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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

  • Reviewed April 2022

    It's a must do!

    This was an amazing week filled with first time experiences. Finland is such a beautiful place. We were lucky enough to see the Northern Lights on 2 nights- which was my main reason for going on this trip as well as the husky sledding. The day trip to Ruka was a great day, where I went snowmobiling which was great fun and watched people on the ski slopes. We visited a reindeer farm, where we got to feed the young reindeer. An added bonus was crossing the Arctic Circle on the way to the airport at the end of the week. This was unexpected and ended the holiday wonderfully!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I have never skied of any type before but I gave it a go after Martti (our group leader) showed us how it was done. I was going down little hills without falling over by the end of the week. Watching the Northern Lights appear and move in the sky was fascinating.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Martti was a brilliant group leader. He was always around when we needed him. He has a great sense of humour and made us laugh throughout the week. Nothing is too much trouble.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Give everything a go. The quinzee building was great fun and people on our tour stayed in them all night- I wish I had now. You don't need much cash, as everywhere takes card. Take your own flash so you can fill up with tea or coffee to take on your outings.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The food was delicious and catered for vegetarian and gluten free diets. The people on our tour were lovely and we all shared our photos of each other.
  • Reviewed April 2022

    A

    On our second night in Costa Rica I had a huge wave of emotion hit me... I was sleeping in the rainforest during a tropical thunderstorm with frogs croaking and insects chirping.. it was AMAZING!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hard to pick out a defining part but I do have a little bit of love for whales and seeing humpbacks and drakes bay will stay with me forever. Tortoguero and Drakes Bay are by far the highlights of the trip. Everyday there was a chance to see new wildlife that you hadn't seen before.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Both Jorge (our guide) and Carlos (our driver) were exceptional throughout the entirety of the trip. Jorge was always on the lookout with his eagle eyes for anything moving in the bushes. His passion to make sure we got to see the best Costa Rica had to offer was only outshon by his helpfulness and that everyone in the group was well looked after. Carlos was always there with a smile on his face to greet us in the morning and to make sure all our luggage was safe and secure on the minibus. Again, always going that extra mile to make sure the experience you had was 5+.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Although most reviews say to take dollars I actually had no issues with mainly using the local currency, and you will always get them in change so why bother taking multipe currancies. Drake's Bay is very hot! In the jungle its a constant sweatbox, occasionally we stepped outside onto the beach and whilst the humidity went the sun was just unrelentless. Also with Drakes Bay the "wilderness" is non exisntant. Mulitple boats doing the same thing all wanting to get the best for their customers - just somthing to be wary about. Most hotels had AC, those that didn't had ceiling fans which most of the time did the job, one hotel the fan wasn't working, but we were only their for one night. On previous trips there were optional extras suggested for free time - but I found I had to arrange some of this myself. Double check trip notes with those of the guide as the "optional (included) second boat ride at Tortuguero" was not an option.
  • Reviewed April 2022

    A Hidden Gem!

    We have just returned from a fantastic week hiking in the Sierra de Aitana with Jose Garcia as our guide. It is amazing that this relatively quiet mountain area is so near to Benidorm yet a millions miles away in terms of scenery, history and culture.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We had a fantastic final days walk up to Pico Serella with views for miles up and down the coast. We stopped to eat our lunch in the sun -incredible sandwiches made by our guide Jose, full of fresh local ingredients - before descending through a hidden valley. We finished in a small village square at a bar in the sun - perfect!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jose was an excellent leader. He knows the area and it's history very well. He constantly changed the itinerary to fit the weather conditions and make the most of the sunnier days. He looked after the whole group whilst we were walking, providing extra kit if needed, but also in the evening taking us out for a group meal or driving us back from a local bar at the end of the walk. Nothing seemed to be too much trouble, we felt very well looked after.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You may not have heard of Sierra de Aitana before but this is a great area with stunning views, an interesting history and quiet way of life. The walking is challenging in places - there are some long descents, the paths are narrow or occasionally just scree slopes - so you need to be a confident walker. But Jose is a good guide and will help if needed -so book it!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The accommodation is clean, comfortable and basic. The staff are very welcoming and the food is plentiful if rustic (meat eaters be prepared for rabbit!).
  • Reviewed April 2022

    Fabrizio is amazing

    Just a wonderful trip. Our tour leader Fabrizio was a bundle of joy, information, nothing was too much trouble.....a gem.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being in Matera , going down the canyon across the suspension bridge to the other side of the valley.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Just brilliant , he had such a pride in his work. Loved the tea and coffee breaks.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just enjoy this is a wonderful trip. Nice mix of walking , information, delicious food.
  • All the sights with a good group, though bit rushed

    I found the trip did exactly what it said on the tin - go and see all the main sights in 9 days, visiting the Pyramids, and the major temples. The group was nice, and being a 30s-40s trip they were all around my age which was good. The hotels were good quality, which others like, though I felt that using 5-star hotels took Exodus away from the good mid-range hotels I’m used to, and was a largely unnecessary expense in a country where most of the accommodation is much better value. The main negatives for me were being bussed everywhere to a timetable - which made it feel less like adventure travel, and the fact that a lot of the sights felt quite rushed, with relatively little time to do independent sightseeing - the worst example of this being the Philae temple visit. This was an optional extra that we paid more for, but (partially due to the sleeper getting in late, which admittedly was beyond their control) we ended up being there for only 90 min, with no unguided time. But apart from this the trip was a good introduction to Egypt and its history.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the pyramids for the first time. The amazing carvings in so many of the temples. Nice group.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ahmet was pretty much always an enthusiastic, knowledgeable leader, even when things weren’t going quite right (for example when the sleeper train arrived significantly late). Nothing was generally too much trouble, and he made the tour much more than it would have been without him. By the end of the trip he was still the same as at the start, ready to explain how great Egypt is, and how ‘everything started in Egypt’! Only issues I noticed were a couple of times where we could have used time better (once we did a 40 min coach trip, that Google maps confirmed was actually only to drive less than 2 miles - I think we were killing time without being told, which annoyed me - we just drove one way and then the other through Luxor town!), and a delay in getting alternative flight info that caused me issues and cost on the return flight.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don’t expect to do everything in depth, and consider adding more time after the trip - I spent an extra day in Luxor, and 2 days in Cairo, and would recommend that. I went back to Karnak temple and spent another half day on my own, in addition to the quick trip with the group. I also hired a taxi in Cairo and went to the ‘other’ pyramids at Darshur/Saqqarah - which I felt was one of the best days of the whole trip, less tourists, more time to see, and almost better than the Giza pyramids in my view. The sunrise at Abu Simbel wasn’t really worth it - we didn’t really see anything additional - though going to Abu Simbel is worth it. The sound & light show at Karnak (which I did independently) wasn’t really worth it).

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The issue with flights back (as I ‘missed’ the one from Luxor to Cairo, due to wanting to stay an additional day in Luxor and ending up having to buy another flight after the options weren’t given to me in time) cost me over £100 to pay a random ‘fee’ that Egyptair charged, to allow me to travel back to the UK (on a flight I had already paid for) and nearly led to me missing that flight. To date Exodus haven’t been very helpful in trying to sort this, or apologising for not making it clear this ‘fee’ was a possibility, which has been disappointing, especially given I’ve used Exodus on multiple occasions and always had good service.
  • Reviewed April 2022

    Simply Superb

    Visiting Jordan has been on my bucket list for years. I have been on many trips with Exodus and this has got to be up there with the best ones! There is so much included in the one week, I just wish it had been a little bit longer. Well organised, no overly long travels, brilliant itinerary and amazing local team and leader. It would be very hard to organise a better trip than this. :) The country and the sights we saw were just beautiful, the people we met were the friendliest you could ever meet.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The itinerary is very well planned, the most important sights one would want to visit are covered. There is something for everyone: extra walking option for those that want to do more exercise, free time for those that want to do more walking or shopping, option to swim and snorkel. Spending one night at the bedouin camp is also a unique and unforgettable experience. And I have not even mentioned just submerging yourself in the fantastically rich history of Jordan every day of the trip. Superb.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Muayad is a true professional, we could not have asked for a better tour leader. He is knowledgeable, kind and very welcoming. He is very proud of his country and his enthusiasm for the job and for his country is just unrivalled. His sense of humour helped gel the members of our fairly large group (20) together very quickly. He always offered us amazing lunch and dinner options and even brought a very delicious apple pie made by his Mum! He broke up the travel with coffee breaks, that was important to me. :) He went out of his way to make sure that we all had a fantastic trip and I am very grateful for that. Thank you so much, Muayad!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It was colder than expected, so the down jacket I brought along with the gloves was the best decision. Also, bring a silk liner for extra warmth for the night in the bedouin tent. Book an extra day in Amman as there is just so much more to do there!
  • Reviewed March 2022

    What an amazing adventure!

    From the moment we met our local guide, Pedro Benavides and our excellent driver, Gabriel, we had the most wonderful two weeks visiting many different regions of Costa Rica. From the pounding surf of the Caribbean to the stillness of the lush forests and then from the heat of the Pacific coast to the cool air of the cloud forests and Paramo region at the top of the Continental Divide every National Park we visited had its own character. We were somewhat disappointed at the lack of birdlife visible (or heard) on many of the forest trails, but overall we saw an amazing variety of species and with sloths, iguanas, monkeys and crocodiles adding to the wildlife sightings it was truly magnificent. Accommodation was great - the various wooden lodges varied in character but all provided comfortable beds and in the more remote locations, which were all-inclusive, the food was excellent. The Hotel Presidente in San José for the first and last nights was very comfortable and its central location made it ideal for shopping, interesting museums and visiting the National Theatre and Metropolitan Cathedral. Our group of 14 travellers gelled together easily despite a wide age range and the overall verdict was that this was a trip which could be highly recommended. Thank you, Exodus.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The optional boat excursion on the Rio Tárcoles - Jungle Crocodile Safari - was a highlight for us all. So many birds and other creatures to see at fairly close quarters during the short boat trip - amazing.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Pedro was very good. He organised the days very well and without any fuss, giving us options where appropriate and on the whole making it clear to everyone what time and where to meet etc etc. He was quite skilled at finding wildlife for us and knowledgeable about the various species of birds we saw. He had a good command of English and a wonderful sense of humour. He was very proud to tell us about Costa Rica itself and good at pointing out things to see on our journeys. Our driver Gabriel was also good at spotting wildlife and where he could do so safely he would park the coach so we could all disembark for a closer look.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take plenty of insect repellant, antihistamines if you are liable to be bitten and lots of cool clothes but also warmer layers for the mountains. Be prepared to live out of your suitcase for 2 weeks. And where it's most humid be prepared for swimsuits taking a long time to dry.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would recommend this trip highly. Although described as 'Leisurely' it was quite tiring. Pedro offered 6am wildlife walks most days and with other planned and optional activities there wasn't much time for rest - other than during coach transfers - as long as you didn't mind missing the scenery. It was a case of 'early to bed and early to rise' almost every day to make the most of all the opportunities on offer.
  • Reviewed March 2022

    Fabulous, immersive week

    The activities, landscape and Basecamp were all excellent. I was concerned that the itinerary looked less active in the second half of the week but, in fact, it was cleverly designed so that we were introduced to snowshoeing and cross-country skiing on days 1 & 2, and allowed to retain the equipment so that we could continue with these activities whenever we had free time. Also, quinzee building on Friday was interesting and very active. Our room was spacious enough, with good storage, a comfortable bed, decent shower and even hairdryer - all with a lovely view. And it was warm! Communal areas were also warm, and welcoming at all times of day and evening. Staff always made time for a chat. The forest, lakes (frozen) and rivers are so pretty, it was wonderful to explore them. As a huge bonus, we saw the Northern Lights - twice.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Dogsledding was thrilling. (Definitely worth upgrading to the 20K route.) It was so exciting to drive and be driven through that lovely scenery, with the most excited dogs we've ever encountered! I loved being able to "hike", using snowshoes, on a variety of trails. These were quiet and magical, but also well resourced with shelters and firepits. My husband enjoyed practising cross-country skiing, and he bravely slept in the quinzee.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Martti is a very good leader. He's an excellent instructor, with a fund of stories and a nice quirky sense of humour; also hard-working and really well-planned. His enthusiasm was inspiring. He often went out of his way for us and was generous with equipment to suit individual needs and activities.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Basecamp really does provide plenty of kit, as in the Trip Notes, so that you only need baselayers and whatever clothes you want for the evenings. On the free afternoon in Ruka, we decided to snowshoe, and Martti recommended the Valtavaara winter trail. In mild March weather, this was quiet, well-marked and manageable, and the steep climb was rewarded by fabulous panoramic views. It's a really enjoyable option and only costs the price of the gondola.
  • Slothful, but not in that way.

    A trip designed to show the diversity of Costa Rica whilst incorporating many good cycling days, and a range of activities. Busy, but there was a lot to squeeze in.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I just love hummingbirds, so an otherwise ordinary lunch stop turned in to a huge photo opportunity as the restaurant had feeders just outside the window to attract dozens of the tweety little things. Other than that, taking a boat to our Tortuguera hotel, relaxing in volcanic hot springs (with a bar), passing and smelling (eeuw) a palm oil factory, learning about tiny honey bees, not running off the road on a ferocious tarmac downhill and meeting a lovely bunch of like minded "cyclists" and crew.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I've been on many guided cycling trips with various companies including several with Exodus, and have always been thankful for the input of the guide. On this trip, our guide, Roberto, surpassed them all. There was nothing which was too much trouble, and no issue which he could not effortlessly resolve. Friendly, understanding and able to keep the group together in such a way that there never seemed to be any element of competition. A sense of humour. Information supplied along the way - tested by a challenging quiz on the last day where everyone won a prize!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you can, arrive a few days before as your sleep patterns will need a few days to adjust. Having said that, the few that arrived within hours of the start coped heroically. Better than me in fact, who had 5 days to acclimatise. Expect some early starts. If you have to fit in a boat ride before breakfast, some cycling, a few hours in the transport, lunch, more cycling and still have time to relax in the pool before evening meal, you'll understand.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Must mention the driver, and mechanic/peloton-shepherd. Both outstanding in their roles. Driver combined speed with safety, could guide the vehicle through the tiniest gaps and remain calm when other less careful road users got themselves in very sticky situations. Our mechanic was invisibly keeping all the bikes in perfect order, but on the road, came out of nowhere to offer support or encouragement. He fist-bumped all, even the (ahem) slowest of us.
  • Reviewed March 2022

    Amazing Matera!

    Brilliant trip with pleasant walking, great food and wine, good company, fascinating towns (especially Matera....a real highlight for me), an excellent guide in Fabrizio (knowledgeable, efficient, very patient, making everything great fun.... the best guide I can remember having on any trip!). I enjoyed the hotels in Ostuni and Matera (though in Matera it was a bit 'luck of draw' as to what your room was like - and I felt I was lucky!) First hotel in Alberobello was a bit bland. But overall everything went very smoothly (even the dreaded covid paperwork) - and it was SO good to be out of country, somewhere new. What's not to like!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Loved coming into Matera

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fabrizio was just the best!!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    In March weather varied from woolly hats at start of week to t shirts on last day. Pack layers for this time of year