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

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18154 Reviews

  • Reviewed May 2022

    Cycling in Sicily

    Overall a great trip. I did struggle on a couple of hills but pleased to always make it to the top.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Probably the 'big' climb on the Thursday 7 the resultant 7km hairpin downhill. The food was memorable in a good way. Also the stay at the Agriturismo 'hotel' The group was also well matched.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Davide Di Mauro really made the trip special for me & all the others I'm guessing..! Always something interesting to say and an expert & proud Sicillian. Also he knew the best places to experience the local food. A lovely human being :-)

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a terrific trip & adventure

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Shame to see so much roadside rubbish, Davide is aware it is a problem.
  • Reviewed May 2022

    Well worth waiting for: the first post-Covid trip!

    We first booked this trip to travel in April 2020, and had postponed it 3 times before we heard it would happen - and with fewer restrictions/requirements as the departure date approached, for which we were most grateful.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many to mention, but street food in Palermo markets, lunch in Piazza Armerina, and all the incidentals associated with visits to local producers (meeting water buffalo herd, cookery lesson near Trapani). Visits to cultural sites were a good contrast: it was interesting to see how they had developed and changed since we visited over 15 years ago. The fact that, despite its being the first tour for over 2 years, it all seemed to run smoothly.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rosario was really enthusiastic about the history and culture of his home island, and ready to transmit this in his good English; he also has a good sense of humour, which may have been tested at times. He managed to deal with the varying requirements of the group, and was always ready with recommendations of ways to spend any spare time, or places to eat. Our driver, Maurizio, was excellent, both at negotiating some of the roads and dealing with slight changes to the route, in particular being led through Piazza Armerina by a police car, rather than having to wait for an hour while the Giro di Sicilia passed through.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't expect a restful holiday! Apart from at the beginning and end, with 2 nights each in Palermo and Catania, we stayed somewhere different every night; that provides a challenge for sensible packing. if you're going in early April as we did, you may need some warmer clothes to deal with the time in Ragusa, Noto and Mt. Etna: while the UK was having a heatwave, we were all scrabbling for extra layers to cope with the cold winds!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It would have been good to visit Siracusa (as in the original itinerary) and possibly Taormina, which would mean a longer tour - and perhaps slightly more relaxed. if you make the trip longer, would it be possible to arrange a trip from Palermo to Cefalu? It was the original French capital of Sicily, and has the first cathedral, which is like a mini-Monreale.
  • Reviewed May 2022

    Food and culture

    As we'd first booked to travel in April 2020, this was a much-anticipated break, and our first one travelling abroad, and it really went well. It was the first post-Covid trip, so we weren't sure that everything would happen as expected, but it was well organised, and all eventualities catered for. We were impressed by the range of food tasting opportunities (too many to mention), particularly the chance to visit small producers who are obviously diversifying from their original production - and the street food in Palermo was a revelation! We also enjoyed the cultural visits, but would have liked to visit Siracusa (on the itinerary when we originally booked).

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the range of produce in local markets, and tasting regional products in their locality.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rosarios was great fun, but well organised, and took account of the various requirements (particularly dietary) of our varied group. His English was pretty good, and he was extremely knowledgeable about the history and culture of Sicily - and eager to share it. He was also helpful in suggesting where to go in the limited spare time, and on places to eat (though there were some evenings when we didn't need to, after the tastings of the day). Maurizio, our driver, was extremely good, and very patient with us and the odd hiccup with traffic conditions. He did a wonderful job on some intersting roads.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't expect this to be a restful holiday! There's a lot of travelling, even with stops for tastings or cultural sites, and it's only at the beginning and end that there are 2 nights in the same place. Palermo airport seemed very well organised; Catania not so much. Be prepared for much waiting around in between check-in and boarding. Gatwick was extremely well run on our departure, but earned a few black marks on our return: no staff to move a stairway to the plane for disembarcation, and long waits before baggage arrived.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I think it would be worth making this a slightly longer tour, to include Siracusa and Taormina in the east, and possibly a day trip to Cefalu from Palermo/. Cefalu was the original French capital, and has an earlier, scaled-down version of Monreale with its own cathedral.
  • Reviewed May 2022

    Magical and Special

    Visiting Jordan has been on my wish list for a long time. the days went so fast and our guide Ayyad was amazing he made everything enjoyable and was easy going with lots of breaks. the wide range of amazing food and the lovely people in Jordan always happy and welcoming to us

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    being in wadi rum during the day climbing sand dunes and exploring in the jeeps, but then at night after our amazing dinner cooked in the ground we sat outside around the fire and had tea watching the stars till early morning with our guide. seeing the treasury for the first time was an emotional experience and one not to forget. visiting the baptism site was very special as was Mount Nebo and the church there as a service was underway. I would say everything we did was amazing. Dinner with a local family in wadi musa was amazing and the food all home cooked was incredible and seeing how the whole family interacted with each other was beautiful

    What did you think of your group leader?

    our guide Ayyad was knowledgeable about all we asked and made everything fun and was always looking out for us as we had some older ladies in our group, always there with an outstretched hand in case we should need it. he immediately was making jokes and got the sense of humour that we had and we all became a little family. it was especially special as it was Ramadan and he was fasting and we experienced normal people out breaking the fast and shopping. he gave us time to shop and take pictures and was always explaining what was in the food we were eating. defiantly made lifelong friends with everyone in our group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    defiantly book this trip even during Ramadan as you get to see many different things that you wouldn't otherwise and don't be scared to go out and explore the locations that you stay in at night

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I felt safe and at home there and will defiantly go back!!
  • Reviewed May 2022

    An excellent return

    This was my first holiday outside the UK since the first covid lockdown and it was excellent. The group remained covid-free for the entire week - a bonus! Rosario was enthusiastic and energetic throughout. As his first group in 2 years, he was determined to ensure we enjoyed ourselves!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved the quality and quantity of fruit and veg in the different food markets we visited in Palermo (and watching the non-veggies attempting to eat certain local delicacies).

    What did you think of your group leader?

    As before - he was excellent. Not only was he knowledgeable but also his spoken English was really good. Maurizio the driver deserves praise too for safely negotiating spaces scarcely wider than his vehicle.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't think that holidays are restful in any way! If you fancy a rest, I'd recommend extending the holiday by a few days. Arriving a day or two early ensures you start the holiday well-rested rather than tired from rising very early for the group flight. Plus add a day or two at the end if you'd like to see Taormina which sadly isn't included in the current tour.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I'm sorry that covid led to small changes in the tour - for example I was looking forward to tasting the range of local cheeses near Ragusa and was sorry we didn't go to Taormina. However having any holiday at all post-covid was a thrill!
  • Reviewed May 2022

    Great mix of food and culture packed into just 8 days

    Great way to spend a week in Sicily. The trip is pretty busy, moving on most days, packing in the main sights and a lot of food! I enjoyed the mix of history (valley of the temples and the roman villa) with the food and culture aspect, particularly the visits to the local producers and food market trips.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For me the valley of the temples, made even better by the great guide.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rosario was a great guide, very knowledgeable of all aspects of Sicilian history, culture and food. Organised us well and provided good options for what to do with any spare time we had, allowing me to make the most of these limited times.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Not much time to unpack in each location so dont take too much! Catania airport is a crazy place, be prepared to queue.
  • Verdant Country with stunning flora & fauna - brilliantly viewed from both On and Off the Bike

    As with all Exodus cycle trips the cycling provides the foundation for a trip led by an expert guide and back-up team, in which you sample the best cycling terrain, food and drink and highlights of a foreign country. A group of strangers come together, bond remarkably quickly in this case, and leave two weeks later as friends. Costa Rica Coat to Coast was no exception. The highlights of Costa Rica are undoubtedly its flora and fauna. The estuary boat trip (Day 2), Manual Antonio NP (Day 3), ferry across Golfe Dulce plus Las Cruces Botanical Garden (Day 6) , and finally the fabulous Tortuguero NP (Day 11 & 12) are all must-see locations. Throw in the beautiful Central Highlands (Days 7-9), plus the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, and you have all the elements for a terrific two week trip though six of Costa Rica's seven provinces.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I'm no Attenborough yet was frankly in awe of the fantastic range, colour, sound and scale of the flora and fauna, and at such close quarters too. The designated highlights live up to their billing but is it often smaller moments that shine. Examples include a stop for fresh coconut at Playa Hermosa, walks along the beach on both coasts, a swim and beer near Puerto Viejo, the team riding formation and being overtaken by a local wearing flip flops, the serenity of the gardens by the ruined church where locals shared a Sunday picnic, & the bonding of the group - on and off the bike aided by beer, red wine and the occasional mojito. If I had to pick just one, it would be stopping mid ride in the Central Highlands, seeking a spot of shade sitting at a bus stop, and taking time to soak in the stunning views on both sides of the ridge. Picture postcard stuff. Wonderful.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Robert Aguilar was an excellent Leader in the best tradition of Exodus Tour Guides. He was knowledgeable and enthusiastic, an excellent communicator, strong rider, and responsive & flexible to traveller requests and requirements. He was ably assisted by Mechanic Paul and Driver Luiz. Paul rode strongly at the front making a good but not furious speed which kept the faster riders safely in check but not frustrated by pace. Mechanical matters were few but dealt with with aplomb. Luiz was the archetypal driver - silent but quietly effective - always on the right place at the right time with everything done. Altogether a superb team and tribute to both Costa Rica and Exodus.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    1. Whilst there are climbs, largely in the Central Highlands, the cycling is not overly difficult and heat & humidity more of an issue than the terrain. You don't notice it whilst riding but certainly do when you stop. Regular sunscreen and fluids a must. 2. My wife and I wore arm screens as sun protection and these were such a big hit that we lent our spare ones to our fellow riders. A buff/snood can also be handy. 3. I tried my brand new SPD-cleat cycling sandals on this trip and there were a revelation - highly recommended. 4. Take a light rain top for the occasional (heavy though not cold) shower. 5. Food is plentiful and good quality, and you do develop a taste for rice with beans in varying permutations. Fish good and some excellent steak also. Fruit plentiful - pineapple, watermelon, papaya, banana & mango. 6. You can drink the water in most places and in the few where you cannot, bottled water is available/provided. In the alternative, Chilean red wine or the local ("Imperial") beer will do. 7. There are a couple of laundry opportunities mid-trip so resist the temptation to pack too much kit - both on and off bike. 8. You don't need any local currency (colones) as US Dollars in cash (though not GBP) plus credit cards suffice everywhere.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I spent much off Week 2 chatting to Roberto about the Nicaragua/Costa Rica/ Panama trip, the hopefully re-launched new Guatemala/Honduras/El Salvador trip and the in-plan alternative Colombia trip. I have a feeling my wife and I will be returning to this part of the world.
  • Reviewed May 2022

    Excellent walking holiday

    A very enjoyable walking holiday, mixing walks with interesting visits to a cave, ruined castles, an abbey and an Armenian monastery. The walks themselves are varied - pine forests, mountains, beach, some tracks and just a little on the almost-deserted roads. An excellent trip to Famagusta was offered on the Day Off and this not only took us to interesting sites (St Barnabas monastery, roman Salamis, Varosha ghost town & the old walled city, but also gave us th chance to learn more about the history if the island. A bonus was the trip to Nicosia on our last day, whcih meant we didn't have to hang around the hotel waiting for the transfer to the airport. This also gave us the opportunity to walk across the border into South Cyprus.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Day 6 - Buffavento Castle and the Five Finger Mountains. Although it is over 600 steps up and the same down, the castle is situated right on the ridge of the Five Finger Mountains, so you can see both sides of the island (and the coast of Turkey on a clear day). Because of the steps, it is quiet with no/few other tourists, so we had the castle to ourselves! The lunch stop is further along the ridge, so more spectacular views across both sides of the island.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Geser is an excellent guide, very knowledgeable, patient and very helpful. His english is amazing and he has a good sense of humour. He spent a lot of his time with us and nothing was too much trouble for him. He really made the holiday very special and I hope that Exodus will continue to use Geser as a guide for future trips.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Our flight was delayed, so we arrived very late but Exodus/the hotel had unexpectedly arranged for a snack of soup and a filled roll, which was very well received. It is a long flight and transfer, so would recommend taking a packed lunch to have on the plane. Make sure you have high factor sun screen as the sun is strong, even on cloudy days.
  • Reviewed May 2022

    A fantastic holiday in a relatively undiscovered corner of Italy

    This was a trip that will live long in my memory. My first journey abroad since the start of the COVID pandemic, the holiday was everything I hoped it would be and more. Stunning scenery, fantastic food, awesome accommodation, great people and a wonderful leader all combined to ensure that Italy will be the destination I will visit in my next holiday - and I would love to return to the Garfagnana region.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There are too many moments to choose from. The walk to the summit of Mount Sumbra was challenging and certainly tested my head for heights, but the view from the top was out of this world - we could see the snow-covered peaks of mountains in nearby Emilia-Romagna as well as the broad sweep of the Italian coastline. I also really enjoyed the free day in Lucca - it is a stunning city with a lovely walk around the city walls and some interesting attractions, including the Torre Guinigi which gives you excellent views across the whole city. And then, of course, there was the 'village walk' led by one of the members of the family that own the agriturismo we stayed at - it provided a fascinating insight into the culture of a region that is still relatively unexplored.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sara was absolutely awesome and the best leader I have encountered in all of my trips. She had a genuine interest in each and every member of the group and nothing was too much trouble for her. She also had a real passion for the area and her close connection with the family that runs the agriturismo meant that she was (and is) a well-integrated part of the local community. I really could not have hoped for a better person to lead our trip - she was wonderful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for all weathers, particularly if travelling in April. The trip notes warned that snow was possible on the mountain slopes, but the snow cover we encountered was deep (apparently exceptionally so). It was easy to walk through and added to our overall experience, but I would definitely be prepared to take a thick waterproof coat, waterproof trousers and some decent hiking boots if travelling early in the season. Sara also loaned me some walking poles that were very useful when negotiating downhill sections covered in snow/rocky scree.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If the trip sounds appealing to you, don't hesitate to book. I have been on many Exodus trips and this was, for me, the stand-out one. I loved every aspect of this holiday and really wish that I could re-live the week again.
  • adventures in nepal Goyko lakes and Everest base camp

    Simply the best organised and lead overseas trip I’ve been on in the last 30 years.( Oz ) Jaite Tamang was our very humble Nepalese Expedition leader. His natural ability to connect local Nepalese people with our group gave us a fully immersive experience of Nepal. His understanding of the local environment and wildlife added an extra dimension to our adventure and his Encyclopaedic knowledge of almost everybody we met on the trip was amazing. I’ve never seen such a young man manage our porters ,assistant guides and us under some very challenging situations with good humour and high energy. OZ has an excellent understanding of British banter which always help in taxing situations. His ability to anticipate problems ahead of time and nip them in the bud allowed our adventure to flow very well. When I come to the pool again I will definitely be asking for oZ by name.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Meeting Kenton cool and a lot of the world-famous sherpas along the trail. Obviously getting to Everest base camp and goyko lakes was important . What was a bonus was the real inspirational moments in the little things like the wildlife and interaction with the local guides , Tea house owners and people along the way. also realising at almost 60 years old that there is some life in the old duffer yet

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jaite Tamang Oz was our group leader. OZ is a natural leader and demands respect amongst all his fellow guides and porters. He has a natural ability to bring people together and his good humour allows a relaxed harmonious movement across what is actually quite a difficult terrain and environment to be in. I can’t recommend him enough. I will definitely be requesting him by name on all my future trips in Nepal .

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I have loads of advice for potential travellers and will probably write a whole document on this.. A few things I will definitely suggest now , do not take ibuprofen at high altitude because it is a respiratory suppressant and you may not be able to sleep well. Read up about the Khumber cough and make sure you do not exert yourself at high altitude. Make sure you bring a breathable buff to cover your lips and mouth.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I have done many overseas trips possibly 30+ in the last 40 years and I realise how important the group leader is to the enjoyment of a trip. Every client comes with different expectations, energy levels and immune systems. These all present challenging situations for a group moving across such difficult terrain over a long time and a good leader I will make all the difference.