Turtle, Ecuador

Your words, not ours

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

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  • Reviewed November 2015
    Petrus Van Dongen

    Galapagos Wildlife Trip

    An amazing trip, full of exciting excursions, beautiful landscapes, astounding wildlife encounters, amazing weather, good co-travellers and a very informative and easy going leader! What more could you want of this once-in-a-lifetime-trip?

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Snorkelling with turtles, sea lions, sharks, rays, penguins and marine iguanas. OK, this wasn't one moment, but the whole snorkelling experience was awesome!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very good, informative, knowledgeable, easy-going, funny.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring plenty of sun cream; bring sandals and flip-flops, as well as good walking shoes; make sure you can stand constant movement of the ship, or take drugs; be prepared to spend time in small spaces. Bring binoculars (for birds mainly) as well as a decent camera, zoom not so important, as the animals are very close! Other that that: just do it!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The food was plentiful and varied, although 'surprising' in many ways. Good healthy stuff always available though. Cabins are VERY small and there is VERY limited storage space.
  • Reviewed June 2015
    Kathleen Gray

    Galapagos Wildlife Cruise

    Non stop wildlife experience with so many different islands that it felt much more than just too weeks. Lovely breaks cruising between the islands relaxing in the warm sea breeze. Very helpful friendly passengers and crew. Great food. Snorkelling is a must. Essential to have a small boat 16 max to enjoy the islands in peace. The Western Islands were quieter than the eastern Islands. A trip to be repeated!!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Fun with the wildlife especially the inquisitive, friendly sea lions brushing their whiskers across my face and the little bird dancing on my head as I was sitting on the rocks at the sea edge trying to take photos of diving boobies.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Juan was excellent. Very friendly and a mass of knowledge about the wildlife and the islands. Everything there is to know he knows it. At the end he gave us a very useful digital copy of photos he took of the wildlife we saw on each walk. So helpful when you get back home to identify the wildlife and also a record of your trip. Take a 16GB SD card or stick to store the info.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack light as cabin space limited in the Cachalote. Take old or dark clothes as you might getting 'rust' stains because your washing gets hung out on the metal rails at the back of the yacht. Take ear plugs for sleeping at night as engines are noisy. Head-torch useful as cabin quite dim. Snorkelling a must and get prescription snorkelling mask,if you need to, and a waterproof camera before you go. Wear shortie wet suit to stay in water as long as possible. Either take your own or hire on board. I found strong waterproof sandals good for most walks but lightweight boots useful for other walks.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Enjoy!!Enjoy!! You'll have a fabby time. PS Kids waterproof suntan lotion will keep you well protected from the sun. Factor 50 then 30.
  • Reviewed April 2015
    Cornell Grierson

    Galapagos Wildlife Cruise

    Galapagos 14 night cruise around the islands a once in a lifetime holiday.... Thinking about it? Just book it truly amazing!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing and swimming with penguins, turtles, sea lions, sting rays, sharks, hammerhead sharks, dolphins. Seeing a huge group of dolphins swimming when we were sailing was also a huge highlight. Blue footed boobies courting ritual. Wandering albatross as well was wonderfull.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Darwin was excellent really fun and knowledgeable about the history of the islands and the animals that inhabit it a wonderful your leader can't fault one bit.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Small cabins don't take to much also very formal at dinner times so no need to worry about taking all smart clothes.
  • Reviewed December 2013
    Anonymous

    GALAPAGOS WILDLIFE CRUISE

    A fantastic experience aboard the Cachalote visiting so many of the Islands and coves;  seeing all the wildlife for real that I had seen on the David Attenbrough programme. The most amazing thing was the wildlife's attitude to us. It was so 'laid back' about us being there that they just ignored our presence. We were told to not go too close but nobody told the wildlife that! It was as f we were invisible.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many but here are 3. Seeing the Nazca Boobies and Waved Albatrosses still displaying to each other and sparring with their beaks when we visited Suarez Point on Espanola Island. Also the time a Blue Footed Booby decided that it was going to come close to us and investigate - or did it just want to make it's way along the path we were on? Thirdly, the event that was the 'icing on the cake', so to speak, was on our last day, on Seymour Island when we saw Frigate birds with their red pouches inflated. It was not their normal breeding season but 1 or 2 can be seen at most times of the year, we were told.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader, called Darwin, was brilliant. He knows all about the geology as well as the wildlife. He is passionate about conservation, spending some time doing voluntary work for the National Park ,and was able to answer all our questions about it, the wildlife and life in general on the islands. He was caring and helpful and gave us a good idea of what to expect to see and do each day

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There are couple of long navigations that can be a bit rough so be prepared. If you're a particularly poor sailor try the ear patches - like nicotine patches - available from your Dr. Also, if your nervous about snorkelling have a couple of lessons before you go, because, like us, you may have many more opportunities than what is listed in the trip notes!.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just go! A real holiday of a lifetime!
  • Reviewed July 2013
    Anonymous

    GALAPAGOS WILDLIFE CRUISE

    What a wonderful experience.  Quito city on the mainland and the Galapagos islands are such a contrast to each other but both extremely interesting. 

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The three most memorable moments for me were when we visited - North Seymour Island where the blue-footed boobies were performing their most entertaining mating dance- Espanola (Hood) Island where we saw nesting Waved Albatross- Early morning explorations of the mangroves where turtles, rays and white headed sharks were seen when the paddle was used to sail the panga.  These were breath taking experiences. 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was Juan Tapia.  Juan was brilliant guide.  He was extremely personable and looked after every need for each member of the group. His enthusiasm / passion was second to none and he was very knowledgeable about all the flora, fauna, marine life and geology of the islands.  His English is first class and I understand he also speaks four other languages.  He is a multi talented guy and was most entertaining when we were enjoying our "Crossing the Equator Party" and the Captain's Party at the end of our journey.  

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the Trip Notes thoroughly as they contain excellent advice with regard to the packing requirements, money matters and altitude warnings. They also include factual, relevant information about the Cachelote so there should not be any surprises with regard to cabin size and particularly the noise of the engine. Do not be frightened by all the information about Quito.  Heed the information and treat the city with respect as you would with any other city in the world.  By doing this you and your belongings will be safe and you will enjoy this fascinating city and it's people. 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The Shuttle to and from the Airport to the Hotel were well organised and much appreciated. The Ground Staff were very helpful and kept us well informed at all times.  The Veja Cuba hotel in Quito is more than adequate - clean, comfortable, decent sized rooms with private facilities.  Breakfast could be improved, mainly the service and choice of menu, however you will not starve.The Cachelote Capitan and his crew members added value to our journey around the Galapagos Islands.  They were all lovely people, very helpful and most respectful to the clients. Nothing was too much trouble.My advice to all is if wildlife, marine life, geology, photography, swimming / snorkelling are your interests / passions, this trip has got to be on your Bucket List to be enjoyed at sometime in the future. I truly would recommend the 14 day itinerary to allow sufficient time investigate as many islands as possible in the time allowed.       
  • Reviewed May 2013
    Anonymous

    GALAPAGOS WILDLIFE CRUISE

    Wonderful experience, exceeded my expectations.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Cachalotte is a superb boat and the staff are exceptional, the chef needs a medal the food presented was far superior to any hotel I have stayed in.  Nothing was too much trouble , especially  helpful getting into the panga's!!  Juon was a very knowledgeable guide, friendly and socialable.The wildlife exceeded all expectations we saw it all as per itinerary, I had never snorkelled but managed to and saw fabulous fish , inquisitive seals and penguins darting round me, turtles and much more.  Weather was perfect, no rain, sun protection is a must, only one suffered sea sickness (mildly) Land wildlife, flowers, scenery superb tooLong journey to destination, Iberia OK but boy was it worth it.  Quito - go to old town lovely, Cuba hotel was excellent.Highly recommended.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Juan was so knowledgeable really showed his 25 years experience, very friendly and efficient. Sat with us in the evenings to discuss with us what we had seen that day. All transport, transfers went like clockwork

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Sea sickness was not a problem on our trip, but there are tablets available.  Altitude in Quito not a great problem just keep drinking water .  Bellavista was a nice trip from Quito but only if not raining, it can be very cold and damp there and not a lot to do/see if wet. Must go to the Palace in Quito old town, free guided tour and photo.Be aware that despite transferring from one plane to another @ Madrid your alcohol will be taken away, insist shops put it in sealed bag, mine was treble wrapped in bubblewrap and they still took it , I lost $52.If poss take a pillow for the boat, mattress and pillow on hard side!! You can use it on the plane too .

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you have never attempted to snorkel here is the perfect chance, all the equipment and superb opportunities almost every day- twice a day.  I cannot swim but still had a go with a life jacket, had one beach and the mammal's/fish to myself last day !! Superb experience
  • Reviewed March 2013
    Anonymous

    GALAPAGOS WILDLIFE CRUISE

    This trip whole heartedly exceeded my expectations. For those of you who love animals this is certainly the right trip for you. Being able to go around all the islands and be there for two weeks was breath taking and definately worth going for the two weeks, there is so much to see and the west islands were personally better for me. Getting so close to all the animals without feeling as though you were invading their space was so special, nothing was bothered you were around them it really was magical and my idea of heaven.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being on the islands was such as awe inspiring feeling, knowing how much they are doing to keep the islands and animals protected and knowing that tourists and local communtities are only allowed to be on 1% of the islands and the rest is restricted is wonderful to know.Swimming with 11 turtles with one falling asleep right beside me and floating into me was magical! The trip has certainly changed me and I feel very lucky and priveledged to have been able to go!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader (Juan Tapia) was fantastic. So enthusiastic and knowledgable, he really added to the trip and we felt lkucky to have him as our guide. You felt safe with him and as he had grown up on the islands and was so passionate about sharing them with others you felt even more enthused. He knew everything about all the different species and could never not answer a question about the islands/species!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack light, as we were walking and swimming/snorkelling a lot we really didnt need much as things could be washed and hung up on the boat to dry. Take clothes that you dont mind getting dirty or ruined. Take strong suncream factor 50 if possible as i was caught out with factor 30. Certainly wear a top whilst snorkelling, the water was lovely and warm but your back is protected from sun burn.
  • Reviewed January 2013
    Anonymous

    GALAPAGOS WILDLIFE CRUISE

    The cruise we went on was March 2012,it was a once in a life time holiday.Wonderful memories and I would advise any one who is thinking of going to just do it.I went with my husband and we had planned to go for a couple of years.We very much wanted to see as many islands as possible and of course wildlife.What a fantastic trip we had and found it difficult to fault anything about the holiday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The whole trip was inspirational and I find it difficult to say what was the most inspirational moment.Even after all these months I can remember lots of wonderful images .Both my self and husband read all the reviews written from fellow travellers and we identified all the points.The Cachalote was fantastic ,we had a wonderful crew and fellow passengers,which is a key factor on this type of holiday. The wild life experience ,on the land and in the sea exceeded all our expectations,swimming with those turtles,sharks and seeing the rays glide past was unreal .The playful sea lions just seem to be there for the sheer love of folks. Snorkelling is a must we had not done it before,such a wonderful feeling once you get the hang of it. Every island had different surprise's to offer,well worth the walks and climbs.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Group leader in Quito was excellent and gave us lots of advice.As a group we did the suggested itinerary and that worked very well and we saw lots .See other reviews from travellers who went on this holiday in March2012. The Group leader in the Galapagos was excellent ,the information she provided was of a very high standard.The briefings each day were brilliant,I would advise travellers to take a photo each day of the briefing board for your future travel log.The Group leader was very realistic and offered sensible advice throughout the trip.We found if you listened and followed instructions you would get more out of the holiday. Just master that getting on and off Cachalote and the islands/beaches on to the zodiac and you will be fine. Crew members were also an excellent source of information and always ready to be of assistance.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do your research read the notes provided,ensure this is the holiday for you.Boat can be bit rough at times, however you do get use to it.This is not a relaxing holiday remember it is an adventure.Cabins are small you do need to be organised, but it is Great! we would advise any one to go. If possible watch the BBC Richard Attenborough films before you go....and yes it is just like that in real life. We took our own snorkelling gear and thought that was a good idea,although there is enough on board. My view is that I would have liked my own shortie wet suit.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The very fact you are reading this review means you are interested ,as mentioned above do your research. Make sure you take things you have been advised to take,read all the reviews about this holiday. Just doing this review brings back wonderful memories of sailing along in the pitch black evening ,we will never forget the wonderful sight of the sky and stars and the gentle sway of Cachalote .Just sitting on the front of the boat ,you will have to pinch yourself to make sure it is real.
  • Reviewed December 2012
    Anonymous

    GALAPAGOS WILDLIFE CRUISE

    One can always count on Exodus to provide the best way to discover new territories, and the Galapagos wildlife cruise aboard the "Cachalote" was awesome! The captain & crew are fantastic, I was even able to steer the yacht at Latitude 0! Our guide Darwin was exceptionnal, and the wildlife was..... WILD!!!!!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking on the lava fields and imagining how it must have been when the earth was booming with activity. It made me feel very humble towards the magnificence and power of our planet. 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Darwin rocks!!!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't hesitate: just GO! But do not forget to take good earplugs as the engine is really loud in some cabins.I had a long wetsuit and was never cold, so consider bringing one too. 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We had a fantastic holiday! The opportunities for getting up, close & personal with tortoises, turtles, iguanas, sharks, dolphins, mula-mulas, sea-birds.... are incredible. Everywhere you look, there is something going on! Watching baby sea lions just a couple of hours old sucking away without any worry in the world was so lovely. I just took so many photos and video, it is going to take me weeks to sort them all out! (sorry, not very well said, but I am french...   Anyway, just GO and see for yourself!) 
  • Reviewed November 2012
    Anonymous

    GALAPAGOS WILDLIFE CRUISE

    WOW! This trip exceeded my expectations so much, the trip notes provided the basic itinerary, and guides books help you prepare for what you will see, but nothing prepared me for the WOW factor of swimming with the sealiions & turtles, and that was just the start, seeing the albatross so close and so many, having the chance to see the mating dance, just amazing.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So many highlights, but I think swimming with just one sealion on our last snorkel trip, he just wanted to play with us, and it was just lovely, he didn't want us to get out.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We were lucky enough to have Darwin, and having read other reports about him, we knew we were lucky, and I have to agree with others that have had him as their guide, he is so well prepared, ready to answer any questions, so full of information that he spends the time passing on to you.  Will adapt the daily routine to ensure that the guests are happy, and takes into account the likes & dislikes as much as he can. Nothing was too much trouble for him.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Enjoy every moment of the trip, as well as getting to know your fellow travellers take the time to also get to know the crew, and they will help make it a great holiday, the team on the Cachalote with us just made us laugh so much, Roberto has a laugh that I will never forget.And a reminder that the storage space in the rooms is very limited, once you get over the shock it is fine, and I think in all cases we all made it work, but don't think we ever got over the initial shock.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If anyone has space in their bags, then please take me back with you.
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