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Turtle, Ecuador

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

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18154 Reviews

  • A good trip.

    The trip to the Cycladic islands of Naxos, Paros & Santorini was lovely! We had a great group and our guide was the Lovely Cecile. Although it was very, very cold and windy, the plus point was that the islands were very quiet from the overload of usual tourists. The walks were beautiful and the views were stunning. I'd much rather walk in Santorini during the quiet season than what I have seen (in pictures) during peak season. Eating out every evening with the group was fun. My only complaint was the accommodation in Paros. Frankly, it was shocking! I think I didn't expect this from Exodus. The room was freezing as the heating wouldn't work and the shower was leaky and broken. I think Exodus needs to rethink the accommodation in Paros. If you fancy the islands all to yourself, even though it may be freezing, then give this holiday a try in March.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The walk in Santorini. The wild flowers gallore in our walks in Naxos & Paros.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Cecile was lovely and very helpful. She even got me a book of wild flowers of Greece to refer to because I loved wild flowers. She was also a good laugh and we loved listening from her about her pet donkey!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Check with Exodus about the accommodation in Paros.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Not particularly.
  • Reviewed April 2022

    A Fantastic Trip

    I found the Wildlife of Sri Lanka amazing, everywhere we went, not just the in the game reserves. Generally cycling along, we found crocodiles, long Lizards, a variety of bird life, mischievous monkeys, etc. One day an elephant was on the road, just before we cycled through. I wasn't expecting so much nature outside of the reserves. Rowan, the trip leader, and the boys were amazing in every respect. You will be well looked after. Be ready for early starts and a quick departure to take advantage of the cooler mornings. The heat and sun when ascending, was challenging, but the bus and truck were always there if it got too much. I felt completely safe in Sri Lanka. Although there are lots of problems there regarding fuel and food, we did not experience any problems as tourists, so don't let the News put you off. They badly need tourism to return to pre-covid levels to support their economy.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The wildlife and the friendliness of the Sri Lankan people, especially on the local small restaurants and bars.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Superb

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The whole day was very tightly structured, including where the group were to eat in the evening (e.g. at the hotel or a ride to local restaurant). If like me, you want to be independent in the evenings, make sure read in advance what's around your hotel, so you can have evenings to yourself as it's not always obvious as to what you can do and there were no alternative options given by the leader for most evenings. Tuk Tuks are available everywhere and inexpensive, I used them a few times to get around locally when not with the group. The monsoon weather is heavy vertical rain. My 'expensive' breathable shower proof jackets were insufficient. Take a brolly and a cheap all body waterproof poncho with you... you will be glad you did. Day 4 at the Countryside Hotel was not so great, in my view, with a poor breakfast and 'rundown' chalets. Hopefully you have a better experience, but maybe you want to buy some fruit for breakfast and have some insect repellent available for that night, just in case. All other hotels/guesthouses were fabulous.
  • Reviewed April 2022

    Sri Lankan selection box!

    Firstly just to say how amazing it was to travel long haul again! Every day was a highlight! It was great to use the first day on arrival to chill and get to know the group round the pool of the hotel then the next day we were off on our adventure. The Cave temples were fascinating then we were climbing Lion’s rock, looking for elephants and cycling. Not a dull moment! Lots of interesting UNESCO heritage sites to visit .Even the long drives were punctuated with interesting stops eg Spice garden The Sri Lankan food and hospitality was excellent and there was a good variety of Western food for a change if you wanted it. Loved the fresh pineapple and the bananas. A well balanced trip with culture, nature and activities but enough time to chill by the pool or book a massage in the hotel spa. Loved seeing the tea plantations and getting a really good cuppa on holiday! A holiday full of experiences!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So many to choose from. I loved cycling through the villages stopping for coconut water ( I didn’t even know I liked it!) and then having a delicious home cooked lunch at a family home. Seeing lots of healthy wild elephants roaming the Nature reserves with their young and having a leopard cross the track in front of our jeep at Yala. The white water river rafting was such fun and I definitely recommend doing that option.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Roshan provided us with great commentary throughout the tour especially on the bus. He had fabulous organisational skills and made sure our tour continued to plan despite the civil unrest and diesel shortage. He didn’t let those troubles get in the way of our holiday. By the second week we had all bonded into a lovely group which he was very much part of.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take socks for the temple visits- you could fry an egg on the ground. UK sockets are in all the hotels we stayed in so no need to bring adaptors. It’s colder in the tea plantations area so take long Pajama bottoms if you feel the cold ( or just put the heater on!) and a fleece for evening. Definitely take a waterproof! I took a small over body bag when cycling that fitted my phone so I could take photos. You can pay optional trips in £ so I’d take extra for that other than the £150 to change into SR at the airport. I paid hotel bills with credit cards. On your free day in Nuwara Eliya I recommend afternoon tea at “The Grand” at 2.30pm . It’s about £6. Also beforehand go for a tour of “The Hill Club” . It’s 200SR to be a member for the day ( 50p) and have drinks on the lawn. Take insect repellent and a torch and a plastic bag to put your wet clothes in after rafting ( you will get wet) Good idea to wear the clothes you went cycling in with swimwear underneath and change after. Swim in the Indian Ocean at the beach resort. The water is warm and the swimming pool is like a hot bath. The group kitty idea is much easier and it’s one less thing to think about!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A fabulous trip and pretty active. I bought loads of elephant trousers and luckily they did not take much room in my case. Going price approx £4 a pair! Great for gifts or wearing at night to avoid insect bites!
  • Reviewed April 2022

    Fantastic Trip

    What a wonderful holiday. Costa Rica is glorious and the trip leader Roberto and his colleagues Paul and Lois were great. Lots of fun and encouraging on the tough bits. A great balance between cycling and enjoying the awesome Costa Rican wildlife and plant life. My fellow travellers were really friendly and interesting which is lovely when you are travelling on your own. I can’t wait to take another trip to cycle in Central America

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved the Botanical Gardens and the wonderful accommodation there Swimming in the Caribbean and Pacific was a treat as was our visit to Tortgero

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Roberto was brilliant Excellent leadership . Really well informed and great communicator

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Relax and enjoy The group leader and his colleagues will support you if any of the cycling gets tough and the organisation allows you to let go of any stress Plenty of sun cream is needed !!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Had a lovely lovely invigorating holiday. Lots of fun Thank you Roberto Paul and Louis
  • Reviewed April 2022

    What a week!

    This was my first Exodus Trip, Joining my sister who has been on numerous Exodus trips before - I knew this was going to be a worthwhile trip. It was my first time to Finland and I was on the hunt for the Northern Lights. Having been to Iceland a few years back and not seeing them there I was determined to find the Lights.... And i did....twice!! Basecamp is warm and cosy and in the perfect location. With a frozen lake and the woods to wander around you are not short of things to do. The staff are all really friendly and more than accommodating. They all have a brilliant but wicked sense of humour and definitely kept us laughing throughout the week. I enjoyed every single activity that was planned and during our own time we got to explore, practice cross country skiing, sit in the hot tub and play in the snow!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    At the start of the week we were losing hope of seeing the Northern Lights as our leader expressed he hadn't seen them for about 3 weeks. On our 'Oulanka by night' we snowshoed through the woods and onto the frozen lake where, in other times the Northern Lights would be shining bright above us.... But this was not the case. As we were heading back to Basecamp we spotting what looked to be the start of the Lights ... so we all stayed for 15 minutes longer but they did not really develop. We all decided we would go back to Basecamp and then head back down to the Lake in about an hours time and hopefully they would be brighter. As soon as we were back in the cabins and starting to take off our gear, we got THE KNOCK. The staff offer to knock on your cabin door if the Lights appear so we all opted in for this. This was definitely the most exciting part of the trip for me as it has been one of my bucket list dreams to see the Northern Lights. It was really funny because everyone - including myself, was so excited and rushing around trying to get their kit back on so we could go down to the lake as quickly as possible. Luckily our leader told me to change the settings on my phone so that the camera would pick up the night sky and i managed to get some amazing photos that I will treasure forever.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Oh Martii! Martii was our leader for the week and he was awesome. He was full of knowledge and had numerous stories to tell. He knew how to persuade us to do things we didn't even know we wanted to do. He was relaxed, friendly and worked every single day of our trip. All of the staff were really lovely, Bar Staff, Kitchen Staff and anyone else who was helping out.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I took too many clothes!! You really do only need a couple of warm base layers and everything else is provided. I ended up wearing the same few items of clothing pretty much all week. I did take my own snow boots and coat which came in handy for when we handed back our equipment but still wanted to stand out in -11°C watching the Northern Lights on the last night. We didn't need too much cash as you can pay the room bill via card. We took cash mainly to tip the staff at the end of the trip - If i had more cash on me I would've definitely tipped more as they all deserved it!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I really enjoyed the Dog Sledging - upgrading the to 20km is definitely worth it. The doggies are so excited and are just raring to get going and run like the wind! The Reindeer Farm was a fun morning out, the Reindeer ride was short but sweet and did make us chuckle. The food in Basecamp was always delicious, There wasn't one meal i didn't enjoy. They cater for all sorts of diets and allergens so you don't need to take any food with you at all. I was worried about mixing with the group all week but everyone was so lovely and it was great to meet people from all sorts of backgrounds. I do miss sitting around the table with everyone and having a good laugh. It was hard coming back home to reality after such an amazing week that I will never ever forget!
  • You too can see a toucan, and sloths and monkeys from your bike

    This is a fantastic trip. In fact, its so fantastic that this was the second time I have been on it. I have also been on the Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama trip (again organized by the Costa Rican team). My experiences have been uniformly excellent. The trips have been well organized with knowledgeable and super helpful leaders, mechanics and drivers. The bikes have always been well-maintained. Costa Rica is a beautiful country with varied scenery and the Coast-to-Coast ride is carefully planned to allow you to experience the highlights. You will see spectacular birds and animals, hike in the rainforest, visit the lowlands and the mountains, check out Pacific and Caribbean beaches and of course, you will have fabulous cycling.
  • An interesting tour of this region

    This is an interesting tour overall. The three main places visited - Matera, Alberobello and Lecce - are all so historical and individually fascinating to explore, yet completely different. The accommodation is similarly characterful and varied; potentially having a cave room in Matera, next a trullo in Alberobello, then a converted monastery in Ostuni (my room, in the roof, had the original guttering inside the room!) and finally an old palazzo in Lecce. There is a lot of free time outside of the designated free day, which might not suit some people, particularly solo travellers who don't bond as well with others in their group (our group of twelve had six solo travellers and those who wanted to could always find someone to explore with, as everyone was pretty sociable). Although this trip is graded as leisurely, there is a lot of walking around the various places visited, sometimes involving quite steep climbs on steps/cobbles/slopes, especially in Matera.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Staying in the trullo in Alberobello was such an unusual experience - I instantly fell in love with "my" trullo as I walked into it! Castellana Caves was the best cave system I have visited (despite the rather horrible guide!), with some truly stunning formations. The olive farm tour and tasting was a surprising highlight due to the sheer knowledge and enthusiasm of the guides there as well as the preserved historical aspects, plus the superb oil!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fabrizio was very sweet and enthusiastic, drawing us in with his "hello friends" welcome from the start! His information wasn't always totally up to date, possibly because of Covid, and he hasn't yet realised that toilets are an important need after a journey, but he was still lovely to be with.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure that you have comfortable walking shoes with a good grip - the cobbled streets can be slippery if it rains and in most of the places visited, but especially Matera, you will mainly be going up and down steps/slopes when walking around. Be prepared to be left to explore on your own at some point of every day, sometimes for quite a few hours! Castellana Caves is the option I did on the free day - superb caves, and big (3km underground, in sometimes slippery conditions, and very humid too - so we got very hot, especially as we had to wear FFP2 masks throughout the tour). I gather that Monopoli was very enjoyable from those in our group who chose that. Our guide arranged transfers to both, the cost of which was split between those going (so we paid 16 Euros for the cave transfer but those going to Monopoli paid 37.50 Euros as there were a lot fewer of them).
  • Reviewed April 2022

    Jordan

    A very full trip with more amazing things to see than we ever expected. Everything from Nabatean Cave dwellings, Greek Palaces, Roman Towns, Crusader Castles and Saracen Forts. Not to mention the Highlights of Petra and Wadi Rum. Local food was excellent and good accomodation. The people of Jordan are most friendly and helpful.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Both Petra and the Roman City of Jerash were outstanding.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our Leaders knowledge and enthusiasm brought our group together from day one which added greatly to our enjoyment. We must praise our driver for his ability, friendliness and his smart appearance.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Wadi Rum was inspiring but the Bedouin experience lacked atmosphere. There was little interaction with the locals and the meal was dished up whilst we expected something more communal. Aquaba made a great end to the trip but the promised coral reef was minimal with little to see.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Could do with being a little longer as there is a lot to experiance.
  • Reviewed April 2022

    A great week's walking and culture

    This trip was fantastic for me because of the combination of the walks and the culture. The walks were quite varied and the castles and monasteries added to the variety. It was a little warmer than I expected (mid 20s) but I know three weeks earlier there was snow so I think late March/early April is a great time to do this tour, it also being an ideal time for the wild flowers. The hotel is very nice and a well located base for the week's activities. Our tour leader Gizer was excellent in terms of both his organisation of the trip and his knowledge on the history and the flora and fauna. He joined us for three evening meals, the other evenings were on our own but all Gizer's suggested restaurants were very good. The optional trips to Famagusta and Nicosia (not currently on the itinerary but it seems usually an option on the final day) were both well worth doing. Our group got on with each other really well which added to a great trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I can't really pick out just one, for me the variety was what made the trip. The views on the walks, the castles, the Roman remains at Salamis, Kyrenia and its shipwreck were all fantastic.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gizer is a brilliant guide. Nothing was too much trouble for him and he really went out of his way to deal with any requests that we had. He knew and explained the history of the island and the sights very well, and pointed out various things in the castles and in Salamis that added to the experience. He obviously knew the walks very well as he could always tell us how far there was to go, and he was also an expert on the wild flowers - my favourite was a large group of "naked man orchids"!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't buy Turkish lira in the UK. There are plenty of places to change GB pounds into lira and the rates at the exchange bureaus are very good - there is one less than 100 yards from the hotel. Credit cards were accepted everywhere and the rates seemed good as well. Do the Famagusta/Salamis optional excursion and if possible the undocumented excursion to Nicosia on the final day. The Covid paperwork and regulations are now minimal so this should not now be a concern.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The hotel staff are very friendly and accommodating, one of the managers visited us most days at breakfast and was able to move the two group members who had rooms overlooking the road to the quieter side of the hotel overlooking the pool and garden.
  • Reviewed April 2022

    Fantastic!

    Just completed a fantastic two-weeks traveling around the wonderful country of Costa Rica. This was primarily a wildlife viewing holiday, and it certainly didn't disappoint - sloths, caiman, crocodiles, monkeys, lizards, iguanas and of course birds. Many different types of heron and flycatchers, plus tanagers, honey creepers, toucans, mot mots, macaws, humming birds - the list is long! We even saw and photographed the elusive but absolutely Resplendent Quetzal! Overall, yet another fantastic Exodus trip!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hard to say! Probably seeing the Resplendent Quetzal at Savegre, but the sloths and Capuchin monkeys at Manuel Antonio were highlights too, as well as all the varied wildlife at Tortuguero. The Esquinas Rainforest Lodge was absolutely delightful. It was great to visit the different types of habitats - coastal rainforest, dry forest and cloud forest - and the various hotels and lodges that we stayed at were all great.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide Alejandro did a brilliant job, not least stepping in at minimal notice when our original (and also great) guide unfortunately got sick. He had just come off two back-to-back tours, but quickly got up to speed with all the arrangements, and was really informative as well as being great at spotting wildlife. Our driver, Chico, was first-class and also helped with the wildlife spotting on the way.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a good pair of binoculars, and if you plan to photograph the wildlife take a good camera with a long lens! If you can, arrive a couple of days early to get over the jet-lag before starting this fairly full-on trip.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just one small disappointment - at times the group was too big for really effective wildlife watching; it would be great if options could be given to go off in smaller groups with additional guides. Overall though, yet another fantastic Exodus trip!