for those not staying extra days, particularly Havana.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Time spent in Havana but I thought the most typically West Indian place was El Salton, which was gorgeous.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Lismar is excellent, his English impressive and he is a font of information and a strong cyclist, too.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be careful of your food and drink - not only what you eat and drink (tummy bugs galore with our group) but what could have become mixed with it _ Rosie found a large piece of broken glass in her glass at the first lunch stop by the wharf in Old Havana( which Lismar took up with management) and more broken glass in her ice cream at the lunch stop at Santa Clara.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Day 1 would have been much better if some attempt had been made for the party to meet up, at least for a drink at Hotel Memories. As it was we were rather left there kicking our heels and waiting to meet the group on day 2. Hotel Memories is ok but too remote for anyone hoping to explore Havana. Three other hotels were drab, tatty with unappetising food - Hotel Camaguey, Hotel Sierra Maestra and Hotel San Jose del Lago.
  • Reviewed February 2017
    Sally Hall
    Trip:

    Cycling Cuba

    I would definitely recommend this fabulous trip! Cycling through Cuba is one of the best ways to see the country and its people along the way. The trip ambitiously covers large distances over a sizeable island but the mixture of cycling and bus transfers just about works. There is a good mixture of accommodation-types from larger, swankier hotels (either modernist government hotels or beautiful colonial-style buildings) to staying in a local's home (Casas particulares).

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Everyday starting off from our accommodation on our bikes, as a team, in unison and then finishing the day together. I loved cycling in the mountains near Santiago, the countryside was more interesting and the cycling more challenging. Attending a local dance evening in a 'village hall' and dancing salsa as a group with the locals.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Lismar was a very good guide - well organised, engaging, very informative. We learnt lots about the complex history and culture of Cuba.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do take medicines such as Immodium and be cautious - the level of hygiene is not always what we're used to and many of us succumbed to the inevitable!
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