Turtle, Ecuador

Your words, not ours

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

Here at Exodus we thrive on feedback from our customers. It's the only way we can ensure our trips continue to be the best they can be. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of the trip you're interested in, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.

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  • Reviewed July 2011
    Anonymous

    Trins Austria July 2011

    An excellent holiday which I highly recommend. The scenery was stunning, the Hotel  was great accommodation, lovely rooms and tasty meals. The walking challenging at times but always worth the effort. It was also one of the best groups I have ever encountered on an Exodus holiday. Lots of laughs, and in spite of the mix of ages and abilities we all got on really well.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Arriving at the summit of Portjoch, having walked in Austria, and then lunched in Italy as we crossed the border.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Both our leaders  Chris and Bob were excellent. The organisation was superb, and even with our mixed ability walkers, it was always at a pace which suited the group you decided to join.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just to confirm advice already given in previous reviews. Take a warm hat and gloves and good quality wet weather gear, you will need it, and you will need to take it every day on all the walks.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    After a very sad and unsettling 2010 this holiday proved to be a real boost for me, and I arrived home feeling refreshed and ready to face 2011. This was due to the excellent company and friendship of all group members, and having such good leaders.
  • Reviewed July 2011
    Anonymous

    ESSENTIAL PERU

    Everybody knows Peru for Machu Picchu, but there is so much more to enjoy on this trip.  The landscapes are very varied and on a grand scale, and the people very welcoming.  All in all a fantastic tour.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching the condors soar over Colca Canyon was great, and the Corpus Christi parade we were lucky enough to see in Cusco made the experience of the city even better, but there is nothing to beat the feeling you get when you first enter the Machu Picchu complex and climb up to the viewpoint to get the iconic postcard view.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Carlos our tour leader was very knowledgeable and could answer pretty well any question we threw at him.  The tour he gave us around Machu Picchu demonstrated his knowledge and passion for his country's history and culture.  There were only nine in our group of which four were vegetarian, and it took him a while to catch on to the fact that he needed to recommend restaurants with a good vegetarian selection, but other than this he was the perfect tour guide. 

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The days are quite long and the starts early; for us breakfast was at 7am five times and earlier than that another five times.  The earliest start was on the first full day when our wake-up calls were set for 4.30am, especially tough for those on the group flight via the US who didn't get to the hotel until after midnight.  But the bus was very comfortable (with a very acceptable on-board toilet) and in the main we reached our overnight stops by 5pm, which gave time to relax and unwind before a leisurely evening meal.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A few of us went on the Amazon extension and although others seem to have had good experiences, for us it was a major disappointment.  I think we were unlucky with the weather, the trip notes don't currently say that occasionally it gets cold in the jungle, and it was probably mainly because of this that we saw virtually no wildlife.  The extension is not run by the same Peruvian tour company, and there were various other difficulties/problems we had, so we all thought it poor value for money.  But the main tour itself was fantastic and I would recommend it to anyone.
  • Reviewed July 2011
    Anonymous

    INCA TRAIL, TITICACA & NAZCA

    A fanatstic experience and very good mix of activity, sightseeing and history/culture.  Highly recommended. 

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Making it to the Dead Woman's pass. When I looked at the terrain profile after the first day on the Inca trail, I thought I'm never going to make it. But, it turns out that it looked way more difficult than it was.Another highlight was going swimming in Paracas and watching the sunset while being in the water. Simply stunning.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Holger was great. He was not only very helpful, he also has very good historical knowledge that adds value to the overall Inca experience on this trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Walking poles, walking poles, walking poles. I normally don't use them, on the Inca trail I wish I had.Knee protectors also come in handy. When you go to the Ballestas Islands, make sure you're 'water-proof'. We got completely soaked - but it was worth it.  
  • Reviewed July 2011
    Anonymous

    DISCOVER SRI LANKA

    This was a great trip; it had everything - beaches, wildlife, history. You get to see five UNESCO World Heritage sites, and if you're lucky, you might get to see a leopard.Highly recommended!!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The elephant orphanage and the old capital of Sri Lanka, Polunnaruwa.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Roshan was fantastic. There's really nothing to add.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Our game drive in the National Park got extremely dusty. A dust-prove cover for your camera and lenses is highly recommended. I wish I had brought mine.
  • Reviewed July 2011
    Anonymous

    MOUNTAIN BIKING IN CROATIA

     An enjoyable and physically challenging trip which provided an interesting insight into a country with a very interesting recent history and impressive natural scenery including torquoise lakes,mysterious forests and jagged mountains.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Descending by mountain bike from the Zavisan mountain hut on a cool clear Summer morning,torn between staying safely on the bike and absorbing the views of the surrounding Velebit mountains,was a memorable moment. A different but equally unforgetable experience was watching the sun sink gently into the darkening blue Adriatic from the terrace of our small hotel in the coastal town of Novigrad.  

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our Croatian leader on this trip was a strong and confident individual who took his leadership responsibilities very seriously and sometimes ,because of this, came across as being somewhat autocratic. He was also  a very competent mountain-biker who ensured that we all completed the trip without mishap.   The assistant leader/vehicle driver was a gregarious character whose English was excellent and his knowledge of  cycling and bikes extensive.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    My advice for potential travellers to Croatia is - Develop your knowledge and awareness of Croatia's recent history and learn a few useful words of Croatian.Ensure that your mountain-biking skills and fitness are of a relatively high standard !

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The local Croatian beer was very nice and the food,generally,was good or very good but take your own favourite nosh when you go to the mountain hut. I would also suggest ear-plugs for this overnight! Apart from that and "dodgy" toilets a visit to the mountain hut should not be missed.Finally,as a road cyclist and sometimes off-roader I would take issue with the statement in the  Trip Notes "off road experience advisable but not essential" and suggest that it should simply state - "off road experience advisable"   
  • Reviewed July 2011
    Anonymous

    CORSICA: THE GR20

    The GR20 is undoubtedly a strenuous and demanding trek.  The Exodus version aims to alleviate some of the rigour and hardship by avoiding the need to back-pack or stay in some of the highest mountain refuges where accommodation is likely to be in large dormitories, or tented areas, with limited washing and toilet facilities.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Probably the sense of achievement felt in completing an undoubtedly arduous trip (particularly for a wrinkly).  But also the great deal of spectactular scenery.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very well organised and efficient.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The Exodus aims for the trip are largely, but not completely, realized.  Prospective GR20'ers need to be aware that the Exodus version bypasses some significant sections of the main route.  You do get a real experience of the GR20 including such highlights as the Cirque de Solitude.  A further compensation is a trip down the Tavignano valley that leads to a very pleasant rest day in Corte.  However, it remains very much a matter of personal ethics whether you get to wear the tea-shirt at the end of the trip.There is inevitably some variation in the standard of the accommodation used.  The food served at Capanelle, where we stayed for two nights, was poor.  The bread that formed virtually the only component of breakfast had much the same age and consistency as the local rock.  The accommodation at Bassetta was pretty unpleasant.  However, all other places were acceptable, or much better.  The attitude taken by the custodians can make a big difference.  In two places (the Sega refuge and Col de Verde) the very friendly and welcoming reception from the custodians enhanced the visits considerably.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    When Exodus state that the last day of walking is the longest and hardest, you'd better believe them.  Be prepared for a 12 hour outing with two long, knee-crunching descents.  The very considerable compensations are a magnificent view from Monte Incudine coupled with an exciting close-up encounter with the Aiguilles de Bavella.
  • Reviewed July 2011
    Anonymous

    THE INCA TRAIL

    Hiking the Inca Trail at the end of June was a very special experience. We had glorious sunny weather, no rain at all and the nights were not too cold. Our group was a great bunch of people. As one of a group of slow walkers I got great support from the group leader and assistant guide. It was a great privilige to hike this trail with an experienced company and an extremely competent group leader. Everything was well-planned and organised without spoiling anybody's fun.  (Finally, I hope the porters are paid really well because they work very hard.)

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Of course Machu Picchu was the star of the show, but there were many wonderful surprises around every bend in the road. I got up a couple of times in the early morning hours and saw the moon and a skyful of  stars - all enveloped in a peaceful silence.  I enjoyed the diversity of beautiful flowering plants and saw a perennial lupine for the first time. I was also impressed by all the other sites we saw on the way and intrigued by the speculation that they are connected. As an agricultural journalist, the farming and experimental sites were another source of interest.  

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Disnarda Aragon is a real gem. She's knowledgeable, calm and a good manager with a great sense of humour. She's also very proud of her country, its people and produce. As someone who comes from a developing country, I appreciated the fact that she encouraged us to support the local economy by buying hand-made local items.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't forget to bring: a headlight, a sunhat (they sell nice broad-rimmed ones in Cusco), sunscreen, insect repellant, coffee or black tea and powdered milk, if you absolutely need your caffeine fix. If you are not a very strong walker, bring a walking stick. I've never walked with a stick, and I bought one for 10 Sol at the beginning of the walk and came to rely on it right through the hike. Bring a couple of hundred Sol to buy water during the early parts of the hike and for tips for the cook, his assistant and the porters. You don't need to bring any food: the cook and his assistant feed hikers really well. Also, prepare for a lot of nice surprises at mealtime. (If you have any food preferences or intolerances let them know when you Do ask your group leader to arrange a specialist tour after the hike. Believe me, they can. I requested Disnarda to arrange a visit to the peasant farmers between Cusco and Urubamba and she, a driver, a friend and I ended up spending a wonderful morning with people who still live off the land and enjoy the satisfaction of growing their own food. I even tried my hand at cutting Lima beans with a sickle. It's hard work, though. (I can also think of other tours I would have loved to do, e.g. a visit to craftspeople or small local markets. We did visit the municipal market in Urubamba, but it would've been interesting to visit on a Sunday when all the farmers take their produce to their small local markets.)
  • Reviewed July 2011
    Anonymous

    PHOTOGRAPHIC SAFARI

    Two weeks ago, we spent the best safari week ever at Kicheche Mara Camp! We have been to Kicheche several times before and we just love it there.  The camp staff are all very welcoming and friendly, the food is excellent, the tents are big with en-suite facilities, and the camp itself (in its new location) is positioned in a real beauty spot. The safari vehicles are Toyota Landcruisers which are spacious and give us great all-round visibility. All the guides are true masters of the off-road tracks and have an amazing ability to spot animals, no matter how far away.  Their knowledge and responsible attitude towards the Mara and its wildlife have given us a truly wonderful experience, one that we’ll never forget!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Wow, where to start! We have been truly blessed with all the events we witnessed. Here are our highlights: We have spent a day with a cheetah mum with her 6 almost grown up cubs, we have seen thousands upon thousands of wildebeest cross the Talek river, we have encountered 3 leopards of the same family at the same time, we have witnessed lionesses carrying their tiny cubs to a new den, we have followed 4 male lions patrolling their territory and whilst doing so crossing a river, we have seen an elephant family slide down a steep river bank to cross to the other side, we've seen amazing sunsets, and if all that wasn't enough we have seen a cheetah mum carrying her tiny 2-3 day old cubs.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    This is our 5th trip with Paul to the Masai Mara. He may not be everyone's cup of tea but we like him. He is a great teacher and not shy to tell you when you are 'mincing', he can tell you a filthy joke or two, and 9 times out of 10 his decisions have been the right ones. This man never stops! He has such an enormous amount of energy, and his huge enthusiasm and love for the Masai Mara and its inhabitants are extremely contagious.  

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just go with the flow and you'll love it!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Yes, a huge Thank You to everyone at Kicheche. They are a truly amazing bunch of people. Nowhere else and no-one else makes our hearts fill with such sadness and sorrow each time the day of departure looms, wishing we could turn back time, wishing we could stay at Kicheche longer. But we will be back, we will return.
  • Reviewed July 2011
    Anonymous

    PHOTOGRAPHIC SAFARI

    If you are, or want to be, a keen photographer and are willing to put in long hours and laugh at yourself you will be rewarded with one of the best, if not THE best holiday, of your life.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hard to pick as these were in abundance on our trip ... Lion carrying her cubs, crossing a river at the same time as four male lions and the early start of migration to name a few.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I've never paid so much to be insulted so frequently! But, if you can take the rough with the smooth you will be amply rewarded with photographic opportunies that would be difficult to surpass. Paul's teaching methods are tactless, brutal and uncompromising but highly effective. His method helps you get the most out of the opportunities that arise during the week. You will learn quickly and are unlikely to make repeated mistakes, which is a bonus when you see once in a lifetime events that you will want to capture on film. Paul is a consummate story- and joke- (mostly of the explicit and un-pc variety) teller. We haven't laughed so much and no offence is intended.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    As others have said, there are some long days so go prepared with plenty of layers (including a fleece or two) for cold mornings and something to cover up in the midday sun. The laundry facilities are very efficient so you can pack light. I took a sarong, which was great as an extra layer & for sun protection but it came into its own as an instant dark room to help view the LCD screen on the back of the camera and to wrap round the lens when driving in dusty conditions. Take some sweets for the long days out on safari, preferably without wrappers e.g. wine gums, as the wildlife quite rightly takes priority over having breakfast or lunch at set times out in the bush. Kitcheche Mara camp was fantastic. The food was delicious and plentiful. Service was excellent and the tent was luxurious with great views. It goes without saying the guides were great and very knowledgable.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I started the trip as a novice dSLR user with a borrowed camera body and a couple of lenses. By the end of the trip I had learnt so much that I have come home with some amazing photos and a desire to learn more and invest in better equipment for my next holiday! This isn't a beginner's course in photography. If you get to know your camera before you come, knowing the key settings and how to change them on autopilot, you will make the most of the trip. For money - we didn't need much. Our advice is get a small amount of Kenyan schillings at the airport. Two coffees and a bottle of water was less than 500KS. For the final meal in Nairobi, we had the option of paying in KS or US$. We found the exchange rate was not favourable to pay in US$ so take a credit card if you prefer. Our meal for two came to the equivalent of £26 on the credit card (~$41) but we were asked for $50 had we paid in $.
  • Reviewed July 2011
    Anonymous

    MONT BLANC HIGHLIGHTS

    The chance to see the scenery was what inspired us, and we weren't disappointed. It was stunning.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    On our first walk, out of a cloudy Switzerland onto the Col de Balme, when the cloud lifted and we had our first views of the Mont Blanc Massif and the Chamonix Valley. Thereafter, apart from one cloudy day, the chance to see the mountains, glaciers and valleys on all the walks was inspirational. The flower meadows were pretty spectacular as well.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Oliver was an excellent guide and companion. He is very knowledgable and a fund of absolutely awful, but very funny, puns and jokes.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    As Exodus warn, be prepared for all weathers in the hills. We had everything from 5 degrees in sleet to 28 degrees in bright sunshine, and used all our various layers on several occasions. If you are used to hotel accommodation, the chalet rooms are a little smaller - clean and comfortable, but smaller. We had previously done the walks on Classic Dolomites and White Villages of the Sierra Nevada, and this provided a similar degree of challenge, perhaps a little more challenging on the one day when the  temperature was 28 degrees - enough for us.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We thoroughly enjoyed the trip to Annecy on our rest day and would recommend it.
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