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Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

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

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Reviews

A great adventure led by an excellent team

The group made this adventure by being friendly, easy going and ready for anything. The team led by Labane was efficient and fun to be with. Labane was organised and so knowledgeable, Ibrahim produced excellent meals in all sorts of conditions and his soups were exceptional, Tim or Mr T drove the truck with dexterity on very bumpy tracks and Alex or junior helped with everything and spoke excellent English(he will make a good leader soon). We saw the Big Five plus many more and even the migration on the last day in the Serengeti. We covered a lot of ground in the Masai Mara, the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro crater. Labane could tell us everything about each animal. The tents were quite small for 2 people but we learned not to take our big bag but only the clothes needed for the next day. Our bags were kept in a locker on the truck and respecting the size is important as it will not fit if too full. The showers were of varying quality but mostly fine. Zanzibar offered a pleasant relaxing time in a bed. Stone town was a nice little town with an interesting museum about slavery. The beach at Sunset beach was what you dream of, white sand and turquoise sea.

Most Inspirational Moment

When we saw the first giraffes and the first lions on the first night. The migration was a great moment too.

Thoughts on Group Leader

I can only praise Labane for his knowledge of the animals, the tribes and the traditions. Every evening he made sure we were all happy and told us of the plans for the next day. He was always pleasant and looked after all our needs. he was very aware of the needs of each of us. They got on so well with Ibrahim, the chef, Tim, the driver and Alex the trainee leader and they would spring into action every evening as soon as we stopped to set up camp. I would love to do another trip with the same team.

Advice for Potential Travellers

The tents are a little small for two people who share for the first time. Bring a warm sleeping bag as the evenings are cold in January. A head torch is essential to navigate around the camp. Avoid black and navy clothes as they attract the Tse Tse fly. Any colour clothes as you don't really leave the truck. A bird book is handy to look up the many birds. Most prices are in dollars but you get a better rate in local currency.

Suggestions

I would have like to have stopped in villages to see how people live. Fresh coffee would be nice as we were in coffee country!

Coastal Costa Rica- great trip, but room for improvement.

Very good wildlife viewing in the reserves. We were lucky with the weather overall. There are some long days on the bus as would be expected and almost all the days are very early starts with a bit of a rush for breakfast. The accommodation was good on the whole but we were disappointed that in several places our accommodation was not the usual and probably downgraded. This is arranged through Tui in Costa Rica apparently and being high season the Savegre Lodge could not take all our group. The nights in the Suria hotel were cold with inadequate heating in the rooms although the bedding was sufficient. The local guides were good in Tortuguero but not so good in Drake bay. Our Exodus guide Guillermo was excellent. There was only one opportunity for snorkelling (Cano Island), the first session was very disappointing as you have to follow the guide. We were dropped in deep water with very little to see. The second session was a little better but we still couldnt go where we liked as there were so many groups in the water.

Most Inspirational Moment

The Blackwater canals in Tortuguero. Getting close to an anteater and racoons. A sloth just above our heads with a baby while walking in Cahuita. Some of us saw quetzals in Savegre and the hummingbirds were great!

Thoughts on Group Leader

Excellent. He really knew his stuff and his English was perfect.

Advice for Potential Travellers

The walk in La Marta is fairly steep and slippery. When we did it it was wet and it would be useful to have a walking pole for safety. A cheap poncho would be worth getting as well as your normal waterproof jacket. They are provided on the boats in Tortuguero where getting drenched is likely (We were lucky in January). Overall there were less mosquitos than we thought (using Trek Sensitive) The guide said that the drinks at Drake Bay were reasonably priced but we didn't agree. Pack a wooly hat and gloves for Savegre as it can be frosty standing around especially if you are going to leave before dawn for the quetzals.

Suggestions

The itinerary could easily be improved by visiting the Irazu Volcano and coffee plantation from Turrialba and spending 2 nights at the hotel there, instead of the last 2 nights in San Jose where there is little to see. The journey back to San Jose from Drake bay via the main road is interminable.

Fabulous !

Fabulous well organised trip – saw more of Cambodia in the 12 days than we could have ever have organised ourselves. our guide made the trip memorable with his vast knowledge and passion for his country, he went above and beyond his duties. Some of the days are long and hot but he crammed in as much as he could into the days of travelling stopping at small villages along the way. Thank you Fila and Exodus for a memorable time

Most Inspirational Moment

Genocide Museum and Killing Fields will be etched in my brain forever (not inspirational but memorable) Evening dinner at a family home with a great host who made us most welcome Days cycling around Battambang and Angkor Wat Sunrise at Angkor Wat and cycling round the outlying temples

Thoughts on Group Leader

Fabulous leader who spoke great English and became a friend of the group, he looked after us with great care and made sure everything was very well organised Fila made the holiday and we will never forget him

Advice for Potential Travellers

Be prepared for some long hot days - most days we set off at 8am so don't expect a lie in bed!

Suggestions

looking forward to our next Exodus trip

Epic Antarctica - Falklands, South Georgia & Antarctic Circle Crossing (Ocean Diamond - Quark Expeditions)

Checking in for the internal flights Buenos Aires to and from Ushuaia was chaotic. Despite arriving well in advance check ins opened with barely enough time to make the flights. Once at Ushuaia outward and return all Quark arrangements were clear and efficient. Hotel Albatross in Ushuaia was very good. Onboard Ocean Diamond the hotel service was excellent. The Quark team were excellent. The photographic, historical, geological, ornithological and wildlife lectures were of the highest quality in terms of technical content, detail and delivery. The daily briefings and recaps were informative and entertaining. The zodiak cruises, landings, hikes, paddling and other activities were excellent: fascinating; informative; exciting; well managed; safe; well supervised; well guided. The experienced Quark staff ensured that we saw at close quarters all the wildlife that could be expected for this trip: all penguin species except the Emperor; nesting albatross; elephant, fur, Weddell, leopard seals; orca; humpback and fin whales; guillemots, skewers, etc. The weather was kind to us so we were able to visit nearly all the planned destinations on this expedition skilfully scheduled by the ship’s captain and the Quark Expedition Leader to ensure interesting activities each day. The scenery throughout was stunning, especially in the earie light of the midnight sun below the Antarctic Circle. I enjoyed the paddling, not booked in advance, which turned out to be an unexpected highlight getting really close to the wildlife. In conclusion the expedition exceeded my expectations!

Most Inspirational Moment

In general, seeing all the wildlife reclaiming their habitat and allowing us to walk amongst them without fear after the near genocide that our kind had inflicted on them, e.g. standing on high ground overlooking the massive colony of King penguins in St. Andrew's Bay on South Georgia was quite overwhelming. The first of many such experiences on the trip. Paddling in silence amongst the ice bergs and up close to wildlife.

Thoughts on Group Leader

The Quark Expedition Leader was excellent. His experience and constant monitoring of the weather conditions meant that the programme could be adjusted to ensure safe activities everyday. This would not have been possible without the the captain's advice and cooperation so a dream team!

Advice for Potential Travellers

The Quark supplied footwear and clothing was of excellent quality and suitability. As it was my first trip with Quark, I was cautious about quality so I brought my own, which meant that my luggage was over the 15 kg limit for the internal flight and so had to pay excess baggage on one of the flights. I will trust Quark supplied footwear and clothing in future.

Suggestions

The only glitch in the trip was that I didn't receive confirmation and details of my return transit and hotel in my final joining instructions from Exodus. I queried this but didn't receive confirmation prior to departure. As I don't like uncertainty about my travel arrangements, I booked and paid for my own accommodation with transfer while I had internet connectivity onboard. By the time I received a reply form Exodus these arrangements were already in place.

Epic journey

A very varied trip with lots of game drives. Beautiful scenery, gorgeous beaches and breathtaking coastline. Fascinating history around Battlefields. Stunning mountain walking and cosmopolitan Cape Town. However a lot of long journeys on very bad roads. So not for everyone. The itinerary is very out of date and needs amending. I am happy to update it if it is useful. All in all an epic trip which we enjoyed immensely.

Most Inspirational Moment

The amazing coastline in Tsitsikamme with a fabulous view from the room. Fabulous game drive in Lesotho. Cape Town's Robben Island.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Excellent. Lots of knowledge and always striving to give us the best experience. He was with us all the time and never left the group. Also an excellent chef and very hard working.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Not a trip for you if you don't like long journeys on dreadful roads. Difficult for vegetarians and vegans as it is a big meat eating country.

Suggestions

The itinerary is so out of date, it was quite frustrating.

A great trip

A great trip travelling through SA, Swaziland & Lesotho (in January). Excellent numerous opportunities to see game close up. The countryside was surprisingly very green at this time of year. Although some days are very long in the air condioned overland transport its great to see the changes in housing, social life & landscape as you drive by.

Most Inspirational Moment

Game drives.

Thoughts on Group Leader

A very experienced group leader.

Advice for Potential Travellers

January was very hot and humid. Very pleased with accommodation just make sure you have head torches and spare batteries because SA is suffering from regular power cuts throughout the country with no resolution in the near future. Having said that most accommodation have back up generators but expect to be in the dark from time to time. Most places also have WiFi when the power is on. Some roads are more pot hole than road but the all terrain vehicle and excellent driver made it a great experience. Just be aware, parts of Capetown have a problem with petty crime.

Suggestions

It's a great holiday.

Costa Rica

Excellent trip

Most Inspirational Moment

Wildlife

Thoughts on Group Leader

Absolutely 1st class a credit to her country

Advice for Potential Travellers

Glenda our guide was extremely professional and had amazing knowledge of the wildlife and fauna she united our group and became a friend to all of us for life I would definitely like to go again if she was our guide,and a mention to Charlie our driver who was a very safe and accommodating driver they made a great team

well-organised and relaxing walking trip

This holiday provided straightforward walking in exceptional and sometimes unusual scenery in great company and with an experienced and characterful guide. It was exactly what we were looking for in a short break from the British winter. The accommodation was excellent and the whole trip was well organised, and good value. Everyone involved that we met (eg hotel staff, transfer vehicle drivers etc) were without exception helpful and friendly. We found the holiday relaxing and rewarding.

Most Inspirational Moment

We were part of a group of fourteen, and it was a pleasant surprise to find that all group members were completely co-operative with the leader and arrangements, and that the group gelled perfectly. The friendship, rapport and empathy within our group exceeded our expectation.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Our group leader, Andre Pontes, was excellent. He was a great character, and provided much interesting and useful commentary on the walks, covering history, geography, geology, and even extending to some recipe hints. He was very entertaining company, concentrating on our safety and welfare in the walks at high level, and provided much useful information for us to make use of on the rest day. His local knowledge led us to excellent restaurants and cafes for refreshments and meals during the walks and in the evenings. He had a good and expressive use of English.

Advice for Potential Travellers

At this time of year be prepared for a chance of heavy rain at high levels, as well as for more gentle conditions generally. Most shops / cafes etc take bank cards but smaller shops and cafes, particularly in the countryside, may only take cash (Euros). English is widely spoken to a good standard, which we found helpful.

Suggestions

no.

Simply amazing

Everyone said Costa Rica is amazing. It is. And our guide, Roberto, made it even more amazing. He shared his love for Costa Rica and made sure everyone on our trip had an amazing time. Costa Rica is beautiful… pura vida. This trip encompasses the people, the countryside, the wildlife… and some great biking. Boat trips, tours of national parks, swimming in the Caribbean, lovely accommodation, great food… and the best coffee ever. We loved it. Probably our best bike tour ever. And we were lucky to have a great group. Thank you everyone. And special thanks to Roberto, Walter and Luis.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Best leader evet

Maximum Damage Tour

We had an amazing time on this beautiful tour, it was incredibly varied visiting temples, tea plantations, a safari and swam in the Indian Ocean. The hotels ranged from good to fabulous, the food was great (the title of our review comes from the instructions of our tour leader in how to deal with a buffet – one must inflict maximum damage). The support team was excellent and worked really hard to ensure we had a great tour.

Most Inspirational Moment

There were two of us, so we have two. One was reaching the top of the 20km climb to Nuwar Eliya, which is a really challenging climb on a bike and the other was our visit to Buddhuruwugala where there are several statues of Buddha carved into the rock. Climbing the Lion Rock was also an excellent experience.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Suresh was simply excellent - a hugely experienced tour guide and worked tirelessly to ensure we all had a great trip. He was incredibly knowledgeable about Sri Lanka and its history, and the challenges it currently faces. He dealt with all the issues and it was excellent.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Go on this trip if you have the chance!